13. A Country Chevalier
it was early in August when Mrs. Wealthy Brooks announced her speedy return from
Boston to Edgewood.
"It's jest as well Rose is comin' back," said Mr. Wiley to his wife. "I never favored her
goin' to Boston, where that rosy-posy Claude feller is. When he was down here he was
kep' kind o' tied up in a box-stall, but there he's caperin' loose round the pastur'."
"I should think Rose would be ashamed to come back, after the way she's carried on,"
remarked Mrs. Wiley, "but if she needed punishment I guess she's got it bein' comp'ny-
keeper to Wealthy Ann Brooks. Bein' a church member in good an' reg'lar standin', I
s'pose Wealthy Ann'll go to heaven, but I can only say that it would be a sight pleasanter
place for a good many if she did n't."
"Rose has be'n foolish an' flirty an' wrong-headed," allowed her grandfather; "but it won't
do no good to treat her like a hardened criminile, same's you did afore she went away.
She ain't hardly got her wisdom teeth cut, in love affairs! She ain't broke the laws of the
State o' Maine, nor any o' the ten commandments; she ain't disgraced the family, an'
there's a chance for her to reform, seein' as how she ain't twenty year old yet. I was
turrible wild an' hot-headed myself afore you ketched me an' tamed me down."
"You ain't so tame now as I wish you was," Mrs. Wiley replied testily.
"If you could smoke a clay pipe 't would calm your nerves, mother, an' help you to git
some philosophy inter you; you need a little philosophy turrible bad."
"I need patience consid'able more," was Mrs. Wiley's withering retort.
"That's the way with folks," said Old Kennebec reflectively, as he went on peacefully
puffing. "If you try to indoose 'em to take an int'rest in a bran'-new virtue, they won't look
at it; but they 'll run down a side street an' buy half a yard more o' some turrible old shop-
worn trait o' character that they've kep' in stock all their lives, an' that everybody's sick to
death of. There was a man in Gard'ner--"
But alas! the experiences of the Gardiner man, though told in the same delightful fashion
that had won Mrs. Wiley's heart many years before, now fell upon the empty air. In these
years of Old Kennebec's "anecdotage," his pipe was his best listener and his truest
Mr. Wiley's constant intercessions with his wife made Rose's home-coming somewhat
easier, and the sight of her own room and belongings soothed her troubled spirit, but the
days went on, and nothing happened to change the situation. She had lost a lover, that