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"Down Pens"
"HAVE you written to thank the Froplinsons for what they sent us?" asked Egbert.
"No," said Janetta, with a note of tired defiance in her voice; "I've written eleven letters
to-day expressing surprise and gratitude for sundry unmerited gifts, but I haven't written
to the Froplinsons."
"Some one will have to write to them," said Egbert.
"I don't dispute the necessity, but I don't think the some one should be me," said Janetta.
"I wouldn't mind writing a letter of angry recrimination or heartless satire to some
suitable recipient; in fact, I should rather enjoy it, but I've come to the end of my capacity
for expressing servile amiability. Eleven letters to-day and nine yesterday, all couched in
the same strain of ecstatic thankfulness: really, you can't expect me to sit down to
another. There is such a thing as writing oneself out."
"I've written nearly as many," said Egbert, "and I've had my usual business
correspondence to get through, too. Besides, I don't know what it was that the
Froplinsons sent us."
"A William the Conqueror calendar," said Janetta, "with a quotation of one of his great
thoughts for every day in the year."
"Impossible," said Egbert; "he didn't have three hundred and sixty-five thoughts in the
whole of his life, or, if he did, he kept them to himself. He was a man of action, not of
"Well, it was William Wordsworth, then," said Janetta; "I know William came into it
"That sounds more probable," said Egbert; "well, let's collaborate on this letter of thanks
and get it done. I'll dictate, and you can scribble it down. 'Dear Mrs. Froplinson - thank
you and your husband so much for the very pretty calendar you sent us. It was very good
of you to think of us.' "
"You can't possibly say that," said Janetta, laying down her pen.
"It's what I always do say, and what every one says to me," protested Egbert.
"We sent them something on the twenty-second," said Janetta, "so they simply HAD to
think of us. There was no getting away from it."
"What did we send them?" asked Egbert gloomily.