Christopher and Columbus HTML version

They had left early that morning for Boston, determined, as they wrote, no longer to
trespass on his kindness. There had been a discussion in their bedroom the night
before when they got back in which Anna-Rose supplied the heat and Anna-Felicitas
the arguments, and it ended in Anna-Felicitas succeeding in restoring Anna-Rose to her
original standpoint of proud independence, from which, lured by the comfort and
security of Mr. Twist's companionship, she had been inclined to slip.
It took some time, because of Anna-Rose being the eldest. Anna-Felicitas had had to be
as wary, and gentle, and persistently affectionate as a wife whom necessity compels to
try and get reason into her husband. Anna-Rose's feathers, even as the feathers of a
husband, bristled at the mere breath of criticism of her superior intelligence and wisdom.
She was the leader of the party, the head and guide, the one who had the dollars in her
pocket, and being the eldest naturally must know best. Besides, she was secretly
nervous about taking Anna-Felicitas about alone. She too had observed the stares of
the public, and had never supposed that any of them might be for her. How was she to
get to Boston successfully with so enchanting a creature, through all the complications
of travel in an unknown country, without the support and counsel of Mr. Twist? Just the
dollars and quarters and dimes and cents cowed her. The strangeness of everything,
while it delighted her so long as she could peep at it from behind Mr. Twist, appalled her
the minute she was left alone with it. America seemed altogether a foreign country, a
strange place whose inhabitants by accident didn't talk in a strange language. They
talked English; or rather what sounded like English till you found that it wasn't really.
But Anna-Felicitas prevailed. She had all Anna-Rose's inborn horror of accepting money
or other benefits from people who had no natural right to exercise their benevolences
upon her, to appeal to. Christopher, after long wrestling restored at last to pride, did sit
down and write the letter that so much spoilt Mr. Twist's breakfast next morning, while
Columbus slouched about the room suggesting sentences.
It was a letter profuse in thanks for all Mr. Twist had done for them, and couched in
language that betrayed the particular share Anna-Felicitas had taken in the plan; for
though they both loved long words Anna-Felicitas's were always a little the longer. In
rolling sentences that made Mr. Twist laugh in spite of his concern, they pointed out that
his first duty was to his mother, and his second was not to squander his possessions in
paying the hotel and railway bills of persons who had no sort of claim on him, except
those general claims of humanity which he had already on the St. Luke so amply
discharged. They would refrain from paying their hotel bill, remembering his words as to
the custom of the country, though their instincts were altogether against this course, but
they could and would avoid causing him the further expense and trouble and waste of
his no doubt valuable time of taking them to Boston, by the simple process of going
there without him. They promised to write from the Sacks and let him know of their
arrival to the address at Clark he had given them, and they would never forget him as
long as they lived and remained his very sincerely, A.-R., and A.-F. Twinkler.