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inhabitants of the apartment. You can room, one has to wait until all of the get up when you like, just so you rise in other members of the family have gone time to set the table for breakfast; you to bed before one can go, especially in an can take afternoon naps undisturbed, apartment such as the Martins had, all have your things where you want them, on one floor. There was a living-room dress and undress nearly at any time- in front, and then a hall on which your own room.
opened two bedrooms and the bath Ever since Isabel announced her en- between them, and at the end of the gagement, grandma had been definitely hall was the dining-room. One had to considering the room. Before that, of pass through the dining-room to get to course, there had always been the the kitchen, and one knows how it isthoughts of it, even remarks to confirm how people, especially young people, them. "If Isabel ever marries, grandma always want to get into the diningcan have her room,” or, “That room will room or the kitchen just about the last be fine for grandma if Isabel is n't thing at night. When Ralph or Isabel here.” Since Isabel's engagement, for had company in the living-room, Mr. two months, now, the room had become and Mrs. Martin stayed in the diningalmost a possession. Grandma had room, reading newspapers or playing gone into it when Isabel was not there cards, so grandma could not go to bed as and looked around. She had sat down soon as she felt sleepy; she did not have in the rocker at the window, imagined a great deal of privacy. But sleeping herself rightful owner, imagined her few in the dining-room was all right; possessions placed in neat order on the grandma did not complain about it. dressing-table, her clothes in Isabel's Did not Ralph sleep in the living-room? closet. Her own room!
Ralph's springs were undoubtedly just It would be wonderfully pleasant, as hard and his mattress just as thin that room.
For twelve years now as the ones grandma slept on. Grandma Martin had lived with her son David Martin was not poor.
He had David Martin, and his wife Mary and a small, but paying, electrical supply their two children, Isabel and Ralph, shop. He had moved twice in those and all of those twelve years grandma twelve years, but he had never increased had slept in the dining-room. Of course, the number of rooms in his home. In if you had asked her, grandma would New York rents are high and getting have told you that it was not really a higher, and one pays for apartments at bad place to sleep. The dining-room so much per room. Martin was a thrifty was a nice room, fairly large, with a fellow, tall and sallow and calculative. round golden-oak table and six golden- He was a bit of a braggart, and liked to oak chairs and a glittering golden-oak think of the way he lived as "pretty buffet, holding an array of even more good for poor folks.” He felt that he was glittering cut-glass-a punch-bowl with self-made, because Grandpa Martin had twelve cups suspended from its sides by died when David Martin was in his metal prongs, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. first year of high school, and David had Martin's Saturday-night card club when had to quit school and go to work. they 'd been married twenty-five years, He was proud of the fact that he had and several odd pieces which Mary come to New York "without a cent" Martin had won at cards. On the wall and had made a success. If Martin were a pair of “dining-room pictures,” could have afforded a bigger apartappropriately of "fish and game." ment, with a room for grandma and the dining-room was a davenport, too, maybe a room for Ralph, too, he did not bought specially for grandma, and cov- see the need of it. Perhaps he did not ered with shining black leatherette, and realize what it meant to an old lady to it opened into a bed at night. Of course sleep in a room where three meals are it had to be made up when you opened eaten every day-a room that was as it, and the pillow and covers had to be much a family room as the living-room brought in from the hall closet, and that or the hall, with no place for little is not easy when one is seventy-eight. things that women like. But having a And when one sleeps in the dining- mother thrust upon one for support, when one's family is quite complete dressed her and petted her. Ruth marwithout her, is not always wholly ried when she was nineteen. Grandma pleasant. Martin's expression about was glad Ruth married such a fine man, his apartment was, “I don't want to a young fellow and not very rich, give the landlord all my money." He though with a steady position, and exliked the thought, and used the expres- ceedingly fond of Ruth. Ruth and her sion or a similar one frequently. He husband moved to Chicago when the said frequently, too, that the daven- firm transferred him there. Then, the port grandma had was “just as good or next year, Jessie's husband died, and better than the bed my wife and I sleep that left Jessie and grandma all alone. on.” He was rather proud of
Jessie went to Chicago to the way he treated his mother.
live with Ruth, went to live He gave her a little spending
with her daughter as grandmoney every month, and
ma had done, quite the right until she grew so deaf as to
way to do, naturally. But of prove an annoyance by ask
course Ruth could not have ing questions, he had taken
grandma, even if she had her to the theater or to the
wanted to have her. One movies two or three times
cannot expect a young man every season. Occasionally,
on a small salary to support he bought her something new
his wife and his mother and to wear and often asked, “Do
a grandmother besides. you need anything, Ma?"
Grandma knew that. She Grandma's wants were few;
was glad Ruth was happy and when one is over seventy and
had a nice little home and spends most of one's time
that Jessie was happy with sewing or reading, there is
her. There was no one else,not a great deal one needs,
David Martin grandma's second son had and grandma did not like to
been dead for twenty years, ask for things or be an ex
-50 grandma had gone to pense. Ralph and Isabel
live with David. were rather selfish, thoughtless, never David Martin was a good man did much for grandma; but, then, young good, but rather close and settled and people-Grandma got enough to eat, and solemn. Mary, David's wife, was she slept quite comfortably on the good woman. Grandma appreciated davenport except on restless nights. She her virtues, but Mary just "was n't would have liked to help with the cook- our folks.” She was from New England, ing, but daughters-in-law have ways of with a long upper lip and a thin mouth their own, and grandma was not one to and a way of saying things shortly or cause trouble by trying to interfere. She not talking at all. Still, she made Maralways set the table and washed most tin happy. Grandma was glad of that, of the dishes and dusted, did what she and Martin and his family were happy could.
in a quiet and, to grandma, almost a Until Grandma Martin was sixty- sour way. Grandma liked Ruth, with six, when she had come to live with her her little bubbles and giggles, and Jesson David, after her children grew up sie, with her sensible housewifeliness and married, grandma had lived with and her pleasant, understandable love of her daughter Jessie and Jessie's hus- gossip and discussion. There was band and their daughter Ruth. something austere about David's famGrandma had assisted at the birth of ily. But grandma had not had much Jessie's three children and at the fu- choice. There was only David to go to, nerals of two of them. Grandma loved or an old folks' home, and somehow an Jessie; but, then, she loved David, too. old folks' home shows that you are But Jessie was grandma's daughter; unwanted, that your children are failthat was a little different. Ruth was ures or ungrateful, unable to have you; grandma's favorite grandchild. She it was better at David's. had helped rear Ruth, bathed her and So twelve years ago grandma had
come to David Martin's and fitted into weak chin. Grandma found out on the his five-room apartment and his selfish walk home that he had a small, but and self-congratulatory, rather heavy dependable, mercantile position. It was family as best she could. David Martin not a splendid opportunity, but quite and his wife occupied one bedroom, and as good as Isabel might expect; better, there was no question of grandma hav- perhaps, than Isabel expected. Isabel ing that room. The other bedroom had shown no great longings for matribelonged inalienably to Isabel, the mony. Lacking personality, she lacked "young lady daughter” at sixteen, the need of attraction as well. twelve years ago. Ralph already occu- Grandma Martin did what she could pied the couch in the living-room; so to invest Isabel with charm. All the they had bought the davenport for way home she talked about her, pregrandma.
paring Walter for a favorable impresNow Isabel was married, and grandma sion. She flattered Walter in her oldwas to have Isabel's room. The family fashioned, gentle way. On arriving was agreed on that. Grandma had home, grandma went into the kitchen waited for the room long enough and and told Mary, her daughter-in-law, patiently enough, certainly.
At one who was preparing the meal, about the time, even, she had feared, as David guest she had brought home, what a and Mary had feared, that Isabel would nice woman Walter's mother was, and not marry at all. Isabel was not an Walter seemed a fine fellow, too. Some attractive young woman, certainly; she thing might come of it. Mary had hoped took after her mother's family. She was that Isabel would be popular, even marpale and thin to gauntness, with rather ried by now. While pretending great uneven and straight light hair, a nose indifference to grandma's hints, she too large, and high cheek-bones. She opened some of her own canned peaches, was quiet, and had a sharp, rather a special treat, and prepared a salad of coarse voice when she spoke; not the tinned fish. type young men like. And yet grandma Dinner at the Martins was usually of had known that if Isabel did not marry, the simplest. The family was the sort the dining-room davenport would re- that seldom had dinner guests. Grandmain permanently hers.
ma and Mary put the dishes on the Grandma had been the active match- table, and Martin served. Ralph, maker for Isabel. She had tried for a rather spoiled and petted and of a long time to find among the sons of her snarly and morose disposition, was acquaintance a marriageable young man always served first. Then came Isabel's who might consider Isabel a suitable portion, and then her mother's was ladled mate, but she had not succeeded. out. After that came grandma's plateGrandma recognized Isabel's limita- ful, and then David served himself. tions; but, too, she had seen far less David was not specially selfish about likely girls attain matrimony. Then food, but Mary was economical about one day when grandma was sewing for the quantities she prepared, and when charity at the Ladies' Aid she met not quite enough for two helpings reWalter Reynolds. He was a son of a mained at the end, grandma's portions member of the society.
suffered perhaps a trifle more than twenty-seven, then, and without suitors.
Martin's own. It was a rainy afternoon, and the streets When there was a dinner guest, the were slippery. When Mrs. Reynolds usual custom of serving was varied, suggested that her sor., who had called and there was usually a little more to for her, escort grandma home instead, eat. Instead of eating almost in silence, grandma accepted eagerly. When they broken only by a few complaints from reached the apartment, grandma urged Ralph, a whine from Isabel, a staccato Walter to stay to dinner, her family sentence or two from Mary, a few comwould be glad to have him. Walter ments on the weather or business—busiwas a round-faced, good-natured-look- ness was always dull—from Martin, ing fellow of thirty-two or so, with small the family tried to break out into a eyes, a wide, rather empty smile, and a general conversation, touching lightly
on topics of the day. The first night acquaintances. Each call had seemed to that Walter dined with the family, him important, an event. Each caller grandma tried with great eagerness to had been to him a distinct matrimonial create a spirit of gaiety quite at variance possibility. None of the callers had ever with the usual behavior of the family. returned for a second call. Her father It meant a lot to the whole family, to had lacked finesse and skill, or perher, this visit. Ralph was in a good haps Isabel had too definitely lacked humor; his foot-ball team had won a charm. Now, with the fat and slow game that afternoon. David, openly Walter, grandma found little difficulty. eager that Isabel marry, and seeing in She hinted of suitors whom Isabel had this stray caller, as he saw in every masculine who approached him, a chance for Isabel, became talkative. Grandma praised the canned peaches and told how Isabel, “the best little cook you ever saw," had put them up during the preceding summer. Grandma had peeled the peaches, and Isabel had assisted rather vaguely in the canning.
From the first Walter seemed fairly interested. After dinner Ralph put some records on the victrola, and Isabel, usually silent, expanded enough to add stray remarks to the conversation.
The next week grandma called on Walter's mother; it was quite all right, of course, as she lived only a few blocks away. Grandma found out that Walter had two brothers and that his mother "turned down." She told of her own did not object to his marrying. Walter popularity and girlhood, how much came home while grandma was there,- like her Isabel was, how girls of Isabel's grandma had strayed from her usual type develop into such splendid cooks custom of hurrying home early,-and and housekeepers and mothers. Walter, escorted grandma home again and a bit confused and perhaps fascinated stayed to dinner. Grandma and David by the net spread around him, continued flattered Walter, Ralph listened respect- to call. Finally the engagement was fully to his opinions, and Isabel's silence announced, and this was followed as made her seem just pleasantly shy. A quickly as possible by the wedding. week later grandma telephoned over to David was grateful to grandma. Mrs. Reynolds for an embroidery pat- Having an old maid daughter was distern that she thought Mrs. Reynolds pleasing to him, not the right thing; had, and Walter brought it over that it reflected on his success. Girls ought evening. Grandma prepared Isabel for to get married. He definitely acknowthe visit as well as she could. Isabel did ledged that grandma had found a husnot like advice from an old woman like band, a good husband, too, for his only grandma, but Isabel was a welcome daughter. That is, he acknowledged it to enough victim to matrimony if it re- grandma immediately after the engagequired neither charm nor exertion, ment, and promised grandma a new most of her friends had married during black-silk dress for the wedding, which the preceding years,—so she did her he kept his word about purchasing. If best to please Walter, giggling a bit Mary or Isabel felt grandma's help, they hysterically, but trying hard to be enter- did not mention it. Later the thought taining, now that the quarry seemed of grandma's assistance became a bit possible.
hazy even to him, and finally disapDavid himself was specially enthusi- peared altogether. astic over the affair. On previous occa- Now Isabel was married, and Isabel sions he had brought home business and Walter had gone to Atlantic City on a honeymoon. They were going to room, down the hall, and into Isabel's spend a whole week in Atlantic City, and room. then they were coming back to New The room was upset, full of discarded York and going to a hotel to stay until things, the shell of Isabel as a girl: the they found a suitable apartment. Now box and tissue-paper for the flowers; the that Isabel was married, she became dressing-gown that
dressing-gown that Isabel had been suddenly, vaguely unimportant to "wearing out," not good enough for grandma. Her room was different. marriage and Walter; Isabel's old slip
Grandma pretended interest in the pers; letters that had come that day, a conversation that was going on in the wedding present half in its box.
This room-she'd clear it out to-day, still warm as it was from Isabel,-was hers. Had not David, even Mary, said
so? Grandma was a trifle afraid of her Ralph
daughter-in-law, and yet sorry for her. It was hard on Mary, having an old woman, a mother-in-law, living with her all the time. Grandma knew that.
Grandma crept out of the room. She did not want them to find her there; they might laugh. Of course they did not exactly know how she felt about the room. And there was Ralph. Grandma had always been a little afraid. Ralph had not a room, either, and Ralph liked to have his own way, and now, of course, being the son of the family, he might think-Grandma decided to ask casually about it at dinner, when the guests
were gone, and find out definitely. living-room. Mr. and Mrs. Martin, Maybe she could start sleeping there Ralph, and a boy named Howard, right away, to-night. Ralph's best friend, Mr. and Mrs. The guests left with much laughter Fisher, friends of the Martins, and their and unpleasant, heavy jests about the daughter Eileen were discussing the young couple.
young couple. Mary went into the wedding. They had all just come back kitchen to prepare the meal, just a from the station, piled rather closely "pick-up," and told grandma not to into black-and-white taxi-cabs.
come in. "Set the table, Ma. No use “Did n't Isabel look sweet! I 've you standing around in here, with never seen her look better in my life. nothing to do." I 'm glad she got married in a blue Finally, dinner was on the table, and suit instead of in white."
the family seated. Four seemed few. “Did you notice Mrs. Roberts and There had been five, and six when Walthe three daughters in church? It 's ter came in, as he had done frequently about time one of those girls—’
in the last two months. It was nicer "Was n't Walter nervous? A fine
Six at table make a lot of fellow, Walter, a fine"
dishes to wash; one gets pretty tired. "Isabel said they'd write to-night or They spoke of the wedding: what the to-morrow, anyhow. I hope they have minister had said, agreed he'd spoken good weather in Atlantic City.”
very nicely and not too long; about the "She certainly made a sweet bride. trip and the weather staying nice. Isabel is"
Grandma took courage. She had to Grandma listened as long as she gulp a bit to make the words come. could. Then quietly, so as not to attract Then she said: attention,-but, then, grandma did most "I think, if you don't mind, now that things quietly; it made her feel less Isabel-don't you think that I might in the way,--she walked out of the havego intoIsabel's room?"