It isn't so with us. Angelo books himself for the one table, I book myself for the other. Neither of us eats anything at the other's table, but just simply works--works. Thus, you see there are four hands to feed Angelo, and the same four to feed me. Each of us eats two meals."
The old lady was dazed with admiration, and kept saying, "It is perfectly wonderful, perfectly wonderful" and the boy Joe licked his chops enviously, but said nothing--at least aloud.
"Yes," continued Luigi, "our construction may have its disadvantages--in fact, has but it also has its compensations of one sort and another. Take travel, for instance. Travel is enormously expensive, in all countries; we have been obliged to do a vast deal of it--come, Angelo, don't put any more sugar in your tea, I'm just over one indigestion and don't want another right away--been obliged to do a deal of it, as I was saying. Well, we always travel as one person, since we occupy but one seat; so we save half the fare."
"How romantic!" interjected Rowena, with effusion.
"Yes, my dear young lady, and how practical too, and economical. In Europe, beds in the hotels are not charged with the board, but separately--another saving, for we stood to our rights and paid for the one bed only. The landlords often insisted that as both of us occupied the bed we ought--"
"No, they didn't," said Angelo. "They did it only twice, and in both cases it was a double bed--a rare thing in Europe--and the double bed gave them some excuse. Be fair to the landlords; twice doesn't constitute 'often.'"
"Well, that depends--that depends. I knew a man who fell down a well twice. He said he didn't mind the first time, but he thought the second time was once too often. Have I misused that word, Mrs. Cooper?"
"To tell the truth, I was afraid you had, but it seems to look, now, like you hadn't." She stopped, and was evidently struggling with the difficult problem a moment, then she added in the tone of one who is convinced without being converted, "It seems so, but I can't somehow tell why."
Rowena thought Luigi's retort was wonderfully quick and bright, and she remarked to herself with satisfaction that there wasn't any young native of Dawson's Landing that could have risen to the occasion like that. Luigi detected the applause in her face, and expressed his pleasure and his thanks with his eyes; and so eloquently withal, that the girl was proud and pleased, and hung out the delicate sign of it on her cheeks. Luigi went on, with animation:
"Both of us get a bath for one ticket, theater seat for one ticket, pew-rent is on the same basis, but at peep-shows we pay double."
"We have much to' be thankful for," said Angelo, impressively, with a reverent light in his eye and a reminiscent tone in his voice, "we have been greatly blessed. As a rule, what one of us has lacked, the other, by the bounty of Providence, has been able to supply. My brother is hardy, I am not; he is very masculine, assertive, aggressive; I am much less so. I am subject to illness, he is never ill. I cannot abide medicines, and cannot take them, but he has no prejudice against them, and--"
"Why, goodness gracious," interrupted the widow, "when you are sick, does he take the medicine for you?"
"Why, I never heard such a thing in my life! I think it's beautiful of you."
"Oh, madam, it's nothing, don't mention it, it's really nothing at all."
"But I say it's beautiful, and I stick to it!" cried the widow, with a speaking moisture in her eye.
"A well brother to take the medicine for his poor sick brother--I wish I had such a son," and she glanced reproachfully at her boys. "I declare I'll never rest till I've shook you by the hand," and she scrambled out of her chair in a fever of generous enthusiasm, and made for the twins, blind with her tears, and began to shake. The boy Joe corrected her: "You're shaking the wrong one, ma."
This flurried her, but she made a swift change and went on shaking.
"Got the wrong one again, ma," said the boy.