She had read the letter to the family, and Rowena had danced away to see to the cleaning and airing of the room by the slave woman, Nancy, and the boys had rushed abroad in the town to spread the great news, for it was a matter of public interest, and the public would wonder and not be pleased if not informed. Presently Rowena returned, all ablush with joyous excitement, and begged for a rereading of the letter. It was framed thus:
HONORED MADAM: My brother and I have seen your advertisement, by chance, and beg leave to take the room you offer. We are twenty-four years of age and twins. We are Italians by birth, but have lived long in the various countries of Europe, and several years in the United States. Our names are Luigi and Angelo Capello. You desire but one guest; but, dear madam, if you will allow us to pay for two, we will not incommode you. We shall be down Thursday.
"Italians! How romantic! Just think, Ma--there's never been one in this town, and everybody will be dying to see them, and they're all OURS! Think of that!"
"Yes, I reckon they'll make a grand stir."
"Oh, indeed they will. The whole town will be on its head! Think--they've been in Europe and everywhere! There's never been a traveler in this town before, Ma, I shouldn't wonder if they've seen kings!"
"Well, a body can't tell, but they'll make stir enough, without that."
"Yes, that's of course. Luigi--Angelo. They're lovely names; and so grand and foreign--not like Jones and Robinson and such. Thursday they are coming, and this is only Tuesday; it's a cruel long time to wait. Here comes Judge Driscoll in at the gate. He's heard about it. I'll go and open the door."
The judge was full of congratulations and curiosity. The letter was read and discussed. Soon Justice Robinson arrived with more congratulations, and there was a new reading and a new discussion. This was the beginning. Neighbor after neighbor, of both sexes, followed, and the procession drifted in and out all day and evening and all Wednesday and Thursday. The letter was read and reread until it was nearly worn out; everybody admired its courtly and gracious tone, and smooth and practiced style, everybody was sympathetic and excited, and the Coopers were steeped in happiness all the while.
The boats were very uncertain in low water in these primitive times. This time the Thursday boat had not arrived at ten at night-- so the people had waited at the landing all day for nothing; they were driven to their homes by a heavy storm without having had a view of the illustrious foreigners.
Eleven o'clock came; and the Cooper house was the only one in the town that still had lights burning. The rain and thunder were booming yet, and the anxious family were still waiting, still hoping. At last there was a knock at the door, and the family jumped to open it. Two Negro men entered, each carrying a trunk, and proceeded upstairs toward the guest room. Then entered the twins--the handsomest, the best dressed, the most distinguished-looking pair of young fellows the West had ever seen. One was a little fairer than the other, but otherwise they were exact duplicates.
Swimming in Glory
Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
--Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs at step at a time.
--Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
At breakfast in the morning, the twins' charm of manner and easy and polished bearing made speedy conquest of the family's good graces. All constraint and formality quickly disappeared, and the friendliest feeling succeeded. Aunt Patsy called them by their Christian names almost from the beginning. She was full of the keenest curiosity about them, and showed it; they responded by talking about themselves, which pleased her greatly. It presently appeared that in their early youth they had known poverty and hardship.