“Why did you bring them in so late, Mrs. Tabeshaw?” she asked.

“Too much fun Fourth of July,” the Indian woman laughed.

“How’s Billy?” Suzy asked.

“I don’t know, Suzy. I no see him four weeks now.”

“Why don’t you take them down to the hotel and try and sell them to the resorters?” Suzy said.

“Maybe,” Mrs. Tabeshaw said. “I took once.”

“You ought to take them every day.”

“Long walk,” Mrs. Tabeshaw said.

While Suzy was talking to the people she knew and making a list of what she needed for the house the two wardens were in the back of the store with Mr. John Packard.

Mr. John had gray-blue eyes and dark hair and a dark mustache and he always looked as though he had wan­dered into a general store by accident. He had been away from northern Michigan once for eighteen years when he was a young man and he looked more like a peace officer or an honest gambler than a storekeeper. He had owned good saloons in his time and run them well. But when the country had been lumbered off he had stayed and bought farming land. Finally when the county had gone local option he had bought this store. He already owned the hotel. But he said he didn’t like a hotel without a bar and so he almost never went near it. Mrs. Packard ran the hotel. She was more ambitious than Mr. John and Mr. John said he didn’t want to waste time with people who had enough money to take a vacation anywhere in the country they wanted and then came to a hotel without a bar and spent their time sitting on the porch in rocking chairs. He called the resorters “change-of-lifers” and he made fun of them to Mrs. Packard but she loved him and never minded when he teased her.

“I don’t mind if you call them change-of-lifers,” she told him one night in bed. “I had the damn thing but I’m still all the woman you can handle, aren’t I?”

She liked the resorters because some of them brought culture and Mr. John said she loved culture like a lum­berjack loved Peerless, the great chewing tobacco. He really respected her love of culture because she said she loved it just like he loved good bonded whiskey and she said, “Packard, you don’t have to care about culture. I won’t bother you with it. But it makes me feel wonderful.”

Mr. John said she could have culture until hell wouldn’t hold it just so long as he never had to go to a Chautauqua or a Self-Betterment Course. He had been to camp meetings and a revival but he had never been to a Chautauqua. He said a camp meeting or a revival was bad enough but at least there was some sexual inter­course afterward by those who got really aroused al­though he never knew anyone to pay their bills after a camp meeting or a revival. Mrs. Packard, he told Nick Adams, would get worried about the salvation of his immortal soul after she had been to a big revival by somebody like Gypsy Smith, that great evangelist, but finally it would turn out that he, Packard, looked like Gypsy Smith and everything would be fine finally. But a Chautauqua was something strange. Culture maybe was better than religion, Mr. John thought. But it was a cold proposition. Still they were crazy for it. He could see it was more than a fad, though.

“It’s sure got a hold on them,” he had told Nick Adams. “It must be sort of like the Holy Rollers only in the brain. You study it sometime and tell me what you think. You going to be a writer you ought to get in on it early. Don’t let them get too far ahead of you.”

Mr. John liked Nick Adams because he said he had original sin. Nick did not understand this but he was proud.

“You’re going to have things to repent, boy,” Mr. John had told Nick. “That’s one of the best things there is. You can always decide whether to repent them or not. But the thing is to have them.”

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Categories: Hemingway, Ernest