The Place of Honeymoons (Chapter 5, page 1 of 15)

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Chapter 5

At the age of twenty-six Donald Abbott had become a prosperous and
distinguished painter in water-colors. His work was individual, and at the
same time it was delicate and charming. One saw his Italian landscapes as
through a filmy gauze: the almond blossoms of Sicily, the rose-laden walls
of Florence, the vineyards of Chianti, the poppy-glowing Campagna out of
Rome. His Italian lakes had brought him fame. He knew very little of the
grind and hunger that attended the careers of his whilom associates. His
father had left him some valuable patents--wash-tubs, carpet-cleaners, and
other labor-saving devices--and the royalties from these were quite
sufficient to keep him pleasantly housed. When he referred to his father
(of whom he had been very fond) it was as an inventor. Of what, he rarely
told. In America it was all right; but over here, where these inventions
were unknown, a wash-tub had a peculiar significance: that a man should be
found in his money through its services left persons in doubt as to his
genealogical tree, which, as a matter of fact, was a very good one. As a
boy his schoolmates had dubbed him "The Sweep" and "Suds," and it was only
human that he should wish to forget.

His earnings (not inconsiderable, for tourists found much to admire in
both the pictures and the artist) he spent in gratifying his mild
extravagances. So there were no lines in his handsome, boyish, beardless
face; and his eyes were unusually clear and happy. Perhaps once or twice,
since his majority, he had returned to America to prove that he was not an
expatriate, though certainly he was one, the only tie existing between him
and his native land being the bankers who regularly honored his drafts.
And who shall condemn him for preferring Italy to the desolate center of
New York state, where good servants and good weather are as rare as are
flawless emeralds?

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