"Draft?" she said lifting her chin, "there is no draft here."
She asked Claude where he lived, how much land his father owned, what crops they raised, and about their poultry and dairy. When she was a child she had lived on a farm in Bavaria, and she seemed to know a good deal about farming and live-stock. She was disapproving when Claude told her they rented half their land to other farmers. "If I were a young man, I would begin to acquire land, and I would not stop until I had a whole county," she declared. She said that when she met new people, she liked to find out the way they made their living; her own way was a hard one.
Later in the evening Madame Schroeder-Schatz graciously consented to sing for her cousins. When she sat down to the piano, she beckoned Claude and asked him to turn for her. He shook his head, smiling ruefully.
"I'm sorry I'm so stupid, but I don't know one note from another."
She tapped his sleeve. "Well, never mind. I may want the piano moved yet; you could do that for me, eh?"
When Madame Schroeder-Schatz was in Mrs. Erlich's bedroom, powdering her nose before she put on her wraps, she remarked, "What a pity, Augusta, that you have not a daughter now, to marry to Claude Melnotte. He would make you a perfect son-in-law."
"Ah, if I only had!" sighed Mrs. Erlich.
"Or," continued Madame Schroeder-Schatz, energetically pulling on her large carriage shoes, "if you were but a few years younger, it might not yet be too late. Oh, don't be a fool, Augusta! Such things have happened, and will happen again. However, better a widow than to be tied to a sick man--like a stone about my neck! What a husband to go home to! and I a woman in full vigour. Jas ist ein Kreuz ich trage!" She smote her bosom, on the left side.