PART II. Neighboring Fields
10. CHAPTER X (continued)
Lou looked at the carpet. "Oh, now, Alexandra, you always took
it pretty easy! Of course we wanted you to. You liked to manage
round, and we always humored you. We realize you were a great
deal of help to us. There's no woman anywhere around that knows
as much about business as you do, and we've always been proud of
that, and thought you were pretty smart. But, of course, the real
work always fell on us. Good advice is all right, but it don't
get the weeds out of the corn."
"Maybe not, but it sometimes puts in the crop, and it sometimes
keeps the fields for corn to grow in," said Alexandra dryly. "Why,
Lou, I can remember when you and Oscar wanted to sell this homestead
and all the improvements to old preacher Ericson for two thousand
dollars. If I'd consented, you'd have gone down to the river and
scraped along on poor farms for the rest of your lives. When I put
in our first field of alfalfa you both opposed me, just because I
first heard about it from a young man who had been to the University.
You said I was being taken in then, and all the neighbors said
so. You know as well as I do that alfalfa has been the salvation
of this country. You all laughed at me when I said our land here
was about ready for wheat, and I had to raise three big wheat crops
before the neighbors quit putting all their land in corn. Why, I
remember you cried, Lou, when we put in the first big wheat-planting,
and said everybody was laughing at us."
Lou turned to Oscar. "That's the woman of it; if she tells you to
put in a crop, she thinks she's put it in. It makes women conceited
to meddle in business. I shouldn't think you'd want to remind us
how hard you were on us, Alexandra, after the way you baby Emil."
"Hard on you? I never meant to be hard. Conditions were hard.
Maybe I would never have been very soft, anyhow; but I certainly
didn't choose to be the kind of girl I was. If you take even a
vine and cut it back again and again, it grows hard, like a tree."