“It is true, she was a waitress,” Granser acknowledged. “But she was a good woman, and your mother was her daughter. Women were very scarce in the days after the Plague. She was the only wife I could find, even if she was a hash-slinger, as your father calls it. But it is not nice to talk about our progenitors that way.” Dad says that the wife of the first Chauffeur was a lady What’s a lady?” Hoo-Hoo demanded. A lady ‘s a Chauffeur squaw,” was the quick reply of Hare-Lip. The first Chauffeur was Bill, a common fellow, as I said before,” the old man expounded; “but his wife was a lady, a great lady. Before the Scarlet Death she was the wife of Van Worden. He was President of the Board of Industrial Magnates, and was one of the dozen men who ruled America. He was worth one billion, eight hundred millions of dollars—coins like you have there in your pouch, Edwin. And then came the Scarlet Death, and his wife became the wife of Bill, the first Chauffeur. He used to beat her, too. I have seen it myself.”
Hoo-Hoo, lying on his stomach and idly digging his toes in the sand, cried out and investigated, first, his toe-nail, and next, the small hole he had dug. The other two boys joined him, excavating the sand rapidly with their hands till there lay three skeletons exposed. Two were of adults, the third being that of a part-grown child. The old man hudged along on the ground and peered at the find.
“Plague victims,” he announced. “That’s the way they died everywhere in the last days. This must have been a family, running away from the contagion and perishing here on the Cliff House beach. They—what are you doing, Edwin? This question was asked in sudden dismay, as Edwin, using the back of his hunting knife, began to knock out the teeth from the jaws of one of the skulls. Going to string ’em,” was the response. The three boys were now hard at it; and quite a knocking and hammering arose, in which Granser babbled on unnoticed.