And it seemed to Rudolph Musgrave that Patricia was tired of pacing before the row of houses, each so like the other, and compared herself to Gulliver astray upon a Brobdingnagian bookshelf which held a “library set” of some huge author. She had lost interest, too, in the new house upon the other side.
“If things were different I would have to call on them. But as it is, I am spared that bother at least,” said Patricia, just as if being dead did not change people at all.
Then a colored woman, trim and frillily-capped, came out of the watched house. She bore some eight or nine letters in one hand, and fanned herself with them in a leisurely flat-footed progress to the mailbox at the lower corner.
“She looks capable,” was Patricia’s grudging commentary, in slipping through the doorway into the twilight of the hall. “But it isn’t safe to leave the front-door open like this. One never knows—No, I can tell by the look of her she’s the sort that can’t be induced to sleep on the lot, and takes mysterious bundles home at night.”
And it seemed to Rudolph Musgrave, now in the full flow of this droll dream, that Patricia resentfully noted her front-hall had been “meddled with.” This much alone might Patricia observe in a swift transit to the parlor.
She waited there until the maid returned; and registered to the woman’s credit the discreet soft closing of the front-door and afterward the well-nigh inaudible swish of the rear door of the dining-room as the maid went back into the kitchen.
“In any event,” Patricia largely conceded, “she probably doesn’t clash the knives and forks in the pantry after supper, like she was hostile armaments with any number of cutlasses apiece. I remember Rudolph simply couldn’t stand it when we had Ethel.”
So much was satisfactory. Only—her parlor was so altered!
There was—to give you just her instantaneous first impression—so little in it. Broad spaces of plain color showed everywhere; and Patricia’s ideal of what a parlor should be, as befitted the chatelaine of a fine home in Lichfield, had always been the tangled elegancies of the front show-window of a Woman’s Exchange for Fancy Work. The room had even been repapered—odiously, as she considered; and the shiny floor of it boasted just three inefficient rugs, like dingy rafts upon a sea of very strong coffee.
Patricia looked in vain for her grandiose plush-covered chairs, her immaculate “tidies,” and the proud yellow lambrequin, embroidered in high relief with white gardenias, which had formerly adorned the mantelpiece. The heart of her hungered for her unforgotten and unforgettable “watered-silk” papering wherein white roses bloomed exuberantly against a yellow background—which deplorably faded if you did not keep the window-shades down, she remembered—and she wanted back her white thick comfortable carpet which hid the floor completely, so that everywhere you trod upon the buxomest of stalwart yellow roses, each bunch of which was lavishly tied with wind-blown ribbons.