“I’ll consider it for a minute,” said Patty, “if that will do you any good, but not a bit longer; and as the minute is nearly up, I move we start.”
After consultation with various real estate agents, and after due consideration of the desirable houses they had to offer, Mr. Fairfield came to the conclusion that the Bigelow house, which Marian had suggested, was perhaps the most attractive of any.
And so, one afternoon, a party of very interested people went over to look at it.
The procession was headed by Patty and Marian, followed by Mr. Fairfield and Aunt Alice, while Frank and his father brought up the rear. But as they were going out of the Elliotts’ front gate, Laura Russell came flying across the street.
“Where are all you people going?” she cried. “I know you’re going to look at a house. Which one?”
“The Bigelow house,” said Marian, “and I’m almost sure Uncle Fred will decide to take it. Come on with us; we’re going all through it.”
“No,” said Laura, looking disappointed, “I don’t want to go; and I don’t want the Fairfields to live in that house anyway. If they would only look at that little cottage next-door to us, I know they’d like it ever so much better. Oh, please, Mr. Fairfield, won’t you come over and look at it now? It’s so pretty and cunning, and it has the loveliest garden and chicken-coop and everything.”
“I don’t want a chicken-coop,” said Patty, laughing; “I’ve no chickens, and I don’t want any.”
“Our chickens are over there most of the time,” said Laura.
“Then, of course, we ought to have a coop to keep our neighbours’ chickens in,” said Mr. Fairfield; “and if this cottage is as delightful as Miss Russell makes it out, I think it’s our duty at least to go and look at it. If the rest of you are willing, suppose we go over there first, and then if we should decide not to take it, we’ll have time to investigate the Bigelow afterward”
Marian looked so woe-begone that Patty laughed.
“Cheer up, girl,” she said; “there isn’t one chance in a million of our taking that doll’s house, but Laura will never give us a minute’s peace until we go and look at it; so we may as well go now, and get it over.”
“All right,” said Marian; and Patty, with her two girl friends on either side of her, started in the direction of the cottage.
But when they reached it, Mr. Fairfield exclaimed in amazement. “That little house?” he said. “Oh, I see; that’s the chicken-coop you spoke of. Well, where is the house?”
“This is the house,” said Laura; “but, somehow, it does look smaller than usual; still, it’s a great deal bigger inside.”
“No doubt,” said Frank. “I’ve often noticed that the inside of a house is much larger than the outside. Of course, we can’t all go in at once, but I’m willing to wait my turn. Who will go first?”