“Very well, you may stay outside,” said Laura. “I think the rest of us can all squeeze in at once, if we try.”
But Frank followed the rest of the party, and, passing through the narrow hall, they entered the tiny parlour.
“I never was in such a crowded room,” said Marian. “I can scarcely get my breath. I had no idea there were so many of us.”
“Well, you’re not going to live here,” said Laura. “There’s room enough for just Patty and her father.”
“There is, if we each take a room to ourself,” said Mr. Fairfield. “You may have this parlour, my daughter, and I’ll take the library. Where is the library, Miss Russell?”
“I think it has just stepped out,” said Frank; “at any rate, it isn’t on this floor; there’s only this room, and the dining-room, and a kitchen cupboard.”
“Very likely the library is on the third floor,” said Marian; “that would be convenient.”
“There isn’t any third floor,” explained Laura. “This is what they call a story-and-a-half house.”
“It would have to be expanded into a serial story, then, before it would do for us,” said Mr. Fairfield. “We may not be such big people, but Patty and I have a pretty large estimate of ourselves, and I am sure we never could live in such a short-story-and-a-half as this seems to be.”
“Indeed, we couldn’t, papa,” said Patty. “Just look at this dining-room. I’m sure it’s only big enough for one. We would have to have our meals alternately; you could have breakfast, and I would have dinner one day, and the next day we’d reverse the order.”
“Come, look at the kitchen, Patty,” called out Frank; “or at least stick your head in; there isn’t room for all of you. See the stationary tubs. Two of them, you see; each just the size of a good comfortable coffee-cup.”
“Just exactly,” said Patty, laughing; “why, I never saw such a house. Laura Russell, what were you thinking of?”
“Oh, of course, you could add to it,” said Laura. “You could build on as many more rooms as you wanted, and you could run it up another story and a half, and that would make three stories; and I do want you to live near me.”
“We’re sorry not to live near you, Miss Laura,” said Mr. Fairfield; “but I can’t see my way clear to do it unless you would move into this bandbox, and let us have your roomy and comfortable mansion next door.”
“Oh, there wouldn’t be room for our family here,” said Laura.
“But you could build on a whole lot of rooms,” said Frank, “and add enough stories to make it a sky-scraper; and put in an elevator, and it would be perfectly lovely.”
Laura laughed with the rest, and then, at Mrs. Elliott’s suggestion, they all started back to the Bigelow house.
“Now, this is something like,” said Marian, as they went in at the gate and up the broad front walk.
“Like what?” said Frank.
“Like a home for the Fairfields. What shall you call it—Fairfield Hall, Fairfield Place, or what?”