Will Rheid was a manly young fellow, just six feet one, with a fine, frank face, a big, explosive voice, and a half-bashful, half-bold manner that savored of land and sea. He was as fresh and frolicsome as a sea breeze itself, as shrewd as his father, and as simple as Linnet.
But—Miss Prudence came back from her dreaming over the past,—would Linnet go home with her and go to school? Perhaps John Holmes would take Marjorie under his special tutelage for awhile, until she might come to her, and—how queer it was for her to be planning about other people’s homes—why might he not take up his abode with the Wests, pay good board, and not that meagre two dollars a week, take Linnet’s seat at the table, become a pleasant companion for Mr. West through the winter, and, above all, fit Marjorie for college? And did not he need the social life? He was left too much to his own devices at old Mrs. Devoe’s. Marjorie, her father with his ready talk, her mother, with a face that held remembrance of all the happy events of her life, would certainly be a pleasant exchange for Mrs. Devoe, and Dolly, her aged cat. She would go home to her own snuggery, with Linnet to share it, with a relieved mind if John Holmes might be taken into a family. And it was Linnet, after all, who was to make the changes and she had only been thinking of Marjorie.
When Linnet came to her to kiss her good night, Miss Prudence looked down into her smiling eyes and quoted:
“‘Keep happy, sweetheart, and grow wise.’”
The low murmur of voices reached Miss Prudence in her chamber long after midnight, she smiled as she thought of Giant Despair and his wife Diffidence. And then she prayed for the wanderer over the seas, that he might go to his Father, as the prodigal did, and that, if it were not wrong or selfish to wish it, she might hear from him once more before she died.
And then the voices were quiet and the whole house was still.
“Even trouble may be made a little sweet”—Mrs. Platt.
“Here she is, grandmarm!” called out the Captain. “Run right in, Midget.”
His wife was marm and his mother grandmarm.
Marjorie ran in at the kitchen door and greeted the two occupants of the roomy kitchen. Captain Rheid had planned his house and was determined he said that the “women folks” should have room enough to move around in and be comfortable; he believed in having the “galley” as good a place to live in as the “cabin.”
It was a handsome kitchen, with several windows, a fine stove, a well-arranged sink, a large cupboard, a long white pine table, three broad shelves displaying rows of shining tinware, a high mantel with three brass candlesticks at one end, and a small stone jar of fall flowers at the other, the yellow floor of narrow boards was glowing with its Saturday afternoon mopping, and the general air of freshness and cleanliness was as refreshing as the breath of the sea, or the odor of the fields.