“She’s putting Dick away in back somewhere,” said Frank. “We must look and see what she’s done for him.”
The main building of that house was only big enough for a “hall,” a good-sized parlor opening into it on the right, a bedroom and large closet back of that, and two rooms overhead; but the kitchen and milk-room back, which must have been stuck on at a later day, had only one wide, low garret of a room in the space under the roof. It was lighted by a dormer window, and it did not contain any stove. The floor was bare, except in the spot covered by an old rug before the little narrow bed; but there was a table and a chair, by standing on either of which Dick would be able to put his hand upon the unceiled rafters and boards of the roof. On the whole, it was a room well calculated to be as hot as possible in summer, and as cold as possible in winter, but that would do very well in spring and autumn. At all events, it was “as good as he had been used to at home.” Mrs. Myers herself said that to Almira; and the answer was,—
“Guess it is, and better too.”
Dick never dreamed of making any criticisms. In fact, his young brains were in a whirl of excitement, through the dust of which every thing in and about Grantley took on a wonderfully rosy color.
“Dis room?” he said to his inquiring friends when they looked in on him. “How does I like dis room? It’s de bes’ room in de house. I shall—study—hard—in—this—room.”
“Bully for you,” said Ford; “but you mustn’t forget there’s a stove in our room, when cold weather comes. Got your books out?”
“Here they are. I will pile them upon the table.”
“Stick to it, Dick,” said Ford. “But it’s about time we set out for Dr. Brandegee’s.—Dab, hadn’t we better kindle a fire before we go? It makes me feel chilly to think of it.”
“We’ll all be warm enough before he gets through with us,” said Dab. “But the sooner we get there, the better. Maybe there are other boys, and we must go in first.”
“Come on, Dick.”
Not one of them seemed to be in a hurry, in spite of Dab’s prudent suggestion; and at the bottom of the stairs they were met by Mrs. Myers.
“Going for your examination? That’s right. Dinner’ll be ready at half-past twelve. When, school’s opened, it will be a few minutes earlier, so you’ll have plenty of time to eat and get back. Dick, as soon as your examination’s over, I want you to come right back here, so I can finish making my arrangement with you.”
“Yes, ma’am. I will return at once.”
“You said that tip-top,” said Dab, the moment they were on the sidewalk; “but I can’t guess what she means. Ham Morris made all the bargain for you when he settled for me. S’pose it’s all right, though.”
“Course it is. I’s got to work out half my board a-doin’ chores. Jes’ wot I’s been used to all my life.”
Frank Harley had seen a great many people, considering how young he was; and he had done less talking than the rest, that morning, and more “studying” of his landlady and her daughter. The results of it came out now.