The girls looked at one another in blank amazement, over the idea of Mrs. Kinzer being any thing less than the mistress of any house she might happen to be in; but Dabney laid down his knife and fork, with—
“It’s all right, then. If Ham and Miranda are to settle it, I think I’ll take the room Sam has now. You needn’t take away your books, Sam: I may want to read some of them, or lend them to Annie. You and Kezi and Mele had better take that upper room back. The smell of the paint’s all gone now, and there’s three kinds of carpet on the floor.”
“Dabney!” exclaimed Samantha, reproachfully, and with an appealing look at her mother, who, however, said nothing on either side, and was a woman of too much good sense to take any other view of the matter than that she had announced.
Things were again all running on smoothly and pleasantly, before dinner was over; but Dab’s ideas of how the house should be divided were likely to result in some changes,—perhaps not precisely the ones he indicated, but such as would give him something better than a choice between the garret, the cellar, and the roof. At all events, only three days would now intervene before the arrival of the two travellers, and any thing in the way of further discussion of the room question was manifestly out of order.
Every thing required for the coming reception was pushed forward by Mrs. Kinzer with all the energy she could bring to bear; and Dab felt called upon to remark to Pamela,—
“Isn’t it wonderful, Mele, how many things she finds to do after every thing’s done?”
The widow had promised her son-in-law that his house should be “ready” for him, and it was likely to be a good deal more ready than either he or his wife had expected.
DABNEY KINZER TO THE RESCUE.
One of the most troublesome of the annoyances which come nowadays to dwellers in the country, within easy reach of any great city, is the bad kind of strolling beggar known as “the tramp.” He is of all sorts and sizes; and he goes everywhere, asking for any thing he wants, very much as if it belonged to him and he had come for his own—so long as he can do his asking of a woman or a sickly-looking man. There had been very few of these gentry seen in that vicinity, that summer, for a wonder; and those who had made their appearance had been reasonably well behaved. Probably because there had been so many healthy-looking men around, as a general thing. But it come to pass, on the very day in which Ham and Miranda were expected to arrive by the last of the evening trains, just as Dab Kinzer was turning away from the landing, where he had been for a look at “The Swallow” and to make sure she was all right for her owner’s eyes, that a very disreputable specimen of a worthless man stopped at Mrs. Kinzer’s to beg something to eat, and then sauntered away down the road. It was a little past the middle of the afternoon; and even so mean-looking, dirty a tramp as that had a perfect right to be walking along then and there. The sunshine, and the fresh salt air from the bay, were as much his as anybody’s, and so was the water in the bay; and no one in all that region of country stood more in need of plenty of water than he.