There must have been a good deal of sympathy between Dab and his mother; for by and by, just as she began to feel drowsy, and muttered, “Well, well, we’ll have a talk about it to-morrow,” Dab found himself nodding against the window-frame, and slowly rose from his chair, remarking,—
“Guess I might as well finish that dream in bed. If I’d tumbled out o’ the window I’d have lit among Miranda’s rose-bushes. They’ve got their thorns all out at this time o’ night.”
It was necessary for them both to sleep hard, after that; for more than half the night was gone, and they were to be up early. So indeed they were; but what surprised Mrs. Kinzer when she went into the kitchen was to find Miranda there before her.
“You here, my dear? That’s right. I’ll take a look at the milk-room. Where’s Ham?”
“Out among the stock. Dab’s just gone to him.”
Curious things people will do at times. Miranda had put down the coffee-pot on the range. There was not a single one of the farm “help” around, male or female; and there stood the blooming young bride, with her back toward her mother, and staring out through the open door. And then Mrs. Kinzer slipped forward, and put her arms around her daughter’s neck.
Well, it was very early in the morning for those two women to stand there and cry; but it seemed to do them good, and Miranda remarked at last, as she kissed her mother,—
“O mother, it is all so good and beautiful, and I’m so happy!”
And then they both laughed, in a subdued and quiet way; and Miranda picked up the coffee-pot while Mrs. Kinzer walked away into the milk-room. Such cream as there seemed to be on all the pans that morning!
As for Ham Morris, his first visit on leaving the house had been to the relics of the old barn, as a matter of course.
“Not much of a loss,” he said to himself; “but it might have been, but for Dab. There’s the making of a man in him. Wonder if he’d get enough to eat, if we sent him up yonder? On the whole, I think he would. If he didn’t, I don’t believe it would be his fault. He’s got to go; and his mother’ll agree to it, I know. Talk about mothers-in-law! If one of ’em’s worth as much as she is, I’d like to have a dozen. Don’t know ’bout that, though. I’m afraid the rest would have to take back seats as long as Mrs. Kinzer was in the house.”
Very likely Ham was right; but just then he heard the voice of Dab, behind him,—
“I say, Ham, when you’ve looked at the other things, I want to show you ‘The Swallow.’ I haven’t hurt her a bit, and her new grapnel’s worth three of the old one.”
“All right, Dab. I think I’d like a sniff of the water. Come on. There’s nothing else I know of like that smell of the shore with the tide half out.”
No more there is; and there have been sea-shore men, many of them, who had wandered away into the interior of the country, hundreds and hundreds of long miles, and settled there, and even got rich and old there, and yet who have come all the way back again, just to get another smell of the salt marshes and the sea-air and the out-going tide.