“She’s only sixteen!” objected Mrs. Carey.
“But she’s a natural born genius! You wait and see the things she does!”
“Perhaps I could take her into town and get some suggestions or some instruction, with the proper materials,” said Mrs. Carey, “and I suppose she could experiment on some small space behind the door, first?”
“Nothing that Olive does would ever be put behind anybody’s door,” Nancy answered decisively. “I’m not old enough to know anything about painting, of course (except that good landscapes ought not to be reversible like our Van Twiller), but there’s something about Olive’s pictures that makes you want to touch them and love them!”
So began the happiest, most wonderful, most fruitful autumn of Olive Lord’s life, when she spent morning after morning in the painted chamber, refreshing its faded tints. Whoever had done the original work had done it lovingly and well, and Olive learned many a lesson while she was following the lines of the quaint houses, like those on old china, renewing the green of the feathery elms, or retracing and coloring the curious sampler trees that stood straight and stiff like sentinels in the corners of the room.
A FAMILY RHOMBOID
The Honorable Lemuel Hamilton sat in the private office of the American Consulate in Breslau, Germany, one warm day in July. The post had been brought in half an hour before, and he had two open letters on the desk in front of him. It was only ten o’clock of a bright morning, but he looked tired and worn. He was about fifty, with slightly grey hair and smoothly shaven face. He must have been merry at one time in his life, for there were many nice little laughing-wrinkles around his eyes, but somehow these seemed to have faded out, as if they had not been used for years, and the corners of his mouth turned down to increase the look of weariness and discontent.
A smile had crept over his face at his old friend Bill Harmon’s spelling and penmanship, for a missive of that kind seldom came to the American Consulate. When the second letter postmarked Beulah first struck his eye, he could not imagine why he should have another correspondent in the quaintly named little village. He had read Nancy’s letter twice now, and still he sat smoking and dreaming with an occasional glance at the girlish handwriting, or a twinkle of the eye at the re-reading of some particular passage. His own girls were not ready writers, and their mother generally sent their messages for them. Nancy and Kitty did not yet write nearly as well as they talked, but they contrived to express something of their own individuality in their communications, which were free and fluent, though childlike and crude.