“You needn’t worry a scrap,” laughed Felicia, quite convincingly, at the taxi door. “We’ve seen Mr. Dodge, and there’ll be money enough. You just get well as quick as ever you can.”
“Good-by, my darlings,” faltered poor Mrs. Sturgis, quite ready to collapse again. “Good-by, Kirk—my precious, precious baby! How can I!”
And the taxicab moved away, giving them just one glimpse of their mother with her poor head on Miss McClough’s capable shoulder.
“Well,” Ken remarked, “here we are.”
And there was really nothing more to be said on the subject.
Such a strange house! Maggie and Norah gone; Felicia cooking queer meals—principally poached eggs—in the kitchen; Miss Bolton failing to appear every morning at ten o’clock as she had done for the last three years; Mother gone, and not even a letter from her—nothing but a type-written report from the physician at Hilltop.
Gone also, as Kirk discovered, was the lowboy beside the library door. It was a most satisfactory piece of furniture. From its left-hand corner you could make a direct line to the window-seat. It also had smoothly graceful brass handles, and a surface delicious to the touch. When Kirk, stumbling in at the library door, failed to encounter it as usual, he was as much startled as though he had found a serpent in its stead. He tried for it several times, and when his hands came against the bookshelves he stopped dead, very much puzzled and quite lost. Felicia found him there, standing still and patiently waiting for the low-boy to materialize in its accustomed place.
“Where is it!” he asked her.
“It’s not there, honey,” she said. “We’re going to a different house, and it’s sent away.”
“A different house! When? What do you mean?”
“We’ve finished renting this one,” said Felicia. “We thought it would be nice to go to another one—in the country. Oh, you’ll like it.”
“How queer!” Kirk mused. “Perhaps I shall. But I don’t know about this corner; it used to be covered up. Please start me right.”
She did so, and then ran off to attend to a peculiar pudding which was boiling over on the stove. She had not told him that the low-boy was sent away to be sold. When she and Ken had discovered the appalling sum it would cost to move the furniture anywhere, they heartbrokenly concluded that the low-boy and various other old friends must go to help settle the accounts of Miss Bolton and the nurse.
“There are some things,” Ken stoutly pronounced, however, “that we’ll take with us, if I have to go digging ditches to support ’em. And some we’ll leave with Mr. Dodge—I know he won’t mind a few nice tables and things.”
For the “different house” was actually engaged. Mr. Dodge shook his head when he heard that Ken had paid the first quarter’s rent without having even seen the place.
“Fine old farm-house,” said the advertisement; “Peach and apple orchards. Ten acres of land. Near the bay. Easy reach of city. Only $15.00 per month.”