“It’s an easy house,” he confided. “You’d think it would be hard, but the floor’s different all over—bumpy, and as soon as I find out which bump means what, I’ll know how to go all over the place. I dare say it’s the same out here.”
Felicia was not so sure. It seemed a trackless waste of blown grass for one to navigate in the dark. It was always a mystery to her how Kirk found his way through the mazy confusion of unseen surroundings. Now, on unfamiliar ground, he was unsure of himself, but in a place he knew, it was seldom that he asked or accepted guidance. The house was not forbidding, Felicia decided—only tired, and very shabby. The burdocks at the door-step could be easily disposed of. It was a wide stone door-step, as she had hoped and from it, though there was not much view of the bay, there were nice things to be seen. Before it, the orchard dropped away at one side, leaving a wide vista of brown meadows, sown with more of the pointy trees and grayed here and there by rocks; beyond that, a silver slip of water, and the far shore blue, blue in the distance. To the right of the house the land rolled away over another dun meadow that stopped at a rather civilized-looking hedge, above which rose a dense tumble of high trees. To the left lay the over-grown dooryard, the old lichened stone wall, and the sagging gate which opened to Winterbottom Road. Felicia tried to describe it all to Kirk, and wondered as she gazed at him, standing beside her with the eager, listening look his face so often wore, how much of it could mean anything to him but an incomprehensible string of words.
Ken returned from Asquam in Hop’s chariot, surrounded by bundles.
“Luxury!” he proclaimed, when the spoils were unloaded. “An oil-stove, two burners—and food, and beautiful plates with posies on ’em—and tin spoons! And I met Mrs. Hopkins and she almost fainted when I told her we’d slept on the floor. She wanted us to come to her house, but it’s the size of a butter-box, and stuffy; so she insisted on sending three quilts. Behold! And the oil-stove was cheap because one of the doors was broken (which I can fix). So there you are!”
“No sign of the goods, I suppose?”
“Our goods? Law, no! Old Mr. Thingummy put on his spectacles and peered around as if he expected to find them behind the door!”
“Oh, my only aunt! They are wonderful plates!” Felicia cried, as she extracted one from its wrapper.
“That’s my idea of high art,” Ken said, “I got them at the Asquam Utility Emporium. And have you remarked the chairs? Mrs. Hopkins sent those, too. They were in her corn-crib,—on the rafters,—and she said if we didn’t see convenient to bring ’em back, never mind, ’cause she was plumb tired of clutterin’ ’em round from here to thar.”
“Mrs. Hopkins seems to be an angel unawares,” said Felicia, with enthusiastic misapplication.
It was the finding of the ancient sickle near the well that gave Ken the bright idea of cutting down the tall, dry grass for bedding.