And slowly, slowly, all the wheels did begin to turn together. Some of the freight came,—notably the beds,—after a week of waiting. Ken and Hop carried them upstairs and set them up, with much toil. Ken chopped down two dead apple-trees, and filled the shed with substantial fuel. The Asquam Market would deliver out Winterbottom Road after May first. Trunks came, with old clothes, and Braille books and other books—and things that Felicia had not been able to leave behind at the last moment. Eventually, came a table, and the Sturgises set their posied plates upon it, and lighted their two candles stuck in saucers, and proclaimed themselves ready to entertain.
“And,” thought Felicia, pausing at the kitchen door, “what a difference it does make!”
Firelight and candle-light wrought together their gracious spell on the old room. The tin spoons gleamed like silver, the big brown crash towel that Ken had jokingly laid across the table looked quite like a runner. The light ran and glowed on the white-plastered ceiling and the heavy beams; it flung a mellow aureole about Kirk, who was very carefully arranging three tumblers on the table.
The two candle-flames swayed suddenly and straightened, as Ken opened the outer door and came in.
He too, paused, looking at the little oasis in the dark, silent house.
“We’re beginning,” he said, “to make friends with the glum old place.”
There was much to be done. The rusty nails were pulled out, and others substituted in places where things could really be hung on them—notably in the kitchen, where they supported Felicia’s pots and pans in neatly ordered rows. The burdocks disappeared, the shutters were persuaded not to squeak, the few pieces of furniture from home were settled in places where they would look largest. Yes, the house began to be friendly. The rooms were not, after all, so enormous as Felicia had thought. The furniture made them look much smaller. At the Asquam Utility Emporium, Felicia purchased several yards of white cheese-cloth from which she fashioned curtains for the living-room windows. She also cleaned the windows themselves, and Ken did a wondrous amount of scrubbing.
Now, when fire and candle-light shone out in the living room, it looked indeed like a room in which to live—so thought the Sturgises, who asked little.
“Come out here, Phil,” Ken whispered plucking his sister by the sleeve, one evening just before supper. Mystified, she followed him out into the soft April twilight; he drew her away from the door a little and bade her look back.
There were new green leaves on the little bush by the door-stone; they gleamed startlingly light in the dusk. A new moon hung beside the stalwart white chimney—all the house was a mouse-colored shadow against the darkening sky. The living-room windows showed as orange squares cut cheerfully from the night. Through the filmy whiteness of the cheese-cloth curtains, could be seen the fire, the table spread for supper, the gallant candles, Kirk lying on the hearth, reading.