“Is the crackly lady taking care of Mother?” Kirk asked over a piece of his famous toast, as they sat at supper.
“Yes,” said Felicia. “Her name’s Miss McClough. Why, did you meet her?”
“She said, ‘Don’t sit in people’s way when you see they’re in a hurry,’” said Kirk, somewhat grieved. “I didn’t know she was coming. I don’t think I like her much. Her dress creaks, and she smells like the drug-store.”
“She can’t help that,” said Ken; “she’s taking good care of Mother. And I told you the stairway was no place to sit, didn’t I!”
“I’ve managed to find out something,” Ken told Felicia, next day, as he came downstairs. “Mother would talk about it, in spite of Miss McThing’s protests, and I came away as soon as I could. She says there’s a little Fidelity stock that brings enough to keep her in the rest-place, so she feels a little better about that. (By the way, she tried to say she wouldn’t go, and I said she had to.) Then there’s something else—Rocky Head Granite, I think—that will give us something to live on. We’ll have to see Mr. Dodge as soon as we can; I’m all mixed up.”
They did see Mr. Dodge, that afternoon. He was nice, as Felicia had said. He made her sit in his big revolving-chair, while he brought out a lot of papers and put on a pair of drooping gold eye-glasses to look at them. And the end of the afternoon found Ken and Felicia very much confused and a good deal more discouraged than before. It seemed that even the Rocky Head Granite was not a very sound investment, and that the staunch Fidelity was the only dependable source of income.
“And Mother must have that money, of course, for the rest-place,” Felicia said. “For Heaven’s sake, don’t tell her,” Ken muttered.
His sister shot him one swift look of reproach and then turned to Mr. Dodge. She tried desperately to be very businesslike.
“What do you advise us to do, Mr. Dodge?” she said. “Send away the servants, of course.”
“And Miss Bolton,” Ken said; “she’s an expensive lady.”
“Yes, Miss Bolton. I’ll teach Kirk—I can.”
“How much is the rent of the house, Mr. Dodge, do you know?” Ken asked. Mr. Dodge did know, and told him. Ken whistled. “It sounds as though we’d have to move,” he said.
“The lease ends April first,” said the attorney.
“We could get a little tiny house somewhere,” Felicia suggested. “Couldn’t you get quite a nice one for six hundred dollars a year?”
This sum represented, more or less, their entire income—minus the expenses of Hilltop Sanatorium.
“But what would you eat?” Mr. Dodge inquired gently.
“Oh, dear, that’s true!” said Felicia. And clothes! What do you think we’d better do?”
“You have no immediate relatives, as I remember?” Mr. Dodge mused.
“None but our great-aunt, Miss Pelham,” Ken said, “and she lives in Los Angeles.”