We went to both houses and called as we went home so as to begin neighboring with them. Magnus stopped at his own place, and I went on, wondering if the Frost boy I had engaged to look out for my stock while I was gone had been true to his trust. I saw that there had been a lot of redding up done; and as I came around the corner of the house I heard sounds within as of some one at the housework. The door was open, and as I peeped in, there, of all people, was Grandma Thorndyke, putting the last touches to a general house-cleaning.
The floor was newly scrubbed, the dishes set away in order, and all clean. The churn was always clean inwardly, but she had scoured it on the outside. There was a geranium in bloom in the window, which was as clear as glass could be made. The bed was made up on a different plan from mine, and the place where I hung my clothes had a flowered cotton curtain in front of it, run on cords. It looked very beautiful to me; and my pride in it rose as I gazed upon it. Grandma Thorndyke had not heard me coming, and gave way to her feelings as she looked at her handiwork in her manner of talking to herself.
“That’s more like a human habitation!” she ejaculated, standing with her hands on her hips. “I snum! It looked like a hooraw’s nest!”
“It looks a lot better,” I agreed. She was startled at seeing me, for she expected to get away, with Henderson L. Burns as he came back from his shooting of golden plover, all unknown to me. But we had quite a visit all by ourselves. She said quite pointedly, that somebody had been keeping her family in milk and butter and vegetables and chickens and eggs all winter, and she was doing a mighty little in repayment. Her eyes were full of tears as she said this.
“He who gives to the poor,” said she, “lends to the Lord; and I don’t know any place where the Lord’s credit has been lower than in Monterey Centre for the past winter. Now le’me show you where things are, Jacob.”
I got all the news of the town from her. Several people had moved in; but others had gone back east to live with their own or their wives’ folks. Elder Thorndyke, encouraged by the favor of “their two rich men,” had laid plans for building a church, and she believed their fellowship would be blessed with greater growth if they had a consecrated building instead of the hall where the secret societies met. On asking who their two richest men were she mentioned Governor Wade, of course, and Mr. Gowdy.
“Mr. Gowdy,” she ventured, “is in a very hopeful, frame of mind. He is, I fervently hope and believe, under conviction of sin. We pray for him without ceasing. He would be a tower of strength, with his ability and his wealth, if he should, under God, turn to the right and seek salvation. If you and he could both come into the fold, Jacob, it would be a wonderful thing for the elder and me.”
“I guess I’d ruther come in alone!” I said.