“Our lot has certainly been cast in a pleasant place,” said Dalton, taking a chair by one of the windows.
“You’re right,” said Harry, sitting in the chair by the other window. “The Lanhams are fine people, and it’s a good house. This is luxury, isn’t it, George, old man?”
“The real article. We seem to be having luck all around. And we’re going to a big ball to-morrow night, too. Who’d have thought such a thing possible a week ago?”
“And we’ve made friends who’ll see that we’re not neglected.”
“It’s an absolute fact that we’ve become the favorite children of fortune.”
“No earthly doubt of it.”
Then ensued a silence, broken at length by a scraping sound as each moved his chair a little nearer to the window.
“Close, George,” said Harry at length.
“Yes, a bit hard to breathe.”
“When fellows get used to a thing it’s hard to change.”
“Fine room, though, and those are splendid beds.”
“Great on a winter night.”
“You’ve noticed how the commander-in-chief himself seldom sleeps under a tent, but takes his blankets to the open?”
“Wonder how an Indian who has roamed the forest all his life feels when he’s shut up between four walls for the first time.”
“Fancy it’s like a prison cell to him.”
“Think so too. But the Lanhams are fine people and they’re doing their best for us.”
“Do you think they’d be offended if I were to take my blankets, and sleep on the grass in the back yard?”
“Of course they would. You mustn’t think of such a thing. After this war is over you’ve got to emerge slowly from barbarism. Do you remember whether at supper we cut our food with our knives and lifted it to our mouths with forks, or just tore and lifted with our fingers?”
“We used knife and fork, each in its proper place. I happened to think of it and watched myself. You, I suppose, did it through the force of an ancient habit, recalled by civilized surroundings.”
“I’m glad you remember about it. Now I’m going to bed, and maybe I’ll sleep. I suppose there’s no hope of seeing the stars through the roof.”
“None on earth! But my bed is fine and soft. We’d be all right if we could only lift the roof off the house. I’d like to hear the wind rubbing the boughs together.”
“Stop it! You make me homesick! We’ve got no right to be pining for blankets and the open, when these good people are doing so much for us!”
Each stretched himself upon his bed, and closed his eyes. They had not been jesting altogether. So long a life in the open made summer skies at night welcome, and roofs and walls almost took from them the power of breathing.
But the feeling wore away after a while and amid pleasurable thoughts of the coming ball both fell asleep.