The cellars were dug; the frames were up; workmen were busy with brick and mortar, hammer and plane; two or three buildings were nearly finished, and two—the two standing at the head of the Horseshoe, looking out at the back into the deepest and pleasantest wood-aisle, where the leaves were reddening and mellowing in the early October frost, and the ferns were turning into tender transparent shades of palest straw-color—were completed, and had dwellers in them; the cheeriest, and happiest, and coziest of neighbors; and who do you think these were?
Miss Waite and Delia, of course, in one house; and with them, dividing the easy rent and the space that was ample for four women, were Lucilla Waters and her mother. In the other, were Kenneth and Rosamond Kincaid and Dorris.
Kenneth and Rosamond had been married just three weeks. Rosamond had told him she would begin the world with him, and they had begun. Begun in the simple, true old-fashioned way, in which, if people only would believe it, it is even yet not impossible for young men and women to inaugurate their homes.
They could not have had a place at Westover, and a horse and buggy for Kenneth to go back and forth with; nor even a house in one of the best streets of Z——; and down at East Square everything was very modern and pretentious, based upon the calculation of rising values and a rush of population.
But here was this new neighborhood of—well, yes,—“model houses;” a blessed Christian speculation for a class not easily or often reached by any speculations save those that grind and consume their little regular means, by forcing upon them the lawless and arbitrary prices of the day, touching them at every point in their living, but not governing correspondingly their income, as even the hod-carrier’s and railroad navvy’s daily pay is reached and ruled to meet the proportion of the time.
They would be plain, simple, little-cultured people that would live there: the very “betwixt and betweens” that Rosamond had used to think so hardly fated. Would she go and live among them, in one of these little new, primitive homes, planted down in the pasture-land, on the outskirts? Would she—the pretty, graceful, elegant Rosamond—live semi-detached with old Miss Arabel Waite?
That was just exactly the very thing she would do; the thing she did not even let Kenneth think of first, and ask her, but that, when they had fully agreed that they would begin life somehow, in some right way together, according to their means, she herself had questioned him if they might not do.
And so the houses were hurried in the building; for old Miss Arabel must have hers before the winter; (it seems strange how often the change comes when one could not have waited any longer for it;) and Kenneth had mill building, and surveying, and planning, in East Square, and Mr. Roger Marchbanks’ great gray-stone mansion going up on West Hill, to keep him busy; work enough for any talented young fellow, fresh from the School of Technology, who had got fair hold of a beginning, to settle down among and grasp the “next things” that were pretty sure to follow along after the first.