And she laid her little nicely-gloved hand across her homely parcel, guardingly.
How nice it was to go buying little homely things together! Again, it was as good and pleasant,—and meant ever so much more,—than if it had been ordering china with a monogram in Dresden, or glass in Prague, with a coat-of-arms engraved.
When they drove up to the Horseshoe, Dakie Thayne and Ruth met them. They had been getting “spiritual ferns” and sumach leaves with Dorris; “the dearest little tips,” Ruth said, “of scarlet and carbuncle, just like jets of fire.”
And now they would go back to tea, and eat up the brown cake?
“Real Westover summum-bonum cake?” Dakie wanted to know. “Well, he couldn’t stand against that. Come, Ruthie!” And Ruthie came.
“What do you think Rosamond says?” said Kenneth, at the tea-table, over the cake. “That everybody ought to live in a city or a village, or, at least, a Horseshoe. She thinks nobody has a right to stick his elbows out, in this world. She’s in a great hurry to be packed as closely as possible here.”
“I wish the houses were all finished, and our neighbors in; that is what I said,” said Rosamond. “I should like to begin to know about them, and feel settled; and to see flowers in their windows, and lights at night.”
“And you always hated so a ‘little crowd!’” said Ruth.
“It isn’t a crowd when they don’t crowd,” said Rosamond. “I can’t bear little miserable jostles.”
“How good it will be to see Rosamond here, at the head of her court; at the top of the Horseshoe,” said Dakie Thayne. “She will be quite the ‘Queen of the County.’”
“Don’t!” said Rosamond. “I’ve a very weak spot in my head. You can’t tell the mischief you might do. No, I won’t be queen!”
“Any more than you can help,” said Dakie.
“She’ll be Rosa Mundi, wherever she is,” said Ruth affectionately.
“I think that is just grand of Kenneth and Rosamond,” said Dakie Thayne, as he and Ruth were walking home up West Hill in the moonlight, afterward. “What do you think you and I ought to do, one of these days, Ruthie? It sets me to considering. There are more Horseshoes to make, I suppose, if the world is to jog on.”
“You have a great deal to consider about,” said Ruth, thoughtfully. “It was quite easy for Kenneth and Rosamond to see what they ought to do. But you might make a great many Horseshoes,—or something!”
“What do you mean by that second person plural, eh? Are you shirking your responsibilities, or are you addressing your imaginary Boffinses? Come, Ruthie, I can’t have that! Say ‘we,’ and I’ll face the responsibilities and talk it all out; but I won’t have anything to do with ‘you!’”
“Won’t you?” said Ruth, with piteous demureness. “How can I say ‘we,’ then?”
“You little cat! How you can scratch!”
“There are such great things to be done in the world Dakie,” Ruth said seriously, when they had got over that with a laugh that lifted her nicely by the “we” question. “I can’t help thinking of it.”