“Well, when any nice people ask me, I hope there will be a ’reason why.’ It’s the persons of consequence that make the ‘reason why.’”
And Desire had the last word.
* * * * *
Hazel Ripwinkley was thinking neither of large holes nor little ones,—cats nor kittens; she was saying to Luclarion, sitting in her shady down-stairs room behind the kitchen, that looked out into the green yard corner, “how nicely things came out, after all!”
“They seemed so hobblety at first, when I went up there and saw all those beautiful books, and pictures, and people living amongst them every day, and the poor Kincaids not getting the least bit of a stretch out of their corner, ever. I’ll tell you what I thought, Luclarion;” and here she almost whispered, “I truly did. I thought God was making a mistake.”
Luclarion put out her lips into a round, deprecating pucker, at that, and drew in her breath,—
“Well, I mean it seemed as if there was a mistake somewhere; and that I’d no business, at any rate, with what they wanted so. I couldn’t get over it until I asked for those pictures; and mother said it was such a bold thing to do!”
“It was bold,” said Luclarion; “but it wasn’t forrud. It was gi’n you, and it hit right. That was looked out for.”
“It’s a stumpy world,” said Luclarion Grapp to Mrs. Ripwinkley, afterward; “but some folks step right over their stumps athout scarcely knowin’ when!”
Desire Ledwith was, at this epoch, a perplexity and a worry,—even a positive terror sometimes,—to her mother.
It was not a case of the hen hatching ducks, it was rather as if a hen had got a hawk in her brood.
Desire’s demurs and questions,—her dissatisfactions, sittings and contempts,—threatened now and then to swoop down upon the family life and comfort with destroying talons.
“She’ll be an awful, strong-minded, radical, progressive, overturning woman,” Laura said, in despair, to her friend Mrs. Megilp. “And Greenley Street, and Aspen Street, and that everlasting Miss Craydocke, are making her worse. And what can I do? Because there’s Uncle.”
Right before Desire,—not knowing the cloud of real bewilderment that was upon her young spiritual perceptions, getting their first glimpse of a tangled and conflicting and distorted world,—she drew wondering comparisons between her elder children and this odd, anxious, restless, sharp-spoken girl.
“I don’t understand it,” she would say. “It isn’t a bit like a child of mine. I always took things easy, and got the comfort of them somehow; I think the world is a pretty pleasant place to live in, and there’s lots of satisfaction to be had; and Agatha and Florence take after me; they are nice, good-natured, contented girls; managing their allowances,—that I wish were more,—trimming their own bonnets, and enjoying themselves with their friends, girl-fashion.”