Yet he pretended to growl, even at her, sometimes; it was so funny to see her look up and chirp on after it, like some little bird to whom the language of beasts was no language at all, and passed by on the air as a very big sound, but one that in no wise concerned it.
“We’ve got Sulie Praile to spend the winter, Uncle Titus,” she said.
“Who’s Sulie Praile?”
“The lame girl, from the Home. We wanted somebody for Vash to wait on, you know. She sits in a round chair, that twists, like yours; and she’s—just like a lily in a vase!” Hazel finished her sentence with a simile quite unexpected to herself.
There was something in Sulie’s fair, pale, delicate face, and her upper figure, rising with its own peculiar lithe, easily swayed grace from among the gathered folds of the dress of her favorite dark green color, that reminded—if one thought of it, and Hazel turned the feeling of it into a thought at just this moment—of a beautiful white flower, tenderly and commodiously planted.
“Well, I suppose it’s worth while to have a lame girl to sit up in a round chair, and look like a lily in a vase, is it?”
“Uncle Titus, I want to know what you think about some things.”
“That is just what I want to know myself, sometimes. To find out what one thinks about things, is pretty much the whole finding, isn’t it?”
“Don’t be very metaphysical, please, Uncle Titus. Don’t turn your eyes round into the back of your head. That isn’t what I mean.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just plain looking.”
“Don’t you think, when there are places, all nice and ready,—and people that would like the places and haven’t got ’em,—that the people ought to be put into the places?”
“‘The shirtless backs put into the shirts?’”
“Why, yes, of course. What are shirts made for?”
“For some people to have thirty-six, and some not to have any,” said Mr. Oldways.
“No,” said Hazel. “Nobody wants thirty-six, all at once. But what I mean is, rooms, and corners, and pleasant windows, and seats at the table; places where people come in visiting, and that are kept saved up. I can’t bear an empty box; that is, only for just one pleasant minute, while I’m thinking what I can put into it.”
“Where’s your empty box, now?”
“Our house was rather empty-boxy. Uncle Titus, do you mind how we fill it up,—because you gave it to us, you know?”
“No. So long as you don’t crowd yourselves out.”
“Or you, Uncle Titus. We don’t want to crowd you out. Does it crowd you any to have Sulie and Vash there, and to have us ‘took up’ with them, as Luclarion says?”
How straight Witch Hazel went to her point!
“Your catechism crowds me just a little, child,” said Uncle Titus. “I want to see you go your own way. That is what I gave you the house for. Your mother knows that. Did she send you here to ask me?”