And then Patty would beg him to tell her more about his early days and his wild Western life in the years before she knew him.
It was her great regret that Bill had no parents, nor indeed any near relatives. An only child, and early orphaned, he had lived a few years with a cousin and then had shifted for himself. A self-made man,—as they are styled,—he had developed fine business ability, and had also managed to acquire a familiarity with the best in literature. Patty was continually astonished by his ready references and his quotations from the works of the best authors.
Indeed, the room he took the deepest interest in furnishing in their new home was the library.
For the purpose he selected the largest room in the house. It had been designed as a drawing-room or ballroom; but Farnsworth said that its location and outlook made it an ideal library. He had an enormous window cut, that filled almost the whole of one side of the room, and which looked out upon a beautiful view, especially at sunset.
Then the furnishings were chosen for comfort and ease as well as preserving the dignified effect that should belong to a library. The book cases were filled with the books already owned by the two and new ones were chosen and bought by degrees as they were desired or needed.
The reference portion was complete and the cases devoted to poetry and essays well filled. Fiction, too, of the lasting kind, and delightful books of travel, biography and humour.
There were reading chairs, arranged near windows and with handy tables; there were desks, perfectly appointed; racks of new books and magazines; portfolios of pictures, and cosy window seats and tete-a-tetes.
There were a few fine pictures, and many little intimate sketches by worth-while pencils or brushes. And there were treasured books, valuable intrinsically or because of their inscriptions, that Farnsworth had collected here and there.
Small wonder, then, that the library was the favourite room in the house and that after dinner Patty proposed they go there for their coffee.
“Some room!” ejaculated Chick Channing, as they sauntered in and stood about, gazing at the wealth of books.
“Glorious!” agreed Mona, who had a mere pretence of a library in her own home. “I didn’t know you were so literary, Patty.”
“Oh, I’m not. It’s Little Billee’s gigantic intellect that planned this room, and he’s the power that keeps it going. Every week he sends up a cartload of new books—”
“Oh, come, now, Patty,—I haven’t bought a book for a fortnight!” laughed Farnsworth. “But I’ve just heard of a fine old edition of Ike Walton that I can get at—”
“There, there, my son, don’t get started on your hobby,” implored Channing. “We’re ignoramuses, Mona and I, and we want to talk about less highbrow subjects.”
“Count me on your side,” said a smiling girl, whose big gray eyes took on a look of awe at the turn the conversation had taken. “I don’t know if Ike Walton is a book or a steamboat!”