The small settlement of Arden was largely composed of fine estates and attractive homes. This one which they had taken was broad and extensive, with hundreds of acres in lawns, gardens and woodland. It was called Wistaria Porch, because of an old wistaria vine which had achieved astounding dimensions and whose blooms in the spring and foliage later were the admiration of the whole countryside.
The house itself was modern and of the best Colonial design. Indeed, it was copied in nearly every detail from the finest type of Colonial mansion. Though really too large for such a small family, both Patty and Bill liked spacious rooms and lots of them, so they decided to take it, and shut off such parts as they didn’t need. But no rooms were shut off, and they revelled in a great library beside their living-room and drawing-room. They had a cosy breakfast room beside the big dining-room and there were a music room and a billiard room and a den and great hall with a spreading staircase; and the second story was a maze of bedrooms, guest rooms and bathrooms.
It took Patty some days even to learn her way round, and she loved every room, hall and passage. There were fascinating windows, great wide and deep ones, and little oriels and dormers. There were unexpected turns and nooks, and there was,—which brought joy to Patty’s heart,—plenty of closet space.
The whole place was of noble proportions and magnificent size, but Patty’s home-making talents brought cosiness to the rooms they themselves used and stateliness and beauty to the more formal apartments.
“We must look ahead,” she told Billee, “for I expect to spend my whole life here. I don’t want to fix a place up just as I like it, and then scoot off and leave it and live somewhere else. And when our daughter begins to have beaux and entertain house parties, we’ll need all the room there is.”
“You have what Mr. Lucas calls a ‘leaping mind,’” Bill remarked. “But I’m ready to confess I like room enough to swing a cat in,—even if I’ve no intention of swinging poor puss.”
And so they set blithely to work to furnish their ancestral halls, as Patty called them, claiming that an ancestral hall had to have a beginning some time, and she was beginning hers now.
Such fun as it was selecting rugs and hangings, furniture and ornaments, books and pictures.
Lots of things they had bought abroad, for Captain Bill had been fortunate in his affairs and had had some leisure time in France and England after the war was over to collect some art treasures.
Also, they didn’t try or want to complete the whole house at once. Part of the fun would be in adding bits later on, and if there were no place to put them, there would be no fun in buying things.
Patty was a wise and careful buyer. Only worth-while things were selected, not a miscellaneous collection of trumpery junk. So the result to date was charming furniture and appointments, but space for more when desired.