As the rising glow of the flames lighted up the sky help began to arrive from all quarters. Mrs. Gorham’s thoughtfulness in telephoning immediately brought the Judge first, with all of the neighbors that had been present at the community meeting. Cousin Roxy was bareheaded, little curly wisps of hair fluttering around her face.
“I made your father stay up at our place,” she told the girls. “You’ll all probably have to come back with me anyhow and excitement isn’t good for him. Besides, he wouldn’t be a bit of good around here. Seems like they’re getting the fire under pretty good control. I don’t believe all the house will go. It was fearful old anyway, and it needed to be rebuilt if you ever expect your great-grandchildren to live here.”
Kit noticed an entirely new and unsuspected trait in Cousin Roxy on this night of excitement. It was the only time when she had not seen her take command of the situation. But to-night she helped Mrs. Gorham pack all the necessary household supplies into the back of the wagon for Shad to drive up to Maple Lawn. As soon as she had seen the extent of the damage she had said immediately that the robin’s nest must be moved up the hill to her own old home, where she had lived before her marriage to Judge Ellis.
“It won’t take but a couple of days to put it into shape for you, and Hiram’s right up there to look after things. You’ll be back here before snow flies, with a few modern improvements put in, and all of you the better for the change. Helen, go bring the family treasures from under that pine tree, and put them in the back of our car.”
“You know, Cousin Roxy,” Kit exclaimed, “I thought the minute you showed up down here to-night you’d be the chief of the fire department.”
Cousin Roxy laughed heartily.
“Did you, child? Well, I’ve always held that there are times and seasons when you ought to let the men-folks alone. After you’ve lived a lifetime in these parts, you’ll know that every boy born and bred around here is taught how to fight fire from the time he can tote a water bucket. Did you save all the chickens, Shad?”
“Ain’t lost even a guinea hen!” Shad assured her. “The barn ain’t touched, and so I’m going to sleep over the harness room and watch out for the stock.”
It was always a secret joy to the girls to hear the way Shad would roll out about the Greenacre “stock.”
“Just as if,” Jean said, “we had all the cattle upon a thousand hills and racers and thoroughbreds into the bargain, instead of Bonnibel and Lady Bountiful, with Princess and the hens. I think Helen put him up to it. She always thinks in royal terms of affluence.”
KIT RISES TO PROPHESY