“No, you haven’t,” she said. “You can stay right here another six months, if you like. I’ve heard from Florence. I met her in Paris in April, and found she wasn’t a bit keen to come back and take this house on. Their securities have gone down again, and they’re feeling hard-up. Florence has got an old barn of an atelier, and she’s puttering around in the mud thinking she’s making statuary. Well, when I found how things stood here, I wrote and asked her if she’d lease for six months more if she got the chance, and she wrote back and simply grabbed at it. All you’ve got to do is to send her a five-word cable and you’re fixed. Then, next spring, when your troubles are over, and you know what you want, you can look out a place up the shore and have the summer there.”
Rodney smoked half-way through his pipe before he made any comment on this suggestion.
“This house isn’t just what we want,” he said. “In the first place, it’s damned expensive.”
Harriet shrugged her shoulders, found herself a cigarette and lighted it; picked up one of Florence’s poetry books and eyed the heavily tooled binding with a satirical smile before she replied. She could feel him looking at her, and she knew he’d wait till she got ready to go on.
“I’d an idea there was that in it,” she said at last. “Freddy said something ... Rose had been talking to her.” Then after another little silence, and with a sudden access of vehemence, “You don’t want to go and do a regular fool thing, Roddy. You’re getting on perfectly splendidly. You’ll be at the head of the bar out here in ten years, if you keep on. Frank Crawford was telling me about you the other day. You’ve settled down, and we thought you never would. It was a corking move, your taking this house, just because it made you settle down. You can earn forty thousand dollars next year, just with your practise, if you want to. But if you pull up and go to live in a barn somewhere, and stop seeing anybody—people that count, I mean ...”
Rodney grunted. “You’re beyond your depth, sis,” he said. “Come back where you don’t have to swim. The expense isn’t a capital consideration, I’ll admit that. Now go on from there.”
“That’s like old times,” she observed with a not ill-humored grimace. “I wonder if you talk to Rose like that. Oh, I know the house is rather solemn and absurd. It’s Florence herself all over, that’s the size of it, and I suppose you are getting pretty well fed up with it. But what does that matter for six months more? Heavens! You won’t know where you’re living. But the place is comfortable, and there’s room in it for nurses and all and the best doctor in town in the line you’ll want, is right around the corner. And, as I say, when your troubles are over and you know what you want ...”
He pocketed his pipe and got up out of this chair.
“There’s something in it,” he admitted. “I’ll think it over.”