“I suppose so, dear. Miranda is rather fussy about letting other people do her regular work, you know.”
“I’ll ask her.”
“And remember, Pauline, each day is going to bring new demands—don’t put all your eggs into one basket.”
“I won’t. We needn’t spend anything on this room except for the paper and matting.”
Half an hour later, Pauline was on her way down to the village store for samples of paper. She had already settled the matter with Miranda, over the wiping of the breakfast dishes.
Miranda had lived with the Shaws ever since Pauline was a baby, and was a very important member of the family, both in her own and their opinion. She was tall and gaunt, and somewhat severe looking; however, in her case, looks were deceptive. It would never have occurred to Miranda that the Shaws’ interests were not her interests—she considered herself an important factor in the upbringing of the three young people. If she had a favorite, it was probably Hilary.
“Hmn,” she said, when Pauline broached the subject of the spare room, “what put that notion in your head, I’d like to know! That paper ain’t got a tear in it!”
So Pauline went further, telling her something of Uncle Paul’s letter and how they hoped to carry his suggestion out.
Miranda stood still, her hands in the dish water—“That’s your pa’s own brother, ain’t it?”
Pauline nodded. “And Miranda—”
“I reckon he ain’t much like the minister. Well, me an’ Sarah Jane ain’t the least bit alike—if we are sisters. I guess I can manage ’bout the papering. But it does go ’gainst me, having that sexton woman in. Still, I reckon you can’t be content, ’till we get started. Looking for the old gentleman up, later, be you?”
“For whom?” Pauline asked.
“Your pa’s brother. The minister’s getting on, and the other one’s considerable older, I understand.”
“I don’t think he will be up,” Pauline answered; she hadn’t thought of that before. Suppose he should come! She wondered what he would be like.
Half way down the street, Pauline was overtaken by her younger sister. “Are you going to get the new things now, Paul?” she asked eagerly.
“Of course not, just get some samples.”
“There’s always such a lot of getting ready first,” Patience sighed. “Paul, mother says I may go with you to-morrow afternoon.”
“All right,” Pauline agreed. “Only, you’ve got to promise not to ’hi yi’ at Fanny all the way.”
“I won’t—all the way.”
“You needn’t say what we want the new paper for, or anything about what we are planning to do—in the store I mean.”
“Mr. Ward would be mighty interested.”
“I dare say.”
“Miranda says you’re beginning to put on considerable airs, since you’ve been turning your hair up, Paul Shaw. When I put my hair up, I’m going on being just as nice and friendly with folks, as before, you’ll see.”