“You lack subtlety, Miss Smith. Cultivate your imagination, my dear!” in Miss Hopkins’s best voice.
Riedriech stuck his grizzled head out at a window, cautiously:
“Fraeulein, she hass gone?” And seeing that the coast was clear, he added, vehemently: “Cultivate the mindt! Cultivate the imatchination! Ach, lieber Gott! Dornroeschen, cultivate you the heart. It iss not what the woman thinks, but what she loves, what she feels, which makes of the world a home-place for men und kinder.” The good old Jew nodded his head vigorously at the girl, smiled, and went back to his work. And Schmetz came and finished the bulb bed by covering it carefully with two thicknesses of chicken-wire.
That night, just before we went up-stairs, I went into the library after Freeman Hynds’s diary, which we were simply burning to read. I opened the table drawer in which I had placed it. The drawer was quite empty. The little flat book was gone.
Alicia insisted that we were living in a fairy-story, and had better enjoy every shining minute while it lasted. But, as I pointed out, the cost of restoring Hynds House was appallingly real, so real that it left a big, big hole in the bank-account. It is true that we who never really had had a home since we were little children, and then the most modest sort, had gotten such a home as comes to but few. But—one doesn’t get something for nothing!
We had done our part for Hynds House; now Hynds House had to do its part for us. It had to earn its keep, and ours. We had known that from the beginning, and Alicia mapped out the entire plan of how it was to be done; a plan which I at first looked upon as the fairy-storiest part of the whole thing!
To-night we sat facing each other across the library table, with a great pile of receipted bills between us, the total of which made me feel pale. Alicia, however, was cheerfully figuring away on her own hook; and presently she shoved a list of addresses across to me.
The first two were the head of our old firm, and the one celebrity I had ever seen or spoken to, a novelist and lecturer with record-breaking best sellers to his account. He once had some business dealings with our firm, and I attended to the details, thereby winning his cantankerous approval. He had very bad manners, of which he was totally unashamed, and very good morals, of which he was somewhat doubtful, as they didn’t smack of genius; a notion that he was a superior sort of Sherlock Holmes, having the truffle-hound’s flair for discovering and following up clews and unraveling mysteries, most of which didn’t exist outside of his own eager mind; and such a genuine passion for old and beautiful things as Balzac had. It was upon this last foundation that Alicia was building.