A summer day in Silverton—a soft, bright August day, when the early rareripes by the well were turning their red cheeks to the sun, and the flowers in the garden were lifting their heads proudly and nodding to each other as if they knew the secret which made that day so bright above all others. Old Whitey, by the hitching post, was munching at his oats and glancing occasionally at the covered buggy standing on the greensward, fresh and clean as water from the pond could make it; the harness, new, not mended, lying upon a rock, where Katy used to feed the sheep with salt, and the whip standing upright in its socket, all waiting for the deacon, donning his best suit of clothes, even to a stiff shirt collar which almost cut his ears, his face shining with anticipations which he knew would be realized. Katy was really coming home, and in proof thereof there were behind the house and barn piles of rubbish, lath and plaster, moldy paper and broken bricks, the tokens and remains of the repairing process, which for so long a time had made the farmhouse a scene of dire confusion, driving its inmates nearly distracted, except when they remembered for whose sake they endured so much, inhaling clouds of lime, stepping over heaps of mortar, tearing their dress skirts on sundry nails projecting from every conceivable quarter, and wondering the while if the masons ever would finish or the carpenters be gone.
As a condition on which Katy might be permitted to come home, Wilford had stipulated an improvement in the interior arrangement of the house, offering to bear the expense even to the furnishing of the rooms. To this the family demurred at first, not liking Wilford’s dictatorial manner, nor his insinuation that their home was not good enough for his wife, Mrs. Katy Cameron. But Helen turned the tide, appreciating Wilford’s feelings better than the others could do, and urging a compliance with his request.
“Anything to get Katy home,” she said, and so the chimney was torn away, a window was put here and an addition made there, until the house was really improved with its pleasant, modern parlor and the large airy bedroom, with bathing-room attached, the whole the idea of Wilford, who graciously deigned to come out once or twice from New London, where he was spending a few weeks, to superintend the work and suggest how it should be done.
The furniture, too, which he sent on from New York, was perfect in its kind, not elegant like Katy’s, but well adapted to the rooms it was to adorn, and suitable in every respect. Helen enjoyed the settling very much, and when it was finished it was hard telling which was the more pleased, she or good Aunt Betsy, who, having confessed in a general kind of way at a sewing society that she did go to a playhouse, and was not so very sorry either, except as the example might do harm, had nothing on her conscience now, nothing to fear from New York, and was proportionately happy. At least she would have been if Morris