To Garry two days later came a telegram from Craig Farm. It covered three typewritten pages and read like a theatrical manager’s costume instructions to a star.
“Oh, my Lord!” he groaned. “The sister’s pretty!”
After a dazed interval, however, he found comfort in the thought that the postmark had been harmless. It had served no other purpose than to lead the penitential lunatic to Craig Farm. He would likely get no further.
“The ties in Brian’s bureau,” read Garry, thunderstruck at the wealth of detail. “My white flannels. Have cleaned. No place here. Had to ride seven miles with a milk-man to send this—”
Garry ran his eye over the rest and groaned again at the hopeless task ahead. Very well, he decided, reaching for the telephone, if he must invade the O’Neill studio, excavate and pack, Sid could help and Mac and Jan. Waiting, he read the telegram again. With Kenny’s usual sense of values there was one brief sentence relative to some materials for work. He left the responsibility of selection there to Garry.
“Work, hell!” exclaimed Garry, provoked. “He wants work so he can fill his time thinking up ways to evade it.”
IN THE GARRET
Rain came with the dawn. Kenny, waking hours later with a nervous sense of some unknown delight ahead, found the eaves and orchard dripping. The valley the old house faced was lost in mist.
The blossom storm! So Hughie had called the rain he promised. Kenny liked the name. Out there in the orchard gusty cudgels of wind and water were beating the blossoms to earth. It was a fancy rife with poetic melancholy.
The smell of wet lilac sweeping in from a bush beneath his window made him think somehow of Joan. He wondered in a wave of tenderness if she ferried the river too in storm and, glancing at his watch found the hour disturbing. Unfortunately in a wing remote from Hannah’s trot and bustle where save for the monotonous music of the rain, the brush of dripping trees or depressing creaks, there was no noise at all, he had as usual slept too long. And one could never tell. Silas’s singular notion of a rising hour might prevail here. Best perhaps to go down a little later and combine his breakfast with his lunch. Meantime he would avail himself of Joan’s permission to pick a room for himself.
The house was big and old and abandoned for the most part to creaks and dust and cobwebs. Kenny peered into room after room with a fascinated shiver, reading mystery in every shadow. Thank fortune the room he had was linked to the fragrant life of blossoms and lilacs.