He hadn’t seen his nephew come into the room, with a ball of stout twine in his hands.
“Put what over?” Gilbert asked.
Uncle Henry was taken aback, but he quickly covered his confusion.
“Oh, somethin’. It’s a secret.” He turned and addressed Lucia Pell. “Don’t forget,” he admonished, and swiftly wheeled himself out into the yard again.
WHEREIN AN OLD LOVE AWAKENS, PELL REVEALS HIS TRUE COLORS, A MORTGAGE IS ABOUT TO BE FORECLOSED, THE CONTENTS OF A SATCHEL ARE MADE KNOWN, UNCLE HENRY SPRINGS A SENSATION, AND PELL TAKES AN OPTION
Lucia’s eyes were following Uncle Henry’s heaving chair; for the yard was full of little stones, and the invalid bumped along, not always able to keep on a smooth track. She smiled as she watched him.
“What was he talking about?” Gilbert asked, kneeling on the floor, and folding one rug that had slipped away.
“Oh, nothing,” Lucia Pell answered. “You know how old people babble on sometimes about nothing.” She turned and looked at him. Still the same handsome Gilbert! “What are you doing?”
“Nothing. You know how young people go on doing nothing. I’m just rolling up these rugs and blankets. I’m going to send them away.”
Lucia saw the beautiful pattern of one Navajo as Gilbert held it, unfolded, from the floor. She came over to him.
“You’re sending them away—when they’re so exquisite?” she asked. “This flaming one—” she picked it up and draped it around her. “Why, it’s like the sunset. And you do have such beautiful sunsets here, Gil.”
“I got them up especially, in honor of your visit,” Jones said; and then he remembered how many times a remark like that must have been made, by many a lover, as if it were quite original, as if no one had ever thought of it before!
But Lucia took him seriously, dropped the wonderful blanket and went over to the door again. “I never grow tired of this view, Gil. It’s almost as if God were an artist and had spilt the colors from His palette. And yet not that, quite. The colors are more like jewels. The morning’s opals; the noon’s pearls; the evening wears rubies in her hair. There’s a sort of beauty that makes one ache. It seems to me sometimes as if I couldn’t stand it—just the way the Grand Canyon got hold of me. Doesn’t it affect you that way—you who have so much poetry in you?”
“Indeed it does, Lucia. I’ve often watched that sky until I’ve forgotten all about my cattle—both of them!” He laughed, and reached for the twine. He was always turning their serious moments into a jest. As long as she had been here with her husband, he kept at a distance.
Lucia saw his hand go out. “The string?” she said. “I’ll get it.” She left the door, and handed him the twine which he had put on the table.
“Thank you,” said Gilbert. “Do you mind putting your finger—there? Never mind. I think I can do it, after all.”