One thing must be remembered concerning wild grapes: they should be planted, if in the open sunlight, where they will be conspicuous up to late summer only, as soon after this time the leaves begin to grow rusty, while those in moist and partly-shady places hold their own. I think this contrast was borne in upon me by watching a mass of grape-vines upon a tumble-down wall that we pass on our way to the river woods. In August the leaves began to brown and curl at the edges, while similar vines in the cool lane shade were still green and growing. So you see, Mrs. Evan, that, in addition to our other treasure-trove, we are prepared to start a free vinery as well, and as our lucky star seems to be both of morning and evening and hangs a long while in the sky, Meyer, Larry’s successor, we find, has enough of a labourer’s skill at post setting and a carpenter’s eye and hand at making an angled arch (this isn’t the right term, but you know what I mean), so that we have not had to pause in our improvements owing to Amos Opie’s rheumatic illness.
Not that I think the old man very ill, and I believe he could get about more if he wished, for when I went down to see him this morning, he seemed to have something on his mind, and with but little urging he told me his dilemma. Both The Man from Everywhere and Maria Maxwell have made him good offers for his farm, The Man’s being the first! Now he had fully determined to sell to The Man, when Maria’s kindness during his illness not only turned him in her favour, but gave him an attachment for the place, so that now he doesn’t really wish to sell at all! It is this mental perturbation, in his very slow nature, that is, I believe, keeping him an invalid!
What Maria wants of the farm neither Bart nor I can imagine. She has a little property, a few thousand dollars, enough probably to buy the farm and put it in livable repair, but this money we thought she was saving for the so-called rainy day (which is much more apt to be a very dry period) of spinsterhood! Of course she has some definite plan, but whether it is bees or boarders, jam or a kindergarten, we do not know, but we may be very sure that she is not jumping at random. Only I’m a little afraid, much as I should like her for a next-door neighbour, that, with her practical head, she would insist upon making hay of the lily meadow!
“Straying away again from the horticultural to the domestic things,” I hear you say. Yes; but now that the days are shortening a bit, it seems natural to think more about people again. If I only knew whether Maria means to give up her teaching this winter, I would ask her to stay with us and begin to train the Infant’s mind in the way it should think, for my head and hands will be full and my heart overflowing, I imagine. Ah! this happy, blessed summer! Yes, I know that you know, though I have never told you. That’s what it means to have real friends. But to the shrubs.