Dear Man from Everywhere! much as I like Maria, I think he would be the more restful neighbour of the two. What a complete couple they might have made, but that is a bit of drift thought that I have put out of my head, for if any two people ever had a chance this summer to fall in love if they had the capacity, it was Maria and The Man, and the strange part of it is that as far as may be known neither is nourishing the sentiment of a melancholy past and no other present man or woman stands between; perhaps it is some uncanny Opal spell that stays them. Yet even as it is, in this farm restoration both are unconsciously preparing to take a peep into Pandora’s Chest full of the unknown, so let us hope the gods are willing.
Hallowe’en. The Infant and Anastasia, her memories revived by Larry’s voluble and personally adapted folk-lore, are preparing all sorts of traps and feasts for good luck and fairies, while Lady Lazy is content to look at the log fire and plan for putting the garden to sleep. Yesterday I finished taking up my collection of peonies, Iris, and hardy chrysanthemums that had been “promised” at various farm gardens beyond the river woods, and duly cleared off my indebtednesses for the same with a varied assortment of articles ranging from gladioli bulbs, which seem to multiply by cube root here, to a pair of curling tongs, an article long coveted by a simple-minded woman of more than middle age, for the resuscitation of her Sunday front locks, and which though willing to acquire by barter she, as a deacon’s wife, had a prejudice against buying openly over the counter.
Meyer has gone, having relapsed into comparative cheerfulness a few days before his departure on the receipt of a bulky letter which, in spite of the wear and tear of travel, remained heavily scented, coupled with Bart’s assurance that he could remain in America another four weeks and still be at a certain Baltic town of an unpronounceable name in time for Christmas.
In spite of heavy frosts my pansies are a daily cheer, but it is really of no use for even the flowers of very hardy plants to struggle on against nature’s decree of a winter sleeping time; the wild animals all come more or less under its spell, and the dogs, the nearest creatures of all to man, as soon as snow covers the ground and they have their experience of ice-cut feet, drowse as near the fire as possible and in case of a stove almost under it. I wonder if nature did not intend that we also should have at least a half-drowsy brooding time, instead of making the cold season so often a period of stress and strain and short days stretched into long nights. If so, we have taken the responsibility of acting for ourselves, of flying in nature’s face in this as in many other ways.