“Nobody would believe it,” she prefaced, “but, Mary Ballard, some day when I’m tired of dancing through life, when I am weary of the adventures on the road, I’m going to build a home for little children, and spend my days with them.”
So the two girls dreamed dreams and saw visions of the future. They sang and soared, they kissed and confided.
“Whatever comes, life shall never be commonplace,” Mary declared, and as the bell rang and she went to the table, she felt that now nothing could daunt her—the hard things would be merely a part of a glorious pilgrimage.
Susan’s hot rolls were pronounced perfect, and Susan, serenely conscious of it, banished the second maid to the kitchen and waited on the table herself.
Here were five women of one clan. She understood them all, she loved them all. She gave even to Aunt Frances her due. “They all holds their heads high,” she had confided on one occasion to Roger Poole, “and Miss Frances holds hers so high that she almost bends back, but she knows how to treat the people who work for her, and she’s always been mighty good to me.”
Mary’s mood of exaltation lasted long after her guests had departed. She found herself singing as she climbed the stairs that night to her room. And it was with this mood still upon her that she wrote to Roger Poole.
Her letter, penned on the full tide of her new emotion, was like wine to his thirsty soul. It began and ended formally, but every line throbbed with hope and courage, and responding to the note which she had struck, he wrote back to her.
In Which Mary Writes From the Tower Rooms; and in Which Roger Answers From Among the Pines.
The Tower Rooms.
Dear Mr. Poole:
I have taken your rooms for mine, and this is my first
evening in them.
Pittiwitz is curled up under the lamp. She misses you and so do I.
Even now, it seems as if your books ought to be on the table; and that
I ought to be talking to you instead of writing.
I liked your letter. It seemed to tell me that you were hopeful and at home. You must tell me about the house and your Cousin Patty—about everything in your life—and you must send me your first story.
Here everything is the same. Constance will be with me until spring, and we are to have a quiet Thanksgiving and a quiet Christmas with just the family, and Leila and the General. Porter Bigelow goes to Palm Beach to be with his mother. I don’t know why we always count him in as one of the family except that he never waits for an invitation, and of course we’re glad to have him. Mother and father used to feel sorry for him; he was always a sort of “Poor-little-rich-boy” whose money cut him out from lots of good times that families have who don’t live in such formal fashion as Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow seem to enjoy.