“And a desk for you, Derry.”
“And an oval mirror with a gold frame, for me to see your face in, Jean-Joan—”
Then there was a four-poster bed with pineapples, and an Adams screen, an old brass-bound chest, the most adorable things in Sheffield and crystal, and to crown it all, a picture of George Washington—a print, faintly colored, with the country’s coat of arms carved on the frame.
Yet not one thing did they buy except a quite sumptuous and splendid marriage coffer which suggested itself at once as the only wedding present for Emily.
The price took Jean’s breath away. “But, dearest—”
“Nothing is too good for Emily, Jean-Joan.”
* * * * * *
That night Derry drew a picture of the house in Jean’s memory book.
“I’ll put a garden in front—”
“How can you put in a garden, Derry, when there isn’t one?”
She wore a lace robe and a lace cap, and there were pink ribbons threaded in, and her cheeks were pink. “You can’t put in a garden until there is one, Derry. When we find it, it must be a lovesome garden, with the old-fashioned flowers, and a fountain with a cupid—and a fish-pond.”
With this settled, he proceeded, with facile pen, to furnish the house. There was the Log-Fire Room, with the print of George Washington over the mantel, with Jean’s knitting on the table; Muffin on one side of the fire, and Polly Ann on the other. He even started to put Jean in one of the big chairs, but she made him rub it out. “Not yet, Derry. You see, I am not living in it yet. I am living here, with you alive and loving—”
He caught her to him. “When you are away from me,” she whispered, “I’ll live in it—and you’ll be there—and I shall never feel alone—”
Yet later, Derry coming in unexpectedly after a talk with his father, found her sobbing with her head on the fat old book.
“It isn’t that I am unhappy, Derry—. It is just for that one little minute, I wanted it to be real—”
THE SEVENTH DAY
It was on the morning of the seventh day that a letter came from Drusilla.
“Dear Babes in the Wood:
“I am writing this to tell you that the next time I see Captain Hewes, I am going to marry him. That sounds a little like a hold-up, doesn’t it? But it is the way we are doing things over here. He has wanted it for so long, and I am beginning to know that I want it, too. It has been hard to tell just what was really best in the face of all that is happening. It has seemed sometimes as if it were a sacrilege to think of love and life in the midst of death and destruction.
“I shan’t have any trousseau; I shan’t have a wedding journey. He will just blow in some day, and the chaplain will marry us, and the little old cure of this village will give us his blessing.