[Illustration: “These are my jewels.”]
All the sweetness which had once spread over her domain was concentrated here, fragrance and flame—roses, iris, peonies—honeysuckle—ruby and emerald, amethyst and gold; a Cupid riding a swan, with water pouring from his quiver into a shallow marble basin.
“I should not have dared keep this, if it had not been for the other—” the old woman told them. “I am very sure that in these days God walks in vegetable gardens—”
For breakfast they had strawberries and radishes, thin little corn cakes—and two fresh eggs from the chickens which most triumphantly occupied the conservatory.
“This is the only way I can do my bit,” the old lady explained, “by helping with the world’s food supply. My eyes are bad and I cannot sew, my fingers are twisted and I cannot knit, and Dennis is old—but we plan the garden and plant—”
And that night Jean said to Derry, “I am glad there were flowers to make it lovesome—and I am glad there were vegetables to make it right.”
So he drew a waving field of corn back of the dream cottage, and tomatoes and peas to the right and left—with onions in a stiff row along the border, and potatoes storming the hillside. But the gate which led to the Lovesome Garden was open wide, so that one might see the Cupid as he rode his swan.
It was on the tenth day that Derry said, “We have our house and the furniture for it, and we have built an altar, and found our friends, and we have planted a garden—what shall we do on the last day?”
And Jean said, rather unexpectedly, “We will go to the circus.”
“To the circus?”
“Yes. And take the children—they are dying to go, and Margaret can’t. It is up to you and me, Derry.”
Even Nurse was to stay behind. “We’ll have them all to ourselves.”
Derry was dubious, a little hurt. “It seems rather queer, doesn’t it, on our last day?”
“I—I think I should like it better than anything else, Derry.”
And so they went.
It was warm with a hint of showers in the air, and both of the children were in white. Jean was also in white. They rode in the General’s limousine to where the big tent with all its flags flying covered a vast space.
“Cousin Derry, Mother said I might have some peanuts.”
“All right, old man.”
“And Margaret-Mary mustn’t. But there are some crackers in a bag.”
It was all most entrancing, the gilded wagons, the restless beasts behind their bars, the spotted ponies, the swaying elephants, the bands playing, the crowds streaming—.
Teddy held tight to Jean’s hand. Margaret-Mary was carried high on Derry’s shoulder. All of her curls were bobbing, and her eyes were shining. Now and then she dropped a light kiss on the silver blond hair of her cavalier.