At last they came in sight of a house such as she had never seen. It was built entirely of logs. At the sound of their approach, the one visible door opened on the crack as if to avoid letting in the cold, and Nora saw a thin dark little woman with rather a hard look and a curiously dried-up skin, whom she rightly guessed to be her sister-in-law, standing in the doorway, while lounging nonchalantly against the doorpost was a tall, strong, well-set-up young man whose age might have been anything between thirty and thirty-five. He had remarkably clean-cut features and was clean-shaven. His frankly humorous gaze rested unabashed on the stranger’s face.
Forgetting all her good resolutions to adapt herself to the habits and customs of this new country, Nora felt that she could have struck him in his impudent face. The fact that she reddened under his scrutiny, naturally only made her the more furious.
“Come on out here, some of you,” called Eddie jovially. “Heavens! The way you all hug the stove would make anyone believe you’d never seen a Canadian winter before in your lives. Here, Frank, lend a hand with these trunks and call Ben to take the horses. Gertie, this is Nora. Now you need never be lonely again.”
“Pleased to make your acquaintance,” said Gertie primly.
The man called Frank, the one who had been honoring Nora with his regard, came forward with a hand outstretched to help her alight, while another man, the ordinary type of English laborer placed himself at the horses’ heads.
“Come, hop out, Nora.”
There was nothing else to do, Nora put the very tips of her fingers into the outstretched hand. To her unspeakable indignation, she felt herself lifted bodily out and actually carried inside the door. At her smothered exclamation, Gertie gave a shrill laugh.
Three weeks had passed with inconceivable rapidity, leaving Nora with the dazed feeling that one has sometimes when waking from a fantastic dream.
There were moments when she was overwhelmed with the utter hopelessness of ever being able to adapt herself to a mode of life so foreign to all her traditions. She had, she told herself, been prepared to find everything different from life at home; and, while she had smiled—on that day such ages ago when young Hornby had called on her at Tunbridge Wells to announce his impending departure from the land of his birth—at his airy theory that the life of the Canadian farmer was largely occupied with riding, hunting, dancing and tennis, she found to her dismay that her own mental picture of her brother’s existence had been nearly as far from the reality.