“I’ll be satisfied if I can stay. How much do you want?”
The woman looked down, probably with an inward anxiety between the fear of asking too much and the folly of asking too little. She said, tentatively: “Some of the folks that come over from the hotels say they pay as much as twenty dollars a week.”
“But you don’t expect hotel prices?”
“I don’t know as I do. We’ve never had anybody before.”
The stranger relaxed the frown he had put on at the greed of her suggestion; it might have come from ignorance or mere innocence. “I’m in the habit of paying five dollars for farm board, where I stay several weeks. What do you say to seven for a single week?”
“I guess that ’ll do,” said the woman, and she went out with the pie, which she had kept in her hand.
The painter went round to the front of the house and walked up and down before it for different points of view. He ran down the lane some way, and then came back and climbed to the sloping field behind the barn, where he could look at Lion’s Head over the roof of the house. He tried an open space in the orchard, where he backed against the wall enclosing the little burial-ground. He looked round at it without seeming to see it, and then went back to the level where the house stood. “This is the place,” he said to himself. But the boy, who had been lurking after him, with the dog lurking at, his own heels in turn, took the words as a proffer of conversation.
“I thought you’d come to it,” he sneered.
“Did you?” asked the painter, with a smile for the unsatisfied grudge in the boy’s tone. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
The boy looked down, and apparently made up his mind to wait until something sufficiently severe should come to him for a retort. “Want I should help you get your things?” he asked, presently.
“Why, yes,” said the painter, with a glance of surprise. “I shall be much obliged for a lift.” He started toward the porch where his burden lay, and the boy ran before him. They jointly separated the knapsack from the things tied to it, and the painter let the boy carry the easel and campstool which developed themselves from their folds and hinges, and brought the colors and canvas himself to the spot he had chosen. The boy looked at the tag on the easel after it was placed, and read the name on it—Jere Westover. “That’s a funny name.”
“I’m glad it amuses you,” said the owner of it.
Again the boy cast down his eyes discomfited, and seemed again resolving silently to bide his time and watch for another chance.