“I hope you will take me home with you, and let me see all that land, and how it is handled,” said John Jardine. “I don’t own an acre. I never even have thought of it, but there is no reason why I, or any member of my family shouldn’t have all the land they want. Mother, do you feel a wild desire for two hundred acres of land? Same kind of a desire that took you to come here?”
“No, I don’t,” said Mrs. Jardine. “All I know about land is that I know it when I see it, and I know if I think it’s pretty; but I can see why Kate feels that she would like that amount for herself, after having helped earn all those farms for her brothers. If it’s land she wants, I hope she speedily gets all she desires in whatever location she wants it; and then I hope she lets me come to visit her and watch her do as she likes with it.”
“Surely,” said Kate, “you are invited right now; as soon as I ever get the land, I’ll give you another invitation. And of course you may go home with me, Mr. Jardine, and I’ll show you each of what Father calls ‘those little parcels of land of mine.’ But the one he lives on we shall have to gaze at from afar, because I’m a Prodigal Daughter. When I would leave home in spite of him for the gay and riotous life of a school-marm, he ordered me to take all my possessions with me, which I did in one small telescope. I was not to enter his house again while he lived. I was glad to go, he was glad to have me, while I don’t think either of us has changed our mind since. Teaching school isn’t exactly gay, but I’ll fill my tummy with quite a lot of symbolical husks before he’ll kill the fatted calf for me. They’ll be glad to see you at my brother Adam’s, and my sister, Nancy Ellen, would greatly enjoy meeting you. Surely you may go home with me, if you’d like.”
“I can think of only one thing I’d like better,” he said. “We’ve been such good friends here and had such a good time, it would be the thing I’d like best to take you home with us, and show you where and how we live. Mother, did you ever invite Kate to visit us?”
“I have, often, and she has said that she would,” replied Mrs. Jardine. “I think it would be nice for her to go from here with us; and then you can take her home whenever she fails to find us interesting. How would that suit you for a plan, my dear?”
“I think that would be a perfect ending to a perfect summer,” said Kate. “I can’t see an objection in any way. Thank you very much.”
“Then we’ll call that settled,” said John Jardine.
A BUSINESS PROPOSITION
Mid-August saw them on their way to Chicago. Kate had taken care of Mrs. Jardine a few days while Jennie Weeks went home to see her mother and arrange for her new work. She had no intention of going back to school teaching. She preferred to brush Mrs. Jardine’s hair, button her shoes, write her letters, and read to her.