In the afternoon Uncle William mounted the roof again. His face, under its vast calm, wore a look of resolve. He looked thoughtfully down the chimney hole. Then he sat down on the platform and took up his trowel. He balanced it on his palm and looked at the pile of bricks. His gaze wandered to the sky. It swept the bay and came back across the moors. A look of soft happiness filled it; the thin edges of resolve melted before it. “Best kind of weather,” murmured Uncle William, “best kind—” His eye fell on the pile of bricks and he took up one, looking at it affectionately. He laid it in place and patted down the mortar, rumbling to himself.
When Andy came by, half an hour later, three bricks were in place. Uncle William nodded to him affably. “Where goin’, Andy?”
“How much you got done?” demanded Andy.
Uncle William looked at it thoughtfully. “Well, there’s quite a piece. Comin’ up?” he said hopefully.
“It don’t show any.”
“No, it don’t show much—yet. It’s kind of down below.—Think we’re goin’ to have a change?” The tone was full of hopeful interest.
Andy nodded. “Freeze inside of twenty-four hours.”
Uncle William scanned the horizon.
“When you calculatin’ to finish?” asked Andy.
“Well, I was thinkin’ of finishin’ to-night.”
Andy’s gaze sought the sun.
Uncle William took up another brick.
Andy seated himself on a rock. He had done a good day’s work. His conscience was clear; and then William worked better when Andy was around, and Andy took pride in it. “Where’d you get your bricks?” he asked.
Uncle William looked at the one in his hand. “I wheeled them over from the Bodet cellar-place. The’ ’s quite a pile left there yet.”
“They all good?”
“Putty good.” Uncle William was working thoughtfully. “We’ve set by them bricks a good many times, Andy.”
“You remember the things she used to give us to eat?”
Andy swung about. “Who give us?”
“Old Mis’ Bodet.”
Andy’s eye lighted. “So she did. I’d forgot all about ’em.”
Uncle William nodded. “There was a kind of tart she used to make—”
Andy broke in. A look of genuine enthusiasm filled his eye. “I know—that gingery, pumpkin kind—”
“That’s it. And you and me and Benjy used to sit and toast our toes by the fire and eat it—”
“He was a mean cuss,” said Andy.
“Who Benjy? Why, we was al’ays fond of Benjy!” Uncle William’s face beamed over the edge of the roof. “We was fond of him, wa’n’t we?”
“I wa’n’t,” said Andy, shortly. “He’ lick a feller every chance he got.”
“Yes, that’s so—I guess that’s so.” Uncle William was slapping on the mortar with heavy skill. “But he did it kind o’ neat, didn’t he?” His eye twinkled to his work. “’Member that time you ‘borrowed’ his lobster-pot—took it up when it happened to have lobsters in it, and kep’ the lobsters—not to hev ’em waste?”