“She is,” said Uncle William, “and she knows a lot. If she says you’re goin’ to stay, you’re goin’ to. You won’t leave here, not till you’ve built over there on the old cellar place.” He waved his hand toward the horizon. “I’ll help ye build,” he exclaimed. “They ain’t nuthin’ I like better’n potterin’ around and tellin’ folks what to do. I can’t fish till the Jennie’s done and I’ll turn to and help. The’ ’s a girl I can get to do the work. She’s a good cook, and she’ll come down and do for us—be glad to.” He rubbed his hands, beaming upon his guest.
The Frenchman stroked the gray fur with slow touch. “I might take the young man’s place,” he said thoughtfully.
Uncle William paused. “Lord! I’d clean forgot—I feel about twelve year old,” he added apologetically. “But don’t you worry. This house’ll stretch. We three’ll get along all right in it.”
“And Sergia?” said the man, with a smile.
Uncle William rubbed his head. “Um—I’d forgot her, too.”
The man laughed out. “You don’t need to worry. I’m going to lend them my yacht for a trip.”
“Both on ’em?” asked Uncle William. His puzzled face gazed at the man.
Uncle William stared. Then the light dawned. “Right off?” he demanded.
“Right off,” said the man. “And when they come back, the house will be ready for them.”
Uncle William glowed. “They goin’ to live with you?”
“I hope so.”
“Well, well!” He rubbed his great knees thoughtfully with either hand. “I wouldn’t ever ‘a’ thought o’ that. And the Lord himself couldn’t ‘a’ planned anything better ’n that.”
“Thank you,” said the man, smiling.
“Jest the right thing,” went on Uncle William. “And byme-by there’ll be little toddlers—gettin’ over the rocks between here and there.”
“And settin’ by the fire, warmin’ their toes and eatin’ tarts jest the way we used to.”
“Just the same,” said the man.
Uncle William mused thoughtfully. The light of flitting memories was in his face.
The man on the lounge watched him through the high-perched glasses. Presently he took off the glasses and rubbed them on his handkerchief. Then he blew his nose.
Uncle William looked up. The smile on his face was beautiful and tender and full of light. “Where be they?” he said.
They were standing by a great rock at the foot of the cliff. The afternoon had slipped away and the harbor was full of changing light, but the artist’s back was turned to it. He was looking into two little round mirrors of light. Perhaps he saw the harbor reflected there. He saw everything else—the whole round world, swinging in space, and life and death. He bent closer to them. “Why didn’t you write?” reproachfully.
“Uncle William wouldn’t let me.”