“I don’t know—but it was so like all the others,” Nancy would complain, “It was so utterly commonplace! Now there, Bert, right in the village street, with the trees, is a lovely place, marked ‘For Sale.’ Do let’s just pass it!”
“Darling girl, you couldn’t touch that for twenty thousand. Right there by the track, too!”
“But it looks so homelike!”
“That old barn in the back looks sort of odd to me; they’ve got a sort of livery stable there in the back, Nance, you couldn’t stand that!”
“No.” Nancy’s tone and manner would droop, she would go slowly by, discouraged and tired until another week end.
One day Bert told Nancy that a man named Rogers had been in the office, and had been telling him about a place called Marlborough Gardens. Usually Bert’s firm did not touch anything small enough to interest him as a home, but in this case the whole development was involved, and the obliging Mr. Rogers chanced to mention to Bert that he had some bargains down there at the Gardens.
“There’s nothing in it for him, you understand?” said Bert to his wife, “But he’s an awfully decent fellow, and he got interested. I told him about what we’d been doing, and he roared. He says that we’re to come down Sunday, and see what he’s got, and if we don’t like it he can at any rate give us some dope about the rest of the places.”
“And where is it, Bert?”
“It’s down on the Sound side of Long Island, thirty-seven minutes out of town, right on the water.”
“Oh, Bert, it sounds wonderful?”
“He says that it’s the most amazing thing that ever has been put on the market. He says that Morgan and Rockefeller both have put money into it, on the quiet.”
“Well, if they can risk their little all, we can take a chance!” giggled Nancy.
“Of course that isn’t generally known,” Bert warned her, “but it just goes to show you that it’s a big thing. He was telling me about this feller that had a gorgeous home just built there, and his wife’s mother gets ill, and they all move to California. He said I could look at it, and that it would speak for itself.”
“Did he say whether there were any trees?”
“He said this particular place had wonderful trees.”
“And what’s the price, Bee?”
Bert knew that this was his weak point.
“He didn’t say, old girl.”
Nancy looked rueful, her castle in the dust.
“Oh, Bert! It may be something awful!”
“No, it won’t, for I’d just been telling him what we were looking at, don’t you see!”
“Oh, that so?” Nancy was relieved. “But it will be the first thing I ask him,” she predicted.
However, on Sunday she forgot to ask him. The circumstances were so unexpectedly pleasant as to banish from her head any pre-arranged plan of procedure. It was a glowing June day, soft, perfumed, and breezy. The Bradleys went to Butler’s Hill, which was “our station,” as Nancy said, and there the agent met them, with a car. He drove them himself the short mile from the railroad to Marlborough Gardens.