“Isn’t it one of those frightfully smart developments?” Nancy asked, smiling uneasily.
“It’s considered the finest home development on Long Island,” the agent admitted readily, “The place I’m going to show you—I’m going to show you two or three—but the special place I want to show you, was built for a home. There isn’t a finer building anywhere. Lansing, the man who built it, was a splendid fellow, with a lovely wife—lovely woman. But her mother lives in California, and she got to worrying—”
“Mr. Bradley told me,” Nancy said sympathetically.
“Homes, and home-makers,” pursued the agent, “That’s what we need. The people we have here are all quiet, home-loving folks, we don’t want show, we don’t want display—”
“Well, that’s our idea!” Bert approved. And he rather vexed his inconsistent wife by adding hardily, “Remember that my top figure is ten thousand, Rogers, will you?”
“Now, you wait and see what I have to show you, and then we’ll talk turkey,” the other man said goodnaturedly. Anne, sitting on her mother’s lap beside him, gave him a sudden smile at the word she recognized.
He wheeled the car smoothly through the great gates of cement, looped with iron chains, that shut off the village herd from the sacred ground. Nancy gave Bert an ecstatic glance; this was wonderful! The scattered homes were all beautiful, all different. Some were actual mansions, with wide-spreading wings and half a dozen chimneys, but some were small and homelike, etched with the stretching fingers of new vines, and surrounded by park-like gardens. Even about the empty plots hedges had been planted, and underbrush raked away, and the effect was indescribably trim and orderly, “like England,” said Nancy, who had never seen England.
As they slowly circled about, they caught glimpses of tennis courts, beyond the lawns and trees, glimpses of the blue water of the bay, glimpses of white, curving driveways. Here a shining motor-car stood purring, there men in white paused with arrested rackets, to glance up at the strangers from their tennis. Nancy looked at Bert and Bert at Nancy, and their eyes confessed that never in all the months of hunting had they seen anything like this!
Presently they came to the end of the road, and to a richly wooded plot that formed a corner to the whole tract. A garden had been planted, but it was neglected now, and weeds had pushed up here and there between the bricks of the path. The house was low and spreading, under great locust and elm trees, a shingled brown house, with two red chimneys and cottage casements. Over one hedge the Bradleys looked down at the pebbled beach that belonged to all the residents of Marlborough Gardens.
“Lansing called this place ‘Holly Court,’” said the agent, leading them to the front porch door, to which he skillfully fitted a key, “That big holly bush there gave it its name; the bush is probably fifty years old. Step in, Mrs. Bradley!”