“But notice the lovely Dutch door first, Bert, “Nancy said eagerly. “See, Anne! On a hot day you can have it half open and half shut, isn’t that cunning?”
“The house is full of charming touches,” Mr. Rogers said, “And you may always trust a woman’s eye to find them, Mr. Bradley! Women are natural home-makers. My wife’ll often surprise me; ’Why, you’ve not got half enough closets, Paul,’ she’ll say. There’s one open fire-place, Mrs. Bradley, in your reception hall. You see the whole plan of the house is informal. You’ve got another fire-place in the dining room, and one in the master bedroom upstairs. Here’s a room they used as a den—bookshelves, and so on, and then beyond is another tiled porch—very convenient for breakfast, or tea. You see Lansing lived here; never has been rented, or anything like that. He’s selling it for practically what it cost him!”
“And what’s that?” asked Bert, smiling, but not quite at his ease.
“Now, you wait a few minutes, Mr. Business Man!” Mr. Rogers said, “What you think, and what I think, doesn’t count much beside what this little lady thinks. She’s got to live in the house, and if she likes it, why I guess you and I can come to terms!”
Nancy threw her husband a glance full of all amused tolerance at this, but in her secret soul she rather liked it.
They went upstairs, where there were hardwood floors, and two bathrooms, and mirrors in the bathroom doors. There was another bathroom in the attic, and a fourth upstairs in the garage, with two small bedrooms in each place. They must expect us to keep four maids, Nancy hastily computed.
There was an upstair porch; “To shake a rug, Mrs. Bradley, or to dry your hair, or for this young lady’s supper,” said the delightful Mr. Rogers. A back stairway led down to tempting culinary regions; a sharp exclamation burst from Nancy at the sight of the great ice box, and the tiled sinks.
They walked about the plot, a large one. At the back, beside the garage, they could look over a small but healthy hedge to more beach, clustered with unusual shells at low tide, and the straggling outskirts of the village. From the front, they looked straight down a wide tree-shaded street, that lost itself in a peaceful vista of great trees and vine-smothered stone walls. “Holly Court” was quiet, it was naturally isolated, it seemed to Nancy already like home.
Even now, however, Mr. Rogers would not talk terms. He drove them about again, passing other houses, all happily and prosperously occupied. He told Nancy about this family and that.
“What’d that house cost?” Bert would demand.
“Ah well, that. That belongs to Ingram, of the Ingram Thorn Coal people, you know. I suppose Mr. Ingram has invested forty or fifty thousand dollars in that place, in one way and another. The tennis court—”
And so on and on. Presently they passed the pretty, unpretentious club-house, built close to the water. A few light sails were dipping and shaking on the bay, children were gathered in a little knot beside an upturned canoe, on the shore. Several cars were parked on the drive outside the club, and Nancy felt decidedly self-conscious as she and Bert and the children walked onto the awninged porch that was the tea room.