And on Sunday, as eager as the children, they went down to Marlborough Gardens again, to find it all lovelier and better than their memory of it. After that they went every Sunday until they moved, and Holly Court seemed to grow better and better. The school and county taxes were already paid, and the receipts given him, and there was no rent! Husband and wife, eyeing the dignified disposition of the furniture, the white crib in the big dressing room next to their own, the boys’ narrow beds separated by strips of rug and neat little dressers, the spare room with the pineapple bed, and the blue scarfs lettered “Perugia—Perugia—Perugia”— looked into each other’s eyes and said that they had done well.
The rest of that summer, and the fall, were like an exquisite dream. All the Bradleys were well, and happier than their happiest dream. Nancy took the children swimming daily on the quiet, deserted beach just above the club grounds; on Saturdays and Sundays they all went swimming. She made her own bed every morning, and the children’s beds, and she dusted the beautiful drawing room, and set the upper half of the Dutch door at a dozen angles, trying to decide which was the prettiest. She and Anne made a little ceremony of filling the vases with flowers, and the boys were obliged to keep the brick paths and the lawn clear of toys.
Nancy made a quiet boast in those days that they let the neighbours alone, and the neighbours let them alone. But she did meet one or two of the Marlborough Beach women, and liked them. And three times during the summer she and Bert asked city friends to visit them; times of pride and pleasure for the Bradleys. Their obvious prosperity, their handsome children, and the ideal home could not but send everyone away admiring. It was after the last of these visits that Bert told his wife that they ought to join the club.
“I don’t quite understand that—don’t we belong?” Nancy asked.
“The Club belongs to all the owners of Marlborough Beach,” Bert explained. “But—but I feel a little awkward about butting in there. However, now that this fellow Biggerstaff, that I meet so much in the train, seems to be so well inclined, suppose you and I dress up and wander over there for tea, on Sunday? We’ll leave the kids here, and just try it.”
Nancy somewhat reluctantly consented to the plan, observing that she didn’t want to do the wrong thing. But it proved the right thing, for not only did the friendly Biggerstaff come over to the Bradleys tea-table, but he brought pretty Mrs. Biggerstaff, and left her with the new-comers while he went off to find other men and women to introduce. The Bradleys met the Roses, and the Seward Smiths and gray-haired Mrs. Underhill, with her son, and his motherless boys—the hour was confused, but heart-warming. When the Bradleys went home in the Roses’ car, they felt that they had been honestly welcomed to Marlborough Gardens. Nancy was so excited that she did not want any supper; she sat with Anne in her lap chattering about the social possibilities opening before her.