“That’s lovely, dear—and that just about finishes us, up here. You see we’ve cleared out these two big rooms, and the Ingrams’ man came just in time to set up the beds. This is our room, and Agnes and the girls will have the other. The boys will have to sleep on the double couch downstairs, to-morrow they can have a tent on the lawn right back of us. Bring that drawer here, it goes in this chest. I thought it was missing, but we’ll straighten everything out to-morrow, and see where we stand. The piano’s out there on the lawn, and I wish you’d cover it with something, unless you get some one after supper to help you move it in. It goes in the corner where the boys’ sleds were, downstairs. Supper’s ready, Bert, if you are!”
“Perhaps you’d like me to dress?” Bert said, deeply amused. Anne and her brothers laughed uproariously, as they all went down the narrow stairs.
“No, but do come down and see how nice it is!” his wife said eagerly. Hanging on his arm, she showed him the comfort downstairs. The big room that had been large enough to house two cars had been swept, and the rugs laid over the concrete floor. Through a westerly window crossed by rose-vines the last light of the long day fell softly upon a small table set for supper. Priscilla was already in her high chair demanding food. At the back of the room, on the long table once used for tools and tubes, Agnes was busy with a coal-oil stove and Nancy’s copper blazer. A heartening aroma of fresh coffee was mingling with other good odours from that region.
Contentedly, the Bradleys dined. Bert served scrambled eggs and canned macaroni to the ravenous children—a meal that was supplemented by a cold roast fowl from the Rose’s, a sheet of rolls brought at the last moment by the Fieldings’ man, sweet butter and peach ice-cream from the Seward Smiths, and a tray of various delicacies from the concerned and sympathetic Ingrams. Every one was hungry and excited, and more than once the boys made their father shout with laughter. They were amusing kids, his indulgent look said to his wife.
At the conclusion of the meal little Anne went around the table, and got into her father’s lap.
“’Member I used to do this when I was just a little girl?” Anne asked, happily. Nancy and Bert looked for a second at each other over the relaxed little head. It was almost dark now, Priscilla was silent in her mother’s arms, even the boys were quiet. Bert smoked, and Nancy spoke now and then to the sleepy baby.
It was with an effort that she roused herself, to lead the little quartette upstairs. And even as she did so she remembered this old sensation, the old reluctance to leave after-dinner quiet and relaxation for the riot of the nursery. Smiling, she carried the baby upstairs, and settled the chattering children in all the novelty of the bare wide rooms.