Next, the false and insulting "To Let" sign would be forcibly
tweaked from the tree and thrown into the grass. She would then
lay the table in the kitchen, and make ready the nicest breakfast
that two people ever sat down to. And oh, would two people sit
down to it; or would one go off in a rage and the other die of
grief and disappointment?
Then, having done all, she would wait and palpitate, and
palpitate and wait, until Stephen came. Surely no property-owner
in the universe could drive along a road, observe his corn
leveled to the earth, his sign removed, his house open, and smoke
issuing from his chimney, without going in to surprise the rogue
and villain who could be guilty of such vandalism.
And when he came in?
Oh, she had all day Sunday in which to forecast, with mingled
dread and gladness and suspense, that all-important, all-decisive
first moment! All day Sunday to frame and unframe penitent
speeches. All day Sunday! Would it ever be Monday? If so, what
would Tuesday bring? Would the sun rise on happy Mrs. Stephen
Waterman of Pleasant River, or on miserable Miss Rose Wiley of
the Prier Neighborhood?
THE DREAM ROOM
Long ago, when Stephen was a boy of fourteen or fifteen, he had
gone with his father to a distant town to spend the night. After
an early breakfast next morning his father had driven off for a
business interview, and left the boy to walk about during his
absence. He wandered aimlessly along a quiet side street, and
threw himself down on the grass outside a pretty garden to amuse
himself as best he could.
After a few minutes he heard voices, and, turning, peeped through
the bars of the gate in idle, boyish curiosity. It was a small
brown house; the kitchen door was open, and a table spread with a
white cloth was set in the middle of the room. There was a
cradle in a far corner, and a man was seated at the table as
though he might be waiting for his breakfast.
There is a kind of sentiment about the kitchen in New England, a
kind of sentiment not provoked by other rooms. Here the farmer
drops in to spend a few minutes when he comes back from the barn
or field on an errand. Here, in the great, clean, sweet,
comfortable place, the busy housewife lives, sometimes rocking
the cradle, sometimes opening and shutting the oven door,
sometimes stirring the pot, darning stockings, paring vegetables,
or mixing goodies in a yellow bowl. The children sit on the
steps, stringing beans, shelling peas, or hulling berries; the
cat sleeps on the floor near the wood-box; and the visitor feels
exiled if he stays in sitting-room or parlor, for here, where the
mother is always busy, is the heart of the farm-house.
There was an open back door to this kitchen, a door framed in
morning-glories, and the woman (or was she only girl?) standing
at the stove was pretty,--oh, so pretty in Stephen's eyes! HisDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>