To her mind, his work extended from the first level ray shot into her room in the morning to the last rose-flush at night; while as for herself, there were the supper dishes and the mending-basket yet waiting.
But, alas! few people understand the art of living. They strive after system, wholeness, buttons, and neglect the weightier matters of the higher law. I wonder how I got here, or how I am to get back again. I started for Fontdale, and I find myself in a mending-basket. As I know no good in tracing the same road back, we may as well strike a bee-line and begin new at Fontdale.
The one was a museum for the preservation of household gods, the other a haven for rest and amusement, where comfort was the first consideration and appearance the last. Bridgie's mending-basket stood on the floor, Jack's pipe peered from behind a chimney-piece ornament, and a bulky blotter and well- filled ink-bottle showed that the writing-table was really and seriously meant for use.
So she had to let the boy run about. But that he hung on Cilia's arm when she had to go an errand in the evening, that he hurried after her when she only took a letter to the box, or that he brought her a chair when she wanted to sit with her mending-basket under the elderberry bush near the kitchen door was not to be tolerated.
She begged one day for the mending-basket, but her daughter-in-law laughed and kissed her. "Tut, tut, mother, dear!" she remonstrated. "As if I'd have you wearing your eyes and fingers out mending a paltry pair of socks!" "Then I I'll knit new ones!" cried the old lady, with sudden inspiration. "Knit new ones stockings!" laughed Margaret Wetherby.
We sat down then in the hall, all of us; Allis and Gertrude to fill the mending-basket, I to smoke and consider. I saw Tip coming home with his nurse presently, and started to go down and let him in, when a faint scream from my wife arrested me. I ran past Miss Fellows, who was sitting on the stairs, and into my room.
Those lonely tasks, too hard for a girl's hands, those unrewarded drudgeries, those days of faithful labor in and out of doors, those evenings of self-sacrifice over the mending-basket; the quiet avoidance of all that might vex her father's crusty temper, her patience with his miserly exactions; the hourly holding back of the hasty word, all these had played their part; all these had been somehow welded into a strong, sunny, steady, life-wisdom, there is no better name for it; and so she had unconsciously the best of all harvests to bring as dower to a husband who was worthy of her.
"It happens to be one and the same thing," the brother replied. "Come here now and sit down beside me and get your mending-basket right away so that you won't have to jump up again. I know you. You will probably run off two or three times to the children." "No, Philip, to-day is Sunday and I won't mend. The children are all sleeping peacefully, so please tell me about it."
"What was you sayin'?" she asked, as she presently found her brother in the apartment designated, and seated herself with her mending-basket in her lap.
"Now what is it, Mrs. Klopton?" I demanded finally, when she had informed me, in a patient and long-suffering tone, that she felt worn out and thought she needed a rest. "When I lived with Mr. Justice Springer," she began acidly, her mending-basket in her hands, "it was an orderly, well-conducted household. You can ask any of the neighbors.