Bert carried the lovely Anne; Nancy had the thermos bottle and Anne's requirements in a small suit-case; and the boys had a neat cardboard box of lunch apiece. And then some months after their seventh anniversary, Bert sold the Witcher Place. This was the most important financial event of their lives.
"There is something about you which inspires love, my boy," said Louis Philippe; and I heard him with astonishment. "Perhaps it comes from the mother; she was a witcher of all mankind." "I cannot understand why any one should love so ignorant a creature, but God grant there be others that love me, too; for I have lived a life stinted of all affection.
Sir Maunder Meddleby thought for a while, or, at any rate, meant to be thinking, ere ever he dared to deliver himself of all his weighty judgment. "I've a-knowed she, my Lord Witcher, ever since her wore that haigh. A purty wanch, and a peart one. But her wanteth the vinish of the coort. Never do no good wi'out un, whan a coomth, as her must, to coorting."
"They'll get it, Nance. Somebody'll develop a real estate deal here some day. They must have a hundred acres here. You'll see it- -'Witcher Park' or 'Witcher Manor. The old chap who inherited it is as rich as Croesus, he was in the office the other day, he wants to sell. Hello! I was in the office garden and so I said- -if you please " Bert was going to sleep.
Only once did he speak of the Witcher Place that night, and then it was to say: "Perry that's that old chap's name said that he would be in this week, at the office. I'll bet he doesn't come." "No, I don't suppose he will," Nancy said. "I impressed it on his son that it meant something, to me, to have him ask for me, if he DID come," said Bert, then.
The Witcher Place had been so long in the hands of Bert's firm for sale that it had become a household word in the Bradley family, and in other families.
I says, says I, 'phwat he starts he'll finish if he has ter clane up the whole uv France. That's phwat I said. I says if he makes a bull he'll turrn the whole wurrld upside down to straighten things out. I got yer number all roight, Tommy. Get along witcher upstairs and take the advice of Doctor Pete Connegan get out amongst them kids more."
Not the Witcher Place!" "Yep!" Bert answered briefly. "He took it. It's all settled." So the Bradleys had a bank account. And even before the precious money was actually paid them, and deposited in the bank, Nancy knew what they were going to do with it. There was only one sensible thing for young persons who were raising a family on a small salary to do. They must buy a country home.
They pushed open the old gate, and ate their luncheon that day sitting on the lawn, under the elms that the first Eliot Witcher had planted a hundred years ago. The children ran wild over the garden, Anne took her nap on the leaf- strewn side porch. "Bert they never want two hundred thousand dollars for just this!" Bert threw away his cigar, and flung himself luxuriously down for a nap.
There it was; the decaying mansion, the neglected avenue and garden, the acres and acres of idle orchard and field. The faded signposts identified it, "Apply to the Estate of Eliot Witcher." "Bert, this isn't the Witcher Place!" exclaimed his wife. Bert was as interested as she.