He enjoyed Grant's cooking in the temporary work-shed they had built; he enjoyed Grant's stories of funny incidents of the war which would crop out at unexpected moments, and which were always good for a new pipe and a few minutes' rest; he even essayed certain flights of his own, which showed that Peter was a creature not entirely without humor.

A few days after the Lanes returned, Jenny Fenton stood washing and singing in the back yard of the cottage. Tom's work-shed ran along one side of it, and there he was carefully fitting the back of a chair to its seat, while a younger Tom, and a still more youthful Joe, were as diligently building a magnificent sailing-vessel in the corner.

The grandfather, who was busy in his work-shed, stepped out from time to time smiling to watch her at her gambols. He had just gone back to his work on one of these occasions when Heidi called out, "Grandfather! grandfather! Come, come!"

From the work-shed beyond the barn the strokes of a hammer told Saxon that Carlsen was wire-binding vegetable boxes. Mrs. Paul's cheery soprano, lifted in a hymn, doated through the trees, accompanied by the whirr of an egg-beater. A sharp barking told where Possum still waged hysterical and baffled war on the Douglass squirrels.

As he sat at work he could see the fire and the clock without getting up, which was very convenient, and he was proud of his work-shed, though in the winter it was both chilly and dark. Joshua lived quite alone. He had come to Danecross twenty years ago from the north, bringing with him a wife, a collection of old books, and a clarionet.

Now, from the work-shed to the patent office is clearly only one step. He invited me to see those things. I accepted readily, and took care, by a remark or so, to underline that. The proposed transfer of the bungalow remained very conveniently in suspense. At last he rose to depart, with an apology for the length of his call. Talking over his work was, he said, a pleasure enjoyed only too rarely.

Nevertheless I made out enough to convince me that he was no mere crank playing at discoveries. In spite of his crank-like appearance there was a force about him that made that impossible. Whatever it was, it was a thing with mechanical possibilities. He told me of a work-shed he had, and of three assistants originally jobbing carpenters whom he had trained.

He was quite right, for as they ran the few hundred yards which separated them from the burning place, it was to find that the poor fellow's house, work-shed, stock of wood, peat-stack, and out-buildings were in a blaze; even his punt, which had been brought up for its annual repair and pitching, blazing furiously.

About a week after the events happened which have just been described, Acton invited the Triple Alliance to meet the "House of Lords" in the work-shed, to discuss an important scheme which he said had been in his mind for some days past; and the door having been locked to exclude outsiders, he commenced to unfold his project as follows:

"Are yours mounted with brass and with brass pans?" "Yes, and got lions' heads on the handles just at the end." "Ours are just the same," said Dick. "I say, Tom, it won't be very pleasant for the spirits if they come now. Hullo, what does Hicky want?" The big wheelwright was signalling to them to come, and they turned in to his work-shed. "Thowt you lads 'd like to see," he said.