The Enchanted Barn (Chapter VII, page 2 of 8)


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Like a pack of eager children they tumbled out of the car and hurried up to the barn, all talking at once, forgetting all difference in station. They were just young and out on a picnic.

Graham had brought a key for the big padlock; and clumsily the man and the boy, unused to such manoeuvres, unlocked and shoved back the two great doors.

"These doors are too heavy. They should have ball bearings," remarked young Graham. "I'll attend to that at once. They should be made to move with a light touch. I declare it doesn't pay to let property lie idle without a tenant, there are so many little things that get neglected."

He walked around with a wise air as if he had been an active landowner for years, though indeed he was looking at everything with strange, ignorant eyes. His standard was a home where every detail was perfect, and where necessities came and vanished with the need. This was his first view into the possibilities of "being up against it," as he phrased it in his mind.

Elizabeth in her blue velvet cloak and blue cloudy veil stood like a sweet fairy in the wide doorway, and looked around with delight.

"Oh Sid, wouldn't this be just a dandy place for a party?" she exclaimed eagerly. "You could put the orchestra over in that corner behind a screen of palms, and decorate with gray Florida moss and asparagus vine with daffodils wired on in showers from the beams, and palms all around the walls, and colored electrics hidden everywhere. You could run a wire in from the street, couldn't you? the way they did at Uncle Andy's, and serve the supper out on the lawn with little individual rustic tables. Brower has them, and brings them out with rustic chairs to match. You could have the tree wired, too, and have colored electrics all over the place. Oh! wouldn't it be just heavenly? Say, Sid, Carol says they are coming out here to live, maybe; why couldn't we give them a party like that for a house-warming?"

Sidney Graham looked at his eager, impractical young sister and then at the faces of the three Hollisters, and tried not to laugh as the tremendous contrast of circumstances was presented to him. But his rare tact served him in good stead.

"Why, Elizabeth, that would doubtless be very delightful; but Miss Hollister tells me her mother has been quite ill, and I'm sure, while that might be the happiest thing imaginable for you young folks, it would be rather trying on an invalid. I guess you'll have to have your parties somewhere else for the present."

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