Cloudy Jewel (Chapter 3, page 2 of 7)


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Chapter 3

They both left their delicious dinner, and got around her, coaxing and wheedling exactly as if she had already declined, when the truth was she was too dazed with joy to open her lips, even if they had given her opportunity to speak.

It was some time before the excitement quieted down and they gave her a chance to say she would go. Even then she spoke the words with fear and trembling as one might step off a commonplace threshold into a fairy palace, not sure but it might be stepping into space.

Outside the sky was still flooded with after-sunset glory, but there was so much glory in the hearts of the three inside the dining-room that they never noticed it at all. It might have been raining or hailing, and they would not have known, they were so happy.

Both the guests donned long gingham aprons and wiped the dishes when the meal was over, both talking with all their might, recalling the days of their childhood when they had had towels pinned around them and been allowed to dry the cups and pans; then suddenly jumping ahead and planning what they would do in the dear new home of the future. They were all three as excited about it as if they had been a bridal couple planning for their honeymoon.

"We shall want five bedrooms," said Leslie decidedly. "I've thought that all out, one for each of us and two guest-rooms, so we can have a boy and a girl home for overnight with us as often as we want to. And there simply must be a fireplace, or we won't take the house. If there isn't the right kind of a house in town, we'll choose some other college. There are plenty of colleges, but you can have only one home, and it must be the right kind. Then of course we want a big kitchen where we can make fudge as often as we choose in the evenings, and a dining-room with a bay-window, with seats and flowers and a canary. Cloudy Jewel, you don't mind cats, do you? I want two at least. I've been crazy for a kitten all the time I was in school, and Al wants a big collie. You won't mind, will you?"

Suddenly Julia Cloud discovered that latent in her heart all these years there had also lain a desire for a cat and a dog; and she lifted guilty eyes, and confessed it. She felt a pang of remembrance as she recalled how her mother used so often to tell her she was nothing but an "old child."

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