Cloudy Jewel (Chapter 4, page 1 of 8)

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Chapter 4

Down the little village street, past the station, and across the railroad toward Harmony swept the great blue car, with the villagers turning to stare at Miss Cloud taking a ride so early in the morning in so gaudy a car, so soon after the funeral, and even without a veil!

A few minutes later Ellen in her Ford rattled up to the door and got out with the air of one who had come to do things. She walked confidently up to the front door and tried it, rattled it, knocked, and then went angrily around to the back, trying all the doors and windows. Mrs. Perkins from her parlor window watched a minute; and, when she saw Ellen come around to the front again and look up at the second story, she threw a shawl around her shoulders and ran across the street to impart faithfully her story.

"For the land's sake!" said Ellen indignantly. "What can Julia be about? Mother always said she never would grow up, and I believe it. I was afraid when I went away she had some scheme in her mind. She's always getting up fool ideas. I remember that time when Mrs. Marsh died she wanted to adopt the twins and bring them up. The idea! When there was a county poorhouse and no reason why they shouldn't go to it! But she'll have to come down off her independence and be sensible. Herbert says we can't have any of her foolishness. It's us that would have to suffer if she got into trouble and lost what little she's got, and I suppose I've got to have it out with her once and for all and get this thing settled. It's getting on all our nerves, and I've got the fall house-cleaning and jelly to do, and I can't fool around any longer. Well, I suppose I better try to get into this house. Have you got any keys that might fit?"

Mrs. Perkins hurried over for all her keys, including trunk-keys; and soon they had tried every door and every key with no effect, and had to call in the youngest Perkins and boost him up to the upper-hall window.

Under the guise of looking after Julia Cloud the two good ladies invaded her home and proceeded to investigate. The parlor and the hall gave forth no secrets except for a couple of handsome raincoats slung carelessly upon chairs. But the dining-room, oh, the dining-room! If Julia Cloud could have seen their faces as they swung open that carefully closed door and stood upon the threshold aghast, looking at the wreck of the breakfast, she would have cringed and shivered even on her way to Harmony.

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