Chapter Nineteen

That same week Bert brought home the deeds, and put them down on the dinner table before her. Nancy usually started the meal promptly at half past six, so that the children's first raging appetites might be partly assuaged; bread was buttered, milk poured, bibs tied, and all the excitement of commencing the meal abated when Bert came in. It was far from being the ideal arrangement, both parents admitted that, but like a great many other abridgements and changes in the domestic routine, it worked. The rule was that no one was to interrupt Dad until he had talked a little to Mother, and had his soup, and this worked well, too. It was while the soup-plates were going out that Bert usually lifted his daughter bodily into his arms, and paid some little attention to his sons.

But to-night he came rushing in like a boy, and the instant Nancy saw the cause of his excitement, she was up from her place, and as wild with pleasure as a girl. The deeds! The actual title to Holly Court! Then it was all right? It was all right! It was theirs. Nancy showed the stamped and ruled and folded paper to the children. Oh, she had been so much afraid that something would go wrong. She had been so worried.

Nothing else was talked of that night, or for many days and nights. Bert said that they might as well move at once, no use paying rent when you owned a place, and he and Nancy entered into delightful calculations as to the placing of rugs and tables and chairs. The things might come out of storage now--wouldn't the banjo clock and the pineapple bed look wonderful in Holly Court! The children rejoiced in the parental decision to go and see it again next Sunday, and take lunch this time, and be all by themselves, and really get to know the place.

Curiously, neither Nancy nor Bert could distinctly remember anything but its most obvious features, now. Just how the stairs came down into the pantry, and how the doors into the bedrooms opened, they were unable to remember. But it was perfection, they remembered that.

And on Sunday, as eager as the children, they went down to Marlborough Gardens again, to find it all lovelier and better than their memory of it. After that they went every Sunday until they moved, and Holly Court seemed to grow better and better. The school and county taxes were already paid, and the receipts given him, and there was no rent! Husband and wife, eyeing the dignified disposition of the furniture, the white crib in the big dressing room next to their own, the boys' narrow beds separated by strips of rug and neat little dressers, the spare room with the pineapple bed, and the blue scarfs lettered "Perugia--Perugia--Perugia"-- looked into each other's eyes and said that they had done well.