Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/72

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
61
HALKET AND COMPANY

waist; and her hair, instead of being piled loosely on her head, was coiled low down against the nape of her neck. She was, Floyd thought, a very handsome and imperial looking girl.

Her mother came down the stairs, a plain and insignificant old woman, dressed in black, grayhaired, with gold-rimmed spectacles and an upward, short-sighted perk of her faded face. Her fingers were rheumatic and twisted, and coarsened by hard work; Floyd noticed this as he took her timidly offered hand. But like her daughter, she had an indefinably festive air, imparted, perhaps, by the white cuffs on the black sleeves, and the bit of lace at her throat, fastened with a gold pin.

"I came," said Floyd, "to look at rooms."

"Yes," she answered hesitatingly. "I have a room to let. I don't know, though, as I want to let it just for a few days; I'd like to get somebody who'd take it by the month or year."

"If I find it satisfactory," said Floyd, " I should want to take it for a year."

"Oh," said the woman, confused by this unexpected reply. Well—" Her daughter spoke up.

"The room does n't look very well, mother, but perhaps," and she turned to Floyd, "you'll be able to tell if it would suit."

She led the way upstairs. Somewhat bewildered by her sudden change of manner, he followed at her heels. Behind them the older woman toiled slowly. The room was under the roof and had two gable windows, neither of which, to judge by the hot, close air of the place, had been open all summer.

"My!" said the girl, and she raised one and then the other.

The furniture was meagre, an iron bedstead, a brown chest of drawers and a washstand, a small pine table and one chair. There was a fireplace with an asbestos lining for natural gas.