Ruth sat with her chin in her hands and gazed absently out of the window. She remembered when that yard was to her as the garden of Eden. As a child she had been brought here, a delicate, faded little hothouse plant, and for three wonderful years and been allowed to grow and blossom at will in the freedom of outdoor life. The glamour of those old days still clung to the place, and made her love everything connected with it. The front gate, with its wide white posts, still held the records of her growth, for each year her grandfather had stood her against it and marked her progress. The huge green tub holding the crapemyrtle was once a park where she and Annette had played dolls, and once it had served as a burying-ground when Carter's sling brought down a sparrow. The ice house, with its steep roof, recalled a thrilling tobogganing experience when she was six. Grandfather had laughed over the torn gown, and bade her do it again.
It was all the trees, though, that she loved best of all; for they were friendly old poplar-trees on which the bark formed itself into all sorts of curious eyes. One was a wicked old stepfather eye with a heavy lid; she remembered how she used to tiptoe past it and pretend to be afraid. Beyond, by the arbor, were two smaller trees, where a coquettish eye on one looked up to an adoring eye on the other. She had often built a romance about them as she watched them peeping at each other through the leaves.
Down behind the house the waving fields of blue-grass rippled away to the little river, where weeping willows hung their heads above the lazy water, and ferns reached up the banks to catch the flowers. And the fields and the river and the house and the trees were hers,-- hers and Carter's, -- and neither could sell without the consent of the other. She took a deep breath of satisfaction. The prospect of living alone in the old homestead failed to appal her.