Phil went up to the Wigwam early next morning. Breakfast was just over, and Joyce had begun painting again. He paused an instant at the front door to watch her brown head bending over the table, and the quick motion of her deft ﬁngers. She was so absorbed in her task that she did not look up, so after a moment he went on around the house to the kitchen.
Mrs. Ware was lifting the dish-pan from its nail to its place on the table, and Lloyd was standing beside her, enveloped in a huge apron, holding a towel in her hands, ready to help. Norman, beside a chair on which a clean napkin had been spread, was ﬁlling the salt-cellars. Jack, having carried water to the tents, was busy chopping wood.
“Good mawning!” called Lloyd, waving her towel as Phil appeared in the door. Mrs. Ware turned with such a cordial smile of welcome, that he took it as an invitation to come in, and hung his hat on the post of a chair.
“I want to have a ﬁnger in this pie,” he announced. “I was told to stay at home yesterday, but I don’t intend to be snubbed to-day.”
“Wait, Aunt Emily, that kettle is too heavy for you!”
He had called her Aunt Emily since the ﬁrst time he had heard Lloyd do it. “You don’t care, do you?” he had asked. “It makes a fellow feel so forlorn and familyless when he has to mister and madam everybody.” She was sewing a button on his coat for him at the time he asked her, and she gave such a pleased assent that he stooped to leave a light kiss on the smooth forehead where gray hair was beginning to mingle with the brown. Now he took the kettle from her before she could object, and began pouring the boiling water into the pan. “Let me do this,” he insisted. “I haven’t had a hand in anything of the sort since I was a little shaver. It makes me think of a time when the servants were all away, and Stuart and I helped Aunt Patricia. She paid us in peppermint sticks and cinnamon drops.”
“You’ll get no candy here,” she answered, laughing. “You might as well go on if that’s what you expect.” But there was no resisting the coaxing ways of this big handsome boy, who towered above her, and who took possession in such a masterful way of her apron and dish-mop. His coat and cuffs were off the next instant, and he began clattering the china and silverware vigorously through the hot soap-suds.
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