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Lousiana by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I've been yere a right smart while


He

went out after that, and left her alone to set her things to rights; but when he had gone and closed the door, she did not touch them. She threw herself down flat upon the floor in the midst of them, her slender arms flung out, her eyes wide open and wild and dry.

CHAPTER XIII.

A NEW PLAN.

At last the day came when the house was finished and stood big and freshly painted and bare in the sun. Late one afternoon in the Indian summer, Casey and his men, having bestowed their last touches, collected their belongings and went away, leaving it a lasting monument to their ability. Inside, instead of the low ceilings, and painted wooden walls, there were high rooms and plaster and modern papering; outside, instead of the variegated piazza, was a substantial portico. The whole had been painted a warm gray, and Casey considered his job a neat one and was proud of it. When they were all gone Louisiana went out into the front yard to look at it. She stood in the grass and leaned against an apple-tree. It was near sunset, and both trees and grass were touched with a yellow glow so deep and mellow that it was almost a golden haze. Now that the long-continued hammering and sawing was at an end and all traces of its accompaniments removed, the stillness seemed intense. There was not a breath of wind stirring, or the piping of a bird to be heard.

The girl clasped her slender arms about the tree's trunk and rested her cheek against the rough bark. She looked up piteously.

"I must try to get used to it," she said. "It is very much nicer--and I must try to get used to it."

But the strangeness of it was very hard on her at first. When she looked at it she had a startled feeling--as if when she had expected to see an old friend she had found herself suddenly face to face with a stranger.

Her father had gone to Bowersville early in the day, and she had been expecting his return for an hour or so. She left her place by the tree at length and went to the fence to watch for his coming down the road. But she waited in vain so long that she got tired again and wandered back to the house and around to the back to where a new barn and stable had been built, painted and ornamented in accordance with the most novel designs. There was no other such barn or stable in the country, and their fame was already wide-spread and of an enviable nature.

As she approached these buildings Louisiana glanced up and uttered an exclamation. Her father was sitting upon the door-sill of the barn, and his horse was turned loose to graze upon the grass before him.

"Father," the girl cried, "I have been waiting for you. I thought you had not come."

"I've been yere a right smart while, Louisianny," he answered. "Ye wasn't 'round when I come, an' so ye didn't see me, I reckon."

He was pale, and spoke at first heavily and as if with an effort, but almost instantly he brightened.

"I've jest ben a-settin' yere a-steddyin'," he said. "A man wants to see it a few times an' take it sorter gradual afore he kin do it jestice. A-lookin' at it from yere, now," with a wide sweep of his hand toward the improvements, "ye kin see how much style thar is to it. Seems to me thet the--the mountains now, they look better. It--waal it kinder sets 'em off--it kinder sets 'em off."


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