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his embarrassment with approving eyes.
“You might finish those beans,” said she, offering the hoe. “Of course, you must stay to dinner, and I must go lig nike air max ht the fire.”
Bob finished the beans, leaned the hoe up against the house, and went around to the front. There he stopped in astonishment.
“Well, you have changed things!” he cried.
The stuffy little shed kitchen was no longer occupied. A floor had been laid between the bases of four huge trees, and walls enclosing three sides to the height of about eight feet cheap nike air max trainers had been erected. The affair had no roof. Inside these three walls were the stove, the kitchen table, the shelves and utensils of cooking. Miss Thorne, her sunbonnet laid aside from her glossy black braids, moved swiftly and easily here and there in this charming stage-set of a kitchen. About ten feet in front of it, on the pine needles, stood the dining table, set with white.
The girl nodded brightly to Bob.
“Finished?” she inquired. She pointed to the water pail: “There’s a useful task for willing hands.”
Bob filled the pail, and set it brimming on the section of cedar log which seemed to be its appointed resting place.
“Thank you,” said the girl. Bob leaned against the tree and watched her as she moved here and there nike air max 1 about the varied business of cooking. Every few minutes she would stop and look upward through the cool shadows of the trees, like a bird drinking. At times she burst into snatches of song, so brief as to be unrecognizable.
“Do you like sticks in your food?” she asked Bob, as though suddenly remembering his presence, “and pine needles, and the husks of pine nuts, and other debris? because that’s what the breezes and trees and naughty little squirrels are always raining down on me.”
“Why don’t you have the men stretch you a canvas?” asked Bob.
“Well,” said the girl, stopping short, “I have considered it. I no more than nike air max sale you like unexpected twigs in my dough. But you see I do like shadows and sunlight and upper air and breezes in my food. And you can’t have one without the other. Did you get all the weeds out?”
“Yes,” said Bob. “Look here; you ought not to have to do such work as that.”
“Do you think it will wear down my fragile strength?” she asked, looking at him good-humouredly. “Is it too much exercise for me?”
“No–” hesita nike air max 90 sale ted Bob, “but–”
“Why, bless you, I like to help the babies to grow big and green,” said she. “One can’t have the theatre or bridge up here; do leave us some of the simple pleasures.”
“Why did you want me to finish for you then?” demanded Bob shrewdly.
She laughed.
“Young man,” said she, “I could give you at least ten reasons,” with which enigmatic remark she whipped her apron around her hand and whisked open the oven door, where were displayed rows of beautifully browned biscuits.
“Nevertheless—-” began Bob.
“Nevertheless,” she took him up, raising her face, slightly flushed by the heat, “all the men-folks are busy, and this one woman-folk is not harmed a bit by playing at being a farmer lassie.”
“One of the rangers could do it all in a couple of hours.”
“The rangers are in the employ of the United States Government, an nike air max d this garden is mine,” she stated evenly. “How could I take a Government employee to work on my property?”
“But surely Mr. Thorne–”
“Ashley, bless his dear old heart, takes beans for granted, as something that happens on well-regulated tables.”
She walked to the edge of the kitchen floor and looked up through the trees. “He ought to be along soon now. I hope so; my biscuits are just on the brown.” She turned to Bob, her eyes dancing: “Now comes the exciting moment of the day, the great gamble! Will he come alone, or will he bring a half-dozen with him? I am always ready for the half-dozen, and as a consequence we live in a grand, ingenious debauch of warmed-ups and next-days. You don’t know what good practice it is; nor what fun! I’ve often thought I could teach those cooks of Marc Antony’s something–you remember, don’t cheap air max you, they used to keep six dinners going all at different stages of preparation because they never knew at what hour His High-and-mightiness might choose to dine. Or perhaps you don’t know? Football men don’t have to study, do they?”
“What makes you think I’m a football man?” grinned Bob; “generally bovine expression?”
“Not know the great Bob Orde!” cried the girl. “Why, not one of us but had your picture, generally in a nice gilt shrine, but _always_ with violets before it.”
But on this ground Bob was sure.
“You have been reading a ten-cent magazine,” he admonished her gravely. “It is unwise to take your knowledge of the customs in girls’ colleges from such sources.”
From the depths of the forest eddied a cloud of dust. Miss Thorne appraised it carefully.
“Warmed-overs to-night,” she pronounced. “There’s no more than two cheap nike air max of them.”
The accuracy of her guess was almost immediately verified by the appearance of two riders. A moment later Thorne and California John dismounted at the hitching rail, some distance removed among the azaleas, and came up afoot. The younger man had dropped all his dry, official precision, his incisive abruptness, his reticence. Clad in the high, laced cruisers, the khaki and gray flannel, the broad, felt hat and gay neckerchief of what might be called the professional class of out-of-door man, his face glowing with health and enthusiasm, he seemed a different individual.
“Hullo! Hullo!” he cried out a joyous greeting as he drew nearer; “I couldn’t bring you much company to-day, Amy. But I see you’ve found some. How are you, Orde? I’m glad to see you.”
He and California John disappeared behind the shed, where the wa sh basin was; while Amy, with deftnes nike air max 90 s, rearranged the table to accord with the numbers who would sit down to it.
The meal in the open was most delightful; especially to Bob, after his long course of lumber-camp provender. The deep shadows shifted slowly across the forest floor. Sparkles of sunlight from unexpected quarters touched gently in turn each of the diners, or glittered back from glass or linen. Occasionally a wandering breeze lifted a corner of the tablecloth and let it fall, or scurried erratically across the table itself. Occasionally, too, a pine needle, a twig, a leaf would zigzag down through the air to fall in some one’s coffee or glass or plate. Birds flashed across the open vault o cheap nike air max f this forest room–brilliant birds, like the Louisiana Tanager; sober little birds like the creepers and nuthatches. Circum nike air max classic spect and reserved whitecrowns and brush tohees scratched and hopped silently over the forest litter. Once a swift falcon, glancing like a shadowy death, slanted across the upper spaces. The food was excellent, and daintily served.
“I am proud of my blue and white enamel-ware,” Miss Thorne told Bob; “it’s so much better than tin or this ugly gray. And that glass pitcher I got with c cheap nike air max oupons from the coffee packages.”
“You didn’t get these with coupons?” said Bob, lifting one of the massive silver forks.
“No,” she admitted. “That is my one foolishness. All the rest does not matter, but I can’t get along without my silver.”
“And a great nuisance it is to those who have to move as we move,” put in Ashley Thorne.
The forest officers took up their broken conversation. Bob found himself a silent but willing listener. He heard dis nike air max 95 cussion of policies, business dealings, plans that widened the horizon of what the Forest had meant to him. In these discussions the girl took an active and intelligent part. Her opinion seemed to be accepted seriously by both the men, as one who had knowledge, and indeed, her grasp of details seemed as comprehensive as that of the men themselves.
Finally Thorne pushed his chair back and began to fill his pipe.

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