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Woman's home companion
Vol. LXIV, No. 6 (1937)

Chilton, Eleanor Carroll
Housewarming,   pp. 22-23 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 22

Patricia closed her eves-just for a mo-
ment. Tony saw she had fallen asleep
rowxs and rows of patched color-lovelier, Patricia
*f 'ithought contentedly, than any tapestry. Onl two
shelves remained to be filled. Onlv one small box of
books remained to be emptied. Ihen she could call
THE room had a corner window that made the
East River and its slow busy life almost a part of
the interior decoration and today the September sun-
light washed river and room impartially with a warm
gold light. Patricia's lounging pajamas (old and now
demoted to a working costume) were bright yellow
and so were the six curly chrysanthemums in the vase
on the desk.
Patrihia was as cheerful as the room, and hummed
as she unpacked the books. Her eyelids felt heavy on
her eyes-that was from staying up all night. Her
backbone felt as if tacks had been driven into it-that
was from unwrapping hundreds and hundreds of books
and carrying them from the boxes to the shelves. But
the room and the apartment justified the ache and the
fatigue, and she kept glancing around to confirm
what she already knew-that at last, after more than a
year of hotel rooms and ships' cabins and railroad
compartments, she and Peter had a place to live in.
Junketing about Europe with Peter, she had built
up this room in her imagination-comfortable chairs,
a low table within reach everywhere one could sit,
plenty of ashtrays, plenty of good reading lights and
the whole room centered satisfactorily on the open
fireplace. And the bxkshelves, which that morning
had looked ugl\ and toothless, were now bright w\ith
the janitor, have the unsightly box removed, and
when Peter came in it would be home. To be sure,
four trunks still waited for her but they waited in a
neat inoffensive row against the bedroom nall. After
all, it wouldn't do to have absolutely nothing to do to-
morrow. Patricia hummed.
\\hen the house telephone rang and she was told
that Mr. Davis was calling, she said, "Oh, blact!" to
herself and then aloud, "Ask him to come up." She
had told Tony distinctly, the day before \\hen the
three of them-Tony, Peter and herself-had stxod in
the freshly painted rxm surrounded by a stacked con-
fusion of household goods and personal belongings,
that he was to stay away until this evening. Evening
was still six hours distant. Of course Tony was the
person she most wxanted as a first guest, but she had
wanted to stagger him with a charming and smoothly
running apartment; she had wanted to hear him say,
"You two lxk as if \ou'd been living here for months.
1er annoyance vanished when she opened the door
and saw TonN's enigmatic monkey-like face peering at
her over a large brown-paper package. She smiled at
him happily and said, 'I told yoi to stay a\ay , but
come in, and please exclaim.
-What do people say when they exclaim?"
'They utsua lfly say, 'Oh! or 'Ah!
-I couldn t do that, it would embarrass me." Tony
looked around the room and the expression of in-
credulity on his face made Patricia glad he had come.
"But, Pat," he said, "it's a miracle. How on earth
did you do it?"
"Stayed up all night."
"Reprehensible," Tony said shaking his head.
"'Mad and ill-advised."
"Do you mind if I go on with the books, Tony? It's
the last box and when I've finished, everything will be
done. And I want to surprise Peter."
Tony looked from Patricia to the half empty box
and then back again.
'You mean," he asked slowly as if he were translat-
ing into a foreign language, "you mean you're going
on unpacking?"
It was Patricia's turn to look bewildered. "Don't
people unpack when they're settling down for life?"
-NTONY put down the bulky parcel and thought,
rv   She hasn't heard." And w here did that leave him?
He had rushed here from lunch, to console and aid
Patricia in a domestic crisis, only to find her radiant
w ith domestic bliss. For a moment he considered the
problem of his own responsibility and then quickly
decided to take the easiest line and follow it as far as
he could. The easiest line \\as to curse Peter silently
and let Patricia enjoy her illusions, lie yanked
viciously at the brown paper on the parcel and re-
vealed a two-liter flask of red Chianti. -'I bought this
for you before I - I mean, before lunch. It's-a house-
warming gift. Like the stuff"
'Oh, Tony, I love it. And Peter simply adores it.
I brought a corkscrew too.'
But, Ton, I have a corkscrew.'
TOn laughed at Pat ricia's reproachful eves. ' It's
the first time in my experience," he said, ''that any

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