"In the spring?" Claude looked up from his plate.
"Of course, Claude. I could hardly get back before next fall, if I'm to be of any help to poor Carrie. I might try to be home for harvest, if that would make it more convenient for you." She rose to bring in the dessert.
"Oh, don't hurry on my account!" he muttered, staring after her disappearing figure.
Enid came back with the hot pudding and the after-dinner coffee things. "This has come on us so suddenly that we must make our plans at once," she explained. "I should think your mother would be glad to keep Rose for us; she is such a good cow. And then you can have all the cream you want."
He took the little gold-rimmed cup she held out to him. "If you are going to be gone until next fall, I shall sell Rose," he announced gruffly.
"But why? You might look a long time before you found another like her."
"I shall sell her, anyhow. The horses, of course, are Father's; he paid for them. If you clear out, he may want to rent this place. You may find a tenant in here when you get back from China." Claude swallowed his coffee, put down the cup, and went into the front parlour, where he lit a cigar. He walked up and down, keeping his eyes fixed upon his wife, who still sat at the table in the circle of light from the hanging lamp. Her head, bent forward a little, showed the neat part of her brown hair. When she was perplexed, her face always looked sharper, her chin longer.
"If you've no feeling for the place," said Claude from the other room, "you can hardly expect me to hang around and take care of it. All the time you were campaigning, I played housekeeper here."