Chapter 3

MeanwhileOldWhateleycontinuedtobuycattlewithoutmeasurablyincreasingthesizeofhisherd.Healsocuttimberandbegantorepairtheunusedpartsofhishouseaspacious,peak-roofedaffairwhoserearendwasburiedentirelyintherockyhillside,andwhosethreeleast-ruinedground-floorroomshadalwaysbeensufficientforhimselfandhisdaughter.

Theremusthavebeenprodigiousreservesofstrengthintheoldmantoenablehimtoaccomplishsomuchhardlabour;andthoughhestillbabbleddementedlyattimes,hiscarpentryseemedtoshowtheeffectsofsoundcalculation.IthadalreadybegunassoonasWilburwasborn,whenoneofthemanytoolshedshadbeenputsuddenlyinorder,clapboarded,andfittedwithastoutfreshlock.Now,inrestoringtheabandonedupperstoreyofthehouse,hewasanolessthoroughcraftsman.Hismaniashoweditselfonlyinhistightboarding-upofallthewindowsinthereclaimedsectionthoughmanydeclaredthatitwasacrazythingtobotherwiththereclamationatall.

Lessinexplicablewashisfittingupofanotherdownstairsroomforhisnewgrandsonaroomwhichseveralcallerssaw,thoughnoonewaseveradmittedtotheclosely-boardedupperstorey.Thischamberhelinedwithtall,firmshelving,alongwhichhebegangraduallytoarrange,inapparentlycarefulorder,alltherottingancientbooksandpartsofbookswhichduringhisowndayhadbeenheapedpromiscuouslyinoddcornersofthevariousrooms.

‘Imadesomeuseof’em,’hewouldsayashetriedtomendatornblack-letterpagewithpastepreparedontherustykitchenstove,‘buttheboy’sfittentomakebetteruseof’em.He’dorterhev’emaswellsoashekin,forthey’regoin’tobeallofhislarnin’.

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