Low-spirited as she was during the first days, Polly was amused by her father. She was startled to hear herself laugh aloud the night he came; it was as if the sound had come from someone else. She told herself that she was going through the motions of living, now that she had someone to live for, but before long she found she was looking forward to coming home from work, wondering what they would have for dinner and what her father had been up to in her absence. He was immensely proud of the divorce and talked about it to everyone, as if it were some new process he had discovered, all by himself. For the time being, Polly had taken for him a room on the third floor; on weekends, they were going to look for an apartment. But then Mr. Andrews had a better idea. Having made friends with the landlady, he persuaded her to turn the top-floor rooms into an apartment for him and Polly—the lodger in the one that was rented could move downstairs to Polly’s place. He designed the new apartment himself, using the hall to gain space and to make a little kitchen, long and narrow, like a ship’s galley. All spring and early summer he and Polly were busy with the remodeling, which did not cost the landlady very much since Mr. Andrews gave his services free, did some of the carpentry himself (he had learned at the workshop in the sanatorium), and found a secondhand sink and plumbing fixtures in the junkyards he haunted, looking for treasure. Polly learned to paint, well enough to do the bookshelves and cupboards; she sewed curtains from old sheets, with a blue and red border, the colors of the French flag, and she got to work with upholstery tacks and recovered two of the landlady’s Victorian chairs.
The apartment, when it was finished, was delightful, with its old marble fireplaces and inside shutters; if Mr. Andrews and Polly were ever to leave it, the landlady could rent it for much more than she was charging them. Carried away with his success, Mr. Andrews wanted to redo the whole house into apartments and make the landlady’s fortune—a project Polly vetoed. Mr. Andrews had to content himself with the plan of making Polly a little winter garden or greenhouse for her plants, outside the back windows, which had a southern exposure; he wanted this to be Polly’s Christmas present and spent a good deal of his time at the glazier’s.
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