Her aunt was busy making a new chicken run and, with a quickening of the heart, Joan saw that Michael was wielding the mallet which drove in the stakes.
'You dear girl,' exclaimed Aunt Ethel, proffering a cold damp cheek to be kissed, while her fingers ripped open the package. 'Four whole ounces! I can't believe it! Now I shall be able to knit Jesse a good thick pair or winter socks. How on earth did Hilda manage it?'
'Sheer favoritism,' replied Joan. 'It was under-the-counter stuff, and passed over with much secrecy, I understand. They only had two pounds of wool altogether, grandma said, and you had to be a real old blue-blooded Caxleyite to nobble an ounce or two.'
Michael laughed at this, and Joan found him more attractive than ever.
'Now hold the end of this wire,' directed Aunt Ethel, returning to the business at hand, 'and we'll be done in no time. Then you must stop and have lunch. It's rabbit casserole with lots of carrots.'
'S'posed to keep off night-blindness, whatever that is,' said Michael jerkily, between powerful blows with the mallet.
When the job was done and the excellent rabbit demolished, Michael and Joan sat in the warm farm kitchen and talked. Uncle Jesse was in the yard attempting to repair a wiring fault in his ancient Ford, while Aunt Ethel had gone upstairs 'to sort the laundry', she explained, although Joan knew very well that she was having a nap which she refused to admit she took every afternoon."