THERE was a secret look-out place behind the light switch in the hall of the Biggs' house.
One of the screws was missing. The empty hole was large enough for a Little to look and listen through.
Mr. Little spent all the next day at the look-out place. Tom Little stayed with him.
They were waiting for the Newcombs.
"When they come, be careful of that light switch, Tom," said Mr. Little. "Likely as not, the first thing they'll do is turn on the hall light."
Sometime in the late afternoon, Mr. Little thought he heard a noise. He looked through the hole.
"Are they coming?" said Tom.
"Not yet . . . hold it!" Mr. Little heard a key in the front door lock. "Yes — here they come now — sh!"
"Where's the hall light, Charhe?" It was a woman's voice.
"I have it," said Charles Newcomb.
There were sparks inside the look-out place as the light was turned on. Tom Little jumped. His father turned from the peep-hole and put his finger to his lips. "Sh!" The bright light from the hall came through the peep-hole into their dark hiding place. Tom could see his father's face clearly. Mr. Little returned to the hole.
"what a drive!" said Mrs. Newcomb. She sat down heavily on the suitcase. "Give me a minute to rest and I'll help you with the rest of the bags."
"No need to help, Mrs. N.," said Mr. Newcomb. "I'll get the bags myself. No tipping, please. It's part of the service here at the Biggs' Summer Hotel."
Mrs. Newcomb laughed. "Where do you get the energy?" she said.
"From the country!" said Mr. Newcomb.
"I didn't realize how much I'd missed it. I get energy from just looking at all the trees and space. We're going to be here three months. Think of it!"
"I am," said Mrs. Newcomb. "I'll still have to get three meals a day — only now it'll be in a strange kitchen."
"Listen, Liz," said Mr. Newcomb. "You've come here to write. And I've come here to paint. Nothing else is important."
"Sure, sure!" Mrs. Newcomb laughed.
"Tell me that after eating hamburger for a week."
"I mean it, Liz," said Mr. Newcomb.
"Forget about housework. Write those stories you want to write. As for me —" He twirled around and did a little dance. "This isn't my house. I'm fixing nothing and I'm doing nothing. If the faucets drip, let 'em drip! I may not even take out the garbage."
"You really mean it, don't you?" said Mrs. Newcomb.
"Sure I do!" said Mr. Newcomb. "I'm here to paint masterpieces, and that's what I'm going to do. And when I'm not doing that, I'm going to do nothing! I'll loaf! Sit in the sun and eat!" He laughed. "Hamburgers, of course."