“Oh, man,” I kept saying. “Oh, man. I love this place, and it would be nothing but trouble. It's more than we can take on.”
It stands in a gully below the veterans' hospital, flanked by half-million dollar houses. The top of it is just visible from the street: you reach it by descending a wooden stairway, thirty feet straight down the retaining wall. There it sits, a turn of the century house, overgrown with laurel and maple. The roof is thick with moss. The living room looks into a wall of sunlit green. If you could see through the trees, you'd have a splendid view of Mt St Helens. When the big Portland quake comes, it will undoubtedly slide down onto the house below it. If a fire comes up the gully, it will go up in flames. It's only surprising that the rain hasn't yet washed it down. It's a lovely house.
“It's a bad-boy boyfriend house,” remarked Martha, thoughtfully.
“Everybody will tell you to have nothing to do it,” she said. “It's nothing but trouble. Dangerous and exciting. And you say, 'I can change it. It's never been properly cared-for, that's all. It comes from a good neighborhood.'”