He regarded her as if trying to peer through something opaque, his hands spread rather stupidly on his wide knees.
“Charley, Charley, can’t you understand? A dollar, that puts him within the law, is all he left you.”
“He never did. He never did. He wouldn’t. He couldn’t. He never did. I saw—his will. I’m the only survivor. I saw his will.”
“Charley, I swear to God! I swear as I’m standing here you’re cut off. My sister copied the new will on her typewriter three times and seen the sealed and stamped one. He kept his word. He wrote it with his faculties and witnesses. We’re broke, Charley—thank God, we’re flat broke!”
“He did it? He did it? My old man did it?”
“As sure as I’m standing here, Charley.”
He fell to blinking rapidly, his face puckering to comprehend.
“I never thought it could happen. But I—I guess it could happen. I think you got me doped, honey.”
“Charley, Charley!” she cried, falling down on her knees beside him, holding his face in the tight vise of her hands and reading with such closeness into his eyes that they seemed to merge into one. “Haven’t you got your Loo? Haven’t you got her?”
He sprang up at that, jerking her backward, and all the purple-red gushed up into his face again.
“Yes, by God, I’ve got you! I’ll break the will. I’ll—”
“Charley, no—no! He’d rise out of his grave at you. It’s never been known where a will was broke where they didn’t rise out of the grave to haunt.”
He took her squarely by the shoulders, the tears running in furrows down his face.
“I’ll get you out of this, Loo. No girl in God’s world will have to find herself tied up to me without I can show her a million dollars every time she remembers that she’s married to a rotter. I’ll get you out of this, girl, so you won’t even show a scratch. I’ll—”
“Charley,” she said, lifting herself by his coat lapels, and her eyes again so closely level with his, “you’re crazy with the heat—stark, raving crazy! You got your chance, boy, to show what you’re made of—can’t you see that? We’re going West, where men get swept out with clean air and clean living. We’ll break ground in this here life for the kind of pay-dirt that’ll make a man of you. You hear? A man of you!”
He lifted her arms, and because they were pressing insistently down, squirmed out from beneath them.