“Yes, indeed. All right, Adams, I’ll wash ’em and you can dry ’em, and Dorothy can rest.”
“It’s a right smilin’ little apron,” commented Lorry as Dorothy handed it to him.
“And you do look funny! My, I didn’t know you were so big! I’ll have to get a pin.”
“I reckon it’s the apron looks funny,” said Lorry.
“I made it,” she said, teasing him.
“Then that’s why it is so pretty,” said Lorry gravely.
Dorothy decided to change the subject. “I think you should let me wash the dishes, father.”
“You cooked the dinner, Peter Pan.”
“Then I’ll go over and try the piano. May I?”
“If you’ll play for us when we come over, Miss Bronson.”
Bronson and Lorry sat on the veranda and smoked. Dorothy was playing a sprightly melody. She ceased to play, and presently the sweet old tune “Annie Laurie” came to them. Lorry, with cigarette poised in his fingers, hummed the words to himself. Bronson was watching him curiously. The melody came to an end. Lorry sighed.
“Sounds like that ole piano was just singin’ its heart out all by itself,” he said. “I wish Bud could hear that.”
Almost immediately came the sprightly notes of “Anitra’s Dance.”
“And that’s these here woods—and the water prancin’ down the rocks, and a slim kind of a girl dancin’ in the sunshine and then runnin’ away to hide in the woods again.” And Lorry laughed softly at his own conceit.
“Do you know the tune?” queried Bronson.
“Nope. I was just makin’ that up.”
“That’s just Dorothy,” said Bronson.
Lorry turned and gazed at him. And without knowing how it came about, Lorry understood that there had been another Dorothy who had played and sung and danced in the sunshine. And that this sprightly, slender girl was a bud of that vanished flower, a bud whose unfolding Bronson watched with such deep solicitude.
A Tune for Uncle Bud
Lorry had ridden to Jason, delivered his reports to the office, and received instructions to ride to the southern line of the reservation. He would be out many days. He had brought down a pack-horse, and he returned to camp late that night with provisions and some mail for the Bronsons.
The next day he delayed starting until Dorothy had appeared. Bronson told him frankly that he was sorry to see him go, especially for such a length of time.
“But I’m glad,” said Dorothy.
Lorry stared at her. Her face was grave, but there was a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. She laughed.
“Because it will be such fun welcoming you home again.”
“Oh, I thought it might be that piano—”
“Now I shan’t touch it!” she pouted, making a deliberate face at him.
He laughed. She did such unexpected things, did them so unaffectedly. Bronson put his arms about her shoulders.