Then because she was a woman, she sat on a log and looked at her shoes. Long after the Bird Woman drove away Elnora remained. She had her problem, and it was a big one. If she told her mother, would she take the money to pay the taxes? If she did not tell her, how could she account for the books, and things for which she would spend it. At last she counted out what she needed for the next day, placed the remainder in the farthest corner of the case, and locked the door. She then filled the front of her skirt from a heap of arrow points beneath the case and started home.
WHEREIN THE SINTONS ARE DISAPPOINTED, AND MRS. COMSTOCK LEARNS THAT SHE CAN LAUGH
With the first streak of red above the Limberlost Margaret Sinton was busy with the gingham and the intricate paper pattern she had purchased. Wesley cooked the breakfast and worked until he thought Elnora would be gone, then he started to bring her mother.
“Now you be mighty careful,” cautioned Margaret. “I don’t know how she will take it.”
“I don’t either,” said Wesley philosophically, “but she’s got to take it some way. That dress has to be finished by school time in the morning.”
Wesley had not slept well that night. He had been so busy framing diplomatic speeches to make to Mrs. Comstock that sleep had little chance with him. Every step nearer to her he approached his position seemed less enviable. By the time he reached the front gate and started down the walk between the rows of asters and lady slippers he was perspiring, and every plausible and convincing speech had fled his brain. Mrs. Comstock helped him. She met him at the door.
“Good morning,” she said. “Did Margaret send you for something?”
“Yes,” said Wesley. “She’s got a job that’s too big for her, and she wants you to help.”
“Of course I will,” said Mrs. Comstock. It was no one’s affair how lonely the previous day had been, or how the endless hours of the present would drag. “What is she doing in such a rush?”
Now was his chance.
“She’s making a dress for Elnora,” answered, Wesley. He saw Mrs. Comstock’s form straighten, and her face harden, so he continued hastily. “You see Elnora has been helping us at harvest time, butchering, and with unexpected visitors for years. We’ve made out that she’s saved us a considerable sum, and as she wouldn’t ever touch any pay for anything, we just went to town and got a few clothes we thought would fix her up a little for the high school. We want to get a dress done to-day mighty bad, but Margaret is slow about sewing, and she never can finish alone, so I came after you.”
“And it’s such a simple little matter, so dead easy; and all so between old friends like, that you can’t look above your boots while you explain it,” sneered Mrs. Comstock. “Wesley Sinton, what put the idea into your head that Elnora would take things bought with money, when she wouldn’t take the money?”