Then he unlocked the case again, and replaced the money, laid the note upon it, and went back to concealment, where he remained until Elnora came down the trail in the morning, appearing very lovely in her new dress and hat.
WHEREIN ELNORA RECEIVES A WARNING, AND BILLY APPEARS ON THE SCENE
It would be difficult to describe how happy Elnora was that morning as she hurried through her work, bathed and put on the neat, dainty gingham dress, and the tan shoes. She had a struggle with her hair. It crinkled, billowed, and shone, and she could not avoid seeing the becoming frame it made around her face. But in deference to her mother’s feelings the girl set her teeth, and bound her hair closely to her head with a shoe-string. “Not to be changed at the case,” she told herself.
That her mother was watching she was unaware. Just as she picked up the beautiful brown ribbon Mrs. Comstock spoke.
“You had better let me tie that. You can’t reach behind yourself and do it right.”
Elnora gave a little gasp. Her mother never before had proposed to do anything for the girl that by any possibility she could do herself. Her heart quaked at the thought of how her mother would arrange that bow, but Elnora dared not refuse. The offer was too precious. It might never be made again.
“Oh thank you!” said the girl, and sitting down she held out the ribbon.
Her mother stood back and looked at her critically.
“You haven’t got that like Mag Sinton had it last night,” she announced. “You little idiot! You’ve tried to plaster it down to suit me, and you missed it. I liked it away better as Mag fixed it, after I saw it. You didn’t look so peeled.”
“Oh mother, mother!” laughed Elnora, with a half sob in her voice.
“Hold still, will you?” cried Mrs. Comstock. “You’ll be late, and I haven’t packed your dinner yet.”
She untied the string and shook out the hair. It rose with electricity and clung to her fingers and hands. Mrs. Comstock jumped back as if bitten. She knew that touch. Her face grew white, and her eyes angry.
“Tie it yourself,” she said shortly, “and then I’ll put on the ribbon. But roll it back loose like Mag did. It looked so pretty that way.”
Almost fainting Elnora stood before the glass, divided off the front parts of her hair, and rolled them as Mrs. Sinton had done; tied it at the nape of her neck, then sat while her mother arranged the ribbon.
“If I pull it down till it comes tight in these creases where she had it, it will be just right, won’t it?” queried Mrs. Comstock, and the amazed Elnora stammered,
When she looked in the glass the bow was perfectly tied, and how the gold tone of the brown did match the lustre of the shining hair! “That’s pretty,” commented Mrs. Comstock’s soul, but her stiff lips had said all that could be forced from them for once. Just then Wesley Sinton came to the door.