“Of course we will,” agreed Bess.
“If you only had a picture of your daughter?” suggested Nan.
“Of Sallie? Why, we have,” said Mrs. Morton. “She’s some bigger now; but she had her photographt took in several ‘poses’, as they call ’em, when she was playin’ in that ‘Rural Beauty’. I got the prints myself from the man that took ’em.”
But when she hunted for the pictures, Mrs. Morton found they were missing. “I declare for’t!” she said, quite vexed. “I do believe that Sallie took ’em with her to show to folks she expects to ask for work. Jest like her! Oh, she’s smart, Sallie is.”
“There’s that picter she had took the time we went to the County Fair, three year ago, Maw,” suggested Mr. Morton, as they prepared to sit down to the bountiful table. “I ’low she’s filled out some since then; she was as leggy as a colt. But these gals can see what she looks like in the face.”
While he was speaking his wife brought forth the family album—a green plush affair with a huge gilt horseshoe on the cover. She turned over the leaves till she found Sallie’s photograph, and displayed it with pride. Nan secretly thought her father’s description of Sallie at twelve years old or so was a very good one; but Mrs. Morton evidently saw no defects in her child’s personal appearance.
“Sallie wore her hair in curls then, you see,” said Mrs. Morton. “But she says they ain’t fashionable now, and she’s been windin’ her braids into eartabs like that leadin’ lady in the movie company done. Makes Sallie look dreadfully growed up,” sighed the troubled woman. “I sartainly do hate to see my little girl change into a woman so quick.”
“That’s what my woman says,” agreed Snubbins. “Celia’s ’bout growed up, she thinks. But I reckon if her mother laid her across her lap like she uster a few years back, she could nigh about slap most of the foolishness out o’ Celia. Gals nowadays git to feel too big for their boots—that’s what the matter.”
“Mercy!” gasped Bess. “I hope my mother won’t go back to first principles with me, if I displease her. And I’m sure your Celia can’t be really bad.”
“Just foolish—just foolish, both on ’em,” Mr. Morton said. “Let me help you again.”
“Oh, I’m so full,” sighed Bess.
“I’m afraid ye ain’t makin’ out a supper,” Mrs. Morton said.
“Indeed we are,” cried Nan. “I only wish the children on that snow-bound train had some of these good things.”
This turned the current of conversation and the Mortons were soon interested in the girls’ story of the castaways in the snow. Mrs. Morton set to work at once and packed two big baskets with food. A whole ham that she had boiled that day was made into sandwiches. There were hard boiled eggs, and smoked beef and cookies, pies and cakes. In fact, the good woman stripped her pantry for the needy people in the stalled train.
Her husband got into his outer garments and helped Si Snubbins carry the baskets across the snow. Mrs. Morton’s last words to the girls were: