Donald reached for his hat.
“Caleb Brent’s squatter-right to that Sawdust Pile is going to be upheld,” he declared. “I’ll clean that colony out before sunset, or they’ll clean me.”
“I’d proceed cautiously if I were you, Don. They have a host of friends up in Darrow, and we mustn’t precipitate a feud.”
“I’m going over now and serve notice on them to vacate immediately.” He grinned at old Daney. “A negro, a handful of Greeks, and those unfortunate women can’t bluff the boss of Port Agnew, Mr. Daney.”
“They tell me there’s a blind pig down there, also.”
“It will not be there after to-day,” Donald answered lightly, and departed for the Sawdust Pile.
As he came up to the gate in the neat fence Caleb Brent had built across the Sawdust Pile nine years before, a baby boy, of perhaps three years of age, rose out of the weeds in which he had been playing and regarded the visitor expectantly.
“Hello, bub!” the young laird of Tyee greeted the child.
“Hello!” came the piping answer. “Are you my daddy?”
“Why, no, Snickelfritz.” He ran his fingers through the tot’s golden hair. “Don’t you know your own daddy?”
“I haven’t any daddy,” the child drawled.
“No? Well, that’s unfortunate.” Donald stooped and lifted the tike to his shoulder, marveling the while that such a cherub could be the product of any of the denizens of the Sawdust Pile. At once, the boy’s arms went round his neck and a velvet cheek was laid close to his. “You’re an affectionate little snooks, aren’t you?” Donald commented. “Do you live here?”
“Somebody’s been teaching you manners. Whose little boy are you?”
“And who might mother be?”
“Yo-ho! So you’re Nan Brent’s boy! What’s your name?”
“No; that isn’t it, son. Brent is your mother’s name. Tell me your father’s name.”
“Ain’t got no farver.”
“Well then, run along to your mother.”
He kissed the child and set him down just as a young woman came down the sadly neglected shell walk from Caleb Brent’s little white house. Donald opened the gate and advanced to meet her.
“I’m sure you must be Nan,” he said, “although I can’t be certain. I haven’t seen Nan in six years.”
She extended her hand
“Yes; I’m Nan,” she replied, “and you’re Donald McKaye. You’re a man now, but somehow you haven’t changed greatly.”
“It’s fine to meet you again, Nan.” He shook her hand enthusiastically.
She smiled a little sadly.
“I saw you at colors last night, Donald. When your flag came down and the gun was fired, I knew you’d remembered.”
“Were you glad?” he demanded, and immediately wondered why he had asked such a childish question.
“Yes, I was, Donald. It has been a long time since—since—the gun has been fired—for me. So long since we were children, Donald.”