I had planned to reserve my thanks for the books and the candy until you called for dinner to-morrow. Now, I have decided that it will be better for you not to come to dinner to-morrow, although this decision has not been made without father and me being sensible of a keen feeling of disappointment. We had planned to sacrifice an old hen that has outlived her margin of profit, hoping that, with the admixture of a pinch of saleratus, she would prove tender enough to tempt the appetite of a lumberjack, but, upon sober second thought, it seems the part of wisdom to let her live.
We honor and respect you, Donald. You are so very dear to us that we wish to cherish always your good opinion of us; we want everybody in Port Agnew to think of you as we do. People will misunderstand and misconstrue your loyalty to the old friends of your boyhood if you dare admit your friendship. Indeed, some have already done so. I thank you for the books and the candy, but with all my heart I am grateful to you for a gift infinitely more precious but which is too valuable for me to accept. I shall have to treasure it at a distance. Sometimes, at colors, you might wave to
Your old friend,
Her letter completed, she sealed it in a plain white envelop, after which she changed into her best dress and shoes and departed up-town.
Straight to the mill office of the Tyee Lumber Company she went, her appearance outside the railing in the general office being the signal for many a curious and speculative glance from the girls and young men at work therein. One of the former, with whom Nan had attended high school, came over to the railing and, without extending a greeting, either of word or smile, asked, in businesslike tones,
“Whom do you wish to see?”
In direct contrast with this cool salutation, Nan inclined her head graciously and smilingly said:
“Why, how do you do, Hetty? I wonder if I might be permitted a minute of Mr. Daney’s time.”
“I’ll see,” Hetty replied, secretly furious in the knowledge that she had been serenely rebuked, and immediately disappeared in the general manager’s office. A moment later, she emerged. “Mr. Daney will see you, Miss Brent,” she announced. “First door to your right. Go right in.”
“Thank you very much, Hetty.”
Andrew Daney, seated at a desk, stood up as she entered.
“How do you do, Nan?” he greeted her, with masculine cordiality, and set out a chair. “Please be seated and tell me what I can do to oblige you.”
A swift scrutiny of the private office convinced her that they were alone; so she advanced to the desk and laid upon it the letter she had addressed to Donald McKaye.
“I would be grateful, Mr. Daney, if you would see that Mr. Donald McKaye receives this letter when he comes in from the woods to-night,” she replied. Daney was frankly amazed.