“Bless my soul,” he blurted, “why do you entrust me with it? Would it not have been far simpler to have mailed it?”
“Not at all, Mr. Daney. In the first place, the necessity for writing it only developed an hour ago, and in order to be quite certain Mr. McKaye would receive it this evening, I would have had to place a special-delivery stamp upon it. I did not have a special-delivery stamp; so, in order to get one, I would have had to go to the post-office and buy it. And the instant I did that, the girl on duty at the stamp-window would have gone to the mail-chute to get the letter and read the address. So I concluded it would be far more simple and safe to entrust my letter to you. Moreover,” she added, “I save ten cents.”
“I am very greatly obliged to you, Nan,” Daney answered soberly. “You did exactly right,” Had she conferred upon him a distinct personal favor, his expression of obligation could not have been more sincere. He took a large envelop of the Tyee Lumber Company, wrote Donald’s name upon it, enclosed Nan’s letter in this large envelop, and sealed it with a mighty blow of his fist. “Now then,” he declared, “what people do not know will not trouble them. After you go, I’ll place this envelop in Don’s mail-box in the outer office. I think we understand each other,” he added shrewdly.
“I think we do, Mr. Daney.”
“Splendid fellow, young Donald! Thundering fine boy!”
“I agree with you, Mr. Daney. If Donald has a fault, it is his excessive democracy and loyalty to his friends. Thank you so much, Mr. Daney. Good-afternoon.”
“Not at all—not at all! All this is quite confidential, of course, otherwise you would not be here.” He bowed her to the door, opened it for her, and bowed again as she passed him. When she had gone, he summoned the young lady whom Nan had addressed as “Hetty.”
“Miss Fairchaild,” he said, “’phone the local sales-office and tell them to deliver a load of fire-wood to the Brent house at the Sawdust Pile.”
Two minutes later, the entire office force knew that Nan Brent had called to order a load of fire-wood, and once more the world sagged into the doldrums.
At six o’clock Donald came in from the logging-camp. Daney made it his business to be in the entry of the outer office when his superior took his mail from his box, and, watching narrowly, thought he observed a frown on the young laird’s face as he read Nan Brent’s letter. Immediately he took refuge in his private office, to which he was followed almost immediately by Donald.
“That’s your handwriting, Mr. Daney,” he said, thrusting the large envelop under Daney’s nose. “Another letter in a smaller envelop was enclosed by you in this large one. You knew, of course, who wrote it.”
“Miss Brent brought it personally.”
Donald started slightly. He was amazed.