“I take it,” he continued, after a slight pause, “that it was entirely your idea to conceal from the office force the fact that Miss Brent had written me this letter.”
“It was, Don.”
“I am at a loss to know why you took such a precaution.” Donald’s eyes met Daney’s in frank suspicion; the latter thought that he detected some slight anger in the younger man’s bearing.
“I can enlighten you, Don. Miss Brent was at some pains to conceal the fact that she had written you a letter; she brought it to me to be handed to you, rather than run the risk of discovery by dropping it in the post-office for special delivery. Some of the girls in our office went to school with Nan Brent and might recognize her handwriting if they saw the envelop. I saw Hetty Fairchaild looking over your letters rather interestedly the other day, when she was sorting the mail and putting it in the boxes.”
“The entire procedure appears to me to be peculiar and wholly unnecessary. However, I’m obliged to you, Mr. Daney, for acceding so thoroughly to Nan’s apparent wishes.” He frowned as he tore the envelop into shreds and dropped them in Dahey’s waste-basket. “I’m afraid some young women around this plant are going to lose their jobs unless they learn to restrain their curiosity and their tongues,” he added.
“I thought I was still general manager,” Daney reminded him gently, “Hiring and firing have always been my peculiar prerogatives.”
“Forgive me, Mr. Daney. They shall continue to be.” The young Laird grinned at the rebuke; Daney smiled back at him, and the somewhat charged atmosphere cleared instantly.
“By the way, Donald, your father is in town. He’s going up to Seattle to-night on the seven-ten train. Your mother and the girls left earlier in the week. He’s dining at the hotel and wishes you to join him there. He figured that, by the time you could reach The Dreamerie, shave, bathe, and dress, it would be too late to have dinner with him there and still allow him time to catch his train.”
“How does idleness sit on my parent, Mr. Daney?”
“Not very well, I fear. He shoots and fishes and takes long walks with the dogs; he was out twice in your sloop this week. I think he and your mother and the girls plan a trip to Honolulu shortly.”
“Good!” Donald yawned and stretched his big body, “I’ve lost eight pounds on this chopping-job,” he declared, “and I thought I hadn’t an ounce of fat on me. Zounds, I’m sore! But I’m to have an easy job next week. I’m to patrol the skid-roads with a grease-can. That woods boss is certainly running me ragged.”
“Well, your innings will come later,” Daney smiled.
At the mill office, Donald washed, and then strolled over to the hotel to meet his father. Old Hector grinned as Donald, in woolen shirt, mackinaw, corduroy trousers, and half-boots came into the little lobby, for in his son he saw a replica of himself thirty years agone.