“If she hadn’t gone home so sudden, I could uh squared it all right,” he told the Little Doctor, whenever her sympathetic attitude won him to speech upon the subject.
“Yes, I believe you could,” she would agree cheeringly. “If she’s the right sort, and cared, you could.”
“She’s the right sort—I know that,” Andy would assert with much decision, though modesty forbade his telling the Little Doctor that he was also sure she cared. She did care, if a girl’s actions count for anything, or her looks and smiles. Of course she cared! Else why did she rush off home like that, a good month before she had intended to go? They had planned that Andy would get a “lay-off” and go with her as far as Butte, because she would have to wait there several hours, and Andy wanted to take her out to the Columbia Gardens and see if she didn’t think they were almost as nice as anything California could show. Then she had gone off without any warning because Jack Bates and Irish had told her a lot of stuff about him, Andy; if that didn’t prove she cared, argued Andy to himself, what the dickens would you want for proof?
It was from thinking these things over and over while he lay in bed, that Andy formed the habit of looking often towards the west when his hurt permitted him to hobble around the house. And when a man looks often enough in any direction, his feet will, unless hindered by fate itself, surely follow his gaze if you give them time enough.
It was the excursion rates advertised in a Great Falls paper that first put the idea consciously into the brain of Andy. They seemed very cheap, and the time-limit was generous, and—San Jose was not very far from San Francisco, the place named in the advertisement; and if he could only see the girl and explain—It would be another month before he would be able to work, anyway, and—A man might as well get rid of a hundred or so travelling, as to sit in a poker game and watch it fade away, and he would really get more out of it. Anyhow, nobody need know where he had gone. They could think he was just going to Butte. And he didn’t give a darn if they did find it out!
He limped back into the house and began inspecting, with much dissatisfaction, his wardrobe. He would have to stake himself to new clothes—but he needed clothes, anyway, that fall. He could get what he wanted in Butte, while he waited for the train to Ogden. Now that Andy had made up his mind to go, he was in a great hurry and grudged the days, even the hours, that must pass before he could see Mary Edith Johnson.