They had finished lunch and lighted their pipes when a buggy appeared from behind a projecting dump of trees and soon afterward Flora Grant pulled up her horse near by. Edgar rose and stood beside the vehicle bareheaded, looking slender and handsome in his loose yellow shirt, duck overalls, and long boots, though the marks of the journey were freely scattered about him. Flora glanced at the jaded teams and the miry wagons and smiled at the lad. She had a good idea of the difficulties he had overcome.
“The trail must have been pretty bad,” she said. “I struck off to the east by the creek, but I don’t think you could get through with a load.”
“It was quite bad enough,” Edgar assured her. Flora looked thoughtful.
“You have only two wagons; we must try to send you another, though our teams are busy. Didn’t you say Mr. Lansing would be back in a day or two?”
“I did, but I got a note this morning saying he thought he had better go on to Winnipeg, if I could get along all right. I told him to go and stop as long as he likes. Considering the state of the trails, I thought that was wise.”
Flora smiled. She knew what he meant, since they had agreed that all the seed must be hauled in before his comrade’s return.
“I’m not going to thank you; it would be difficult, and George can ride over and do so when he comes home,” Edgar resumed. “I know he’ll be astonished when he sees the granary.”
“If he comes only to express his gratitude, I’m inclined to believe my father would rather he stayed at home.”
“I can believe it; but I’ve an idea that Mr. Grant is not the only person to whom thanks are due.”
Flora looked at him sharply, but she made no direct answer.
“Your partner,” she said, “compels one’s sympathy.”
“And one’s liking. I don’t know how he does so, and it isn’t from any conscious desire. I suppose it’s a gift of his.”
Seeing she was interested, he went on with a thoughtful air:
“You see, George isn’t witty, and you wouldn’t consider him handsome. In fact, sometimes he’s inclined to be dull, but you feel that he’s the kind of man you can rely on. There’s not a trace of meanness in him, and he never breaks his word. In my opinion, he has a number of the useful English virtues.”
“What are they, and are they peculiarly English?”
“I’ll call them Teutonic; I believe that’s their origin. You people and your neighbors across the frontier have your share of them.”
“Thanks,” smiled Flora. “But you haven’t begun the catalogue.”
“Things are often easier to recognize than to describe. At the top of the list, and really comprising the rest of it, I’d place, in the language of the country, the practical ability to ‘get there.’ We’re not in the highest degree intellectual; we’re not as a rule worshipers of beauty—that’s made obvious by the prairie towns—and to be thought poetical makes us shy. In fact, our artistic taste is strongly defective.”