“Hear from Wick purty reg’lar, don’t you, Rosalie?” asked Anderson wickedly, one night while Blootch was there. The suitor moved uneasily, and Rosalie shot a reproachful glance at Anderson, a glance full of mischief as well.
“He writes occasionally, daddy.”
“I didn’t know you corresponded reg’larly,” said Blootch.
“I did not say regularly, Blucher.”
“He writes sweet things to beat the band, I bet,” said Blootch with a disdain he did not feel.
“What a good guesser you are!” she cried tormentingly.
“Well, I guess I’ll be goin’,” exploded Blootch wrathfully; “it’s gittin’ late.”
“He won’t sleep much to-night,” said Anderson, with a twinkle in his eye, as the gate slammed viciously behind the caller. “Say, Rosalie, there’s somethin’ been fidgetin’ me fer quite a while. I’ll blurt it right out an’ have it over with. Air you in love with Wick Bonner?”
She started, and for an instant looked at him with wide open eyes; then they faltered and fell. Her breath came in a frightened, surprised gasp and her cheeks grew warm. When she looked up again, her eyes were soft and pleading, and her lips trembled ever so slightly.
“Yes, Daddy Crow, I love him,” she almost whispered.
“An’ him? How about him?”
“I can’t answer that, daddy. He has not told me.”
“Well, he ought to, doggone him!”
“I could not permit him to do so if he tried.”
“What! You wouldn’t permit? What in tarnation do you mean?”
“You forget, daddy, I have no right to his love. It would be wrong—all wrong. Good-night, daddy,” she cried, impulsively kissing him and dashing away before he could check her, but not before he caught the sound of a half sob. For a long time he sat and stared at the fire in the grate. Then he slapped his knee vigorously, squared his shoulders and set his jaw like a vise. Arising, he stalked upstairs and tapped on her door. She opened it an inch or two and peered forth at him—a pathetic figure in white.
“Don’t you worry, Rosalie,” he gulped. “It will be all right and hunky dory. I’ve just took a solemn oath down stairs.”
“An oath, daddy?”
“Yes, sir; I swore by all that’s good and holy I’d find out who your parents are ef it took till doomsday. You shall be set right in the eyes of everybody. Now, if I was you, I’d go right to sleep. There ain’t nothin’ to worry about. I’ve got another clew.”