July brought Rosalie’s visit to an end, and once more Tinkletown basked in her smiles and yet wondered why they were so sad and wistful. She and Bonner were much nearer, far dearer to one another than ever, and yet not one effort had been made to bridge the chasm of silence concerning the thing that lay uppermost in their minds. She only knew that Anderson Crow had not “run down” his clew, nor had the New York sleuth reported for weeks. Undoubtedly, the latter had given up the search, for the last heard of him was when he left for Europe with his wife for a pleasure trip of unknown duration. It looked so dark and hopeless to her, all of it. Had Bonner pressed his demands upon her at the end of the visit in Boston, it is possible—more than possible—that she would have faltered in her resolution. After all, why should she deprive herself of happiness if it was held out to her with the promise that it should never end?
The summer turned steaming hot in the lowlands about Tinkletown, but in the great hills across the river the air was cool, bright, and invigorating. People began to hurry to their country homes from the distant cities. Before the month was old, a score or more of beautiful places were opened and filled with the sons and daughters of the rich. Lazily they drifted and drove and walked through the wonderful hills, famed throughout the world, and lazily they wondered why the rest of the world lived. In the hills now were the Randalls, the Farnsworths, the Brackens, the Brewsters, the Van Wagenens, the Rolfes and a host of others. Tinkletown saw them occasionally as they came jaunting by in their traps and brakes and automobiles—but it is extremely doubtful if they saw Tinkletown in passing.
Anderson Crow swelled and blossomed in the radiance of his own importance. In his old age he was becoming fastidious. Only in the privacy of his own back yard did he go without the black alpaca coat; he was beginning to despise the other days, when he had gone coatless from dawn till dark, on the street or off. His badges were pinned neatly to his lapel and not to his suspenders, as in the days of yore. His dignity was the same, but the old sense of irritation was very much modified. In these new days he was considerate—and patronising. Was he not one of the wealthiest men in town—with his six thousand dollars laid by? Was he not its most honoured citizen, not excepting the mayor and selectmen? Was he not, above all, a close friend of the Bonners?
The Bonners were to spend August in the Congressman’s home across the big river. This fact alone was enough to stir the Crow establishment to its most infinitesimal roots. Rosalie was to be one of the guests at the house party, but her foster-sisters were not the kind to be envious. They revelled with her in the preparations for that new season of delight.
With the coming of the Bonners, Anderson once more revived his resolution to unravel the mystery attending Rosalie’s birth. For some months this ambition had lain dormant, but now, with the approach of the man she loved, the old marshal’s devotion took fire and he swore daily that the mystery should be cleared “whether it wanted to be or not.”