“I thought I heard a noise outside,” she persisted.
“I don’t blame you,” he said, chuckling. “It’s been out there all night.”
“I mean something besides the wind. Sounded like some one walkin’ on the front porch.”
“Now, look here, Eva, you ain’t goin’ to git me out there in this blizzard—in my stockin’ feet—lookin’ fer robbers—”
“Just the same, Anderson, I’m sure I heard some one. Mebby it’s some poor creature freezin’ an’ in distress. If I was you, I’d go and look out there. Please do.”
“Doggone, Eva, if you was me you’d be asleep instid of huntin’ up trouble on a night like this. They ain’t nothin’ down there an’ you—but, by cracky! mebby you’re right. Supposin’ there is some poor cuss out there huntin’ a place to sleep. I’ll go and look;” and Mr. Crow, the most tender-hearted man in the world, crawled shiveringly but quickly from the warm bed. In his stocking feet—Anderson slept in his socks on those bitter nights—he made his way down the front stairs, grumbling but determined. Mrs. Crow followed close behind, anxious to verify the claim that routed him from his nest.
“It may be a robber,” she chattered, as he pulled aside a front window curtain. Anderson drew back hastily.
“Well, why in thunder didn’t you say so before?” he gasped. “Doggone, Eva, that’s no way to do! He might ‘a’ fired through the winder at me.”
“But he’s in the house by this time, if it was a robber,” she whispered. “He wouldn’t stand out on the porch all night.”
“That’s right,” he whispered in reply. “You’re a good deducer, after all. I wish I had my dark lantern. Thunderation!” He stubbed his toe against the sewing machine. There is nothing that hurts more than unintentional contact with a sewing machine. “Why in sixty don’t you light a light, Eva? How can I—”
“Listen!” she whispered shrilly. “Hear that? Anderson, there’s some one walkin’ on the porch!”
“’y gosh!” faltered he. “Sure as Christmas! You wait here, Eva, till I go upstairs an’ put on my badge and I’ll—”
“I’ll do nothing of the kind. You don’t ketch me stayin’ down here alone,” and she grabbed the back of his nightshirt as he started for the stairs.
“Sho! What air you afeerd of? I’ll get my revolver, too. I never did see such a coward’y calf as—”
Just then there was a tremendous pounding on the front door, followed by the creaking of footsteps on the frozen porch, a clatter down the steps, and then the same old howling of the wind. The Crows jumped almost out of their scanty garments, and then settled down as if frozen to the spot. It was a full minute before Anderson found his voice—in advance of Mrs. Crow at that, which was more than marvellous.
“What was that?” he chattered.
“A knock!” she gasped.
“Some neighbour’s sick.”
“Old Mrs. Luce. Oh, goodness, how my heart’s going!”