The Crow family took on a new dignity. Anderson gave fifty dollars to the Foreign Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, claiming that a foreign education had done so much for his ward; and Mrs. Crow succeeded in holding two big afternoon teas before Rosalie could apply the check rein.
One night Anderson sat up until nearly ten o’clock—an unheard-of proceeding for him. Rosalie, with the elder Crow girls, Edna and Susie, had gone to protracted meeting with a party of young men and women. The younger boys and girls were in bed, and Mrs. Crow was yawning prodigiously. She never retired until Anderson was ready to do likewise. Suddenly it dawned upon her that he was unusually quiet and preoccupied. They were sitting on the moonlit porch.
“What’s the matter, Anderson? Ain’t you well?” she asked at last.
“No; I’m just thinkin’,” he responded, rather dismally. “Doggone, I cain’t get it out of my head, Eva.”
“Can’t get what out?”
“Well, what about her?”
“That’s jest like a woman—always fergittin’ the most important things in the world. Don’t you know that the twenty years is up?”
“Of course I know it, but ‘tain’t worryin’ me any. She’s still here, ain’t she? Nobody has come to take her away. The thousand dollars came all right last February, didn’t it? Well, what’s the use worryin’?”
“Mebbe you’re right, but I’m skeered to death fer fear some one will turn up an’ claim her, er that a big estate will be settled, er somethin’ awful like that. I don’t mind the money, Eva; I jest hate to think of losin’ her, now that she’s such a credit to us. Besides, I’m up a stump about next year.”
“Well, what happens then?”
“Derned if I know. That’s what’s worryin’ me.”
“I don’t see why you—”
“Certainly you don’t. You never do. I’ve got to do all the thinkin’ fer this fambly. Next year she’s twenty-one years old an’ her own boss, ain’t she? I ain’t her guardeen after that, am I? What happens then, I’d like to know.”
“You jest have to settle with the court, pay over to her what belongs to her and keep the thousand every spring jest the same. Her people, whoever they be, are payin’ you fer keepin’ her an’ not her fer stayin’ here. ’Tain’t likely she’ll want to leave a good home like this ’un, is it? Don’t worry till the time comes, Anderson.”