“An’ she’s got money?”
“I am sure she had it in those days. It’s the strangest thing in the world that she should be coming here to teach school in No. 5. Congressman Ritchey secured the appointment for her, she says. The township trustee—whatever his name is—for a long time insisted that he must appoint a teacher from Tinkletown and not an outsider. I am glad she is coming here because—well, daddy, because she is like the girls I knew in the city. She has asked me to look up a boarding place for next winter. Do you know of any one, daddy, who could let her have a nice room?”
“I’ll bet my ears you’d like to have your ma take her in right here. But I don’t see how it c’n be done, Rosie-posie. There’s so derned many of us now, an’—”
“Oh, I didn’t mean that, daddy. She couldn’t come here. But don’t you think Mrs. Jim Holabird would take her in for the winter?”
“P’raps. She’s a widder. She might let her have Jim’s room now that there’s a vacancy. You might go over an’ ast her about it to-morrer. It’s a good thing she’s a friend of yourn, Rosalie, because if she wasn’t I’d have to fight her app’intment.”
“Why, daddy!” reproachfully.
“Well, she’s a foreigner, an’ I don’t think it’s right to give her a job when we’ve got so many home products that want the place an’ who look unpopular enough to fill the bill. I’m fer home industry every time, an’ ’specially as this girl don’t appear to need the place. I don’t see what business Congressman Ritchey has foolin’ with our school system anyhow. He’d better be reducin’ the tariff er increasin’ the pensions down to Washington.”
“I quite agree with you, Daddy Crow,” said Rosalie with a diplomacy that always won for her. She knew precisely how to handle her guardian, and that was why she won where his own daughters failed. “And now, good-night, daddy. Go to bed and don’t worry about me. You’ll have me on your hands much longer than you think or want. What time is it?”
Anderson patted her head reflectively as he solemnly drew his huge silver time-piece from an unlocated pocket. He held it out into the bright moonlight.
“Geminy crickets!” he exclaimed. “It’s forty-nine minutes to twelve!” Anderson Crow’s policy was to always look at things through the small end of the telescope.
The slow, hot summer wore away, and to Rosalie it was the longest that she ever had experienced. She was tired of the ceaseless twaddle of Tinkletown, its flow of “missions,” “sociables,” “buggy-horses,” “George Rawlin’s new dress-suit,” “harvesting,” and “politics”—for even the children talked politics. Nor did the assiduous attentions of the village young men possess the power to shorten the days for her—and they certainly lengthened the nights. She liked them because they were her friends from the beginning—and Rosalie was not a snob. Not for the world would she have hurt the feelings of one poor, humble, adoring soul in Tinkletown; and while her smile was none the less sweet, her laugh none the less joyous, in her heart there was the hidden longing that smiled only in dreams. She longed for the day that was to bring Elsie Banks to live with Mrs. Holabird, for with her would come a breath of the world she had known for two years, and which she had learned to love so well.