“You could recommend this deal, then, could you—to your own friends?”
“To my own family,” asserted John Taylor, looking at Harry Cresswell with sudden interest. But Mr. Cresswell was staring at the end of his cigar.
“Zora,” observed Miss Smith, “it’s a great blessing not to need spectacles, isn’t it?”
Zora thought that it was; but she was wondering just what spectacles had to do with the complaint she had brought to the office from Miss Taylor.
“I’m always losing my glasses and they get dirty and—Oh, dear! now where is that paper?”
Zora pointed silently to the complaint.
“No, not that—another paper. It must be in my room. Don’t you want to come up and help me look?”
They went up to the clean, bare room, with its white iron bed, its cool, spotless shades and shining windows. Zora walked about softly and looked, while Miss Smith quietly searched on desk and bureau, paying no attention to the girl. For the time being she was silent.
“I sometimes wish,” she began at length, “I had a bright-eyed girl like you to help me find and place things.”
Zora made no comment.
“Sometimes Bles helps me,” added Miss Smith, guilefully.
Zora looked sharply at her. “Could I help?” she asked, almost timidly.
“Why, I don’t know,”—the answer was deliberate. “There are one or two little things perhaps—”
Placing a hand gently upon Zora’s shoulder, she pointed out a few odd tasks, and left the girl busily doing them; then she returned to the office, and threw Miss Taylor’s complaint into the waste-basket.
For a week or more Zora slipped in every day and performed the little tasks that Miss Smith laid out: she sorted papers, dusted the bureau, hung a curtain; she did not do the things very well, and she broke some china, but she worked earnestly and quickly, and there was no thought of pay. Then, too, did not Bles praise her with a happy smile, as together, day after day, they stood and watched the black dirt where the Silver Fleece lay planted? She dreamed and sang over that dark field, and again and again appealed to him: “S’pose it shouldn’t come up after all?” And he would laugh and say that of course it would come up.
One day, when Zora was helping Miss Smith in the bedroom, she paused with her arms full of clothes fresh from the laundry.
“Where shall I put these?”
Miss Smith looked around. “They might go in there,” she said, pointing to a door. Zora opened it. A tiny bedroom was disclosed, with one broad window looking toward the swamp; white curtains adorned it, and white hangings draped the plain bureau and wash-stand and the little bed. There was a study table, and a small bookshelf holding a few books, all simple and clean. Zora paused uncertainly, and surveyed the room.