“Well, I’m off now, Nellie. Good-by.”
“At last! Excuse me, Fred, but just now quietness is more desirable than your society. It is impossible to get baby to sleep while you are flying about the room. She sees you, and wants to get to you,” answered Nellie.
“All right. I’ll get out of the way. By-by, baby.”
And kissing the little one, Fred hurried out.
Ten or fifteen minutes passed. Baby was quiet at last, almost asleep, when the door opened, and in rushed Fred again. And up started baby, with a shout of welcome. An impatient look came into Nellie’s eyes, and the tone to her words:
“Oh, Fred, I had almost gotten her to sleep. And now see! And I am so tired. What has brought you back so soon?
“Well, well, I’m sorry. But I left my revolver behind. I guess she’ll soon be quiet again,” Fred said, unlocking the drawer and taking out his revolver.
“Fred, I declare I never did see such a man. You cannot leave the house without being armed. Do you forget there is a law against carrying concealed weapons?”
“I remember to be on my guard, and prepared to defend myself if it be necessary. Every day we read accounts of persons being robbed, knocked down, and such like. I tell you, Nellie, sensible persons go armed always.”
“Perhaps, Fred. But I think the nervous and suspicious persons are more likely to. Indeed, I never like to see you carrying off your revolver. I’m in constant fear of something dreadful happening.”
“But never in dread of any one murdering and robbing me. Of course not!” Fred snapped forth.
“Oh, Fred! You are so quick and suspicious of every one, that my great fear is you’ll hurt the wrong person some time!” said Nellie, with a really anxious look on her pretty face.
“Indeed I am not aware of ever having gotten hold of the wrong person. I think you are calling on your imagination for facts, Mrs. Loring!” Fred said angrily.
“Now, Fred, to defend myself I shall have to point to facts. Do you forget catching hold of poor old Uncle Tom, and choking him so he could not explain he was carrying the clothes to his wife to wash, instead of being a thief, as you supposed? And—”
“And will I ever forget your handing me over to a policeman, for having attempted to pick your pocket in the streetcar?” exclaimed a bright, merry-looking girl, who entered the room during Nellie’s attempt to defend herself from Fred’s accusation.
“Oh, Fan, don’t, for mercy’s sake, I cry quarter. Two at a time is more than I can stand. And besides, I had hoped that you would not have exposed that miserable mistake!” Fred said, with a reproachful look.
“I intended to keep the secret. But really, Fred, I’ve been almost dying to have a good laugh with Nellie over it. And to-night the opportunity was too tempting to resist.”
“Mercy, Fan! If you tell Nellie, I’ll never hear the last of it.”