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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 332 pages of information about Slippy McGee, Sometimes Known as the Butterfly Man.

“Here’s your share of the loot,” and he pushed a check across the table.

“But—­” I hesitated, blinking, for it was a check of sorts.

“But nothing.  Blow it in.  Say, I’m curious.  What are you going to do with yours?”

“What are you going to do with yours?” I asked in return.

He reddened, hesitated; then his head went up.

“I figure it, parson, that by way of that rag-doll I’m kin to Louisa’s ma.  As near as I can get to it, Louisa’s ma’s my widow.  It’s a devil of a responsibility for a live man to have a widow.  It worries him.  Just to get her off my mind I’m going to invest my share of this book for her.  She’ll at least be sure of a roof and fire and shoes and clothes and bread with butter on it and staying home sometimes.  She’ll have to work, of course; anyway you looked at it, it wouldn’t be right to take work away from her.  She’ll work, then; but she won’t be worked.  Louisa’s managed to pull something out of her wishin’ curl for her ma, after all.  I’m sure I hope they’ll let the child know.”

I could not speak for a moment; but as I looked at him, the red in his tanned cheek deepened.

“As a matter of fact, parson,” he explained, “somebody ought to do something for a woman that looks like that, and it might just as well be me.  I’m willing to pay good money to have my widow turn her mouth the other way up, and I hope she’ll buy a back-comb for those bangs on her neck.”

“And all this,” said I, “came out of one little wishin’ curl, Butterfly Man?”

“But what else could I do?” he wondered, “when I’m kin to Loujaney by bornation?” and to hide his feeling, he asked again: 

“Now what are you going to do with yours?”

I reflected.  I watched his clever, quizzical eyes, out of which the diamond-bright hardness had vanished, and into which I am sure that dear child’s curl had wished this milder, clearer light.

“You want to know what I am going to do with mine?” said I, airily.  “Well; as for me, the very first thing I am going to do is to purchase, in perpetuity, a fine new lamp for St. Stanislaus!”

CHAPTER XV

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

Timid tentative rifts and wedges of blue had ventured back into the cold gray sky, and a stout-hearted robin or two heralded spring.  One morning coming from mass I saw in the thin watery sunshine the painted wings of the Red Admiral flash by, and I welcomed him as one welcomes the long-missed face of a friend.  I cannot choose but love the Red Admiral.  He has always stirred my imagination, for frail as his gay wings are they have nevertheless borne this dauntless small Columbus of butterflies across unknown seas and around uncharted lands, until like his twin-sister the Painted Lady he has all but circled the globe.  A few days later a handful of those gold butterflies that resemble nothing so much as new bright dandelions in the young grass, dared the unfriendly days before their time as if to coax the lagging spring to follow.

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