Alice flushed slightly, and turning to Quincy said, “Are you smiling, Mr. Sawyer? There is nothing in it, I assure you; Bessie is a great joker and torments the other girls unmercifully.”
“I am glad there is nothing in it,” said Quincy. “If I were a woman I would be afraid to marry a bookkeeper. My household cash would have to balance to a cent, and at the end of the year he would insist on housekeeping showing a profit.”
Alice regained her composure and Quincy continued his reading:
“What do you think! Rita Sanguily has left, and they say she is going to marry a Dr. Culver, who lives up on Beacon Hill somewhere.”
Quincy started a little as he read this, but made no comment.
“I was out to see Stella Dwight the other day, and she showed me a picture of you. Can you spare one to your old friend,
“P.S.—I don’t expect an answer, but I shall expect the picture. I shall write you whenever I get any news, and send you a dozen kisses and two big hugs. B.W.”
“She is more liberal than Miss Farnum,” remarked Quincy. “She is not afraid that I will commit robbery.”
“No,” rejoined Alice, “but I cannot share with you. Bessie White is the dearest friend I have in the world.”
“Miss White is fortunate,” said Quincy, “but who is Rita Sanguily, if I am not presuming in asking the question?”
“She is a Portuguese girl,” answered Alice, “with black eyes and beautiful black hair. She is very handsome and can talk Portuguese, French, and Spanish. She held a certain line of custom on this account. Do you know her?”
“No,” replied Quincy, “but I think I know Dr. Culver.”
“What kind of a looking man is he?” asked Alice.
“Oh! he is tall and heavily built, with large bright blue eyes and tawny hair,” said Quincy.
“I like such marked contrasts in husband and wife,” remarked Alice.
“So do I,” said Quincy, looking at himself in a looking glass which hung opposite, and then at Alice; “but how about Miss White’s picture?”
“Can I trouble you to get one?” said Alice.
“No trouble at all,” replied Quincy; but he went up the stairs this time one step at a time. He was deliberating whether he should return that picture that was in his coat pocket or keep it until the original should be his own. He entered the room, took another picture and another envelope and came slowly downstairs. His crime at first had been unpremeditated, but his persistence was deliberate felony.
“Now there are four left,” said Alice, as Quincy entered the room.
“Just four,” he replied. “I counted them to make sure.” He sat at the table and wrote. “Will this do?” he asked: “Miss Bessie White, care of Borden, Waitt, & Fisher, Boston, Mass.?”
“Oh, thank you so much,” said Alice.