“Red” loved the odors from this fragrant kitchen. The stove always gleamed, and when Mrs. Quinn was in good humor she was like a great light moving here and there, dispensing warmth also. She was a monstrous woman; but like many large people, she got about easily and swiftly. Her capable hands were forever fluttering in the flour-barrel or over the dough-board, and her ruddy cheeks and honest gray eyes spoke of health and good nature. She adored Angela; and she really liked “Red” tremendously, and hoped in the end he would win the difficult and fickle girl. But, like Angela, she had moment when she could have shaken him. For “Red” didn’t fight hard enough for what he wanted. He was naive to the point of stupidity at times; and women like aggressive men—even men who are capable of flogging them into submission, deny it as they will. “Red” was gentle and mild, though thoroughly manly. Both Angela and Mrs. Quinn would have liked to see him live up to his fiery hair.
He beamed now at the genial cook’s greeting, and took out his harmonica, running over the full scale as a suitable answer.
“Here, sit ye down, ‘Red,’” Mrs. Quinn ordered. “But first see that yer feet is wiped off. I don’t want to see no dirt along me clean floor.”
She was busy with a place for him near the window, happy, as most women are, to serve a handsome young chap, and secretly wishing in her heart that she had him for a son.
The coffee was miraculously brought, and soon the griddle-cakes, gloriously brown, and deftly turned by Mrs. Quinn, were in front of him.
“Gee! you make a feller happy, Mrs. Quinn!” said the appreciative “Red,” sitting down, and getting busy, “Won’t you come to Bisbee with Angela an’ me the next time we go to the movies?”
She gave him a half-scornful look. “An’ what would yez want with an old woman like meself taggin’ along with yez now?” Mrs. Quinn exclaimed, her arms akimbo. “Ain’t ye happy enough with yer Angela, an’ no fat funeral like me occupyin’ too much room in the Ford? Go along, me lad, an’ have a good time with yer colleen! She’d like it better alone with ye, too—be sure o’ that!”
“Of course I would!”
They hadn’t seen Angela come in. She stood in the doorway like a vision—a morning-glory from which the freshness of the early hours never seemed to depart.
“Oh!” poor “Red” gasped, and leaped to his feet. “Would you, Angela?” He looked at her, drank her beauty in, as though she were the only creature on this earth.
“Certainly!” said Angela, coming over to him. “You’re a boob, ‘Red,’ and if you don’t look out, there’s a fellow over at Bisbee who—”
“Oh!” the anguished “Red” managed to get out. “Is there, Angy?”
There was—of course there was—and there wasn’t. Angela knew just how far to go. Her black eyes danced. “Red” sat down again, after she had shoved him back to his late breakfast. Mrs. Quinn, amused, was busy with some more cakes, though “Red” had scarcely had time to begin the first batch. But she knew his capacity, and she felt he would need sustaining food after Angela’s last remark.