For three delirious hours, “Red” was alone with Angela. One moment she pouted, the next she let him touch her hand.
“You may be going away soon, ‘Red.’ Will you write to me if you do?”
“Will I?” he cried, “Every day—a postal-card at least. I ain’t much at letters.... But I’m not so sure I’m goin’, Angy. Something tells me that even if your father does hold the mortgage, it won’t be foreclosed. Gil Jones has worked too hard....”
“Dad’s awfully hard about holding to a bargain,” Angela reminded him. “He’s all business. He wasn’t that way until after Ma died. I do wish he’d be more human. I’ve talked to him and talked to him, until I’m tired; but he’s getting harder all the time. This is the last day, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Jones is awful blue. That’s one reason I ought to get back. Maybe he needs some cheerin’ up. God knows his Uncle Henry don’t give him much.”
The sun was now high in the heavens. It was almost noon. “Red” said he would walk. No trouble at all; and what did he care how hot it was? He was used to it. But how he did hate to leave his Angela!
He played his harmonica most of the way home, and he was still running his lips along the instrument when he entered the adobe door, just as Uncle Henry wheeled out of it.
Wherein Gilbert Jones is worried, and Lucia Pell is asked to do an impossible thing
Poor “Red” couldn’t have encountered the invalid at a less propitious moment; for he was almost knocked down by that crabbed gentleman.
“Certainly wheels a mean chair,” he said good-naturedly to Gilbert, as he watched Uncle Henry steer himself out to the gate. “Got his cut-out open, too! Pesky to-day, ain’t he? That’s one reason I came back.” He spread his legs apart, and fanned himself with his hat. He ran his fingers through his thick, violent crop of hair. “A mean Arizona day!” he said. “The walk made me hot.”
“I should think it would,” Jones replied.
“No grub yet?” “Red” ventured. He was hungry even yet. Twenty-two is always hungry.
“No,” said his employer.
“Should have been ready two hours ago. What’s the matter? Wish we had Mrs. Quinn over here.”
“I don’t know what’s the matter. I haven’t thought much about eating.” He was engrossed again in his papers.
But “Red” didn’t intend to let the matter drop. “You’re too easy on that cook,” he said. “Now, if you had a Mrs. Quinn—” He had pulled out a worn tobacco-bag, which was discouragingly flat. He had smoked a lot this morning.
Gilbert was swift to notice the empty pouch, and offered him his.
“Thanks; much obliged,” “Red” said, filling his pipe. “But darn that cook, anyhow! If he wasn’t leavin’, I’d fire him! As if you didn’t have enough troubles, without havin’ to bother about late meals—an’ guests in the house.”