“Well, I hopes she has him,” Mandy husked an ear of corn viciously. “I ain’ got my boy. He hol’s his haid so high, he ain’ got no time fo’ his ol’ Mammy.”
“You know you are proud of him, Mandy.”
“I ain’ sayin’ I is, and I ain’ sayin’ I isn’t. But dat Daisy down the road, she ac’ like she own him.”
“Oh, Daisy? Is he in love with her?”
“Love,” with withering scorn, “love? Ain’ he got somefin’ bettah to do than lovin’ when he’s jes’ fit and fought fo’ Uncle Sam?” She beat the eggs for her batter as if she had Daisy’s head under the whip. “He fit and fought fo’ Uncle Sam,” she repeated, “and now he comes home and camps hisse’f on Daisy’s do’-step.”
Against the breeze of such high indignation, any argument would be blown away. Becky changed the subject hastily. “Mandy,” she asked, “are you making corn fritters?”
“What else for lunch?”
“Mandy, I’m so hungry I could eat a house——”
“You look it,” Mandy told her; “effen I was you, I’d eat and git fat.”
“It isn’t fashionable to be fat, Mandy.”
“Skeletums may be in style,” said Mandy, breaking eggs for the omelette, “but I ain’ ever found good looks in bones.”
“Don’t you like my bones, Mandy?”
“You ain’t got none, honey.”
“You called me a skeleton.”
The kettle boiled. “Effen I called you a skeletum,” Mandy said as she placed a cup and saucer on a small napkined tray, “my min’ was on dat-ar Daisy. You ain’ got no bones, Miss Becky. But Daisy, she’s got a neck like a picked tukkey, and her shoulder-blades stan’ out like wings.”
Becky went to the train with her aunt. George Dalton drove Madge down and passed the old surrey on the way.
Later Madge met Mrs. Beaufort and Becky on the station platform, and it was when Dalton settled her in her chair in the train that she said, “She’s a darling. Keep her on a pedestal, Georgie——”
“You’re a good sport,” he told her; “you know you’d hate it if I did.”
“I shouldn’t. I’d like to think of you on your knees——”
It was time for him to leave her. She gave him her hand. “Until we meet again, Georgie.”
Her eyes were cool and smiling. Yet later as she looked out on the flying hills, there was trouble in them. There had been a time when Dalton had seemed to square with her girlish dreams.
And now, there was no one to warn this other girl with dreams in her eyes. George was not a vulture, he was simply a marauding bee——!
Becky was already in the surrey when George came back, and Calvin was gathering up his reins.
“Oh, look here, I wish you’d let me drive you up, Miss Bannister,” George said, sparkling; “there’s no reason, is there, why you must ride alone?”