Tamson, plainly disappointed at his lack of curiosity, elevated her thin nose.
“Well,” she observed, “what he said was that, fur’s things bein’ here was concerned, Christmas would be here, give it time enough. Pretty sassy kind of talk, I call it, but maybe you ain’t so partic’lar, Mr. Bangs.”
“Dear me! Of course. Well, well! . . . Oh, were there any letters for—ah—for me, may I ask?”
“Why, yes, there was, two of ’em. That’s what made me cal’late you might like to get ’em first yourself. I knew you didn’t get letters very often, Mr. Bangs; that is, I’ve noticed you ain’t since I’ve been helpin’ in this office. Anyhow, ’most anybody would rather get their own mail private than have Zach Bloomer cartin’ it from land-knows-where to never-and-gone, smellin’ it all up with old tobacco pipes and fish or whatever else he carries ’round in his pockets. Course I don’t mean he lugs fish around in his pocket, ’tain’t likely— He, he, he—but that old coat of his always smells like a—like a porgie boat. And I don’t know’s I mean that those letters of yours were any more ’special private than common; anyhow, both envelopes was in male handwritin’— He, he, he! But I noticed one was stamped from way out in—in Nevada, seems if ’twas, so—”
“Eh?” Galusha came to life with astonishing quickness. “From—from Nevada, did you say?”
“Um-hm. I remember it real plain now. You see, it kind of caught my eye as I was sortin.’ We don’t never get much mail from Nevada— not in this office we don’t never hardly. So when I see . . . Well, my good land!”
The exclamation was caused by the unceremonious suddenness of Mr. Bangs’ exit. He was well across the road by the time Miss Black reached the window.
“My good land!” exclaimed Tamson again. Later she told her brother-in-law that she cal’lated that Nevada letter was maybe more private than she cal’lated first, and that she bet you she was goin’ to look pretty hard at the handwritin’ on the next one that come.
Primmie, apparently, had been watching through the kitchen window for Galusha to appear. At any rate, she opened the door for him. Her mouth opened also, but he, for perhaps the first time in their acquaintanceship, spoke first.
“I know—I know, Primmie,” he said, hastily; “or if I don’t know you can tell me later on. Ah—please don’t delay me now.”
Primmie was struggling between surprise and disappointment.
“Well,” she observed, as the little man hurriedly shed his hat and coat; “well, all right, Mr. Bangs. Only Zach, he told me to be sure and tell you, and tell you how sorry he was that it happened, and that he can’t exactly figger out just how it did come to happen, neither.”
“Eh?” Galusha paused, with one arm still in the sleeve of his overcoat. “Happen? What has happened to—ah—Mr. Bloomer?”