Later, perhaps ten minutes later, Galusha ventured another statement.
“Miss Phipps,” he said, “I—I— Well, since you insist upon doing this for me, for a person whom you never met until yesterday, I think the very least I can do is to tell you who—or—ah—what I am. Of course if the Halls were here they would vouch for me, but as they are not, I— Well, in a case of this kind it is—ah— customary, isn’t it, to give references?”
“References? As to your bein’ able to pay the three dollars a day, do you mean?”
“Why, no, perhaps that sort of reference may not be necessary. I shall be glad to pay each day’s board in advance.”
“Then what sort of references did you mean, references about your character?”
“Why—why, yes, something of the sort.”
Her eyes twinkled.
“Mr. Bangs,” she asked, “do you really think I ought to have ’em?”
Galusha smiled. “For all you know to the contrary,” he said, “I may be a desperate ruffian.”
“You don’t look desperate. Do you feel that way?”
“Not now, but I did last—ah—evening.”
“When you were camped out on that Inn piazza in a pourin’ rain, you mean? I don’t blame you for feelin’ desperate then. . . . Well, Mr. Bangs, suppose we don’t worry about the references on either side of this bargain of ours. I’ll take you on trust for the next two or three days, if you’ll take me. And no questions asked, as they say in the advertisements for stolen property. Will that suit you?”
“Perfectly, except that I think you are taking all the risk. I, certainly, am not taking any.”
“Hum, don’t be too sure. You haven’t tried much of Primmie’s cookin’ yet. . . . Oh, by the way, what is your business, Mr. Bangs?”
“I am an archaeologist.”
“Yes—oh—yes. . . . A—a what, did you say?”
“An archaeologist. I specialize principally in Egyptology.”
“Oh. . . . Oh, yes.”
“Yes. . . . Well, I must run out to the kitchen now. Make yourself right at home, Mr. Bangs.”
Galusha Cabot Bangs’ first day in East Wellmouth was spent for the most part indoors. He was willing that it should he; the stiffness and lameness in various parts of his body, together with the shakiness at the knees which he experienced when he tried to walk, warned him that a trip abroad would not be a judicious undertaking. The doctor having granted him permission, however, he did go out into the yard for a brief period.