I finished mending the cap in high good humour.
I had hardly laid it down when I heard a quick step in the road behind me, and looking back, there was Mifflin, striding along with his bald pate covered with little beads of moisture. Bock trotted sedately at his heels. I halted Peg.
“Well,” I said, “what’s happened to Andrew?”
The Professor still looked a bit shamefaced. “The Sage is a tenacious person,” he said. “We argued for a bit without much satisfaction. As a matter of fact we nearly came to blows again, only he got another waft of goldenrod, which started him sneezing, and then his nose began bleeding once more. He is convinced that I’m a ruffian, and said so in excellent prose. Honestly, I admire him a great deal. I believe he intends to have the law on me. I gave him my Brooklyn address in case he wants to follow the matter up. I think I rather pleased him by asking him to autograph ‘Happiness and Hayseed’ for me. I found it lying in the ditch.”
“Well,” I said, “you two are certainly a great pair of lunatics. You both ought to go on the stage. You’d be as good as Weber and Fields. Did he give you the autograph?”
He pulled the book out of his pocket. Scrawled in it in pencil were the words “I have shed blood for Mr. Mifflin. Andrew McGill.”
“I shall read the book again with renewed interest,” said Mifflin. “May I get in?”
“By all means,” I said. “There’s Port Vigor in front of us.”
He put on his cap, noticed that it seemed to feel different, pulled it off again, and then looked at me in a quaint embarrassment.
“You are very good, Miss McGill,” he said.
“Where did Andrew go?” I asked.
“He set off for Shelby on foot,” Mifflin answered. “He has a grand stride for walking. He suddenly remembered that he had left some potatoes boiling on the fire yesterday afternoon, and said he must get back to attend to them. He said he hoped you would send him a postal card now and then. Do you know, he reminds me of Thoreau more than ever.”
“He reminds me of a burnt cooking pot,” I said. “I suppose all my kitchenware will be in a horrible state when I get home.”