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The Big-Town Round-Up by William MacLeod Raine

I'll bet she comes right over to see you


"I've

got no place to go, except back home--and I've got no folks there but a second cousin. She doesn't want me. I don't know what to do. If I had a woman friend--some one to tell me what was best--"

Johnnie slapped his hand on his knee, struck by a sudden inspiration. "Say! Y'betcha, by jollies, I've got 'er--the very one! You're damn--you're sure whistlin'. We got a lady friend, Clay and me, the finest little pilgrim in New York. She's sure there when the gong strikes. You'd love her. I'll fix it for you--right away. I got to go to her house this afternoon an' do some chores. I'll bet she comes right over to see you."

Kitty was doubtful. She did not want to take any strange young women into her confidence until she had seen them. More than one good Pharisee had burned her face with a look of scornful contempt in the past weeks.

"Maybe we better wait and speak to Mr. Lindsay about it," she said.

"No, ma'am, you don't know Miss Beatrice. She's the best friend." He passed her the eggs and a confidence at the same time. "Why, I shouldn't wonder but what she and Clay might get married one o' these days. He thinks a lot of her."

"Oh." Kitty knew just a little more of human nature than the puncher. "Then I wouldn't tell her about me if I was you. She wouldn't like my bein' here."

justify;">"Sho! You don't know Miss Beatrice. She grades 'way up. I'll bet she likes you fine."

When Johnnie left to go to work that afternoon he took with him a resolution to lay the whole case before Beatrice Whitford. She would fix things all right. No need for anybody to worry after she took a hand and began to run things. If there was one person on earth Johnnie could bank on without fail it was his little boss.

CHAPTER XVIII

BEATRICE GIVES AN OPTION

It was not until Johnnie had laid the case before Miss Whitford and restated it under the impression that she could not have understood that his confidence ebbed. Even then he felt that he must have bungled it in the telling and began to marshal his facts a third time. He had expected an eager interest, a quick enthusiasm. Instead, he found in his young mistress a spirit beyond his understanding. Her manner had a touch of cool disdain, almost of contempt, while she listened to his tale. This was not at all in the picture he had planned.

She asked no questions and made no comments. What he had to tell met with chill silence. Johnnie's guileless narrative had made clear to her that Clay had brought Kitty home about midnight, had mixed a drink for her, and had given her his own clothes to replace her wet ones. Somehow the cattleman's robe, pajamas, and bedroom slippers obtruded unduly from his friend's story. Even the Runt felt this. He began to perceive himself a helpless medium of wrong impressions. When he tried to explain he made matters worse.


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