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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Wished to see Harwood to learn when


"It's

all right," said Rose meekly from the door. "I told him you were probably at the State House."

"Whom? Oh, thank you, Rose." And then, as though to ease her conscience for this mild mendacity, he added: "I believe I did have an engagement over there at nine."

"He said--" Rose began warily; and then gave him an opportunity to cut her short.

"What did he say?"

"Oh, he was hot! He said if you came in before he found you, to say that if you and Ramsay didn't help him deliver the freight to-day he would get action to-morrow; that that's the limit."

"He said to-morrow, did he? Very well, Rose. That's all."

Rose, virtuously indexing the letter-book, saw Harwood as he idly ranged the rooms try the hall door to make sure it was bolted. Then he stood at the window of his own room, staring at nothing. The telephone chimed cheerfully at intervals. Ramsay sought him; Thatcher had stationed one of his allies at a telephone booth in the State House corridor to call the office at regular intervals. Newspaper reporters demanded to know where Harwood could be found; the governor, rankling under the criticism he had brought upon his party by the special session, wished to see Harwood to learn when, if possible, the legislature would take itself home. To these continual importunities Rose replied

in tones of surprise, regret, or chagrin, as the individual case demanded, without again troubling her employer. The index completed, she filed papers, smoothed her yellow hair at the wash stand, exchanged fraternal signals with a girl friend in the office opposite, and read the "Courier's" report of the senatorial struggle with complete understanding of its intricacies.

"Rose!"

It was twelve o'clock when Harwood called her. He had brushed aside the mass of documents she had noted on her arrival, and a single letter sheet lay before him. Without glancing up he bade her sit down. She had brought her notebook prepared to take dictation. He glanced at it and shook his head. The tired, indifferent Harwood she had found at the end of his night vigil had vanished; he was once more the alert, earnest young man of action she admired.

"Rose, I want to ask you some questions. I think you will believe me if I say that I shouldn't ask them if they were not of importance--of very great importance."

"All right, Mr. Harwood."

Her eyes had fallen upon the letter and her lids fluttered quickly. She touched her pompadour with the back of her hand and tightened the knot of her tie.

"This is on the dead, Rose. It concerns a lot of people, and it's important for me to know the truth. And it's possible that you may not be able to help; but if you can't the matter ends here."

He rose and closed the door of his room to shut out the renewed jingle of the telephone.


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