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of paper flutter to the floor. Hastily May were ill at ease. Harvey Cannyshe stooped to pick it up.

It was inevitable that her eye should fall upon the writing, and as inevitable that she should read it. The penciled hand was sprawly, but sufficiently legible. It was the receipt for a package from Banton's, collect on delivery, made out to Andrew Glenn, signed by W. Ad. Joynt, agent. The date was of the preceding day. She went back to the wrappings of the parcel and turned them over until she found the letters C. O. D. It became evident to her then that, whoever had ordered the dishes, Andrew had paid for them.


They tied up for the night outside of Delta on the Boonville feeder. The town itself was a mile and a half back from the canal; but Denslow's Delta House took the town's place pretty well. It was a long rambling structure with odd wings growing out of the sides of a big square house of three stories, like whelps out of Scylla's belly. At times they could give forth as much noise, and almost as unlovely. But in the off season the house stood very quiet, with lights only in the ground-floor centre windows, and a white whisper of smoke coming out of one corner of the great chimney.

They had come down from Boonville empty, and ahead of them when they tied up at the wharf was another boat as empty as their own. It was a late hour for supper, for the sun was set, and a cloudy sky made it seem later. But Andrew ate deliberately across the table from May. Stephen had gone up to the Delta House as soon as they landed.

Andrew glowered. Although an air of established comfort and neatness now pervaded the cabin of the Eastern

Belle, it was evident that he and

whacker's advice had taken root in him, obsessed him, until he had approached May. He had asked her above Boonville, in the midst of the bleak hills in which he had been born, to go west with him. Slim and selfcontained, as she walked beside him on the towpath, she had told him no. She had had more than a taste of his parsimony, which, as a farmer's child, she was born to understand, but which, in his present way of living, she found it hard to forgive. She had felt an unresistible impulse to hurt him, and she had given way to it. If she had expected an outward sign of pain, she was disappointed; and instantly she had regretted her weakness, remembering his unclaimed gift. He spoke nothing about himself, so that it was impossible for her to read any purpose in him.

Andrew had walked on beside the team and repeated her answer to himself. For his slow mind there had not been time for pain to sink in. He had asked her because a man, according to Harvey, ought to be married. He would not be hurt until he woke to the realization of being in love. At the moment it was another deal closed, as it happened, in his disfavor.

But the sight of her about his boat, and the feeling of her presence, made the idea of going to Ohio seem empty. That idea had run so supremely in his head that he had not realized his omission of a proposal of marriage. The two were synonymous ideas; and she had understood them so. But he had taken it for granted that her negative implied her attachment to Stephen. He could not know that a few hours afterward she had denied Stephen. Had he been informed of it, he would have refused to believe it. It was not in Stephen's character to be denied.

He finished his tea from the new nasturtium cup and rose from the table.

May glanced up at him with a peculiar veiled expression in her eyes.

"They're real pretty,' she said, giving him an opening. 'I like them a lot.'

He snorted.


'All puddery snick-snacks. It's land counts in this land - land and stock. Building on the land and growing on to it's what counts. You can't make no progress in a chiney set.'

He reached for his hat.
'Where're you going?'
'I got to find Stephen.'

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He paused for a minute in the doorway and cast a long look over the cabin. It was this he would leave to go west all of it pretty puddery, but he was growing to like it. But it was all puddery he would go west. The horses forward stamped all at once. A big team they ought to be pulling on a plough, not taking a square-ended boat back and forth between little nowheres. He looked at May - and she seemed to him very desirable there, sitting with her hands among the crockery dishes. She ought to be raising children. While he watched her, the color mounted to her face. His eyes fell on a small mirror across the cabin; and in it he saw the yellow of his hair, and his eyes clear blue, filling the small glass. He stooped to go out of the door, and he awoke to his own size; the boat had grown too small to hold him. As he came out on deck he heard the clock strike eightclear notes, suddenly resonant on the night air.


There was a smell of frost in the night; the stars were beginning to show among the clouds; here and there they found reflections in the black water of the canal.

Andrew went over to the other boat and knocked on the cabin door; but no one answered him. He walked forward to the stable to look at the horses. It was inky dark there, and the horses shifted in their stalls at his unfamiliar

smell. But he stepped in beside them and felt them over. They were heavy horses, as heavy as the black team, hard and in good condition - a trifle poor, perhaps. He knew the owner, Reuben Philmy, a little dazed man who wanted enough money to set up a little garden - a little garden! Andrew felt a quiver in the legs of the horse by which he stood, as if he, too, snorted at the thought.

When he came out on deck again, Andrew heard Philmy coming aboard. 'Hello,' said Andrew. 'It's me, Andrew Glenn.'

'I thought that was your boat,' said the other in a small, weak voice. 'Hello, Andrew.'

'I want to buy your boat,' said Andrew.

They talked for a while in the starlight, and then Andrew reached into his pocket, and a little later he walked away toward the Delta House.

As he paused before the door, the moon, a full white moon, came out from the clouds, bringing a bright wind with it. He could see the white gleam of the plank road running straight away to Westernville, on the far side of the canal. Close at hand, it spanned the water over a bridge, the white rails of which arched from shore to shore like a web of silver mist. On this he heard now the thump of heels sounding with a tight, frosty ring; and presently a high unmusical whistle proceeded from the lips of the walker. In a few moments his humped shadow became visible, black against the gray-washed stillness of the roadside fields. Andrew went out to meet him.

'I guessed I might run into you here, Andrew.'

'We just stopped for the night, Harvey.'

The peddler dumped his pack down and leaned back against the snake fence where the protruding crossed

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'Cripus! He would n't stand no show.'

The peddler chuckled.

'Well, you might draw lots.' Andrew deliberated.

"That'd be too sudden,' he said after a while.

'I got some cards,' said the peddler.

The cold breeze rustled the roadside 'I allus carry them.' “Eanh. grass.

'A man ought to get married,' said

the peddler.

'I reckon,' Andrew said.

'Did you ask her?'


'She said no.'


'Why?' Harvey asked.

'I reckon she wants Stephen.'

'She's said no to him, too,' said Harvey.

'How'd you know that?'

'He's setting up the road a spell by himself."

'He's tired of her,' Andrew said. 'He would n't leave her with nobody else round to tag after. I'll bet she's turned him off.'

With his forefinger Andrew outlined the toe of his boot in the road where he squatted.

'She'd make a good wife,' said Harvey.

'I guess that's so.'

'Well, you could mix 'em good and then draw off the top for the first queen.'

This protracted method appealed to Andrew.

"That's all right,' he said.

In the act of pulling the cards out of his pocket, the peddler cocked his head.

At the same instant Stephen's face appeared over the snake fence behind them.

'What do you want to win for?' he asked Andrew. 'What good would that do you?'

Andrew hunched lower under the remark; he had not thought of that. For the first time he felt the pang at her refusal which had lain dormant in him.

Harvey cursed beneath his breath; then glanced up at Stephen. The moon shone in his small black eyes. He looked all at once like a crouched,

'What I think is,' said Harvey, 'that inquisitive rat. she wants a bit of both of you.'

Andrew was silent.

'Either you take her or you don't. One of you alone could take her in a


'I can't leave Steve by himself,' said Andrew. 'It ain't right.'

'You'll have to if you're going west. You'd better settle it between

'I don't see as it'll help you an awful lot to win, either,' he observed. Stephen drew back, and his cheek darkened.

'If it was n't for Andrew being round all the while, I'd have learned her already. Where are your damn cards?'

The peddler held them up.

'I'll mix,' he said, and he did so, slipping the cards dexterously from one hand to the other with his nimble fingers, until, in the moonlight, they became a running thread, with a faint gleam now and then against their backs. Suddenly he offered them to Andrew, backs up, upon his palm. 'Let him draw first,' said Andrew. Stephen laughed. 'Andy 's scared.'

He took off the top card and held it slantwise against the moon.

'Pip,' he said.

Andrew drew and struck a match where he squatted and laid the card down by his feet. Stephen drew again; then Andrew. And again they laid down the cards.

Stephen took another card, quickly, and laughed as he turned it down. He seemed quite at ease and asked for one of Harvey's cigars and borrowed Andrew's last match to light it. Andrew drew and examined his card by the glow of the cigar end, the faint light just touching his nose and brows and the outer hairs of his beard. Stephen looked at the next card, and laughed again.

"There! The damn black hussy. Tough luck, Andy.'

Andrew grunted.

He held his card close to the cigar -the two of clubs. Then he picked up the cards he had put down and handed them to Harvey.

Stephen vaulted over the fence.

'It's too bad, Andy,' he said again. There was a note of genuine disappointment in his voice, and he added. quite honestly, 'We 'll miss you.'

Andrew got slowly to his feet until he faced him.

'Good-bye,' he said. 'You can have the boat.'

Then he hit him with his full strength on the side of the face. Stephen crumpled backward on his heels and

stretched out, his fingers plucking at the dust.

'Jeepers!' Harvey whispered. 'Jeepers Cripus!'

And his hand went unconsciously to his own jaw.

'Jeepers!' he said once more.

Andrew stared from his fist to Stephen and back again. He shook his head.

After a moment he reached over and picked Stephen up and slung him across his shoulders.

'I'd better take him back,' he said. Harvey swung up his pack and they set off for the boats. As they went side by side their shadows looked like the shadows of twins.


'Come on in,' May said.

Harvey opened the door and Andrew bunted his way in and dropped Stephen in the rocking-chair. Then, as if to survey his work, he stood back and looked him over in the lamplight. Stephen's skin was waxy, with an unpleasant yellow tinge beginning to show. The long lashes folded on his high cheeks might have been a woman's, as might his slim-fingered hands. He lay back with a grotesque crumpledness in his arms and legs. On his waistcoat there was still a white spot made by his cigar ash.

May looked from him to Andrew with a wondering horror.

'What've you been doing?' she cried suddenly. 'What 've you done to him?'

Though she did not mind picking a flower herself, she could not bear to see one wilt under another's hand.

Andrew gazed at his fist before answering her.

'Why, I guess I hit him one.' 'Jeepers!' exclaimed Harvey. 'I'll bet your neck!'


May got some water from the butt and began daubing Stephen's face and neck. Andrew watched her for a moment. Then he turned heavily to Harvey.

'I reckon I better start now. Will you steer me 's fur 's Rome?'

'Why, yes,' Harvey said. 'I reckon I might as well.'

May glanced up quickly. 'Where 're you going?'

'West,' said Andrew. He banged the cabin door after him.

Harvey started to pick up his pack; but before he could swing it up May caught his arm.

"Tell me,' she said breathlessly. He looked at her with relish. 'Why, you could n't pick neither one of 'em, and Andrew would n't let him have you while he was round, so they played for you with these-here cards,' he produced them as evidence, and Steve won, and Andrew busted him for it. He did it real handy.'

'You know,' he went on, reading her expression, 'he's liable to do that.'

He swung up his pack and opened the door. They heard the tump-tump of the horses coming down the gang of the boat ahead and a jangle of traces.

'It's a good boat, but I'll bet it's dirty,' Harvey said.

'You stay here,' said May. She ran out after Andrew and went aboard the other boat while he hitched the team to the eveners.

'All right, Harvey,' Andrew said, as he came back and pushed the gang back on deck.

'All right,' replied Harvey, from the bow of the Eastern Belle.

He grinned as the boat swung away from the wharf. In the pale light he saw May Friendly raise her arm to him. He waved back. The moon traced the wash from the stern as the boat went round a bend. He waited a few minutes longer.

'Low bridge!' he heard Andrew's deep voice calling.

'Lo-ow bridge!' May's voice faintly gave the steersman's answer.

Harvey chuckled as he returned to the cabin. He sat down at the table and opened his pack and began rolling cigars.

'One for a penny, a penny for one,' he chanted. 'Built right and rolled tight, and warranted to drawr.'

Behind him Stephen moaned. "That you, Harvey?' he asked weakly. 'Where's Andy?'

'I guess he woke up,' said Harvey. "Them sleepy ones wake up once in a while.'

He sifted the filling on to a leaf.

'It's like something inside of them said, "Jeepers!" he went on, ‘and they did n't hear it for a while.' 'Where's May?' Harvey chuckled.

'She don't seem to believe in cards,' he replied. 'By grab!' he added. 'Durned if she did n't wake up, too!'

He licked his thumbs with relish and rolled the wrapping on tight.

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