keep them for me. You see, I think some of the ladies have an idea of trying to buy Father’s books and furniture for the manse, and I couldn’t part with them. I’d like to get them all put out of sight before anybody can come and suggest anything about it and make an embarrassing situation for me. Mrs. Brisbane said some of the Ladies’ Aid were talking about it.”
“Sure I’ll help, Miss Amorelle,” said Johnny in his old breezy tone. “I’ll be glad ta beat that bunch of old cats to it! I sure will! Whaddya wantta do first? The books? Say, I gotta lotta good strong, empty boxes over ta the store. They’re clean and nice. I can bring ’em over at noon, and we can get those books into ’em in no time and nail ’em up. Then when I take the run over ta the Glen, I ken deliver ’em, and when anybody come around wanting ’em, they’ll be
“Oh, Johnny, that would be wonderful,” said Amorelle. “But I couldn’t take you all that time away from your store. If I just had the boxes, I could pack them and get a truck to take all my things over at once.”
“No sense in wasting truck hire,” said Johnny. “Ef I’m your brother, why not let me cart ’em? I run over that way twice a day anyway, and my truck is good and strong. I can get quite a load in every time I go, and before you know it they’ll all be gone!”
“But some of them are heavy; I’m afraid you couldn’t manage them alone.”
“Aw, whaddya mean manage? Besides, Tod often goes out on the truck with me, and we’ll take the heavy things at night after dark. Then I’ll leave Tod over at his home on the way back. That’s all fixed now; that’s what I’m going ta do. And you don’t know how glad I am you’ll let me be of some real help. But say, Amorelle, you won’t lay it up against me that I asked you that other? I know it was sorta presuming, but I’d a ben glad ta do it ef you felt it was the right thing.”
Johnny was all eagerness now, wistfulness. His big, earnest blue eyes searched her face tensely. He was calling her Amorelle just as if he’d always done it, and he didn’t even realize it.
“Why, of course not, Johnny. That was really a wonderful thing for you to propose,” said Amorelle gently. “That is the highest honor a man may offer a woman. Only you know, too, Johnny, that you are young, a year or two younger than I am, and that you have friends of your own that probably have been occupying that place in your thoughts, and I hope you’ll be very happy someday in that snug little house over your store. I’ll love the girl you will choose. But you and I are just friends, and today you’ve come to be more like a brother, too, and I’m glad. I’m just going to call upon you to help me in my need and be real happy in the asking. Father loved you, and he’d be glad that you’re helping me. So don’t say anything more about presuming, please, and let’s be glad in our friendship.”
“Well, now that’s settled,” he said in a relieved tone. “Just let me take a look at those books to see about how many boxes we can use, and I’ll bring ’em over when I go to my lunch.”
Johnny stumped away, whistling happily, slamming the manse door behind him. And Amorelle retired to her father’s big chair to laugh over the strange, embarrassed proposal of marriage and to grind her teeth over Mrs. Brisbane and wonder if the woman could possibly have dared to talk of marriage to the other men whom she had suggested. Oh, how terrible! How humiliating! And there was nothing,
, she could do to stop it. Her mind ran over the list of available bachelors her caller had mentioned, and she shuddered.
Then suddenly she looked around her. There was just one thing she could do, and that was to get out of Rivington as soon as possible. She must get packed up in a hurry and moved before anybody realized what she was doing. Oh, if only Mrs. Loomis Rivington was at home, she would be able to stop all