Friday, June 4, 2010

WHEN AMBER CRIED ENOUGH; by Marguerite Mohler Hanson; part 6; 1932

Drag had heard some news in town. He went to the telephone and called Amber.

"I understand your tractor went hay wire this morning," he said.

"It did," she told him. "And Jason says it's not worth repairing. We can't get delivery of another for weeks and we need one badly."

"I just received your note."

"Yes." Her voice was noncommittal.

"I have a tractor."

There was a pause; and then, "Your own, personally?"

"Yes, my own."

"You might send it up."

"I shall be glad to."

"Thank you. But of course,"she went on in the same level voice, "this is not enough."

Drag grinned and hung up gently.

"She can keep it a week," said Mrs. Flemming ominously, "that'll finish their work, and if she doesn't return it then I'll give her a piece of my mind. But you shouldn't have offered it to her, Drag."

"Why mother, you wouldn't let her bluff me out?"

"I know what she wants," stated Henry, suddenly inspired. "She wants you to apologize like a gentleman, and she'll ride you ragged till you do."


"Why not apologize?" demanded Mrs. Flemming.

"I'd feel silly."

"He'd feel silly apologizing!" stormed Henry, "but he doesn't feel silly making her presents of twin calves and rifles and tractors. It's the talk of the neighborhood."

"She doesn't feel silly accepting them," Drag reminded him.

"Of course not, Simp. She's getting the biggest laugh of her life."

"I told her you'd do anything but apologize," confessed Dolly.

Mrs. Flemming turned on her in exasperation. "Are you helping this thing along? Drag's no millionaire that he can give away guns and tractors and the two most valuable calves in the county."

"I think it's funny," giggled Dolly.

Drag looked at Dolly. "What did she say when you told her I wouldn't apologize?"

Dolly giggled again.

"She said you made her think of vikings and warlords and Manchu intrigue--whatever that means."

"It means she thinks he looks like a Chinese Swede," jeered Henry.

"She wanted to know how Henry ever came to have a brother like you.

"That's what I'd like to know myself," growled Henry.

A few evenings later Henry took Amber for a ride in the moonlight, and came home surprisingly early, and strolled into the living room where the rest of the family sat, Mrs. Flemming busy with her mending, Dolly deep in a book, and Drag at his farm accounts.

Henry fussed with the radio until he had it going to everyone's satisfaction, and then he turned it off. He sat down and flipped the pages of a magazine. He go up and went to the window facing the Chapelle house and raised the shade.

Drag was watching him.

"Pop the question tonight, Henry?" he asked, shooting at random.

Henry turned on him.

"A lot of good that does when a guy's known to be blood brother to a nut. Says she's too old for me. Thunder!--she's a year younger. Says she's too ornery. Anything to evade me. Still I don't know as I blame her." He glanced at Drag. "Who'd want to marry into this family and take chances on bringing another specimen like you into the world."

"You think of everything, don't you?" remarked Drag.