A Poor Wise Man
"Thanks. I've tried most everything. Edith wants to rent a room, so we can keep a
hired girl, but it's hard to get a girl. They want all the money on earth, and they
eat something awful. That's a nice friendly dog of yours, Mr. Cameron."
It was perhaps Jinx who decided Willy Cameron. Jinx was at that moment
occupying the only upholstered chair, but he had developed a strong liking for the
frail little lady with the querulous voice and the shabby black dress. He had,
indeed, insisted shortly after his entrance on leaping into her lap, and had thus
sat for some time, completely eclipsing his hostess.
"Just let him sit," Mrs. Boyd said placidly. "I like a dog. And he can't hurt this skirt
I've got on. It's on its last legs."
With which bit of unconscious humor Willy Cameron had sat down. Something
warm and kindly glowed in his heart. He felt that dogs have a curious instinct for
knowing what lies concealed in the human heart, and that Jinx had discovered
something worth while in Edith's mother.
It was later in the evening, however, that he said, over Edith's bakery cakes and
her atrocious coffee:
"If you really mean that about a roomer, I know of one." He glanced at Edith.
"Very neat. Careful with matches. Hard to get up in the morning, but interesting,
highly intelligent, and a clever talker. That's his one fault. When he is interested
in a thing he spouts all over the place."
"Really?" said Mrs. Boyd. "Well, talk would be a change here. He sounds kind of
pleasant. Who is he?"
"This paragon of beauty and intellect sits before you," said Willy Cameron.
"You'll have to excuse me. I didn't recognize you by the description," said Mrs.
Boyd, unconsciously. "Well, I don't know. I'd like to have this dog around."
Even Edith laughed at that. She had been very silent all evening, sitting most of
the time with her hands in her lap, and her eyes on Willy Cameron. Rather like
Jinx's eyes they were, steady, unblinking, loyal, and with something else in
common with Jinx which Willy Cameron never suspected.
"I wouldn't come, if I were you," she said, unexpectedly.
"Why, Edie, you've been thinking of asking him right along."
"We don't know how to keep a house," she persisted, to him. "We can't even
cook - you know that's rotten coffee. I'll show you the room, if you like, but I won't
feel hurt if you don't take it, I'll be worried if you do."