His success was not marked, but he changed to some
degree the forlorn expression of the girl's countenance, so that
when Prudence appeared in the midst of the operation of shaving,
Sheila could greet the old woman with a tremulous smile.
"You deary-dear!" crooned Prudence, with her withered arms about the
strong, young frame of the girl, drawing her close. "I know you've
suffered this night. That mad girl was enough to put us all out o'
kilter. But don't let any thought of her bother you, Ida May. Your
uncle and I love you, and if forty people said you didn't belong
here, we should keep you just the same. Ain't that so, Ira?"
"Sure is," declared the captain vigorously. "No two ways about it.
We couldn't get along without Ida May, and I cal'late, the way
things look, that I'd better get that high fence I spoke of built
around this place at once. We're likely to have somebody come here
and carry the gal off almost any time. I can see that danger as
plain as plain!"
Prudence laughed, yet there was a catch in her voice too. She kissed
the girl's tear-wet face tenderly. Sheila's heart throbbed so that
she could scarcely go on with the task of shaving Cap'n Ira. How
could she continue to live this lie before two people who were so
infinitely kind to her and who loved her so tenderly?
And the girl loved them in return.