That Boy of Ed's

Here’s the heart-warming story of a couple who longed for a son, and a tough kid who wanted a dog of his own

BERYL GRAY January 1 1947

That Boy of Ed's

Here’s the heart-warming story of a couple who longed for a son, and a tough kid who wanted a dog of his own

BERYL GRAY January 1 1947

That Boy of Ed's

BERYL GRAY

YOU NEVER would have thought that Ed and Marge Sullivan would have been the ones take in that boy. They weren't young, and they’d lived a childless life together for close to a quarter of a century. Marge wasn’t strong, and years behind the dry goods counter in Sharpe and Molson’s had worn Ed pretty fine. It seemed unnatural for them to take on something youig and difficult at this stage. Especially such a bt,y as Danny Flynn!

Why Ed took it on himself to step in, after Terrence Flynn dropped dead in front of Shane and Molson’s, no one rightly knew. Perhaps it was because the boy just stood there on the sidewalk, staring blankly at the spot where the old man had breathed his last. Not that Old Terrence had ever cared a hoot about the boy. The two of them lived in a shack down by the river, and often the surrounding air was blue with shouting. But for ail

that he was Danny’s father, and suddenly he was out there on the sidewalk, dead.

Ed Sullivan never had been one to mix himself in other folk’s affairs. But now he went up to Danny and spoke, without a change from his usual mild expression, “You’d better come along with me.”

Danny did not look up until he’d said it twice. Then he stared at Ed dumbly, and began to walk away. Ed did not try to follow. He stood waiting. and sure enough Danny came back to the spot where his father’s body had lain. Ed said again, •‘You’d better come along with me. Mrs. Sullivan will give you supper.”

This time the boy looked up suspiciously.

“You mean, you aim to run me in?”

“I don’t aim to run you anywhere.” Ed spoke calmly. “I said, you’d better come with me.”

And when Ed walked on, there was Danny by ’¿s side.

You could picture the scene when Ed walked in, with Danny shuffling behind. Marge was frying in ;he kitchen, preparing the careful meal she always planned for two. She looked at Danny as if she couldn’t believe what she saw. Ed came over and kissed her quickly on one cheek. She was a tall, spare woman and never had laid claim to beauty. Now she looked through her spectacles across BY!’s shoulder.

“Someone has followed you inside.”

Ed answered gently, “It’s Danny Flynn.”

“I can see it’s Danny Flynn.” Marge was a plain-spoken woman. “What does he want here?” “His supper,” Ed said with an apologetic air. Marge raised her eyebrows.

“Has he no home for his supper?

“Yes, but he won’t care to go tonight.”

“Why not?”

Ed held his hands over the stove. “Would you care for him to go, when his father’s just, dropped dead?”

Marge looked at Ed as if he were cra/.y. Then she turned to Danny.

“Is this true?”

Danny nodded.

“Does this mean you’re alone in the world ?”

He looked as if he could not fathom the sense of her questioning. “Sure,” he said. There was a world of defiance in his answer.

Marge followed her own line of thinking. “Are you hungry?”

“Sure.”

Marge looked dubious. “I’m not sure you have a right to be hungry, when your father’s lying dead.’ Danny’s face was white and sullen. “I guess I’ve a right to be hungry when there hasn’t been food in the house for two days.”

“Why hasn’t there been food?”

“My father was too sick.”

“Couldn’t you work for food?”

“No one wants me . . .” Danny began. He stopped and slipped to his knees. Then he pitched forward and lay still. Ed knelt and rolled the boy over. You wouldn’t have expected quite such promptness or strength. “He’s just fainted,” he said without alarm. “Marge, did you have to badger him?”

Marge made an effort not to show her own concern. “Did you have to bring him here?” she asked, as she loosened the boy’s dirty shirt.

“I reckon not. But he looked so lost and witless, I felt something stir within me.”

“Humph!” Marge looked down at the boy’s colorless face. There was nothing there, even in unconsciousness, to really rouse a person’s sympathy. After a pause she sighed.

Here’s the heart-warming story of a couple who longed for a son, and a tough kid who wanted a dog of his own

“Well, what’s done is done.” And whether she referred to Terrence Flynn or Bid’s behavior was hard to guess. “Ed, you’d better call a doctor. This may be more than simple fainting, and we’ve got to know what ’s right to put into his stomach.”

Doc Williams came and looked at Danny carefully. Then he went down to the kitchen and spoke to Marge and Bid plainly.

“If I were you, I wouldn’t get involved in this. The boy is badly undernourished and anaemic. He’d be better under supervision from the start.”

“It’s what I feel myself,” Marge said. She looked at Ed for confirmation, and he said not hing. After a pause she went on. “At the same time, couldn’t these conditions you speak of be cleared up right here?”

“Good glory!” Doc Williams said in open amazement. “Would you want to try ?”

Bid looked down at the floor and remarked softly: “I always thought it would be nice to have a lad about.”

Doc Williams gave a roar. “But why the devil pick on such a lad at your age!” Ed looked uncomfortable, and Marge spoke up again. “Ed’s no age at all, and if he wants a boy, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have one.” Doc wheeled about.

“But this boy, Marge!” he urged. “It’s not just sickness. It’s the moral question too. There’ve been too many things.”

There had indeed been things, and they couldn’t be overlooked. Things like bits of theft and trickery, and some trouble over a valuable dog with a broken leg found in the shack. Doc Williams pressed his point. “A boy like that would give you nothing but heartbreak and trouble. There’ll be other decent lads in need of care. We’ll see what we can find.”

Ed shook his head, and there was deep apology in his face.

“It’s not a decent lad I crave. I figure this boy needs a good plain home.”

Doc Williams made one more honest attempt. “Ed, you’re a good chap, but you’re not the type for a boy like this. Besides, you’re neither of you used to youngsters.”

Marge looked him straight in the eye.

“What’s wrong with remedying that?” she asked. Doc Williams tried to stâre her out, and then he raised his hands as if to wash them of the matter. He stopped once to shout, “Tomorrow I’ll be back!” and slammed the door behind him.

MARGE and Bid looked at each other, and heaven only knew what they were thinking. They went upstairs and stood looking at the sleeping boy in the immaculate spare bed. Danny looked eve"n more unattractive against the snowy sheets. Again their eyes met, soberly, for they both knew t hey had started something it might not be easy to stop. Marge asked, almost accusingly: “Why

didn’t you ever tell me you wanted to t»ke in a boy?”

Bid reddened, as if even after 25 years of marriage, intimate conversations were not easy. “1 couldn’t rightly say. Maybe it was the way your mother always said, being so sickly, it was God’s blessings on you that you didn’t have young ones to plague you.”

Marge looked at him and said very quietly, “Oh, Bid you fool!” After a minute she added, “If I’d known you wanted . . .” She stopped, and when he looked up, uncomfortably, he saw that there were actual tears in her eyes. In some embarrassment he touched her arm.

“Marge, don’t feel bad on my account.”

“I don’t feel bad on your account!” Her voice was sharp, but she did not move her arm. “I feel bad on my own. You idiot, Bid —for years I longed for a sweet baby girl, and I never had the courage to suggest it. And now . . . you bring me a creature like this!” She flung out her hand with a fierce, despairing gesture.

That was how Danny came to the Sullivans, and how they struggled to make something of a hopeless proposition. Ed never said a word downtown about their difficulties. “Oh, fine -fine!” he always answered when folk

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asked him how the boy was doing. He never was one to give the curious much insight into his and Marge’s affairs.

In a few days Danny was up and around. He was clean, and his evil clothing had been cast aside. Even if his mealtime manners were enough to make Marge and Ed shudder, he ate well and often. He did occasional chores like carrying in wood. But for the most part he just sat and idly turned the pages of books or lay on the couch with the radio turned to the most blaring programs he could find.

“Why don’t you go into the sunshine?” Marge asked him once. It was summer, and you’d have thought his whole idea would be getting better again.

Danny answered sullenly, “I don’t have to.”

“You don’t have to,” Marge agreed. “But you might as well make an effort to get better.” There was never any sign of aversion in her cool voice.

Danny scowled. “I’m not sick.”

“If you weren’t sick, you’d be glad to do something useful.”

Danny’s pale blue eyes narrowed until he didn’t look exactly stupid, just resentful. “That’s why you got me,” he remarked with dark accusation.

“Why did I get you?” Marge came to the foot of the couch, and Danny shifted uneasily. He said, “So you could get some work for nothing.”

“Hmmph!” She did not turn a hair. “Do you think the bit of work you do could make up -for you!” It was blunt speaking, anti the dull color rose in his cheeks.

“Then why did you get me?” he demanded.

Marge hesitated. “Because Ed wanted you,” she said finally. And not for any return you could make, just out of the kindness of his heart!

Danny was silent. Then, deliberately, he reached out and turned the radio on loud. “That’s a laugh, he said.

OTHER people felt sorry for Marge and Ed. Marge was too set in her ways, and everyone knew Ed hadn t much spunk. There’d be nothing but trouble with that boy.

On the second Saturday Ed looked up mildly at breakfast. “ I his afternoon I reckon we’ll go fishing,” he said.

Marge stared.

“Ed, you haven’t fished in 15 years!” He nodded. “You’d better pack a basket and come along.”

Marge looked at Danny, who did not raise his glance. “Danny, do you want to go?” He shook his head. Her eyes met Ed’s. You see, it’s not a bit of use, lier expression told him.

Ed cut up his bacon carefully. “I’d figured on driving out to the river by Trapps’ Kennels,” he said gently. “We can start around one.” He said no more. But Danny had looked up at the one word “kennels,” and for an instant there had been a flash of eagerness in his face.

“Can we see the dogs?” he asked. “It’s likely,” Ed answered.

Whether it was the lure of the dogs or whether Ed had more influence than anybody knew was hard to tell. But at one Ed’s old coupé was rolling on its way. Marge sat with stiffly folded hands in the centre, and the rods and baskets were in the trunk. When they reached the river Marge spread a rug beneath a tree and sat down carefully to knit. Ed got to work with his lines, and Danny disappeared. “Leave him alone,” Ed said calmly. “I figure it does a boy good to get in some solitary

roaming.” But presently he put down I his rod and went off too.

He went straight to the kennels and looked around the yard. There were a lot of wired enclosures, and a furious medley of barking. A man came over and Ed said, “See anything of a boy?”

The man jerked his thumb. He was j rough-looking, and he scowled.

“There’s a hoy back there now, and 1 was just about to send him packing.”

“Has he been troubling you?” asked Ed.

“He’s been asking a heap of fool questions.” It was plain he didn’t take to Danny, and he looked at Ed doubtfully, too. “Is he yours?”

“Yes,” said Ed without elaborating.

“Is it all right if he looks around?”

“Maybe—if you stick along,” the I man agreed. “The Trapps are out, and I’m in charge. I need to be careful, the way some folks look at valuable dogs.”

Ed went over to Danny. He stood staring through wires at a tiny fluffy golden collie pup. The little creature was whining and holding up its paw. Danny seemed to know Ed was there, and he spoke without turning.

“Look, his leg is hurt!” The dullness had gone from his voice. The man came up, and Danny spoke to him. “Can’t you do something to fix it?”

“He’s all right.” The man spoke carelessly. “That’s just that noaccount runt of Bonnie Beauty’s. He got out with the rest of the litter and they treated him pretty rough. It’s the way with runts—they yell for nothing.”

“Maybe his leg is broken,” Danny said. “Can I see?” He reached for the catch, and the man’s hand closed over his arm.

“No you don’t! You can’t he handling dogs around here.”

“But. you said it was a no-account runt.”

“I said, hands off.”

Ed touched the boy’s shoulder. “We’d better get back to our fishing.” Danny paid no attention. He said to j the man: “How much do dogs like this cost?”

The other laughed, none too kindly, j “Bonnie Beauty cost $180.”

“But not ... a no-account runt?” “Come on,” Ed said again. Danny j went then, and on the way Ed volunteered only one remark. “If you’re thinking of a dog, you’ll have to speak to Marge about it.”

Danny went and stood over Marge. “Can I buy a dog?” he demanded.

She looked up, unperturbed. “What with?”

“Money that I’ll earn.”

“How will you earn it?”

“You’ll see.” Danny looked sullen, as if he felt she had no right to croas his wishes. “If you loan it to me, I 11 pay you back.”

“Nonsense,” said Marge and proceeded to count stitches. She paused, realizing he had not moved. When you’ve earned your money, will be time to talk about dogs. Now go to your fishing.”

Danny sat on the river’s edge and brooded. After lunch, he disappeared again. “Let him be,” said Ed. “A bov has to think things out for himself.”

Marge sighed. “The trouble is, we 11 never know what that one’s thinking.”

IT Danny WAS came nearly back. time He to was leave running, when and in his arms he held something warm and golden. He was breathless. His eyes sparkled, and his cheeks were bright with color. In that moment Danny looked something like a real boy.

“Look, he’s mine!” he panted. “I’m | going to fix his leg as good as new!’

Marge and Ed stared as if no words !

would come. Marge found her voice first. “Ed, what happened?” She asked the question sharply.

Danny began to speak, fast as they hadn’t known he could talk, and as if he didn’t want to give them a chance to get a word in first. “Mr. Trapp came back . . .”

“Danny, were you there . . .?” Marge began. He did not let her finish.

“Sure—and he was talking to the other guy, and they said his leg was broken. Mr. Trapp was kind of mad, and said the pup would have to be destroyed.' I said maybe I could fix it up. That other guy . . .!” Danny’s face darkened, “He just laughed and said, ‘I told you to get out!’ hut Mr. Trapp said, ‘Son, it’s no use to try and keep a pup quiet, and maybe do more damagqli I said anyway I’d sure like to try. And so . . .”

Danny’s tale ended as suddenly and breathlessly as it had begun. He looked down at the little dog and stroked it. “You’re going to be all right,” he said. It was surprising what fine-looking, gentle hands he had for such an ungainly boy. Ed never said a word, hut there were puzzlement and trouble in his eyes. It was Marge who asked quickly, “And so—what then?”

“Well . . . here’s the pup!” Danny looked across his shoulder swiftly. “Let’s get going, so I can fix him up.” He climbed into the car, and Ed went slowly around to his side. But Marge stood her ground.

“Wait,” she said. “Danny, did Mr. Trapp give you this dog?”

“Isn’t that what I said?”

“No, it isn’t what you said. Danny, I can’t let you take it.”

“Sure you can, if it’s mine!”

“Suppose we go and ask if it is?” Danny did not move. After a pause his voice was low and sullen. “You don’t believe it’s all right.”

Marge shook her head. “No, I don’t believe it is,” she admitted. “And I’m going to find out.” She began to walk away, and Danny watched her. There was no color in his face now, and the hand on the dog’s head was still.

She had hardly gone a dozen paces before Ed called out. “Marge, come back. If the boy says it’s all right, then it’s up to us to accept his word.”

Marge stood still. “Bid, are you crazy?” There was no denying what she meant. Ed was silent, and it was impossible to tell what he was thinking. At last he shook his head.

“No, I’m not crazy.” Ble got into the car. “Come on.”

They drove away, for in the face of that there was nothing Marge could do. Besides, who was to say she wasn’t overly suspicious, just as one might say that lid was soft and foolish?

Marge made one more attempt when they got in the garage. Danny had hurried straight to the house with the pup. “Ed, are you going to leave it this way?”

Ed closed the window carefully. “I reckon so.”

“Then if there's trouble, it’s yours to deal with.”

B’or the first time Ed sounded a shade impatient. “Marge, quit worrying. I’m acting in the faith that our boy’s got sense and decency enough to do the right thing.”

Marge looked at him rather coldly. “That sounds queer to me. You mean you think he did take the dog?”

“I mean or think nothing of the sort. And while I’m figuring things out, I’ll thank you not to interfere.” He turned and left her

When they got inside, Danny had the pup on the kitchen table.

“Come and help hold him,” he said to B3d. “This leg’s broken all right. I can feel jthe way it is, and I’m going to put a splint on it.”

Marge stopped her scoldings and scurryings for newspapers to come close. “What makes you think you’re smart enough to fix a dog?”

Danny answered without looking up. “I’ve fixed hurt dogs before.”

“Oh,” Marge said, and it was plain to tell what lay behind. There had been trouble once over a stolen dog, and there was a lot about this present business she didn’t like. Danny met her eyes. In an instant the eagerness in his face was gone, and it was dark and sullen. Ed cut in quietly. “Where did you learn to handle dogs this way, Danny?”

“Oh, I picked up ideas.” But it was more than picking up ideas. Danny had beautiful, slender hands. They were strong and fine, and there was something soothing in their touch. It was strange no one had noticed his hands before. It was as if, in the awkwardness of his mind and body, they had been completely overlooked.

After a minute, Ed asked casually: “You want to be a dog doctor some day?”

Danny looked up again, quickly. Then he scowled. “A lot of chance I’d get!”

“You might—if you take things the right way.”

At once Danny was suspicious. “What do you mean by that?”

As usual, Ed’s answer fell short of any real message. “You’ll find out,” he said, and that was all. “Now get on with that splint, and give Marge a chance to get dinner.”

FROM the beginning it was hard to tell about that little dog. But it wasn’t hard to tell the difference it made with Danny. It seemed as if the task of caring for a small and helpless creature had given him a whole new w>t of values. Because he wouldn’t tend his dog with dirty hands, he lost his unwashed look. Because Prince needed care, and Marge and Ed were the logical ones to help him give it, he learned to be civil and helpful around the house. That helpfulness in time brought praise, and it encouraged Danny to go and look for a job. He got it too, helping Jim Boyle, the butcher.

By now Marge had accepted the dog. She marvelled at the little creature’s excitement when Danny came near, and at the way he grew, just as Danny grew, from weakness to strength. When Danny finally took away the splints Eld and Marge looked on in awe, for the leg was straight, and soon there was no sign of stiffness or discomfort.

Marge spoke one day with real pride: “I only wish that fellow who gave him to you, Danny, could see Prince now.” She said it honestly and simply, as if long ago she had dismissed the notion that there might have been something wrong. Danny gave her a swift, searching glance. “Yeah,” was all he said, and somehow in that minute he seemed to have reverted to the mistrustful boy he had been in the beginning. Unexpected red came into Marge’s face, and she spoke with an abrupt, apologetic note.

“Danny, there’s something I ought to say. In the beginning I may have thought there was something about you and the dog that was wrong. I daresay deep down you’ve held it against me. Just remember that I’ve come to trust you as much as Ed does now.”

Danny sat on the floor, holding Prince at his side. He looked only at Marge.

“Has he—always trusted me?” he asked, as if Ed were not there at all.

“Of course he has.”

“And . . . sometimes it made you mad.”

Again Marge flushed, knowing the boy had hit close to the truth. But she

answered frankly. “If it did, it doesn’t any more.”

Danny turned to Ed. “You ... do trust me?” he asked.

Fid answered carefully. “Sure, Danny. Sure I do. I’ve always figured I could depend on you to do the proper thing.”

“Sure,” agreed Danny after another silence. He rose. “Well, Prince,” he said carelessly, “I guess we’ll go for a walk.” Marge stood at the window and watched them running down the path. Ed sat on at the table, and did not move.

Presently Marge turned and spoke. “It’s a grand thing for you, Ed, having the boy come along like this.”

Ed nodded. “It surely is.”

“Then why do you have to look so glum about it?”

Ed faced her in surprise. “Glum! Who’s glum around here?” he demanded. “We get a fine boy in our home and you go and say a thing like that!” He rose abruptly, and his voice took on a note of indignation. “Marge, I’m surprised at you for being such an overly imaginative woman!” Even while Marge looked on in wonder he slammed his way outside.

It was that same afternoon the thing happened. Ed met Prince and Danny downtown. They were walking together when a voice cut at them from behind. It was rough and triumphant. “That’s the boy, I swear. And that’s the dog, too. Come on!” An instant later a hand seized Danny’s shoulder. “Hey, you, do you remember me?” Danny looked up at the man who had been at the kennels the day they had gone fishing, and as he met the narrowed eyes, the boy’s face turned sickly \yhite. But he tried to speak boldly.

“Sure, I remember you. You were around the day 1 got the dog.”

“You lie!” The fellow roared. “You never got no dog, except to steal it!” He wheeled about. “Mr. Trapp, come here. You tell me if you don’t recall this boy!”

Another man came across the road. He was a tall, lean fellow, maybe 50, with the sort of clear blue eyes that seemed to see right through you. He looked at Danny and nodded.

“I remember,” he said briefly. lie looked at Ed, and saw the trouble in his face. “You’re this boy’s father?” he asked. Ed shook his head.

“He’s got no father. He’s in my care.”

The other man cut in. “A pretty sort of care.”

Mr. Trapp stopped him. “Never mind that now.” He turned his glance to the dog.

“That’s the pup with the injured leg?” Danny nodded dumbly, and Ed spoke up at once.

“Danny fixed it. I wish you could have seen the way he managed.”

“F’ixing up a stolen dog, huh—likely thinking you’d reap some profit.” That other fellow couldn’t keep his mouth shut. “Don’t you know the law’s waiting to catch up with guys like you.” Ed spoke softly. “You hold your dirty tongue or I’ll bust your jaw!”

The man bellowed so that half the street could hear. “Bust my jaw, you say! Try that once, and see where you land !”

“Stop that talk!” Mr. Trapp frowned, and if was plain to see he wouldn’t be an easy man to deal with. He looked down as Danny touched his arm.

“Mr. Trapp, let me talk to you alone.” There wasn’t much doubt but that Danny had guilt plain on his face. It was plain, too, that Trapp wouldn’t be the kind to slip up where his rights were at stake. But he nodded.

“Yes, you can have your chance to talk,” he said abruptly, and they

walked away. Ed looked as if he would have given worlds to follow. But the other fellow w’as still muttering and glaring.

“You’ll see, that boy won’t get off light, and you won’t neither. We’ve been watching all these weeks, and it won’t go easy with you.”

ED’S ONLY answer was to turn and walk away. Ed never had been one to pick a fight, and, anyway, he had the sense to see this was a losing battle. He went down the street, with the man’s derisive laughter in his ears. Maybe he felt it was up to him to tell Marge first.

So he told her, and she took it like she always took things, straight and square.

“Ed, it was the chance we had to face, and maybe we w’ere simple fools to thinkwe’d done a miracle.” She came round to where he sat silent at the table, and touched his shoulder. “And I’ll stand by him in his trouble. Don’t fear that I won’t.”

Ed nodded. “I wasn’t fearing that you wouldn’t.” For an instant he reached up and held her hand in his. “I just hoped better of him than this.” They were still standing, wordless, when there was a clatter on the stairs. Danny rushed in the back door.

“Mr. Trapp’s here!” he said excitedly. “He’s out front, and he’s sure an all-right guy!” He could hardly get the words out fast enough. “He says Prince is mine, and he’s come to ask if I can go out to his place week ends, to learn to handle dogs. That other guy isn’t even working for him now. Come on, both of you, and meet him!”

You couldn’t keep up with Marge and Ed, they moved so fast. They welcomed Mr. Trapp as if he were the bearer of the gladdest tidings they had ever heard. They insisted on giving him tea and cake, and all the time they talked of Danny, proud, as if he were their own. And Mr. Trapp acted as if he was proud to know them. Danny sat on the edge of a chair, with Prince’s head between his knees, and he looked from one to the other in a dazed sort of way. It wasn’t the sort of daze that had been there in the beginning. It was something older and more perceptiveand that day you felt, looking at him, he was on the verge of leaving unthinking boyhood behind. You felt how easy it could be for any lad at such a time to go either one way or the other and not turn back. When finally Mr. Trapp rose to go, he said to Danny, “I’ll see you Saturday.” Ed followed him into the hall, and he looked Mr. Trapp in the eye.

“Is that right, did you give that dog to Danny?”

“That’s right,” the man answered heartily.

“In the beginning?”

There was the slightest pause. “Why not in the beginning? It was a mirado he worked.”

“And . . . Danny never was a thief?”

Mr. Trapp looked back at Ed just as squarely. “No, he never was a thief,” he said. “And I think you can count on it, he never will be.”

When Mr. Trapp had gone Ed still stood on the front veranda, staring. It was sometime later Danny found him.

“Ed,” said the boy in a quick, nervous way, “I’ve got to talk to you. Do you know . . . what Marge just, said?”

Ed turned his head slowly. “No, Danny, I don’t.”

Danny looked back at the door and lowered his tones. “She saidshe was so thankful things had turned out that way, she didn’t knowT what to do. And she said . . . even if I had done it, she would have stood by, like I’d been her son. And then . . The red came to

his face. “She kissed me. I ... I tell you 1 couldn’t stand that!”

After a silence Kd answered gently, “I reckon you are a big boy for that sort of thing.”

“It isn’t that!” said Danny. “It’s . . . I just can’t stand her thinking I’m a right guy when I . . . I did take that dog.” When at last he had it out, he rushed on as if devils were chasing him. “I felt I had to do it, back there at the kennels when Prince was hurt, and I was scared they’d leave him to die. I’ve always been that way, crazy about dogs. I figured I was doing right. But now I know different. It’s not even right you should have me around. I’ve made up my mind to get out of here.” Danny turned away quickly.

Without moving Ed said quietly: “Son, I knew about the dog.”

Danny asked, very low. “How long would you have waited?”

“Maybe a little longer.”

“And what would you have done?” Ed shook his head. “Don’t know,” he said simply. “I reckon—I’d have

tried to make you see sense, and I’d have stood by too.”

It was plain that Danny was close to tears. But when he spoke, he looked Ed in the eye.

“You know what I asked Mr. Trapp today? I told him everything, and I asked could he let you people think he’d given me Prince, because you trusted me. I said I’d work honest all my life. And at first he said no until all at once he said he’d take that chance on me, because he believed I meant what I was saying.” After a minute Danny added in an even lower voice. “Ed—do I have to tell Marge?”

“No,” Ed answered quietly, “you don’t have to.”

Danny looked at Ed a long time without speaking. And as he looked, the dazed, immature look that had so often been in his face was gone. He drew another deep breath, and straightened. There was no hesitance in the new strength of his voice.

“Ed, you’re wrong. I do have to— and I’m going to do it now.” it