He got into his four-year-old Pl> home. What was the matter with Er what was the matter with Richardsoi beheve that Emily had made a mists odd name. There was also the pla must know this man or know of hij Nan must not marry him? Johnny sho

Looky here, he said to J. Sims, i manger stuffi Nan's in love with 1 And whatever Emily's got on her i rough on Nan.

Johnny respected Emily Padgett would not turn out to be some female

Emily had been mother and fathe next door, whom he could remembei sash, the other a pink one, to Sunday

Emily Padgett's brother and siste perished, together with their spouse: den highway crash years ago. Emily any other objective of her own, t cousins in to raise. Dorothy was the of the brotlier. Dorothy's last name, Padgett but something else. Johnny ( and he was not quite sure it wasn't No matter. Emily had made them joined all P.T.A.'s and Mother's C Brownies and Girl Scouts and the ^ fine parent.

She had also earned a hving w

dance at the high school. Nan had no d Johnny take her?

Jolinny had protested that this wasn't a goc he had let himself be talked into it. Dorothy oflF in a gold-spangled dress with flowers on h Dorothy, who was seventeen by then, had tun and fair, surrounded by boys, picking and cho( them gaily. But little Nan was different—sensitive

Nan had worn a pale green dress that nigf looked ready to weep. Johrmy remembered reso he were going to do this, he'd do it right, going to look dragooned, or superior, or bor fed and encouraged her with attention. M; Backed her up. He'd been touched by the sk of Nan's confidence.

After that he'd kept an eye on her. Watched Seen to it that she got to go wherever it n-she went. In a way, she'd grown up with Jo back. The first time Nan tiuned down a date 1 tried to explain that she ought not to fend off But she'd been stubborn.

So they wrote letters back and forth when months in the service and all the fi^rst year h< east. Last summer, they were a pair. Johnn; had backed up Nan's little figure at dances and ]

A courtship, he thought now, is a tentatr exploring, a growing thing. There should com when you know. But Nan was so young. He'« for her so long. Maybe he'd been a little the ought to be glad she'd fallen in love. He mus had not thoughtlessly kept her from this experie:

There was no denying he felt his loss more

sense their deep pleasure that he was home and in the room with them. But it wasn't necessary to pay attention.

Under cover of a commercial, he asked his mother whether Emily Padgett had ever mentioned a Richardson Bartee.

'I don't think so, dear. Emily's gone off around the world. I guess you know that.'

'Um hum.' He didn't feel like mentioning the possibility that Emily was tinning back, for an unknown reason.

'Did you see the girls?' his mother asked. 'I haven't seen them for ages. How are they?'

'All right.'

His mother pulled her feelers in.

In the morning, Johnny went to see Roderick Grimes, who was a pink and hairless man of great wealth whose avocation it was to write semi-scholarly books about old murder mysteries. Sometimes he hired Johnny to do the research, scavenge around, interview people. Grimes was lazy. He fancied himself the Mycroft type and he was rather brilliant in the armchair. He said that Johnny had a flair.

This morning, Grimes was cordial but indecisive. He had a couple of things in mind, he said; he hadn't chosen between them. Perhaps in another week or so? Johnny was just as glad of a delay.

He called the girls at six, when they'd be home from work. Dorothy answered.

'We've had a cablegram,' she told him. 'Emily's flying in at noon on Friday.'

'Anything I can do?'

'I don't think so, Johnny. We'll just have to wait. Maybe you'd hke to go to the airport with us?'

'Of course. Pick you up downtown?' They made the date.

'One thing, Dot.' Johnny felt miserable. He couldn't speak directly to Nan about this. 'Nan said Mr. Copeland introduced them. Has she ever asked him what he knows about this . . . about Bartee?'

'Oh, but Mr. Copeland has been away,' said Dorothy quickly. 'He went to Honolulu with his fairly new wife. Although I think they are coming back—is it Monday? Nan?' Silence on the wire. ''She asks no questions,' said Dorothy in a low voice. (He

sensed that Nan had gone away, could no longer hear.) 'She's not in a mood to be practical, Johnny.'

He knew this was so. Who ever was? The sweet dizziness of love didn't wait for a dossier. When had it?

'Isn't this . . . Bar tee coming up on Friday?' he asked.

'Yes, but not until the evening . . .'

He couldn't think of any more to say.

When they walked into the airport waiting room on Friday, shock exploded. The Miss Padgetts were being paged. The yoimg man at the information desk said gingerly, 'I'm soiTy to have to tell you that Miss Emily Padgett has been taken ill on the aiiplane. The suggestion is that you might like to call her own doctor.'

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