Rose didn’t fancy strolling for miles at the Columbian
Exposition in uncomfortable clothes.
Because the late spring day was warm, Rose
selected a pretty walking skirt in lightweight yellow-checked
gingham. The skirt looked lovely on her, especially when she wore
it with a pretty lawn shirtwaist and the yellow jacket she’d bought
especially to go with the skirt. She topped everything off with a
charming confection of a tiny straw hat with a yellow satin ribbon
circling its crown. One yellow rose attached to the ribbon brought
This was the prettiest outfit she’d ever
owned, and she’d felt wonderful when she’d worn it for the first
time. She and Annie had bought it their first week in Chicago when
they’d gone shopping expressly for summer clothing. They’d both
heard how hot and humid Chicago could be during the summer months,
and the Exposition was scheduled to run through the summer months
until sometime in October.
In spite of how good she knew she looked,
Rose was in a foul mood when she left her tent to meet H.L. May.
Then she realized she didn’t know where he was. She’d been so
miffed by his comment and wink, she hadn’t stuck around long enough
for him to tell her where she could find him.
Bother. On the off chance that he’d done
something cooperative for once and gone with Little Elk to the
stables, Rose headed there first.
Wonder of wonders, there he was! She was
surprised, as she’d been certain he’d lead her on some kind of
On the other hand, if he’d tried to do that,
Rose wouldn’t have played his game. She’d have just gone back to
her tent and . . . And what?
Eaten lunch alone, she guessed. Aw, mud
puddles. She might as well give it up and admit she couldn’t win
with H.L. May.
On that depressing thought, she took a deep
breath, steeled her nerves, and was about to enter the stable when
a commotion behind her stopped her in her tracks.
“ It’s her!” came a child’s shrill,
Thinking something unusual had happened, Rose
turned to see what it was. All she saw was a man standing about
fifteen feet away, peering her way. He had two little boys in tow,
both clad in darling sailor suits. One of the boys was pointing at
the stable. When Rose turned to determine what could be the matter
with the stable, she saw nothing amiss.
“ It is her,” the other little boy exclaimed. He was every bit as
excited as the first one.
“ Now boys,” said the man—Rose presumed
he was their father, “Let’s calm down.”
“ But it’s her !” the first little boy shouted joyfully, and
he broke away from the man and charged straight at Rose.
Merciful heavens! These little children must
be fans! Rose had never been attacked by fans before, although
she’d seen them swarm all over Annie more than once. She guessed it
was a good thing these were relatively small representatives of the
Before she’d had time to brace herself, a
large figure loomed at her side, stooped, and scooped the little
boy up in his strong arms. “Whoa there, Buster. Watch it. This is a
lady, not a circus clown.”
“ Mr. May!” Rose, whose first reaction
to rescue had been relief, became angry when she realized who her
“ Say, Mister, put down my boy!” the
child’s father hollered. He hurried toward Rose and H.L., his other
son running to keep up with him.
Rose didn’t like that much, either.
“ Does this little hooligan belong to
you?” H.L. sounded as if he aimed to pitch the child over his
father’s head, the way he might throw a baseball or heave a
“ Don’t you call my boy a
Bother. Why couldn’t her association with
H.L. May be normal?
Whatever normal was.
H.L. was flabbergasted. How dare this man
yell at him for protecting Rose from his marauding monster of a
child? Thrusting the wriggling boy at his father, who caught him
even though the gesture surprised him, H.L. barked, “Take your