"Then why in the name of God don't you tell her so?"
"I'm--I'm afraid she won't care to hear it," stammered Bruce, not daring to look at Katherine.
"Tell her so, and see what she says," shouted Old Hosie. "How else are you going to find out? Tell her what a fool you've been. Tell her she's proved to you you're all wrong about what you thought she ought to do. Tell her unless you get some one of sense to help run you, you're going to make an all-fired mess of this mayor's job. Tell her"--there was a choking in his voice--"oh, boy, just tell her what you feel!
"And now," he added quickly, and again sharply, "that mob outside won't listen to the Honourable Hiram much longer. They want you folks.
I give you just two minutes to fix things up. Two minutes--no more!"
And pulling his high hat down upon his forehead, Old Hosie turned abruptly and again left the room.
Bruce looked slowly about upon Katherine. His rugged, powerful face was working with emotion.
"What Uncle Hosie has said is all true," he stammered fearfully. "You know I love you, Katherine. And there isn't anything you'll want to do that I'll not be glad to have you do. Won't you forget, Katherine, and won't you--won't you----"
He stretched out his arms to her. "Oh, Katherine!" he cried. "I love you! I want you! I need you!"
While he spoke her face had grown radiant. "And I--and I"--she choked, then her voice went on with an uprush of happiness--"and I--oh, Arnold, I need you!"
When Old Hosie reentered a minute later and saw what there was to be seen, he let out a little cry of joy and swooped down upon them.
"Look out, Katherine," he warned, quaveringly, "for I'm going to kiss you!" But despite this warning the old man succeeded in his enterprise. "This is great!--great!" he cried, shaking a hand of each.
"But we'll have to cut this hallelujah business short till that little picnic outside is over. I just pulled the Honourable Hiram down--and, say, just listen to that roar!"
A roar it was indeed. Of a bursting brass band, of thousands of eager people.
"And who do you suppose they're shouting for?" inquired the joyous Hosie.
Katherine smiled a tear-bright smile at Bruce.
"For the new mayor," she said.
"No, no! All for you!" said he.
"Well, come on and we'll see who it's for!" cried Old Hosie.
And taking an arm of each he led them out to face the cheering multitude.