Page:Ralph on the Railroad.djvu/98
RALPH OF THE ROUNDHOUSE
had run, and the letters of the address were faded and fast disappearing.
To open it with any hope of removing its contents intact in its present condition was clearly impossible. Ralph held it carefully against the sunlight. Its envelope was thin, and he saw dark patches and blurs inside, indicating that the writing there had run also.
"I had better let it dry before I attempt to open it," decided Ralph, and he placed it on a smooth board near the well in the full focus of the bright sunshine.
A good deal hinged on that letter, he told himself. It would at all events settle the identity of his dead father's correspondent, again it would divulge who it was that had sent the letter and the messenger, and thus the unfortunate's friends could be found. It would take a little time to dry out the soggy envelope, and Ralph paced about the garden paths, whistling softly to himself and thinking hard over the queer happenings of the past twenty-four hours.
As he passed the window of the little sitting room, he tiptoed the gravel path up to it and glanced in.
His mother still sat in the rocker, but she had fallen into a slight doze, and her sewing lay idle in her lap. Ralph, transferring his gaze to the