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"I see," said Shirley, evenly. "Vera, you can't tell me that you approve," she asked, turning to the grandmother.

"They love each other very much," replied Vera. "I'm very happy for them both."

Shirley was thoroughly disgusted!

"He let you into his house," she began, turning back to Charlie once more, "he tolerated your presence, and bent over backwards to help you because your father was ill, and this is the thanks he gets?! Charlie, you are deliberately taking advantage of my brother! I won't stand for it! Why, he would be the laughing stalk of Twin Yucca! Oh!" she cried, "I knew you were trouble! You put him up to this tour business, and now you want to take him away from his family! Adam was doing just fine before you came! How can he turn his back on Constance! She was the best thing that ever happened to him! Surely, you see how he's ruining his chance for happiness!"

To Vera's surprise and relief, Charlie remained calm throughout Shirley's diatribe.

"I'm sorry you feel that way," replied Charlie, getting up to return to her room.

"Where are you going?" demanded Shirley.

"Mrs. Garner," responded Charlie, for she still called Shirley, 'Mrs. Garner,' "Adam asked me to marry him. I'm very happy! I wish you could be, too." Then, Charlie disappeared behind her bedroom door, thankful for the opportunity to escape her future sister-in-law's glaring eyes.

Back in the privacy of her room, Charlie called Adam, who had been nervously awaiting her call.

"Well?" he asked. "How did it go?"

Charlie hesitated.

"Was it that bad?" he asked.

"She endured a great shock," reasoned Charlie, "so I didn't take what she said, too seriously."

"Just what did she say?" inquired Adam.

"She said I was taking advantage of you; that you're going to be made fun of for marrying me; that I put you up to the whole tour idea; that Constance was the best thing that ever happened to you; that I'm stealing you away from your family; and that you're throwing away every chance for happiness," repeated Charlie. "I think there might have been more, but I can't remember it all. Please, remember, you told me to give her slack for being overprotective," she reminded Adam.

"Even so," replied Adam, "Shirley had no right saying those things to you!" Angrily, he hung up the phone.

By the time Shirley reached her fashionable adobe home on the outskirts of Twin Yucca, it was not a great surprise to her, to find the telephone ringing off its hook.

"Yes?" she answered the phone, fully able to guess who the persistent caller was.

"It's Adam," he replied. "How could you say those hateful things to Charlie?!"

"I was not the one who was being hateful!" retorted Shirley. "She's using you, Adam! And if you can't see that, then I'm sorry for you!"

"You can't honestly mean that," replied Adam, gravely.

"She's much too young," argued Shirley.

"You're changing the subject, Sis," pressed Adam. "You're accusing Charlie of a maliciousness, that's not in her. She's a God-fearing, upright young woman, whom I love dearly! Whatever else you think about Charlie, you're wrong about her character. I could never love the person you describe, and I think you know that."

Upon hearing this, Shirley's temper cooled. Regret and remorse inevitably followed.

"You're right," she confessed, in a voice contrite enough, even for Adam. "No matter what I think about your engagement, it was wrong of me to falsely accuse her the way I did. Will you forgive me? I'll go back right now, and apologize to the child."

"I forgive you," replied Adam. "But, when you see 'the child,' for my sake, go easy on her. She's timid enough of you the way it is."
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