"If I hadn't I wouldn't offer it," he replied insolently. The thought that came instantly to every mind was that Toomey must have had a windfall. How else account for this sudden independence? This possibility tempered the asperity of Mr. Butefish's answer, though it still had plenty of spirit: "We are ready to acknowledge your er originality, Mr. Toomey, and will be delighted to listen."
Reflection did not temper Mr. Butefish's attitude with caution. The bruised worm not only had turned, but rolled clean over. The following week, Kate rode into Prouty in ignorance of the flattering tribute which the editor had paid her. Coming at a leisurely gait down Main Street she looked as usual in pitiless scrutiny at the signs which told of the collapse of the town's prosperity.
Its citizens seemed to partake of the nature of the cactus that, grubbed up and left for dead, always manages somehow to get its roots down again. The Prouty Grit still called the attention of the world to the country's natural resources, but Mr. Butefish's editorials had a hollow ring, like the "spiel" of the sideshow barker, who talks in anticipation of a swift kick from a dissatisfied patron.