Albert, Sr. was a porter for the Equitable Life Assurance Company and had the air of a man perpetually submissive. He was not very impressed with the way this Frank Howard looked in his rumpled blue suit, but the old man was credible and genteel.
Once they sat down to lunch, the door opened and a lovely ten-year-old girl appeared. Gracie was humming a song. Her huge brown eyes and dark brown hair contrasted with her very pale skin and pink lips. She would be a real heart breaker someday.
Coming right from church, she still wore her Sunday clothes: white silk confirmation dress, white silk stockings, and string of creamy pearls made her look older than her 10 years.
Frank Howard, like most men who came face to face with the radiant Gracie, couldn't take his eyes off the beautiful girl. "Let's see how good a counter you are," he said as he handed her a huge wad of bills to count. The impoverished Budds were flabbergasted by the money the old man was carrying around with him.
"Ninety-two dollars and fifty cents," Gracie told him in short order.
"What a bright little girl," Mr. Howard said, giving her fifty cents to buy candy for herself and her little sister Beatrice.
Howard said that he would come back later in the evening to pick up Edward and Willie, but first he had to go to a birthday party that his sister was throwing for one of her children. He gave the boys two dollars to go to the movies.