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I leaned close and she whispered, "He's going where his mother can't go and that will be the making of Charlie. He's going to the Navy."
When she said the Navy, I took it for granted she meant the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and I wanted to say "It isn't fair. Why should the Navy rate Charlie without his mother thrown in?" Then I decided I'd better take Harry's advice and say something that would get her to change Charlie's mind. I looked at the rosary in her hands and at the medal around her neck, and I knew what that something would be.
"Charlie will lose his religion at Annapolis," I said. "They won't let him out on Sunday to go to church."
The doorbell rang again. Mr. Jones moved into the dining room. Mr. Smith moved into the kitchen. "Goodby, Granny," I said, and I moved out the back door.
By the time I got home, my conscience had caught up with me, and the next morning at the breakfast table I told my father what I had done.
He listened to me in silence. Then he said, "You didn't change Charlie Murphy's mind. He's still going to the Navy." He took the sports page from the newspaper he'd been reading and handed it to me. I looked at it, and I read, "Charles Murphy enlists in the United States Navy. Plans to play football for Great Lakes." I put the sports page down, and I looked at my father.
"I don't care about Charlie's mother," I said, "and I don't care about Charlie's admirers. They had it coming to them. But I do care about Charlie's Granny, and I'm sorry if I caused her any worry by what I said about the Navy."
I paused and took a deep breath. "Thank goodness, she knows me as Mrs. Stugere, and not as Harry Stuhldreher's wife." I was pleading with him for sympathy. He gave me the scorn I deserved instead.
"She knows you as Mike McEnery's daughter," he said. He pushed his chair back from the table and stood up. "Get your hat and coat," he said. "We're going over to Murphy's. If you really are my daughter, you'll tell Granny you're sorry for the vicious lie you told her, and you'll get down on your knees and ask for her forgiveness."