Papa spoke to the stranger.
"Mister, I'd like to know what business you thought you had, putting your hands on my little girl!"
It was more a statement than a question.
"Well, sir, I thought perhaps she was lost and looking for someone to help her."
Papa turned to us and gave us instructions to get back to Mama.
I was curious to hear the rest of the conversation, but dared not cross Papa's orders. I was already in enough Dutch.
When we got back to the car we were traveling in, Daisy was quick to tattletale on me.
"Cecee! How many times must you be warned about staying together while we travelled. You know we discussed the rules before leaving home!"
"A man was with her, Mama! I don't know why, but Papa was talking to him. It looked like Papa was getting ready to hit the man!"
Daisy looked at me and smirked.
"Daisy! Quit tattling! Papa will fill me in with all I need to know! It's not your business to take care of everyone else's!"
Mama surprised me, taking up for me. Perhaps she felt sorry for my predicament. She told me in later years that she did not wish to damp my enthusiasm for learning. She knew how important it was to learn. She had very little formal education due to the circumstances of her early childhood.
It was not long before Papa returned to our car. He called me and Daisy over to him, along with Mary.
"Girls, it is important that the three of you always go places together, wherever we go. This is not our hometown, where you were always safe and knew everyone. There are bad people that travel on trains. There may be bad ones where we are going. I am not wanting you to be afraid, but to be aware and careful. Stay together!"
He didn't punish me! I was surprised, but glad. I also took seriously what he had told us, at least for the time being.