“I hope you have lost nothing, sir.”
“Nothing, fortunately. You can form an idea of the value of your interference, when I say that I have fifteen hundred dollars with me, all of which would doubtless have been taken.”
“I am glad,” said Timothy, “that I was able to do you such a service. It was by the merest chance that I came this way.”
“Will you add to my indebtedness by accompanying me with that trusty club of yours? I have some distance yet to go, and the money I have with me I don’t want to lose.”
“Willingly,” said the cooper.
“But I am forgetting,” continued the gentleman, “that you will yourself be obliged to return alone.”
“I do not carry enough money to make me fear an attack,” said Mr. Harding, laughing. “Money brings care, I have always heard, and the want of it sometimes freedom from anxiety.”
“Yet most people are willing to take their share of that.”
“You are right, sir, nor I can’t call myself an exception. Still I would be satisfied with the certainty of constant employment.”
“I hope you have that, at least.”
“I have had until three or four months since.”
“Then, at present, you are unemployed?”
“What is your business?”
“I am a cooper.”
“I will see what I can do for you. Will you call at my office to-morrow, say at twelve o’clock?”
“I shall be glad to do so, sir.”
“I believe I have a card with me. Yes, here is one. And this is my house. Thank you for your company. Let me see you to-morrow.”
They stood before a handsome dwelling house, from whose windows, draped by heavy crimson curtains, a soft light proceeded. The cooper could hear the ringing of childish voices welcoming home their father, whose life, unknown to them, had been in such peril, and he felt grateful to Providence for making him the instrument of frustrating the designs of the villain who would have robbed the merchant, and perhaps done him further injury. Timothy determined to say nothing to his wife about the night’s adventure, until after his appointed meeting for the next day. Then, if any advantage accrued to him from it, he would tell the whole story.
When he reached home, Mrs. Harding was sewing beside the fire. Aunt Rachel sat with her hands folded in her lap, with an air of martyr-like resignation to the woes of life.
“I’ve brought you home a paper, Rachel,” said her brother, cheerfully. “You may find something interesting in it.”
“I shan’t be able to read it this evening,” said Rachel, mournfully. “My eyes have troubled me lately. I feel that it is more than probable I am getting blind; but I trust I shall not live to be a burden to you, Timothy. Your prospects are dark enough without that.”
“Don’t trouble yourself with any fears of that sort, Rachel,” said the cooper, cheerily. “I think I know what will enable you to use your eyes as well as ever.”