“Dear Sidney: It is Sunday night and all day I have been walking in the Blessed Isles. And one was the Blessed Isle of remembrance where I met thee and we talked of all good things. If I knew it were well with thee I should be quite happy, boy, quite happy. I was a bit weary of travel and all the roads had grown long. I miss the tick of the clocks, but my work is easy and I have excellent good friends. I send thee my key. Please deliver the red, tall clock to Betsy Hale, who lives on the road to Waterbury Hill, and kindly take that cheerful youngster from Connecticut—the one with the walnut case and a brass pendulum—to Mrs. Henry Watson. You remember that ill-tempered Dutch thing, with a loud gong and a white dial, please take that to Harry Warner, I put some work on them all but there’s no charge. The other clocks belong to me. Do with them as thou wilt and with all that is mine. The rent is paid to April. Then kindly surrender the key. Now can ye do all this for a man suffering the just punishment of many sins? I ask it for old friendship and to increase the charity I saw growing in thy heart long ago. At last I have word of thy father. He died a peaceful, happy death, having restored the wealth that cursed him to its owner. For his sake an’ thine I am glad to know it. Now between thee and the dear Polly there is no shadow. Tell her everything. May the good God bless and keep thee; but the long road of Happiness, that ye must seek and find.
“R. Darrel of the Blessed Isles.”
Trove read the letter many times, and, as he grew strong, he began to think with clearness and deliberation of his last night in Hillsborough. Darrel was the greatest problem of all. Pondering he saw, or thought he saw, the bottom of it. Events were coming, however, that robbed him utterly of his conceit and all the hope it gave him. The sad lines about his father kept him ever in some doubt. A week more, and he was in the cutter one morning, behind Phyllis, on his way to Robin’s Inn. As he drew up at the old, familiar gate the boys ran out to meet him. Somehow they were not the same boys—they were a bit more sober and timid. Tunk came with a “Glad to see ye, mister,” and took the mare. The widow stood in the doorway, smiling sadly.
“How is Polly?” said Trove.
For a moment there was no answer. He walked slowly to the steps, knowing well that some new blow was about to fall upon him.
“She is better, but has been very sick,” said the widow.
Trove sat down without speaking and threw his coat open.
“You, too, have been very sick,” said Mrs. Vaughn.
“Yes, very,” said he.
“I heard of it and went to your home one day, but you didn’t know me.”
“Tell me, where is Polly?”
“In school, and I am much worried.”
“Well, she’s pretty, and the young men will not let her alone. There’s one determined she shall marry him.”