Trove was utterly silenced. His father was bent on keeping his own disgrace.
“Mind thee, boy, the law o’ truth is great, but the law o’ love is greater. A lie for the sake o’ love—think o’ that a long time, think until thy heart is worn with all fondness an’ thy soul is ready for its God, then judge it.”
“But when he makes confession I shall know, and go to him, and stand by has side,” the young man remarked.
“Nay, boy, rid thy mind o’ that. If ye were to hear of his crime, ye’d never know it was thy father’s.”
“It is a bitter sorrow, but I shall make the best of it,” said Trove.
“Ay, make the best of it. Thou’rt now in the deep sea, an’ God guide thee.”
“But I ask your help—will you read that?” said Trove, handing him the mysterious note that came with the roll of money.
“An’ how much came with it?” said Darrel, as he read the lines.
“Three thousand dollars. Here they are; I do not know what to do with them.”
“‘Tis a large sum, an’ maybe from thy father,” said Darrel, looking down at tile money. “Possibly, quite possibly it is from thy father.”
“And what shall I do with the money? It is cursed; I can make no use of it.”
“Ah, boy, of one thing be sure; it is not the stolen money. For many years thy father hath been a frugal man—saving, ever saving the poor fruit of his toil. Nay, boy, if it come o’ thy father, have no fear o’ that. For a time put thy money in the bank.”
“Then my father lives near me—where I may be meeting him every day of my life?”
“No,” said Darrel, shaking his head. Then lifting his finger and looking into the eyes of Trove, he spoke slowly and with deep feeling. “Now that ye know his will I warn ye, boy, seek him no more. Were ye to meet him now an’ know him for thy father an’ yet refuse to let him pass, I’d think thee a monster o’ selfish cruelty.”
Beginning the Book of Trouble
The rickety stairway seemed to creak with surprise at the slowness of his feet as Trove descended. It was circus day, and there were few in the street. Neither looking to right nor left he hurried to the bank of Hillsborough and left his money. Then, mounting his mare, he turned to the wooded hills and went away at a swift gallop. When the village lay far behind them and the sun was low, he drew rein to let the mare breathe, and turned, looking down the long stairway of the hills. In the south great green waves of timber land, rose into the sun-glow as they swept over hill and mountain. Presently he could hear a galloping horse and a faint halloo down the valley, out of which he had just come. He stopped, listening, and soon a man and horse, the latter nearly spent with fast travel, came up the pike.
“Well, by Heaven! You gave me a hard chase,” said the man.