He drew them close together, and they kissed each other’s lips, and with smiling faces went in to join the dance.
Again the Uphill Road
Again the middle of September and the beginning of the fall term. Trove had gone to his old lodgings at Hillsborough, and Polly was boarding in the village, for she, too, was now in the uphill road to higher learning. None, save Darrel, knew the secret of the young man,—that he was paying her board and tuition. The thought of it made him most happy; but now, seeing her every day had given him a keener sense of that which had come between them. He sat much in his room and had little heart for study. It was a cosey room now. His landlady had hung rude pictures on the wall and given him a rag carpet. On the table were pieces of clear quartz and tourmaline and, about each window-frame, odd nests of bird or insect—souvenirs of wood-life and his travel with the drove. There, too, on the table were mementos of that first day of his teaching,—the mirror spectacles with which he had seen at once every corner of the schoolroom, the sling-shot and bar of iron he had taken from the woodsman, Leblanc.
One evening of his first week at Hillsborough that term, Darrel came to sit with him a while.
“An’ what are these?” said the tinker, at length, his hand upon the shot and iron.
“I do not know.”
“Dear boy,” said Darrel, “they’re from the kit of a burglar, an’ how came they here?”
“I took them from Louis Leblanc,” said the young man, who then told of his adventure that night.
“Louis Leblanc!” exclaimed Darrel. “The scamp an’ his family have cleared out.”
The tinker turned quickly, his hand upon the wrist of the young man.
“These things are not for thee to have,” he whispered. “Had ye no thought o’ the danger?”
Trove began to change colour.
“I can prove how I came by them,” he stammered.
“What is thy proof?” Darrel whispered again.
“There are Leblanc’s wife and daughter.”
“Ah, where are they? There be many would like to know.”
The young man thought a moment.
“Well, Tunk Hosely, there at Mrs. Vaughn’s.”
“Tunk Hosely!” exclaimed the tinker, with a look that seemed to say, “God save the mark! An’ would they believe him, think?”
Trove began to look troubled as Darrel left him.
“I’ll go and drop them in the river,” said Trove to himself.
It was eleven o’clock and the street dark and deserted as he left his room.
“It is a cowardly thing to do,” the young man thought as he walked slowly, but he could devise no better way to get rid of them.
In the middle of the big, open bridge, he stopped to listen. Hearing only the sound of the falls below, Trove took the odd tools from under his coat and flung them over the rail.