the lord amighty is hiding you all right done you ever dout it this money of yourn was took for some time las nite but it is returned with intres for god sake done ever come to the swamp at nite or late evnin or mornin or far in any time sompin worse an you know could git you
Elnora began to tremble. She hastily glanced around. The damp earth before the case had been trodden by large, roughly shod feet. She caught up the money and the note, thrust them into her guimpe, locked the case, and ran to the road.
She was so breathless and her face so white Sinton noticed it.
“What in the world’s the matter, Elnora?” he asked.
“I am half afraid!” she panted.
“Tut, tut, child!” said Wesley Sinton. “Nothing in the world to be afraid of. What happened?”
“Uncle Wesley,” said Elnora, “I had more money than I brought home last night, and I put it in my case. Some one has been there. The ground is all trampled, and they left this note.”
“And took your money, I’ll wager,” said Sinton angrily.
“No,” answered Elnora. “Read the note, and oh Uncle Wesley, tell me what it means!”
Sinton’s face was a study. “I don’t know what it means,” he said. “Only one thing is clear. It means some beast who doesn’t really want to harm you has got his eye on you, and he is telling you plain as he can, not to give him a chance. You got to keep along the roads, in the open, and not let the biggest moth that ever flew toll you out of hearing of us, or your mother. It means that, plain and distinct.”
“Just when I can sell them! Just when everything is so lovely on account of them! I can’t! I can’t stay away from the swamp. The Limberlost is going to buy the books, the clothes, pay the tuition, and even start a college fund. I just can’t!”
“You’ve got to,” said Sinton. “This is plain enough. You go far in the swamp at your own risk, even in daytime.”
“Uncle Wesley,” said the girl, “last night before I went to bed, I was so happy I tried to pray, and I thanked God for hiding me ’under the shadow of His wing.’ But how in the world could any one know it?”
Wesley Sinton’s heart leaped in his breast. His face was whiter than the girl’s now.
“Were you praying out loud, honey?” he almost whispered.
“I might have said words,” answered Elnora. “I know I do sometimes. I’ve never had any one to talk with, and I’ve played with and talked to myself all my life. You’ve caught me at it often, but it always makes mother angry when she does. She says it’s silly. I forget and do it, when I’m alone. But Uncle Wesley, if I said anything last night, you know it was the merest whisper, because I’d have been so afraid of waking mother. Don’t you see? I sat up late, and studied two lessons.”
Sinton was steadying himself “I’ll stop and examine the case as I come back,” he said. “Maybe I can find some clue. That other—that was just accidental. It’s a common expression. All the preachers use it. If I tried to pray, that would be the very first thing I’d say.”