“My mother wouldn’t hear of it,” Hugh told him proudly. “Why, already she’s in love with that little chap, and he’s enough of a darling to make any woman with a heart want to mother him. Both of us seem to think we may have seen him before somewhere; or else he resembles someone we’ve known once on a time; but, so far, we can’t imagine who or where it was. But once she comes to her senses, whether to-morrow, or some days afterwards, of course the truth will be known.”
“And Hugh,” said the other, with one of his smiles, “if you feel that you can’t wait for her to tell, suppose you start out to-morrow afternoon and try to strike a clue on your own account. That wonderful faculty you possess for investigating things ought to put you on the track.”
“Perhaps I may, that is, if I have time to-morrow,” chuckled Hugh; “because, you know, we have our last practice at hockey before meeting those Keyport experts.”
“You said you felt sure she must have come out of that side road near where you met them,” continued the persistent Thad.
“Yes, but only because I hadn’t seen them when going out to the farm,” his chum explained. “They may have come out of that road; and then again it’s barely possible they were trying to make a fire somewhere among the trees to keep them from freezing.”
“By going along that same road, and inquiring at every house you came to,” Thad continued, “like as not you’d get word of them, if so be they stopped to ask directions, or a warm cup of coffee. People around here never refuse anyone who comes to their doors. Well, see you in the morning then, Hugh. Good-night!”
A MOTHER’S SACRIFICE
Friday afternoon had come, and the game at the park was over. Although the scratch team organized by Mr. Leonard to oppose the Regulars put up a strong fight, they were virtually “snowed under” by the splendid playing of Hugh and his six comrades.
The experienced coach seemed very well satisfied. He openly complimented the lads after the contest had been carried to its finish.
“You are doing splendid work, fellows,” he told them, with a look of pride on his face; “and the way you played this afternoon was worthy of any Montreal Seven that ever toured the East to show how they do things up there in Canada at their favorite winter sport. And the boys who fought tooth and nail to hold you back, I congratulate them also; for they did excellent work. It was no disgrace to be beaten in that game; few hockey teams could have held their own against such fine play. Keep it up to-morrow, and there need be no doubt as to who the winners will be.”
It can be easily understood that Hugh and Thad were feeling in a particularly good humor then, as they started to walk to town after the game, having an errand there before going home.
“I haven’t had a fair chance to say a word with you to-day, Hugh,” the latter broke out with, once they were alone; “and I’m awfully anxious to hear how that poor young woman at your house is coming along. Has she spoken yet, and told who she is, and where she came from?”