And Hugh, on his part, had a deeply interested auditor in his mother, as he spun the yarn that equaled anything he had ever read in the Arabian Nights.
IN A SAFE HARBOR AT LAST
Hugh had finished breakfast on Sunday morning, and was out looking after a few pets he had in the way of Belgian hares and homing pigeons, when he heard his mother calling him.
“Coming, Mother!” he answered hack, thinking on the spur of the moment he was needed to look after the furnace or steam boiler, from which the hired girl did not always succeed in getting the best results on particularly frosty mornings.
She waited for him just inside the door. Hugh saw immediately that his first surmise was wrong, for there was a look on her face to tell him it was no trivial matter she had to communicate.
“What is it, Mother?” he asked quickly.
“She is asking for you, Hugh,” he was told.
Then he suddenly remembered about the young mother who had lain there since Thursday evening, and out of her mind with fever.
“Oh! then the good old Doc was right!” Hugh exclaimed; “he said, you know, that he felt sure she’d be in her right senses by Sunday morning. You’ve been talking with her, have you, Mother?”
“Yes, and relieving her immediate curiosity and alarm,” he was told. “Naturally, she was full of wonder when she awoke to find herself in a strange room, with no little Joey near by. She thought it was the hospital, and that the cold had claimed him for a victim. But I soon calmed her fears, and she knows now all about how she came here; and also that her boy is still sleeping happily close by; for he is taking a long nap this morning, after his dissipation of last night.”
“But, you didn’t say anything about the deacon and his dear old wife, did you?” continued Hugh.
“Not a word, my son. I wished you to be the one to convey the glad news to that poor young mother. She wanted to ask me further questions, but I avoided committing myself. She did come from the Far West, it appears. Her money ran out just too soon and they had to leave the train at a station this side of Waldron Falls. She was go determined to reach Scranton before night that she actually started out afoot, it seems, despite the cold and the snow-covered roads. Several kind-hearted men gave them lifts on the way; but it was a long journey, and she became exhausted before reaching her destination. But come with me, Hugh; she wishes to thank you face to face.”
Hugh did not like that part of it. As a rule, he ran away from such scenes; but in this case he knew that would never do, since he wished to learn further concerning Joey and his mother; and, besides, had some pleasant information to tell her that must cheer her heart amazingly, and also hasten her recovery.
So he followed his mother into the spare room where the young woman lay. She had been propped up with extra pillows by Mrs. Morgan while they talked, though kept well covered up. Indeed, the loving hands of the older lady had succeeded in placing a warm, knitted sack upon her arms and shoulders, Hugh saw.