“It’s so nice to get a little help sometimes,” said Jan. “Now I have another favour to ask of you. We don’t know just what to do with Glory Goldie’s kitten. It will have to be put out of the way, I suppose, as we can’t afford to keep it; but I can’t bear the thought of that, nor has Katrina the heart to drown it. We’ve talked of asking some stranger to take it.”
August Daer Nol stammered a few words, which could scarcely be heard.
“You can put the kitten in a basket, Katrina,” Jan said to his wife, “then August will take it along, so that we’ll not have to see it again.”
Katrina then picked up a little kitten that lay asleep on the bed, placed it in an old basket around which she wrapped a cloth, and then turned it over to the boy.
“I’m glad to be rid of this kitten,” said Jan. “It’s wee happy and Playful—too much like Glory Goldie herself. It’s best to have it out of the way.”
Young Daer Nol, without a word, went toward the door; but suddenly he turned back, took Jan’s hand, and pressed it.
“Thanks!” he said in a choked voice. “You have given me more than you yourself know.”
“Don’t imagine it, my dear August Daer Nol!” Jan said to himself when the boy had gone. “This is something I understand about. I know what I’ve given you, and I know who has taught me to know.”
OCTOBER THE FIRST
The first day of October Jan lay on the bed the whole afternoon, fully dressed, his face turned to the wall, and nobody could get a word out of him.
In the forenoon he and Katrina had been down to the pier to meet the little girl. Not that Glory Goldie had written them to say she was coming, for indeed she had not! It was only that Jan had figured out that it could not be otherwise. This was the first of October, the day the money must be paid to Lars Gunnarson, so of course Glory Goldie would come. He had not expected her home earlier. He knew she would have to remain in Stockholm as long as she could in order to lay by all that money; but that she should be away any longer he never supposed. Even if she had not succeeded in scraping together the money, that was no reason why she should be away after the first of October.
That morning while Jan had stood on the pier waiting, he had said to himself: “When the little girl sees us from the boat she’ll put on a sad face, and the moment she lands she’ll tell us she has not been able to raise the money. When she says that Katrina and I will pretend to take her at her word and I’ll say that can’t understand how she dared come home when she knew that all Katrina and I cared about was the money.” He was sure that before they were away from the pier she would go down in her pocket, bring up a well-filled purse, and turn it over to them. Then, while Katrina counted the bank notes, he would only stand and look at Glory Goldie. The little girl would then see that all in the world he cared about was to have her back, and she would tell him he was just as big a simpleton now as when she went away.