“Then what in the name of God do you mean?” demanded the engineer gruffly, for he was a choleric man. “You’ve sat here and waited day after day without her coming, yet you say she has not given you wrong instructions.”
“No,” answered the meek little man, looking up at the engineer with his mild, limpid eyes, “she couldn’t have, as she has not sent any instructions.”
“Hasn’t she written to you?”
“No; we’ve had no letter from her since the first day of last October.”
“Then why do you idle away your mornings down here?” asked the engineer, wonderingly. “Can you afford to leave off working like this?”
“No,” replied the man, smiling to himself. “I suppose it’s wrong in me to do so; but all that will soon be made good.”
“Is it possible that you’re such a stupid ass as to hang round here when there’s no occasion for it?” roared the engineer, furiously. “You ought to be shut up in a madhouse.”
The man said nothing. He sat with his hands clasped round his knees, quite unperturbed. A smile played about his mouth all the while, and every second he seemed more and more confident of his ultimate triumph.
The engineer shrugged his shoulders and walked away, but before he was halfway down the hill he repented his harshness, and turned back. The stern forbidding look which his strong features habitually wore was now gone and he put out his hand to the man.
“I want to shake hands with you,” he said. “Until now I had always thought that I was the only one in this parish who knew what it was to yearn; but now I see that I have found my master.”
The little girl of Ruffluck had been away fully thirteen months, yet Jan had not betrayed by so much as a word that he had any knowledge of the great thing that had come to her. He had vowed to himself never to speak of this until Glory Goldie’s return. If the little girl did not discover that he knew about her grandeur, her pleasure in overwhelming him would be all the greater.
But in this world of ours it is the unexpected that happens mostly. There came a day when Jan was forced to unseal his lips and tell what he knew. Not on his own account. Indeed not! For he would have been quite content to go about in his shabby clothes and let folks think him nothing but a poor crofter to the end of his days. It was for the little girl’s own sake that he felt compelled to reveal the great secret.
It happened one day, early in August, when he had gone down to the pier to watch for her. For you see, going down to meet the boat every day that he might see her come ashore, was a pleasure he had been unable to deny himself. The boat had just put in and he had seen that Glory Goldie was not on board. He had supposed that she would be finished with everything now and could leave for home. But some new hindrance must have arisen to detain her, as had been the case all summer. It was not easy for one who had so many demands upon her time to get away.