The wooden house had a dreary, dilapidated look; the weathered, neglected appearance of barns and stables was depressing. It was through a neighboring gap in the fence that Marston’s team had brought their lifeless master home; and Edgar had seen enough to realize that the man must have grown slack and nerveless before he had succumbed. The farm had broken down Marston’s strength and courage, and now another man, less gifted in many ways, had taken it in charge. Edgar wondered how he would succeed; but in spite of a few misgivings he had confidence in George.
After a while the latter, who had been examining Marston’s farming books, came out, looking grave; he had worn a serious air since their arrival.
“There’ll have to be a change,” he said. “Dick’s accounts have given me something to think about. I believe I’m beginning to understand now how his money went.”
“I suppose you haven’t got the new program cut and dried yet?” Edgar suggested.
George was seldom precipitate.
“No,” he answered. “I’ve a few ideas in my mind.”
“Won’t you have some trouble about finances, if the alterations are extensive?”
“I’ll have to draw on my private account, unless Herbert will assist.”
“Herbert won’t do anything of the kind,” said Edgar decidedly.
George, making no answer, called Grierson from the stable.
“You’ll drive in to the settlement after breakfast to-morrow, Tom,” he said. “Tell the man I’ll keep the team, if he’ll knock off twenty dollars, and he can have his check when he likes. Then bring out the flour and groceries.”
“I suppose I won’t be going in again for a while; we’ll be too busy?”
“It’s very likely,” said Edgar, knowing his comrade’s temperament.
“Then I wonder if I could draw a pound or two?” asked Grierson diffidently.
“Why?” George questioned him. “The Immigration people would see that you had some money before they let you in.”
“I’ve four pounds now; I want to send something home at once.”
“Ah!” said George. “I see. How much did you leave your wife?”
“About three pounds, sir; I had to bring enough to pass me at Quebec.”
“Then if you give me what you have, I’ll let you have a check for twice as much on an English bank. Better get your letter written.”
Grierson’s look was very expressive as he turned away with a word of thanks; and Edgar smiled at George.
“You have bought that fellow—for an advance of four pounds,” he said.
George showed a little embarrassment.
“I was thinking of the woman,” he explained.
Then he pointed to the prairie.
“There’s a rig coming. It looks like visitors.”
Soon afterward, Grant, whom they had met on the train, drew up his team and helped his daughter down.
“We were passing and thought we’d look in,” he said. “Found out yesterday that you were located here.”