“‘No,’ said Tom, ’I can’t let you do that! It’s too much! It’s too big a sacrifice!’
“‘Yes, you will,’ said Bill. ’It will likely ruin my life, I know, but I’m only one. If it’s laid on you, three lives will be ruined. Just promise me you’ll live straight after this, and never gamble again.’
“Tom promised, and Bill was sure he meant it, and when their father, who had been sent for by the examiner, arrived at the bank, Bill, as agreed, told his father he had taken the money.
“Of course there was a terrible scene. Bill was not arrested for his father did not wish the family disgraced, but he was driven from home, with very little money in his pocket, and told never to return again. His mother and little sister—I forgot to tell you the boys had a little sister, who was ten years old at that time—nearly broke their hearts at his going. But his father was very harsh, and told him if he ever came back he would have him arrested and put into prison. It was not the loss of the money which angered him. That was a comparatively small amount, which he paid back to the bank and did not miss very much. It was the thought that one of his boys had taken it.”
“What was the little sister’s name?” asked Jimmy.
“Well, let me see,” said Skipper Ed. “We’ll call her Mary.”
“Did Bill ever go back?”
“No, he never went back.”
“Where did he go?”
“Why, he went to a seaport town and shipped as a sailor, and after knocking about the seas for a time he settled in a country much like this where we live. He liked the wild country, where he could hunt and fish, and where the people he met were true and honest, and helped each other, instead of always trying to take advantage of one another.”
“I’m glad he did that,” declared Jimmy. “I wish he lived near us. I don’t think I’d like to live in a place like he came from, and I’m glad Bobby came away from it.”
“And the fishing and hunting are better here than where he came from, too, Partner.”
“I don’t want to live where the fishin’ and huntin’ isn’t fine, and it’s fine here.”
“Aye, ’tis fine here, and many things are fine here. Destiny is the Lord’s will, and our destiny, Partner, is to live here and be as happy as we can; and now Bobby has come, it seems to be his destiny too.”
And so Jimmy had his story, and bedtime had arrived, and the two partners went to bed to be lulled to sleep by the storm raging about their cabin.
OVER A CLIFF
The storm that lulled Skipper Ed and his little partner to sleep also lulled Abel Zachariah and Mrs. Abel and Bobby to sleep. Bobby’s new bed was finished. It was half the width of Abel’s and Mrs. Abel’s bed, but it was quite as long, for Bobby was to grow tall, and to become a big and brave hunter. And, too, for present needs it must be of ample length to permit Mrs. Abel to lie down by Bobby’s side of nights while she crooned him to sleep with her quaint Eskimo lullabies.