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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Lady Good-for-Nothing.

“A lodge?”

“That’s what they call it.  He was a trapper, and a famous one, but before my time; an’ that was his headquarters—­a sort o’ cabin, pretty stout, just by the head in the sixth fall, or maybe ’tis the seventh—­ I forget.  He lived up there without wife or family—­” Mr. Strongtharm would have launched into further particulars about the dead trapper, whose skill and strange habits had passed into a legend in the valley.  But Ruth wished to hear more of the cabin.

“It’s standin’, no doubt, to this day.  Vanders was a Dutchman, an’ Dutchmen build strong by nature.  The man who built this yer house was a Dutchman, an’ look at the piles of it—­an the ribs you may ha’ noticed.  Ay, the lodge will be there yet; but you’ll never find it, not unless I takes ye.  That fourth fall is a teaser.”

Ruth saddled her mare, and rode off in the direction of the gap, thoughtfully.  Mr. Strongtharm had given her a new notion. . . .

It was close upon nightfall when she returned.  She was muddy, but cheerful; and she hummed a song to herself in her chamber as she slid off her mired garments and attired herself for supper.

That song was her nesting song.  Away Boston-wards, her lover, too, was building in his magnificent fashion; but Ruth had found a secret place, such as birds love, and shyly, stealthily as a mating bird, she set about planning and furnishing.  It is woman’s instinct. . . .  Every day, as soon as breakfast was done, she saddled and rode towards the Gap, and always with a parcel or two dangling from the saddle-bow or strapped upon Madcap’s back.

For the first time in her life she had money to handle; money furnished by Sir Oliver to be spent at her own disposal on the honeymoon.  It seemed to her a prodigious sum, but she was none the less economical with it.  I fear that sometimes she opened the bags and gloated over the coins as over a hoard.  She was neither miser nor spendthrift; but unlike many girls brought up in poverty, she brought good husbandry to good fortune.

Yet “shopping”—­to enter a store and choose among the goods for sale, having money to pay, but weighing quality and price—­was undeniably pleasant.  Twice or thrice, bethinking her of some trifle overlooked at Port Nassau, she enjoyed visiting the village store—­it boasted but one—­and dallying with a purchase.

She was riding back from one of these visits—­it had been (if the Muse will smile and condescend) to buy a packet of hairpins—­when, half-way up the village street, she spied a horseman approaching.  An instant later she recognised Mr. Trask.

There was really nothing strange in her meeting him here.  Mr. Trask owned a herd of bullocks, and had ridden over from Port Nassau to bargain for their winter fodder.  He had not aged a day.  His horse was a tall grey, large-jointed, and ugly.

Ruth wore a veil, but it was wreathed just now above the brim of her hat.  Her first impulse was to draw it over her face, and her hand went up; but she desisted in pride, and rode by her old enemy with a calm face.

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