“It is hardly likely. But if he does you can leave everything to me.”
For some distance they followed the main highway, and at length turned off upon a road leading back into the hills. This was little used, so John had to exercise the greatest care in handling the car. It was hard enough in day-time, but at night it was extremely difficult. He had to drive very slowly, and at times branches of trees scraped the sides of the car.
“This was once called ‘The Rebel Trail,’” he explained to Jess after they had climbed a steeper hill than any they had yet encountered.
“What a funny name!” the girl replied. “How did it get such a name as that?”
“It was used very often by the Loyalists in the early days as they travelled overland to the river from a settlement beyond the hills. The Loyalists, you know, were called rebels by the people in the country from which they fled. When those who had settled back in the hills visited the ones along the river, they were often jokingly greeted by the words ‘Oh, you rebels!’ and in that way the path through the woods got its name. Of course, that was long ago, and few people know about it now. An old man once told me about it, and it always stuck in my mind.”
“I guess the name is very suitable,” and Jess sighed. “Another rebel is travelling over it now, for I am sure that is what my parents and others think I am.”
“A rebel in a worthy cause, dear,” Mrs. Hampton comforted. “It matters very little what people call you when you feel that you have done right.”
“And wouldn’t you do the same if you were in my place?” Jess asked. “Wouldn’t you rebel against marrying a man you despised and hated?”
“I certainly should. I would do almost anything rather than marry the man I disliked.”
Further conversation was interrupted by the sudden stopping of the car. John opened the door and stepped out.
“We are here at last,” he explained. “This is where we take the boat. I shall leave the car here.”
It took them but a few minutes to carry their luggage to the lake and place it on board a small flat-bottomed boat lying upon the shore. With the women seated astern, John took the oars, and soon they were out upon the water.
“This is a wonderful adventure,” Jess remarked after they had gone a short distance. “How still and mysterious everything is! I was never in such a place before.”
“I hope you will not get homesick here,” Mrs. Hampton replied, at the same time taking the girl’s right hand in hers.
“Not with you near me, Mrs. Hampton. What lovely times we shall have!”
“I hope so, dear,” and the elder woman sighed. “But here we are at the island. You see, it is not far across.”
The house on Island Lake was built mostly of logs, and was a cosy abode. It was comfortably furnished, and a rough fireplace was situated at one end of the living room. Jess was overjoyed as she looked around after the lamp had been lighted.