“What a delightful place!” she exclaimed. “I never expected to find such a house as this so far in the wilderness.”
“My dear husband and I used to spend very happy days here,” Mrs. Hampton told her. “I used to keep house while he worked at the mine. We made very little money, but we were happy, and after all, that is worth more than gold. When he died, I did not have the heart to disturb anything, but left the house just as it was. John has looked after it, and if he had his way he would spend most of his time here.”
“And so should I,” the girl enthusiastically replied. “I know I shall be happy here. Oh, I am so glad we have come.”
John was happy, too, and as he looked upon the bright, animated face before him, he longed to live there in the woods the rest of his life, if only he might have the one who was so dear to him always by his side.
“I’m sartinly proud of ye, Eben. I didn’t think it was in ye.”
This was Captain Tobin’s comment as he listened for the second time to his son’s story of the night on the river, and the rescue from the falls. Supper had been over for some time, but the family lingered at the table, and for once the dishes remained unwashed. Eben was at last a hero in his own home, and his eyes sparkled as he noted how proud the members of his family were of his achievements. This was an unusual experience for him, and his heart glowed with pride. He did not mind telling them what he had done, and how the two men had helped him to hoist the sail.
“Who were they?” his mother asked.
“Oh, just two chaps who happened along in a motor-boat. Guess they were mighty glad to find shelter from the storm.”
Eben glanced at his father as he spoke, wondering if he suspected anything. But the captain gave no sign, so the boy was quite relieved.
“And did the people on the wharf cheer when the tug brought you back from the falls?” Flo eagerly asked.
“I guess so, though I can’t remember much about it now. It all seems like a dream.”
At that instant a loud rap sounded outside. Flo sprang at once to her feet, and when she had opened the door, a man stepped across the threshold.
“Does Captain Tobin live here?” he asked.
“Yes, and he’s right in there,” Flo replied, motioning to the dining-room which opened off the little hall.
The captain turned to view the visitor, and then attempted to rise. He sank back, however, with a groan, for he had given his foot a slight twist.
“So you are Captain Tobin, eh?” the stranger accosted.
“Yes, all that’s left of him,” was the reply.
“And you are the owner of the woodboat, the ’Eb and Flo’?”
The visitor’s abrupt manner irritated the captain. He knew the man to be Henry Randall, for he had seen him on several occasions. He never liked the man from what he had heard of him, and his repugnance was now steadily increasing.