“Ye did?” Gabe snarled. “So that’s where ye were, eh? Why didn’t ye tell me that before?”
“I didn’t have to, Gabe Grimsby. If you’d acted like a man when you came home, I might have told you. But, no, when you got here and found that I was away, instead of staying with the children you went off to the store. Then when you did come home and found that supper was not ready because I just got back, you began to act like a demon. If it hadn’t been for Eben here, I don’t know what would have happened to me.”
“An’ he hit ye fer that?” Eben asked in surprise.
“Yes, for that, and because of the money.”
“Hush-money; that’s what it was. He dragged it out of Mrs. Hampton, that’s what he did, the villain. She paid him to keep silent.”
The light of understanding dawned in Eben’s eyes, and he even smiled.
“It had to do with the girl, eh?” he queried. “Mrs. Hampton paid Gabe to say nuthin’ about her, I s’pose. She wants to keep her hidden from her dad. I came here in his car, and I tell ye he’s mighty mad.”
“Has he found her?” Grimsby asked, forgetting in his interest his battered face.
“Naw, he hasn’t found her. But he will, though, if you don’t git a hustle on. He knows where she is.”
“He does! Where?”
“Oh, it’s no use tellin’ you. What can you do? You’ll be in bed to-morrow nursin’ yer face.”
“No, I won’t. Just tell me where that girl is, an’ I’ll send word to the city this very night.”
“Why should I tell ye, Gabe? Ye don’t deserve to be told after what ye did to yer wife.”
“I swear I’ll never do such a thing again, Eben. I lost my head, an’ didn’t realise what I was doing.
“H’m, I guess ye nearly lost yer head when I got hold of ye. If it hadn’t been fer yer wife here I’d had yer head off by this time. But come along outside, an’ we’ll talk this matter over. Them kids ought to be in bed,” and he motioned to the weary children over in the corner. “Good-bye, Mrs. Grimsby; jist send me word if Gabe hits ye agin. I’ll fix him fer sure next time. Come along, Gabe, I want to have a talk with ye.”
THE FOREST FIRE
John Hampton was somewhat late in leaving the island the next morning. There had been many things to do, and he found the life so pleasant that he preferred to stay all day. But it was necessary for him to get back home to look after the stock, and attend to many other duties around the place.
“Do you think you can manage all right, John?” Mrs. Hampton anxiously asked as she and Jess accompanied him to the boat. “I feel that I should go home too.”
“Oh, I shall have no trouble, mother,” John assured, her. “But I don’t like to leave you two here alone. I shall be back, though, as early as I can this evening.”