The day was fast wearing to its close, and the last block of stone was about to be moved, when Eben gave one of his quick looks up the hill. As he did so he suddenly straightened himself up and stared as if he had seen a ghost. His face became suddenly pale, and his hands trembled as he watched two people walking slowly down the track. He recognised them at once, and it was their appearance he had been expecting all the afternoon. He knew that they were coming to the boat, and he did not wish to meet the girl when Hampton was present. He felt that he could not trust himself, so great was his agitation.
Without a word to anyone Eben left the wharf, walked a few yards along the river, and disappeared among some bushes. He soon stopped when he was sure that he could not be seen, crouched low upon the ground, and watched all that was taking place near the “Eb and Flo.” He could see John and the girl talking with the captain for a few minutes, after which the three went on board and entered the cabin. When they reappeared about fifteen minutes later, Hampton was carrying a small parcel in his hand, which Eben surmised contained the articles his father had purchased for Jess at the store. When once again upon the wharf, they stood and talked for a few minutes. What they said Eben could not make out, but presently he heard his father calling his name. This caused him to crouch lower upon the ground, fearful lest he should be observed. One of the quarrymen then spoke and motioned his hand in the direction the boy had gone. Eben heard the amused laughter which followed, and he fully comprehended its meaning. They were laughing at him for running away! It was almost more than he could endure, and his first impulse was to rush from his hiding place, challenge John Hampton for a fight, and show Jess that he was no coward. But a natural diffidence restrained him, which caused him to remain silent and unseen. It was only when he was certain that the visitors were well out of sight, did he venture back to the wharf. His father looked at him somewhat curiously, but was wise enough to ask no questions.
When darkness had settled over the land, Eben left the boat and made his way slowly up the track. Reaching the main highway, he moved forward with a long jerky stride until he came to the little clearing where the Dobbins’ shack was situated. He stopped and peered cautiously around. A light shone from the one window facing the road, and toward this Eben stealthily moved. There was no blind to the window, so when near enough he could easily see all that was taking place within. The sight that met his first glance stirred him to a high pitch of angry jealousy. He saw the two sitting close to each other but a short distance from the injured man, who was lying upon a cot. John was talking to Jess in a most earnest manner, and the look upon the girl’s face was one of intense happiness. She was evidently pleased at what her lover was saying, for occasionally her lips parted in a smile.