“It’s John!” she gasped. “Leave at once!”
In an instant Grimsby was on his feet. He seized his hat, leaped down the steps, rushed toward the gate, and was walking rapidly down the road as the car sped up. The driver hailed him in passing. He waved in reply, and then hurried on his way. Grimsby was not anxious to meet John Hampton just then.
TWO WOMEN’S TROUBLES
After stopping his car before the cottage, John Hampton alighted and gave a quick glance toward the “Eb and Flo,” now abreast of Beech Cove. He then turned, opened the gate, and hurried up the path to the house. His every movement was expressive of abounding health and buoyant vitality. As Mrs. Hampton met him on the verandah, her eyes kindled with pride. He was so big and manly, and his bronzed, clean-shaven face glowed with animation. He stooped to kiss her, and then holding her at arm’s length looked anxiously into her eyes.
“Mother dear, what is the matter?” he asked. “You are so pale.”
“I have been worrying about you, John,” Mrs. Hampton evaded, while a wan smile flickered about the corners of her mouth. “I was afraid something had happened to you.”
“I was unavoidably delayed, mother. I hoped to get home last night, but it was late before I saw Mr. Perkins. He kept me waiting a long time.”
“Will he buy the mine?” Mrs. Hampton was eagerly alert now, and some of the colour had returned to her cheeks.
“He would give me no definite answer, mother. He put me off as usual.”
“But he knows the value of the mine, does he not?”
“Oh, yes. He had an expert make a report, which is very favourable, so I understand. The seam is a long one, but it only comes to the surface on our place, which will make the mining very easy. Deep shafts would have to be sunk elsewhere, which would make the work most expensive. I wish to goodness we could mine it ourselves.”
“That is out of the question, John,” and Mrs. Hampton sighed. “Your—your father often talked to me about it, and I remember how he planned, to form a company, which would build a small railway line into the mine. But his sudden death upset everything. I have been trying for years to interest men of money, but so far without any success. Now, however, with coal at such a price and hard to obtain, I have been hoping that we might succeed.”
“Mr. Perkins wants it for almost nothing, mother; that is the trouble. The mine is so far back, he said, that it would cost almost more than it is worth to bring it to the river. I know that is all nonsense, and told him so.”
“Isn’t there someone else, John?”
“Only one I know of, and that is Mr. Randall, the lumber merchant. But he refused point blank to have anything to do with it. He was very nasty and said his business was lumbering and not mining. I thought he would kick me out of his office, he was so ugly.”