“Sure, sure, Martha. Yer quite right. But, say, what a narrow squeeze that was! In another minute Eben an’ the boat would have been into the falls, an’, then, Good Lord!”
“Doesn’t the paper say there were two men with him?” Flo asked. “Who were they, do you suppose?” The girl’s face was pale, and she was greatly agitated.
“Yes, yes, it does say thar were two men, who left in a motor-boat,” the captain replied. “Now, who were they? D’ye s’pose they were on the boat when the storm struck, an’ helped Eben hist the sail? They must have been thar, fer that boy could never have histed that sail alone. Read it all over agin, Martha.”
The Tobin family had now a great subject for conversation, which kept them talking and speculating for the rest of the day. Mrs. Tobin carried the paper to her neighbours across the way, and discussed it with them. Jess said very little, although she was doing some serious thinking. Two men were with Eben, and they had evidently been with him during the storm. Fearful as she was of being followed, she naturally concluded that they were in search of her. Perhaps there was a suspicion abroad that she had taken refuge on the “Eb and Flo,” and had not drowned herself. She said nothing, however, about her fears, but listened to Mrs. Tobin as she enlarged upon the danger through which her son had passed.
All through the afternoon the captain kept a close watch upon the river. He felt sure that Eben would bring the boat back that day. His foot was not giving him so much trouble, and he longed to be up and doing. But his wife and daughter would not allow him to leave the sofa, notwithstanding his vigorous protests.
“I must git around, Martha,” he said after a special rebuke by his wife for his lack of patience. “Me foot needs to be moved, or it’ll be stiff to the end of me days.”
“Don’t you worry about that, Sam’l. A sprain needs rest, and you’re going to stay right where you are.”
The captain sighed as he tried to possess his soul in patience. But the time dragged heavily, and the “Eb and Flo” was nowhere in sight.
Supper was almost ready when Flo, happening to glance out of the window, gave a cry of joy.
“The boat’s coming now, daddy!” she announced. “I’m sure it’s the ’Eb and Flo.’”
“Is thar a big patch in the sail?” her father asked.
“Yes, I can see it quite plainly.”
“Then it’s her, Flo. Thank the Lord Eben’s come at last. He’s a great boy, that. Guess he’ll amount to something after all. Ye’d better cut an extry slice of that ham, fer Eben’ll have an appetite like a bear when he gits home.”
MRS. GRIMSBY’S MISSION
Mrs. Hampton had not the slightest doubt but that Jess Randall was her own daughter. It seemed like a strange dream at first from which she would suddenly awaken. The girl was all that she had imagined her daughter would be when grown up. How she longed to take her in her arms and claim her as her own! But, no, she must not do that now. What would Jess and John think of her? Would they not despise her for what she had done? It was almost beyond belief that a mother would sell her child for money.