“I know how Jake Hoover found I was here, I bet,” said Bessie, who had been thinking hard.
“Well, you know General Seeley thought I’d frightened his pheasants and taken the eggs. And then, later, I found Jake was the one. General Seeley didn’t punish him, but let him go with a warning.”
“He’s too soft-hearted,” commented Jamieson, angrily. “A lad like that ought to be sent to the reformatory—proper place for him!”
“Well, anyhow,” Bessie resumed, smiling at the young lawyer’s vehemence, and at the look of approval that Zara shot at him, since she had felt just the same way about Jake, “he was turned away, and I guess he just hung around to see what I’d do, and where I’d go. I think he’d like to get even with me, if he could.”
“He’d better behave himself if he’s going to stay around here,” said Jamieson. “His mother won’t be around to make people believe that he hasn’t done anything wrong, and he won’t find everyone as lenient and forgiving as General Seeley when he’s caught in the act of doing something he can be sent to jail for. Not if I’ve got anything to say about it, he won’t!”
“I don’t believe he’ll be able to stay around here very long,” said Bessie, pacifically. “It must cost him a lot of money to stay here in the city, and I don’t know how he can manage that. Maw Hoover always gave him money whenever he wanted it, if she had it, but she never had very much.”
“That’s good,” said the lawyer. “We’ll hope that he’ll be starved out pretty soon, and have to go home. But I guess we’d better not count very much on that. He may find someone who’s anxious enough to make trouble for you two to pay him to stay here for a while. He’d be pretty useful, I imagine.”
“I think we’re foolish to do so much guessing,” said Eleanor, suddenly. “You can know much better what to do when you’ve really found something out, Charlie. Now, listen. I was thinking of letting these two go to work for a little while before we went to the farm, so that they could earn some money for themselves.”
“Yes,” said Bessie and Zara, in one breath, eagerly. “We’re so anxious to do that. We mustn’t keep on living here and taking charity—”
But the lawyer shook his head vigorously.
“Not right away,” he said. “It’s just because I’m doing so much guessing that we mustn’t take any chances, Eleanor. You want to keep them close to you for a while. I spoke about that before Bessie saw our young friend Hoover, and I think so more than ever now. Don’t you see that they’re being spied on already?”
“I certainly do,” said Eleanor. “And I just want to do whatever is best for them. Bessie, you mustn’t think you’re getting charity when you stay here. You’re here as my guests, and we love to have you—both of you.”
“That’s right, Bessie,” said Jamieson, smiling. “She means that, or she wouldn’t say it. I can tell you you were mighty lucky when you ran into Eleanor the way you did.”