Although surprised at this request, as well as the
sudden change in the
man’s manner, Jean did as she was requested. In a clear, sweet voice
she sang the first verse,
The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want,
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
She was about to begin the next verse when a step was heard outside, and then a heavy knock sounded upon the door.
As Jean rose and opened the door a man at once entered, who stared at her in amazement. He was of medium size, clad in a short fur jacket, belted at the waist, heavy cap, rough homespun trousers, stuck into coarse socks, and moccasins on his feet. His face was covered with a ragged, bushy beard, flecked with frost, while particles of ice clung to his moustache. His small piercing eyes attracted Jean most of all, causing her to retreat a step or two. This the visitor noted, and laughed.
“I won’t hurt ye, Miss,” he said. “But, Lord! where have you dropped from? I didn’t know there was a wench like you on this side of hell.”
“Hold your tongue, Dave, and come over here,” the man on the couch ordered.
The visitor at once obeyed, and crossed the room. He looked upon the invalid with surprise.
“Hello! what’s wrong with you?” he asked.
“Oh, I met with an accident. But what are you doing here, Dave? What do you want?”
Dave, however, made no reply, but turned and stared hard at Jean who was now standing near the table.
“Did you hear what I said, Dave? What do you want?”
“Guess there’s only one thing I want now, chief. Where did ye git her? My! she’s a beauty.”
At these words the injured man’s eyes flashed with anger. He lifted himself to a sitting position, and seized Dave by the arm.
“She’s my daughter,” he lied, “and if you harm her I’ll kill you. See?”
The visitor cowered and shrank back at this fierce threat.
“I didn’t mean to harm her,” he muttered. “But I didn’t know ye had a daughter like that. Where have ye kept her all this time?”
“That’s none of your business, Dave. Tell me what you want, and then get out. But, wait, I know you’re thirsty. Bring in some rum, daughter,” he ordered, looking over at Jean.
The latter was only too glad to get out of the room, and away from the man who in such a short time had filled her heart with fear. Her hands trembled as she picked up a mug and filled it with liquor. She then glanced toward the muskets in the opposite corner, and wondered if they were loaded. She felt more lonely now than ever, and wished for Sam and Kitty. She feared that stranger, and longed to close and bolt the door until he was out of the house. At present, however, there was nothing else for her to do but to be as brave as possible. No trace of fear did she show as she went into the other room, and paused just inside the door. The two men were talking very earnestly, and the invalid seemed to be quite excited.