“How nice it would be if we could live in a place like this, and not go back to Jim Goban’s. Would you be willing to take care of me?” David asked.
“Sure, I would like nothing better. But, then, there are some things in the way.”
“What are they?”
“Well, you see, there’s the question of money. We haven’t any ourselves, and I don’t think any one is likely to drop it at our feet in a hurry. And besides, Jim’s got you for a year and he wouldn’t want to give you up; he’s going to get a lot of work out of you, so he plans.”
“I know that only too well, Betty. But when I get rich, I mean. If I had a little place like this you would look after me, would you not? I would pay you well, and we could be so happy.”
“Indeed we could. But you haven’t the money yet and we must try to be as happy as we can in the meantime. That’s what ma says, and she really does practise it. So I’ve got to look after you now when you can’t pay me. I’m going to see if I can’t find something to eat. The man who lives here surely doesn’t live on air. He must have some food in the house.”
It did not take Betty long to find the cupboard. This was nothing more than a box nailed to the wall, on which a rude door had been fastened. There were three shelves and on these were a loaf of bread, some cold meat, potatoes, eggs and cheese.
“Isn’t this great!” she exclaimed, as she brought forth what she needed. “I can warm up these potatoes, and we shall have a grand supper.”
“I am worrying about the man who owns those things,” David remarked. “He might not mind our using his house, but when it comes to making free with his provisions, it might be a different matter. Do you think it is right for us to touch them?”
“We won’t take all,” and Betty stood before the table eying the meat and potatoes. “We can leave enough for him. If he is a kind man he will not mind our taking some of his supper. How dark it is getting,” she added. “I shall light that lamp. Now, isn’t that better,” she continued when this had been accomplished. “We shall have supper in a short time.”
While Betty busied herself about the stove, David remained stretched out upon the settle. Outside, the storm increased in fury, and the rain heat against the window. Within, all was snug and warm. The girl even hummed softly to herself as she went on with her work.
When supper was ready, Betty spoke to David. As he made no reply, she went to his side and, to her surprise, found that he was asleep. An expression of tender compassion came into the girl’s eyes as she watched him. She knew how tired he was and she would not wake him. It was better, so she thought, that he should sleep. Drawing up a chair, she sat down by his side. A feeling came to her that it was her duty to care for this old man who was so helpless. She could not do much, but when Betty Bean had once made up her mind it was seldom that she could be turned from her purpose.