“This is the young woman I was speaking to you about,” Jasper remarked, as he stepped from the car.
“I am delighted to meet you,” and Mr. Westcote held out his hand. “I have heard about you, and have been quite anxious to see you. How are you making out with your new charge?”
“Great,” and a smile wreathed the girl’s face. “He is so happy here, and likes for me to read to him. But he is so funny at times, and interrupts me to ask questions.”
“What about?” Mr. Westcote enquired.
“Oh, about Break Neck Falls. He wants to know if I can hear the water speaking, and, of course, I always do,” she added with a slight laugh. “He wanted me to go there this morning, but as mother and the boys are away I could not leave, so I am trying to satisfy him by reading.”
“Would your mother be willing to keep him for a time, do you think?” Jasper asked, “that is, if she were paid enough?”
“I’m afraid not,” and the girl’s eyes roamed in a thoughtful manner toward where David was sitting. “You see, our house is too small, and there is hardly room enough as it is. And besides, we are too far away from the Falls. Mr. David needs to be quite near so that he can visit the place whenever he takes the notion, which is quite often. That is the only thing which will make him happy.”
“Quite right,” Mr. Westcote assented. “He should live as near as possible. But may we see your charge?” he asked.
“Certainly,” and Betty at once led the way across the field to the big shady tree.
Old David, seeing them coming, rose to meet them. He stood very erect and dignified as Jasper took his hand, and then introduced Mr. Westcote. He was visibly embarrassed that he did not have chairs for all, and offered his own to the stranger.
“Please keep your seat,” Mr. Westcote told him. “I prefer to sit on the ground. What a delightful place you have here, sir,” and he looked around upon the scenery.
“It is very beautiful,” David assented, “and I can hear the Falls so plainly, especially at night.”
An amused twinkle shone in Betty’s eyes as she turned them upon Jasper’s face. She knew very well that it was impossible to hear the sound of the falling waters, and that it was purely imagination on his part.
The stranger, however, did not smile. In fact, there was an expression of sadness upon his face as he watched David. He said very little, being content to let the others do the talking. But he observed the old man very carefully without apparently doing so. What his thoughts were he kept to himself, and when he arose to go, he took David’s hand in almost a reverent manner, and looked searchingly into his eyes as if trying to find something there which he missed. He hardly spoke a word on the way back but seemed lost in deep thought. As Jasper alighted from the car in front of his cabin, Mr. Westcote laid his right hand upon his shoulder.