“Better not try anything like that, Sandy,” Ben Logan laughingly gibed. “He’d wipe up the dust with you in no time, if I’m not much mistaken. Anyway, he minds his own business, and that’s something in his favour.”
“I believe he’s working for the bunch,” the store-keeper volunteered. “I cashed a cheque of his some time ago, and—— But, there, I must not let out secrets.”
While the people of Creekdale were consumed with curiosity at what was taking place at the falls, Peter Sinclair was becoming filled with anxiety, which increased as the days passed into weeks. Lois found it harder than ever to get along with him, and she always dreaded his home-coming every evening from the city. Occasionally he travelled on the river steamer, but as a rule Dick drove him to the city in the morning in the car and brought him back at night. This was to the young man’s liking, as he found it lonely in the country where he missed his boon companions. Lois was glad that this was so as she could have the days free to follow her own inclinations. But she was always careful to have dinner ready when her father and brother arrived, and to make their home-coming as bright and pleasant as possible.
Whether Mr. Sinclair appreciated this attention Lois did not know, as he never made any comment. At times, he treated her as if she were merely a housekeeper, and not his own daughter interested in his welfare. He ate and slept in the house and spent his Sundays there. But apart from paying the bills, which, were always light, he left everything else to his daughter.
The night when the men of Creekdale were talking so earnestly at the store, Mr. Sinclair was late reaching, home. Dinner had been waiting for over an hour, and Lois was reading on the verandah, for it was a beautiful evening, with not a ripple on the surface of the river. She longed to be out there in her little boat where of late she spent so much of her time.
To almost any one else this home-coming would have been a great pleasure, especially if the day in the city had been trying. He would have found the cool, quiet house with such a daughter waiting to receive him most comforting. But with Mr. Sinclair it was altogether different. He did not seem to notice the neatly-set dining-room table, with its snow-white linen and the fragrant flowers so artistically arranged in the centre. Neither did he pay any special attention to Lois, who, clad in a simple white dress, sat at the head of the table.
Lois intuitively realised that there was something out of the ordinary worrying her father. He was more silent than ever, and took no part in the conversation between his son and daughter. Dick related to Lois his experience that afternoon with a party of his friends who had motored over to the Sea Breeze Park, and had luncheon at the Sign of the Maple.
“It’s a dandy place,” Dick exclaimed, as he passed his plate for another helping of roast lamb. “They certainly do serve things up in style, and it is no wonder that so many city people go there. But you could never guess who came in while we were eating.”