Paul reaches the city.
Towards evening they drew up before a small house with a neat yard in front.
“I guess we’ll get out here,” said Mr. Stubbs. “There’s a gentleman lives here that I feel pretty well acquainted with. Shouldn’t wonder if he’d let us stop over Sunday. Whoa, Goliah, glad to get home, hey?” as the horse pricked up his ears and showed manifest signs of satisfaction.
“Now, youngster, follow me, and I guess I can promise you some supper, if Mrs. Stubbs hasn’t forgotten her old tricks.”
They passed through the entry into the kitchen, where Mrs. Stubbs was discovered before the fire toasting slices of bread.
“Lor, Jehoshaphat,” said she, “I didn’t expect you so soon,” and she looked inquiringly at his companion.
“A young friend who is going to stay with us till Monday,” explained the pedler. “His name is Paul Prescott.”
“I’m glad to see you, Paul,” said Mrs. Stubbs with a friendly smile. “You must be tired if you’ve been traveling far. Take a seat. Here’s a rocking-chair for you.”
This friendly greeting made Paul feel quite at home. Having no children, the pedler and his wife exerted themselves to make the time pass pleasantly to their young acquaintance. Paul could not help contrasting them with Mr. and Mrs. Mudge, not very much to the advantage of the latter. On Sunday he went to church with them, and the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed, made him listen to the sermon with unusual attention. It was an exposition of the text, “My help cometh from the Lord,” and Paul could not help feeling that it was particularly applicable to his own case. It encouraged him to hope, that, however uncertain his prospects appeared, God would help him if he put his trust in Him.
On Monday morning Paul resumed his journey, with an ample stock of provisions supplied by Mrs. Stubbs, in the list of which doughnuts occupied a prominent place; this being at the particular suggestion of Mr. Stubbs.
Forty or fifty miles remained to be traversed before his destination would be reached. The road was not a difficult one to find, and he made it out without much questioning. The first night, he sought permission to sleep in a barn.
He met with a decided refusal.
He was about to turn away in disappointment, when he was called back.
“You are a little too fast, youngster. I said I wouldn’t let you sleep in my barn, and I won’t; but I’ve got a spare bed in the house, and if you choose you shall occupy it.”
Under the guise of roughness, this man had a kind heart. He inquired into the particulars of Paul’s story, and at the conclusion terrified him by saying that he had been very foolish and ought to be sent back. Nevertheless, when Paul took leave of him the next morning, he did not go away empty-handed.