She had turned away again and was silent for so long that Spence became uneasy. But at last she spoke.
“This is really too bad of father! He has never done anything quite as absurd as this before. I don’t quite see what he expected to get out of it. He might know that you would not stay. He wouldn’t want you to stay. I can’t understand—unless,” her voice became crisp with sudden enlightenment, “unless you were foolish enough to pay in advance! Surely you did not do that?”
The professor was observing his boots in an abstracted way.
“I am afraid my feet are very wet,” he remarked.
“They are. They are resting in at least an inch of water,” she said coldly. “But that isn’t answering my question. Did you pay my father anything in advance?”
The professor fidgeted.
“A small payment in advance is not very unusual,” he offered. “Especially if one’s prospective host is anxious to add a few little unaccustomed luxuries—”
“Yes, yes,” she interrupted rudely. “I recognize the phrase!” Without looking up he felt her wrathful gaze upon his face. “It means that father has simply done you brown. Oh, well, it’s your own fault. You’re old enough to know your way about. And the luxuries you will enjoy at our place will certainly be unaccustomed ones. Didn’t you even ask for references?”
Her tone irritated the professor unaccountably.
“Are we nearly there?” he asked, disdaining to answer. “I am extremely cold.”
“You will have a nice climb to warm you,” she told him grimly, “all up hill!”
“‘A verdant slope,’” quoted the professor sweetly, “’rising gently from salt water toward snowclad peaks, which, far away,—’” They caught each other’s eyes and laughed.
“Here is our landing,” said the girl quite cheerfully. “And none too soon! I suppose you haven’t noticed it, but the ‘Tillicum’ is leaking like a sieve!”
Salt in the air and the breath of pine and cedar are excellent sleep inducers. Professor Spence had not expected to sleep that night; yet he did sleep. He awoke to find the sun high. A great beam of it lay across the foot of his camp cot, bringing comforting warmth to the toes which protruded from the shelter of abbreviated blankets. The professor wiggled his toes cautiously. He was accustomed to doing this before making more radical movements. They were a valuable index to the state of the sciatic nerve. This morning they wiggled somewhat stiffly and there were also various twinges. But considering the trying experiences of yesterday it was surprising that they could wiggle at all. He lifted himself slowly—and sank back with a relieved sigh. It would have been embarrassing, he thought, had he not been able to get up.