The face at the window.
“What else did you find in what he wrote?” asked Maurice, after they had dropped each other’s hand again.
“Nothing much. He keeps mentioning Bunny often, showing that she was getting more’n more on his mind. And twice he speaks about me, and how much he had come to think of me. I’m glad to read that. Here he even wonders if I’d like to go down river with him in the Fall. Ain’t it a queer world, after all, Maurice? Just to think how things come around; for here we are right near the place poor old The wanted to visit, and carrying his little pile to Bunny?”
“Nothing else worth telling?” asked the other.
“He speaks here about feeling bad, and hopes it ain’t his old trouble springing back on him again. Then the writing stops. I reckon he was taken sick about that time. I tried to nurse him, you know; but when he went out of his head I got scared, and ran for a doctor. Then they took him away to that fine hospital at Evansville, because he used to live there. After that it ended right soon.”
“Well, I guess the best thing for us to do would be to hide the book and the money where you found it. All these months it’s stayed in that black hole safe, and it can stand another day or so.”
So, taking the advice of Maurice, Thad had placed the bills once more between the pages of the diary, which he carefully pushed into its former hiding place.
“Perhaps Bunny’ll be glad to have his book, too. If she’s his girl she’d like to read what he said about her,” suggested Maurice.
“That’s so,” replied the other, getting up from his knees.
Maurice saw him look up instinctively toward the little window; and then spring hastily to his feet.
At the same moment he thought he heard some sound outside, as if a floating object had struck against the anchored shanty-boat.
It might be a log, as frequently happened, for there were many such drifting on the surface of the big river, washed from the banks above by some local flood.
Thad, without wasting any time in thought, sprang to the door. This had a faculty of catching sometimes, and requiring more or less labor before it could be thrown open; and of course it had to play Thad such a trick just then, when he seemed so desirous of making haste.
Maurice, seeming to scent trouble of some sort from the strange actions of his chum, waited to snatch up the old faithful Marlin twelve-bore. It had seen them through other scrapes, and might come in handy again.
Finally, after considerable exertion, Thad managed to open the stubborn door, after which he rushed out on deck, followed by his mate and the barking Dixie.
“What’d you think you saw?” demanded Maurice, as he discovered by the light of the moon that the deck was devoid of anything in the way of peril.