“Not for us,” said Maurice, decidedly; “we will be only too glad to stop over with you one night, since you insist, for, of course, there is lots my chum can tell you. And, by the way, Mr. Stallings sent this package to Mrs. Stormway. I think it’s got some coffee in anyhow, for we smelled it. He knew we had some good news for you, and wanted to say that he was mighty glad George would have a chance to pull up stakes and get out of this lowland.”
The package did contain several articles in the line of groceries, which the good-hearted storekeeper judged the Stormways would be out of, and when she saw this evidence of his thoughtfulness the eyes of George’s wife filled with tears, even though she laughed and appeared light-hearted.
Once more afloat.
The balance of that day and the evening would long be remembered by the boys. Maurice found the three children bright and interesting; nor was that to be wondered at when they had so intelligent a mother to guide them along the way.
George had considered the future so often, in case he ever had the chance to get on an upland farm, that he had his plans all laid out.
He looked ten per cent better by the time night settled in around that little shack in the wilderness, and even doubting Thad made up his mind that George was going to get well.
And that night was one of pleasant intercourse. There were scant rations in the cabin, but then Bunny knew how to cook, and what they had was a treat to the boys, accustomed to looking after themselves so long. The hoe cake was browned just right and tasted better than anything the boys had eaten for a long while, and somehow the coffee was better than they had been able to brew.
In the morning George took the boys aside.
“I’m agoin’ to ask you boys to do me a great favor,” he said, mysteriously.
Maurice looked at Thad and the latter turned white. He feared that George meant to insist upon their sharing his little pile, and neither of them would have touched one cent on any account.
“Yes, what’s that, George?” asked Maurice, who on second thought remembered that that subject had been threshed over on the preceding night, when the good woman had tried to make them accept a gift to help them along and they had firmly declined.
“Why, you see, I’m that afraid of bein’ robbed now that it worried me a heap. Suppose I jest hold out that odd thirty and let you take the three hundred over to Kim Stallings to keep for me till I want it? I’d be mighty much easier in my mind, boys, if you would oblige.”
Thad waited for his chum to say, for in a ease of this kind he always deferred to Maurice as being better able to decide.
“To be sure, we will, George; I didn’t want to mention it to you, but was a little afraid something might happen to the money. Are you able to leave home today? Could you borrow that mule you spoke of and go with us to Morehead? It would be better to get some paper from Kim to secure you?”