Jan of the Windmill eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 250 pages of information about Jan of the Windmill.

“A quarter’s pay in advance,” he said briefly.  “It will be paid quarterly, you understand.”  After which, and checking himself in a look towards the child, he went out, followed by the woman.

In the round-house he paused however, and looked back into the meagre, dimly lighted room, where the little bundle upon the bed lay weeping.  For a moment, a storm of irresolution seemed to seize him, and then muttering, “It can’t be helped for the present, it can’t be helped,” he hurried towards the vehicle, in the back seat of which the woman was already seated.

The driver touched his hat to him as he approached, and turned the cushion, which he had been protecting from the rain.  The stranger stumbled over the cloak as he got in, and, cursing the step, bade the man drive like something which had no connection with driving.  But, as they turned, the windmiller ran out and after them.

“Stop, sir!” he cried.

“Well, what now?” said the stranger, sharply, as the horse was pulled back on his haunches.

“Is it named?” gasped the miller.

“Oh, yes, all that sort of thing,” was the impatient reply.

“And what name?” asked the miller.

“Jan.  J, A, N,” said the stranger, shouting against the blustering wind.

“And—­and—­the other name?” said the windmiller, who was now standing close to the stranger’s ear.

“What is yours?” he asked, with a sharp look of his dark eyes.

“Lake—­Abel,” said the windmiller.

“It is his also, henceforth,” said the stranger, waving his hand, as if to close the subject,—­“Jan Lake.  Drive on, will you?”

The horse started forward, and they whirled away down the wet, gray road.  And before the miller had regained his mill, the carriage was a distant speck upon the storm.

CHAPTER II.  THE MILLER’S CALCULATIONS.—­HIS HOPES AND FEARS.—­THE NURSE-BOY.—­CALM.

The windmiller went back to his work.  He had risked something over this business in leaving the mill in the hands of others, even for so short a time.  Then the storm abated somewhat.  The wind went round, and blew with less violence a fine steady breeze.  The miller began to think of going into the dwelling-room for a bit of supper to carry him through his night’s work.  And yet he lingered about returning to his wife in her present mood.

He stuck the sharp point of his windmiller’s candlestick {1} into a sack that stood near, and drawing up a yellow canvas “sample bag “—­ which served him as a purse—­from the depths of his pocket, he began to count the coins by the light of the candle.  He counted them over several times with increasing satisfaction, and made several slow but sure calculations as to the sum of ten shillings a week by the month, the quarter, the half, and the whole year.  He then began another set of calculations of a kind less pleasant, especially to an honest man,—­his debts.

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Project Gutenberg
Jan of the Windmill from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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