Robert Coverdale's Struggle - LightNovelOnl.com
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"I might have done so but for Robert. He has brought me fish and bought groceries with what little money he could earn in various ways."
"Oh, it's Robert always!" sneered Trafton. "He is an angel, is he? He's only done his duty. Haven't I given him the shelter of my roof?"
"You haven't given him much else," retorted his wife.
"I've heard enough of that; now shut up," said the fisherman roughly.
"What have you got for breakfast?"
Mrs. Trafton pointed to the table, on which, while her husband had been speaking, she had placed his breakfast.
"Humph!" said he discontentedly, "that's a pretty poor breakfast!"
"It is the best I can give you," said his wife coldly.
"I don't care for tea. I'd as soon drink slops."
"What do you prefer?"
"I prefer coffee."
"I have none in the house. If you will bring me home some from the store, I will make you a cup every morning, but I don't think you would like it without milk."
"Do you think I am made of money? How do you expect me to buy coffee?"
"With the money you would otherwise spend for drink."
"Stop that, will you?" said Trafton angrily. "I'm tired of it."
A moment later he said in a milder tone:
"When I get that money of Robert's I will buy a pound of coffee."
Mrs. Trafton said nothing.
"Do you know where he has hidden it?" asked her husband after drinking a cup of the tea which he had so decried.
"Didn't he tell you where he was going to put it?"
"You are sure he didn't give it to you to keep?"
"I am very glad he didn't."
"Why are you glad?"
"Because you would have teased me till you got it."
"And I'll have it yet, Mrs. Trafton--do you hear that?" said the fisherman fiercely.
"Yes, I hear you."
"You may as well make up your mind that I am in earnest. What! am I to be defied by a weak woman and a half-grown boy? You don't know me, Mrs.
"I do know you only too well, Mr. Trafton. It was an unlucky day when I married you."
"Humph! There may be two sides to that story. Well, I'm going."
"Where are you going? Shall you go out in the boat this morning?"
"Oh, you expect me to spend all my time working for my support, do you?
No, I am not going out in the boat. I am going to the village."
"To the tavern, I suppose?"
"And suppose I am going to the tavern," repeated the fisherman in a defiant tone, "have you got anything to say against it?"
"I have a great deal to say, but it won't do any good."
"That's where you are right."
John Trafton left the cabin, but he did not immediately take the road to the village.
First of all he thought he would look round a little and see if he could not discover the hiding place of the little sum which his nephew had concealed.
He walked about the cabin in various directions, examining carefully to see if anywhere the ground had been disturbed.
In one or two places he thought he detected signs of disturbance, and, bending over, scooped up the loose dirt, but, fortunately for our hero, he was on a false scent and discovered nothing.
He was not a very patient man, and the fresh disappointment--for his hopes had been raised in each case--made him still more angry.
"The young rascal!" he muttered. "He deserves to be flogged for giving me so much trouble."
From the window of the cabin Mrs. Trafton saw what her husband was about and she was very much afraid he would succeed. She could not help--painful as it was--regarding with contempt a man who would stoop to such pitiful means to obtain money to gratify his diseased appetite.
"If I thought my wife knew where this money is I'd have it out of her,"
muttered the fisherman with a dark look at the cabin, "but likely the boy didn't tell her. I'll have to have some dealings with him shortly.
He shall learn that he cannot defy me."
John Trafton, giving up the search, took his way to the village, and, as a matter of course, started directly for the tavern.
He entered the barroom and called for a drink.
Mr. Jones did not show his usual alacrity in waiting upon him.