Robert Coverdale's Struggle Part 56

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"What makes you look so sober, Robert?" asked Mr. Huet, observing that the boy looked grave.

"I have heard that Mr. Jones will foreclose his mortgage to-morrow."

"Not if you pay it," said Mr. Huet quietly. "Come with me after supper, and I will hand you all the money you require."

Robert was about to express his gratitude, but Mr. Huet stopped him.

"You owe me no thanks," he said. "It is only the first installment of a great debt which I can never wholly repay."



CHAPTER XXXIII

THE LANDLORD'S DEFEAT

About ten o'clock the next morning Mr. Nahum Jones approached the Trafton cottage.

Sitting on a bench outside was Robert Coverdale, whittling. He had put on his old clothes, intending it to be for the last time. He wanted to surprise Mr. Jones.

"There's Bob Coverdale," said Mr. Jones to himself. "He don't look much as if he was able to pay the mortgage. I guess I've got the place fast enough."

"Is your aunt at home, young man?" he asked pompously.

"Yes," answered Robert, continuing to whittle.

"You might say 'yes, sir.'"

"All right. I'll remember next time."

"You'd better. Tell your aunt I want to see her--on business,"

emphasizing the last two words.

"Come right in, sir."

Mr. Jones, with a patronizing air, entered the house of which he already considered himself the proprietor.

Mrs. Trafton was engaged in making a pudding, for she had two boarders now, Julian and his father, who were to take their meals in the fisherman's cottage till they got ready to leave Cook's Harbor.

"Good mornin', ma'am," said Mr. Jones.

"Good morning. Will you take a seat?" she said quietly.

"I can't stay long, Mrs. Trafton. I called on a little matter of business."

"Very well, sir."

"I suppose you understand what it is?"

"Perhaps I do, but you had better explain."

"I have made up my mind to foreclose the mortgage I hold on this place, and I should like to have you move out within three days, as I am going to let it."

"Indeed! To whom do you intend to let it?"

"To Frank Shelton. He's goin' to be married, and this house will suit him."

"And what am I to do, Mr. Jones? You surely do not mean to deprive Robert and me of our home?"

"It isn't yours any longer, or won't be. Of course, you can't expect to stay here. I haven't forgotten how you talked to me when I was here before nor how impudent your boy was."

"Meaning me?" asked Robert with a grave face.

"Of course I mean you!" said Mr. Jones sharply.

"I haven't said anything impudent to you to-day, have I?"

"No, but you'd ought to have thought of that before. It's too late now!"

"You won't turn us out on the street, will you, Mr. Jones?"

"Haven't I given you three days to stay? If you want my advice, I should say that you'd find a good, comfortable home in the poorhouse. Your boy there might be bound out to a farmer."

"I don't know any farmer that wants a boy," said Robert meekly.

"I'd take you myself," said Nahum Jones, "if you wasn't so impudent. I'm afraid you're a little too airy for me."

"Wouldn't you let the house to me, Mr. Jones?" asked the widow. "It's worth a good deal more than the face of the mortgage."

"You couldn't get a dollar more, in my opinion," said the landlord. "As to takin' you for a tenant, I haven't any assurance that you could pay the rent."

"What rent do you want for it, Mr. Jones?"

"Five dollars a month."

"Five dollars a month, when you say it's only worth two hundred dollars!"

"I'm goin' to fix it up a little," said Mr. Jones, rather nonplussed.

"I think, Mr. Jones, we won't move," said Robert.

"Won't move?" ejaculated the landlord, getting red in the face. "You've got to move."

"Who says so?"

"I say so, you young whelp!"

"No hard names, if you please, Mr. Jones. The fact is, my aunt doesn't fancy going to the poorhouse. To be sure, if she could have your society there it might make a difference."

Robert Coverdale's Struggle Part 56

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Robert Coverdale's Struggle Part 56 summary

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