I made no reference to something that happened directly afterward, for I scouted the idea that any of our boys could be involved. Yet, as some of you may know, the farmer intimated that the fire might have been set by some of the Elmwood Hall students." There were several hisses, but Doctor Meredith raised a quick hand for silence. "That will do," he said calmly.
That same evening the engagement ring glittered upon Flora's finger; and six months later, amid a small company of friends, they uttered their marriage vows in the old church at Elmwood; and by many they were called with truth a beautiful and noble looking couple; and immediately after their marriage they set out for their new home in one of the large cities of the Western Provinces, where Charley was to begin the practice of his profession.
"Sure!" cried George Abbot, getting a bit excited. "Let the whole school know what they did to you, and I guess that will end things for them at Elmwood Hall." "It seems to be the only way," agreed Tom. "Of course I'm out of it, in a way, for they didn't keep me locked up In the old mill, with nothing but bread and water. But they did Bert and Jack, and that's the same thing.
Of course Sam Heller was against our hero, but that was to be expected, and many sided with Sam. "Fairfield ought to be run out of Elmwood Hall!" exclaimed the bully. "That's what!" added his crony. "And if he doesn't withdraw soon we'll run him out." "Will you?" cried Sam. "I'm with you. How can we do it?" and the two went off by themselves to plot.
"Now, boys, all together, give 'em the 'Chase Down the Field! song!" "Over this way, Elmwood. We'll run through the signals again!" "Over here, Holwell, for some snappy work!" These were only a few of the many things heard on the Elmwood gridiron the Saturday of one of the big games.
They remained until it was almost time for school to begin, and then returned to their several homes. And now, once more, they were together in Elmwood Hall, and, most unexpectedly, had come the news of the return of the two bullies, Sam and Nick.
I never knew a father's protecting care and watchful love; for he died when I was but little more than three years old; and my sister Flora a babe in our mother's arms. No prettier village could at that time have been found in Eastern Canada than Elmwood, and this village was our home. Its location was romantic and picturesque.
Then for some fun to-night, if Jack and Bert show up." The others were willing, and soon, in company with some other Elmwood Hall students whom they met, the boys went to the place of the moving pictures. "Well, it's almost time for the choo-choo cars to sand-paper in," remarked Tom a little later, looking at his watch as he and Morse paced the depot platform.
I had spent a happy month in the cool shady village of Elmwood, and returned to my labors with body and mind both strengthened and refreshed. About the middle of October, Robert Dalton was taken ill. His disease seemed a kind of low fever, and in a short time he was completely prostrated.
The farms were very small, mostly held by men who did all the work themselves with the help of their families. Such a farm belonged to John Kenton of Elmwood.