for the purposes of scouring and keeping open the harbour
The dead man found in Farmer Holly's barn created a decided stir in the village of Hinsdale. The case was a peculiar one for many reasons. First, because of the boy--Hinsdale supposed it knew boys, but it felt inclined to change its mind after seeing this one. Second, because of the circumstances. The boy and his father had entered the town like tramps, yet Higgins, who talked freely of his having given the pair a "lift" on that very evening, did not hesitate to declare that he did not believe them to be ordinary tramps at all.
As there had been little found in the dead man's pockets, save the two notes, and as nobody could be found who wanted the violins, there seemed to be nothing to do but to turn the body over to the town for burial. Nothing was said of this to David; indeed, as little as possible was said to David about anything after that morning when Higgins had given him his father's letter. At that time the men had made one more effort to "get track of SOMETHING," as Higgins had despairingly put it. But the boy's answers to their questions were anything but satisfying, anything but helpful, and were often most disconcerting. The boy was, in fact, regarded by most of the men, after that morning, as being "a little off"; and was hence let severely alone.
Who the man was the town authorities certainly did not know, neither could they apparently find out. His name, as written by himself, was unreadable. His notes told nothing; his son could tell little more--of consequence. A report, to be sure, did come from the village, far up the mountain, that such a man and boy had lived in a hut that was almost inaccessible; but even this did not help solve the mystery.
David was left at the Holly farmhouse, though Simeon Holly mentally declared that he should lose no time in looking about for some one to take the boy away.
On that first day Higgins, picking up the reins preparatory to driving from the yard, had said, with a nod of his head toward David:-- "Well, how about it, Holly? Shall we leave him here till we find somebody that wants him?"
"Why, y--yes, I suppose so," hesitated Simeon Holly, with uncordial accent.
But his wife, hovering in the background, hastened forward at once.
"Oh, yes; yes, indeed," she urged. "I'm sure he--he won't be a mite of trouble, Simeon."
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