Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Guy Harris, the Runaway
Author: Castlemon, Harry
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Guy Harris, the Runaway" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



     [Illustration: “For once that day, Guy was supremely happy.”]



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              GUY HARRIS,

                              THE RUNAWAY.


                          BY HARRY CASTLEMON,


                              _Author of_


 “Julian Mortimer,” “The Boy Trapper,” “Sportsman’s Club Series,” “The
                      Gunboat Series,” etc., etc.


                              ILLUSTRATED.

                    [Illustration: Publisher’s Logo]

                               NEW YORK:
                         A. L. BURT, PUBLISHER.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         ---------------------

                    COPYRIGHTED 1887, BY A. L. BURT.

                         ---------------------



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              GUY HARRIS,

                              THE RUNAWAY.

                             --------------



                               CHAPTER I.

                      THE AFFAIR OF THE MATCH-BOX.


“WELL, Guy Harris, I have only one word to say to you. If you think you
can play off on me in this way, you are very much mistaken. I will post
you among the fellows as a boy who is too mean to pay his honest debts.”

“I don’t care if you do, George Wolcom. I’ll tell the fellows in return
that I have no debts hanging over me, and that you are a boy who doesn’t
do as he agrees. I wanted a cross-gun; I tried to make one and failed.
You said you knew how to handle carpenters’ tools and would make me one.
I described to you just what I wanted, and you told me that you could
fill the bill, and that the gun, when completed, would be worth half a
dollar. What sort of a thing have you given me? Look at this,” continued
the speaker, holding out at arm’s length a piece of wood which might
have been taken for a cross-gun, although it looked about as much like a
ball-club; “I can make a better one myself.”

“Then you don’t intend to pay me?”

“Of course I do, when you bring me such a gun as I told you I wanted.”

“But you won’t pay me for the one I have already made for you?”

“No, sir, I won’t.”

“Very well; but bear in mind that I am a boy who never let’s one do him
a mean trick without paying him back in his own coin. I’ll be even with
you for swindling me.”

“Oh, Guy! I say. Guy Harris, hold on a minute.”

The two boys, between whom the conversation above recorded took place,
stopped when they heard these words, and looking across the street saw
Tom Proctor running toward them. One arm was buried to the elbow in his
pocket, and under the other he carried a beautiful snow-white dove,
which was fluttering its wings and trying to escape from his grasp.

“See here, Guy!” exclaimed Tom as he came up, “I have just been over to
your house, where I found my pigeon, which I lost about a week ago. Your
mother said it came to your barn, and that you shut it up to keep it for
me. Now that was a neighborly act, and I want to repay it. Here’s that
box you have so often tried to buy from me.”

As Tom said this he pulled his hand out of his pocket and gave Guy the
article in question, which proved to be a brass match-box. It was not a
very valuable thing, but it had a revolving top secured by a curiously
contrived spring, was stamped all over with figures of wild ducks, deer
and rabbits, and was altogether different from anything of the kind that
Guy had ever seen before.

For some reason or other he had long shown a desire to obtain possession
of this box, but the owner could not be induced to part with it.

Before he could express his thanks for the gift Tom was half-way across
the street on his way home.

“This is just the thing I wanted,” said Guy joyfully, as he and George
Wolcom resumed their walk. “I shall think of Tom every time I look at
this box when I am out on the prairie.”

“When you are out on the prairie?” echoed George. “What do you mean by
that?”

“Oh, it is my secret. You may know it some day, but not now. What do you
suppose is the reason why I want a cross-gun?”

“Why, to kill birds with.”

“No, sir; I want to practice shooting at a mark. I shall have use for a
rifle every hour in the day before I am many months older.”

“You will? Where are you going?”

“You needn’t ask questions, for I sha’n’t answer them,” said Guy,
shutting the box with a click, and making a motion to put it into his
pocket.

“Wait a second,” exclaimed George suddenly. “I know why Tom Proctor was
generous enough to give you that box. It will be of no use to you for
the spring is broken.”

“It isn’t either,” replied Guy.

“Yes it is; I saw it. Hand it out here and I will show you.”

Without hesitation Guy passed the box over to his companion, who, after
opening and shutting it a few times, and making a pretense of examining
the spring, coolly put it into his own pocket. Guy looked at him in
great surprise, but George walked on without noticing him.

“Now that’s the biggest piece of impudence I ever witnessed,” said Guy
at length. “I’d like to know what you mean by it.”

“Didn’t I tell you that I always get even with a fellow who does me a
mean trick?” asked George, in reply. “I’ll keep this box as part payment
for the cross-gun I made you.”

“Do you call this thing a cross-gun?” demanded Guy, once more holding up
the stick he carried in his hand; “I don’t, and I sha’n’t pay you a cent
for it either. Give me that box.”

“Give me that half-dollar you owe me.”

“I don’t owe you any half-dollar. Here, take your old cross-gun and give
me my box.”

“It isn’t my gun—it is yours; and you can’t have your box till I get my
just dues. You may depend upon that.”

A long and spirited debate followed this reply, and would most likely
have ended in blows had the two boys been of equal age and size, for Guy
was a spirited fellow, and always ready to stand up for his rights.

George was an overgrown lout of a boy, and plumed himself on being the
bully of his school. Guy knew better than to attempt to take the box
from him by force, so he followed along after him, talking all the
while, and trying to convince him that he was in the wrong, and that he
showed anything but a manly spirit in taking so unfair an advantage of a
boy so much smaller than himself.

But George, being pig-headed and vindictive, could not be made to look
at the matter in that light. He kept tantalizing his companion by
turning the box in his hand, praising the beauty of the figures stamped
upon it, and asking Guy now and then if he had anything else he could
keep his matches in when he reached the prairie.

Presently the two boys arrived in front of the house in which Guy
lived—a neat little edifice, with a graveled carriage-way leading upon
one side, and trees and shrubbery growing all around it. Guy halted at
the gate, and George, believing that if his companion would not pay him
for his cross-gun he might be willing to give half a dollar to get
possession of the match-box again, stopped also to argue the matter.

While the discussion of the points Guy had raised was going on, the gate
leading into the next yard was opened, and a bright, lively-looking
fellow, Henry Stewart by name, and one of Guy’s particular friends, came
out. He greeted Guy pleasantly, and was about to pass on, when he
noticed the look of trouble on his face, and stopped to inquire the
reason for it. The matter was explained in few words, and Henry turned
and gave the bully a good looking over. Being a great lover of justice,
he was indignant at the treatment his crony had received.

“Well,” said George, returning Henry’s gaze with interest; “you have
nothing to do with this business, and if you are wise you will keep out
of it.”

“I want that box!” said Henry firmly.

“If you get it before I am ready to give it to you,” returned George,
“just send me word, will you?”

Before this defiance had fairly left his lips the bully was rolling over
and over in the gutter, which was in a very moist condition, owing to
the heavy rain that had fallen during the previous night, while his
antagonist stood erect on the sidewalk, flushed and excited, but without
even a wrinkle in his clean, white wristbands, or a spot of mud on his
well-blacked boots. In falling, George dropped the match-box, which
Henry caught up and put into his pocket.

This proceeding was witnessed by two women—Henry’s mother and Guy’s
step-mother. The latter made no move, but treasured up the scene in her
memory to be repeated in a greatly exaggerated form to Mr. Harris when
he came home to dinner, while Henry’s mother hurried down the stairs and
out to the gate. She called to her son, who promptly answered the
summons, and in reply to her anxious inquiries repeated the story of
Guy’s troubles.

I do not know what his mother said to him, but I am sure it could not
have been anything very harsh, for a moment afterward Henry came gayly
down the walk, winked at Guy as he passed, and looked pleasantly toward
the discomfited bully, who, having picked himself up from the gutter,
was making the best of his way to the other side of the street, holding
one hand to his head and the other to his back, both of which had been
pretty badly bruised by the hard fall he had received.

“Now, that Hank Stewart is the right sort!” thought Guy, gazing
admiringly after the erect, slender figure of his friend as it moved
rapidly down the street. “If it hadn’t been for him I should never have
seen this box again. I shouldn’t like to lose it, for I shall have use
for matches after I become a hunter and trapper, and I shall need
something to carry them in. This box is just the thing. If I wasn’t
afraid Hank would refuse, I would ask him to go with me, I must have a
companion, for of course I don’t want to go riding about over those
prairies on my wild mustang all by myself while there are so many
hostile Indians about, and Hank is the fellow I’d like to have with me.
He knows everything about animals and the woods; he’s the best fisherman
in Norwall; he never misses a double shot at ducks or quails; and I
never saw a boy that could row or sail a boat with him. Why, it wouldn’t
be long before he would be the best hunter and trapper that ever tracked
the prairie. I’ll think about it, and perhaps I shall make up my mind to
ask him to go with me instead of Bob Walker.”

Thus soliloquizing Guy made his way through the yard to the
carriage-house and mounted the stairs leading to the rooms above. There
were three of them. The first and largest served in summer as a place of
storage for Mr. Harris’ sleighs and buffalo-robes, and in winter for his
buggy and family carriage. The second was the room in which the coachman
slept, and the third Guy had appropriated to his own use.

Here he had collected a lot of trumpery of all sorts, which he called
his “curiosities,” and of which he took the greatest possible care. The
members of the family, and those of his young friends who had seen the
inside of this room, thought that Guy had shown strange taste in making
his selections, for there was not an article in it that was worth saving
as a curiosity, and but few that could under any circumstances be of the
least use to him.

On a nail opposite the door hung a rubber blanket with a hole in the
center, so that it could be worn over one’s shoulders like a cloak; from
another was suspended a huge powder-horn; and on a third hung a rusty
carving-knife, which one of Guy’s companions had sold to him with the
assurance that it was a hunting-knife. Then there was a portion of an
old harpoon which Guy said was a spear-head, a pair of well-worn
top-boots, an old horse-blanket and a clothes-line with an iron ring
fastened to one end of it. This last Guy called a lasso. He spent many
an hour in practicing with it, whirling it around his head and trying to
throw the running noose over a stake he had planted in the yard.

One corner of the room was occupied by a pile of old iron, to which
horseshoes, broken frying-pans and articles of like description were
added from time to time. Whenever this pile attained a certain size it
would always disappear, no one seemed to know how or when, and Guy would
go about for a day or two jingling some coppers in his pocket. When he
had handled them and feasted his eyes on them to his satisfaction, he
would stow them in an old buckskin purse which he kept in his trunk.

In another corner of the room was a large bag, into which Guy put
everything in the shape of rags that he could pick up about the house.
When filled it was emptied somehow, and Guy had a few more coppers to be
put away in his purse. It was well for our hero that his father and
mother did not know what he intended to do with the money he earned in
this way.

“Nobody except me sees any sense in all this,” said Guy, as he closed
the door behind him, and gazed about the room with a smile of
satisfaction. “There isn’t a thing here that will not be of use to me by
and by. That rubber blanket will keep me dry when it rains. That
powder-horn I shall have filled at St. Joseph or Independence, and, as a
rifle requires but little ammunition, it will hold enough to last me
during a year’s hunting. That knife will answer my purpose as well as
one worth two dollars and a half, for I can sharpen it, and make a
sheath for it out of the skin of the first buffalo or antelope I kill. I
must sell my iron again before long. How the fellows laugh at me because
I am all the while looking out for old horseshoes and such things! But I
don’t care. I’ve made many a dime by it, and dimes make dollars. I never
neglect a chance to turn a penny, but I haven’t yet saved a quarter of
what I need. I found half a dollar the other day by keeping my eyes
turned down as I walked along the street, and that was a big lift, I
tell you.”

As Guy said this he opened a small tool-chest that stood beside the pile
of old iron. In this were stowed away a variety of articles he had
picked up at odd times and in different places, and which he thought he
might find useful when he reached the prairie.

There was a small bundle of wax-ends, such as shoemakers use. These
would come handy when he needed a pair of good leggings, or when his
moccasins, saddle, or bridle, got out of repair. There were several iron
and bone rings he could use in making lassos or martingales for his
horse; three or four pounds of lead for his bullets, and a ladle to melt
it in; half a dozen jackknives, some whole and sound, others broken
beyond all hope of repair; a multitude of lines, fish-hooks, sinkers and
bobbers, which he intended to use on the mountain streams and lakes of
which he had read so much; a few steel-traps, all bent and worthless,
and also several “figure fours” which he had made so as to have them
ready for use when he reached his hunting-grounds. In this receptacle
Guy placed his match-box, congratulating himself on having secured
another valuable addition to his outfit. This done, he bent his steps
toward his house.

When he entered the dining-room he found his father and mother seated at
the table, and he knew by the expression on their faces, as well as by
the words that fell upon his ear, that there was a storm brewing. His
mother had been relating the particulars of the encounter between Henry
Stewart and George Wolcom, and repeating the discussion between Guy and
the bully that led to it, all of which she had seen and overheard from
her chamber window, and our hero came in just in time to hear her
declare:

“I never in my life saw boys behave so disgracefully. Mrs. Stewart ran
out of the house and tried to put a stop to the disturbance, but they
paid not the least attention to her.”

“Guy,” said Mrs. Harris, “where is that article, whatever it is, that
has been the cause of all this trouble?”

“I have put it away,” was the reply.

“Go and get it immediately.”

Guy retraced his steps to the carriage-house, and taking out the
match-box, carried it to his father, who looked at it contemptuously.

“This is a pretty thing to raise a fight about, isn’t it?” he exclaimed.
“Take it and throw it away.”

“But, father,” began Guy.

“Do you hear me?” demanded Mr. Harris fiercely. “Throw it away.”

Guy knew better than to hesitate longer. Mr. Harris was a stern man, and
in his efforts to “bring his boy up properly,” sometimes acted more like
a tyrant than a father.

Taking the box, Guy walked out of the door and disappeared behind the
carriage-house.

“I will throw it away,” said he to himself, “but I’ll be careful to
throw it where I can find it again. I never heard of such injustice. I
wasn’t in any way to blame for the trouble, for I didn’t ask Hank to
pitch into George Wolcom and get my box for me; and neither did Mrs.
Stewart run out and try to put a stop to the fight. It was all over
before she showed herself. But that’s just the way with all
step-mothers, I have heard, and I know it is so with mine. She runs to
father with every little thing I do, and seems to delight in having me
hauled over the coals. It isn’t so with Ned. He can do as he pleases,
but I must walk straight, or suffer for it. I sha’n’t stand it much
longer, and that’s all about it. Stay there till I want you again.”

Guy threw the box into a cluster of currant bushes at the back of the
garden, and after noting the spot where it fell, went slowly back to the
dining-room and sat down to his dinner.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER II.

                     SOME SCRAPS OF GUY’S HISTORY.


I MUST say before I go further, that Guy Harris is not an imaginary
character. He has an existence as surely as you have, boy reader. He is
to-day an active professional man, and he has consented to have the
story of his boyhood written in the hope that it may serve as a warning,
should it chance to fall into the hands of any discontented young fellow
who is tempted to do as he did.

Guy lived in the city of Norwall—that name will do as well as any
other—on the shore of one of the great lakes. When he was a few months
old his mother died, and a year afterward his father married again. Of
course Guy was too young to remember his lost parent, and until he was
fourteen years old he knew nothing of this little episode in the family
history. Mr. and Mrs. Harris never enlightened him, because they feared
that something unpleasant might result from it. Having often heard the
boy express his opinion of step-mothers in the most emphatic language,
and declare that he would not live a day under his father’s roof with a
stranger to rule over him, they thought it best to allow him to remain
in ignorance of the real facts of the case. And Guy never suspected
anything. It is true that he was sometimes sadly puzzled to know how it
happened that he had three grandfathers, while all the boys of his
acquaintance had only two; but when he spoke of it to his mother, she
always had the headache too badly to talk about that or anything else.

Guy often told himself that his mother was not like other boys’ mothers.
He cherished an unbounded affection for her, and stood ready to show it
by every means in his power; but there was something about her that kept
him at a distance. There was not that familiarity between him and his
mother that he saw between other boys and their mothers. There was a
coolness in her demeanor toward him that she did not even exhibit toward
strangers. There was a wonderful difference, too, in her treatment of
him and his half-brother, Ned, who was at this time about nine years of
age. Ned came and went as he pleased. The front gate was no barrier to
him, and he always had a dime or two in his pocket to spend for peanuts
and chocolate creams. If he wanted to go over to a neighbor’s for an
hour’s visit, or wished to spend an afternoon skating on the pond, he
applied to his mother, who seldom refused him permission. If Guy desired
the same privilege, he was told to consult with his father, who
generally said: “No, sir; you’ll meet with bad company there;” or,
“You’ll break through and be drowned;” or, if he granted the request, he
would do it after so much hesitation, and with so great reluctance that
it made an unpleasant impression on Guy’s mind, and marred his day’s
sport.

At last a few scraps of the family history, which his parents had been
so careful to keep from him, came to Guy’s knowledge. Through one of the
neighborhood gossips he learned, to his intense amazement, that Mr.
Harris had been twice married; that his first wife had lain for almost
fourteen years in her grave in a distant State; and that the woman who
sat at the head of the table, who so closely watched all his movements
during his father’s absence, and whom he called mother, was not his
mother after all. Then a good many things which hitherto he had not been
able to understand became perfectly clear to him. He knew now where his
three grandfathers came from, and could easily account for the
partiality shown his half-brother, Ned. But he wanted proof, and to
obtain it laid the matter before his Aunt Lucy, who, after telling him
how sorry she was that he had found it out, reluctantly confirmed the
story.

Guy felt as if he were utterly alone in the world after this; but when
he had thought about it a while, he took a sensible view of the case. He
loved his father’s wife, and he did not allow the facts with which he
had just been made acquainted to make any change in his feelings or
demeanor toward her. Indeed, he was more attentive to her than before;
he tried to anticipate and gratify her desires as far as lay in his
power, and in every way did his best to please her; but the result was
most discouraging. With all his efforts he could not win one approving
word or smile. His mother was colder and more distant than ever, and
from that time Guy’s home was somehow made very uncomfortable for him.

Mr. and Mrs. Harris were good people, as the world goes. They were
prominent members of the church, and held high positions in society.
Abroad they were as agreeable and pleasant as people could be, but the
atmosphere of home grew dark the moment they crossed the threshold. Mr.
Harris, especially, was a perfect thunder-cloud; his very presence had a
depressing effect upon the family circle. When he came home from his
place of business at night, he generally had something to say in the way
of greeting to his wife and Ned, but Guy was seldom noticed, unless he
had been doing something wrong, and then more words were devoted to him
than he cared to listen to.

When supper was over, Mr. Harris sat down to his paper, and until ten
o’clock never looked up or spoke. His wife sewed, read novels, or played
backgammon with Ned, and Guy was left to himself. His father never
talked to him about his sports and pastimes, his boyish trials,
disappointments, hopes and aspirations, as other fathers talk to their
sons. He never allowed him to go outside the gate—except upon very rare
occasions—unless he was going to school or was sent on an errand. He
never gave him a cent to spend for himself, except on Christmas, when,
in addition to making him numerous presents (which Guy was so repeatedly
and emphatically enjoined to take care of that he almost hated them as
well as the giver), he opened his heart and presented him with a quarter
of a dollar. He wasn’t going to ruin his boy by giving him money, he
said.

Up to the time that he was fourteen years old Guy had the making of a
man in him. He was smart, honest, truthful, generous to a fault, and
attentive to his books, it being his father’s desire, as well as his
own, that he should enter college. I wish I could take him through my
story with all these good traits about him; but candor compels me to say
that at the time he was presented to the reader he was a different sort
of boy altogether. In the neighborhood in which he lived he bore an
excellent reputation. People called him a good boy, referred to the fact
that he was never seen prowling about the streets after dark, and spoke
of the promptness with which he obeyed the commands of his parents. But
the truth was that at heart Guy was no better than any other boy. He
stayed at home of evenings, not because it was a pleasant place and he
loved to be there, but for the reason that he was not allowed to go out;
and he obeyed his parents’ orders the moment they were issued, because
he knew that he would be whipped if he did not. All his generous
impulses had been crushed out of him by the stern policy pursued by his
father, who believed in ruling by the rod, instead of by love. From
being a frank, honorable boy, above doing a mean action and abhorring a
lie, Guy became sneaking and sly—so sly that it was almost an
impossibility to fasten the guilt of any wrong-doing upon him. He
learned to despise his home, with its thunder-clouds and incessant
reprimands and fault-findings, and longed to get off by himself
somewhere—anywhere, so that he could enjoy a few minutes’ peace. He had
hit upon a plan to rid himself of his troubles, and now we will tell
what it was, and how it resulted.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER III.

                        GUY’S HOME AND HENRY’S.


AS CAN well be imagined, Guy felt very sore after the affair of the
match-box. His whole soul rebelled against the petty tyranny and
injustice of his father, and while he was at school that afternoon his
mind dwelt so much upon it that he stood “zero” in every one of his
lessons, and failed so miserably in his philosophy that he narrowly
escaped the disgrace—and it was considered a lasting disgrace by the
boys belonging to the Brown Grammar School—of being kept after hours to
commit his task.

When four o’clock came Guy drew a long breath of relief, and chucked his
books under his desk so spitefully that he made a great deal of racket,
which caused the teacher to look sharply in his direction. Guy, knowing
that he was suspected, turned and stared at Tom Proctor, who sat next
behind him, as if to say, “_There_ is the guilty one,” and Tom gave the
accusation a flat denial by turning about and looking at the youth who
sat next behind _him_. This is a way that some school-boys have of doing
business, as you know. In a case like this a scholar can “carry tales”
and accuse a school-mate of breaking the rules without saying a word.

When school was dismissed Guy was the first one out of the gate. Some of
the Delta Club were going over to their grounds to engage in a practice
game of ball, and as Guy belonged to the first nine, of course he was
expected to accompany them; but he, knowing that he must first go home
and ask permission of his mother, which would most likely be refused,
replied that he had something else to do, and hurried off as fast as his
legs could carry him. Arriving at his father’s gate, he slackened his
pace and walked leisurely through the yard into the garden. He went
straight to the currant bush, behind which he had thrown his match-box,
and finding his treasure safe, put it into his pocket and returned to
the carriage-house. When he thought he could do so without being seen by
any one, he bounded up the stairs, entered his curiosity shop, and
noiselessly closing the door, locked himself in.

“Now then,” he exclaimed with a triumphant air, “if mother and Ned will
only let me alone for about an hour, I can enjoy myself. I haven’t seen
a minute’s peace since twelve o’clock. Father thought he was very sharp
when he ordered me to throw this box away,” he added, as he opened the
small tool-chest and deposited his recovered property therein, “but I am
a little sharper than he is. Whew! wouldn’t I get my jacket dusted
though, if he knew what I have done?”

As Guy said this, he unlocked a small compartment in the tool-chest and
took out a book bound in brown and gold, and bearing the title, “The Boy
Trappers of the Platte.” Closing the chest, and seating himself upon it,
he opened the book, and for two hours reveled in bear fights, adventures
with the Indians, and hunting and trapping scenes without number. For
once that day he was supremely happy. He forgot all his troubles, and
lived only among the imaginary characters and amid the imaginary scenes
presented to him on the printed page. Two or three times while he was
thus engaged, Ned came up, tried the door, and called to him; but Guy
only stopped long enough to flourish his fist in the air with a
significant gesture, as if he would have been glad of a chance to use it
on Ned’s head, and then went on with his reading, until the creaking of
the gate, and the sound of wheels on the carriage-way, told him that his
father had arrived.

“Dear me, how provoking!” exclaimed Guy, jumping quickly to his feet and
putting the book away in the tool-chest, “Just as I get to the most
interesting part of a chapter, I must be interrupted. I wish father had
stayed away ten minutes longer; or, better than that, I wish he was like
other fathers, and would let me take this book into the house and read
it openly and aboveboard, as I should like to do. He is so opposed to
works of fiction that I wonder he lets Ned read Robinson Crusoe. He
talks of going to the White Mountains this summer, and taking mother and
Ned with him, and leaving me at home to punish me for going in swimming
the other day. Don’t I hope he will do it, though? It wouldn’t be
punishment at all, if he only knew it. I’d have more fun than I have
seen for ten years. I’d read every book in Henry Stewart’s library.”

Having closed and locked the tool-chest, Guy went cautiously to the
window, and when he saw his father get out of his buggy and enter the
house, he slipped quietly out of the room and down the stairs. He passed
an uncomfortable quarter of an hour before the supper-bell rang,
strolling about the yard with his hands in his pockets, and scarcely
knowing what to do with himself. It seemed so hard to come back to earth
again after living for two hours among the exciting scenes which his
favorite author had created for his amusement.

Supper over, there was another hour to be passed in some way before the
gas was lighted. His father talked politics with the next-door neighbor;
Ned played graces with his mother; and wide-awake, restless Guy was as
usual left to himself. No one took the least notice of him. He must have
something to do—it wasn’t in him to remain long inactive—and as there
was a strong breeze blowing, he thought he would raise his kite. He
could not go into the street for that purpose, so he climbed to the top
of the barn; but his father quickly discovered him, and ordered him
down.

Then he tried it in the garden, but the trees were thick, and the kite’s
tail was always in the way. It caught in a cherry tree, and as Guy was
about to mount among the branches to disengage it, his father again
interfered. He wasn’t going to have his fine ox-hearts broken down for
the sake of all the kites in the world.

[Illustration: “For once that day, Guy was supremely happy.”]

By the aid of the step-ladder Guy finally released the kite, and made
one more attempt to raise it, this time by running along the
carriage-way; but by an unlucky step he left the point of his boot on
one of the flower-beds, and that set his mother’s tongue in motion. His
father heard it, and turned sharply upon him.

“Guy,” said he, “what in the world is the matter with you to-night? Put
that kite away, and go into the house.”

Guy’s under lip dropped down, and with mutterings not loud, but deep, he
prepared to obey.

His father’s quick eye noticed the drooping lip, and his quick ear
caught the muttering.

“Come here, sir,” said he angrily.

Guy approached, and his father, seizing his arm with a grip that brought
tears to his eyes, shook him until every tooth in his head rattled.

“What do you mean by going into the sulks when I tell you to do
anything?” he demanded. “Straighten out that face! Now, then,” he added
after a moment’s pause, during which Guy choked back his tears and
assumed as pleasant an expression as could be expected of a boy whose
arm was being squeezed by a strong man until it was black and blue, “go
into the house and stay there.”

The father could compel obedience, but his son was too much like himself
to be easily conquered. He could control his actions as long as he was
in sight, but he could not control his thoughts. Guy’s heart was filled
with hate.

“This is a fair sample of the manner in which I am treated every day of
my life,” he muttered under his breath as he stowed his kite away in its
accustomed place. “They’ll think of it and be sorry some day, for if I
once get away from here I’ll never come back. I never want to see any of
them again. I can’t please them, and there is no use trying. Nobody
cares for me, and the sooner I am out of the way the better.”

When Guy entered the sitting-room he found his mother there reading a
highly-seasoned novel by a popular sensational writer, and Ned deeply
interested in “Robinson Crusoe.” The piano was open and Guy walked to it
and sat down. There was a piece of music upon it, entitled “’Tis Home
Where’er the Heart Is.” As Guy ran his fingers over the keys he thought
of all that had happened that day, and told himself that if those words
were true his home was a long way from Norwall.

“That will do, Guy,” said his mother suddenly. “My head aches, and it is
not necessary that you should practice now.”

Guy began to get desperate. He couldn’t sit around all the evening and
do nothing—no healthy boy could. He went to the library, and knowing
that he was doing something that would certainly prove the occasion of
more fault-finding, took a book from some snug corner in which he had
hidden it, and sat down to read.

In a few minutes his father came in. He picked up his paper and was
about to seat himself in his easy chair when he caught sight of Guy and
stopped. The latter did not look up, but watched his father out of the
corner of his eye.

“Guy,” said Mr. Harris sharply.

“Sir!” said the boy.

“What have you there?”

“‘Cecil,’” was the reply.

“Cecil who? Cecil what?”

“That’s the name of the book.”

“Let me see it.”

Mr. Harris took the volume and ran his eye over the pages, while a look
of contempt settled on his face. Had he taken the trouble to read the
book he would have found that it was the history of a youth who was
turned out into the world at an early age by the death of his parents;
that it described the trials and temptations that fell to his lot, and
told how he made a man of himself at last. But Mr. Harris, like many
others, condemned without knowing what he was condemning.

Three words on the title-page told him all he cared to know about the
work. It was a “Book for Boys.” All books for boys were works of
fiction, and he never intended that Guy should read a work of fiction if
he could prevent it.

“Where did you get this?” demanded Mr. Harris.

“I borrowed it of Henry Stewart. His father bought it for him last week,
and he is a member of your church, too,” answered Guy, seizing the
opportunity to put in a home-thrust.

“I don’t care if he is. I have no objection to your associating with
Henry, for he is a good boy in some respects, although it is the
greatest wonder in the world to me that he hasn’t been ruined by his
father’s ignorance beyond all hope of redemption. I am surprised at
Brother Stewart—I am really. What’s that sticking out of your pocket?”

“It is a copy of the New York _Magazine_.”

“Let me see it.”

Guy handed out the paper, and as Mr. Harris slowly unfolded it the sneer
once more settled on his face. He handled the sheet with the tips of his
fingers, as if he feared that the touch might contaminate him.

“‘Nick Whiffles!’” said he, reading the title of one of the stories.
“Who is he? Who owns him?”

“I borrowed the paper of Henry Stewart. His father has taken it for
years, and says he couldn’t do without it.”

“I don’t care what his father says. His opinions have no weight with me.
Who’s Nick Whiffles?”

“He was a famous Indian-fighter and guide.”

“Oh, he was, was he? Well, you just guide him out of this house, and
never bring him or anybody like him here again. I won’t have such trash
under my roof. Guy, it does seem as if you were determined to ruin
yourself. Don’t you know that the reading of such tales as this unfits
you for anything like work? Don’t you know that after a while nothing
but this light reading will satisfy you?”

“No, sir, I don’t,” replied Guy boldly. “Henry Stewart told me that he
didn’t care a snap for history until he had read the ‘Black Knight.’
Through that story he became interested in the manners and customs of
the people who lived during the Middle Ages, and he wanted to know more
about them. He read everything on the subject that he could get his
hands on, and Professor Johnson says he is better posted in history than
half the teachers in the public schools.”

“And all through the reading of a novel?” exclaimed Mr. Harris. “I know
better. There’s not a word of truth in it. This bosh has a very
different effect upon you at any rate. You waste all your spare time
upon it, and the consequence is, you are getting to be a worthless,
disobedient boy.”

“But, father, I must have something to read.”

“Don’t I know that; and don’t I get you a new book every Christmas?
Where’s that volume entitled ‘Thoughts on Death; or, Lectures for Young
Men,’ that I bought for you three weeks ago? You haven’t looked into it,
I’ll warrant.”

Mr. Harris was wrong there. Guy _had_ looked into it, and he had tried
to read it, but it was written in such language that he could not
understand it. At the time his father gave him this book he had
presented Ned with a box of fine water-colors—the very thing Guy had
long wished for. Why had not Mr. Harris consulted the tastes and wishes
of the elder, as well as those of the younger son?

“Return that book and paper to their owner at once, and don’t bring
anything like them into this house again,” repeated Mr. Harris.

“May I visit with Henry a little while?” asked the boy.

“Well—I—y-es. You may stay there a quarter of an hour.”

“It’s a wonder,” thought Guy, as he picked up his cap and started for
Mr. Stewart’s house. “Why didn’t he tell me that home is the place for
me after dark? That’s the reply he generally makes.”

As Guy climbed over the fence that ran between his father’s yard and Mr.
Stewart’s he heard a great noise and hubbub. He listened and found that
the sounds came from the house he was about to visit.

As he drew nearer he saw that one of the window curtains was raised, and
that he could obtain a view of all that was going on in Mr. Stewart’s
back parlor. The occupants were engaged in a game of blind-man’s buff.
Mr. Stewart, his eyes covered with a handkerchief, and his hands spread
out before him, was advancing cautiously toward one side of the room,
evidently searching for Henry, who had squeezed himself into one corner,
with a chair in front of him. The other children were probably trying to
divert their father’s attention, for two of them were clinging to his
coat-tails, while the eldest daughter would now and then go up and pull
his whiskers or pat him on the back. Mrs. Stewart sat in a remote corner
sewing and smiling pleasantly, seemingly unmindful of the deafening
racket raised by the players.

“Humph!” said Guy, “it will be of no use for me to ask Henry to go with
me. I wouldn’t go myself if I had a home like this. How would my father
look with a handkerchief over his eyes, and Ned and me hanging to his
coat-tails? And wouldn’t mother have an awful headache though, if this
was going on in her house?”

It certainly was a pleasant scene that Guy looked in upon, and he stood
at the window watching the players until he began to be ashamed of
himself. Then he mounted the steps and knocked at the door.

Mrs. Stewart admitted him, and he entered the parlor just in time to see
Henry’s father pounce upon him and hold him fast.

“Aha! I’ve caught you, sir,” said Mr. Stewart, with a laugh that did
one’s heart good, “and now we had better stop, for we are arousing the
neighbors. Here’s Guy come in to see what’s the matter.”

“No, sir,” replied the visitor, “I just came over to return a book and
paper I borrowed of Henry.”

“Why, you haven’t read them, have you?” asked his friend. “I gave them
to you only yesterday.”

“I know it; but father told me to bring them back. He won’t permit me to
read them. He says they are nothing but trash.”

Henry elevated his eyebrows and looked at his father, who in turn looked
inquiringly at Guy.

“Does your father ever read the New York _Magazine_?” asked Mr. Stewart.

“No, _sir_!” replied Guy emphatically.

“Ah! that accounts for it. If he would take the trouble to look at it,
he might change his opinion of it. A paper that numbers ministers among
its contributors, that advocates temperance and reform, and shows up the
follies of the day in its stories, can’t be a very dangerous thing to
put into the hands of the youth of the land. Here is an article by a
minister in the paper we have been reading to-night. Take it over and
show it to your father.”

“I wouldn’t dare do it, sir,” returned Guy blushing. “He told me to
guide Nick Whiffles out of the house, and never guide him in again.”

“Oh, that’s where the shoe pinches, is it? Well, _I_ think Nick very
good in his place. Indeed, I confess to a great liking for the old
fellow.”

“He’s just splendid,” said Henry.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, you know,” continued Mr.
Stewart. “After you and Henry have sat for six long hours on your hard
desk at school, a game of ball or a sail on the lake does you a world of
good. If you should live a week or two on corn bread and bacon, or pork
and beans, you would be glad to have a piece of pie or cake, wouldn’t
you? The mind requires recreation and change as much as the body, and
where can you find it if it be not in a good story by some sprightly
author? Of course the thing can be carried to excess, and so can eating.
One can read himself into an unhealthy frame of mind as easily as he can
gorge himself into dyspepsia.”

When Mr. Stewart had said this much he stopped and took up his paper. It
wasn’t for him to criticise or find fault with the rules his neighbor
had made regarding his son’s reading.

Guy, having an object to accomplish before he returned home, and knowing
that time was precious, declined the chair offered him, and after taking
leave of the family, intimated to Henry that he had something particular
to say to him. The latter accompanied him to the fence, and Guy leaned
upon it, utterly at a loss how to broach the subject uppermost in his
mind.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER IV.

                          THE READING LESSON.


GUY DID not know how to begin the conversation. He wanted to approach
the subject gradually, for he believed that some little strategy would
be necessary in order to bring Henry to his way of thinking, but somehow
the words he wanted would not come, and seeing that his friend was
getting impatient, he plunged into it blindly:

“How would you like to be a hunter and trapper?” he asked.

“I don’t know anything about trapping, but I like hunting as well as any
boy in the world,” said Henry.

“I mean how would you like to make a business of it, and spend your life
in the woods or on the prairie?”

“I don’t know, but I am going to try it a little while this fall. Father
owns some land in Michigan that he has never seen, and about the first
of September he and I are going up to take a look at it. His agent
writes that game is abundant, and I am going to buy a rifle before we
start.”

“Well, if I had a chance like that I’d never come back again. I’d stay
in the woods.”

“Oh, my father wouldn’t let me.”

“I don’t suppose he would, but you could do as I intend to do—run away.”

Henry straightened up and looked at his companion without speaking.

“Oh, I mean it,” said Guy with a decided nod of his head. “I am tired of
staying here. I am weary of this continual scolding and fault-finding,
and am going to get away where I can take a little comfort. I have
always wanted to be a hunter. I have got my plans all laid, and I want
some good fellow for a companion, for I should be lonely if I were to go
by myself. I’d rather have you than anybody else, and if you will go
we’ll take the ‘Boy Trappers’ with us. That book will tell us just what
we will have to do. It tells how to build wigwams, how to trap beaver
and otter, and catch fish through the ice; how to make moccasins,
leggings and hunting-shirts; how to catch wild horses; how to preserve
the skins of wild animals—in fact, everything we want to know we will
find there.”

“Where do you want to go?” asked Henry.

“Out to the Rocky Mountains.”

“What will you do when you get there?”

“We’ll hunt and trap during the spring and fall, and when summer comes
we’ll jump on our horses, take our furs to the trading-posts and sell
them.”

“And what will we do during the winter?”

“We’ll have a nice little cabin in some pleasant valley among the
mountains, such as the boy trapper had, and we’ll pass the time in
curing our furs and fighting the Indians. That is what they did, you
know. I tell you, Hank,” said Guy with great enthusiasm, “it wouldn’t be
long before we would become as famous as either Kit Carson or Captain
Bridges! What’s the matter with you?” he added, looking suspiciously at
his friend, who seemed on the point of strangling.

Henry, who had listened in utter amazement to what Guy had to say, could
control himself no longer. Clinging to the fence with both hands he
threw back his head and broke out into a shout of laughter that was
heard full a block away.

“I don’t see anything so funny about it,” said Guy indignantly. “I am in
earnest.”

“Oh, dear!” said Henry, after he had laughed until his jaws and sides
ached. “I know this will be the death of me. Why, Guy, what in the world
put such a ridiculous notion into your head?”

“I don’t call it a ridiculous notion. If the boy trappers could live
that way I don’t see why we couldn’t. I guess we are as smart and as
brave as they were.”

This set Henry to going again. It was some minutes before he could
speak.

“Do you believe that book is true?” he asked.

“Of course I do.”

“Why, Guy, I didn’t think you were such a dunce. The idea that three
boys, the oldest of them only seventeen years of age, could live as they
did, surrounded by savage beasts and hostile Indians, and get into such
scrapes as they did, and come out without a scratch. Common sense ought
to teach you better than that. Those boy trappers never had an existence
except in the brain of the man who wrote the book.”

“Then why did he write it?” demanded Guy.

“What makes you play base-ball and cricket, and why do you go fishing
and boat-riding every chance you get? Such sports are not necessary to
your existence—you could live without them—but they serve to fill up the
time when you don’t feel like doing anything else. That’s one reason why
books like ‘Boy Trappers’ are written—to keep you in the house and help
you while away a leisure hour that you might otherwise spend in the
streets with bad boys. Oh, Guy! Guy!”

“Now, don’t you begin your laughing again,” said his companion.

At this moment a door opened and the boys heard Mr. Harris calling.

“Guy!” he shouted.

“Sir!” was the response.

“Come in now.”

“What’s the matter?” asked Henry.

“Oh, we have a reading lesson every night, and I have to help,” replied
Guy with great disgust. “We’re reading Bancroft’s History of the United
States, and I despise it. I can’t understand half of it, but father
makes me read aloud twenty minutes every night, and scolds because I
can’t tell him the meaning of all the hard words. Now, Hank, are you
going with me or not?”

“Of course I am not. I’ll not give up such a home, and such a father and
mother as I’ve got for the sake of living in a wilderness all my life.”

“Well, you won’t repeat what I have said to you, will you?”

“No, indeed; but you must promise me that you will give up that idea.”

“All right, I will.”

“You’ll never speak of running away from home again, or even think of
it?”

“No, I never will—honor bright.”

“Then you may rely upon me to keep your secret. Now I have a plan to
propose: Let’s go fishing on the pier to-morrow—it’s Saturday, you
know—and talk the matter over. I can convince you in five minutes that
you had better stay at home. Come over early—say five o’clock.”

“I’ll see what father says about it; good-night. I might have known
better than to ask him to go with me,” added Guy mentally, as he walked
slowly toward the house. “If I had as pleasant a home as he has I
wouldn’t go either. Why don’t my father and mother take some interest in
me, and talk to me as Mr. and Mrs. Stewart talk to Hank? I haven’t
changed my mind, and I never shall. I promised that I would never again
think of running away from home, but I did it just to keep Hank’s mouth
shut. As long as he thinks I have given up the idea, he won’t say a word
to anybody. He’ll be astonished some fine morning, for I shall leave
here as soon as I can scrape the money together. I wish I could find a
pocket-book with a hundred dollars in it. I’d never return it to the
owner, even if I found him. I must try Bob Walker now.”

When Guy entered the sitting-room he found his father and mother waiting
for him. The former handed him an open volume of Bancroft’s History and
Guy, seating himself, began reading the author’s elaborate description
of the passage of the Stamp Act and the manner in which it was received
by the colonists—a subject in which he was not in the least interested.
His father often took him to task for his bad reading and pronunciation,
but he managed to get through with the required twenty minutes at last,
and with a great feeling of relief handed the book to his mother and
moved his chair into one corner of the room. In forty minutes more the
lesson was ended and Mr. Harris turned to question Guy on what had just
been read. To his surprise and indignation he saw him sitting with his
feet stretched out before him, his chin resting on his breast and his
eyes closed. The boy was fast asleep.

“Guy!” Mr. Harris almost shouted.

“Sir!” replied his son, starting up quickly and rubbing his eyes.

“This is the way you give attention to what is going on, and repay the
pains I am taking to teach you something, is it?” demanded his father.
“Do you think ignorance is bliss? You don’t know anything a boy of your
age ought to know. Tell me how many distinct forms of government this
country has passed through.”

“I can’t,” replied Guy.

“Who was the third President of the United States?”

“I don’t know.”

“What were the names of the two men who were hanged in effigy by the
Massachusetts colonists when the news of the passage of the Stamp Act
was received?”

“I don’t know,” said Guy again.

“And yet that is just what we have been reading about to-night. I saw a
picture in that paper you had in your possession a little while ago,”
continued Mr. Harris with suppressed fury. “It was a man dressed in
furs, who stood leaning against a horse, holding a gun in one hand and
stretching the other out toward a dog in front of him. Who was that man
intended to represent?”

“Nick Whiffles,” said Guy promptly.

“What was the name of his dog?”

“Calamity.”

“Did his horse have a name?”

“Yes, sir—Firebug; and he called his rifle Humbug.”

“There you have it!” exclaimed Mr. Harris with a sneer. “You know all
about that, and you’ve no business to know it either, for it will do you
more harm than good. If we had been reading that trash to-night you
would have been wide-awake and listening with all your ears; but because
we were reading something worth knowing—something that would be of
benefit to you in after life, if you would take the trouble to remember
it—you must needs settle yourself and go to sleep. Now, then, draw up
beside this table and read five pages in that history; and read them so
carefully, too, that you can answer any question I may ask you about
them to-morrow.”

Guy, so sleepy that he could scarcely keep his eyes open, staggered to
the chair pointed out to him and sat down, while his father once more
picked up the evening paper and his mother resumed her needle.

When he had read the required number of pages and looked them over two
or three times to fix the names and dates in his memory, he arose and
put the book away in the library.

“Father,” said he.

“Don’t you know that it is very rude to interrupt a person who is
reading?” replied Mr. Harris, looking up from his paper. “What do you
want?”

“May I go fishing with Henry Stewart on the pier to-morrow?”

“No, sir, you may stay at home. A boy who behaves as you do deserves no
privileges. I have learned that I cannot trust you out of my sight.”

Knowing that it would not be safe to show any signs of anger or
disappointment, Guy kept his face as straight as possible and turned to
leave the room. But when he put his hand on the door-knob his father
called to him.

“Guy,” said he, “where are you going?”

“I am going to bed.”

“And do you intend to leave us with that frown on your face and without
bidding us good-night? One or the other of us might die before morning
and then you would be sorry you parted from us in anger. I’ve a good
mind to whip you soundly, for if ever a boy deserved it you do. Come
back here and kiss your mother.”

Almost ready to yell with rage, Guy returned and kissed his mother, who
presented her cheek without raising her eyes from her novel, bid his
father good-night, and this time succeeded in leaving the room without
being called back.

When he was safe out of his father’s sight he turned and shook his fist
at him, at the same time muttering something between his clenched teeth
that would have struck Mr. Harris motionless with horror could he have
heard it. He went to bed with his heart full of hate, and not until his
mind wandered off to other matters, and he begun to dream of the wild,
free and glorious life he expected to lead in the mountains and on the
prairies of the Far West, did he recover his usual spirits. He fell
asleep while he was building his air-castles, and awoke to hear the
breakfast bell ringing and to see the morning sun shining in at his
window.

When he descended to the dining-room he was met by Ned, who was dressed
in his best, and who informed him, with evident satisfaction, that Henry
Stewart had been over to see if he was going fishing, and that his
father had said that he couldn’t go to the pier or do anything else he
wanted to do until he had learned to behave himself. Ned added that he
and his father and mother were going to ride out to visit Uncle David,
who lived nine miles in the country, and that he, Guy, was to be left at
home because there was no room in the buggy for him, and that he was not
to stir one step outside the gate until their return.

“I’ll show you whether I will or not,” said Guy to himself. “It’s a
pretty piece of business, indeed, that I am to be shut up here at home
while the rest of you go off on a visit. I won’t stand it. I’ll see as
much fun to-day as any of you, and if I only had all the money I need,
you wouldn’t find me here when you return.”

Breakfast over, the buggy was brought to the door, and Mr. Harris, after
assisting his wife and son to get in, turned to say a parting word to
Guy.

He was to remain in the yard all day, bring no boys in there to play
with him, and be very careful not to get into any mischief. If these
commands were not obeyed to the very letter there would be a settlement
between them when Mr. Harris came back.

Guy drew on a very long face as he listened to his father’s words,
meekly promised obedience and opened the gate for his father to drive
out. He watched the buggy as long as it remained in sight and then,
closing the gate, jumped up and knocked his heels together, danced a few
steps of a hornpipe, and in various other ways testified to the
satisfaction he felt at being left alone.

“I shouldn’t feel sorry if I should never see them again,” said he. “I
am my own master to-day, and I am going to enjoy my liberty, too. But
before I begin operations I must put Bertha and Jack on the wrong scent.
They would blow on me in a minute.”

Guy once more assumed a very sober expression of countenance, and walked
into the kitchen where the servant-girl was at work.

“Bertha,” said he, “I am going up to my curiosity shop, and I don’t want
to be disturbed. You needn’t get dinner for me, for I sha’n’t want any.”

“I am glad of it,” replied the girl, “I am going visiting myself
to-day.”

Guy strolled out to the carriage-house, and here he found Jack, the
hostler and man-of-all-work, to whom he gave nearly the same
instructions, adding the request that if any of his young friends called
to see him, Jack would say to them that Guy had gone off somewhere,
which, by the way, had Jack had occasion to tell it, would have been
nothing but the truth.

The hostler promised compliance, and Guy, having thus opened the way for
the carrying out of the plans he had determined upon, went up to his
curiosity shop, locking the door behind him, and putting the key into
his pocket. He lumbered about the room for a while, making as much noise
as he conveniently could, to let Bertha and Jack know that he was there,
and then stepped to the window that overlooked the garden and peeped
cautiously out. Having made sure that there was no one in sight, he
crawled out of the window, feet first, and hanging by his hands, dropped
to the ground. As soon as he touched it he broke into a run, and making
his way across the garden, scaled a high board-fence, dropped into an
alley on the opposite side, and in a few minutes more was two blocks
away.

“There!” he exclaimed, as he slackened his pace and wiped his dripping
forehead with his handkerchief; “that much is done, and no one is the
wiser for it. Now, the first thing is to go down to Stillman’s and buy a
copy of the _Journal_. I wrote to the editors of that paper three weeks
ago, telling them that I am going to be a hunter, and asking what sort
of an outfit I shall need, and how much it will cost, and I ought to get
an answer to-day.

“The second thing is to hunt up Bob Walker and feel his pulse. He once
told me that he would run away and go to sea if his father ever laid a
hand on him again, so I know I shall have easy work with him. He won’t
be as pleasant a companion, though, as Henry Stewart, for he swears, and
is an awful overbearing, quarrelsome fellow. But I can’t help it; I must
have somebody with me.”

A walk of a quarter of an hour brought Guy to Stillman’s news-depot,
where he stopped and purchased a copy of the paper of which he had
spoken. Seeing a vacant chair in one corner of the store, he seated
himself upon it, and with trembling hands unfolded the sheet, looking
for the column containing the answers to correspondents. When he found
it he ran his eye over it until it rested on the following paragraph:

    “AN ABUSED DOG.—If you are going to become a hunter you will need an
    expensive outfit. A good rifle will cost from $25 to $75; a brace of
    revolvers, from $16 to $50; a hunting-knife, $1.25 to $3.50. Then
    you will need a hatchet or two, an abundance of ammunition,
    blankets, durable clothing, horse, etc., which, together with your
    fare by rail and steamer to St. Joseph, will cost you at least $200
    more. We know of no hunter or trapper to whom we could recommend
    you, and neither can we say whether or not you will be able to find
    a wagon train that you could join. Now that we have answered your
    questions, we want to offer you a word of advice. Give up your wild
    idea, and never think of it again. As sure as you are a live boy, it
    will end in nothing but disappointment and misery. We are inclined
    to believe that the story of your grievances is greatly exaggerated;
    but even if it is not, you cannot better your condition by running
    away from home. Your parents have your welfare at heart, and if you
    are wise you will remain with them, even though their requirements
    do sometimes seem harsh and unnecessary. It may be that you will
    some day be left to fight your way through the world with no father
    or mother to advise or befriend you, and then you will find how hard
    it is. Take our word for it, if you live to be five years older, you
    will laugh at yourself whenever you reflect that you ever thought
    seriously of becoming a professional hunter.”

Guy read this paragraph over twice, and then folded the paper and walked
slowly out of the store.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER V.

                          A SAIL ON THE LAKE.


IT IS beyond my power to describe Guy’s feelings at that moment. He had
never in his life been more grievously disappointed. It had never
occurred to him that anybody who knew anything would discourage his
project, much less the editors of his favorite journal, to whom he had
made a full revelation of his circumstances and troubles. And then there
was the expense, which greatly exceeded his calculations. That was the
great drawback.

“Humph!” soliloquized Guy, after he had thought the matter over, “the
man who wrote that article didn’t know my father and mother. If he did,
he wouldn’t be so positive that everything they do is for the best. I
know better, and won’t give up my idea. I am determined to succeed.
There are plenty of men who make a living and see any amount of sport by
hunting and trapping, and why shouldn’t I? Kit Carson is a real man and
so is Captain Bridges. So is Adams, the great grizzly bear tamer. One of
these days, when I am as famous as they are, I shall laugh to think I
_did_ become a professional hunter. But the money is what bothers me
now. I shall need at least three hundred dollars. Great Cæsar! Where am
I to get it? I’ve worked and scraped and saved for the last six months,
and I’ve got just fifteen dollars. That isn’t enough to buy a rifle.
Where is the rest to come from? That’s the question.”

Guy walked along with his hands behind his back and his eyes fastened
thoughtfully on the ground, revolving this problem in his mind. His
prospects did not look nearly so bright now as they did an hour ago. He
was learning a lesson we all have to learn sooner or later, and that is
that we cannot always have things as we want them in this world, and
that the best laid schemes are often defeated by some unlooked-for
event. Three hundred dollars! He never could earn that amount. His rags
brought him but two cents a pound, and although he kept a sharp lookout
and pounced upon every piece of cloth he found lying about the house, it
sometimes took him a whole month to fill his bag, which held just five
pounds. Old iron was worth only a cent a pound, and business in this
line was beginning to get very dull, for he had not found a single
horseshoe during the last two weeks, and he had purchased the last thing
in the shape of broken frying-pans and battered kettles that any of his
companions had to dispose of. He must find some other way to earn money.
He had thought of carrying papers, which would add a dollar and a
quarter a week to his income, besides what he would make out of his
Carriers’ Addresses on New Years. But Mr. Harris had vetoed that plan
the moment it was proposed.

Guy did not know what to do next.

“Dear me, am I not in a fix?” he asked himself. “I read in the paper the
other day of a boy picking up five thousand dollars that some banker
dropped in the street. Why wasn’t I lucky enough to find it? That banker
might have whistled for his money when once I got my hands upon it. I
_must_ have three hundred dollars and I don’t care how I get it.”

Guy was gradually working himself into a very dangerous frame of mind.
When one begins to talk to himself in this way it needs only the
opportunity to make a thief of him. If Guy thought of this, he did not
care, for he continued to reason thus, and was not at all alarmed when a
daring project suddenly suggested itself to him. Twenty-four hours ago
he would not have dared to ponder upon it; but now he allowed his
thoughts to dwell upon it, and the longer he turned it over in his mind
the more firmly he became convinced that it was a splendid idea and that
it could be successfully carried out. He wanted to get away by himself
and look at the matter in all its bearings. With this object in view he
turned down Erie Street and bent his steps toward Buck’s boat-house,
intending to spend an hour or two on the lake. In that time he believed
he could make up his mind what was best to be done.

Arriving at the boat-house, Guy entered and accosted the proprietor, who
stood behind his bar dispensing liquor and cigars to a party of
excursionists who had just returned from a sail on the lake.

“Mr. Buck, is the Quail in?” asked Guy, giving the name of his favorite
sail-boat.

“Yes, she is,” replied a voice at his elbow; “but what do you want with
her?”

Guy recognized the voice and turned to greet the speaker. He was a boy
about his own age, who sat cross-legged in an arm-chair beside the door,
his hat pushed on the side of his head rowdy fashion, one hand holding a
copy of a sporting paper, and the other a lighted cigar, at which he was
puffing industriously. His name was Robert Walker. He was a low-browed,
black-haired fellow, and although by no means ill-looking, there was
something in his face that would have told a stranger at the first
glance that he was what is called a “hard customer.” And his looks were
a good index of his character and reputation. He was known as one of the
worst boys in the neighborhood in which Guy lived. Parents cautioned
their sons against associating with him, for he would fight, smoke,
swear like any old sailor, and it was even whispered about among the
boys belonging to the Brown Grammar School that he had been seen rather
the worse for the beer he had drank. But Guy had always admired Bob; he
was such a free and easy fellow! Besides, he knew so much that boys of
his age have no business to know, that he was looked upon even by such
youths as Henry Stewart as a sort of oracle. He and Guy represented two
different classes of boys—one having been spoiled by excessive
indulgence, and the other by unreasonable severity.

Robert’s father was Mr. Harris’ cashier and book-keeper, and the two
families would have been intimate had not Bob been in the way. The
fathers and mothers visited frequently, but the boys never did; their
parents always tried to keep them apart. But in spite of this they were
often seen together on the streets, and a sort of friendship had sprung
up between them. This was the boy Guy wanted for a companion on his
runaway expedition, now that Henry Stewart had declined his invitation.

“The Quail is in,” continued Bob, extending his hand to Guy, who shook
it cordially, “but you are just a minute too late. Mr. Buck is going to
get her out for me as soon as he is done serving these gentlemen.
However, seeing it is you, I’ll take you along, and we can divide the
expenses between us.”

“All right,” replied Guy. “Do you know that you are just the fellow I
want to see?”

“Anything particular?” asked Bob, knocking the ashes from his cigar.

“Yes, very particular.”

“Well, that’s curious. During the last week I have had something on my
mind that I wanted to speak to you about—it’s a secret, too, and one
that I wouldn’t mention to any fellow but you—but somehow I couldn’t
raise courage enough to broach the subject. We’ll go out on the lake
where we can say what we please without danger of being overheard. Let’s
take a drink before we go. Come on.”

“I am obliged to you,” answered Guy, “but I never drink.”

“Take a cigar, then.”

“No, I don’t smoke.”

“Nonsense. Be a man among men. Give me some beer, Mr. Buck. Take a glass
of soda, Guy. That won’t hurt you, and it is a temperance drink, too.”

Guy leaned his elbows on the counter and thought about it. This was a
temptation that he had never been subjected to before. What would his
father say if he yielded to it? But, on the whole, what difference did
it make to him whether his father liked it or not? He was going away
from home to be a hunter, and from what he had read he inferred that
hunters did not refuse a glass when it was offered to them. If he was
going among Romans, and expected to hold a high place among them, he
must follow their customs. So he said he would take a bottle of soda,
and when it was poured out for him he, not understanding the etiquette
of the bar-room, watched Bob and followed his motions—bumped his glass
on the counter, said “Here are my kindest regards,” and drank it off.

“Now,” said Bob, smacking his lips over his beer, “we’re all ready. I’ve
got half a dollar’s worth of cigars in my pocket, and they will last us
until we get back.”

The boys followed Mr. Buck out of the house, and along a narrow wooden
pier, on each side of which were moored a score or more of row and
sail-boats of all sizes and models. When they reached the place where
the Quail was lying they clambered down into her, Mr. Buck cast off the
painter, and the little vessel moved away. Guy never forgot the hour he
spent on the lake that day. A week afterward he would have given the
world, had he possessed it, to be able to wipe it out or live it over
again.

As the harbor was long and narrow and the wind unfavorable, considerable
maneuvering was necessary, and for the first few minutes the attention
of Guy and his companion was so fully occupied with the management of
their craft that they could find no opportunity to begin the discussion
of the subject uppermost in their minds. But when they rounded the
light-house pier and found themselves fairly on the lake, Bob resigned
the helm to Guy, and relighting his cigar, which he had allowed to go
out, stretched himself on one of the thwarts, and intimated that he was
ready to listen to what his friend had to say, adding:

“You may think it strange, but I believe I can tell you, before you
begin, what you want to talk about.”

“You can!” exclaimed Guy. “What makes you think so?”

“The way you act, and the pains you are taking to make money. Does your
father know that you are a dealer in rags and old iron?”

“Of course not.”

“I thought so. What do you want with the little money you are able to
make in that way? You don’t see any pleasure with it, for you never
spend a cent. What are you going to do with that powder-horn you’ve got
hung up in your curiosity shop? It is of no use to you, for your father
won’t allow you to own a gun. And then there’s that lead bullet-ladle,
rubber blanket, and cheese-knife. They are not worth the room they
occupy as long as you stay here. But you are laying your plans to run
away from home, young man—that’s what you are up to. Indeed, you have
almost as good as said so in my hearing two or three different times.”

“Well, it’s a fact, and there’s no use in denying it,” said Guy. “You
won’t blow on me?”

“Certainly not. That’s just what I wanted to see about, for I am going
to do the same thing myself.”

“Are you? Give us your hand. We’ll go together. I’m going to be a
hunter.”

“I know you are; I’ve heard you say so. I had some idea of becoming a
sailor, but since I have thought the matter over I have made up my mind
that your plan is the best. If one goes to sea he has to work whenever
he is ordered, whether he feels likes it or not; but if he lives in the
woods he is his own master, and can do as he pleases. Have you any
definite plan in your head?”

“Yes. As soon as I get money enough. I am going to step aboard a
propeller some dark night and go to Chicago. I can travel cheaper by
water than I can by land, you know, and money is an object, I tell you.
From Chicago I shall go to St. Joseph, purchase a horse and whatever
else I may need, join some wagon train that is going to California, and
when I reach the mountains and find a place that suits me, I’ll stop
there and go to hunting.”

“That’s a splendid plan,” said Bob with enthusiasm. “It is much better
than going to sea. When do you intend to start?”

“Ah! that’s just what I don’t know. I find by a paper I bought this
morning that I shall need at least three hundred dollars; and that’s
more than I can ever raise.”

“By a paper you bought!” repeated Bob.

“Yes; there it is,” said Guy, taking it from his pocket and tossing it
toward his companion. “You see I wrote to the editors, telling them just
how I am situated and what I intend to do, and they answered my letter
this week. Look for ‘An Abused Boy’ in the correspondents’ column, and
you will see what they said.”

After a little search Bob found the paragraph in question, and settled
back on his elbow to read it.

When he finished, the opinion he expressed concerning it was the same
Guy had formed when he first read it.

“It is rather discouraging, isn’t it?” asked the latter.

“Not to me,” answered Bob. “These editors don’t know any more than
anybody else. Why should they? In the first place the man who wrote this
is not acquainted with our circumstances; and in the next, he is not so
well posted on the price of some things as I am. He says a rifle will
cost twenty-five dollars. Pat Smith has a cart-load of them, good ones,
too, that you can buy for twelve dollars apiece.”

“Is that so?” asked Guy.

“Yes; and after we get through with our sail we’ll go around and look at
them. He has hunting-knives, which he holds at a dollar and a quarter. I
know, because I asked the price of them. Blankets are not worth more
than five dollars per pair; and if you take steerage passage on the
steamer and a second-class ticket from Chicago you can go through to St.
Joseph for twenty-five dollars. Then how are you going to spend the rest
of your three hundred? Not for a horse, certainly; for I have heard
father say that when he went to California in ’49 he bought a very good
mustang for thirty dollars. However,” added Bob, “it will be well enough
to have plenty of money, for we don’t want to get strapped, you know.”

“But where is it to come from?” asked Guy.

“I know. I have been thinking it over during the last week, and I know
just how to go to work. Perhaps you won’t like it, and if you don’t you
can go your way and I’ll go mine. Here, smoke a cigar while I tell you
about it.”

“No, no! I can’t smoke.”

“What will you do when we are in the mountains? There’ll be plenty of
stormy days when we can’t hunt or trap, and you’ll need a pipe or cigar
for company.”

“It will be time enough for me to learn after I get to be a hunter.”

“Perhaps it is just as well,” returned Bob, after a moment’s reflection.
“If I carry out my plans you will have to help me, and you will need a
clear head to do it. Listen now and I will tell you what they are.”

Bob once more settled back on his elbow, and to Guy’s intense amazement
proceeded to unfold the details of the very scheme for raising funds
which he himself had had in contemplation when he came to Mr. Buck’s
boat-house, and which Bob proposed should be put into execution at once,
that very day.

Guy trembled with excitement and apprehension while he listened, and
nothing but the coolness and confidence with which his companion spoke
kept him from backing out. He had always imagined that the day for the
carrying out of his wild idea was in the far future, and from a distance
he could think of it calmly; but if Bob’s plans were successful they
would be miles and miles away ere the next morning’s sun arose, and with
the brand of _thief_ upon their brows.

He begun to realize now what running away meant. He did not once think
of his home—there was scarcely a pleasant reminiscence connected with it
that he could recall—but now that the great world into which he had
longed to throw himself seemed so near, he shrunk back afraid. This
feeling quickly passed away.

The wild, free life of which he had so often dreamed seemed so bright
and glorious, and his present manner of living seemed so dismal by
contrast that, feeling as he did, he could not be long in choosing
between them. He fell in with Bob’s plans and caught not a little of his
enthusiasm. He even marked out the part he was to play in the scene
about to be enacted, making some suggestions and amendments that Bob was
prompt to adopt.

The matter was all settled in half an hour later, and the Quail came
about and stood toward the pier. When she landed and the boys entered
the boat-house, Bob reminded Guy that it was his turn to stand treat.
The latter was prompt to respond, and won a nod of approval from his
companion by calling for a glass of beer.

Having settled their bill at the boat-house the boys started for the
gunsmith’s. There they spent twenty minutes in looking at the various
weapons and accouterments they thought they might need during their
career in the mountains, and Bob excited the astonishment of his friend
by selecting a couple of rifles, as many hunting-knives, powder-horns,
bullet-pouches and revolvers, and requesting the gunsmith, with whom he
seemed to be well acquainted, to put them aside for him, promising to
call in an hour and pay for them.

“Isn’t that carrying things a little too far?” asked Guy when they were
once more on the street. “What if we should slip up in our
arrangements?”

“But I don’t intend to slip up,” returned Bob confidently. “There’s no
need of it. Why, Guy, what makes your face so pale?”

“I feel nervous,” replied the latter honestly.

“Now don’t go to giving away to such feelings, for if you do you will
spoil everything. Remember that our success depends entirely upon you.
If I fail in doing my part the fault will be yours. But I must leave you
here, for it won’t be safe for us to be seen together. If you are going
to back out do it now before it is too late.”

“I’m not going to do anything of the kind. I’ll stick to you through
thick and thin.”

“All right. Remember now that when the South Church clock strikes one I
will be on the corner above your father’s store, and shall expect to
find you there all ready to start.”

“You may depend upon me,” replied Guy. “I’ll be there if I live.”

The two boys separated and moved away in nearly opposite directions,
their feelings being as widely different as the courses they were
pursuing. Bob, cool and careless, walked off whistling, stopping now and
then to exchange a pleasant nod with an acquaintance, while Guy was as
pale as a sheet and trembled in every limb. It seemed to him that every
one he met looked sharply at him, and with an expression which seemed to
say his secret was known. He felt like a criminal; and actuated by a
desire to get out of sight of everybody, and that as speedily as
possible, he broke into a run, and in a few minutes reached his home.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VI.

                            A NARROW ESCAPE.


WALKING rapidly along the alley that ran behind his father’s garden Guy
climbed the fence, dropped down into a thicket of bushes, and stopped to
take a survey of the premises. There was no one in sight, and having
fully satisfied himself on this point he crept stealthily into the
carriage-house and up the stairs to his curiosity shop. Locking the door
behind him he took down from one of the nails a dilapidated valise,
which he had provided for this very occasion, and throwing open his
tool-chest began bundling his valuables into it with eager haste. He did
not forget anything, not even the rubber blanket, powder-horn, or rusty
butcher-knife. When the last article had been crowded into the valise he
closed it, and carrying it to the window that overlooked the garden
dropped it to the ground. Then he locked the door of the curiosity shop,
descended the stairs, and picking up the valise carried it to the lower
end of the garden and concealed it under a quince tree.

This much was done, but he had still another piece of work to perform,
and that took him into the house. He went to his mother’s room, and
after considerable fumbling in one of the bureau drawers took out
something wrapped up in a white paper, which, after he had examined it
to make sure that he had found what he wanted, he put it into his
pocket. Next he hurried to his own room to secure the buckskin purse
containing the fifteen dollars he had with so much difficulty scraped
together. This done, he selected from his abundant wardrobe a pair of
heavy boots, a shirt or two, a change of linen, a few pairs of
stockings, and a suit of his roughest and most durable clothing, all of
which he tied up in a handkerchief he had spread upon the floor. Once
during this operation he paused and looked with rather a longing eye
toward the pair of patent-leathers and the natty broadcloth suit he was
accustomed to wear on extra occasions, but, after a little reflection,
he decided to leave them behind, consoling himself with the thought that
in the country to which he was going buckskin was oftener seen than
broadcloth, and that fine boots and expensive clothing would not look
well on the person of a trapper.

Having tied his bundle he caught it up and ran out of the house. His
previous examination of the premises had satisfied him that the coast
was clear, so he did not take any pains to conceal his movements. He
went directly to the place where he had concealed his valise and spent
ten minutes trying to crowd some of the clothing into it; but it was
already so full that there was not room even for a pair of stockings,
and Guy found that he must either carry his bundle through the streets
wrapped up in his handkerchief or leave it behind. He decided on the
former course. Even trappers must have clothes, and he feared that those
he was then wearing might not hold together until he could capture and
cure a sufficient number of deer hides to make him a suit of buckskin.

Taking the valise in his left hand, and the bundle in his teeth, Guy
mounted to the top of the fence, and was on the very point of swinging
himself over, when happening to cast his eyes up the lane, whom should
he see approaching but Henry Stewart. He had come up just in time to
catch him in the act of running away from home.

So thought Guy, as he stood leaning on the top of the fence, growing
pale and red by turns, and utterly at a loss what to do. He was well
aware that the quick-witted Henry would know in a minute what was going
on; he could not well help it if he made any use of his eyes, for there
was the evidence of Guy’s guilt in the shape of his valise and bundle in
plain sight. What would Henry think of him for breaking the solemn
promise he had made the evening before—and more than that, what would he
_do_? But, unfortunately for our hero, Henry not being as wide-awake as
he usually was, did not see him. I say unfortunately, because had Henry
received the least intimation of what was going on, he would have saved
his friend many an hour of misery and remorse. He walked along,
whistling merrily, as though he felt at peace with himself and all the
world, carrying in one hand his jointed fish-pole, stowed away in a neat
bag of drilling, and in the other a fine string of rock bass; and so
completely was his mind occupied with thoughts of the splendid sport he
had enjoyed on the pier that he had neither eyes nor ears for what was
going on near him.

Guy saw that he had a chance to save himself, and he lost not an instant
in taking advantage of it. As quick as a flash he dropped his burdens
behind the fence, and in a moment more would have been out of sight
himself had not the noise the heavy valise made in falling through the
branches of a quince tree in the garden aroused Henry from his reverie.
He looked up just in time to see Guy’s head disappearing behind the
fence.

“Aha!” he exclaimed, “I saw you, old fellow. What are you about there?”

Guy, finding that he was discovered, straightened up and looked over the
top of the fence again. “Halloo, Hank,” said he, with an attempt to
appear as cordial and friendly as usual.

“What’s going on in here?” asked Henry, walking up close to the fence
and peeping through one of the cracks. “I heard something drop.”

“It was my ball club,” replied Guy, who could swallow a lie as easily as
if it had been a strawberry. “I was about to toss it toward you to
attract your attention, when it slipped out of my hand.”

“Oh,” said Henry. “But what’s the matter with you? Your face is as white
as a sheet. Are you ill?”

“No, only mad because father wouldn’t let me go fishing this morning. I
wish you would pass on and attend to your business,” added Guy mentally.
“I am in an awful hurry.”

“I am sorry you couldn’t go, for we had the best of sport,” said Henry.
Then he exhibited his string of fish, and went on to tell who were on
the pier, and what success each one had met with—how he had struck a
splendid black bass, and after an exciting struggle had almost landed
him, when his line broke and the fish took himself off; how Charley
Root, one of their school-mates, hooked on to a yellow pike that he
ought to have lost, he handled him so awkwardly, but which, by the
united efforts of all the men and boys on the pier, was safely landed at
last, and when placed on the scales pulled down the beam at nine pounds
and a quarter—of all of which Guy scarcely heard a dozen words, although
under any other circumstances he would have listened with all his ears.

“As you must be lonely, I’ll come in and visit with you a while,” added
Henry.

“I wish you could,” answered Guy, “but father told me before he went
away to bring no one in the yard.”

“Then suppose you come over and see me.”

“I can’t. I have orders not to go outside the gate to-day.”

“Have you finished reading the ‘Boy Trappers?’ If you have, I’ll lend
you another book.”

“No, I am not yet done with it. Perhaps I will spend an hour or two with
you this evening, after the folks come home.”

“I wish you would. You know we want to talk about something. Good-by.”

“Farewell—a long farewell,” said Guy to himself as his friend moved
away. “You’ll never see me again or the ‘Boy Trappers’ either, for I’ve
got it safely stowed away in my valise. I need it more than you do, and
you’ve so many you won’t miss it. But didn’t I come near being caught,
though?” he added, drawing a long breath as he thought of his very
narrow escape. “In half a second more I’d have been over the fence and
into a scrape that I could not possibly have lied out of. But what’s the
odds? A miss is as good as a mile.”

Guy remained standing on the fence for ten minutes—long enough to allow
Henry time to reach home and go into the house—and then jumped down into
the garden after his valise and bundle. This time he succeeded in
scaling the fence without being seen by anybody, and with a few rapid
steps reached the corner of the block, where he stopped to take a last
look at his home. He ran his eye quickly over its familiar surroundings,
and without a single feeling of regret turned his back upon it and
hurried away. A walk of fifteen minutes brought him to the corner above
his father’s store, where he found Bob waiting for him. The latter had a
well-filled valise in his hand, and was as cool and careless as ever. He
peered sharply into Guy’s face as he came up and seemed satisfied with
what he saw there.

“You look better than you did the last time I saw you,” said he. “Have
you got it?”

Guy replied in the affirmative.

“Father hasn’t left the store yet,” continued Bob, “so we’ll have plenty
of time to go down to the dock and engage passage on a propeller. The
Queen of the Lakes sails to-night, and we’ll go on her.”

“All right,” said Guy with a show of eagerness he was very far from
feeling.

“We’ll have to leave our luggage somewhere, for when we get our guns and
other things we’ll have as much as we can carry, and we might as well
leave it on board the steamer as anywhere else. We mus’n’t be seen
together with these valises in our hands, or somebody will suspect
something, so you had better go back and go down Elm Street and I’ll go
down Ninth. We’ll meet at the foot of Portage Street, where the Queen of
the Lakes lies.”

The two boys separated and pursued their different routes toward the
dock. Guy reached it ten minutes in advance of his companion, and the
first vessel he saw was the propeller of which he was in search. Her
name was painted in large letters on her bow, and over her rail was
suspended a card bearing the words, “This steamer for Chicago to-night.”
Her crew were engaged in rolling barrels and hogsheads up the
gang-planks, and Guy, watching his opportunity, dodged in and ascended
the stairs that led to the cabin.

“Now, then,” exclaimed a flashily-dressed young man, who met him at the
top and looked rather suspiciously at the bundles Guy deposited on the
floor of the cabin, “what can I do for you?”

“Are you the steward?” asked the boy.

“I have the honor.”

“I want to go to Chicago on this boat.”

“Who are you, where do you live, and what is your name?” demanded the
steward with another sidelong glance at Guy’s luggage.

The boy noticed the look, and took his cue from it.

“My name is John Thomas,” said he, “and I used to live in Syracuse, but
I am going West now to find my uncle.”

“Where does your father live, and what business does he follow?”

“I haven’t got any father or mother either. I am alone in the world.”

The man’s face softened instantly. The next words he uttered were spoken
in a much kinder tone.

“The fare will be eight dollars,” said he.

“I had thought of taking steerage passage,” returned Guy. “Money is not
as plenty with me as it is with some folks.”

“Then you can go for five dollars. Step this way.”

Guy picked up his valise and bundle and followed the steward, who led
the way along the deck toward the forward part of the vessel, finally
turning into an apartment which looked very unlike the neatly furnished
cabin they had just left. The floor was destitute of a carpet, and the
rough bunks that were fitted up against the bulk-heads looked anything
but inviting. Chests, bundles, and bed-clothes were scattered about, and
in one corner were congregated a dozen or more persons of both sexes,
who were eating bread and bologna and talking loudly.

Guy looked askance at them, and more than half made up his mind that he
wouldn’t take passage in the steerage. He didn’t like the idea of being
obliged to keep such company for a journey of seven hundred miles.

“You may take this bunk,” said the steward, pointing out the one he
wished Guy to occupy.

“Where are the bed-clothes?” asked the boy.

“We don’t furnish them to steerage passengers. Every man finds his own.”

“But I haven’t got any,” said Guy, “and I can’t sleep on those hard
boards. I think I had better wait a while. I have a friend, Ned Wheeler,
who is going with me, and perhaps he will decide to take a cabin
passage.”

The steward, not deeming any reply necessary, turned on his heel and
walked out, leaving Guy alone with the emigrants. He did not know that
it would be quite safe to leave his luggage there with no one to watch
it, but after a little hesitation he decided to run the risk; and,
pitching his valise and bundle into the bunk the steward had pointed out
to him, he hurried below to watch for his expected companion. He wanted
to post him. In a few minutes Bob made his appearance.

“Look here,” said Guy, as he ran to meet him, “your name isn’t Bob
Walker any longer—at least while we remain on board this propeller.”

“I understand,” said Bob. “Let me see; I’ll call myself——”

“I have told the steward that your name is Ned Wheeler, and that my name
is John Thomas.”

“It seems to me that you might have found better ones if you had tried.”

“No matter; they will answer our purpose as well as any others. You see
our names will have to go into the passenger list, and if our fathers
should suspect that we have gone up the lakes, they would have no
difficulty in tracing us as far as Chicago, if we gave our true names.”

“I understand,” said Bob again. “Have you picked out a berth yet?”

“No; but I have seen the steerage, and it is a horrible-looking place.
Come on; I’ll show it to you.”

Bob was not very favorably impressed with the appearance of things in
the steerage. He looked at the dingy deck, the empty bunks, the ragged,
dirty group in the corner, and stepped back and shook his head.

“I can’t go this, Guy,” said he. “I have been used to better things. Get
your bundles, and we’ll take cabin passage. We shall have money enough
to pay for it.”

The steward being hunted up, showed the boys to a state-room in the
cabin, in which they deposited their luggage, after which they hurried
ashore to carry out their plans.

Now came the hardest part of the work, and Guy would have been glad to
shirk it, could it have been accomplished without his assistance.

It was dangerous as well as difficult, and there was dishonor connected
with it. More than that—and this was what troubled Guy the most—there
was a possibility that the crime they intended to commit, even if they
were successful in it, would be discovered before they could leave the
city, and then what would become of them?

While Guy was thinking about it, they arrived within sight of his
father’s dry-goods store.

“Now, then,” said Bob, giving him an encouraging slap on the back, “keep
a stiff upper lip, and remember that everything depends upon you. Do
your part faithfully, and I’ll do mine.”

With a beating heart Guy walked into the store, and, stopping before the
counter, drew a small package from his pocket. He tried to look
unconcerned, but he trembled violently, and his face was white with
excitement and apprehension.

The clerk who stepped up to attend to his wants stared at him in
astonishment.

“What’s the matter, Guy?” he inquired.

“Nothing—nothing whatever, Mr. Fellows. What made you ask?”

“Why, you look as though you had been sick for a week. And see how your
hand shakes.”

“Well, I don’t feel remarkably lively for some cause or other, that’s a
fact,” returned Guy. “Mother sent me down here to see if you could match
this piece of silk,” he continued, unfolding the package and displaying
its contents.

“No, I cannot,” answered the clerk, and Guy knew very well what he was
going to say before the words left his lips. “I told Mrs. Harris the
last time she was in that our new stock would not arrive before Monday.”

“Mother is in a great hurry and can’t wait a day longer. Can’t you send
out to some other store?”

“Certainly,” said the clerk, taking a pair of scissors from his pocket
and cutting the silk in twain. “Here, Thompson, take this up to Kenton’s
and see if they can match it; and, Jones, you take this piece and go
over to Sherman’s.”

When Guy had seen the two clerks depart on their errand he drew a long
breath of relief. A part of his work was accomplished, and it had been,
too, just as he and Bob had planned it. The next thing was to keep Mr.
Fellow’s employed in the front part of the store for a few minutes
longer.

“Won’t you be kind enough to look over your stock again?” said Guy.
“Mother is positive there is a remnant of that silk somewhere in the
store.”

“I’ll do it, of course, to please her,” replied the clerk, “but I know I
sha’n’t find it. Ah! Here’s Mr. Walker. Perhaps he knows something about
it.”

At the mention of that name Guy started as if he had been shot. Bob’s
father was the very man of all others he did not want to see just then,
for he belonged in the back of the store, and Bob was there. Guy had a
presentiment that something disagreeable was about to happen.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VII.

                          ADRIFT IN THE WORLD.


“WHY, GUY, what’s the matter with you?” asked Mr. Walker, giving the
boy’s hand a cordial grip and shake. “Been sick?”

“No, sir,” stammered Guy.

“Then you’re going to be. I never saw you look so pale before. What was
it you said to me?” added Mr. Walker, addressing himself to the clerk.

“Mrs. Harris has sent down that piece of silk again,” answered Mr.
Fellows. “Can we match it?”

“No; and there’s not a piece like it in the city,” said Mr. Walker. “But
we’ll have some on Monday sure, for I ordered——”

The gentleman suddenly paused, and looking sharply toward the back part
of the store, bent forward in a listening attitude.

Guy listened also, and was almost ready to drop with terror when he
distinctly heard a faint, grating noise like that which would be made by
turning a key carefully in a lock. It seemed to come from behind the
high desk which fenced off the office from the main part of the store.

Mr. Walker stood for an instant as if profoundly astonished, and, with
an inquiring glance at the clerk, started on tiptoe toward the office.
Mr. Fellows was close at his heels, and Guy, impelled by a curiosity
that he could not have resisted if he had tried, brought up the rear. He
saw Mr. Walker disappear behind the high desk, and jumping upon a chair
and looking over it, he had a full view of the scene that transpired on
the other side.

Bob was kneeling in front of an open safe, and was in the very act of
crowding a large package of money into his pocket. So intent was he upon
what he was doing, that he did not hear his father’s stealthy approach.

Mr. Walker was utterly confounded. Hardly able to believe the evidence
of his eyes, he stood for a moment as if deprived of all power of
action; then springing forward with a quick bound, he wrenched the
package from his son’s grasp, and sunk helpless and almost breathless
into the nearest chair.

“Oh. Robert! Robert!” he exclaimed, while the tears he could not repress
coursed down his cheeks. “Is this the way you repay my kindness and
indulgence? How could you do it! How could you do it!”

A death-like silence followed. Mr. Walker leaned his head upon his hands
and shook like a man with the ague. Bob, having recovered his
perpendicular—for his father, in his excitement, had thrown him headlong
into the nearest corner—stood sullen and motionless. The clerk rubbed
his eyes, and looked from one to the other in silent amazement; and Guy,
stunned and bewildered, staggered off the chair, and walking like one in
a dream, moved slowly out of the store and down the street. He did not
know where he was going, and what was more he did not care. When he came
to himself he was standing in the upper story of an elevator, gazing in
a stupid, benumbed sort of way at the monster wheel as it slowly
revolved, bringing up an endless chain of loaded buckets from some dark
abyss beneath him. He was able now to think over the incident that had
just happened at the store, and as he was not yet fully hardened, he
felt his situation most keenly.

“It is all over with me now,” said he, with a calmness that surprised
himself, “for of course the part I have played in this miserable
business will be known when the folks come home, even if it isn’t known
already. Mother will say that she didn’t send me down there to match
that piece of silk, and in that way my guilt will be exposed. Besides,
Bob is cornered, and I know him too well to indulge in the hope that he
will take all the blame upon himself and shield me. I can’t stay here,
for I am forever disgraced. I _must_ go, and with only fifteen dollars
in my pocket, too. Now that I think of it, I am glad Bob didn’t succeed
in stealing that package. I shall at least have the satisfaction of
knowing that what little money I have, I have earned honestly.”

How Guy managed to exist during that long afternoon was a mystery to
himself. He wanted to keep out of sight of everybody, and the loft of
the elevator was as good a place of concealment as he could have found.
No one intruded upon him during the five hours he spent there. He passed
a portion of his time in walking about with his hands in his pockets,
thinking over his situation and wondering what should be his first move
now that he was fairly adrift in the world, and the remainder in
standing at the front window watching the crew of the Queen of the
Lakes, who were still busily engaged in loading their vessel.

During the afternoon several passengers arrived, some on foot and some
in carriages, and Guy always held his breath in suspense while he
sharply scrutinized the face of every one who ascended the gang-plank,
and was as often greatly relieved to find that there were none among
them he had ever seen before.

At length, to his great joy, he discovered a thin cloud of smoke, which
grew thicker and blacker every moment, ascending from the propeller’s
chimney.

The men who were loading the vessel became quicker in their movements
and rolled the freight along at a more rapid rate, encouraged by the
voices and gestures of the mates.

Finally one of the planks was drawn in and the after gangway closed, and
just as it begun to grow dark two of the four lines that held the
steamer to the wharf were cast off and the whistle was blown.

Guy now had another disagreeable piece of business to perform, and that
was to transfer himself from the loft of the elevator to the deck of the
propeller.

Drawing in a long breath and calling all his courage to his aid he ran
swiftly down the stairs, paused a moment at the door and then bounded
across the wharf and up the gang-plank. He went directly to the upper
deck, and seating himself upon the rail over the gangway, looked closely
at every one who came on board the propeller, intending, if he saw Mr.
Walker or any of his father’s clerks approaching, to beat a hasty
retreat. But all Mr. Harris’ employees were doing just what Guy ought to
have been doing—attending to their business. Had they known where he was
and what he was about to do, it is probable that some of them would have
interested themselves in the matter; but as they did not, Guy was left
to his own devices.

At last, to the boy’s intense relief, everything was made ready for the
start. The whistle shrieked again, the captain took his stand upon the
wheel-house, the lines were handed aboard, and the Queen of the Lakes
moved slowly down the harbor.

As soon as clear water was seen between the boat and the wharf Guy told
himself that he was safe from pursuit, and settling into a comfortable
position on the rail, he prepared to take a last look at the city of
Norwall.

As it was already dark he could not see much of it except the lights.
These faded out of his sight one by one, and finally when the steamer,
after passing the breakwater and the light-house swung around and headed
up the lake, they were all shut out from his view.

Then Guy begun to feel lonely and chilly, too, for a keen, cutting wind
was blowing and he had no overcoat. As he arose to his feet, intending
to go into the cabin where it was warmer, some one suddenly laid a hand
upon his shoulder.

Guy started violently, and so surprised and frightened was he that he
lost his balance, and would certainly have fallen overboard had not the
hand been quickly shifted from his shoulder to his arm, griping it with
sufficient force and strength to haul him on board and enable him to
recover his equilibrium. As soon as he was fairly on his feet he looked
up and was astonished beyond measure to find himself confronted by Bob
Walker, who was comfortably wrapped up in an overcoat, held a lighted
cigar in his teeth, and wore his hat on one side in the same old rowdy
style. He did not look much like a boy who had been caught in the act of
robbing a safe.

“Why, Guy,” said he with a laugh, “you are as nervous as an old woman.
You must get over that before you reach the mountains, or Kit Carson and
Captain Bridges will never have a rival in you. Did you think I was a
policeman?”

“Bob,” exclaimed Guy gleefully, “you don’t know how glad I am to see
you. I little expected to find you here.”

“What did you think I would do?” demanded Bob. “You didn’t imagine that
I would stay in Norwall after being caught in such a scrape, did you? I
am not quite so green. I tell you, Guy, if father had stayed away just
five minutes longer we’d have been rich. That package I held in my hand
had five hundred dollars in it.”

“Great Scott!” exclaimed Guy, catching his breath.

“It’s a fact. The amount was marked on the wrapper.”

“What did your father say to you?”

“He told me to go home, and I did; but I didn’t stay there long. I got
my overcoat and came back to the boat. I’ve been on board ever since two
o’clock waiting for you.”

“And I was hiding in the elevator all the while. But, Bob, do you know I
am glad that you didn’t get out of the store with that money? It is bad
enough to run away from home; it would be worse if we were thieves!”

“Bah!” exclaimed Bob contemptuously, “you’re losing courage already, and
you’d better not, for you will have need of all you can muster before we
get through with this business. We’ve got to earn money now to buy an
outfit, and how are we going to do it? But let’s go into the cabin. It’s
cold out here.”

Bob strutted off with as much dignity as if he had been the owner of the
vessel, and Guy slowly followed. The cabin was a blaze of light, and
most of the passengers had congregated there to escape from the cold
wind that was blowing. They sat around in little groups, some reading,
others conversing with their friends, and everybody seemed to be happy
except Guy. He was indeed losing courage; and if he could have blotted
out the events of that afternoon, he would have given everything he ever
hoped to possess to have been safe under his father’s roof again. He had
not yet got fairly out into the “wide, wide world,” of which he had so
often dreamed, had encountered none of its trials and vicissitudes, and
yet he knew as well as though he had already tried it, that the struggle
he was about to commence would prove too much for him. The longer he
thought about it the more nervous and uneasy he became, until at last he
could not sit still, or bear to remain in the cabin. The air seemed hot
and almost stifling, and the merriment of the passengers grated harshly
on his ears. Arising to his feet he made his way to the deck, and for
four long hours paced back and forth, all unmindful of the wind and the
big drops of rain that now and then dashed into his face.

At last, overcome with fatigue and excitement, he sought his state-room.
Bob had already turned in, and was snugly tucked away in the lower bunk.
He appeared to be asleep, for his eyes were closed and he breathed
heavily.

Guy hastily divested himself of his damp garments, and hanging them upon
the hooks that were screwed into the bulk-head, climbed into his bunk
and was soon in a deep slumber. He was aroused once during the night by
some one moving about the room; but it was only Bob, who, in reply to an
inquiry from Guy, said that he had been on deck to see how things were
going, and that it was raining buckets and blowing great guns. Guy
quickly went off into the land of dreams again, lulled by the rocking of
the vessel, but about daylight was awakened by the pangs of seasickness.

All that forenoon he suffered greatly, and was a most forlorn-looking
object indeed. Bob, who was as lively as a cricket, faithfully attended
to all his wants, and shortly after dinner brought him a lemon and a
piece of toast. When he had taken a little of the juice of the former,
and a few mouthfuls of the latter, he felt better, and was able, with
Bob’s help, to put on his clothes and go on deck. While the two boys
were conversing and watching the white-caps as they rolled toward them,
the steward approached, and addressing himself to Guy, said:

“Please walk up to the clerk’s office.”

“To pay your fare, you know,” added Bob, seeing that Guy did not quite
understand. “I settled mine this morning.”

“Oh, yes. I have been so sick that I forgot all about that. Lend me your
arm, please. I haven’t yet got my sea legs on.”

Bob complied, and in a few minutes the two boys were standing before the
clerk, who drew the book containing the passenger list toward him, and
asked, as he held his pen poised in the air:

“What name?”

“Guy—John Thomas,” replied the seasick runaway, who would have given his
true name had not Bob pinched his arm just in time to prevent it.

“Guy John Thomas,” repeated the clerk, as he entered the name in his
book. “Where to?”

“Chicago.”

“Eight dollars.”

Guy thrust his hand into the pocket of his trousers, and a look of blank
amazement suddenly overspread his pale face. The pocket was empty. He
felt in the other, and finally searched everywhere about his clothes,
but nothing in the shape of a purse could be found.

“My gracious!” gasped Guy.

“What’s the matter?” asked his companion.

“Matter!” Guy almost shouted; “matter enough. I’ve lost my pocket-book.”

“No!” exclaimed Bob, looking surprised.

“But I say _yes_!” shrieked Guy; “and with it I have lost every cent I
had in the world. Oh! what shall I do?”

“It can’t be possible,” said Bob, feeling of his friend’s pockets. “Look
again.”

“Oh, haven’t I looked everywhere already?” demanded Guy, the tears
starting to his eyes as he begun another thorough examination of his
clothing. “It’s lost, I tell you.”

“Perhaps you left it in your valise. Let’s go and look.”

“No, I didn’t. I put it in my pocket yesterday, and I didn’t once take
it out. Oh, dear! oh, dear!”

The clerk laid down his pen, leaned his elbows on the desk before him,
and waited to see what Guy was going to do about it, and the latter,
having satisfied himself that the money was not to be found about his
person, allowed Bob to lead him off to his state-room. With frantic
haste he overhauled the bundle and tumbled the contents of his valise
upon the floor, but no purse rewarded his search. Then he looked under
his pillow, and into every corner in the room, but with no better
success.

“It’s no use; it’s gone,” screamed Guy, throwing himself upon Bob’s bunk
and giving away to a torrent of tears, “and here I am without a copper
in my pocket, and no friend to help me! I can’t go back home, and I
don’t know what to do. I wish I was dead. Have you got any money, Bob?”

“Not a dollar; not even half a dollar. I had just enough to pay my fare,
and expected to look to you for a few dimes. We’re in a fix, that’s
certain. When we reach Chicago we shall be strapped as flat as pancakes,
and in a strange city, too. I’ll go and speak to the skipper. Perhaps he
can do something for you.”

Bob easily found the captain, who listened patiently while he stated his
friend’s case, and accompanied him to the presence of Guy, to whom he
propounded a few inquiries: Had he any idea where he lost his money?
Might he not have dropped it or had his pocket picked before he came on
board the propeller. Had he seen any stranger in his room the night
before? and had he any relatives or friends in Chicago? To all these
questions Guy replied in the negative. The captain looked thoughtfully
at the floor for a moment, said it was a hard case, but he didn’t see
that he could do anything, and turning on his heel he left the room,
while Bob seated himself on the edge of his bunk, and looked at his
friend with a very sympathizing expression on his countenance.

A dozen times that afternoon Guy searched all his pockets, examined the
contents of his valise and bundle, and peeped into every part of the
state-room, hoping that in his hurry and excitement he had overlooked
the purse, and that it would yet come to light; but he as often
abandoned the search in utter despair, and threw himself upon the bunk
to indulge in a fresh burst of tears. Bob lent willing assistance, and
tried to utter words of consolation, but these did not help Guy. He did
not want sympathy, but money.

About four o’clock the door opened, admitting the steward.

“Have you found it yet?” he asked.

“No,” sobbed Guy, “and I never shall.”

“Did you lose all you had?”

“Every red cent.”

“Then, of course, you can’t pay your fare to Chicago. I have been
talking to the captain about you, and he says you must go ashore the
first landing we make, which will be at Saginaw. In the meantime you
will have to give up this room and go into the steerage. You will find
an empty bunk there.”

“Oh, I haven’t got any bed-clothes, and how am I to sleep on those hard
boards?” exclaimed Guy.

“I don’t know I am sure. But you will have it to do, if you sleep at
all. We have three or four passengers who slept on chairs in the cabin
last night, and I must put one of them in here.”

Guy covered his face with his hands and cried lustily.

“Come, come! Shoulder your dunnage and clear out! I am in a hurry,” said
the steward sharply.

Guy saw that he had no alternative. Slowly arising from his bunk he
picked up his valise, while Bob took his bundle, and together they went
their way to the steerage. It looked ten-fold more dingy and forbidding
now than it did when Guy first saw it. He did not think he could live
there, and told Bob so.

“Nonsense!” said his companion. “You will live in worse places than this
before you see the Rocky Mountains. But I’d be a man if I were you, Guy.
Choke down your tears.”

“Oh, yes; it’s all well enough for you to talk, for you’ve nothing to
trouble you. Your passage is paid and you’ve a nice room to sleep in.
But you won’t go to Chicago, will you?”

“Why not?”

“And leave me alone?”

“I don’t see that I can help it. I have paid my passage, and I might as
well go on.”

“But, Bob, what shall I do without you?”

“A fellow can’t live in this world without money, Guy, and if I go
ashore in the woods how am I going to earn any?”

“How am _I_ going to earn any?” retorted Guy with more pluck and
independence than he had yet exhibited. “But I see what you are at very
plainly. You want to go back on me.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do; and I don’t care either. If you want to desert me while I
am in trouble, do it. I don’t ask any odds of you. All I want you to do
is to keep away from me from this time forward. Don’t speak to me, or
even look at me. But bear one thing in mind—we must both struggle for an
existence now, and I’ll come to the top of the heap first.”

As Guy said this he snatched the bundle from Bob’s hand, pitched it,
with the valise, into one of the empty bunks, and turning square about
left the steerage.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                          GUY FINDS A FRIEND.


POOR GUY! his misfortunes were following close upon the heels of one
another. He had looked upon the loss of his money as the greatest of
calamities, but now a worse had befallen him. He was at swords’ points
with Bob Walker, and he did not see how he could get on without him. Bob
was so self-reliant, and could so easily adapt himself to circumstances
that Guy had already learned to lean upon him. Fully sensible of his own
lack of courage and independence, he wanted somebody to advise and
sympathize with him. Longing to get away by himself where he could brood
over his sorrows to his heart’s content, he hurried out of the steerage,
and was making his way aft, when he ran plump into the arms of some one.
It was the steward.

“Ah! this will never do,” said the officer. “Steerage passengers are not
allowed abaft the waist.”

“Eh?” exclaimed Guy.

“Come here,” said the steward, “and I will explain what I mean. Do you
see this gangway that runs athwartships? Well, you mustn’t come any
nearer the stern than that. Go for’ard now.”

Guy started in obedience to his command, and just then the supper-bell
rung. The first to answer the summons was Bob Walker, who went into the
wash-room and tucked up his sleeves preparatory to performing his
ablutions. Guy went in also, and followed his movements.

Having recovered from his seasickness by this time, he was, of course,
very hungry, and the savory odors that came from the cabin every time
the door was opened served to quicken his appetite. He hung up his cap,
and was about to turn on the water, when the ubiquitous steward once
more appeared.

“Now, pard, this won’t do, either,” said he, taking hold of the boy’s
arm and waving his hand toward the door.

“Why not?” demanded Guy, trying to throw off the steward’s grasp. “I
want to wash before supper, don’t I?”

“If you do you will find plenty of buckets on the main deck.”

“I am not in the habit of washing in buckets, and I sha’n’t do it,”
replied Guy, greatly astonished.

“Oh, that’s the way the wind sets, is it?” exclaimed the steward,
changing his tone and manner in an instant. “You’re standing on your
dignity, are you, you dead beat? Now mark you,” he added, shaking his
finger in the boy’s face, “if I catch you as far aft as this gangway
again I’ll walk you for’ard by the nape of the neck. Now get out o’
this! Out you go, with a jump.”

Guy did not go with a jump exactly, but he went with a very strong push,
for the steward, exerting all his strength, flung him headlong through
the door, and kicked his cap after him. Bob stood by, wiping his hands,
and, as Guy made his hasty exit, he chuckled audibly, and gave the
steward an approving wink.

When he went into the cabin to supper he jingled some silver in his
pocket, and shook his head in a very wise and knowing manner.

“You’ll come out at the top of the heap before I do, will you?” he
soliloquized. “It looks like it now, does it not? You’re not sharp
enough to make your way in this wicked world, my innocent young friend.
I was as poor as you were yesterday morning, and now I’ve got forty
dollars to help me along. A fig for such fellows as you! I am better off
without you.”

Guy, filled with rage and grief, picked up his cap and made his way
forward. He fully realized now what it was to be adrift in the world.
With no money in his pocket, no friend to whom he could go for advice or
assistance, and with the prospect before him of being put off the boat
in a strange place and among strange people, his situation was indeed a
trying one.

He glanced into the steerage as he walked by the door, but could not
make up his mind to enter. It looked gloomy in there, and the occupants
stared at him so rudely that he hurried on, anxious to get out of their
sight.

“A man is no man unless he has money in his pocket,” said the runaway to
himself. “Everybody is down on me now, because I am broke. It beats me
where that purse could have gone so suddenly. I know it was in my pocket
last night when I hung up my clothes, for I heard it strike against the
bulk-head. If it were not for that safe scrape I’d work my way home on
some vessel, take the whipping I know I’d get, and settle down with the
determination to behave myself. But I shall never see home again, for I
shall starve to death. I brought no provisions with me, and I can’t
raise the money to buy a seat at the second table. I sha’n’t get a bite
to eat until I reach Saginaw, and then I shall have to beg it.”

A bright prospect this for the boy who had so confidently expected to
find nothing but fair weather and plain sailing before him! Instead of
leaving all his troubles at home, he was running into others that he had
never dreamed of.

“Here you are!” exclaimed a cheery voice at his elbow. “Come in and take
a bite with us.”

Guy, who had been walking along with his eyes fastened thoughtfully on
the deck, looked up and found himself in front of an open door that led
into the quarters occupied by the crew of the propeller, who were
engaged in eating their supper. In one corner of the room was a huge
mess-chest, which did duty as a table, and the sailors sat around it,
holding their plates on their knees.

Guy stopped and took a good look at the man whose voice had aroused him
from his reverie, and recognized him at once as one of the wheelsmen. He
was a man rather past the prime of life, with grizzly hair and whiskers,
and hands and face as brown as an Indian’s. Although he was somewhat
better dressed than the majority of his companions, and had doubtless
bestowed a little pains upon his toilet before sitting down to supper,
he was a rough-looking fellow, but still there was something in the mild
blue eye which beamed from under his shaggy brows that won Guy’s heart
at once.

“You’re the lad who lost his money, ain’t you?” continued the sailor.

“Yes, I am,” replied Guy, almost ready to cry again.

“Haven’t you nary shot in the locker?”

“Not one. I’m dead broke.”

“Never mind,” said the sailor kindly, seeing that Guy’s eyes were
rapidly filling with tears. “I’ve known many a man in my time in the
same fix. Why, bless you, when I was your age I used to think no more of
it than I did of eating my regular allowance of salt horse or standing
my trick at the wheel. Haven’t had any supper, have you?”

“No; nor I can’t get any, either.”

“Yes, you can. Walk up to that table and call for what you want. We’ve
four darkey waiters, but they’ve all gone out to the galley after the
plum-pudding. They’ll be in directly. When you have greased your
jaw-tackle with some of our turkey and other fine fixings, tell us how
you come to be out here so far from shore without a cent in your pocket
for ballast.”

Guy understood the invitation thus conveyed, and did not hesitate to
accept it. He did not wait for the darkies to come in with the
plum-pudding, and neither did he find “turkey and other fine fixings” on
the chest; but there was an abundant supply of good, wholesome food, and
Guy having found an empty plate helped himself most bountifully. His
spirits rose a little as his appetite became somewhat appeased, and in
compliance with the wheelsman’s repeated request he related the story of
his loss, to which everybody listened with interest. When he came to
tell that the steward had taken his room from him, and that the captain
had ordered that he must go ashore at the steamer’s first landing-place,
he could scarcely restrain his tears.

After he had finished his narrative some of the sailors questioned him
in regard to his history, but when they got through they knew no more
than when they begun, for Guy gave anything but truthful answers. The
wheelsman said nothing. He seemed to be thinking busily. When he had
laid aside his plate and filled a short, black pipe, which he drew from
his pocket, he beckoned to Guy, who followed him to the main deck.

“Now, then,” said the wheelsman as he and the runaway seated themselves
beside an open gangway, out of earshot of everybody, “you say your name
is John Thomas. Mine’s Dick Flint, and I’m glad to see you. How are
you?”

“Well enough in body, but rather uncomfortable in mind,” replied Guy as
he took the sailor’s hand and shook it cordially. “But, after all, I
feel better than I did an hour ago, for I’ve had something to eat.”

“I know how it seems to be hungry,” said the wheelsman. “Now, maybe you
wouldn’t lose nothing if you was to tell me your plans. What are you
going to do when you reach the Western country? Got any folks there?”

“I have an uncle, as I have already told you,” replied Guy, “but I don’t
know where he is. Indeed, I don’t much care; for since I left Syracuse I
have changed my mind about trying to find him. I am going to be a hunter
and trapper.”

“You are!” exclaimed Flint, measuring the boy with his eye.

“Yes. I am going out to the Rocky Mountains to fight Indians and grizzly
bears and make myself famous. There’s plenty of fun and excitement to be
found in that life, and I have always wanted to follow it.”

“If it is excitement you are after you had better go to sea. You’ll find
it there, take my word for it. I don’t know anything about this hunting
business, but you’ll need guns and traps, won’t you? And how are you
going to get them with your locker empty?”

“Yes, I shall need at least three hundred dollars; but where it is to
come from I don’t know. I must go to work and earn it somehow.”

“Did you ever follow any kind of business?”

“No; I have been to school all my life.”

“Well, you had better go a-sailoring with me. You can earn the money you
want in that way. You see, I don’t run here on the lakes—I belong
outside.”

“Outside?” repeated Guy.

“Yes, out on the ocean. I have sailed the blue water, man and boy, for
thirty-five years, and if I live I expect to sail it thirty-five more. I
left an old mother in Ohio when I went to sea—I ran away from her, like
a fool as I was—and for twenty years I never heard from her. At last I
found myself in Boston with a few hundreds in my pocket, and I thought I
would go back to the old place, and, if my mother was still above
hatches, the money I had saved would make her comfortable for the rest
of her days. But I didn’t find her,” said Flint, while a sorrowful
expression settled on his face—“never had a chance to tell her how sorry
I was that I had treated her so, and that if she would forgive me and
own me as her son once more I would try and make up for it. She had been
under the sod ten years, and the old place was in the hands of
strangers. Nobody knew me or ever heard of me. Of course I couldn’t stay
there, and hearing that there was a schooner in Chicago loading for
Liverpool, I went up and engaged a berth on her. Finding that she wasn’t
ready to sail, I shipped as wheelsman in this tub to go one trip to
Buffalo and back. The schooner will be off the ways and have her cargo
aboard by the time we get there, and if you say the word maybe I can
work you in as cabin-boy or something.”

“But you forget that I must leave this boat at Saginaw,” said Guy.

“No, I don’t. There’s more’n one way to get around that. Will you go?
That’s what I want to know?”

“I will, and I am under great obligations to you for the offer.”

“Belay that,” said the sailor. “I know what it is to be without money or
friends—I am used to it, but you ain’t, I can see that plain enough, and
I want to help you out. Now about your money—when did you see it last?”

The loss of the purse was a matter that the wheelsman inquired into very
particularly. He questioned Guy closely for ten minutes, and having
finished his pipe, knocked the ashes from it and arose to his feet.

“I must go on watch now,” said he. “When you get ready to go to bed,
tumble into my bunk. There’s room enough in it for both of us, and any
of the boys will show you where it is. Keep up a good heart and you’ll
come out all right. I’ll make a sailor man of you.”

Flint walked off, leaving Guy sitting silent and thoughtful. His mind
was relieved of a great load of anxiety, for he had found somebody to
lean upon. And this new friend was more to his liking than the one he
had lost, for he had more confidence in him. Having been a wanderer upon
the face of the earth for thirty-five years, Flint of course knew all
about his position and was fully competent to give advice in any
emergency. But still there was one objection to him. Guy would have
thought more of him if he had been a hunter instead of a sea-faring man.
He did not want to go before the mast for he was too firmly wedded to
his idea of living in the woods. He had thought and dreamed of it for
years, and he clung to it still.

“This sailoring will be a merely temporary business,” thought Guy, “and
perhaps it is after all the best thing I could do. I am well enough
acquainted with city life to know that I can’t make much money at
anything just now, having no trade or profession. The only course open
to me is to go into a store or office, and there I could command but
three or four dollars a week, out of which I should have to pay my
board, so I could not save anything. I may be able to earn eight or ten
dollars a month as cabin-boy, and as I shall be under no expense for
board of course I shall have all my money at the end of the voyage.
Besides, while I am earning the three hundred dollars I need, I shall be
getting used to hard fare and hard weather, and consequently I shall be
in better condition to begin my career as a hunter. I shall adopt
Flint’s plan, for I don’t think I could do better.”

Having come to this conclusion Guy made his way to the sailors’ quarters
and went to bed in a very happy frame of mind.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER IX.

                          THE BUCKSKIN PURSE.


DURING the next two days Guy was as light of heart as a boy could
possibly be. He messed and bunked with the sailors, and soon begun to
feel so much at home among them that he would not have gone back into
the cabin if he had been allowed the privilege. It is true he sometimes
told himself that these unkempt, swaggering fellows in blue flannel
shirts and canvas trousers were not just the sort of men that he had
been in the habit of associating with at home. But after all he cared
very little for that. He expected to mingle with rough characters and
lead a rough life all his days, and the sooner he commenced the sooner
he would get used to it.

He saw the steward occasionally, but that worthy never noticed him. He
knew of course that Guy could not leave the steamer until she made a
landing, and if in the meantime the crew were disposed to take him and
care for him, it was no concern of his. All he wanted of Guy was to keep
away from that part of the vessel devoted to the use of the cabin
passengers.

Guy also saw Bob Walker every day, but never spoke to him. Indeed he was
not allowed an opportunity, for whenever Bob caught a glimpse of him he
would throw up his head, stick his cigar (and he always had one in his
mouth) up toward his right cheek, and walk off with all the independence
imaginable. This always made Guy very angry.

“He thinks he is some, but he’ll be glad to sulk away and hide himself
before we reach Chicago,” soliloquized Guy. “He smokes at least ten or a
dozen cigars every day; and twelve cigars at ten cents each amount to a
dollar and twenty cents—in two days, two dollars and forty cents. He
told me he didn’t have half a dollar in his pocket; and if that was the
truth, where does he get those cigars? I don’t wonder Flint suspects
him. I would have suspected him myself if I had been sharp.”

On the evening of the fourth day after leaving Norwall, Flint hurried
into the crew’s quarters, where Guy was dreaming away the time in his
bunk, and shook him roughly by the shoulder.

“Roll out now,” said he. “Saginaw is close by. We shall be alongside the
pier in half an hour, and you must be ready to get off. Where’s your
dunnage?”

“Here it is,” said Guy, pulling his valise and bundle out of an empty
berth.

“What have you got in that carpet-sack? I heard something rattle, and
you lift it as though it was heavy.”

“So it is. I’ve got my hunting equipments in here.”

“Roll ’em out, and let’s have a look at ’em.”

Guy accordingly produced the key and unlocked his valise. The sailor
looked into it, examined the contents, and said:

“You can’t take them things on board ship with you, and you might as
well get rid of them one time as another. Chuck ’em overboard.”

Guy was astonished, and at first felt like flatly refusing to obey the
order. He had been to considerable trouble and some expense to collect
the articles comprising the outfit, and he could not bear to part with
them. But after a little reflection he thought better of it, and
gathering them all up in his arms, he went to the door, looked up and
down the deck to make sure that there was no one in sight, and threw
them into the water.

The hunting-knife, on the handle of which he had intended to score a
notch for every grizzly bear he “rubbed out;” the lead, which, melted
into bullets, was to have created such havoc among the buffaloes and
antelopes of the prairie; the traps that were to have made him rich and
famous—all went down among the fishes. The rubber blankets alone
remained afloat, and after giving a melancholy flap or two, as if
bidding him farewell, faded from his view in the fast-gathering
twilight.

“Now,” said the wheelsman, when Guy came back to him, “what’s in that
bundle? Your clothes? Well, put ’em into your carpet-sack, and while
you’re doing it, listen to what I have to say. I must talk fast, for
both me and my partner have to be at the wheel when we make a landing.
By the time we reach the pier it will be pitch dark. As soon as the
gang-plank is out, take your dunnage and go ashore. Follow a long
wood-pile which you will find on the pier until you come to the shore
end of it, and then round to and come back to the propeller on the
opposite side. Do you understand? I shall be relieved from the wheel by
that time, and I’ll be standing on deck just over the after gangway.
You’ll see me, and you must keep watch of me, too, for when the coast is
clear I’ll wave my hat, and you must run up the gang-plank and dodge
into the engineers’ locker. You know where that is, don’t you?”

“Yes; but what will the engineers say if they see me going in?”

“Nothing. I’ve talked it all over with them, and they said I might stow
you away in there. They’re sorry for you because you lost your money.
Behind the door of the locker you’ll find a chest with a blanket and
pillow in it, and all you’ve got to do is to turn in and keep still. You
can lay there as snug as a bug in a rug, for nobody except the engineers
ever goes near that locker, and they won’t bother you.”

“Flint!” shouted the mate on watch at this moment.

“Ay, ay, sir!” answered the sailor. “I must go to the wheel now. Can you
remember what I have said?”

“Yes, I can,” replied Guy.

“Be careful that no one sees you when you come aboard,” said Flint
earnestly, “or you’ll get me and the engineer in hot water.”

So saying, the wheelsman hurried away, and Guy sat down on one of the
bunks near the door to wait until the propeller reached the shore. She
had scarcely touched the pier when the steward came up.

“Ah, here you are!” he exclaimed, slapping Guy familiarly on the
shoulder. “I have been looking for you. It is time you were making
yourself scarce about here.”

“I am going as soon as the gang-plank is shoved out,” replied Guy.

“But I want to _see_ you go. I am well posted in the tricks of you
dead-beats, and can’t be fooled easy. Come on. That isn’t all your
baggage,” he added as Guy picked up his valise. “You had a bundle when
you came on board.”

“If you are better acquainted with my business than I am, you had better
attend to it,” replied the boy, who did not like the steward’s
domineering tone. “I guess I know what I am doing.”

He pushed past the officer as he spoke, and started down the stairs. On
the way he met with Bob Walker, who was loitering around on purpose to
see him off.

Bob winked at the steward and nodded familiarly to Guy, who returned the
recognition with a savage scowl. When the latter disappeared down the
stairs, Bob seated himself on the railing, and drawing a buckskin purse
from his pocket, shook it in his closed hands, and smiled complacently.
If one might judge by the loud jingling of its contents, the purse was
well filled.

“Now, my young boy,” said the steward, when he and Guy had descended the
gang-plank that led to the pier, “I shall stand here until I see you
safely ashore. Good-by, and the next time you start out on your travels,
be sure you’ve got money in your pocket.”

Guy bolted off without saying a word in reply. The extraordinary
interest the steward took in his movements was something he had not
bargained for, and he was very much afraid that he might not succeed in
returning to the steamer without being seen by him or some one else who
would order him ashore again.

What could he do in that case? Saginaw, what little he was able to see
of it by the aid of the light from the lanterns and torches on the pier,
was not a cheerful-looking place. More than that, he did not know a soul
there; and where could he go to pass the night and find a breakfast the
next morning? The only friend he had that side of Norwall was the
wheelsman, and sooner than lose him he would do something desperate.

Casting his eye over his shoulder occasionally, he saw that the steward
was not only keeping watch of him, but that he was following him to see
that he went ashore.

There were two others watching him also—Bob Walker, who was perched upon
the rail, and Dick Flint, who stood at the foot of the stairs leading to
the wheel-house.

“Bob is very anxious to see the last of me,” said Guy to himself, “and
that, in my opinion, is another proof that he stole my money. But he
isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, and neither is the steward. With
Flint’s help I can fool them both. There’s no use in spoiling things by
being in too great a hurry. The crew are getting ready to wood-up, so I
shall have plenty of time.”

Guy made his way along the wood-pile, but when he reached the end of it
he could not “round to and come up on the other side,” as the sailor had
told him to do, so he kept straight ahead, and having reached the shore,
stopped in the shadow of a warehouse. Neither Bob nor the steward could
see him there, but as the pier and the steamer were brilliantly lighted
up, he could observe their every movement.

He saw the steward, who had followed him to the end of the wood-pile,
gaze steadily at the warehouse for a few minutes, and then turn about,
go back to the propeller, and disappear in the gangway. Bob also left
his perch after a little delay, and that was a signal to Guy to bestir
himself.

He ran quickly down the bank to the pier, and throwing himself on his
hands and knees behind the wood-pile, made his way toward the steamer,
dragging his valise after him. In a few seconds more he was crouching
close at the edge of the pier, waiting impatiently for a sign from Dick
Flint, who was walking slowly up and down the deck.

Bob Walker, having seen Guy disappear behind the warehouse, drew a long
breath of relief, and pulled a fresh cigar from his pocket.

“He has gone at last,” said he, “and I am safe. His presence for the
last three days has been a perfect torture to me; but from this time
forward I shall stand in no fear of discovery. There comes the steward,
and I might as well have a glass of ale.”

Bob was very observing, and the Queen of the Lakes had not been many
hours out of the port of Norwall before he began to learn something. He
noticed that there were two or three gentlemen among the cabin
passengers who made regular hourly visits to some place abaft the cabin,
and that when they came back they were either smoking fragrant cigars or
wiping their lips as if they had something good to eat or drink. Bob
made it his business to follow them on one of their excursions, and
found that they stopped in front of a little bar kept by the steward.
After that Bob went there on his own responsibility, and became one of
the best customers at the bar. As he always paid for what he got, and
seemed to have plenty of money, the steward cultivated his acquaintance,
and was ready to serve him with a cigar or a glass of ale at any hour of
the day or night.

On this particular evening, as Bob made his way aft, a sailor followed
him at a respectful distance. While he stood at the bar, the man, who
was partially concealed behind a stanchion, took off his hat and waved
it once or twice in the air, whereupon a figure which was crouching at
the end of the wood-pile sprung up and darted into the gangway like a
flash. It was Guy Harris.

Rapid as his movements were, however, he did not succeed in entering the
gangway without discovery; for Bob, having received some change from the
steward, who at once closed the bar and went off, faced about, and while
putting the money away in his purse, happened to cast his eye toward the
pier just in time to see Guy jump up from behind the wood-pile. He
thought he recognized him, and to make sure of it leaned quickly over
the side and obtained a good view of him.

“Now that plan won’t work, my young friend,” he exclaimed, and so
astonished was he that he spoke the words aloud. “It will never do to
let you stay here. I’ll have you put off again before you are five
minutes older.”

Bob hastily put the purse into his pocket and was hurrying forward when
he found himself brought to a stand-still by a burly fellow who suddenly
stepped before him and blocked up his path.

“Hold hard there!” said the latter. “Where are you going?”

“I want to find the steward,” answered Bob, trying to crowd by the
sailor.

“Hold hard there, I say!” repeated the man, seizing Bob by the collar
and pushing him back. “What do you want to see the steward for?”

“What’s that to you, you insolent fellow? Let me pass, and don’t dare
put your hand on me again. If you do, I will report you to the captain.”

“Oh, you will, will you? Come on, there’s the old man on the pier.”

Flint, for it was he, linked his brawny arm through Bob’s and made a
motion to pull him toward the stairs, but the boy drew back.

“Why don’t you come on?” cried the wheelsman. “I thought you wanted to
report me to the cap’n. What have you got to say to the steward, I ask
you?”

“There’s a fellow below who is going to steal a ride to Chicago,”
replied Bob, alarmed at the man’s tone and manner.

“No, he hain’t,” said Flint. “He’s only come back to get his money. Hand
it out here.”

Bob’s assurance was pretty well frightened out of him by these words.
His secret was not safe after all. He made a strong effort to keep up
his courage.

“Hand what out?” he asked, trying to assume a look of injured innocence.

“Oh, you don’t know nothing about it, do you? I want that buckskin purse
that you just put into your pocket. There’s fifteen dollars in it, or
ought to be, and you stole it from your room-mate on the first night out
from Norwall. Hand it over, I say.”

“I didn’t steal any money. You didn’t see me put any buckskin purse into
my pocket, and I haven’t got any, either. The best thing you can do is
to let me pass.”

“You needn’t put on no frills with me, ’cause they won’t go down. You
didn’t know that the curtain of the window of your state-room was up
that night, did you? You didn’t think I saw you when you took that purse
out of your room-mate’s pocket, did you? Well, I did; and I heard you
tell him when he asked you what you were doing, that you had been out on
deck to see how things were going on, and that it was raining buckets
and blowing great guns butt-end foremost. Aha!” he added, seeing that an
expression of unbounded astonishment overspread Bob’s pale face. “I know
all about it, don’t I? I stood here, too, while you were loafing at that
bar, and saw you take that same purse from your pocket and pay for a
glass of something out of it. And there it is, right there,” said Flint,
making a sudden dash at the boy’s pocket and clutching it and its
contents with a firm grasp. “Now hand it out without no more words, or
I’ll walk you down to the old man and have you locked up for a thief. I
sha’n’t ask you again.”

Bob was utterly confounded. The conversation between him and Guy on the
first night out had taken place just as the sailor had repeated it, and
that was the time he had stolen the purse from his friend’s pocket. But
how in the world could the theft have been found out? Guy did not see
him take the money, for he was asleep. Beyond a doubt Flint told the
truth when he said that he had observed the whole proceeding. Overcome
with fear and rage Bob could not speak. Mistaking his silence for
obstinacy, the wheelsman seized him by the collar and began dragging him
toward the stairs, intending to take him before the captain. Then Bob
found his tongue very speedily.

“Hold on,” he cried. “If I give you the money will you promise that you
won’t blow on me?”

“I’ll keep still if you do; but if I hear you lisp a word about a
fellow’s trying to steal a ride to Chicago I’ll have you locked up as
sure as you’re alive. Now,” he added, as Bob placed the purse in his
hands, “how much have you spent out of it?”

“Just ten cents.”

“Well, hand it out here. I must have fifteen dollars. Not a red less
will satisfy me.”

“I have nothing smaller than a dollar.”

“Then give me that. I’ll take it for interest.”

Bob did not dare refuse. He gave the money to the wheelsman, who said,
as he put it away in the purse:

“Now go into your room, and don’t show your face on deck again until
this vessel is well under way. Keep a still tongue in your head and I’ll
do the same.”

Bob, glad enough to get out of the man’s sight, at once started for the
cabin. Flint watched him out of sight and then rolled off toward the
wheel-house, winking and nodding his head as if he were highly gratified
at what he had done.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER X.

                       WHAT BOB FOUND IN CHICAGO.


GUY HAVING, as he supposed, made his way on board the propeller without
being seen by anybody, ran with all possible speed toward the
engine-room, keeping a good lookout on all sides for fear of meeting the
steward who, as he had learned to his cost, had a way of turning up most
unexpectedly. That officer was not in sight, however, but somebody else
was, as Guy found when he entered the engineer’s room. It was the
striker, who was busy oiling the machinery.

The runaway stopped, undecided what to do. The man, hearing the sound of
his footsteps, looked up, and after casting his eyes all about him,
nodded encouragingly, and pointed with his thumb over his shoulder
toward the door of the locker, which stood invitingly open. This
reassured Guy, who started forward again, and in less time than it takes
to tell it, was snugly curled away in the box behind the door.

The engineer came in soon afterward to put away his oil can, and when he
went out he locked the door after him.

Guy felt perfectly safe then, and told himself that there was no danger
of discovery. No one came near the locker until the propeller was well
out from Saginaw, and then Flint appeared, carrying under his arm a
bundle wrapped up in a newspaper.

“Well, our plans worked all right, didn’t they?” said he, and he seemed
as highly elated as Guy himself. “You couldn’t have a better
hiding-place than this. The steward would never think of looking for you
here, even if he knew you were on board, which he doesn’t. There’s only
one in the secret beside me and the engineers, and that’s the friend who
stole your money.”

“Bob Walker!” gasped Guy. “How did he find it out?”

“He saw you when you came aboard.”

“Then my cake is all dough,” said Guy in great alarm. “He’ll blow on me
sure.”

“I’ll risk him, and insure his silence for a dime,” returned Flint.
“He’s afraid of me, and he’d better be; for if I hear of his trying to
get you into trouble, I’ll have him before the cap’n in less time than
he could say ‘hard a port’ with his mouth open. Here’s your purse. I
knew he had it.”

“Flint, you’re a good fellow,” said Guy, so overjoyed that he could not
speak plainly. “I never can repay you. How did you get it?”

“I saw him have it in his hand, and scared it out of him. I made him
believe that I was looking through the window when he took it out of
your pocket, and told him that if he didn’t hand it over, I’d have him
locked up. He spent ten cents of the money, but I made him give me a
dollar, so you’ve got ninety cents for interest. Here’s some bread and
cold meat I brought you,” said Flint as he deposited his bundle in one
corner of the chest. “You will have to live on it until we reach
Chicago, for it won’t be safe for me to come here very often. Somebody
might see me. You can walk around a little of nights, but don’t show
your face outside the locker in the day-time. Good-by.”

“Now that’s a friend worth having,” said Guy to himself, after the
wheelsman had gone out. “Nobody need tell me again that it is such hard
work to get on in the world. It’s sheer nonsense. One can always find
somebody to lend him a helping hand. I am as comfortable as I care to
be, and wouldn’t go home if I had the chance. I am my own master, and
can do as I please without asking anybody’s permission. I only wish
Flint was a hunter instead of a sailor.”

While these thoughts were passing through Guy’s mind, he was rummaging
about in the chest (it was as dark as a pocket in the locker), searching
for the bundle Flint had left. Having found it, he ate a few slices of
the bread and meat, and then pulling the blankets over his head, curled
up and went to sleep.

Before twenty-four hours had passed over his head Guy found occasion to
change his mind in regard to some things. He learned that it was exactly
the reverse of comfortable to be shut up in such close quarters. He grew
weary of this confinement, and longed to get out where he could see what
was going on; but he followed Flint’s instructions to the very letter.
He ventured out occasionally at night for five or ten minutes, but
during the day remained closely concealed, passing the time in sleeping
and pacing up and down his narrow prison. While he was taking his
exercise he was always on the alert, and the moment a key was inserted
into the lock or a hand placed upon the door-knob, he would jump into
his box and cover himself up with the blankets. Three days and nights
were spent in this way, and then Flint once more made his appearance.

“It’s all right now, my hearty,” said he cheerfully. “We’ll be in
Chicago in another hour, and you mustn’t waste any time in getting off
after the boat is made fast, for I sha’n’t breathe easy until I know you
are safe ashore.”

“Does anybody suspect anything?” asked Guy anxiously.

“Nobody except that friend of yours. He hasn’t said a word, and it is
just as well for him that he didn’t; but he’s been all over the steamer
a dozen times looking for you. How have you enjoyed yourself, anyhow?
Grub all gone yet?”

“Yes; and I’m as hungry as a wolf.”

“Never mind; we’ll have a good supper before long. Be careful that no
one sees you when you go off the boat.”

With this piece of advice Flint went out, and Guy, having placed his
valise close at hand, walked impatiently up and down the locker, waiting
for the propeller to make the landing.

Time moves on laggard wings when one is in a hurry, and Guy thought he
had never passed so long an hour before; but at last the engineer’s bell
rang, the jarring and rocking of the boat subsided into a gentle,
gliding motion, the capstan overhead began to groan and rattle, and
finally a heavy bump or two announced that the wharf had been reached.
Guy heard the men come down to shove out the gang-plank, and at the same
moment one of the engineers pushed open the door of the locker and
nodded to him—a signal previously agreed upon between him and Flint that
the coast was clear.

Guy picked up his valise and ran quickly through the engine-room, but
when he came within sight of the gangway he saw that the propeller was
still moving ahead, and that the gang-plank had not yet been pushed out.
More than that, his own enemy, the steward, was coming slowly down the
stairs, and Guy caught sight of him just in time to avoid discovery by
dodging into a dark passage-way.

As soon as the steamer’s headway was checked by the lines the gang-plank
was shoved out, and a man on the pier, who had been waiting for an
opportunity to come on board, ran up and was cordially greeted by the
steward.

“Halloo, Boyle!” exclaimed the officer as the two met at the foot of the
stairs, “what do you want here? Are you looking for anybody?”

“Yes, I am,” replied the man.

“It isn’t me, is it?” asked the steward with a laugh.

“No, not this time. I am after a couple of boys who are supposed to have
taken passage on this steamer from Norwall. Good-looking young fellows
they are, I judge from the description I have of them. One is tall and
slender, with light hair and blue eyes, is dressed in black and wears a
straw hat. His name is Guy Harris.”

“Great Scott!” thought the listening runaway, “it is all over with me
now.”

“I don’t know any boy of that name,” replied the steward, “but we
certainly had one aboard who answered to that description. He got off at
Saginaw, or rather, we put him off because he had no money. What is the
matter?”

“Nothing, only these two young rascals have run away from home, and I am
directed to detain them until their fathers arrive—that’s all. Harris
got off at Saginaw, you say? I don’t care; his father is rich, I hear,
and the more trouble I have to catch him the more money I shall make.
The other is short and thickset, with black hair and eyes, wears a blue
beaver overcoat, carries a small black valise, and is much given to
smoking good cigars. His name is Robert Walker.”

“I don’t know him by that name, but there is such a boy on board, and
here he comes now,” said the steward, as the sound of footsteps was
heard at the top of the stairs.

The steward and his companion turned their backs and appeared to be very
deeply interested in something that was occurring on the wharf, while
Guy, trembling with excitement and alarm, drew himself into as small a
compass as possible, and waited to see what was going to happen. He was
in momentary fear of discovery, for the two men were scarcely more than
twenty feet away, and must have seen him if they had once turned their
eyes in his direction.

The footsteps sounded nearer, and presently Bob Walker appeared, smoking
as usual. He carried his valise in one hand, and the other, being thrust
into the pocket of his trousers, held back his overcoat so as to show
the gold watch-chain that hung across his vest.

[Illustration: “The footsteps sounded nearer and presently Bob Walker
appeared smoking.”]

He nodded familiarly to the steward, and was about to pass down the
gang-plank when he who had been addressed as Boyle suddenly turned and
faced him. He gave a stage start, opened his eyes to their widest
extent, looked fixedly at the boy for a moment, and then slowly extended
his hand, greeting him with:

“Why, Bob, is it possible? How do you do? How _do_ you do, Bob Walker?
How’s your father and mother and all the rest of the good people of
Norwall? I didn’t expect to see you here. Give us a shake.”

Bob, taken completely by surprise, involuntarily extended his hand, but
suddenly recollecting himself, as quickly withdrew it.

“I didn’t expect to see you either,” said he; “but, as it happens,
you’ve made a mistake. My name is Wheeler.”

Bob’s attempt to appear easy and unconcerned was a miserable failure. He
knew who the man was, and what brought him there, for he accidentally
caught a glimpse of something on the under side of the lapel of his
coat. It was a detective’s shield!

Although his heart almost came up into his mouth, he did not lose his
courage. He tried to “brave it out,” but, of course, overdid the matter,
and his behavior was enough to have removed the last doubt as to his
identity, had any existed in the mind of the detective.

“And more than that,” continued Bob, “I don’t live in Norwall. My home
is in Omaha. Good-evening!”

“_Good_-evening,” said the detective. “No offense, I hope?”

“None whatever,” replied Bob politely. “We are all liable to make
mistakes.”

“You don’t happen to have a good cigar about your clothes, do you?” said
the officer.

Of course Bob had, for he was always well supplied, and promptly
produced one.

The detective put it between his teeth, and accepting Bob’s cigar,
applied the lighted end to his own, and puffed away until it was fairly
started, all the while running his eye over the face and figure of the
boy before him.

“Thank you,” said he; “we’ll smoke as we go along. If you are all ready,
I am. I see you understand the situation, so there’s no use in wasting
time in words. Your father will be along some time to-morrow, and any
little explanations you may want—why, he’ll give ’em to you. I guess we
had better be walking along now.”

“Haven’t you instructions to arrest somebody else?” asked Bob, with
wonderful courage and self-possession.

“Yes; but he doesn’t seem to be here. He was put off at Saginaw.”

“I know he was, but he didn’t stay put off. He is somewhere on this boat
now.”

“My gracious!” gasped Guy, squeezing himself closer against the
bulk-head.

“Oh, you’re mistaken,” said the steward, with some surprise in his
tones. “I saw him go off myself.”

“And I saw him come back,” insisted Bob. “He is concealed somewhere
among the cargo.”

“Humph!” exclaimed the engineer, who, while he pretended to be very busy
rubbing down the machinery, was listening to every word of the
conversation. “How could he live three days without a bite to eat or a
drop to drink?”

“That’s easy enough done when one makes up his mind to it,” said Bob.
“He’s on this vessel, and I know it. He is as deep in the mud as I am,
and I don’t want to go back without him. Won’t you look for him, Mr.
Officer?”

“No, I guess not,” answered the detective, who put more faith in the
steward’s story than he did in Bob’s. “I’ll find him, sooner or
later—you needn’t worry about that. We’d better go along now. Come on.”

Bob might still have continued to argue the matter, had not the
detective taken him gently but firmly by the arm and led him down the
gang-plank.

Guy, from his place of concealment, watched him until he disappeared in
the darkness, and that was the last he ever saw of him.

And what became of Bob after that? His adventures would make a long
story; but with them we have at present nothing to do. It will be enough
to say that he went home with his father, who arrived in Chicago the
next day; but he did not long remain with him. Although he heard nothing
to induce the belief that the attempt he had made upon Mr. Harris’ safe
was known, there were plenty who were acquainted with the fact that he
had run away from home, and that made him very discontented. The war
broke out shortly afterward, and Bob went into the service, enlisting as
landsman in the Mississippi squadron.

In two years, by bravery and sheer force of character (it is not always
the good who are prosperous, except in novels), he raised himself to the
rank of acting ensign, and held the position of executive officer of one
of the finest “tin-clads” in the fleet. But he was not satisfied with
this. The evil in his nature was too strong to be kept down, and with
his captain he entered into a conspiracy to surrender his vessel to the
rebels for a large amount of cotton—some say four hundred and fifty
thousand dollars’ worth.

Bob’s conspiracy was defeated through the vigilance of a young officer,
whose name is known to but few, and whose exploit, as far as I have been
able to learn, was never mentioned in the report of the Secretary of the
Navy.

Their villainous plot being discovered, Bob and his commanding officer
made their escape from the vessel one dark night, and that was the last
that was ever seen of them.

Guy saw all that transpired, and listened to the conversation between
Bob and the detective like one in a dream. He now looked upon the
temporary loss of his money as a blessing in disguise, for had he paid
his passage to Chicago his arrest would have been certain. But he felt
comparatively safe, for Boyle had been put on a wrong scent. It would
take him two or three days to go to Saginaw and back, and by that time,
if the schooner was ready to sail, Guy and his friend would be miles on
their way toward the Atlantic Ocean.

So fearful was he, however, that the detective might yet return and take
him into custody, or that he might be waiting on the wharf ready to
receive him when he came out, that Guy dared not leave his hiding-place.

He saw the steward go back up the stairs and the cabin passengers come
down and go ashore, but he did not move until the engineer stepped up
and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Look here, my friend,” said he, with some impatience in his tone,
“we’ve done all we could for you, and now you’d better be making tracks.
We don’t want you here any longer.”

The man’s looks indicated very plainly that, if he did not go off the
boat of his own accord and at once, he would be helped off, so Guy lost
no time in putting himself in motion. He caught up his valise, and
without stopping to thank the engineer for his kindness in allowing him
to use his locker for a hiding-place during the voyage, hurried down the
gang-plank, and stopped in the shadow of a building on the opposite side
of the wharf. There he was safe from observation, and there he remained
until he saw the wheelsman come ashore with his dunnage slung over his
shoulder.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XI.

                          THE BOARDING-HOUSE.


“OH, FLINT!” exclaimed Guy, running to meet the sailor, “you don’t know
how glad I am to see you. I have had a narrow escape, I tell you. I just
got away from an officer who captured Bob by the skin of my teeth.”

With this introduction Guy began the story of his recent adventure, to
which his companion listened with all his ears. He was surprised as well
as delighted to hear what had happened to Bob Walker, and hastened to
calm the fears of his young friend by assuring him that as long as he
followed in his (Flint’s) wake he was in no danger. In the first place,
he would take him where no detective would ever think of looking for
him; and in the second, they would remain in the city but a day or two
at the very furthest, and by the time Boyle could go to Saginaw and
back, they would be on their way to Liverpool and safe from pursuit.

Flint fulfilled the first part of his promise by conducting Guy to a
sailors’ boarding-house in an obscure street, where they ate supper and
took lodgings for the night. After breakfast the next morning they set
out in company to call upon the agent, whose business it was to ship the
crew that was to man the schooner during her voyage to Liverpool. They
found him at his office, and after listening to some astonishing stories
from Flint, who declared that Guy understood his business as cabin-boy,
having just been discharged from the propeller Queen of the Lakes, where
he had served in that capacity for the last two months, the agent was
finally induced to add the boy’s name to the shipping articles and pay
him his advance. Then, after a visit to a cheap clothing store, where
Flint purchased an outfit for Guy, they returned to the boarding-house
and thence made their way to their vessel, the Ossipee, which was almost
ready to sail.

During the first part of the voyage Guy had but little to complain of.
Although he was kept busy all the time, his duties were comparatively
light, the officers were kind, the food abundant and well cooked, and
the weather mild and agreeable. Guy even begun to think that a career on
the ocean-wave was, after all, very pleasant and desirable, and
sometimes had serious thoughts of abandoning his idea of becoming a
hunter and spending the remainder of his days upon the water. But even a
sailor’s life has its dark side, as he discovered when they reached the
Gulf of St. Lawrence. During a violent gale the schooner sprung a leak,
and from that time until she reached a port in Nova Scotia, into which
she put for repairs, Guy never once closed his eyes in sleep. He was
kept at the pumps until every bone and muscle in his body ached with
fatigue, and when relieved from them it was only to perform some other
duty equally laborious. It was all the crew could do to keep the
schooner afloat, and for five long, dreary days Guy stood face to face
with death in one of its most appalling shapes.

And what a change that storm made in the disposition of every man on
board! The officers raved and swore, and hastened obedience to their
orders by threatening to knock the men overboard with handspikes and
belaying pins. Guy, bewildered by the confusion and noise, and
frightened almost out of his senses by the danger he was in, was forever
getting into somebody’s way, and of course came in for the lion’s share
of abuse. He was kicked and cuffed every hour in the day and pushed
about as if he had no more feeling than the freight which was so
unceremoniously thrown overboard. Once the mate ordered him to “lay
for’d and lend a hand at the jib down-haul,” and while Guy was looking
about to see which way to go, the officer picked up a rope and brought
it down across his shoulders with a sounding whack. It might have fared
hard with Guy then had not Flint, who happened to overhear the order,
saved him from further punishment by hurrying forward and executing it
for him.

Port was reached at last, and we can imagine how relieved Guy was and
with what feelings of delight he listened to the speech the captain made
to the crew, in which he informed them that the vessel was so badly
damaged that she must go into the dry-docks again and that the hands
were to be discharged with three months’ pay. He packed up his dunnage
with great alacrity, and as he followed Flint over the side, declared
that he had seen enough of salt water to last him as long as he lived,
and that the rest of his life should be on shore.

“Why, you haven’t seen anything of a sailor’s life yet,” said his
companion. “I know we’ve had rather a rough time for the last week, but
that’s nothing. Of course one must work if he goes to sea, and so he
must if he follows any other business. You’ll see better times when you
are once fairly afloat.”

“But just look at the danger,” said Guy.

“Humph! look at the danger you’re in now while you are ashore,” returned
Flint. “Suppose, while we are passing along this row of buildings, that
a brick should fall from one of the chimneys and strike you on the head!
Where would you be? Or suppose you should accidentally put yourself in
the path of a runaway horse! Wouldn’t you be in danger then? The safest
place in the world is on shipboard. That’s a sailor’s doctrine.”

“But it isn’t my doctrine,” said Guy. “And another thing. I don’t like
to have a man swear at me and say that for two cents he would throw me
into the drink. If I am to be cuffed and whipped and jawed every day I
might as well be—somewhere.”

Guy was about to say that he might as well be at home, for he had run
away from it on purpose to escape such discipline. He came very near
exposing himself, for he had told Flint that he had no home, and he knew
that was the reason the sailor was so kind to him.

“And don’t you remember how that mate beat me with a rope?” added Guy.
“If you hadn’t taken my part he might have been pounding me yet, for I
didn’t know where to go to find the jib down-haul.”

“Oh, that’s nothing,” said Flint encouragingly. “A boy who goes to sea
may make up his mind to one thing, and that is, he’s going to get more
kicks than ha’pence. And it may not be his fault; but if he gets ’em
after he learns his duties, then it _is_ his fault. You didn’t see me
struck or hear anybody say he’d throw me overboard. That’s ’cause I know
my business and ’tend to it. But you will see better times after we get
fairly afloat. Halloo! let’s go in here and see what’s going on.”

Flint’s attention was attracted by the sound of voices and shouts of
laughter which issued from a very dingy-looking building they were at
that moment passing. Guy glanced up at the sign and saw that it was a
sailor’s boarding-house.

Flint opened the door that led into the public room, and Guy followed
him in. The boy did not like the looks of the apartment, for it too
vividly recalled to his mind the quarters occupied by the steerage
passengers on board the Queen of the Lakes. It was not much like the
steerage in appearance, but it was fully as gloomy and uninviting.

One side of the room was occupied with tables and chairs, and the other
by a small bar, at which cheap cigars and villainous liquors were kept
for sale. The floor was covered with sawdust, and littered with cigar
stumps and “old soldiers,” and the walls were discolored by tobacco
smoke, which filled the room almost to suffocation.

A party of sailors were seated at one of the tables, engaged in a game
of “sell out,” now and then laying down their cards for a few seconds to
bury their noses in tumblers of hot punch, which they kept stowed away
on little shelves under the table. They looked up as Flint and his
companion entered, and a man who was standing behind the bar, and who
seemed to be the proprietor of the house, came forward to relieve them
of their bundles, and inquired what he could do for them.

“Can you grub and lodge us ’till we find a ship?” asked Flint.

“Of course I can,” said the proprietor. “This is the very place to come.
Supper will be ready in an hour. Will you sit down by the stove and have
a drop of something warm?”

“I don’t mind. We’ve had a rough time outside for the last week, and
hain’t got warmed up yet.”

The sailor and his young companion drew a couple of chairs near the
stove, and sat down, whereupon a short, thickset man, who, seated in a
remote corner of the room, had been regarding them rather sharply ever
since they came in, arose and pulled his chair to Flint’s side.

“Did you say you want to ship?” he asked in a low tone, at the same time
casting a quick glance toward the card players.

“Yes,” replied the sailor, running his eye over the man; “but we hain’t
in no hurry about it.”

“Well, I am in a great hurry to raise a crew, and should like to get one
to-night. I am second mate of the clipper Santa Maria, bound for
Honolulu—forty dollars advance. Better say you’ll put your name down.
Best ship you ever sailed in, and you’ll find every thing lovely aboard
her. The cap’n’s a gentleman. Ask him for a chaw of tobacco, and you’ll
have to mind your eye or get knocked overboard with a whole plug of it,
and the mates ain’t none of your loblolly boys neither. What do you
say?”

“Say no, mate,” exclaimed one of the card players, all of whom had
paused in their game to hear what the mate had to say to Flint. “Don’t
go near the bloody hooker.”

“What’s the matter with her?” asked Flint.

“Why, she’s got a crew aboard she never discharges, and who don’t sign
articles,” answered the sailor.

“Then I guess I won’t ship,” said Flint, picking up his chair and moving
it nearer the players.

“You’d better not. She’s been trying for three days to find a crew—the
cap’n, both the mates, and all the shipping agents in port have been
running about the streets looking for hands, but everybody who knows her
is shy of her. She has borne a hard name from the day she was launched.”

“And all through just such fellows as you are!” cried the mate, jumping
to his feet, his face red with anger. “Don’t I wish I had you with me
just one more voyage? I’d haze you until you were ready to jump
overboard.”

“But you’ll never have me with you another voyage,” said the sailor,
with a laugh. “One cruise in the Santa Maria is as much as I can stand.
Ay, you had better go!” he continued, as the mate buttoned his coat and
hurried toward the door. “You’re no good here, and you’ll never raise a
crew until you call on the sharks.”

“Look out that I don’t get you in that way, my hearty,” exclaimed the
mate, as he slammed the door behind him.

The sailors once more turned to their cards, and Flint moved back beside
Guy. At this moment the landlord came up, bringing on a tray two glasses
filled with some steaming liquor. Flint took them off the tray and
placed them on the floor behind the stove.

“What did that sailor mean when he said that the Santa Maria had a crew
who don’t sign articles?” asked Guy in a whisper.

“He meant ghosts,” replied Flint.

“Ghosts?” repeated Guy. “Humph!”

“Hold on there, and don’t say ‘humph’ till you know what you’re talking
about,” said the sailor sharply.

“Why, Flint, there are no such things. You surely don’t believe in
them?”

“I surely do, though.”

“You have never seen one.”

“Avast there!” exclaimed Flint.

“Have you, really? What did it look like?”

“They take different shapes. I’ve seen them that looked like rats, and
I’ve seen ’em that looked like black cats. Sometimes you can’t see ’em
at all, and them kind is the worst, for they’re the ones that talks.
Once, when I was a youngster, a little older than you, I sailed in a
ship out of Boston. One night it blew such a gale that it took
twenty-six of us to furl the mainsail, and we were almost an hour in
doing it, too. We lost one man overboard while we were about it, and
every night after that when the order was given to lay aloft to loose or
furl the sails, we were certain to find Dave Curry there before us
working like a trooper. Oh, it’s gospel,” said Flint earnestly, seeing
that an expression of incredulity settled on the face of his young
companion; “’cause I saw him often with my own eyes, and what I tell you
I have seen, you may put down as the truth. Shortly after that I sailed
in a brig whose bell every night when the mid-watch was called struck
four times, and no one ever went near it.”

“Who struck it then, if no one went near it?” demanded Guy, not yet
convinced.

“The ghost of a quartermaster, and a man-o’-wars man who was lost
overboard when the brig made her first cruise. The last voyage I made
was in a ship bound around the Cape. When the time came we begun to
prepare for bad weather by sending down the royal yards and mast and
getting in the flying jib-boom. One of the hands was out on the boom and
had just sung out, ‘haul in!’ when a sea broke over the bows and he was
never seen afterward. But every night we used to hear him, as plain as I
can hear myself speaking now, calling out as if he were tired of
waiting, ‘haul in!’ We kept a good lookout, but although we could never
see any one, we always heard the voice. What are you looking at them
glasses so steady for? You don’t want to drink that stuff, do you?”

“No; I drink nothing stronger than beer.”

“And if you know when you are well off you will let that alone,” said
Flint earnestly. “It never does nobody no good. It takes your money as
fast as you can earn it, and gets you into scrapes. I know by
experience.”

“Why don’t you empty one of the glasses?” asked Guy.

“Do you think I’m fool enough to drink anything in this house?” inquired
Flint, in a low whisper. “Didn’t you hear that fellow tell the mate that
he’d never ship a crew till he got the sharks to help him.”

“Yes, but I don’t know what he means.”

“You never saw a two-legged shark, did you?”

“No, I never did.”

“Well, there’s one,” said Flint, jerking his thumb over his shoulder
toward the bar.

“Who? Where? You don’t mean the landlord?”

“Don’t I, though? I don’t mean nobody else. I can tell one of them
fellows as far as I can see him. He’ll have a crew for the Santa Maria
before many hours, now you see if he don’t. That’s what he’s up to, and
that’s why I don’t drink the stuff in that glass. Them fellows playing
cards are all fools. They’ll be out of sight of land some fine morning,
now you see if they don’t—to-morrow may be.”

Flint settled back in his chair, nursed his right leg, and winked
knowingly at Guy.

“I don’t understand,” said the boy. “They won’t ship aboard the Santa
Maria, will they?”

“Yes, they will.”

“They needn’t do it unless they choose.”

“Ah! needn’t they though? That shows all you know. You see the landlord
is keeping them here by dosing ’em with something strong—a sailor is
always ready to stay where he can get plenty to drink—and by the time it
comes dark they’ll be half-seas over. Then the landlord will drug ’em to
sleep by putting something in their drinks, and get help and carry them
aboard the Santa Maria. By the time they get their senses again they’ll
be miles away.”

“But they can’t do duty if they’re drugged,” said Guy.

“No matter. If they can’t do duty to-day they can to-morrow, and the
cap’n ’ll take ’em so long as they ain’t dead.”

“Let’s get away from here and go somewhere else,” said Guy in great
alarm. “I don’t want to stay with such a man. I’m afraid of him.”

“Well, you needn’t be. All we’ve got to do is to keep clear heads on our
shoulders, and we’re all right. Just bear one thing in mind. As long as
you stay in this house don’t drink nothing, not even water.”

“Supper!” cried the landlord at this moment. “Walk right into the
dining-room, boys. Why, what’s the matter, mates?” he added, glancing
from Flint and his companion to the untasted glasses on the floor;
“don’t they suit you?”

“No; they’re too stiff and got too much sugar in ’em.”

“Then step right up to the bar and let me mix you another glass. It
sha’n’t cost you a cent.”

“Never mind now,” said Flint. “We’ll wait until after supper.”

Guy, who had not had a square meal for a week, was delighted to find
himself seated at a well-filled table once more. He fell to work in good
earnest and made ample amends for his long fast. There were two
drawbacks to the full enjoyment of the meal, and one was, he could not
drink anything. Forgetting himself on several occasions he raised his
cup of coffee to his lips, but being checked by a look or a sly nudge
from Flint, always put it down untasted. The other drawback was the
company in which he found himself.

The sailors knew little of the etiquette of the table, and cared less.
They were merry and quarrelsome by turns, pounded on the table with
their fists until the dishes jumped up and performed jigs and
somersaults in the air, and talked, laughed, and swore at the top of
their voices. The landlord seemed accustomed to all this, and never
interfered with his guests except when it was necessary to keep them
from coming to a free fight.

The sailors left the table one after the other, as their appetites were
satisfied, and returned to the public room, whither they were followed
by Flint and Guy, the former leading the way. As they were passing along
the hall that led to the bar-room, the sailor suddenly paused, looked
steadily at something before him for a moment, and then drew back.

“It’s come, and sooner than I thought for,” said he, in an excited
whisper.

“What has come?” asked Guy.

“Stick your head out of that door and see for yourself. Be careful to
keep out of sight of the landlord.”

Guy advanced cautiously toward the door, wondering what it could be that
had so excited his companion, and Flint followed close to his heels,
rolling up his sleeves and making other preparations indicative of a
desire or intention to fight somebody.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XII.

                           IN THE COURT-ROOM.


GUY expected to see something startling, but was disappointed. The
public room was as quiet and orderly as it had been at any time since he
entered it. The sailors had resumed their game, and the landlord was
standing behind the bar with a row of glasses ranged on a shelf before
him, into each of which he was putting a small portion of a white powder
that he took from a paper he held in his hand. Then he filled all the
glasses with some kind of liquor, stirred them with a spoon, and placing
them upon a tray started toward the table at which the sailors were
sitting. “It is my treat now, lads,” said he, “and here is something to
make your suppers set easy.”

“Don’t touch it,” shouted Flint, suddenly starting forward. “Knock him
down, some of you. That stuff is doctored.”

Guy did not understand just what Flint meant by this, but it was plain
that the sailors did. They all jumped to their feet in an instant, while
the landlord put down the tray and looked at Guy’s companion with an
expression on his face that was perfectly fiendish. A moment afterward a
glass propelled by his hand came sailing through the air, and was
shivered into fragments against the wall close beside Flint’s head.

“I’ll be at you in a second,” said the latter, as he coolly made his way
behind the bar. “There’s the stuff that’s in your glasses, mates,” he
added, throwing upon the counter the paper that contained the remainder
of the drug. “If there is a ’pothecary among you, may be he can tell you
what it is—I can’t.”

The sailors had, while at the supper table, given abundant evidence that
they were in just the right humor for a row, and this was all that was
needed to start one going. As Flint came out from behind the counter to
pay his respects to the landlord in return for the glass the latter had
thrown at his head, that worthy retreated toward the dining-room
shouting lustily for help. It came almost immediately in the shape of
three or four villainous-looking fellows who were armed with bludgeons.
Their sudden appearance astonished Guy. He had seen no men about the
house, and he could not imagine where they sprung from so quickly.

“There’s a man who wants to raise a fight,” cried the landlord, pointing
to Flint. “Down with him.”

“Stand by me, mates,” said Flint, throwing off his hat, and pushing back
his sleeves, “and we will clean the shanty.”

The opposing parties came together without a moment’s delay, and the
noise and confusion that followed almost made Guy believe that
pandemonium had broken loose. Having never witnessed such a scene before
he was overcome with fear and bewilderment. Deprived of speech and the
power of action, he stood watching the struggling men, all unconscious
of the fact that he was every moment in danger of being stricken down by
the glasses which whistled past his ears like bullets. At last the
lights were extinguished, and this seemed to arouse Guy from his trance
of terror. As quick as a flash he darted into the dining-room, and
jerking open a door that led into the street, soon put a safe distance
between himself and the combatants.

“Great Scott!” panted Guy, seating himself under a gas-lamp to rest
after his rapid run. “I didn’t bargain for such things as this. I’d
rather be at home a great sight. Why, a man’s life isn’t safe among such
people. I am tired of the sea, and homesick besides; and I think the
best thing I can do is to start for Norwall while I have money in my
pocket.”

Had Guy acted upon this sensible conclusion, he might have saved himself
from a great deal of misery that was yet in store for him. While he was
thinking about it—trying to picture to himself the commotion his
unexpected return would create in his father’s house, and wondering what
sort of a reception would be extended to him—he heard some one coming
rapidly down the sidewalk; and fearing that it might be the landlord, or
some of his assistants, who were searching for him, he sprung up and
darted down a cross street that led to the dock. He was running directly
into more trouble, if he had only known, it—trouble that he was not to
see the end of for months; and he brought it all on himself by so simple
a thing as going to the dock.

While he was running along at the top of his speed, intent on getting
out of hearing of the footsteps that seemed to be pursuing him, he
suddenly became aware that there was something exciting going on in
advance of him. He stopped to listen, and the blood seemed to curdle in
his veins when he heard the sounds of a fierce struggle and a faint,
gasping cry for help.

He looked in the direction from which the sounds came, and by the aid of
the light from a gas-lamp, a short distance behind him, he could
distinguish the forms of three men, who, clasped in a close embrace,
were swaying back and forth, and so near the edge of the wharf that a
single misstep on the part of one of them would have precipitated them
all into the water.

“Another free fight,” thought Guy, whose first impulse was to turn and
take to his heels. “These sailors are a dreadful set, and I’ll not stay
among them a day longer.”

“Help! help!” shouted one of the men, his cry being almost instantly
choked off by a strong grasp on his throat.

“Give up the money,” said a hoarse voice, “or over you go.”

A light suddenly dawned upon Guy’s mind; he begun to understand the
matter now.

Two ruffians had set upon somebody with the intention of robbing him and
throwing him into the harbor, and he was fighting hard for his life and
property. Instantly Guy’s tongue was loosed, and he begun shouting at
the top of his voice:

“Police! police!” he yelled. “Fire! murder! help!”

“There, we’re discovered,” exclaimed one of the robbers. “Let’s throw
him over and run.”

Guy’s frantic appeal met with a prompt and most encouraging response—the
rattle of a policeman’s club on the pavement. It was given probably as a
warning to the robbers that there was somebody coming, and they had
better be making off if they wished to avoid arrest. They acted upon the
friendly hint by releasing their prisoner and trying to run away; but
he, being strong and determined, seized them both with the intention of
preventing their escape, at the same time awakening a thousand echoes
among the deserted warehouses by his lusty cries for help, in which he
was ably seconded by Guy. The robbers finally succeeded in throwing off
their victim’s grasp, and one of them ran down the dock, while the other
dodged into a door-way just as a policeman made his appearance around
the corner.

“What’s the matter here?” demanded the officer with becoming dignity and
imperiousness. “Is this you, Mr. Heyward?” he added, peering sharply
into the face of the rescued man. “What’s all this row about?”

“Two men were trying to rob me,” replied Mr. Heyward, feeling in his
pockets to satisfy himself that his purse and watch were safe.

“Well, where are they now? Why didn’t you hang onto them till I came?”

“I couldn’t. They broke away from me and ran off.”

“And one went that way and the other in there,” said Guy, pointing with
his right hand down the dock, and with his left toward the door-way into
which one of the highwaymen had fled for concealment. “I saw them both.”

The guardian of the night darted into the door-way, closely followed by
Mr. Heyward, and presently Guy heard the sounds of a desperate fight
going on in the dark. But it was over in a few seconds, and the
policeman and his assistant reappeared, dragging the robber between
them.

“That’s the man,” said Guy. “I know him by his fur cap.”

“Will you swear to him?” asked Mr. Heyward. “I think I recognize him;
but, to tell the truth, he and his comrade assaulted me so unexpectedly,
and kept me so busy, that I didn’t have a chance to take a good look at
either of them.”

“Of course I’ll swear to him,” replied Guy. “I would know him anywhere.”

“All right. I shall want you for a witness to-morrow. What is your name
and where do you live?”

“I don’t live anywhere. I’m a sailor,” said Guy, who did not think it
best to answer the first part of the question.

“Then I shall have to take you with me,” said the policeman. “Come on.”

“Where must I go?”

“Why, to the station, of course.”

“To the watch-house!” exclaimed Guy, greatly amazed. “Oh, now, what must
I go there for? I haven’t been doing anything.”

“I know it,” said Mr. Heyward. “No one accuses you. But I intend to
prosecute this ruffian to the full extent of the law, and you will be
the principal witness against him—in fact, the only one whose evidence
will amount to anything. In order to convict him I must have some one to
swear positively that he is the man who attempted to rob me. I can’t do
it, and neither can the policeman.”

“Come on, and don’t waste any more words over it,” commanded the
officer.

Guy, whose courage had been completely frightened out of him by the
scenes of violence he had witnessed, timidly obeyed. He fell in behind
the officer and Mr. Heyward, who led the robber toward the police
headquarters.

Guy had read in the papers that lodgings were sometimes furnished at
watch-houses, and that night he learned what it meant. He found that
those who were accommodated with quarters at the expense of the city
were not provided with comfortable beds and private apartments, as they
would have been had they put up at a first-class hotel. He was thrust
into a room with a lot of homeless wanderers, and lay all night on the
hard floor, with no covering, and nothing but his tarpaulin to serve as
a pillow. How homesick he was, and how heartily he wished himself under
his father’s roof once more!

Very frequently, as he rolled about, trying to find a plank soft enough
to sleep upon, he would raise himself upon his elbow, look around at the
ragged, slumbering men by whom he was surrounded, and think of the neat
little bedroom and soft, warm couch to which he had been accustomed at
home. While brooding over his boyish troubles and trials he had never
thought of the comforts and privileges that fell to his lot, but he
thought of them now, when it was too late to enjoy them.

He passed a most miserable night, and was glad indeed when day began to
dawn and the lodgers to disperse; but he was not allowed to leave the
station, not even long enough to get his breakfast. He was kept under
lock and key until ten o’clock, when Mr. Heyward’s case came up for
trial. When he was conducted into the court-room, which was packed with
loungers and embryo lawyers, as justices’ courts almost always are, he
felt and looked more like a criminal than the hardened wretch who sat in
the dock. He had never been in a court-room before, and he knew so
little of the manner in which proceedings are conducted there that he
was shown the witness-stand three different times before he could be
made to comprehend that he was expected to occupy it.

“You seem to be very dull, young man,” said the justice sharply. “What
is your name?”

The tone of voice in which the question was propounded, accompanied as
it was by a fierce frown on the judicial face, was enough to frighten
away what few wits Guy had left about him. He did not know what reply to
make. If he gave his own name it might go into the papers and be seen by
everybody who knew him, and if he gave a fictitious one, the judge might
find it out in some way and punish him.

“Witness, did you hear my question?” demanded the justice. “What is your
name?”

“Guy Harris,” answered the boy.

“Well, why couldn’t you have said so at once and not kept me waiting so
long? Swear him.”

A red-faced gentleman, with a long nose and ruffled shirt, arose and
mumbled a few words which Guy did not understand, and when he sat down,
another, who proved to be a lawyer, took him in hand and went at him in
a way that completed his discomfiture. He reminded Guy that he was on
his oath, informed him that he should expect the truth and nothing but
the truth from him, and ended his exordium by asking him where he
lived—another question that Guy did not care to answer.

And it was so all through the examination. The lawyer insisted upon
knowing all about matters that Guy wanted to keep to himself, and the
consequence was that in less than five minutes he was completely wound
up, and stammered, hesitated and blushed in a way that made everybody
believe that he was not telling the truth. At the end of half an hour he
was told that he might step down, and he was very glad to do it, for he
was perspiring as if he had been engaged in some severe manual labor,
trembling in every limb and so weak that he could scarcely remain upon
his feet. He had seen quite enough of a court-room, and anxious to get
out of it as soon as possible, began elbowing his way through the crowd
toward Mr. Heyward, who was sealed beside his lawyer.

I know I might make this part of my story more interesting by saying
that Mr. Heyward, who beyond all doubt owed his rescue entirely to Guy,
was a rich merchant; that to show his gratitude to his preserver he took
him home with him and dressed him like a gentleman; that he gave him a
situation in his store, and that Guy was so smart and quick to learn
that he became a full partner in two years and married the merchant’s
beautiful and only daughter, and that the merchant finally died, and
left him heir to two millions of dollars. That would be a grand way to
wind up the career of our hero, but unfortunately he is a bad boy, and
it is only the good ones whose lines fall in such pleasant places.

Guy had a very different future before him. Mr. Heyward did not even
thank him for the service he had rendered, and Guy did not expect it.
All he cared for was to get out of the court-room and that as quickly as
possible.

“Are they through with me now?” he asked, when he reached Mr. Heyward’s
side.

“Yes, for the present,” was the answer.

That was enough for Guy, who began crowding his way toward the door,
paying little heed to the growling of those whose toes he trod upon or
whose sides he jammed, with his elbows. He breathed, easier when he
reached the street, and hurried away looking for a restaurant where he
might find something to satisfy his appetite, for it was now twelve
o’clock and he had had no breakfast.

“Thank goodness, I am out of there at last!” said he, wiping his
dripping forehead, “and I’ll never go near a place like it again if I
can help it. If I see a fight going on, I’ll run away and not stop to
learn who comes out first best. How savagely that prisoner looked at me
while I was giving my evidence! There was an expression in his eye which
said, as plainly as words, ‘I’ll pay you for that some day, my boy!’ I
wonder what they are going to do with him anyhow?”

To explain what happened afterward it is necessary to answer this
question. The prisoner was convicted on Guy’s evidence and held to bail
to answer to a higher court for an assault with intent to commit
robbery. Bail was speedily found by his friends, and the man was at
liberty to go where he pleased until the following month, when his case
would come up for trial.

As soon as this decision was rendered, Mr. Heyward, who was resolved
that the robber should not escape punishment, began looking about for
his witness, intending to have him locked up until the day of trial. But
the boy was not to be found about the court-room, and a policeman was
sent out to hunt him up.

The runaway little dreamed that he had a prospect before him of being
shut up in jail for a whole month.

Guy found an eating-house at last, and entering, stood at the counter
while he drank a cup of muddy coffee, ate a cold boiled egg and a ham
sandwich, and thought over his prospects—or rather his want of them. He
was alone in the world once more, for Flint, his only friend, was gone.
He had not seen him since the fight at the boarding-house. Guy was
afraid to go back there after him, or to get his luggage, and more than
that, he was not certain that he could find his way there, even if he
wanted to go. Of one thing he was satisfied, and that was, that if Flint
was still alive and at liberty, the place to look for him was on the
dock in the neighborhood of the shipping. Thither Guy accordingly bent
his steps as soon as he had finished his breakfast.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                          “JOHN THOMAS, A. B.”


WHEN he found his friend Flint, Guy did not know just what he would do.
Probably he intended to be governed entirely by his advice, for he had
already thought better of his resolution to return at once to Norwall.

It is true that he had seen the rough side of the world so far during
his wanderings, but he believed that it had better things in store for
him. At any rate he would find Flint and ask him if it hadn’t. The
sailor was so jolly and hopeful, and spoke so encouragingly whenever Guy
told him of his troubles, that it was a pleasure to be in his company.

Guy spent an hour in unavailing search for his friend, but he discovered
the Ossipee, which was discharging her cargo preparatory to going into
the dry docks, and by taking her as a point of departure succeeded at
last in finding the boarding-house at which he had eaten supper the
night before.

He approached it with the utmost caution, momentarily expecting to come
suddenly upon some signs of the terrible fracas that had taken place
there a few hours ago, such as broken skulls, dissevered limbs, and
lifeless bodies; but nothing of the kind was to be seen. The place was
as quiet as the station-house he had just left, and Guy had half a mind
to go in and ask for Flint, but hesitated when he thought of the
landlord, with his fierce mustache and closely-cropped head. He did not
want to see the landlord again, or that worthy might demand to know what
he meant by running out of his house in that unceremonious manner and
leaving his supper bill unpaid.

While Guy was wondering how he could answer such a question without
wounding the landlord’s feelings, a hail came to him from the opposite
side of the street.

“Halloo there! Hold on a minute!” exclaimed a voice.

Guy looked up and saw a stranger coming toward him. He was dressed in
broadcloth, wore a shining plug hat on his head, and well-blacked boots
on his feet; rings sparkled on his fingers, something that looked like a
diamond glittered in his shirt bosom, and a heavy gold watch-chain
dangled across his crimson waistcoat. Taken altogether he reminded Guy
of the steward of the Queen of the Lakes. He approached with some
eagerness in his manner, and as he came up thrust out his hand and
greeted the boy with:

“Why, Jenkins, how are you? Glad to see you; when did you come in? Just
been down to your ship looking for you. How are you, I say?”

The stranger smiled so good-naturedly, shook his hand so warmly, and
appeared so delighted to see him, that Guy was rather taken aback. As
soon as he could speak, he replied:

“I came in night before last in the schooner Ossipee from Chicago; but
my name isn’t Jenkins.”

The stranger started, and looked at Guy a moment with an expression of
great surprise on his face.

“Well, I declare, I have made a mistake—that’s a fact!” said he. “But
you look enough like Jenkins to be his brother. You see, he’s a
particular friend of mine, and I am always on the lookout to do him a
neighborly turn. I wonder if you are as good a sailor as he is.”

“I am a sailor,” replied Guy.

“Of course you are. I can tell that by the cut of your jib.”

These words went straight to Guy’s heart, and vastly increased his
importance in his own eyes. He straightened up, thrust his hands deep
into his pockets, and took a few steps up and down the sidewalk, rolling
from side to side as he had seen Flint do.

“Think I don’t know a sailor man when I see him!” exclaimed the
stranger. “Why, I have been one myself. Take something warm this frosty
morning?”

“No, sir,” emphatically replied the boy, who had already seen enough of
the evils of strong drink. “You don’t get anything warm down me.”

“Good resolution!” cried the man, giving Guy’s hand another cordial
shake, and slapping him familiarly on the back. “Stick to it. Do you
know that that is one of the things that keeps you sailor men before the
mast all your lives? It is the sober, intelligent ones, just such
fellows as I see you are, who get to be mates and captains. Now, I can
put you on a vessel where you will be pushed ahead as fast as you can
stand it. You want a berth, don’t you?”

“No, I don’t,” replied Guy. “I want to find my mate; and if I don’t
succeed, I am going home.”

“Your mate!” exclaimed the stranger. “Oh, I know him—know him well. It’s
Jack a—Jack a——”

“No, it isn’t Jack; it’s Dick Flint.”

“Why, so it is. How stupid in me to forget his name! I saw him with you
yesterday, come to think. Let me see,” added the stranger, placing his
finger on his forehead and looking down at the ground in a brown study;
“didn’t I ship him last night on board the Santa Maria? Of course I
did.”

“Of course you didn’t. He don’t ship on no such vessel, and neither do
I. She’s got a crew aboard of her who don’t sign articles,” said Guy
glibly, making use of some expressions he had heard at the
boarding-house. “I don’t want to ship with ghosts. I have seen too many
of them in my time.”

“Have you, though?” said the stranger. “I knew you were an old salt as
soon as I put my eyes on you.”

“Yes,” said Guy, pushing his tarpaulin on one side of his head,
thrusting his hands deeper into his pockets, and making a motion with
his tongue as if he were turning a quid of tobacco in his mouth. “The
last voyage I made was in a ship bound around the Cape. When the time
came we began to get ready for bad weather by sending down the
royal-yards and masts, and taking in the flying jib-boom. One of the
hands—my chum he was, too, and the best fellow and finest sailor that
ever chewed biscuit—was out on the boom, and had just sung out ‘haul
in!’ when a big sea broke over the vessel, and that was the last we ever
saw of him—that is, alive. But every night after that when the mid-watch
was called, and the order was given to haul in the flying jib-boom, we
were sure to find that fellow out there before us, working like a
trooper. No, sir, I don’t ship in any more vessels that carry ghosts, if
I know it.”

Guy pushed his hat further on the side of his head, turned his back
partly to the stranger and looked as wise as possible, thinking no doubt
that he had made an impression on his auditor. He did not know that he
had got his narrative somewhat mixed up, but that the stranger did was
evident. There was a roguish twinkle in his eye, and he was obliged to
bite his lips to keep from laughing outright. Controlling himself with
an effort he leaned toward Guy and said, in a low, confidential tone:

“I don’t blame you. The Santa Maria does bear a hard name, that’s a
fact, and I wouldn’t sail in her myself. I’ve got another vessel on my
books—the clipper Morning Light, bound up the Mediterranean, and I know
that’s the very place you want to go. Isn’t it now, say?” he exclaimed,
hitting the boy a back-handed slap on the chest.

“Yes,” answered Guy. “I should like to go.”

“Of course you would. Everybody wants to go, but only a few can get the
chance. I tell you it takes influence to get a berth on board a
Mediterranean trader,” said the man, who knew that he could impose upon
Guy to his heart’s content. “Wealthy country that, and if you don’t come
back rich, it will be your own fault. Ostrich feathers are plenty and
worth a hundred dollars a pound on this side of the Atlantic. Diamonds,
pearls, nuggets, and gold-dust, are to be had for the picking up.
Everybody fills his pockets, from the captain down to Jemmy Ducks. Come
and put down your name. Where’s your dunnage?”

“Hold on,” said Guy, as the stranger seized his arm and tried to pull
him away. “I want to find Flint, and see what he has to say about it.”

“I know where he is, and can find him for you in less than ten minutes,”
said the stranger, who had about as clear an idea of Flint’s whereabouts
as Guy himself. “All I ask of you is to put down your name. Where’s your
dunnage?”

“I left it in there last night,” said Guy, pointing toward the
boarding-house.

“Why, the landlord didn’t ship you, did he? That is, he didn’t find a
vessel for you?”

“No, I didn’t give him a chance. They had a fight in there, and I ran
away.”

“A fight. Oh, that’s nothing. It’s all settled now, I’ll warrant. Come
with me. I’ll get your dunnage for you.”

Guy did not hesitate to enter the boarding-house under the protection of
the stranger, and indeed he need not have been afraid to go in there
alone.

There was but one man in the bar-room, and that was the second mate of
the Santa Maria, who was probably on the lookout for a crew for his
vessel.

“Morning, Rupert,” said the stranger, as he and Guy entered; “I believe
my young friend here left something with you last night.”

“Ah, yes; here it is,” replied the landlord, handing Guy’s bundle over
the counter and smiling pleasantly upon the boy. “What made you dig out
in such a hurry? Did the fellows scare you?”

“Yes, they did,” replied Guy.

“You need not have been alarmed. You were my guest, and of course I
should have protected you. You see, Smith,” added the landlord, turning
to the shipping agent, “the boys had a bit of a blow-out here last
night, and one or two of them came to a clinch. It was all over in a
minute, and we took a few drinks all around and made it up. It didn’t
amount to anything.”

“I think it amounted to a good deal,” said Guy, looking around at the
walls where the plastering had been knocked off by the flying glasses.
“It frightened me, I tell you. Where is Flint now?”

“Flint?” repeated the landlord interrogatively. “Do you mean the man who
came here with you. Oh, he’s up-stairs with the rest, sleeping it off.”

“I’d like to see him,” said Guy.

“Of course you can, if you wish, but I wouldn’t trouble him if I were
you. Let him sleep. He’ll be down to supper, and then you can talk to
him.”

“By the way,” said Smith suddenly, “Flint has shipped aboard the Morning
Light, hasn’t he?”

Smith looked steadily at the landlord as he said this, and the landlord
looked steadily at Smith. The two worthies evidently understood one
another.

“Yes,” was the landlord’s reply. “He’s signed articles, and got his
advance fair and square.”

“There, now,” said the shipping agent, turning to Guy; “are you
satisfied? Your mate has shipped aboard my vessel, and if you will come
with me I will ship you. You’ll see splendid times up the
Mediterranean,” he added, with a sly wink at the landlord.

“Finest country in the world,” observed that gentleman.

“Such chances to make money,” suggested the agent.

“Never saw the beat,” said the landlord. “Been up there myself, and
that’s the way I got my start in the world. Went out cabin-boy, and came
back sailing my own vessel.”

“Do you hear that?” exclaimed the agent, triumphantly. “Didn’t I tell
you so? Come with me, and I’ll put you in the way to make a man of
yourself.”

Before Guy could reply the agent assisted him to shoulder his bundle,
and gently forcing him into the street, locked arms with him and led him
away, talking rapidly all the while, and giving the boy no chance to put
in a word. In a few minutes more he found himself seated in a small,
dark room, which the agent called his office; and the latter, having
placed before him on the table a large sheet of ruled paper, which
contained several names—taking care, however, to keep his hands spread
out over the top of it—nodded his head toward a pen that was sticking in
an inkstand close by, and told Guy to put down his name.

As the boy was about to comply it occurred to him that it might be a
good plan to find out what sort of a paper it was that he was expected
to sign. But just as he was on the point of asking some questions
concerning it, he was checked by the thought that by such a proceeding
he would show his ignorance, and beside, it would look too much as
though he doubted his gentlemanly friend, the shipping agent. So he said
nothing, signed a name to the paper, and was held for a voyage to—well,
it was to some place a long way from the shores of the Mediterranean.

“John Thomas; that’s all right. You are a good penman, and ought to be
something better than a foremast hand. When your ship comes back to this
port, if you don’t tell me that you have made yourself rich by the
voyage, and that you are at least a second mate, I shall be ashamed of
you. Now, then,” said the agent, laying his pocket-book on the table and
taking the pen from the boy’s hand, “what shall I put after your name—A.
B.?”

“What’s that?” asked Guy.

“Why, you’re an able seaman, are you not!”

“No—that is, yes; of course I am. But I want to go as cabin-boy. I like
that better.”

“I can’t ship you as cabin-boy; got one already. You will get more money
by going before the mast, and you want to make all you can, don’t you?
I’ll fix it for you.”

The agent dipped his pen into the ink and wrote A. B. after the name Guy
had signed, and Guy, ignoramus that he was, never tried to prevent him.
If he could make more money by going as an able seaman of course it was
to his advantage to do it. That was the way he looked at the matter
then, but before many hours had passed over his head he took a different
view of it. He learned through much tribulation that honesty is the best
policy one can pursue, even though he be a sea-faring man.

The agent having prevailed upon Guy to sign articles, seemed on a sudden
to lose all interest in him. It is true that after he paid him his
advance he accompanied him to a store and assisted him in making some
necessary additions to his outfit, but he hurried through the business,
his every action indicating that he was impatient to be rid of Guy. When
all the purchases had been made he took a hasty leave of the boy and
told him to go to Rupert’s boarding-house and stay there, holding
himself in readiness to go aboard his vessel at six o’clock that night.
If he was not on hand when he was wanted, he would find the police after
him.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                            SHIPPING A CREW.


“HUMPH!” said Guy to himself, as he shouldered his bundle and started
toward Rupert’s boarding-house, “there is no danger that I shall have
the police after me. If Flint is going out in the Morning Light of
course I must go too, for he is the only friend I have in the world, and
I am bound to stick to him. I don’t see what made that shipping agent
grow so very cold and distant all of a sudden. I wish now, since he has
shown himself so very independent, that I had examined that paper before
I signed it. He was very polite until he got me to put down my name, and
then he was almost ready to insult me. I can’t imagine what need I shall
have of all these thick clothes he made me buy,” added Guy, as he
shifted his heavy bundle from one shoulder to the other. “I thought it
was warm up the Mediterranean. I knew he tried to fool me when he told
me about the pearls and diamonds, but I don’t care. I shall see
something of the world and be my own master, and perhaps when I return I
will have money enough to take me out to the Rocky Mountains. I haven’t
given up my idea of being a hunter, and I never shall.”

Guy passed a dreary afternoon at the boarding-house, in spite of the
friendly efforts of the landlord to make things pleasant for him. That
gentleman talked incessantly and told wonderful stories about the rapid
promotions and sudden fortunes that were sure to fall to the lot of
everybody who was fortunate enough to go up the Mediterranean on the
clipper-ship Morning Light. But Guy, green as he was, did not believe
them. He did not care to talk either, for he was very lonely and wanted
to see Flint. Contrary to the landlord’s promise, the sailor did not
make his appearance at the supper table, the host accounting for his
absence by telling Guy that Flint did not feel very well and wanted to
sleep as long as he could.

“May I see him?” asked the boy.

“No, he doesn’t want to be disturbed,” was the reply. “I have just been
to his room to tell him you were here, and he asked me to tell you to go
aboard your vessel at six o’clock, and he will come as soon as he
awakes.”

Guy was not at all pleased with this arrangement. He did not believe
that Flint had sent him any such instructions, and neither did he want
to go away without seeing him. But he could not help himself, for at six
o’clock precisely Smith, the shipping agent, appeared and ordered him to
shoulder his bundle and come on.

The boy was obliged to obey. He followed the agent to the dock and into
a yawl manned by two sailors, who immediately shoved off toward a vessel
lying at anchor in the harbor.

Guy did not like the looks of her. If she was a clipper, he had hitherto
had very erroneous ideas of marine architecture, he told himself. She
looked more like the pictures he had seen of Dutch galliots.

When they reached her Guy followed the agent over the side, and one of
the sailors threw his bundle up after him.

“Here’s an A. B. I have brought you,” said the agent, addressing himself
to a man who came up to meet them.

“All right,” was the reply. “What’s his name?”

Guy started and looked sharply at the speaker. He was certain that he
had seen him before. He was dressed like the man who had introduced
himself to Flint as the second mate of the Santa Maria, and his voice
was wonderfully like the mate’s, too. Guy tried to get a glimpse of his
face, but it was effectually concealed by a tarpaulin and a heavy woolen
muffler.

“His name is John Thomas,” said the agent, seeing that Guy did not
answer the question.

“Take your dunnage into the forecastle, Thomas, and be ready to turn to
at any moment,” said the man.

“I declare, he’s an officer,” thought Guy, “and I really believe he’s
the second mate of the Santa Maria. If he is, how came he here on board
the Morning Light? Dear me, I wish Flint would come.”

“Good-by, Jack,” said the agent, shaking the boy’s hand. “I’ve got you
into tidy quarters, and shall expect to hear a good report of you.”

“What do you suppose keeps Flint?” asked Guy anxiously.

“I am sure I can’t tell. I have nothing to do with him, you know. Rupert
shipped him—I didn’t. No doubt he’ll be aboard directly. Good-by.”

The agent disappeared over the side and Guy shouldered his dunnage and
went down into the forecastle. Three or four of the bunks were already
occupied, and, selecting one of the empty ones, Guy made up his bed in
it, and then went on deck to look about him and await the arrival of
Flint.

There were a few men on deck, the owners of the beds he had seen in the
forecastle, but they did not notice Guy, and he was too much interested
in his own affairs to have anything to say to them. Flint’s absence was
the source of great anxiety to him. He could not account for it, and
neither could he explain the remarkable resemblance between the man who
met him as he came over the side and the second mate of the Santa Maria,
whom he had last seen in the public room of the boarding-house.

“Could it be possible,” he asked himself—and at the thought the blood
went rushing back upon his heart, leaving his face as pale as death
itself—“that the agent had made a mistake and brought him to the Santa
Maria instead of the Morning Light?”

“Great Cæsar!” thought Guy, catching his breath, “if that is the case
I’m among the ghosts in spite of myself. I’ll ask some of these men. Of
course they know the name of the vessel.”

As Guy was about to act upon this resolution his attention was attracted
by the sound of oars, and running to the side he saw a large yawl
approaching the ship.

His hopes arose wonderfully, but fell again when he discovered that
there were but three men in the boat—two plying the oars and the other
sitting in the stern with his hands on the tiller.

“Boat ahoy!” said the mate, leaning over the rail and speaking almost in
a whisper.

“Rupert!” was the answer, given in the same cautious tone.

“All right,” exclaimed the officer. “I thought you were never coming.
Stand by there, one of you, to catch the painter. Cap’n,” he added,
thrusting his head down the companion way, “the boat’s come.”

Guy, being the nearest at hand, caught the painter as it came whirling
up to him, and as he drew the boat up to the ladder that was quickly
lowered over the side, he was surprised to see that she was loaded
almost to the water’s edge.

A number of bundles and chests were piled in the bow, and the bottom was
covered with men—probably a dozen or fifteen of them in all—who appeared
to be asleep. Of those who managed the yawl one was Rupert, the
boarding-house keeper, and the others were two of his assistants, who
had rushed into the bar-room to quell the fight, or rather to help it
along.

Guy recognized them at once. He wondered what they were going to do with
the men who were lying on the bottom of the boat, and was not long in
finding out.

The men must have been slumbering heavily, for the landlord and his
assistants made no effort to arouse them, but lifting them in their
arms, one after the other, carried them up the ladder and laid them in a
row on the deck, as if they had been dead men.

The last one who was brought over the side was Dick Flint, limp and
lifeless like the rest. Guy was greatly horrified and disgusted to see
his friend in such a condition. He had been almost twenty-four hours
trying to sleep off the effect of the “blow out” at which he had
assisted. He must have been very drunk indeed.

“I wish to goodness I had stayed ashore,” said Guy, almost ready to cry
with vexation. “I don’t want a drunkard for my companion, and I’ll tell
Flint so at the very first opportunity. I believe home is the best place
for a boy after all. If he gets whipped and scolded sometimes when he
doesn’t deserve it, he always has plenty to eat, a good bed to sleep in,
and isn’t obliged to associate with such wretches as these. Halloo! what
is the captain up to, I wonder?”

The men had all been carried to the deck by this time, and now a piece
of iniquity was enacted that struck Guy dumb with amazement. The captain
and his mate, accompanied by the boarding-house keeper, approached the
place where the sailors were lying. The former held in his hands a pen
and a roll of paper, which proved to be the shipping articles Guy had
signed in the agent’s office; the mate carried an inkstand and Rupert a
lantern.

“What is this man’s name?” asked the captain, stopping at the head of
the row and pointing with his pen toward one of the prostrate sailors.

“Richard Flint,” replied the landlord, “and he is an able seaman.”

The captain wrote Flint’s name and rate on the shipping articles, and
then kneeling down beside him, placed the pen between his nerveless
fingers, and seizing his hand in his own, described a cross with it upon
the shipping articles. This done, the captain passed the pen over to his
mate, who signed his own name opposite Flint’s, and the latter stood on
the shipping articles in this way:

            his
    RICHARD X FLINT, A. B.
           mark

              JACOB SCHWARTZ,

        Second Mate, and witness to signature.

Although the whole proceeding was most outrageous, the form was
according to law, and Flint, had he recovered his senses at that moment,
would have been held for the cruise in spite of himself. Remonstrance
would have been of no avail, and resistance would have rendered him
liable to punishment.

But this was not all the wickedness that was perpetrated upon the
unconscious seaman. While the mate was signing his name to the articles
the captain produced his pocket-book and counted out forty dollars in
bills, which he placed in Flint’s hand, and closing his fingers over
them, turned to the man who lay next to him, and whom he shipped and
paid in the same manner.

Guy had been a puzzled witness of the whole proceedings, but now he
thought he begun to understand it.

“I have been lied to and cheated,” said he to himself. “Rupert and Smith
both told me that Flint had signed articles and received his advance all
fair and square; and if that was the truth, how does it come that he is
being shipped and paid over again? I am afraid I have got myself into a
scrape.”

Guy did not know just what sort of a scrape he had got into, and he
could not stop to think about it then, for another matter demanded his
attention. He was interested in Flint’s affairs, and knowing that the
sailor could not take care of his money while he was in that condition,
he started toward him, intending to take possession of it, and give it
to him when he became sober; but what was his surprise to see Rupert
step up to the insensible man, and coolly unclasping his fingers, put
the money in his own pocket. In other words, he deliberately robbed
Flint, and that, too, before the face and eyes of the captain and his
mate, who, although they must have observed the act, did not pay the
least attention to it. This was more than Guy could stand. He walked up
to the captain and boldly charged Rupert with the theft.

“Captain,” said he, “do you see what this landlord is doing? He is
stealing the advance as fast as you pay it to the men.”

The result of this exposure of the boarding-house keeper was just what
Guy might have looked for had he taken time to consider the matter
before acting. He supposed, in his simplicity, that the landlord would
turn pale and tremble, like the guilty wretch he was, and that the
captain, after compelling him to return the money, would arrest him on
the spot, or unceremoniously kick him off his vessel. But nothing of the
kind happened. Rupert looked a little surprised, but only gave Guy one
quick glance and held the lantern lower, so that the captain could see
to sign another name. The latter, however, arose hastily, placed his pen
between his teeth, and seizing Guy by the throat, choked him until he
was black in the face; and then, with a strong push, sent him sprawling
on deck.

“There, now,” said he, “that’s the first lesson; and if it don’t learn
you to keep a civil tongue in your head, and speak when you’re spoken
to, I’ll give you another that’ll sink deeper. Turn to and carry that
dunnage into the forecastle.”

The severe choking to which Guy had been subjected, and the jarring
occasioned by his heavy fall on deck, had well-nigh proved too much for
him. His head whirled about like a top, sparks of fire danced before his
eyes, and his legs for the moment refused to support him. He was in no
condition just then to carry heavy burdens, but he had heard the order
and dared not disregard it. His last week’s experience on board the
Ossipee had taught him that instant obedience and unquestioning
submission is the whole duty of a foremast hand. He is looked upon as a
slave, a beast of burden, an unreasoning brute, who has no right to any
desires, feelings, or will of his own. If he receives a blow from a
handspike that would brain an ox, he has no business to become
insensible or get sick over it, but must jump up at once and resume his
work with cheerfulness and alacrity. Guy, however could not do this, for
he had not yet been sufficiently hardened. He pulled himself up by the
fife-rail and clung to it several minutes before his head became steady,
so that he could walk.

Was this the beginning of the “better times” which, according to Flint,
he was to enjoy when once he was “fairly afloat?” Guy asked himself; and
then seeing the captain looking his way, he released his hold on the
fife-rail, and staggered toward the bundles belonging to the sailors,
which lay where Rupert and his assistants had thrown them. With great
difficulty, for he was still very weak, he raised one of them to his
shoulder, and carrying it to the forecastle, threw it into one of the
empty bunks.

As he was about to return to the deck he met two of the crew coming down
the ladder carrying the insensible form of Dick Flint between them. They
did not handle him very gently, but pitched him into one of the bunks as
if he had been a log of wood, and laughed and passed some rough joke
when his head came in contact with the hard boards.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!” said Guy, indignantly. “This
man is my friend, and too good a fellow to be jammed about in that way,
even if he is drunk.”

“Well, now, who are you that comes here giving orders and making
yourself so free?” demanded one of the men, turning fiercely upon Guy.

“I am a sailor like yourself, and a better one than you dare ever be,”
retorted the runaway, little dreaming how soon he would be called upon
to make good his boast.

“I ain’t saying nothing against that,” said the man, with a little more
respect in his tones; “but I’d like to know what port you have sailed
out of all your life that you can’t tell the difference between a man
that’s drunk and one that’s drugged!”

“Drugged!” exclaimed Guy, utterly confounded.

“Yes; that’s what’s the matter with your mate. The last glass he took
was doctored. You might pound him to death with a belaying-pin and never
hurt him.”

“Drugged!” repeated Guy, some scraps of the conversation he had held
with Flint at the boarding-house coming vividly to his mind. “What ship
is this?” he asked suddenly.

“Why, didn’t you sign articles?”

“Yes, but I’m afraid I’ve been cheated.”

“No, I guess not,” said the sailor. “You came aboard with a clear head
on your shoulders, so you’re all right.”

But Guy was quite positive that he was _not_ all right. He would have
given a month’s wages to know the name of the vessel he had shipped on,
but dared not press the man to give a direct answer to his question, for
fear that some strong suspicions that had suddenly arisen in his mind
would be confirmed.

“I just know this is the Santa Maria,” said the boy to himself, at the
same time casting a quick glance around the dimly lighted forecastle. “I
know it as well as I know that I am alive. Everything goes to prove it.
In the first place the men Rupert brought here in his boat are the same
ones I saw playing cards in his house. Flint predicted that they would
all be drugged and shipped aboard the Santa Maria, and things have
turned out just as he said they would. But how did Flint himself manage
to be caught in the trap? That’s what beats me. In the second place the
mate, who witnessed the signatures on the shipping articles, is the same
man I saw at Rupert’s, and who said he was an officer of the Santa
Maria. I know him in spite of his tarpaulin and woolen muffler, for he’s
got the same clothes on. Dear me! I wish Flint would wake up and tell me
what to do.”

While Guy’s thoughts were running in this channel, he was working
industriously at his task of carrying the sailors’ bundles into the
forecastle, and finally he found Flint’s among them.

Hastily untying it, he took out two blankets, and rolling up one of them
to serve as a pillow, he put it under his friend’s head and spread the
other over his shoulders. As he was making his way up the ladder to
bring down the last bundle, he heard the splashing of oars close by, and
running to the side, saw a yawl approaching.

“Ship ahoy!” cried one of the men in the yawl.

“Halloo!” replied the mate.

“What ship is this?”

Guy listened with all his ears to hear the mate’s reply, but the officer
leaned as far over the rail as he could, and spoke in a tone so low that
Guy could not catch his words.

“When are you going to sail?” asked the man in the yawl.

“Just as soon as we can haul up our mud-hook,” replied the mate.

“Got your crew all aboard?”

“Yes.”

“Have you one among your hands of the name of Guy Harris?”

“Merciful Heavens!” thought Guy. “Who in the world can that be, and what
does he want of me? Is it the detective who arrested Bob Walker in
Chicago? Great Scott!”

Guy did not wait to hear any more of the conversation, but hastily
catching up the bundle, threw it over his shoulders and ran into the
forecastle.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XV.

                        AN UNWELCOME DISCOVERY.


GUY REMAINED in the forecastle just long enough to rid himself of his
bundle, and then ran back up the ladder. Frightened as he was, he was
possessed by an irresistible desire to learn who it was that wanted to
see him. He intended to return to the deck and crouch down by the side,
where he could hear what was said; but when he had ascended the ladder a
few steps he heard the sound of voices near by, and saw that the
occupants of the yawl had boarded the vessel. There were four of them,
three were policemen and the other was Mr. Heyward. The latter held the
shipping articles in his hand, and by the aid of Rupert’s lantern was
looking for Guy’s name. The captain and his mate stood at a little
distance looking on.

“The name don’t seem to be on the list,” said one of the officers, who
was looking over Mr. Heyward’s shoulder.

“I told you it wasn’t!” growled the skipper. “If you ain’t satisfied,
search the ship. What has the man been doing, anyhow?”

“It isn’t a man I am after, but a boy,” said Mr. Heyward. “He is an
important witness in a case I intend to bring before the courts next
month.”

“Who told you he was aboard my ship?” demanded the captain.

“No one. He slipped out of the court-room this morning before I knew it,
and as he cannot be found about the city, it struck me he might be on
board some vessel, for he is a sailor. If I find him I shall have him
locked up. I am satisfied that he is not here,” said Mr. Heyward,
handing the shipping articles to the mate. “I am all ready, Mr. Officer,
if you are.”

“I want to ask the captain just one question before I go,” answered the
policeman. “How long has your vessel been lying here?”

“About four days.”

“Have you kept a watch on board all the while?”

“Of course I have,” replied the captain testily. “Do you think I am fool
enough to leave a ship with a valuable cargo without a watch?”

“I merely asked for information. Those burglars who broke into that
jewelry store night before last—you heard about it, didn’t you?”

“Yes. Did they get anything?”

“They made a big haul. There is a heavy reward offered for them, but
they have disappeared very mysteriously. We have positive proof that
they have not left the city, and it may be that they have concealed
themselves on some vessel which they have reason to believe is about to
sail.”

“If you think they are here you had better look around,” said the
captain. “I don’t want any such passengers with me.”

“Oh, if you have had a watch aboard your vessel all the time they could
not have got here without your knowledge, so there’s no use in searching
the ship. Good-by, captain. I wish you a pleasant voyage.”

Seeing that Mr. Heyward and his companions were about to go over the
side, Guy ducked his head and beat a hasty retreat into the forecastle.

“Whew!” he panted, drawing his coat-sleeve across his forehead, “wasn’t
that a narrow escape? I don’t think much of such laws as they have in
this country, anyhow. I haven’t done anything to be punished for, and
yet Mr. Heyward, if he could have found me, would have had me locked up
in jail for a whole month. It’s lucky I didn’t sign my right name to the
articles.”

Guy was aroused from his reverie by the sound of bustle and hurry on
deck, and while he was wondering what it was all about he was summoned
from his hiding-place by the hoarse voice of the second mate. When he
reached the deck he found that preparations were being made to get the
ship under way. There were four sober men in the crew—those Guy had
found on the vessel when he first came aboard—and Guy and the mate made
six. There were fourteen sailors in the bunks below, so that the
vessel’s company, counting in the captain and leaving out the first
officer, who for some reason or other had not yet made his appearance,
numbered twenty-one men.

“Now, then, look alive.” said the mate. “There’s only a few of us to do
this work to-night, but there’ll be more in the morning. Here, Thomas,
clap on to the standing part of that messenger, lead it aft, and make it
fast to a ring-bolt on the starboard side.”

Every word of this command was Greek to frightened and bewildered Guy,
who stood looking about the deck undecided which way to turn. He had
heard of “messenger-boys,” but he did not know that there were any on
board, unless he was one, and he couldn’t see the use of leading himself
aft and making himself fast to a ring-bolt, whatever that might be.

“Sir?” said he, as soon as he had collected himself so that he could
speak.

“_Sir!_” echoed the mate with a terrific oath. “I spoke plainly enough,
didn’t I? Where’s your ears?”

“They’re on my head. But I don’t see any messenger-boy.”

“Messen——Who said anything about a messenger-boy?” roared the mate.
“What’s this, you lubber?” he continued, picking up a rope which led
from the place where they were standing through a block made fast to the
cable and thence to the capstan. “What is it, I say? But look here, my
hearty, didn’t you ship for an able seaman?”

“Yes, I—no; no, I didn’t.”

“Yes, he did, Mr. Schwartz,” said the captain, who had been a witness to
the whole proceeding. “He did. Lay that messenger over his shoulders,
and do it so smartly that he will know one the next time he sees it.”

The mate swung one end of the heavy rope in the air, and Guy, with a
piercing cry of terror, sprang away and took to his heels; but not in
time to escape the blow. The rope fell across his shoulders with such
crushing force that Guy wilted under it as if every bone in his body had
been broken by the concussion. As he scrambled to his feet he was met by
the captain.

“Go for’ard—don’t come back here,” said that officer, emphasizing his
command with a push that once more made Guy measure his length on deck.
“You don’t belong here. Go for’ard, you lubber.”

“Come here,” said the mate, shaking his fist at Guy. “Come here and get
a handspike.”

Guy understood this order. He knew what a handspike was and what to do
with it after he had got it. Dodging around the other side of the deck
to avoid passing the mate, he found one of the implements, and shipping
it into the capstan began heaving around with the rest, who were by this
time at work hoisting the anchor. He kept one eye on the mate all the
while, for he was afraid that he might have more punishment in store for
him. And he had. When Guy came around within reach of him the officer
suddenly lifted a short rope which he had kept concealed behind him, and
rained the blows upon the boy’s shoulders in a perfect shower. Guy
endured it until he believed that the mate had determined to beat him to
death, and then he dropped the capstan bar and run for his life.

“Come back here!” shouted the mate.

“Murder! murder!” screamed Guy, crouching close against the side, and
holding both hands before his face.

“Yes, yes,” said the officer, seizing him by the collar and throwing him
back toward the capstan. “You’ll sing that tune a good many times before
you see the last of me. I’ll learn you how to rate yourself the next
time you ship.”

“I didn’t want to ship as able seaman,” sobbed Guy, “but Smith——”

“Heave ahead, there!” interrupted the mate, again raising the rope. “No
back talk allowed here. I’m going to haze you beautiful.”

That was a long and dreary night to Guy, and he scarcely knew how he
lived through it. He did not understand a single order that was issued,
and of course could lend no hand in the working of the vessel.

He did his best, fearing the rope’s-end, but his clumsy efforts only got
him deeper into trouble. The sailors swore at him and pushed him roughly
out of the way, and the mate cuffed and kicked him every time he came
within reach. Guy really thought he was doomed. He never expected to
live to see the sun rise again.

The vessel was kept under way about three hours, and at twelve o’clock
came to anchor under the lee of a high, wooded point which jutted out
into the sea.

Guy drew a long breath of relief when he heard the cable rattling
through the hawse-hole, and told himself that his labors and troubles
were over for that night at least. But as usual he was disappointed.

The captain, not caring to go to sea short-handed, had stopped here to
wait until his crew should become sober, and to perform some necessary
work, such as getting on chafing gear, lashing spars and water-butts and
stowing the boats. And Guy, with all the rest, was kept busy until
half-past three o’clock, when he was ordered below to sleep until five.
But he never once closed his eyes—he was in too much agony, both
mentally and physically. He passed the hour and a half in rolling about
in his bunk bemoaning his hard fate, and resolving over and over again
that if he were spared to put his foot on shore once more he would
never, as long as he lived, go within sight of salt water.

As the first gray streaks of dawn were seen in the east two men came
down into the forecastle. Guy gave a start of surprise when his eyes
rested on them, for he knew them both.

The first was the mate, of whom he had already learned to stand in
abject fear, and he knew now what he had all along suspected—that he was
the same man whom he had met at the boarding-house. He recognized him in
a moment, for his face was not concealed as it had been the night
before. Guy wondered what evil genius had sent him aboard the Morning
Light.

In regard to the identity of the mate’s companion there was no sort of
doubt in the boy’s mind, although he took two good looks at him, and
then rubbed his eyes and looked again before he was willing to credit
the evidence of his senses. He knew those gray clothes and that mottled
face and fur cap. He had seen them all in the court-room the day before.
The man to whom they belonged was the robber against whom he had
testified, and who had looked at him so savagely while he was giving his
evidence.

This man, as the sequel proved, was the first mate of the vessel, who
had left his bondsmen in the lurch. He had just come off in a shore
boat, not having considered it safe to join the vessel while she was in
the harbor, for fear there might be some one on the watch. Guy, of
course, _knew_ nothing of this, but having become very suspicious of
late, he made a remarkably shrewd _guess_ as to the real facts of the
case.

A thrill of terror run through the boy’s frame like a shock of
electricity when he reflected that he was completely in this villain’s
power, and that if he felt disposed to take revenge on him for the
evidence Guy had given against him he would have every opportunity to do
it.

With a cautious movement Guy pulled the blanket over his head, leaving a
little opening through which he could watch the movements of the two
men. They had come down there to arouse the crew. They stepped up to one
of the bunks and seizing the occupant by the shoulder shook him roughly.

“Halloo!” exclaimed the first mate, “this is one of our old hands, Jim
Upham, and dead as a log yet.”

“Yes,” returned his companion with a chuckle, “and if he knows when he
is well off he will stay that way as long as he can. I’ve a fine rod in
pickle for him and his mate yonder in the next bunk, for it was owing to
them that we were four days in finding a crew.”

The two officers proceeded to make the circuit of the forecastle,
stopping at each bunk long enough to give the occupant a good sound
shaking. The sober ones—those who had been on duty the night
before—quickly responded, and as soon as they were dressed were ordered
to rig the head-pump and get ready to wash down the deck; but the
others—those who had been brought off in Rupert’s yawl—could not be
aroused. The effects of the drug, whatever it was, that the landlord had
put into their “last glass,” had not yet been slept off.

“Never mind,” said the first mate, “if they don’t come around directly
we’ll put them under the pump. Who’s this?” he added, pulling the
blankets off Guy’s head.

“Oh, he’s a young sneak who has come aboard to be hazed. He shipped for
a sailor man, and don’t know a marlinspike from the starboard side of
the vessel.”

“Eh?” exclaimed the first mate, stepping back a little out of the light
and bending over until his face almost touched Guy’s, “haven’t I seen
this young—oh, he’s a lubber, is he? Well, roll out and turn to.”

The expression in the mate’s eye and the tones of his voice indicated
that he was about to say something else; but he recollected himself just
in time. Guy knew that he had been on the point of referring to the
scene in the court-room, and he was afraid that he might yet hear from
the man concerning it, and at no distant day either. He did hear of it
before a quarter of an hour had passed away. While he was busy at work
washing the deck the first mate came up, handed him a swab, and under
pretense of showing him where to use it, led him out of earshot of the
sailors at the pump.

“I didn’t think I should have a chance to square yards with you so soon,
my lad,” said he, with a savage emphasis. “Now I am going to make you
think this ship is a frying-pan; and if I hear you lisp a word about
what happened yesterday, _I will kill you_. Do you understand that?
Answer me; do you understand it?”

“Yes, sir,” Guy managed to reply.

“Well, bear it in mind, for it is gospel. I mean just what I say—no
less.”

Guy did not doubt it in the least. A man who carried a face like that of
the mate was capable of any atrocity. Between him and the second officer
it was very probable that the ship would be made a great deal warmer
than a frying-pan. He knew that he was utterly defenseless, and that
there was no possible way to avoid the punishment the mates intended to
inflict upon him. The only thing he could do was to perform his duty to
the best of his ability, and that too with the disheartening conviction
all the while forcing itself upon his mind, that no matter how hard he
tried, the officers would find some excuse for using a rope’s end on
him.

While Guy was busy with his swab, performing his work as well as he
could see to do it through eyes blinded with tears, he happened to
glance toward the forecastle and saw Flint slowly ascending the ladder.
Guy could hardly believe that it was he. The sailor looked, as he
afterward said he felt—“as dilapidated as a last year’s bird’s nest.”
His hair was disheveled, his face haggard and pale, his eyes blood-shot,
and had he been seen in the woods just then, he would have been taken
for a wild man. Never in his life had Guy seen such an expression of
utter amazement and bewilderment as that which his friend’s face wore as
it arose slowly above the combings of the hatchway. Flint was lost, and
it took him some time to get his bearings. He looked around the deck,
and finally his eyes fell upon Guy.

“Halloo, mate!” said he, with a sickly smile and an abortive attempt to
appear cheerful; “I knew you were somewhere about, for I couldn’t think
of anybody else who would put a blanket under my head for a pillow, and
spread another over me to keep me warm. What ship is this?”

“The clipper Morning Light,” said Guy. “You don’t know how glad I am to
see you in your sober senses again. I want to talk to you.”

“Clipper be—blessed,” said Flint, looking all around. That wasn’t just
the word he used, but it is as strong a one as we care to put in print.
“Where are we bound?”

“Up the Mediterranean.”

“Mediterranean be blessed!” said Flint again. “Liverpool or the Horn
more likely. But, Jack, how did I get aboard, and when?”

“You came last night. The landlord—Rupert is his name—brought you and
the rest off in a yawl, and you were as drunk as a beast,” said Guy
reproachfully, at the same time hoping that Flint could clear himself of
the charge.

“No, I wasn’t,” answered the sailor emphatically. “You nor nobody else
ever saw me drunk on a pint of brandy, and that’s all I took.”

“A pint!” cried Guy in surprise—“a whole pint?”

“Heavens and earth! what’s the matter?” exclaimed Flint sharply. “I know
to a drop how much I can stow away. I can sail on and never keel under a
quart. I was doctored.”

“But what made you touch it? You said you wouldn’t.”

“I know it, but I had to do it to settle the fight we got into. The
landlord said if we’d take a drink all around he’d call it square, and
we did. I tried to keep the others from falling into a trap, and fell
into it myself. How did you come here, Jack?”

“I shipped aboard this vessel because I was told you had done so.”

“What’s your rate?”

“The agent put me down as an A. B.,” said Guy hesitatingly.

“He did!” exclaimed Flint, opening his eyes in amazement. “Well, you are
a soft Tommy, that’s a fact. What made you let him do it? You’ve got
yourself into hot water.”

“I know it,” replied Guy, with tears in his eyes. “I’ve been whipped a
dozen times already, and the second mate says he’s going to haze me
beautifully. What does that mean, Flint?”

“He says that, does he?” cried the sailor. “Then you had best jump over
the side while you’ve got the chance. He’s going to haze you, is he?
That means that he won’t let you have a minute’s peace as long as this
voyage lasts, and that you won’t get a wink of sleep more than just
enough to keep you alive. I pity you, my boy.”

Guy thought he stood in need of sympathy. He knew that there were hard
times before him, but he had never dreamed of anything so dreadful as
this.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XVI.

                             STILL ANOTHER.


FLINT looked at the boy for a moment with an expression of great concern
on his haggard face, and continued:

“I was in a ship once when the whole crew was hazed, and I wouldn’t go
through it again for no money. It was awful.”

“But why did you submit to it?” asked Guy, in surprise. “Were there not
enough of you to whip the officers?”

“Yes, but that would have been mutiny; and if we had tried it we would
have been shot down like dogs. There’s no way out of the scrape, Jack,
unless you go overboard. You’re held as tight as if you were in jail.”

“But I haven’t yet told you all,” said Guy, who seemed to find a gloomy
satisfaction in talking about his troubles. “The first mate is an enemy
of mine, too. You remember, do you not, that when you had the fight at
the boarding-house I ran out? Well, I went to the dock, and there I
found a man who was being robbed. I saved him by calling the police, and
through me one of the robbers was captured. I was taken to the
watch-house and locked up until the next morning, when I appeared as a
witness against the prisoner; and who do you suppose he turned out to
be? I was never more astonished in my life. Don’t say a word about it,
Flint, for he threatens to kill me if I lisp it, but it was our first
mate. He says he is going to make me think this ship is a frying-pan.”

“And he will keep his promise, too; you can bet high on that,” said
Flint, greatly amazed. “Have you told me the worst yet?”

“Yes, I think I have. Haven’t I told you enough?”

“I should say so. I told you that a boy who goes to sea always gets more
kicks than ha’pence, and now you find that I spoke the truth.”

“But is there nothing I can do?” asked Guy anxiously.

“Nothing—nothing in the world. You must take your kicks and say not a
word. One of these days, when you are an officer, you can take it out of
the green hands who ship under you. That’s your only chance to get
even.”

Flint, having offered Guy all the consolation in his power—and very poor
consolation it was, too—now bethought him of his own troubles. Thrusting
his hand under his shirt he drew out his “monk-bag”—a small leather
purse which was suspended from his neck by a string. The last time he
saw the purse it was well filled with bills and coin, but now it was
empty.

“I have been eased of my wealth,” said he. “Do you know what has become
of it? I had eighty dollars in here, and never spent a cent of it.”

“Is that gone, too?” exclaimed the boy, astonished at the calmness with
which his friend announced the discovery of his loss. “I don’t know any
thing about it, but I do know where your advance went.”

With this Guy begun, and hurriedly described the scene that had been
enacted when Flint and his insensible companions were first brought on
board, dwelling with much indignation on the fact that he had seen
Rupert steal his friend’s money, and had tried to make him give it up,
but had only succeeded in bringing down upon himself the wrath of the
captain, who choked him until he could scarcely see.

When Guy finished, he looked at Flint, expecting that he would be very
angry, and that he would at once seek the skipper and demand
satisfaction for the manner in which he had been treated; but the sailor
did nothing of the kind. He simply smiled, and said, with an effort to
appear cheerful:

“I’ve seen that same trick done more’n once, but it was never played
upon me before, and never shall be again.”

“But what are you going to do about it?” asked Guy.

“What _can_ I do?”

“Why, arrest Rupert for robbery. I will be a witness against him.”

“Ha!” laughed the sailor. “He’d bring a dozen men to prove that I owed
him every cent of my advance, and more too. Besides, there’s no telling
where Rupert will be by the time our cruise is ended.”

“But you need not go on this voyage. You were not legally shipped. You
don’t remember of signing articles, do you?”

“Of course not; but it will do no good to make a fuss about it, for the
old man will say I had too much liquor in me when I did it to remember
anything.”

“Suppose he does. I have heard my father say that a note obtained from a
person in a state of intoxication is not good in law, and the same
principle ought to apply in this case.”

“Well, it won’t,” said Flint. “Law was made for land-lubbers, not for
sailors. Nobody cares for a sailor.”

Guy begun to think so, too. It was utterly incomprehensible to him that
men who had been kidnapped and robbed, as Flint and his companions had
been, must put up with it, having no redress in law. He could not see
why it was so.

Just then there was a movement in one of the bunks below, and presently
a head appeared at the foot of the ladder. Another of the sailors had
slept off the effects of the drug, and was coming up to see where he
was. He was a man considerably older than Flint, and his hair and
whiskers were as white as snow.

Guy’s heart bled for him. That a man at his time of life should be
treated worse than a brute, and be obliged to submit to it too, it
was——Guy’s indignation got the better of him, and he could only wish
that he could be the master of the vessel for an hour or two. Wouldn’t
he straighten out things in a hurry?

The old sailor came slowly up the ladder, taking no notice of Guy and
his friend, and swept his eyes over the deck. No sooner had he done so
than he started as if he had seen something frightful, took another good
look, and his face turned ghastly pale.

“What ship is this?” he asked, backing down the ladder a step or two.

“The clipper Morning Light, bound up the Mediterranean,” replied Guy.

“Morning Light be blessed!” said the old sailor. “I know her. She’s the
Santa Maria.”

Guy’s under jaw dropped, and the swab fell from his hand. His worst
fears were confirmed.

He did not have time to digest this most unwelcome piece of news; for
the second mate, thinking that he was devoting considerable time and
attention to swabbing that particular part of the deck—for he had kept
steadily at work during his conversation with Flint—came forward to see
about it. He might have said or done something not altogether pleasant
to Guy’s feelings, had he not been diverted from his object by the
discovery of the two sailors on the ladder.

“Well, my hearties, you have slept it off at last, have you?” he
exclaimed. “Then tumble up and turn to.”

Flint and the gray-headed sailor promptly obeyed the order, while the
mate went into the forecastle to renew his efforts to arouse the
sleepers.

This time he was successful. One by one the poor fellows came up the
ladder, all of them, as Guy noticed, wearing the same expression of
blank amazement which he had observed on Flint’s face, and, seeming to
understand their situation as well as if it had been explained to them,
went to work without uttering a word of complaint.

As soon as the deck was washed down the ship was got under way, and,
when studding-sails had been set alow and aloft, the men were mustered
on deck and divided into watches. This done, the captain stepped before
them and said, in a stentorian voice, as if he were hailing the
mast-head:

“Now, men, we have shipped together for a long voyage, and whether or
not it is to be a pleasant one depends entirely on yourselves. You all
claim to be able seamen, and if you do your duty cheerfully and without
any grumbling, you will find me the easiest ship-master you ever sailed
under; but if there’s any nonsense among you, I’ll make this vessel the
hottest place for you this side of——” Here the captain pointed with his
finger toward the deck, indicating, no doubt, the regions below. “The
rule of this ship is, the forenoon watch below, and all hands on deck in
the afternoon; and if that regulation is changed, it will be your fault.
Mark you, now: That gentleman, Mr. Evans, is my first mate, and that one
there, Mr. Schwartz, is my second mate. I’m the captain; and when you
have taken a good look at me, go for’rd. That’s all I have to say to
you.”

“Go below, the watch,” commanded the second mate.

Guy, Flint, the gray-headed sailor, and the others belonging to the port
watch, lost no time in obeying the order. There were none among them who
felt like doing duty. Guy certainly did not, for he was so completely
exhausted that it did not seem possible he could live to draw another
breath. He threw himself upon his hard bed, drew the blankets over his
shoulders, and listened to the conversation of the sailors, who now had
leisure to talk over their situation.

To Guy’s great surprise there was not one of them who exhibited the
least indignation, or had a harsh word to say against the author of
their troubles. Some flung themselves helplessly upon their bunks as if
it mattered little to them whether they ever got up again or not, others
overhauled their bundles or chests to see if any of their dunnage was
missing, and the faces of all wore a look of sadness and dejection that
was painful to see. The furtive glances that they cast about the
forecastle, and the listening attitudes they assumed whenever any
unusual sound was heard, was enough to satisfy Guy that they were all
aware that they had been shipped aboard the very vessel they had been
most anxious to avoid.

“You needn’t be a looking and a listening now, lads,” said the
gray-haired sailor, whose name was Upham, and who had made one voyage in
the ship. “The Santa Maria is as quiet as old Davy’s locker in the
day-time, but wait until midnight, if the wind freshens a bit, then
you’ll hear something.”

“The creaking and groaning of the cordage, most likely,” said Guy. “I’ve
heard it often aboard the Ossipee.”

“You’d better take a sheep-shank in that tongue of yours,” said Upham
sharply. “When you have sailed the blue water till your hair is as white
as mine, you’ll know more than you do now.”

So saying the sailor drew the blankets over him, and with a sigh of
resignation turned his face to the bulk-head and prepared to go to
sleep. The rest of the watch, one after the other, followed his example,
and Guy was left to commune with his own thoughts. He would have been
glad to know just how and when the ghosts of the Santa Maria were
accustomed to appear, so that he might be on the lookout for them; but
Upham did not seem inclined to say more on the subject, and he had shown
himself to be such a gruff, irritable old fellow that Guy did not care
to ask him any questions, being certain of getting a sharp and
unsatisfactory reply. While he was thinking about it he fell into a
deep, untroubled slumber.

Guy that day learned by experience what “hazing” meant, and he found,
too, that Flint’s description of this mode of punishment was not in the
least exaggerated. Long before night came he was so nearly exhausted
that the fear of the rope’s end, with which the second mate constantly
threatened him, was the only thing that kept him moving.

It was his watch below from six to eight o’clock, but he was too tired
to sleep, and the time was so short that he got very little rest. He was
called on deck again at eight o’clock, and kept busy until midnight, for
the wind which arose at sunset freshened rapidly, and on several
occasions it was found necessary to shorten sail. Of course Guy could
lend no assistance in the execution of this work, but he bustled about
in response to every order that was issued, and only succeeded in
getting himself into trouble by his misdirected activity and zeal.

Once, when he was sent headlong against the rail by a push from an angry
sailor, he clung to it for a moment with a half-formed resolution in his
mind to jump into the waves which were tossing the vessel so widely
about, and put an end to his misery at once, but prudence stepped in in
time to prevent him from doing anything rash.

“The voyage can’t last forever,” thought Guy, trying hard to keep up his
courage. “We must reach some port at last, and in less than half an hour
after we are tied up to the wharf I shall be missing. I am going to
desert. I have money enough in my pocket to keep me in food until I can
find something to do. I’d rather be a wood-sawyer than a sailor.”

Midnight came at last, and the starboard watch was called. Guy happened
to be standing near the heel of the bowsprit as they came up the ladder,
and he was astonished to see that every one of them was as white as a
sheet. When they reached the deck they all cast suspicious glances back
into the forecastle, as if they were afraid that there might be
something following them. Beyond a doubt the ghosts had manifested
themselves in some way. So thought Guy, and his opinion was confirmed by
some whispered words he overheard.

“What is it, mate?” asked Flint of the sailor who was the first to reach
the deck. “Your face is as white as a landsman’s Sunday shirt.”

“And maybe your face will be white, too, after you have been down there
a few minutes,” answered the man, who was the gray-haired sailor’s
crony, and who, like him, had made one voyage in the Santa Maria.
“Where’s Upham?”

“Here,” replied the owner of that name. “Have you seen ’em?”

“No; but I’ve heard ’em. He’ll be up directly.”

“He! Who?” asked Flint uneasily.

“Why, the ghost of the man who was lost overboard a few years ago,” said
Upham. “You see, one night, during a gale, some of the crew were sent
aloft to cut away the main topsail, for it was blowing too hard to furl
it. One man was lost overboard—he was blown fairly off the foot-rope,
they tell me—and every night after that his ghost used to get up on the
main-topsail yard and sing out: ‘Stand from under!’ I never heard him
speak, but I’ve seen him often.”

“So have I,” said Upham’s crony. “He looks like a rat.”

“But what did you see in the forecastle?” asked Flint.

“Nothing; but we heard ’em talking and going on. They’re in the hold
now.”

“Go below, you lubbers!” shouted the second mate. “This is the third
time I have spoken to you, and if you don’t pay some attention I’ll
start you down faster than you want to go.”

The men belonging to the port watch ran quickly down the ladder to avoid
the handspike which the officer began to swing about in close proximity
to their heads.

Guy was the last to leave the deck. Tired and utterly discouraged as he
was he would rather have spent the rest of the night in work than go
into the forecastle. He scouted the idea of ghosts, but when such men as
Flint and Upham showed signs of fear, he believed that it could not be
without good reason, and that there must be something to be afraid of.
He trembled violently, and his face was as pale as those of the rest of
the watch.

“Aha! see him now, mates!” exclaimed the gray-headed sailor pointing to
Guy as he came down the ladder. “Here’s the chap that knows more’n all
the rest of us put together!—a regular sea-lawyer. Now look at him!”

“Listen! listen!” said one of the watch suddenly.

The sailors all held their breath, and a silence deep as that of the
grave reigned in the forecastle. This continued for a few seconds, and
then a low, moaning sound, like the wail of some one in intense bodily
agony, fell upon their ears with startling distinctness. It seemed to
come to them through the bulk-head that separated the forecastle from
the hold.

Guy listened in great amazement. The cold chills begun to creep all over
him, and his face grew a shade paler than ever.

“Don’t be afraid, my son,” said Upham mockingly. “It’s only the creaking
and groaning of the rigging. You’ve heard it often, so it needn’t scare
you.”

“No, it isn’t the rigging,” said Guy; “it’s the boxes of freight rubbing
against one another.”

“Well, I never knew before that boxes of freight could talk,” said one
of the watch. “Just listen to that!”

“Oh, heavens! I can’t stand it! I can’t stand it!” came in muffled tones
from the hold. “Take it off, or I shall die!”

This was followed by a low, murmuring sound, as of several persons in
earnest conversation, and then all was still.

Guy’s philosophy was not proof against such a manifestation as this.
There was something in the hold beyond a doubt, and what else could it
be but the ghostly crew the Santa Maria was supposed to carry?

“There’s been awful things done aboard this craft,” said Upham, shaking
his gray head solemnly. “Nobody knows how many poor fellows have been
knocked overboard on dark nights by them two mates.”

“Great Scott!” soliloquized Guy, jumping into his bunk and drawing the
blankets over his head. “I never thought of that. Who knows but that the
first mate may be watching for a chance to knock me overboard?”

The old sailor’s words had excited a train of serious reflections in
Guy’s mind. A man who could deliberately attack another with the
intention of robbing and throwing him into the harbor, would be none too
good to make an end of the boy who had given evidence against him. There
was but one thing he could do in his helpless situation, he told
himself, and that was to watch the mate closely and be in readiness to
seize the first opportunity to desert the vessel.

The night wore slowly away, and another miserable day dawned for the
runaway. He was kept very busy, for the mates always found some work
that he could do, but still he had leisure to observe that there was
something unusual going on among the men. They gathered in little groups
to converse when the officers were not looking at them, and Upham talked
privately with every one of the crew, Guy alone excepted. He seemed to
be urging some sort of a movement among the sailors, but what it was Guy
could not find out, for no one, not even Flint, would enlighten him.

Was it a mutiny? Guy hoped it was, and placed a handspike where he could
seize it at a moment’s warning. If force were resorted to, he would get
in at least a blow or two in return for the barbarous treatment to which
he had been subjected.

Nothing was done until three o’clock, and then the captain came on deck
as usual to smoke his after-dinner cigar. His appearance seemed to be
the signal the sailors were waiting for. They dropped their work at once
and, headed by Upham, marched aft in a body.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XVII.

                     THE GHOSTS OF THE SANTA MARIA.


“HALLOO! what do you want here, you lubbers?” demanded the captain, as
the sailors, headed by Upham, ranged themselves on the quarter-deck in
front of him and took off their caps. “I don’t allow any such doings as
this aboard my ship. Go for’ard where you belong.”

“We haven’t come for any mischief, cap’n,” said Upham, who had been
chosen to do the talking for his companions. “We’re all sailor men, and
know our duty.”

“Then go for’ard and do it,” said the skipper angrily. “Away you go.”

“We’re ready to obey orders, cap’n, and you sha’n’t have a word of fault
to find with none of us, if you will only think up some way to git rid
of them other fellows. It’s more than human flesh and blood can stand to
have them aboard here.”

“What other fellows?”

“Why, them in the hold that keeps up such a wailing and groaning all the
while.”

“Get out o’ this!” shouted the captain, looking about the deck as if he
were searching for something to throw at Upham’s head. “I’ve heard
enough. You pulled the wool over the eyes of a lot of soft Tommys on
shore and kept us waiting three days for a crew, but you can’t talk any
of your ghost stories into me. Go to your duty.”

“We’ve done our duty since we’ve been aboard, cap’n,” returned Upham,
“and we’re ready to keep on doing it if you will only get rid of that
other crew, but not a tack or sheet do we touch till this thing has been
looked into. We’ve all made up our minds to that.”

“Oh, you’re going to mutiny, are you?” roared the skipper, his face
growing purple with fury. “I’ll show you how I deal with such men. Mr.
Schwartz, just step down into the cabin and bring up my pistols.”

The second mate started in obedience to the order, but the sailors, who
were drawn up in line across the deck, moved forward as one man, and
stood between him and the companion-way.

Things were getting serious, and Guy, who stood on the outskirts of the
crowd, began edging his way toward the bow. Was he going after his
handspike? No; he intended to dodge into the forecastle, where he would
be safe. If the captain was going to use fire-arms to bring his crew to
their senses, he did not want to be found in the way of the bullets.

The skipper’s actions indicated that he was in just the right humor to
do something desperate. He stamped about the deck and swore at the top
of his voice, but it was plain that, in spite of all his bluster, he was
cowed by the bold front of his crew. When he paused to take breath,
Upham spoke.

“We don’t want to go agin yer, cap’n,” said he, “and we don’t want to
talk no ghost stories into you, neither. All we ask of you is to come
down into the forecastle and listen to ’em with your own ears. I’ve
heard ’em, and I hain’t a boy to be scared at nothing. I snuffed salt
water before you ever saw daylight.”

The captain seemed on the point of making an angry reply, but just then
the second mate, after holding a short consultation with the first
officer, stepped up and said something to him in a whisper. The sailors
could not hear what it was, but they saw the skipper’s face brighten at
once.

“It may be possible,” said he, aloud. “I did not think of that. Come on,
men; I’ll soon get at the bottom of the matter.”

The captain led the way into the forecastle, and the sailors flocked
down the ladder after him, Guy bringing up the rear.

“Now fetch on your ghosts,” said the skipper, seating himself on one of
the bunks.

“Avast heaving a minute, cap’n, and you’ll see ’em,” said Upham.

The silence that followed continued so long that the sailors began to
get impatient, but not so the captain. The few words the second mate
whispered in his ear had aroused some suspicions in his mind, and he was
resolved that they should either be confirmed or entirely set at rest
before he left the forecastle.

Ten minutes passed, and then the groans that had startled the crew the
night before were distinctly heard, followed by the low murmur of
conversation. The captain seemed very much annoyed. He arose from his
seat, and placing his ear close against the bulk-head, stood there
listening intently until the sounds ceased.

“They’re there sure enough, cap’n,” said Upham. “You see that we wasn’t
complaining of nothing.”

“I am satisfied of it now,” was the reply. “Get lanterns, a couple of
you, and all the port watch come with me into the hold. Bring handspikes
every mother’s son of you.”

“Handspikes won’t do no good,” growled Flint, after the captain had
ascended from the forecastle.

“No,” assented Upham. “I never yet heard of a ghost being knocked down
and put in irons.”

Judging by the expression on the faces of the sailors, there was not a
man in the port watch who did not wish that somebody besides himself had
been called upon to accompany the captain. The alarm that prevailed
among them was contagious, and even Guy began to give way to it. He
believed, with Flint and Upham, that there was something in the hold
that could not be overcome with weapons, and when he went aft with his
watch, armed like the rest with a handspike, he stationed himself at the
heels of the captain with the determination to keep close to him. He had
faith in the skipper’s courage and prowess, and, moreover, he saw that
the latter carried pistols in his pockets. Pistols were better than
handspikes any day, even in an encounter with ghosts.

In obedience to the orders of the mate, one of the hatches was opened,
and the captain descended into the hold, followed by the port watch.
Slowly they made their way along a narrow passage toward the place where
the water-butts were stowed, and when they came within sight of them
they stopped, astonished by the scene presented to their gaze. Some of
the sailors took just one look, and then uttered exclamations of alarm
and turned to retreat. Guy would have done the same, only he could not.
He was so badly frightened that he could neither move nor speak.

A portion of the cargo had been broken out, forming a clear space about
six feet square and as many feet deep, and in it were seated the objects
that had excited his alarm—not ghosts, but living men, who held cocked
pistols in their hands, and whose faces denoted that they were anything
but pleased at the discovery of their hiding-place. In the center of
this clear space was a fourth man, lying flat on his back, and pinned
down by a box of goods which had doubtless been thrown upon him by the
lurching of the vessel. The box was so large and heavy, and his
companions had so little room to work in, that they had not been able to
release him; and there the poor fellow had lain for long hours suffering
intense agony, which was increased by every lurch the vessel gave. He it
was who had given utterance to the groans which had so greatly alarmed
the crew. The men, whoever they were, had come on board prepared for a
long voyage, for they had brought with them a large bag of provisions,
and had tapped one of the butts to get a supply of water.

“Well,” said the captain, as soon as the volley of exclamations which
arose from the sailors had subsided, so that he could make himself
heard, “this thing has turned out just as I expected it would. You’re
the lads that robbed the jewelry store, I suppose.”

“Why, so they are!” exclaimed Guy, who now comprehended the matter
perfectly; “I knew they couldn’t be ghosts.”

“Who and what we are is no business of yours,” answered one of the men
gruffly.

“It isn’t, ’eh?” exclaimed the captain. “I am master of this ship, if
you only knew it. Come up out of that.”

“No, we’ll not go up, and if you know when you are well off you’ll not
come down to us, either. We are all armed, as you see, and the first man
who makes a move to lay a hand on us will get a bullet through his
head.”

“Cap’n,” said Flint, who was brave enough now that he knew they had live
men and not dead ones to deal with, “just say the word and I’ll jump
down there and toss that fellow out before he knows what is the matter
with him.”

“No, no,” said the captain. “Stay where you are. I know how to deal with
’em. Where are you lads going?” he added, holding one of the lanterns
over the robbers’ hiding-place and taking a good survey of it.

“We’re going wherever the ship goes,” was the surly reply.

“Well, you’ll have a good long ride. This cargo will not be broken out
under seven or eight months. Have you got provisions enough to last you
that long?”

“You needn’t lose no sleep in worrying about that.”

“I won’t, for it’s your lookout, not mine. Hadn’t you better let me rig
a whip and hoist that box off that man? It’s a pity to keep him in that
fix.”

“And after you get it hoisted off you would try to come some of your
sailor tricks over us,” said the robber. “We ain’t quite so green as
that. You just go off and attend to your own business. We’ll take care
of him.”

“All right. Mark you now, my fine lads, I’m going to close and batten
down my hatches, and they sha’n’t be opened again until we reach port,
no matter what happens. If the ship goes to the bottom you go with her,
and without a chance to save yourselves.”

The skipper turned and crawled back toward the hatchway as he said this,
and the watch followed him. They found their companions on deck
impatiently awaiting their return, and when they heard what the captain
had to say to his mates, and learned that the men in the hold were not
ghosts, as they had supposed, but a gang of burglars, who, in spite of
the vigilance of the watch, had succeeded in smuggling themselves on
board before the ship left port, their surprise knew no bounds. Their
faces, too, as well as the long, deep sighs which came up from their
broad chests showed that their relief was fully as great as their
astonishment.

Guy and the four men he had found on board the Santa Maria when he first
joined her, knew more about the matter than anybody else, except the
officers, they having been on deck while the policeman was talking with
the captain about the burglars. They were obliged to repeat all they had
heard over and over again, first to one and then to another, and Guy
always wound up by declaring that that was the way all ghost stories
turned out—they could be explained easily enough if people would only
take the trouble to look into them.

“Avast there!” said Upham, who happened to overhear this last remark.
“You ain’t done with the old Santa Maria yet. You hain’t seen the ghost
who gets up on the main-topsail yard every night during a gale and says:

“Stand from under!”

By the time the hatches had all been closed and securely fastened, the
captain came up out of his cabin, where he had been busy with his chart.
A few rapid orders, which Guy, as usual, failed to comprehend, were
issued, and the ship stood off on another course.

“The old man isn’t letting grass grow under his feet,” said Flint to
Guy, as he came down out of the top. “He’s going to get rid of them
fellows.”

“What is he going to do with them?” asked Guy.

“He’s going to put ’em ashore. We’re heading for some port now.”

“Are we?” exclaimed Guy, highly delighted at this piece of news. “I wish
we were there now,” he added, sinking his voice to a whisper, and
looking all about to make sure that there was no one within hearing.
“You wouldn’t see me in half an hour from this time. I am going to
desert.”

“And I don’t blame you,” said Flint.

“You will go with me, won’t you?”

“What are you going to do?” asked the sailor; “find another ship?”

“No, sir,” said Guy emphatically. “If I ever put my foot on the deck of
another vessel as a foremast hand, I hope she will go to the bottom with
me. I am going to stay ashore; you may depend upon that.”

“Then I don’t see what good it will do me to go with you, Jack. I’d have
to ship again at once, for I’ve got no money, and I couldn’t find any
work to do ashore, not being a landsman. I might as well stay here. Now
that I know we’ve got no ghosts aboard I shall like the Santa Maria as
well as any other ship.”

“Then I shall have to go alone, I suppose,” said Guy. “I don’t like to
leave you, Flint, but I can’t stand this any longer. I am black and blue
all over from the poundings I have received.”

“And you’re getting as thin as the royal yard,” said Flint. “You’ll be
bait for the crows if you stay aboard this craft till we reach the
Sandwich Islands, and that’s where we’re bound.”

“The Sandwich Islands!” repeated Guy. “I thought we were going up the
Mediterranean.”

“Oh, that’s only one of the pack of lies that shipping agent told you,”
said the sailor, with a laugh. “If you had looked at the articles you
signed, you would have found out all about it. We’re going to discharge
our cargo at San Francisco, take another from there to Honolulu, and
fill up again for New Orleans. Where we shall go after that I don’t
know.”

“We’re going round the Horn, I suppose?”

“Of course. They don’t take ships over the isthmus yet.”

“Then I understand why Smith made me buy so many thick clothes. He said
perhaps I’d see some cold weather.”

“And so you will,” said Flint. “I’ll help you to get off if I can, but I
don’t see the use of going with you. I’d have to leave you again, unless
you would go to sea in some other vessel.”

“And that I’ll never do. I’ll starve on shore first.”

“And I’ll stay aboard the Santa Maria. Have you got any money?”

“Yes, I have sixty dollars and a little over. Do you want some of it?”

“No, I don’t,” said the sailor quickly. “I sha’n’t need any while I am
at sea, but you’ll need it ashore. Here,” he added, taking off his
monk-bag and handing it to Guy, “keep this to remember me by. Put your
money in it, and tie it around your neck, and you won’t be likely to
lose it. You can’t take your bundle with you, of course, so when we
reach port you had better put on another suit of clothes under those
you’ve got on now, and stow away all the dunnage about you that you can
without making yourself look too fat. If you put on too much you might
as well try to leave the ship with a chest on your shoulder, for the
mates will know in a minute what you’re up to. They’re posted in all
sailor tricks. We sha’n’t be long in port, so you had better be in a
hurry. Whatever you do, don’t be caught, or you’ll sup sorrow with a
spoon as big as a water-butt.”

This made Guy open his eyes. He had not expected to find any serious
obstacle in his way. If the ship came to anchor in the harbor to which
they were bound, especially if they arrived there during the night, it
would be but little trouble for him to drop overboard from the
fore-chains and swim ashore, provided the distance were not too great;
and if she were made fast to the dock, it would be still less trouble to
leave her. But now he knew that the officers would be on the watch, that
they well understood every device that could be resorted to by
deserters, and that if he were caught in the act of leaving the vessel,
the treatment he had hitherto received would be mild in comparison with
the punishment that would be inflicted upon him. The thought almost took
Guy’s breath away, but it did not discourage him. He had fully made up
his mind to desert the vessel if it were within the bounds of
possibility, and was not to be easily frightened from his purpose.

He conferred with Flint at every opportunity, and made all necessary
preparations, selecting the clothes he intended to take with him, and
tying them up in a separate bundle together with the “Boy Trappers,” the
book that belonged to Henry Stewart. This book Guy had carefully
preserved. It was the only thing he had left of the hunting outfit which
he had brought with him from home.

On the third day after the discovery of the robbers in the hold, land
was in sight once more, and at nine o’clock in the evening the Santa
Maria entered the port toward which the captain had shaped her course,
and was made fast to the wharf.

Guy did not know what the name of the town was or what country it was
in, and he did not think to inquire. All he cared for was to get safely
off the vessel; he could get his bearings afterward.

As soon as the ship touched the dock the captain jumped ashore, and
hurried away in the darkness—he was going after some officers to arrest
the men in the hold, Flint said—and Guy ran into the forecastle to make
ready for his attempt at desertion. He hastily pulled on the clothes he
had selected, secured the “Boy Trappers” about his person, and having
examined his monk-bag to make sure that his money was safe, presented
himself before his friend, who nodded approvingly.

“It’s all right,” said the sailor. “You’ll pass in the dark. Now stand
here by the side, and I’ll go aft and keep an eye on the mates. When I
see that they are not looking toward you, I’ll cough this way—here Flint
gave an illustration—and do you jump ashore, and run as if Old Nep was
after you with his three-pronged pitchfork. I can’t shake hands with you
for fear they’ll see me and suspect something; but you won’t forget me,
will you, Jack?”

“Never,” replied Guy. “You have been very kind to me, and I wouldn’t
leave you under any other circumstances.”

Flint, who did not care to prolong the interview, walked leisurely aft,
and Guy leaned over the side and impatiently waited for the signal.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                            ON SHORE AGAIN.


FOR TEN minutes—it seemed an hour to him—Guy stood there with his hands
on the side waiting for the signal which was to tell him that the moment
had arrived for him to make a strike for his liberty; but Flint did not
give it.

Guy began to get impatient. He looked about the deck, but although the
crew were in sight, none of them seemed to be paying any attention to
him or his movements. The first mate was standing at the head of the
companion ladder, gazing toward the light-house at the entrance of the
harbor, and the second mate, the one he most feared, was nowhere to be
seen. But for all that, he was close by, and on the watch, too. Flint
saw him, and that was the reason he did not give the signal for which
Guy was so impatiently waiting.

The vigilant officer, who seemed to see everything that took place on
board the vessel, knew Guy’s plans as well as he knew them himself, for
he had crouched at the head of the ladder and looked down into the
forecastle while Guy was preparing for his attempt at escape.

The mate’s first thought was to seize him as he came on deck and shake
him out of his superfluous clothing; but after a little reflection he
decided to adopt another mode of punishment. He would wait until Guy was
about to leave the ship and then give him a lesson that he would
remember as long as he lived.

As Flint turned away after taking leave of his young friend, he saw the
mate crouching behind the long boat, holding in his hand a stick of wood
which he had caught up as he passed the galley.

The sailor knew in an instant why he was there, and would have turned
back to warn Guy, but the officer, divining his intention, made an
impatient gesture with his hand, and Flint was obliged to pass on.

Guy waited and listened, growing more and more impatient, until at last
he could no longer control himself. The wharf was almost within reach of
him, and if his feet were once firmly planted upon it, his escape could
be easily accomplished. A few quick bounds would carry him out of sight
in the darkness, and if he were followed, he could creep into some alley
or door-way and remain there until the danger was past. He resolved to
try it.

He put one leg over the rail, paused an instant to make sure that the
movement had not attracted attention, then threw the other over, and
lowered himself slowly toward the wharf. His feet had almost touched it,
and Guy was already congratulating himself on his escape, when a stick
of stove-wood, propelled with all the force of a sinewy arm, whistled
through the air, and striking the rail within an inch of his head,
bounded off, and fell into the water. Had it struck him, as the mate
fully intended it should when he sent it flying from his hand, it would
have knocked him senseless.

While Guy was looking all around to see where the missile came from, the
officer arose from his concealment and showed himself.

“That was a pretty good shot,” said he, “but the next one will come
closer than that. Crawl back, you lubber. Now,” he added, as the boy
tremblingly obeyed, “go below, and stay there till I call you.”

As Guy started off in obedience to the order, the mate hastened his
movements by aiming a blow at him with his fist, and following it up by
a vicious kick with his heavy boot; but the boy, having learned to be
always on the lookout for these favors, nimbly eluded them both.

“I wish I were a man for a few minutes,” thought Guy, as he ran down the
ladder into the forecastle and began pulling off his extra clothing;
“I’d settle with you, Mr. Schwartz, and pay you back in your own coin.
I’ve failed once, but I’ll not fail the next time I try it. I’ll have
more time at San Francisco, for Flint says we’re going to discharge our
cargo there. Perhaps it is just as well, after all,” he added,
determined, to look on the bright side, if there was any, “because when
I reach San Francisco I shall be but a short distance from the Rocky
Mountains, and can begin the life of a hunter as soon as I please. Don’t
I wish I was there now with a good horse and gun, and such a dog as the
boy trappers had? Never mind, I’ll have them one of these days, if I
only live to get off this vessel.”

About the time Guy was ordered below by the second mate, the captain
returned, accompanied by three or four policemen. Guy heard them open
the hatch and go into the hold, and remembering that the robbers had
promised to make a desperate resistance, he listened to their movements
with no little anxiety, momentarily expecting to hear the sounds of a
fierce struggle going on among the freight, but nothing of the kind
happened.

The sight of the locusts and badges borne by the officers of the law
took all the courage out of the burglars, who quietly passed up their
weapons and allowed handcuffs to be slipped on their wrists. The box was
then hoisted off the other burglar, and he was placed upon a stretcher
and carried ashore. It was all done in five minutes, and when Guy was
ordered on deck to assist in getting the vessel under way—or rather to
stand by and look on while the others did it—the policemen and their
prisoners had disappeared in the darkness.

This was the last incident worthy of record that happened while Guy
remained on board the Santa Maria. Nothing occurred to break the
monotony of the voyage, which continued two hundred and ten days, and
which our runaway afterward looked back upon as the dreariest part of
his existence.

With the robbers disappeared all traces of that “other crew” of which
the sailors stood so much in fear. The most superstitious among them
kept a close watch for a few nights, starting at every unusual sound;
and when the wind freshened during the mid-watch, casting anxious
glances toward the main-topsail yard, where the ghost who shouted “Stand
from under!” was accustomed to station himself. But nothing startling
was ever seen or heard, and the men finally ceased to speak or think of
the matter.

Flint came in for some slight punishment for assisting Guy in his
attempt to desert the vessel, and Upham and his crony were hazed for a
day or two for keeping the ship waiting in port for a crew; but the
mate’s ill-will seemed to wear itself out at last, and then things went
on smoothly with everybody except the runaway.

Mr. Schwartz could not forget that Guy had tried to impose upon him by
rating himself as able seaman, when he scarcely knew the maintruck from
the kelson, and he did not intend that Guy should forget it either. He
never allowed him a moment’s peace while he was on duty, and sometimes,
when he felt particularly vindictive, he would keep him on deck long
after the rest of the watch had gone below. Guy’s life almost became a
burden to him. The only pleasure he found was in looking at the pictures
in the “Boy Trappers,” and dreaming of the easy, glorious existence he
would lead when once he became a hunter.

When he tumbled into his bunk he would lie awake for hours building his
gorgeous air-castles. Under the influence of his lively imagination the
walls of his dingy quarters would seem to widen out and loom up until
they became lofty, snow-capped mountains; the dreary forecastle,
smelling of tar and bilge-water, would become a beautiful glade decked
with flowers and embowered with trees; the smoky lantern would grow into
a cheerful camp-fire; the weather-beaten walls would change into tall,
broad-shouldered hunters and trappers; the chests, which were ranged on
one side of the forecastle, would take the shape of horses staked out to
graze; and the clothing hanging about would be transformed into buffalo
humps and juicy haunches of venison.

Then Guy would imagine himself stretched out on his blanket among these
wild, congenial spirits, wearing a coonskin cap and dressed in a full
suit of buckskin, gaudily ornamented (he couldn’t be a full-fledged
hunter without a coonskin cap and a suit of buckskin, especially the
latter, which, according to the cheap novels he had read, always set off
the wearer’s “slender, well-knit frame to such good advantage”), his
“deadly rifle, with which he could drive a nail or snuff a candle at
sixty yards’ distance,” lying by his side; his tomahawk, hunting-knife
and lasso hanging from a tree over his head, his fierce wolf-dog that
could pull down a buck or throttle an Indian with all ease, reposing at
his feet, and his horse, an animal which had carried him safely through
many a desperate fight with savages and wild beasts, and which for speed
and endurance was never equaled, grazing a little apart from the others
and rendered conspicuous by his great size and exceeding beauty.

“And suppose this horse was the celebrated white pacer of the plains,”
soliloquized Guy, carried fairly up to the seventh heaven of happiness
by his wild dreamings; “a horse that no living man had ever ridden until
I caught him with my own lasso and tamed him with my own hands! Ah! And
suppose these men were government scouts and I was the chief of them?
‘The Boy Chief of the Rough Riders of the Rocky Mountains!’ Whew!
Wouldn’t that be a sounding title, though? Oh, I’m bound to make myself
famous before I am ten years older. Dear me, I wonder if this miserable
vessel will ever reach San Francisco?”

When Guy dropped to sleep at last it would be to revel in such scenes as
this, until the hoarse voice of the second mate brought him back to the
realities of earth again. He lived in this way just seven months—how
careful he was to count the days as they dragged slowly by—and when at
last he was beginning to despair and to believe that the voyage never
would have an end, Flint one day pointed out something in the horizon
which looked like a cloud, but which he said was land, adding that he
had heard the first mate say that if they had no bad luck they would
pass the Golden Gate in about three days.

Guy had been waiting most impatiently for this announcement, and now he
could not have told whether he was glad or sorry to hear it. He longed
to feel the solid ground under his feet once more, but there was an
obstacle in the way of his getting there that he dreaded to encounter.

That was the second mate, whose eyes followed every move he made while
he was on deck. Since he detected the boy in his attempt to desert the
vessel, the officer had been more brutal than he was before; and he had
promised, too, that if he caught Guy in any more tricks of that kind he
would knock him overboard the very first good chance he got.

Guy believed that the mate fully intended to carry it out. Flint thought
so, too, and advised extreme caution. He and Guy held many a long
consultation, but could decide upon no definite plan of operations. The
only thing the boy could do was to be governed by circumstances, and
this time be careful not to act in too great a hurry.

On the afternoon of the fourth day after land was discovered the Santa
Maria entered the harbor of San Francisco and came to anchor, where she
was to remain a day or two—so Guy heard—before she was hauled into the
wharf. No sooner had she swung round to her anchor than one of the boats
was put into the water, and when it had been manned the captain came on
deck carrying a basket on his arm.

“Pass the word for Thomas,” said he.

Guy heard the call, and was hurrying aft in response to it when he was
met by the second mate.

“Look here, my hearty,” said the officer, “you’re to go ashore to carry
the captain’s basket. But listen now—no nonsense. I know every hole and
corner in ’Frisco, and if you don’t come back with the old man I’ll be
after you with a sharp stick, and if I catch you—well, you know me.”

The mate finished with a peculiar nod of his head, which had a peculiar
meaning in it.

Guy picked up the captain’s basket in obedience to a gesture from that
gentleman, and followed him into the boat. His mind was in such a whirl
of excitement and uncertainty that he took no note of what was going on
around him. Here was a chance for liberty, but he did not know whether
to improve it or not. He had nothing with him except his money, and that
he always carried in his monk-bag, which was slung around his neck. The
blankets and extra clothing which he would probably need before he could
have time to earn others, were in his bundle in the forecastle, and so
was that book of Henry Stewart’s, which was to him what chart and
compass are to the mariner.

Guy set great store by that book. It would, he thought, be of as much
service to him as the blankets and extra clothing, for he knew nothing
about hunting and trapping; in fact, he had never fired a gun half a
dozen times in his life, and he could make but poor headway until he had
received instructions from some source.

Having no mind of his own and knowing next to nothing outside of school
books, he had leaned upon somebody ever since he had been away from
home—Bob Walker first, and then Flint—and he had expected when he left
the vessel to have the book for a counselor. It told how to build camps,
how to cook squirrels and venison on spits before the fire, how to
travel through the thickest woods without the aid of a compass or the
sun, and how he ought to conduct himself in all sorts of terrible
emergencies, such as fights with Indians and grizzly bears. It would be
a rather risky piece of business for him to depend on his own judgment
and resources, and it would be equally risky to wait for another
opportunity to desert, for it might never be presented.

Guy did not know what to do, and there was no one to whom he could go
for advice.

“Thomas, you stay here till I come.”

These words aroused Guy from his reverie. He looked up and found himself
standing at the foot of a long, wide stairway leading up into a building
which looked like a warehouse. The Santa Maria was hidden from his view
by the masts and rigging of the vessels lying at the wharf, the boat in
which he had come ashore was out of sight, and so was the captain, who
went quickly up the stairs and disappeared through a door, which he
slammed behind him. Now or never was the thought that passed through
Guy’s mind, and without stopping to dwell upon it an instant, he dropped
the basket and darted away as fast as his legs could carry him, turning
down every street he came to, and putting as many corners as possible
between himself and the harbor.

Guy had learned at least one thing during the eight or nine months he
had been on the water, and that was that in all seaport towns the
sailors’ quarters are located near the docks, hence his desire to leave
that part of the city behind him in the shortest possible space of time.
He never wanted to meet a sea-faring man again—he had learned to despise
the name as well as the calling. Besides, he knew that if the second
mate fulfilled his threat of searching the city for him, that part of it
to which the sailors most resorted would be the very first place he
would visit. Guy wondered if there was a hunters’ boarding-house in
town. The officer would never think of looking for him there.

The deserter made remarkably good time for a boy who had been worn
almost to a shadow of his former self by hard fare and harder treatment,
settling down in a rapid walk at intervals, and then breaking into a run
again when he reached a street in which there were but few people to
observe his movements, and was finally brought to a stand-still by a
sign which caught his eye—J. Brown, gunsmith.

The words drove all thoughts of the mate out of his mind, and suggested
to him a new train of reflections. He was out of danger for the
present—he had been running fully half an hour, as nearly as he could
guess at the time—and had leisure to ponder upon a question which just
then arose in his mind. Here was a chance to provide himself with as
much of a hunter’s outfit as his limited supply of money would purchase.
Should he improve it, or wait until some future day? It was a matter
that could not be decided on the spur of the moment, so Guy seated
himself on a dry-goods box in front of a store opposite the gunsmith’s,
and thought about it.

After he had recovered a little of his wind, and got his brain in
working order, Guy walked across the street and looked in at the
gunsmith’s window. He saw there everything a hunter could possibly
need—rifles, shotguns, hunting-knives, revolvers, game-bags, traps, and
fishing-tackle—such a variety, in fact, that Guy could not at once make
up his mind what he wanted most. The window on the other side of the
door was filled with saddles, bridles, blankets, spurs and ponchos. As
Guy looked at them a second question arose in his mind.

“Now, how am I going to get my horse?” he asked himself. “I must have
one, for I never heard of a hunter traveling about on foot. It wouldn’t
look well. Besides, what if I should happen to get into a fight with
Indians or grizzly bears? Why, I’d be rubbed out sure. And if I can
think up some way to get a horse, how am I going to earn the money to
buy a saddle and bridle for him? Great Scott! there’s always some
drawback to my plans.”

And this seemed to be a serious drawback, too. Whenever Guy had indulged
in his day-dreams, he had always imagined himself a prosperous and
famous hunter, with all the comforts and luxuries of his calling at his
command. The question had sometimes forced itself upon his mind, how was
he to get all these things? But it was always an unwelcome one, and was
dismissed with the comforting reflection that it would be time enough to
worry about such little matters when he stood in need of them. That was
the way he disposed of the horse question now.

“I’ll get my gun and other things I need, and think about a horse some
other time,” he thought. “Perhaps I can buy one already trained from
some friendly Indian for a plug or two of tobacco; and, by the way, I
guess I had better get some tobacco for that purpose. Or, I may find a
hunting-ground so well stocked with game that I can trap and shoot
enough beaver and otter in a few days to pay for a good horse. But the
mischief of it is, I don’t know how to hunt and trap those animals, and
there’s that book I need so much on board the Santa Maria. No matter,
I’ll wiggle through some way. What I want just now is a shooting-iron.”

So saying, Guy opened the door and went into the gun-shop.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIX.

                             THE RANCHMAN.


“I’D LIKE to look at a rifle,” said Guy to the gunsmith, who came up
behind the counter to attend to his wants.

“Something pretty nice?” asked the man.

“No, sir. I can’t afford anything fancy.”

“You want a squirrel-rifle, I suppose?”

“No, I don’t,” replied Guy. “I don’t waste time on such small game. I
want one carrying a ball large enough to knock over a buffalo or a
grizzly bear.”

“Oh!” said the gunsmith. He looked curiously at Guy for a moment, and
then opening a glass door behind him, took out a plainly finished rifle,
and handed it over the counter. “There’s one carrying fifty to the
pound,” said he, “and I’ll warrant it to shoot two hundred yards with
accuracy. Only fifteen dollars.”

Guy took the weapon, and it was so much heavier than he expected to find
it that he came very near dropping it on the floor.

The gunsmith said it weighed twelve pounds, but his customer thought he
meant to say forty, for when he lifted it to his shoulder and glanced
along the barrel as if he were taking aim at something, it was all he
could do to hold it, and the muzzle “wobbled” about so violently that it
was doubtful if he could have hit the side of a barn at twenty paces. He
noticed, too, that the weapon was provided with two triggers and two
sights, and he did not see what use they could possibly be; but of
course he could not ask questions without showing his ignorance.

“I want something I can depend upon in any emergency,” said Guy after he
had looked the rifle over with an air of profound wisdom. “A man who
follows the business of a hunter sometimes finds himself in a tight
place.”

“Why, I thought you were a sailor,” said the gunsmith. “You look like
one.”

“A sailor!” repeated Guy contemptuously. “Well, I have been, that’s a
fact,” he added, suddenly recollecting that he had not yet donned his
coonskin cap and suit of buckskin; “but I’m a hunter now. Did you never
hear of the Wild Rough Riders of the Rocky Mountains?”

This was the name Guy intended to give to his band when he got it
organized, and he thought he might as well begin to let people hear of
it.

“No,” said the man, looking at Guy as if he were on the point of
laughing outright, “I never did.”

“Well, I am one of them, and I want a good rifle.”

“This is a weapon I can recommend,” said the gunsmith. “Here are the
molds that go with it. You can see that it carries a large ball. If a
bear gets one of them in his head, it will be the last of him.”

“I’ll take it,” said Guy. “Now I want some other things to go with it.”

The gunsmith, who was all attention, handed out the other articles as
Guy called for them—a game-bag, a powder-horn (which he filled with
rifle-powder), a box of caps, a hunting-knife, two pounds of bullets to
fit the rifle, as many pounds of bar lead and a ladle to melt it in, and
also a poncho and a Mexican blanket, which he tied up in a bundle so
that Guy could carry them over his shoulder. The trading was all done in
twenty minutes, and when Guy walked out of the store he had thirty-five
dollars less in his purse, and his first hunter’s outfit on his back.

“Now I begin to feel like somebody,” thought the boy, as he lifted his
rifle to his shoulder and hurried down the road. “Mr. Schwartz has laid
a rope’s end over my back for the last time. Don’t I wish I could see
him just now? I’d show him how we rough riders are going to clean out
the Indians. I’ll turn into the first hotel I find, get a square meal,
and go to bed, knowing that there’ll be no one to awaken me with, ‘All
you port watch, ahoy! Roll out lively, Thomas, or I’ll be down there
after you.’ But after to-night I shall live in the open air altogether.
I wish I had a horse. Those mountains seem a long way off. I shall find
my first hunting-grounds among them.”

Guy trudged along the dusty road for the next two hours indulging in
such thoughts as these, and very pleasant traveling companions he found
them. Now and then he would be aroused by the sound of wheels, when he
would wake up long enough to step out of the way of some passing
vehicle, and then he would go on with his dreaming again.

At last he found what he was in search of—a hotel, the existence of
which was made known to him by a faded sign swinging from the top of a
high post, and which conveyed to those who passed that way the
information that entertainment for man and beast was there furnished by
Tom Davis. The hotel itself was a weather-beaten, tumble-down sort of a
building, and was better calculated to repel than to attract customers;
but Guy did not stop to look at it. If it could furnish him with plenty
to eat and a bed to sleep in, that was all he cared for.

Attracted by the sound of voices, he turned the corner of the building
where the principal entrance seemed to be, and found himself in the
presence of a dozen or more men who were congregated on the porch, some
lounging on benches, and others sitting with their chairs tipped back
against the side of the house and their feet elevated on the rounds.
They were all taking loudly, and the appearance and actions of some of
them indicated that they had had something besides water to drink. They
raised their eyes as the boy appeared among them, and after giving him a
good looking over, went on with their conversation.

The landlord was among them, and he made himself known to Guy by
pointing with his thumb over his shoulder toward the open door—an
invitation for him to enter and make himself at home. At any rate Guy
took it as such and acted upon it. In the bar-room he found another
rough-looking individual, who relieved him of his rifle and pack and
asked what he could do for him.

“I want a room and something to eat,” said Guy.

“I don’t know how it’ll be about a room,” replied the man. “We’re pretty
full—we always are—but I can give you a shake-down somewhere. Grub is
plenty, and you look as though you needed a good tuck-out.”

“So I do,” said Guy. “I am almost starved to death. I haven’t eaten
anything but salt horse and hard-tack for the last seven months.”

The man showed some curiosity to know where Guy had been that he was
obliged to live on such fare, and the latter told him as much of his
history as he cared to have him know. He did not tell him, however,
where he was going and what he intended to do, for fear the man might
laugh at him. He had a suspicion that the gunsmith laughed at him when
he was buying his outfit. Indeed, everybody who knew that he wanted to
be a hunter thought the notion a wild one—they looked it if they did not
say it—and Guy could not bear to have his grand idea made sport of.

Guy passed a comfortable night at the hotel in spite of its unpromising
exterior, enjoyed a good sleep, which was something he really needed,
ate a hearty breakfast the next morning, and felt more like himself than
he had felt for many a long day. Having settled his bill he stood for a
moment on the porch with his rifle in his hand and his pack over his
shoulder, looking down the long, straight road before him and wondering
how many steps it would take to bring him to his hunting-grounds, when
he was accosted by one of the guests of the house who sat on a heavily
loaded wagon with his whip and reins in his hand.

“I say, stranger, if you’re travelin’ my way, you might as well get up
an’ ride,” said he.

“Are you going to the mountains?” asked Guy.

“Wal, I’m goin’ down to the San Joaquin.”

“Is there any hunting there?”

“Huntin’! Now you’re talkin’. Thar’s bars an’ antelope till you can’t
rest.”

“Then that’s the place I’m looking for, and I’ll ride.”

So saying Guy handed up his rifle and pack and mounted beside the man,
who cracked his whip and drove off.

Mr. Wilson, for that was the man’s name, was an old miner, having
immigrated in ’49. Like many others of his class, he believed that
California was completely “petered out,” now that the placer diggings
had failed, and he had taken to farming, not because he liked it or it
was a profitable business, but because he had to do something for a
living, and nothing else offered. He did not own an acre of land, but he
raised any number of fine horses and cattle for market, and had one of
the best paying stores in the San Joaquin valley. He had been to ’Frisco
for supplies, and was now on his way home.

Guy learned this much from two hours’ conversation with his new
acquaintance, and during that same time Mr. Wilson had heard all about
Guy’s history and intentions. He must have had a high opinion of the
boy, too, if he believed all he said, for Guy, like everybody else who
tries to make himself appear something better than he really is, was a
great boaster. The stories he told of the wonderful feats he had
performed with his rifle, and his skill in catching and breaking wild
horses, were enough to make one open his eyes.

Guy should have known better than this. He had received a lesson that
ought to have broken him of his propensity to boast. He had induced
Smith, the shipping agent, to rate him on the articles as an able
seaman, and that one act, performed in five minutes’ time, had brought
him seven long months of hazing. But Guy never thought of it now. The
privations he had undergone, and the cruel treatment he had received
while he was on board the Santa Maria, seemed to him like a troubled
dream. Besides, Mr. Wilson would never have an opportunity to catch him
in any of his falsehoods, for in a few days Guy expected to leave him,
never to meet him again.

“So you’re a hunter,” said the ranchman at length. “You don’t look to me
like you was made of the right kind of stuff fur that business. It takes
them who has been born in it to foller it. I don’t know nobody about
here who makes a livin’ at it. Even the Injuns don’t.”

“They don’t?” exclaimed Guy. “How do they make a living then?”

“Why, they work on the ranches—herd cattle an’ sheep, an’ raise garden
truck. If I was goin’ to be a hunter I’d go at it right.”

“That’s just what I intend to do,” said Guy. “I am going to hunt about
here till I get a horse and find a companion, and then I’m going to
strike for the plains.”

“Then my man Zeke is jest the feller you want to see,” said the
ranchman. “He’s a reg’lar hunter, an’ you’d know it the minute you sot
eyes onto him, fur you have to get a tree in line with him when he’s
movin’ to see if he’s goin’ ahead any. He’s the laziest man I ever see,
an’ I’ve seed a heap. He b’longs out on the prairy, kills buffaler fur a
livin’. Last season he shot two thousand an’ better. Got a dollar apiece
fur the hides, an’ come down to ’Frisco to see the elephant. He seed
him, too, I reckon, fur when I found him he was flat busted, an’ as
hungry as a wolf. He’s herdin’ cattle fur me now to get a hoss an’ a new
outfit, an’ when he gets ’em he’s goin’ back to the plains.”

“Did you say he was working for a horse?” asked Guy.

“Wal, he’s arned the hoss already, an’ now he’s workin’ fur a kit—a
rifle, blankets an’ so on. He takes ’em outen my store, you know.”

“Have you any other horse you’d like to sell?”

“Wal, I dunno,” said the ranchman with a smile.

“I’ve got a matter of six or seven hundred, mebbe, an’ might spar’ one
more.”

“What do you ask for them?”

“All prices—twenty-five to seventy-five dollars.”

“I should like to get one,” said Guy, “and I am willing to work for it.”

“Wal, I’ve got plenty that you can do—I never yet heard that work was
scarce in this country—an’ if you’ve a mind to set in with me, I’ll give
you twenty dollars a month an’ find you.”

“Find me?” repeated Guy. “Am I going to get lost?”

“Eh? Lost! No. I mean I’ll give you twenty dollars a month an’ all the
grub you want to eat an’ all the hosses you need to ride. I give Zeke
thirty dollars, but you don’t know nothin’ about herdin’ cattle. You
talk like a high larnt boy. Did you ever have any schoolin’?”

“Oh, yes,” said Guy. “I’ve been to school all my life—that is almost all
my life. I’ve been a hunter five years, you know.”

“Then mebbe you’re jest the feller I want to tend store fur me. Did you
ever do anything of the kind?”

It would not be safe to boast now, for there a was a chance of being
found out, so Guy gave a truthful answer.

“No, I never did,” said he, “but I know I could learn.”

“Sartin you could. It’s easy larnt. Now I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If
you’re a mind to work about the ranch on week days an’ tend store on
Sundays, I’ll give you what I told you an’ let you have your pick of my
hosses, an’ I’ve got some good ones, too. Only you must promise one
thing—if you want to leave me you must give me a month’s notice, so that
I can get somebody to fill your place. I make that bargain with all my
hands.”

“All right,” said Guy, “I’ll do it.”

And so the matter was settled. Guy had found a way to get the horse he
so much needed, and he was in ecstasies over it.

The journey to Mr. Wilson’s ranch occupied nearly a week, and during
that time Guy learned something of the outdoor life he expected to lead
all the rest of his days. The change from the close, cramped forecastle
of the Santa Maria to the freedom of the country was a most agreeable
one, and he thoroughly enjoyed his liberty. He talked to Mr. Wilson
every day about Zeke, and made up his mind that he should like him. If
he only proved to be a genial, talkative companion and as good a hunter
as Flint was a sailor, Guy would ask nothing more of him. Every day he
grew more and more impatient to meet him, and was glad indeed when Mr.
Wilson pointed out a house in advance of them and informed him that when
they reached it they would be at their journey’s end.

“All this land you see here,” said the ranchman, waving his whip toward
the broad, level plain which stretched away on both sides of the road,
“used to be Congress land. When I first squatted here I had it all to
myself, but other fellers kept comin’ in all the while with their hosses
an’ cattle an’ locatin’ their farms right in the best part of my
pastur’, an’ at last they got to crowdin’ me so heavy that I had to send
Zeke with the most of my stock about forty miles farther down the
valley. I’m goin’ to send you down to him to-morrer with some supplies.”

“But what if I should get lost?” said Guy. “You must remember that I
don’t know the country yet.”

“You can foller a plain trail, can’t you?”

“Yes, I can do that.”

“Then you needn’t get lost unless you’re a mind to, ’cause the road’s as
plain as daylight. Besides, I’ll put the pack on the ole clay-bank, an’
she knows every step of the way.”

So saying, Mr. Wilson cracked his whip, and urging his tired horses into
a trot brought his heavy wagon up before the door of the rancho in fine
style.

The rancho was a roomy, rambling structure built of unplaned boards, and
like the hotel at which Guy had stopped in San Francisco, gave promise
of anything but comfortable accommodations. The inside proved on closer
acquaintance to be quite as cheerless as the exterior. There was no
stove, no fire-place, no chairs, not even a bedstead in the house that
Guy could discover. It looked perfectly poverty-stricken. But
nevertheless the rancho, and its occupants, too, were as clean as new
pins. The earthen floor had evidently just been swept; the table and the
benches which served in lieu of the chairs were as white as sand and
water could make them; the Mexican wife of the proprietor was neatly
dressed, and the children, who crowded about him as he jumped down from
the wagon, had just received a thorough scrubbing in anticipation of
their sire’s return.

Guy carried his rifle and pack into the house, and during the next
half-hour worked hard enough to get up a splendid appetite for supper,
although an unpleasant incident that happened drove it all away again.

The first thing Mr. Wilson did was to take a key from a nail under the
porch, and open a door leading into a small room adjoining the main
building. This proved to be the store of which he had spoken. Here the
ranchman kept a variety of useful and salable articles; among the latter
tobacco and grape brandy, which, as he told Guy, formed his principal
stock in trade. He further informed his new hand that although the
rancho was dull enough on week days, it was the very reverse on Sundays,
for then it was the headquarters of all the ranchmen and Indians for
fifteen miles around, who congregated there to drink, shoot, and run
horses. Mr. Wilson liked to join in these sports, and he wanted somebody
to take care of the store, so that he could give his undivided attention
to them.

After the wagon had been unloaded and the contents stowed away in the
store, Guy assisted Mr. Wilson in taking care of the horses. This was
done in a very few minutes, for all that was necessary was to unharness
them and turn them loose on the prairie.

“Are you not afraid they will stray away?” asked Guy.

“I don’t care if they do,” replied the ranchman. “I’ve got plenty more.”

“But you might lose them altogether.”

“No fear of that. They’ve got my brand on ’em, an’ everybody knows it.
Now,” he added, throwing the harness into the wagon, and leading the way
toward a small corral into which twenty or thirty horses had just been
driven by an Indian vaquero, “I’ll show you the hoss I’m going to sell
you. You can try him now an’ see how you like him, an’ to-morrer you can
ride him down to Zeke.”

If there was any part of his hunter life on which Guy, during his
day-dreaming, had dwelt with more satisfaction than another, it was that
which he expected to spend in the saddle. Although he had never mounted
a horse in his life, he had somehow got it into his head, along with his
other foolish notions, that he had in him the qualities of which
accomplished and fearless riders are made. He would render himself
famous, not only by shooting grizzly bears and Indians, but by riding
horses that nobody else dared to mount. He hoped during his wanderings
to meet that celebrated white pacer, which, according to a certain cheap
novel he had read, had often been captured by strategy but never ridden.
This famous horse always threw those who attempted to mount him,
trampled them to death, and then made off, fairly distancing the
fleetest nags that could be brought in pursuit of him.

Guy believed in the existence of this animal as firmly as he believed in
the existence of the boy trappers, and hoped some day to own and subdue
him; but now that he had a chance to begin his career as a rough rider,
he felt very much like backing out. He found that there is a vast
difference between thinking about things and doing them. The actions of
the horses in the corral frightened him. They were such restless
fellows! They danced and curveted, reared, flourished their heels in the
air, and dashed about the inclosure like veritable wild horses.

The vaquero, in obedience to his master’s order, entered the corral,
lasso in hand, and in a few minutes came out again leading a small,
clean-limbed horse, which seemed very much averse to leaving his
companions, and showed his disapproval of the whole proceeding by
furious kicks and plunges.

“Thar he is!” exclaimed the ranchman. “Twenty-five dollars fur him, an’
that’s dog cheap. Gentle as a kitten, as anybody can see.”

“No,” said Guy, “_I_ can’t see it.”

“Oh, he’s lively, of course. He hain’t been doin’ nothing fur three or
four months, you know, an’ never had a saddle on him but two or three
times. If he hain’t the next thing to a lightnin’ express train, you
jest take my hat an’ say no more about it. Purty as a red wagon wheel,
too, he is. Jump? I should say he could. _And_ last! You can’t tire him
down. He’s made of iron. Thar he is. Jump on him an’ put him through his
paces.”

While this conversation was going on, the vaquero had with wonderful
dexterity slipped a bridle over the horse’s head, strapped a deep
Spanish saddle on his back, and now stood holding him in readiness for
Guy to mount.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XX.

                         GUY, THE ROUGH RIDER.


GUY HEARD scarcely a word of Mr. Wilson’s glowing description of the
merits of his horse, for his mind was busy with something else. He was
trying to think up some good excuse for declining to mount the animal.
He made one praiseworthy resolution then and there, and that was that he
would never again indulge in boasting. He had never done it yet without
being exposed.

“Thar he is!” repeated the ranchman. “Jump on! an’ if he don’t take you
through San Joaquin a leetle trifle faster than you ever traveled afore
on hoss-back I’ll give him to you for nothing. Hand us your foot an’
I’ll throw you on.”

Guy’s pride was stronger than his fear. He could see no way to get out
of the difficulty into which he had brought himself by his reckless
boasting except by a frank confession, and that, of course, was not to
be thought of. He noticed that the animal became quieter since the bit
was put into his mouth, and consoling himself with the hope that perhaps
he was not so bad after all, Guy seized the horn of the saddle, gave his
foot to Mr. Wilson, and in a twinkling was seated on the animal’s back.

The horse seemed astonished at his presumption. He turned his head first
one way and then the other, looking at Guy over each shoulder, while the
ranchman and his vaquero begun to back away, as if in anticipation of
something that was about to happen.

“Put your feet in the stirrups,” said Mr. Wilson, “an’ I’ll give him a
good send off.”

[Illustration: “‘Put your feet in the stirrups,’ said Mr. Wilson, ‘an’
I’ll give him a good send off.’”]

Before Guy could obey the horse begun his antics. He put his head down
between his knees, humped up his back, brought his four feet together,
and bounded from the ground, coming down as solid as a rock, and with a
concussion that was terrific. Guy arose in the air about a foot and a
half, and then settled into the saddle again with a jar that fairly made
his teeth chatter.

“Ha, ha!” laughed the ranchman, who appeared to be as highly delighted
as he would have been over an exhibition of fancy riding in a circus;
“that was well done! He bucks beautiful, don’t he?”

“Ye—yes,” said Guy, who had not the least idea what Mr. Wilson meant.
“But why don’t he go ahead? Get up here!”

The horse did get up—this time higher than before—and he executed the
movement with a vigor and viciousness which showed that he meant
business. He made a most terrific stiff-legged jump—a “buck,” Mr. Wilson
called it—and when he came down, Guy, with his arms and legs flying
wildly about, went up like a rocket, hung suspended in the air for a
moment, and then whirled over and came down on his head and shoulders
with a crushing force.

“Wal, I declar! he got you off’n him that time, didn’t he?” exclaimed
the ranchman, hastening to Guy’s assistance. “Now I’ll try him, an’ if
you will keep an eye on me I’ll larn you how to ride a buck-jumper.”

Guy was too nearly senseless to keep an eye on anything. He could not
stand without holding fast to something. Mr. Wilson leaned him up,
against the side of the corral as if he had been a stick of wood, and
then addressed an order in Spanish to his vaquero, who hurried off to
the house, presently returning with a pair of huge Mexican spurs. These,
with the assistance of the Indian, the ranchman quickly fastened to his
feet, and walking up to the horse, which had scarcely moved from his
tracks since he rid himself of Guy, placed one hand on his back, and
with a quick bound, sprung into the saddle. No sooner was he fairly
seated than he brought his armed heels against the sides of the animal,
which sprung away at the top of his speed, and the last Guy saw of him,
he was making rapid headway across the plain, while his rider was urging
him to greater efforts by merciless applications of his persuaders.

When the ranchman returned, at the end of a quarter of an hour, he found
his new hand stretched out on the porch, suffering from a severe
headache, and in no humor to listen to his description of the manner in
which he had conquered the buck-jumper.

Guy had been hungry a few minutes before, but he did not want any supper
now. The tortillas, beans and beef, with which the table was loaded, had
no attraction for him; he simply drank a cup of coffee, without any milk
(ranchmen in California raise cattle for the hides and meat, and not for
the sake of milk and butter), and intimated to Mr. Wilson that he would
be glad to be shown to his room.

“Eh?” exclaimed the ranchman, as if he did not quite understand his
request.

“I say I should like to go to my room,” repeated Guy. “I want to see if
I can’t sleep off this headache.”

“Oh, you want to go to bed, do you? All right.”

As Mr. Wilson said this, he walked out into the yard to light his pipe
at the fire over which the supper had been cooked, and when he came back
he carried over his shoulder a saddle, which he placed at one end of the
porch. Then he went into the house and brought out Guy’s blanket and
poncho; and when he had spread them beside the saddle, the bed was made.

“Thar you are,” said he, “an’ you can tumble down as soon as you
please.”

Guy was astonished. The porch was the only room he was to occupy while
he remained in that house, and his saddle and blankets were to form, his
bed. This was rather a primitive way of living, but it was the style at
Mr. Wilson’s rancho, as he found when the rest of the family were ready
to retire. The farmer’s wife and children stowed themselves away
somewhere in the house, but the man himself made his bed a short
distance from Guy’s, while two Indian herdsmen found sleeping apartments
at the opposite end of the porch.

The first part of the night Guy passed in anything but an agreeable
manner. The saddle proved to be a hard, uncomfortable pillow for an
aching head and, moreover, one of the small army of dogs, which Mr.
Wilson kept about the house, insisted on occupying a portion of his bed,
and showed a disposition to be snappish if the boy happened to crowd him
as he tossed uneasily about. Guy stood the imposition for a while, but
becoming angry at last, he kicked the dog off the porch, rearranged his
bed, folded his jacket and spread it over the saddle, and then lay down
again and slept soundly until he was awakened by footsteps and the
continued murmur of conversation.

He opened his eyes to find that it was broad daylight, and that
preparations were being made to start him off on his journey. There was
the “old clay-bank,” a cream-colored mare, which was to carry the
supplies to Zeke, the buffalo hunter, and act as Guy’s guide at the same
time. A large pack-saddle was strapped on her back, and if one might
judge by the appearance of it, it was well filled. The buck-jumper was
there, too, standing quietly by the horse-trough, saddled and bridled,
and waiting for his rider. Guy’s rifle leaned against the wall at the
head of his bed, with his powder-horn, game-bag, a pair of spurs, and a
long rawhide hanging from the muzzle.

“Halloo! you’re awake at last, are you?” exclaimed the ranchman, who
just then stepped out of the house to arouse Guy. “I thought that seein’
you had the headache I’d let you sleep this mornin’, but it’s time to
get up now.”

Guy scrambled to his feet, looking none the worse for his accident of
the night before, and when he had dipped his head in the horse-trough a
few times, he felt as sprightly and vigorous as though he had never told
a lie, and received in consequence the hardest fall of his life.

The morning was fresh and glorious, as mornings always are in California
at that season of the year, the air was exhilarating—every breath of it
seemed to infuse new life into him—and Guy was elated with the prospect
of a pleasant journey and an interview with the buffalo hunter, who was
the very man he most wished to see. He could have looked forward to a
day of uninterrupted enjoyment but for one thing, and that was the
presence of the buck-jumper. It had a depressing effect upon him. He did
not see why the ranchman should give him that horse to ride when he had
so nearly dashed his brains out the night before.

“Come in an’ get some coffee an’ slapjacks,” said Mr. Wilson, at the
same time tossing Guy a piece of a gunny sack on which to wipe his hands
and face.

The boy’s appetite having come back to him by this time, he made a
hearty breakfast, and while he was eating it, listened to his employer’s
advice and instructions concerning the journey he was about to
undertake.

“Zeke is forty miles away, as I told you,” said the ranchman, “an’ as
your trail, part of the way, leads over the mountains, you won’t be able
to travel very fast; but the ole clay-bank is a right smart walker, an’
if you have no bad luck you had oughter be in Zeke’s camp by four this
arternoon. About midday you’ll cross Deer Run, an’ thar the mar’ will
want to stop an’ pick about a bit, an’ while she’s doin’ it, you can set
down under a tree an’ eat your dinner. You’ll see plenty of antelope
thar, an’ you’ll have no sort of trouble in knockin’ over one fur your
dinner, if you know how to hunt ’em; but fur fear you don’t. I’ve put a
leetle something in your game-bag. You’d best kill an antelope,
howsomever, if you get the chance, ’cause mebbe it’ll help you to make
friends with Zeke.”

“How shall I know him when I see him?” asked Guy.

“Know him!” said the ranchman. “The mar’ll know him, an’ he’ll know the
mar. The fust question he’ll ask you will be, ‘You got any tobacker in
that thar pack-saddle?’ When you see a man who says that to you, tell
him ‘hallo.’ ’cause that’s Zeke. He’ll be a leetle trifle cross an’ ugly
at fust, ’cause he’s been outen tobacker now three or four days; but a
chaw or two will set him all right, an’ you’ll find him a mighty
palaverin’ sort o’ feller. I want you back by to-morrer night so that
you can take your fust lesson in the store on Sunday.”

“I should be much more eager to undertake the journey if I had a gentler
horse to ride,” said Guy.

“A gentler hoss!” repeated the ranchman, opening his eyes in amazement.
“It can’t be found on this farm nor in Californy nuther, a gentler hoss
than that thar hoss can’t. Why, a baby could ride him.”

“But I am out of practice, you know,” said Guy meekly.

“Yes, I seed that; but you won’t have no trouble while the ole clay-bank
is with him. He’ll go along like an old cow.”

Guy’s fears were by no means set at rest by this assurance, but he
raised no further objections to the horse, and having satisfied his
appetite, he arose from his chair and begun preparations for his
journey, in which he was assisted by the ranchman. His poncho and
blanket were rolled up and strapped behind his saddle; the game-bag
containing his dinner was suspended from the pommel; his spurs were
adjusted; the long rawhide, which was intended as a persuader for the
clay-bank, was tied to his wrist by a thong of buckskin; and when Guy,
after the display of a great deal of awkwardness, had managed to seat
himself in the saddle, the farmer handed him his rifle and spoke to the
mare, which set off at a rapid walk, the buck-jumper following quietly
at her heels.

Guy ought to have been supremely happy now, for he was in the very
situation he had so often dreamed of and longed for. He had a “good
horse under him,” a “trusty rifle on his shoulder,” and everything that
was necessary to set him up in business as a hunter. But still things
were not just to his liking—there were always some drawbacks.

In the first place horseback-riding was by no means the easy, agreeable
way of getting over the ground that he had imagined it to be,
particularly to one who was entirely unaccustomed to it and who did not
know how to sit in a saddle.

The buck-jumper may have been very fleet, but he was an uncommon hard
traveler, especially when he found it necessary to quicken his pace in
order to keep up with the fast-walking old clay-bank. On these occasions
he exhibited a style of progression peculiarly his own, and which was
perfect torture to his rider, who was churned up and down, jerked
backward and forward, and jolted from side to side in a way that was
quite alarming.

Then, too, the horse showed by the way he sometimes arched his back and
looked over his shoulder at Guy that there was plenty of mischief in him
still, and every few minutes he would further exhibit it by making a
jump to one side or the other, and doing it so quickly that Guy would
certainly have been thrown to the ground had he not clung with all his
strength to the horn of the saddle. The reason for this was that Guy,
forgetting he had spurs on, kept his heels close to the animal’s side in
order to secure a firm seat, and thus the rowels were pricking him
continually.

Another thing that severely tested his patience and endurance was his
rifle. If it weighed twelve pounds when he left the rancho, it weighed a
hundred before he had gone a quarter of a mile, judging by the way it
pressed into his shoulders and made his arms ache.

Guy felt a good deal of satisfaction in carrying the weapon about with
him, for it was the first thing of the kind he had ever owned; but at
the end of a mile he wished most heartily that he had left it at the
rancho.

At the end of two miles he told himself that if he were ever required to
make this journey again, he would leave his horse at home and follow the
clay-bank on foot. At the end of three he came to the conclusion that he
had mistaken his calling; and by the time he had put four miles between
himself and Mr. Wilson’s rancho, he wished from the bottom of his heart
that he was back on board the Santa Maria.

At last, when Guy could endure it no longer, he set himself at work to
find some way to alleviate his misery. He saw hanging from the horn of
his saddle a lariat with which the thoughtful ranchman had provided him,
so that he might stake out his horse when he went into camp. With this
he formed a sling for his rifle, and tied the weapon securely to his
saddle. This eased his arms and shoulders, and to relieve the rest of
his tired muscles he jumped down and walked a mile or two; and so, by
alternate riding and walking, finally reached Deer Run, where he was to
stop and rest while the clay-bank was “picking about.”

Following the instructions of his employer, he staked out his own horse,
leaving the mare to do as she pleased, and, too tired to eat or do
anything else with comfort, threw himself on the grass under the
spreading branches of a live oak, and heartily wished himself among
civilized people once more. He thought of the antelope which the
ranchman had told him he would here find in abundance, but was much too
dispirited to make any effort to secure one. Besides, his rifle was
empty, and he did not know how to load it.

“And if it was loaded I would not know how to shoot it,” thought Guy;
“and neither do I know how to hunt antelope. I’ve heard that it takes
one who understands their nature and habits to hunt them successfully,
so I guess I won’t bother with them. I’d rather rest. I believe Mr.
Wilson told the truth when he said that I hadn’t the right sort of stuff
in me to make a hunter or trapper. They must be made of something
besides flesh and blood if they can stand such a jolting as I have had
to-day.”

Guy rolled restlessly about under the oak while the clay-bank was
cropping the grass, and when she had eaten her fill she gave him notice
of the fact by slaking her thirst at the run and setting off on her
journey again of her own accord. With a groan of despair Guy mounted his
horse and followed her.

The tortures he had already experienced were aggravated ten-fold during
the afternoon; for the trail, which had hitherto led him over a level
plain, now crossed a range of hills almost high enough to be called
mountains, and the traveling was rough indeed. The sudden springs and
lunges which his horse made in going up the steep ascent racked him in
every muscle. Only once did he dismount to walk, and then he was glad to
scramble back into his saddle again, for the tireless horses went ahead
at such a rate that he could not keep pace with them. Up hill and down
he went, through a wilderness which seemed to have no end; and when at
last he became so exhausted that it was only by a strong exercise of
will that he could keep himself in his saddle, he was electrified by the
appearance of an apparition in greasy buckskin, who came before him so
suddenly that it frightened him.

“Say, you!” it exclaimed, “you brought any tobacker?”

Guy had reached his journey’s end at last.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXI.

                          THE BUFFALO HUNTER.


AS GUY straightened up in his saddle he took a good look at the man who
had so suddenly appeared before him. There was no need that he should
ask who he was, for he knew, by his words of greeting, that he could be
none other than Zeke, the buffalo hunter. He was the first hunter Guy
had ever seen, and of course he gazed at him with no little interest.

He was not very favorably impressed with the man’s appearance, for he
was certainly the roughest and most repulsive specimen of humanity that
Guy had ever put eyes on. He could form no idea of the expression of his
features, for his face was so effectually concealed by thick, bushy
whiskers that nothing but a pair of eyes and a low, retreating forehead
could be seen. His hair, coarse and matted, hung down upon his
shoulders, and his hands were terribly soiled and begrimed. He would
have been a tall man if he had stood erect, but he walked almost
half-bent, in an attitude similar to that a wild beast might assume when
about to spring upon its prey, and moved along in a shambling,
loose-jointed manner, as if he had scarcely energy enough to keep
himself from falling to pieces. His garments were a strange mixture of
the civilized and savage, and Guy thought they ought long ago to have
been replaced by better ones. He wore a tattered slouch hat on his head,
held a rifle in his hand, and carried a powder-horn and bullet-pouch
over his shoulder. Taken altogether, he was very unlike Guy’s _beau
ideal_ of a hunter.

“Say, you!” repeated Zeke impatiently; “you got any tobacker? That’s
what I want ter know.”

“Plenty of it,” replied Guy. “You’ll find it in the pack-saddle. Mr.
Wilson thought you would want a good supply.”

“Then why didn’t he send it afore?” growled the hunter.

“He sent it as soon as he could. He came from Frisco only yesterday.”

Zeke leaned his rifle against the nearest tree, plunged his hands into
the pack-saddle, and while he was searching for the tobacco, repeatedly
ran his eyes over the face and figure of the boy, who seemed to be a
great curiosity to him.

He said nothing, however, until he had found a plug of the coveted weed,
and thrust a good portion of it into his cheek. After he had chewed on
it a while the effects became perceptible. The discontented, almost
savage, look his face had worn, gave place to an expression a trifle
more amiable, and when he spoke his voice sounded more like a human
being’s, and less like the growl of an angry bear.

“Who be you?” he demanded. “I never seed you in these parts afore.”

“No,” said Guy, “you never did. My name is Harris, and I used to be a
sailor; but I’m a hunter now.”

“You!” exclaimed Zeke, with undisguised contempt in his tones and looks.
“What do you hunt—squirrels?”

“Well, I have never hunted anything yet,” said Guy, who thought it best
to tell the truth; “but I want to be a buffalo hunter like you; so I
hope that we shall be fast friends, and that you will teach me all you
know. Will you?”

“Humph!” grunted Zeke. “Let’s go to camp.”

“How far is it from here?” asked Guy.

“A matter of five mile, mebbe. I got tired of waitin’, an’ come up to
see if thar was anybody goin’ to fetch me any tobacker.”

“Five miles?” echoed Guy. “I am almost tired out with riding, and should
be glad to walk if the horses did not go so fast.”

“Let ’em go,” said Zeke. “I’ll walk with you. The mar’ knows the way,
an’ the other’ll foller.”

Guy was glad to act upon this suggestion. While he was dismounting, the
hunter picked up his rifle and examined it with a critical eye. Guy was
astonished at the ease with which he drew it up to his face, and the
steadiness with which he held it while glancing along the barrel.

“This your’n?” asked Zeke.

“Yes; I bought it in Frisco—paid fifteen dollars for it, and haven’t had
time to shoot it yet. Suppose you try it, and see if it is a good one.
Here are the bullets, powder and caps in my game-bag. It carries a ball
large enough to kill a buffalo—doesn’t it?”

“Sartin.”

“Well, I hope you will give me a chance to try it on one some day, will
you?”

“Humph!” was the answer Zeke deigned to give.

In accordance with Guy’s request the hunter proceeded to load the rifle,
and as the boy knew that it was one of the first things he must learn,
he kept a close watch of his movements.

Zeke first took from the game-bag a bullet, which he placed in the palm
of his hand, and then from the horn poured powder enough on it to cover
it. This done he put the bullet into his mouth, and after pouring the
powder down the barrel and hitting the weapon a knock or two on the
ground to drive it into the tube, begun searching in Guy’s game-bag for
something.

Failing to find the article, whatever it was, he took from the string
which hung suspended from his button-hole, a small piece of thick cloth,
which Guy saw was greased on one side. This the hunter placed over the
muzzle of the rifle—the greased side down—put the bullet upon it, and
drove it home with the ramrod. It was all done then except putting on
the cap, and that occupied scarcely more than a second’s time.

Taken altogether it was a complicated operation, Guy thought, and he did
not know whether he could remember all the details or not. He found that
he had forgotten one thing, and that was the cloth which the hunter
wrapped around the bullet. No doubt that was the “patching” he had often
read about.

When the rifle was loaded the hunter raised it to his shoulder and
started down the trail, Guy following with his game-bag in one hand and
Zeke’s rifle in the other. He was anything but pleased at the manner in
which his advances had been received, but still he was not disheartened
by it.

No doubt the hunter was wearied with his day’s work—Guy knew that he had
been in the saddle ever since sunrise watching the cattle under his
charge—and perhaps after the tobacco had had time to have its full
effect, and Zeke had taken a good supper and smoked a pipe, he would be
better-natured. Then Guy could make another effort to work his way into
his good graces.

While on the way to the valley in which Zeke’s camp was located, Guy had
frequent opportunities to witness his companion’s skill with the rifle.
Squirrels were abundant, and the hunter, without leaving the trail,
succeeded in bringing down a dozen or more, and every one of them shot
through the head. This was Guy’s first lesson in hunting, and he watched
every move Zeke made. He now saw how the man came by that stealthy,
crouching style of progression which he had noticed. He had practiced it
so often while in pursuit of game that it had become a part of his
nature.

At the foot of the mountains the woods terminated, and of course there
were no squirrels to be found on the open plain. By the time they
reached this point the tobacco, aided perhaps by the fine shooting he
had enjoyed, was beginning to tell upon the hunter, who showed a
disposition to throw off his reserve altogether. He found his way to
Guy’s heart by assuring him that his rifle was as “fine a we’pon as he
had ever drawed to his face,” and followed it up by inquiring very
particularly into the boy’s history. And Guy was quite willing to tell
him everything he wanted to know. He told him how long he had been away
from home, why he had left it, what he had done since he had been adrift
in the world, and what he wanted to do next. Being anxious to make a
friend of the hunter he concealed nothing, not even the fact that he had
twenty-five dollars in money, which he was willing to turn over to Zeke
to be expended in any way the latter saw fit, so long as it benefited
them both.

The hunter became more and more interested as Guy proceeded, and the
mention of the money and the sight of the purse the boy carried about
his neck broke down the last barrier between them. Suddenly stopping and
facing Guy, he extended to him one of his huge, dirty paws.

“Put it thar, pard,” said he. “I’ll take you.”

“Will you, really?” exclaimed Guy, almost beside himself with excitement
and delight.

“Sartin I will. I’ve been a-lookin’ an’ a-waitin’ fur two years in hopes
some feller would come along who would do fur a chum, an’ here he is,
come at last. You’re just the chap fur me. I’ll make you the best
buffaler hunter that Kansas ever seed. I’ll larn you to ride an’ shoot,
an’ make a man of you.”

“And will you teach me how to fight Indians and catch wild horses?”
asked Guy.

“In course I will.”

“How far is Kansas from here?”

“Wal, it’s a right smart piece.”

“Shall we go there on horseback?”

“Sartin.”

“And camp out on the way?”

“In course.”

“When shall we start?”

“We’ll be on our way to-morrow night.”

“To-morrow night!” repeated Guy. “Why, Mr. Wilson told me that he never
hired a man without making him promise to give at least a month’s notice
when he wanted to quit.”

“What do I care for Wilson?” asked Zeke contemptuously. “A free hunter
does what he likes. I can trust you, I reckon.”

“Certainly you can.”

“Cause if I can’t, I don’t want anything to do with you,” said Zeke.

“Oh, you can trust me, I assure you,” declared Guy earnestly, fearing
that the hunter was about to go back from his promise. “What do you want
me to do?”

“I’ll tell you arter supper. I’ve got an idee in my head an’ want to put
on my thinkin’ cap an’ think it out; so don’t say nothin’ to me till I
speak. Let’s go an’ eat some of them squirrels. In a few days from now
we’ll be livin’ on buffaler hump an’ marrer bones, an that’s livin’, I
tell you! I say agin, you’re jest the feller I’ve been a-lookin’ fur.”

The hunter relapsed into silence, and so did Guy, who marched along by
his side, and although he carried a ponderous rifle on his shoulder and
a heavy string of squirrels in his hand, he walked as if he were
treading on air. He forgot that he had that day ridden forty miles on a
rough-going horse. He did not bestow a thought upon his weary body, for
his mind was too fully occupied with the future. In a few hours more, he
kept saying to himself, his bright dreams would all be realized. He had
got on the right side of the hunter at last—there could be no doubt of
that. Zeke was as cordial as one could possibly be—more so, in fact,
than any man he had ever before met. Perhaps if Guy had been more
experienced in the ways of the world, this would have aroused his
suspicions and made him a little more guarded in his intercourse with
his new friend. That caution was necessary, we can see by following Zeke
for a moment in his meditations.

“If I hain’t found a way outer this diffikilty now, I’m a buffaler
myself,” thought the hunter. “This onsuspectin’ leetle cub wouldn’t
a-been more welcome to my camp if he’d been a hangel loaded down with
pipes an’ tobacker enough to do me all my life. I’m monstrous tired of
herdin’ cattle, ’cause it’s too hard work. I’ve done it fur a hull
month, an’ all I’ve got to show fur it is my hoss. The rifle I used, the
powder, lead, an’ blankets, all b’long to Wilson, an’ has got to be paid
fur. It’ll take me two months longer to ’arn everything I need, an’ I
had oughter be on my way to the prairy now. I had kinder thought that
mebbe I’d steal the hull kit an’ put out with it, but I’m a’most afeard
to do it. Wilson, he’s lightnin’ on wheels when his dander’s riz, an’
he’d have all the settlers in the valley arter me so quick that it would
make a feller’s head swim; an’ if they ketched me——”

Here Zeke threw his head over on his right shoulder and made a motion
with his hand as if he were winding a rope about his neck and hauling
himself up with it—a proceeding which made Guy look at him in great
surprise.

“I didn’t say nothin’,” said the hunter.

“I know it,” said Guy, “and I didn’t say anything either.”

Zeke shifted Guy’s rifle to his other shoulder and went on with his
soliloquy.

“Now this cub has got a good fittin’ out, a fine rifle, huntin’-knife,
blankets, an’ powder’n lead enough to last me as fur as Laramie anyways.
When I get thar the twenty-five dollars he’s got will buy me more
powder’n lead, an’ the traders will advance the other things I want. I
can steal everything he’s got an’ put out as easy as failin’ off a log.
He can’t foller me up an’ ketch me, an’ he ain’t got no friends to do it
fur him. I would be off this very night, only I must first make things
squar’ with Wilson, to keep him off’n my trail. Now how am I goin’ to do
it? That’s what I put my thinkin’ cap on fur, an’ that’s what I want to
think out.”

While Zeke was turning this problem over in his mind he and his young
companion arrived at his camp, which was located under an oak tree near
the middle of a beautiful valley. Guy would not have known when he
reached it had he not seen his own horse and the mare grazing near a
third which was picketed a short distance from the tree, for there was
but little to indicate the existence of a camp—nothing, in fact, but a
pair of blankets, a small piece of beef hanging from one of the branches
of the oak, and a few embers and ashes which marked the spot where a
fire had once been kindled.

The hunter at once took possession of the blankets, where he lay gazing
intently into the branches above his head, and Guy set about putting the
camp in order. It was novel business to him, but he liked to do it, and
Zeke, being too lazy to lift a finger unless it was absolutely
necessary, was perfectly willing that he should.

Guy first led the mare to the tree, and begun the work of unloading the
pack-saddle. The supplies, consisting for the most part of coffee, tea,
sugar, flour, and tobacco, were piled about the roots of the tree and
covered with branches, as a slight protection from the weather and any
prowling beast that might happen along during the hunter’s absence.

Then he relieved the mare of the pack-saddle, removed the saddle and
bridle from his own horse, and after staking out both the animals and
arranging his bed, proceeded to kindle a fire and make ready his supper.

After a thorough search of the camp he found something which had
evidently done duty as a coffee-pot, and when he had filled it with
water and set it on the coals, he stopped, not knowing what else to do.
Tortillas he could not make, and he had not yet learned the art of
skinning squirrels and cooking them before the fire on spits. However,
he could get on without the squirrels. He had a supply of eatables in
his game-bag, and the cold bread and meat, with the addition of a cup of
hot coffee, would make him a good supper. If the hunter wanted anything
he could get up and cook it himself.

Guy, having arranged his table to his satisfaction, poured some of the
coffee into a cup which the ranchman had been thoughtful enough to put
into his game-bag with luncheon, and settled back on his elbow,
believing that he could do full justice to the meal, not having tasted a
mouthful since leaving the rancho shortly after daylight.

All these movements had been closely watched by Zeke, who was by no
means so fully occupied with his meditations as he pretended to be.
Seeing that Guy was eating the bread and meat with evident relish, he
crawled slowly off his bed and joined him at his meal.

The supper disappeared rapidly after that, Zeke using both hands to
crowd the food into his mouth, and emptying Guy’s cup at a draught
whenever he was thirsty. In a very short space of time the last of the
bread and meat was out of sight and the coffee-pot emptied.

Zeke gave a grunt of satisfaction, but had nothing to say until he had
filled his pipe and lighted it with a brand from the fire. Then, between
his long, deliberate puffs, he managed to utter the words:

“I’ve got it.”

“Got what?” asked the boy.

“I know what we’ll do. I’ve thought my plans out.”

“All right, pard,” said Guy, who believed that if he was going to be a
hunter he might as well begin to use the language of one. “What are
they? Spit ’em out.”

“I can do that,” said Zeke, “an’ it won’t take me long, nuther. In the
fust place, I s’pose Wilson told you to go back to-morrow, didn’t he? I
thought so. Wal, you go back ’cordin’ to orders, but instead of ta-kin’
your own gun an’ huntin’ rig with you, take mine an’ leave your’n.
Understand? You see, the rifle an’ things b’longin’ to it that I’ve got
here ain’t mine; they’re Wilson’s. I took ’em outen the store agreein’
to work fur ’em an’ the other things I need to take me back to the other
side of the mountains whar I b’long an’ whar I’ll stay if I onct git
thar agin, I bet you. But if I stop to ’arn everything I want it will
take me two months more, an’ by that time we must be among the buffaler,
if we’re goin’ to get any hides this season. You’ve got things enough
and money enough to last us till we get to Laramie, an’ thar I can get
what else we want from the traders. One rifle an’ one blanket will last
us till then.”

“Will one horse be enough?” asked Guy.

“No; we must have a hoss apiece, an’ I’ve got ’em—that one that I ’arned
from Wilson, an’ I’ve bought another from a feller livin’ up the
valley.”

It occurred to Guy right here to ask how Zeke could have bought another
horse, seeing that he had no money and had been working for Mr. Wilson
ever since he had been in that part of the country, but before he could
speak the hunter went on;

“Now you go back to-morrow mornin’, like I was tellin’ you, an’ take the
rifle an’ all the other things that b’longs to Wilson, an’ give ’em to
him an’ tell him thar’s his things—I don’t want ’em—an’ he must send a
man down here to onct to take care of these yere cattle, ’cause I hain’t
goin’ to stay no longer. You needn’t say nothin’ else to him,
howsomever. Don’t tell him of the bargain me an’ you has made, but when
it comes dark you slip away from the house an’ meet me at the
water-tank. You know whar that spoutin’ well is, don’t you?”

“Yes,” said Guy, “I saw it last night.”

“Wal, you come thar as soon as it comes dark, an’ I’ll be on hand with
two hosses—this one an’ another, an’ all we’ll have to do will be to put
off. Understand?”

“Yes,” replied Guy, “I understand it all.”

“Arter you leave here in the mornin’ I’ll go an’ get my other hoss that
I was a tellin’ you of,” continued Zeke. “You see the reason why I am
leavin’ Wilson in this way, an’ without sayin’ nuthin’ to him, is ’cause
I agreed to give him notice when I wanted to quit, but I can’t afford to
waste a month’s time layin’ around here doin’ nothin’, when the buffaler
is comin’ in by thousands an’ waitin’ to be shot. Understand, don’t
you?”

Yes, Guy was sure he understood the hunter’s plans and intentions
perfectly, and Zeke was equally certain he did not, and so he repeated
them again and again, until the boy knew them by heart. After that he
launched off into glowing descriptions of buffalo hunts and told of
fights with Indians and bears, and adventures with wild horses, until
Guy was almost beside himself with excitement and impatience. Then Zeke
said he was tired, and crawled back to his blankets, but Guy tended the
fire and sat by it for two hours longer, thinking of the future; and
when he went to sleep it was to dream over the thrilling scenes the
hunter had just described to him.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXII.

                         BUSTED AND DISGUSTED.


THE NEXT morning, after a hearty breakfast, during which he listened
once more to Zeke’s plans and instructions, Guy mounted his horse, and
led by the old clay-bank, set out for Mr. Wilson’s rancho.

The journey did not seem nearly so long and tiresome now as it did the
day before, for he had something beside his bodily aches and pains to
think of. He had seen a live hunter, had made a friend of him, and by
that time to-morrow, if nothing happened to prevent, he would be on the
way to his hunting-grounds. Dreaming of the glorious life he was so soon
to commence made the way seem short to him.

About four o’clock in the afternoon he drew up with his little train in
front of Mr. Wilson’s house, and found that gentleman waiting for him.

“Wal, you done it, didn’t you?” exclaimed the ranchman, as Guy swung
himself from the saddle, “an’ didn’t get lost, nor throwed, nuther.
Whose rifle have you got thar?”

“Zeke’s—or rather yours,” said Guy. “Zeke doesn’t want it, for he can’t
stay long enough to earn it. He’s going back to his hunting-grounds, and
wants you to send a man down to relieve him.”

“Oh, he does, does he?” exclaimed Mr. Wilson. “Whar’s your huntin’ kit?”

“I left it with Zeke. He wants to try the rifle.”

“Wal, if you hain’t the most confidin’ boy I ever see in all my born
days, I don’t want a cent,” said the ranchman. “I told you that you’d
find him a mighty palaverin’ sort of a feller, an’ I thought that would
put you on your guard. You’ll never see them things of your’n agin.
Zeke’s gettin’ ready to run away. I can see that plain enough; but if he
takes any of my property with him, ef it’s even so much as a bar of
lead, I’ll have all the constables in the valley arter him in the shake
of a buck’s tail. He’s ’arned a hoss since he’s been here, and that’s
all he can take with him. I’ll ride down myself, to-morrow, an’ see what
he means by such actin’.”

Mr. Wilson’s words made Guy rather uneasy. He did not want to doubt the
hunter—Zeke had been so very cordial and so profuse in his promises of
friendship and assistance that the boy had implicit faith in him—but
still he begun to think that he had been rather hasty in trusting him.
If Zeke run away with his hunting-kit, he would be just thirty-five
dollars out of pocket. But he need not have been under any
apprehensions. The hunter certainly intended to possess himself of all
Guy’s property, but he wanted at the same time to get his hands on the
twenty-five dollars the boy carried in his monk-bag.

Mr. Wilson begun fishing up from the capacious depths of the pack-saddle
the things Zeke had stowed away there, and Guy thought he looked a
little disappointed when he found that his property had all been
returned to him. The hunter, knowing the disposition of the man with
whom he had to deal, had sent back everything.

The hours between four o’clock and dark passed away very slowly. Knowing
that he had many a mile of hard riding yet to do before he could go to
sleep, Guy refreshed himself with a hearty supper, and then lay down on
a bench under the porch. He grew very restless and impatient as the
appointed time drew near, and although he longed for its arrival, he
almost dreaded to have it come, for if Zeke broke his word, there was
another bright hope dashed to the ground.

It begun to grow dark at last, and Guy stepped down from the porch, and
walked slowly toward the “spouting well,” as Zeke had called it, looking
back every few steps to make sure that he was not followed.

He was not obliged to wait even a moment at the water-tank, for his new
friend, faithful to his promise, was there with two horses. Guy was
greatly relieved.

“Halloo, pard!” said he. “I’m glad you have come, for I begun to feel a
little shaky. Mr. Wilson told me that I’d never see my things again.”

“You got that money with you?” asked Zeke.

“Of course I have.”

“Whar is it?”

“In my monk-bag around my neck. Have you got my rifle and other things?”

“Sartin. We couldn’t well travel cl’ar to Kansas without ’em, I reckon.
So Wilson tried to make you believe I was a-goin’ back on you, did he?
What else did he say?”

“He says he is going to ride down to see you to-morrow, and find out
what you mean by such actions.”

“All right. That will give us a hull day the start of him if he tries to
foller us. Here’s your hoss.”

Guy was aching in every bone and muscle after his long ride (eighty
miles in two days was quite an achievement for a boy who had never
ridden on horseback before), and it was only after considerable trouble
and some assistance from the hunter that he succeeded in climbing into
his saddle. It was hard work, too, to keep up with Zeke, who at once put
his horse into a gallop and went ahead, as if he were in a great hurry.
He never drew rein, even long enough to speak to Guy, until midnight,
and then the only reason he stopped was because the moon went down and
it was too dark to travel.

He and Guy stretched themselves out under a tree beside the road without
lighting a fire, and slept soundly until morning. At the first peep of
day they ate a little of the dried beef with which Zeke had filled Guy’s
game-bag, and then resumed their rapid ride, halting only for a few
minutes at noon to rest their horses and eat a hasty luncheon.

Guy was fast giving out, in spite of the excitement which had thus far
kept him up, and when, just as the sun was sinking, they entered a
little glade surrounded by a wilderness of trees and rocks, he doggedly
threw himself from his horse and declared that he could not ride a step
farther.

“How far are we from Mr. Wilson’s?” he asked.

“A matter of sixty or seventy miles, mebbe,” replied Zeke.

“Well, that added to eighty makes a hundred and forty or fifty miles
that I have ridden on horseback during the last three days,” groaned
Guy. “An iron boy couldn’t stand more. I don’t see the need of so much
haste anyhow.”

“Thar was need of it,” said Zeke, “but I reckon we’re out of danger
now.”

Guy not being aware that they had been in any danger, could not imagine
what Zeke meant; but he was too tired to ask any questions.

“I reckon we’d best stop here two or three days an’ take a good rest and
hunt,” continued Zeke. “I’ll give you some lessons in shootin’ and
throwin’ the lasso. It won’t take me long to learn you to be jest as
good a hunter as I am; an’ if thar’s any a-goin’ that can beat me, I
never seed ’em. Now lay down an’ I’ll go out an’ shoot something fur
supper.”

“I don’t want any supper,” said Guy. “All I want is rest and sleep. If
the second mate of the Santa Maria had been pounding me with a rope’s
end for an hour, I couldn’t be any nearer used up than I am now.”

Zeke became very officious all at once. He raked together a pile of
leaves under the shelter of a huge rock, placed Guy’s saddle at one end
of it for a pillow, and when the boy had stretched his weary limbs upon
the couch thus hastily made up for him, the hunter threw his poncho and
blanket over his shoulders, and tucked them snugly about him. Before the
operation was completed Guy was sound asleep.

He slept in blissful ignorance of what was passing near him. Once he
thought that the blankets were pulled cautiously off his shoulders and a
hand thrust into his pocket; but so firmly were his senses locked in
slumber that he was not fairly aroused by these movements. He knew
nothing for twelve long hours, and then he was awakened by the neighing
of a horse.

He started up feeling very much refreshed, but almost dropped back upon
his bed again when he saw that his monk-bag had been turned inside out
and was resting on his breast.

His pockets, too, had been pulled out, and some of the articles they had
contained were missing, while others were scattered about over the
ground. His rifle, game-bag and blankets had disappeared, and even Zeke
and his horse were nowhere to be seen.

There were no signs that the hunter had kindled a fire during the night.
He must have robbed Guy and made off as soon as the latter was fairly
asleep. All he had left him was the clothes he had on his back, the
horse he had ridden, and the saddle and bridle.

Guy realized his situation the instant his eyes were fairly opened.
Utterly discouraged at last, he threw himself back upon the ground,
wishing from the bottom of his heart that he was dead.

“I’ve been robbed! I’ve been robbed!” he kept saying to himself. “And
here I am in these mountains without a bite to eat or a friend to help
me! What shall I do! what shall I do!”

Guy lay for fully an hour in a sort of stupor, from which he was aroused
at last by the pangs of hunger. There was no need that he should stay
there and starve, he told himself, while Zeke had been considerate
enough to leave him a horse. Perhaps the animal could carry him to some
human habitation. The experiment was at least worth a trial.

The horse proved to be very uneasy, and Guy, being unaccustomed to such
business, was nearly half an hour in putting the saddle and bridle on
him. But at last he got everything fixed to his satisfaction, and
climbing upon the animal’s back, he started—he knew not whither.

After trying in vain to find a road or trail leading from the glade, he
plunged blindly into the woods, and during the next two days lived in a
state of agony, both of body and mind, that I cannot describe. He rode
while daylight lasted without a mouthful to eat, and slept at night on
the hard ground.

Sometimes he would allow his horse to have his own way, believing that
the animal’s instinct would lead him out of the wilderness, and then
again he would resume control of him, and try to find his own way out.

How often during those two days did Guy tell himself that if he lived to
get out of that scrape he would lose not an hour in starting for the
States; and if he once reached them he would never again be tempted to
leave them.

He had seen enough of the woods, and of the ocean, too. Other boys might
think as they pleased, and story-tellers might write as they pleased
about the joys, the ease and romance of a hunter’s and a sailor’s life,
but as for him, give him a quiet home on shore and among civilized
people.

At last, when Guy was so weak with fasting that he could scarcely keep
his seat in the saddle, and so disheartened that he was more than once
on the point of throwing himself under the nearest tree and resigning
himself to his fate, his deliverance came, and so suddenly that it
almost took his breath away. His horse, which during the last few hours
had been allowed to go where he pleased, plunged through an almost
impassable thicket of bushes, carrying his rider into a broad,
well-beaten road that led down the mountains.

The animal seemed as delighted at this evidence of civilization as Guy
did. No sooner was he fairly in the road than he broke into a gallop,
and in less than five minutes brought his rider to a little tumble-down
shanty, where half a dozen miners were lounging on the porch. They all
started up and looked at Guy in amazement, seemingly unable to make up
their minds whether he was a live boy or a ghost.

“Halloo!” exclaimed one of the men, “who on earth are you, and where did
you come from?”

“I have been lost in the mountains for the last two days, and am almost
starved to death,” answered Guy, in a faint voice.

“Well, I should say you were, if one can judge by your looks. Come in.
Such as we’ve got you’re welcome to.”

The man approached to assist Guy to dismount, and it was well he did so,
for he was just in time to receive him in his arms. The boy was utterly
overcome with weakness, and when he tried to swing himself from his
saddle his head reeled, and he would have fallen to the ground if the
man had not supported him.

“He’s pretty near gone up,” said one of the miners, “but I guess a bit
of something will bring him around all right.”

The speaker secured Guy’s horse, another assisted him into the house and
seated him on a bench, a third brought from a cupboard an abundant
supply of bread and meat, which he placed before him, and the others
stood around, waiting with no little curiosity and impatience to hear
his story.

The miners had seen any number of hungry men since they had been in the
mountains, but that was the first time they had ever seen food disappear
so rapidly before a boy of Guy’s size. The latter was perfectly
ravenous. He stopped at last, not because he had eaten enough, but
because his host interfered and took away the eatables.

“Thar, now,” said the man, “you’ve stowed away about enough of that grub
for this time, and you had better let up or you’ll bust.”

“I am busted already,” said Guy, wiping his lips; “busted and
disgusted.”

“Broke?” asked the man.

“Flat as a pancake,” said Guy. “I am very grateful for your kindness,
sir, and am sorry I cannot in some way repay it. I am able to go on now,
and would be glad if you would show me the nearest road to the States.”

“Going to leave Californy?”

“Just as fast as horse-flesh can carry me.”

“But how did you come to get lost?”

Guy’s story was a short one, and was soon told. Some of the miners
seemed to believe it, while others looked a little incredulous. But Guy
did not care for that. He had the best of evidence that every word he
uttered was the truth.

While he was telling his story a horseman drew up before the shanty, and
dismounting, proceeded to give Guy’s steed a good looking over, closely
examining a brand on the animal’s flank, and referring occasionally to a
note-book which he drew from his pocket. The miners watched every move
he made, now and then exchanging winks with one another, and looking
toward Guy in a way the latter could not understand.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                        GUY BECOMES A TEAMSTER.


“WHICH of you owns this horse,” asked the man at length, thrusting his
head in at the door.

The question was addressed to the party in general but the man fastened
his eyes upon Guy as if expecting an answer from him.

“He is in my possession,” said the boy, “but he belongs to Zeke.”

“Zeke! Zeke who?”

“I don’t know his other name. He is a buffalo hunter, and has just
started for Kansas.”

“Where did he get him, do you know?”

“He bought him of somebody down in San Joaquin.”

“Yes; well, that story won’t go down, young man,” said the new-comer,
who was an officer of the law. “That horse was _stolen_ down in San
Joaquin a few days ago.”

“Oho!” exclaimed Guy’s host, “that accounts for the milk in the
cocoanut.”

“I thought all the time that there was something streaked about this
business,” observed another.

“Ain’t he a desperate one, though,” remarked a third. “He steals a horse
and is so determined to keep him that he stays in the mountains until he
is almost starved to death.”

“Oh, now, you don’t know what you are talking about,” cried Guy, who was
frightened almost out of his senses. “I didn’t steal that horse. I got
him just as I told you I did.”

The constable listened while Guy repeated the story of his two days’
acquaintance with the buffalo hunter, and when it was concluded gave it
as his opinion that the boy’s statements would hardly wash. He might be
all right—he was free to confess that Guy didn’t look like a
horse-thief—but he had been instructed to detain that animal if he found
him, and to put whoever had him in his possession into the calaboose and
keep him there until the owner of the horse could be sent for; so Guy
had better come along and be locked up and say no more about it.

Guy remonstrated loudly, but it was all in vain. The officer was firm,
and the boy was obliged to accompany him down the mountain and through
the little village that lay at its foot, to the calaboose—a small,
strongly built log cabin, provided with a heavy oaken door and grated
windows. There was but one room in the building, as Guy found when the
door was opened, and just then it had no occupants.

“Now, then,” said the officer giving his prisoner a push, “go in there,
and stay till the rope comes up from San Joaquin. We hang horse-thieves
in this country.”

This was the second time Guy had been made the victim of the man he had
trusted so implicitly. He understood his situation as well as if Zeke
had been there to explain it to him. The hunter, not daring to rob him
in the settlements for fear that Mr. Wilson would interest himself in
the matter, had enticed him into the mountains, where he could
accomplish his purpose without danger to himself. He had stolen the
horse for Guy to ride, and then, in order to draw suspicion from
himself, had left him in the boy’s possession, well-knowing that if he
showed himself in the settlements during the day-time, he would be
arrested and charged with the theft. And horse-thieves were hanged in
that country, so the constable had told him! If the man said this to
frighten him, he certainly succeeded in his object. Almost overcome with
terror at the bare thought, Guy threw himself upon a dirty mattress in
one corner of the jail and cried bitterly, until exhausted nature gave
way and he forgot his troubles in sleep.

He slept until it was almost dark, and was then awakened by the sound of
voices. He started up to find the door of his prison open, and the
entrance crowded with excited, struggling men. Conspicuous among them
was a gigantic fellow, clad like a miner, whose wrists and ankles were
loaded with irons. The others were trying to push him into the jail, and
he was trying as hard to prevent them. Encumbered as he was he fought
desperately for his liberty, and once seemed almost on the point of
escaping from his captors, but he was at last thrown headlong upon the
floor of the calaboose, and the door was slammed behind him.

Guy’s companion in misery acted more like a wild beast than a human
being. No sooner had he gained his feet than he threw himself with all
his strength against the door; but seeing that he made no impression
upon it, he turned his attention to one of the windows, seizing the bars
with his hands and exerting all his strength to tear them from their
fastenings.

Failing in this, he drew himself up by the bars of the window and butted
his head against the logs which formed the ceiling, but nothing gave way
under his fierce attacks, and finding at last that escape was impossible
he fell to pacing the narrow jail, rattling his chains and swearing and
threatening at the top of his voice.

Guy was afraid of him. Slowly and cautiously he drew himself off the
mattress, and retreated into the farthest corner of the room, where he
sat cowering and trembling and watching the movements of this wild beast
in human form, who continued to pace backward and forward, clanking his
chains and uttering imprecations. Guy was glad indeed when the night
settled down and concealed him from the man’s sight.

At last a murmur of voices outside the building attracted the attention
of the prisoner, who paused in his walk and gazed eagerly toward the
door, bending forward in a listening attitude. The noise grew louder and
louder. Then a short struggle was heard outside the cabin, the door flew
open, admitting a flood of light which streamed from a dozen lanterns,
and a crowd of armed men rushed in. They seized the prisoner, wound a
rope about his neck, and in spite of his resistance pulled him out of
the calaboose.

Guy, hardly realizing what was going on, was borne with the crowd, which
filled every corner of the jail, out through the door, past the
constable, who was lying bound and helpless beside the building, and up
the road leading to the mountains. Then somebody pushed him roughly
aside, and he found himself standing alone. He was free, the road was
open, and he could go where he pleased.

Frightened as he was, Guy was prompt to seize upon the opportunity for
escape thus unexpectedly offered to him. Very slowly and deliberately he
drew himself further away from the crowd, and when the last man had
passed him and hurried up the mountain, and there was no one in sight to
observe his movements, he broke into a run and made the best of his way
through the now deserted village and along the road that led to the
plains beyond.

He knew something about lynch-law now. He had received an illustration
of the manner in which frontiersmen sometimes dealt with offenders, and
shivered as if he had the ague when he reflected that the same fate
might have been his in a few hours more had not a way been opened for
his escape.

“I’ll not stay in this country an hour longer,” thought Guy, speeding
along the road as if he had been furnished with wings. “I had no idea
that there were such men as these in the world. I wonder if that
constable saw me when I came out? I thought he looked me squarely in the
face, and if he did, he must have recognized me. If they will only keep
him tied hard and fast until morning, I don’t think he will ever catch
me again. Halloo! Great Scott!”

This exclamation was called forth by an unexpected sight which just then
met his eyes. It was a camp-fire, and he did not see it until he was
close upon it. Two covered wagons were drawn up in front of the fire,
and beside one of them stood a stalwart fellow in his shirt-sleeves, who
was looking ruefully at a broken axle-tree and scratching his head in
deep perplexity. Discovering Guy as he came up, he greeted him with:

“Halloo! stranger. May be you’re a wagon-maker.”

“No, I am not,” replied the boy.

“Then I don’t suppose you could hold up one end of this rail for me
while I fix this axle, could you?” asked the emigrant.

“Yes,” said Guy, “I can do that.”

After casting a long and anxious glance down the road he had just
traveled to make sure that there was no one following him, Guy walked up
to the wagon and held one end of the rail, as the man requested, making
several suggestions as the work progressed, which the emigrant was
prompt to adopt, and which led him to say when the repairs were all
completed:

“Now, stranger, may be you would be willing to set up and take a bite
with us. Supper’s ready.”

Guy was not only willing, but eager. The sense of security he had felt
since his arrival in the emigrant’s camp, aided by the savory odor of
the viands that were cooking over the coals, had put a sharp edge on his
appetite, and he did full justice to the meal that was served up. While
he was eating he had leisure to look about him and to examine into
something that had attracted his notice when he first entered the camp.
There were some words painted in large letters on one of the wagon
covers, and after a little study, Guy made them out to be, “Sonora or
Bust.”

He read the words over slowly while he was munching his corn bread and
bacon, and then turned his attention to the emigrant’s family, on whom
he had thus far bestowed only a passing glance.

There were eight of them—two women and six children; and as both the
women were addressed as mother, Guy thought there ought to be another
man about the camp; but as he did not put in an appearance, he finally
asked after him.

“Where is your partner?” said he to the emigrant. “You ask that
question, I suppose, because you see two families here,” replied the
man. “One of them is mine, and the other was my brother’s. He is dead,
and so I have his wife and little ones to care for till I get them back
among their friends.”

Guy helped himself to another piece of bacon and looked up at the words
that were painted on the wagon cover.

“Did you get through, or bust?” said he.

“Both,” replied the emigrant. “I came through all right, and busted
afterward. My brother, he died, the placer diggings give out, so that
Californy ain’t worth staying in, and now I want to get back to
Missouri, where I came from, before I am clean broke. These women folks
can’t drive horses—this is the third time they have run into stumps and
rocks, and broke that wagon down, between here and Sonora—and I’ll give
any man ten dollars a month that’s a mind to set up there and drive for
us.”

“Are you going straight to the States?” asked Guy.

“Just as straight as the nearest trail runs.”

“Then I’m your man. I’ll drive one wagon for you.”

“Talk enough,” said the emigrant. “I can rest easy now. That miserable
wagon has been more bother to me than it is worth.”

And so the matter was settled, and Guy became a teamster and a member of
the emigrant’s family.

For the next three months he led a dreary, monotonous life, during which
not a single incident happened that was worth recording. He arose from
his blankets at daybreak, ate a breakfast of corn bread and bacon, and
then climbed to his seat in the wagon, where he remained, with the
exception of an hour’s halt at noon, until long after dark. Even this
work was hard, and the longer it continued the more disgusted with
frontier life Guy became, and the firmer grew his resolution, that if he
ever lived to get among civilized people again, he would stay among
them. The journey, like the voyage around the Horn, seemed endless, but
at last, to his immense relief, Omaha appeared in sight.

By this time Guy had made up his mind what he was going to do. From the
emigrants he met on the road he learned that the States were at war,
that one portion of the Union was in arms against the other, and that
men were wanted on both sides.

This seemed almost a godsend to Guy, for it settled a question which he
had long been revolving in his mind, namely: What should he do for a
living? he could go into the Union army. He would save every cent of the
money he earned during his term of service, and if he lived to come out,
he would have enough to enable him to take a course at some commercial
college, and thus fit himself for business. He was a boy of peace—he had
no taste for fights and broils—but he must do something to earn a
livelihood, and this seemed to be just what he wanted.

When they reached Omaha Guy was paid off by his employer, receiving
thirty-five dollars in money, and after taking leave of him and his
family, he started at once for the levee. Finding there a steamer bound
for St. Louis, he shipped on it as deck hand. He could not afford to go
as passenger, for his clothes were almost in tatters, and he needed the
little money he had to purchase a respectable outfit when he reached St.
Louis.

The steamer arrived at the city early one morning, and Guy having
received his wages, bent his steps toward the nearest clothing store,
and when he came out again, half an hour afterward, he looked more like
Guy Harris than he had looked for many a long day. He had purchased a
neat, durable suit of clothing, and still had a few dollars left in his
pocket. He was not ashamed now to show himself on the principal streets.

The first thing was to get a good breakfast, and the next to hunt up an
officer to enlist him. There was a restaurant close by, and while he was
eating a dish of ham and eggs, and drinking a cup of coffee, he talked
with the proprietor, who directed him to the nearest recruiting office.
It was on Fourth Street, the man said, and Guy having paid his bill
started out to find it.

Guy felt now as if he were among friends from whom he had long been
separated. He was delighted to find himself among the sights and sounds
of the city again, and not a single incident that happened as he passed
along the street did he regard as too trifling to be noticed.

He had now been adrift in the world nearly fifteen months, and during
this time he had seldom thought of his home and those he had left there.
It is true that when he was in trouble he had wished himself safe under
his father’s roof once more, just as a storm-tossed mariner wishes
himself back to the comfortable haven he left a few days ago; but if he
had ever thought of his father and his father’s wife, it was with a
feeling of bitterness which seemed to grow stronger and deeper as he
grew older. He thought of them now, but without a single pang of regret
or a single longing in his heart to see them. The world had treated him
harshly since he had been out in it; but which was the worst, he asked
himself—to receive hard words and hard usage from those of whom he had a
right to expect nothing better, or to submit to daily exhibitions of
indifference and partiality, and acts of petty tyranny and injustice
from those of whom he had a right to expect nothing but encouragement,
sympathy and love? Guy asked himself this question, and a hard
expression settled about the corners of his mouth, which did not soften
when he suddenly discovered among the numerous pedestrians one whom he
thought he had seen before. It was a tall, dignified gentleman, who was
just at that moment crossing the street, evidently with the intention of
intercepting him. Guy stared at him in amazement. _It was his father!_

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                            FATHER AND SON.


GUY COULD scarcely believe his eyes. His father was the last man on
earth he had expected to see in St. Louis—the last one he wanted to
meet, if the truth must be told—and he hoped that he was mistaken.

But the approaching gentleman was really Mr. Harris—there could be no
doubt about that; for, as far as his personal appearance was concerned,
he had not changed in a single particular since Guy last saw him. His
face wore the same fierce frown, before which the boy had so often
trembled, and which seemed habitual to him, and he carried himself as
stiffly as ever. But he came up with some eagerness in his manner, and
for once appeared to be glad to see his son.

“Guy!” said he, seizing the boy’s outstretched hand and speaking with
more cordiality than he had ever before thrown into his tones when
addressing him.

“Father!” replied Guy.

“How do you do?” said Mr. Harris. “When did you arrive here, and where
have you been?”

Guy noticed, with some of the old bitterness in his heart, that his
father did not say he was glad to meet him, but he was not much
surprised at it. He could not recollect that his father had ever
exhibited any affection for him. He saved all that for Ned, and Guy was
obliged to be contented with the few crumbs that fell to his share in
the shape of Christmas presents and a religious book once or twice a
year.

“I have just now come from the plains,” replied Guy. “I have been to sea
since I saw you last.”

“To sea!” repeated Mr. Harris—“as a common sailor?”

“Yes, sir. I have made two voyages as a foremast hand, one of them
around the Horn. I came from San Francisco overland.”

A few minutes’ silence followed. The two stood holding fast to each
other’s hands, and each was busy with his own thoughts. Mr. Harris was
running his eyes over Guy’s face and figure, and was plainly surprised,
and perhaps a little disappointed, to see him so neatly dressed and
looking so well.

The conventional runaway always turns up ragged and in a starving
condition; but this one looked as though he had been living on the fat
of the land. Guy was waiting with some anxiety to hear what his father
would have to say next, and wondering if his long separation from him
had softened his heart in any degree. At last Mr. Harris spoke.

“I am stopping at the Planter’s House,” said he. “Come over there with
me. I want to talk to you.”

As he said this he drew his son’s arm through his own and led him away.
This movement on his part was a great surprise to Guy. Never before had
his father treated him with so much familiarity.

Perhaps he was beginning to see that he had made a woful mistake in
keeping the boy at such a distance from him. Had his eyes been opened to
this fact eighteen months sooner Guy would never have been a runaway.

Arriving at the Planter’s House Mr. Harris led the way to his room, and
as he locked the door behind him and handed Guy a chair, the latter felt
very much as he had felt in former days when his father had ordered him
into the library for some offense he had committed, and followed him
there with an apple-tree switch in his hand.

“Are you on your way home, Guy?” asked Mr. Harris as he sealed himself
in a chair opposite his son.

“No, sir,” was the reply. “I came to St. Louis intending to enlist in
the army.”

“You must not do that, Guy,” said his father earnestly. “There are
enough beside you to risk their lives in this war. I want you to go back
with me. Home is the place for you.”

“No, father, I can’t do it,” said Guy.

“Why not?”

“I have two good reasons. In the first place, I suppose that all my
acquaintances know by this time that I ran away from home.”

“I suppose they do,” said his father, “and that is all the punishment
you will have to stand.”

“For the opinions of the majority I care nothing. Those who know all the
circumstances will not judge me too harshly,” said Guy, astonished at
the readiness with which he expressed himself. But then his heart was
full of this matter. He had thought of it often and words came easy to
him.

Mr. Harris elevated his eyebrows and looked surprised.

“Yes, sir,” continued Guy, who easily read the thoughts that were
passing in his father’s mind. “I mean to say that every man and woman in
Norwall who is intimate with our family will tell you to-day, if they
tell you anything, that I had good reason for wishing to leave home. I
never saw a moment’s peace there in my life.”

“Then why did you not come to me like a man and say so, instead of
sneaking away like a thief in the night?” asked Mr. Harris with all the
old sternness in his voice.

“I knew better. I did not care to put myself in the way of a whipping,
and that is all the satisfaction I should have got.”

Whatever may have been Mr. Harris’ other faults, he was not dishonest.
He did not deny this—he could not, so he hastened to change the subject.

“What was the reason you were not happy at home?” he asked. “Ned seems
to enjoy himself very well.”

“I suppose he does,” returned Guy bitterly. “He has a father and mother
who try to make home pleasant for him. Any boy can enjoy himself under
such circumstances.”

“Didn’t you have all you wanted to eat, and drink, and wear?”

“Yes, sir; but is that all a boy wants to make him happy? No, indeed. He
wants a kind word now and then. He likes to be told once in a while that
there is some good in him, and that he is not altogether wicked and
depraved. He wants privileges occasionally, not those granted with
hesitation and grumbling and cautions innumerable, for he cannot enjoy
them, but those which are extended willingly and smilingly, as if the
parent found as much pleasure in giving as the boy does in receiving
them. He wants somebody who will love him, and who is not ashamed to
show it. Where is Henry Stewart?” asked Guy suddenly.

“He is still at home,” replied Mr. Harris, “studying hard to fit himself
for college. Mr. Stewart seems to be particularly blessed in his
children. Henry is a model boy. He never does anything behind his
father’s back that he would be ashamed to do before his face.”

“And what is the reason?” asked Guy.

“I don’t know, I am sure. I suppose it is nature.”

“Yes, the nature of the boy has a good deal to do with his behavior, of
course, but believe me, father, when I say that the parents have a great
deal to do with it, too,” said Guy earnestly. “If you will go into Mr.
Stewart’s yard some night and watch his family through the window, as I
did on one occasion, the mystery will be solved in two minutes’ time.
Henry can’t help being a good boy, because he has a good home. It isn’t
what he has to eat and drink and wear that makes him so, either.”

“Well, have you been so much happier since you have been out in the
world than you were at home?”

“I have been so much better satisfied that I don’t want to go back,”
replied Guy.

“Have you never regretted your rash act? Have you never wanted to see
us?”

“Yes, sir, to both your questions. I wished myself at home a good many
times during the first three months I was away, not because I was sorry
I had left it, but because I was disheartened by the misfortunes I met
with and the abuse I received from some of those with whom I came in
contact. The world isn’t what I expected to find it by any means. I have
been cured of a good many foolish notions since I left home.”

“You must have had some plan in your head when you ran away,” said
Harris. “What did you expect to do?”

“I intended to become a hunter,” said Guy, with some hesitation.

“There!” exclaimed his father, suddenly brightening. “I have at last
reached the root of the matter. Don’t you see now that my judgment was
better than yours? If you had respected my wishes and let those
miserable works of fiction alone, you would have saved yourself a great
deal of trouble. Be honest now. Confess that the only reason why you
left home was because you got some wild idea into your head from those
books.”

“I have already told you why I left home, and why I don’t want to go
back,” said Guy. “If works of fiction are such awful things, how does it
come that Henry Stewart is so good a boy? He has a whole library of such
books, and he doesn’t have to hide away in the carriage-house or attic
to read them either, as I did. I don’t deny that the stories I read had
something to do with my choice of an occupation, but I do deny that they
had anything to do with my leaving home. The home itself was the cause
of that. It was such a gloomy, dismal place, that I couldn’t stay there.
But I’ve had enough of life on the frontier and on the ocean wave. It is
all well enough to sit down by a comfortable fire in an easy chair, and
read about the imaginary adventures that fall to the lot of hunters and
sailors who never existed, but when one comes to follow the business, he
finds that it is a different matter altogether.”

“Well, what are you going to do here in St. Louis?” asked Mr. Harris.

“I don’t know. I must find work of some kind, and that very soon, for I
have but a few dollars left. I know nothing of business, consequently if
I went into a store I should have to accept the lowest position, which
would not bring me enough to board and clothe myself. The only way I can
see is to enlist. I shall save every cent of my money—I think I know the
value of it—and when my term of service expires, I shall have enough to
enable me to take a course at the Commercial College. Perhaps after that
I can find some paying situation.”

“You must not go into the service, Guy,” said Mr. Harris. “I should
never expect to see you again. I can give you something to do.”

Guy opened his lips to decline this proposition without waiting to hear
more about it. The thought of working under his father’s supervision was
most distasteful to him—indeed, it could not be entertained for a
moment. He could not bear to meet, every hour in the day, that stern,
gloomy man, who never smiled. But Mr. Harris went on without giving him
time to speak.

“I have prospered since the war begun,” said he. “I have had two
profitable government contracts, and have established a business house
in this city. Mr. Walker, who is now my partner, has charge of it. I
will step around and see him about it, and perhaps we can make some
satisfactory arrangements, if you will promise to keep out of the
service.”

“But, father,” said Guy, “do you live here in this city?”

“No; I have charge of our business in Norwall. I go back there by this
evening’s train. What do you say?”

“I shall be grateful for any work that will bring me my board and
clothes, and will promise to keep out of the service,” said Guy.

“Suppose you come around here and take dinner with me at three o’clock.
I shall then be able to tell you what arrangements Mr. Walker and myself
have made.”

“Very well, sir,” said Guy.

Mr. Harris arose to his feet, and Guy taking this as a hint that he
wished the interview brought to a close, picked up his hat and left the
room.

“Thank goodness, it is over at last,” said he, drawing a long breath of
relief. “I didn’t say half I meant to have said, and I am glad I didn’t,
for I could see that he felt badly. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings,
but at the same time I wanted to let him see how impossible it is for me
to go back to Norwall with him. I shall always remember that interview,
for it is an event in my life. _It is the first time I ever spent half
an hour in private with my father without getting a scolding or a
whipping._ He was distant enough, mercy knows, but still he was kinder
and more cordial than I ever knew him to be before. Why didn’t he
exhibit a little of that spirit years ago? I would have done anything
for him that I could do.”

“I never in my life heard of such impudence,” soliloquized Mr. Harris,
as he paced up and down his room after Guy’s departure. “It was all I
could do to keep my hands off that boy. He had the audacity to tell me
to my face that I and his mother are the cause of his wrong-doing—that
we made his home so unpleasant for him that he couldn’t stay there. If
that is the case what is the reason Ned doesn’t run away? Guy must be
demented. That bosh he used to read so much has turned his head.”

How very unwilling we are to confess ourselves in fault for any
unhappiness that befall us—it is so much easier to lay the blame upon
somebody else. Said a father in my hearing, not long ago, while speaking
of a reckless, dissolute son who had caused him a world of trouble:

“Tom always was a peculiar boy. I never could understand him. He seemed
to prefer any place on earth to his home, and he never would stay there
if he could go anywhere else. Why it was so I am sure I don’t know. I
tried my best to do my duty by him, and it is a great comfort to me now
in my old age to know that nobody can tell me I spoiled him by sparing
the rod. I was as strict with him as a father could be. When he was not
at school I shut him up inside the yard to keep him out of the company
of bad boys. I never allowed him to go to a theater or circus, but made
him read his Bible every day and learn a portion of the New Testament
every night before he went to bed. In the evening, as soon as the gas
was lighted, I compelled him to bring out his school books and study
them until nine o’clock. I exercised the strictest supervision over his
reading, and burned every story paper, novel, book of travel, and trash
of that sort that he brought into the house. I saw that he was regular
in his attendance at church and Sunday-school, and on Sunday afternoons
never permitted him to touch any books or papers except those of a
religious character. In short, I tried to keep his mind so fully
occupied with good and useful things that wicked and trifling ones could
find no place in it. And how has my kindness been returned?” added the
father sorrowfully. “Tom run away from home when the war broke out, and
has never been near me since. He is now among those rough characters on
the border, and if everything I hear is true, he is one of the worst of
them. How a bad man can come from such a home as Tom had in his boyhood,
is a mystery to me.”

But it was no mystery to _me_, for I had heard the other side of the
story. A few weeks previous to this, while on my way to visit some
friends in the East, it was my fortune to meet this same Tom in a
distant State. I could scarcely recognize in him the innocent,
meek-appearing boy I had known in years gone by. He was dressed in a red
shirt, thrown open at the throat, coarse trousers thrust into a pair of
high-top boots, and a tattered slouch hat which he wore cocked over his
left ear. In a belt which encircled his waist he carried a navy
six-shooter and a monstrous bowie-knife, both of which had been used
with terrible effect in more than one personal encounter. He was a
swaggering, swearing, boastful, dissipated fellow, and always seemed on
the lookout for a chance to pick a quarrel with some one.

“You’re going home, Harry,” said he, as he grasped my hand at parting,
“and I wish you joy of your visit. Would to Heaven I had a home to go
to.”

“You have, Tom,” said I, “and your father would be glad to see you.”

“Don’t talk to me in that way,” he said, almost fiercely. “I know there
is a house in an Eastern town where I used to stay when I was a boy,
because I could go nowhere else, where I found shelter, food and
clothing, and was daily strapped and scolded, but does that constitute a
_home_? If it does, you writers and poets are all liars. You tell us
home is a place around which one’s warmest affections cluster—a place
consecrated by a mother’s presence, by her prayers and holy tears, whose
sacred influence goes with us through life, and whose pleasant memories
come thronging upon us when the tempter is near to keep us from being
led astray. Such is the home of my dreams, but it is one I never knew
and never shall know. I never knew a mother’s love, but was early made
acquainted with the weight of a father’s hand. He was such a tyrant that
I never could breathe easy in his presence. He denied me every boyish
privilege and indulgence, and brought me up so strictly that I learned
to despise everything good simply because he liked it. I hated the
Sabbath, I hated the Bible, being held to so unreasonably strict an
observance to the one, and so often compelled against my wishes to
commit to memory whole pages of the other. I resolved, as far back as I
can remember, that if I could once free myself from home, I’d see life
and make up for lost time, and you know as well as I can tell you how I
have kept that resolution. I am sorry for it now, but it is too late. I
can’t live my life over again. I have come to such a pass that nobody
cares for me.”

Tom’s under lip begun to quiver and his eyes to fill with tears. Ashamed
of the weakness, he dashed his hand across his face, uttered an oath
under his breath and swaggered off to the nearest saloon. What will his
end be? The rope of a vigilance committee, or the bullet of some fellow
desperado?

Parents, it is a serious matter to send a boy into the world with no
pleasant recollections of yourselves or of home to restrain him in the
hour of temptation.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXV.

                        THE COMMERCIAL TRAVELER.


“WELL, GUY, which way shall we go to-night? Do you feel inclined for a
game of billiards before supper?”

The speaker adjusted his hat in front of a looking-glass, drew a stray
lock of hair over one of his ears, turned his head from side to side to
assure himself that his toilet had been completed, and looked over his
shoulder toward Guy Harris, who, having just rendered to the book-keeper
an account of the cash that had passed through his hands during the day,
was buttoning his coat preparatory to leaving the store. The question
was asked in a low tone and was accompanied by a sidelong glance toward
Mr. Walker, who was standing at the book-keeper’s desk.

“I don’t know,” replied Guy hesitatingly. “I’ve been out a good deal of
late, and I think I had better begin to stop at home once in a while of
an evening.”

“Oh, nonsense!” exclaimed the first speaker, whom we will call Jones,
and who was one of the drummers or commercial travelers employed to sell
goods for the firm of Harris & Walker. “What is the use of moping in the
house all the while? When one has been hard at work all day he wants
some recreation in the evening, I take it.”

“I know that,” said Guy, “but to tell the truth, Jones, I don’t get as
much money for my services as you do, and I can’t stand this ‘bumming
round’ as you call it.”

“Funds giving out? Then run your face.”

“I have been doing just that very thing. I am deeply in debt, too.”

“Oh, that’s nothing when you get used to it? Show me a clerk in this
city who is not in debt, and I will show you five that are.”

“But my creditors want me to pay up; at least I judge so from the way
they are beginning to look at me every time I see them.”

“Well, if they become impatient, just say to them that if they get the
money before you do, you would be pleased to know it. Are you all ready?
If you are, come on. I have only this evening and one more that I can
spend with you, for I must start off on my travels again early on
Wednesday morning.”

This conversation took place one Monday evening in the store in which
Guy was employed, and about two months subsequent to the events recorded
in the last chapter. In accordance with his promise Mr. Harris consulted
with his new partner, Mr. Walker, and the result of the conference was
that Guy was employed to do the outdoor business of the firm—to act as
city collector and shipping clerk, at a salary of four hundred dollars a
year. His working hours were from eight o’clock in the morning until six
at night, with an hour’s intermission at noon for dinner. His evenings
were at his own disposal.

This last was an arrangement with which Mr. Harris was not altogether
pleased. He knew by experience the manifold temptations which beset
those who live in large cities, and believed there was something in the
night air morally injurious to young people; but he thought that perhaps
Guy had learned the value of time and money during his wanderings, and
hoped that his evenings would be devoted, as he said he intended to
devote them, to the acquirement of the rudiments of a business
education. To further this end Mr. Harris purchased for Guy a
scholarship at the Commercial College, and he also found lodgings for
him at a small boarding-house kept by a widow lady in a retired part of
the city.

For a month no fault could be found with Guy. He was as steady as an old
coach-horse. He had learned to appreciate the privileges and comforts of
civilized life, and knew how to enjoy them. Having been made aware of
his deficiencies, he applied himself manfully to the task of overcoming
them. He was always on hand during business hours, and performed his
duty faithfully. Mr. Walker began to take a deep interest in him, and
sent encouraging reports to Norwall concerning him.

“Guy is a splendid fellow!” so Mr. Walker, who was the only one in the
city acquainted with his clerk’s past history, wrote to his partner. “He
is very industrious and painstaking, and a word of encouragement or
approval stimulates him to extra exertions. You know I always thought he
was a good boy.”

Guy’s landlady, Mrs. Willis, also took a wonderful interest in him; he
looked and acted, she said, so much like her own son, who had gone to
California to better his fortune. Guy appreciated every little kindness
she showed him, and learned to love her as devotedly as he had once
loved his father’s wife.

But Guy’s goodness was rather of the negative sort. He did nothing very
wrong, simply because he was never tempted. Everything was going
smoothly with him. He was aiming high now, had formed resolutions which
he had not yet had time to forget; his whole mind was occupied with the
duties of his new vocation, and it is easy to work and be good under
such circumstances. But time makes changes, and soon Guy begun to learn
that even a shipping clerk has troubles and perplexities, which, in
their way, are just as vexatious and hard to bear as those that fall to
the lot of other people. The routine of the store, the performing of the
same duties over and over again, became tiresome to him; it was too much
like a tread-mill. When night came, his mind as well as his body was
weary, and he was in no condition to dip into the mysteries of
double-entry book-keeping, or wrestle with the hard problems in Bryant &
Stratton’s Mercantile Arithmetic. This led him to become irregular in
his attendance at the college, and he begun to spend his leisure hours
at home. Reading and conversation with Mrs. Willis interested him for a
few evenings, but became a bore at last, and Guy fell into the habit of
strolling out after supper for a breath of fresh air; and to enable him
to enjoy it fully, he almost always smoked a cigar.

The place at which he purchased his cigars was a beer saloon, and after
a few visits Guy found that it was the headquarters of half a dozen
dashing young fellows, clerks like himself, who spent all their evenings
there. They would come in after supper, singly and in couples, take a
glass of beer or cigar at the bar, and then pass out of sight through a
door that led into a back room.

Acquaintances are easily made in places like this—more is the pity—and
Guy very soon got into the habit of nodding to these young fellows every
time he met them; then one of them treated him to a cigar, and asked him
if he wouldn’t “step back and take a hand.” Guy, who had often wondered
what there was in the back room that brought those clerks there so
regularly, replied in the affirmative, and following them through the
door just spoken of, found that it led into an apartment devoted to
pigeon-hole, dominoes and cards.

The acquaintances Guy formed that night ripened rapidly into a sort of
friendship. He became a regular visitor at the saloon, and although he
was a remarkably lucky card player, and was seldom “put in” for a game,
the money he had carefully saved during the time he had been employed in
the store—and it amounted to a respectable sum—slipped through his
fingers almost before he knew it, and at last he had not a single dollar
remaining. One night he surprised his new friends by seating himself
near the card-table, but declined to take part in the game.

“What’s the matter?” they all asked at once.

“Why, I might be beaten, and if I do I have no money to pay the bill. I
forgot my pocket-book,” said Guy, ashamed to acknowledge that he did not
own a cent in the world.

“Is that all?” cried one of the players. “That’s easily enough got over.
Say, Jake,” he added, calling to the proprietor of the saloon, “if
Harris gets stuck for this game, you’ll chalk it, won’t you?”

“Oh, sure,” replied the Dutchman readily. “I drusts him all de peer he
vants.”

The boy had been a good customer, and he could afford to accommodate him
to a limited extent.

This was a new chapter in Guy’s experience. He had never thought of
going in debt before, and ere many weeks had passed away he had reason
to wish that no one had ever thought of it for him.

About the time Guy first met these new friends he made the acquaintance
of Mr. Jones, the commercial traveler, who was presented to him by his
brother, Will Jones, the junior clerk. These two young gentlemen, Mr.
Jones and his brother, had private reasons for hating Guy most
cordially. Will had been an applicant for the position of shipping
clerk, and indeed Mr. Walker had partly promised it to him; but yielding
to the wishes of his partner, he gave Guy the situation instead, and
made Jones junior clerk, with the promise of something better as soon as
there was an opening.

Will, of course, was highly enraged. Being rather a fast young man, he
had got deeply in debt, and needed the extra hundred and fifty
dollars—in his subordinate position he received but two hundred and
fifty—to satisfy his creditors, who were becoming impatient. His
brother, the commercial traveler, was absent selling goods for the firm,
and not knowing what else to do, Will wrote him a full account of his
troubles, and ended by begging the loan of a few dollars. The commercial
traveler replied as follows:

“You have been shamefully treated. That place was promised to you, and
you shall have it if I die for it; but I can’t lend you any money. You
ought to have better sense than to ask me, for I have often told you
that my commission does not begin to support me. If it were not for my
other business, I should be in a hard row of stumps directly. Smoke
fewer cigars and drink less beer till I come, and I’ll see what can be
done. In the meantime watch Harris—watch him so closely that you can
tell me every one of his habits. If I can get a hold on him I’ll have
him out of that store, no matter if he is the son of the senior
partner.”

In accordance with these instructions, the object of which Will fully
comprehended, he set himself to act as a spy upon the shipping clerk,
and every movement that young gentleman made during business hours and
afterward, was carefully noted.

At first Will saw nothing encouraging in Guy’s behavior, for his habits
bore the strictest investigation; but from the time he got into the way
of going to Dutch Jake’s saloon for cigars and beer, the spy collected
abundant evidence against him. When the commercial traveler returned he
listened with interest to the story his brother had to tell, and when it
was finished said:

“Then Harris drinks beer, does he? That’s all right. I am certain of
success.”

“But you mustn’t put faith in that,” said Will. “He never takes too
much.”

“No matter,” said the commercial traveler, “he takes a little, and when
alcohol is in, wit is out, always. I will bet you a suit of new clothes
that you are shipping clerk in less than a month—provided, of course,
that you have been guarded in your own conduct, and given old Walker no
reason to distrust you.”

At the very first opportunity the commercial traveler was introduced to
Guy, and the latter was highly flattered to see that he had made a very
favorable impression upon the gentlemanly Mr. Jones. He could not help
seeing it, for Mr. Jones did not attempt to conceal his admiration for
Guy. He accompanied him on his business tours about the city, dropped in
to see him every night, and never appeared to be easy while he was away
from him. And Guy was glad to be in his company. He was proud to be seen
on the streets with such a well-dressed, elegant young fellow.

“Harris,” said Mr. Jones one day, “Mr. Walker tells me that he will not
start me out again under two or three weeks, and I must have a home
somewhere. If you and your worthy landlady have no objections, I should
like to board and room with you. You are a fellow after my own heart,
and I like your society.”

“I have no objections, certainly,” said Guy. “I should be delighted with
the arrangement. Go home and take supper with me to-night, and I will
propose it to Mrs. Willis.”

Of course Mr. Jones jumped at the invitation. He made a favorable
impression upon the unsuspecting landlady, as Guy knew he would—he did
not see how anybody could help liking Mr. Jones—and the consequence was
that he paid a week’s board in advance, and was that same evening duly
installed in Guy’s room.

The intimacy thus formed begun to result disastrously to Guy before two
days had passed away. The shipping clerk in his simplicity imagined that
his new friend looked up to him as a superior being, while the truth was
that Mr. Jones, by skillful handling, was molding him to suit his own
purposes. He led Guy into all sorts of extravagance. In the first place
he made such a display of his abundant wardrobe that the plain, durable
clothing with which the shipping clerk had provided himself, and which
he believed to be quite good enough for any young man in his
circumstances, begun to look, in the eyes of its owner, rather shabby
when compared with the elegant broadcloth suits that Mr. Jones wore
every day. He had not money sufficient to buy better, but Mr. Jones had
both cheek and credit, and through him Guy was made acquainted with a
fashionable tailor on Fourth Street, who, in three day’s time, furnished
him with an outfit that made his eyes dance with delight, and charged
the price of it against Guy on his books. Then, of course, other things
had to be purchased to correspond with these new clothes, for coarse
pegged boots, cotton gloves, and a felt hat would not look well with a
suit of German broadcloth. Guy must have patent leathers, fine linen, a
stove-pipe hat, and imported French kids, all of which were procured
from merchants recommended by Mr. Jones, and each of whom expressed
himself willing to wait, not only for the amount of that bill, but for
any other that Guy might be pleased to run at his store.

In fine, the advent of Mr. Jones produced a wonderful change in Guy’s
circumstances and feelings in two short weeks. The commercial traveler
had a large circle of acquaintances in the city, and Guy was everywhere
introduced as the son of the senior member of the well-known and wealthy
firm of Harris & Walker, wholesale dry goods merchants, and from being
an obscure clerk whom nobody noticed, found himself riding on a high
wave of popularity. Elegant young gentlemen touched their hats to him in
the streets, and now and then invited him to take a cigar or a glass of
wine with them; perfumed and obsequious bar-tenders in gorgeous saloons
leaned respectfully over the counter while he gave his orders, and
executed them with alacrity; the clerks in a certain “billiard parlor”
took particular pains to keep his private cue locked up so that nobody
else could get at it, and to see that his favorite four-pocket table was
unoccupied when he dropped in at six o’clock to play his regular game;
and livery stable keepers trotted out their best stock, and furnished
him with their finest carriages when he wished to go out riding of a
Sunday afternoon.

For the first time in the whole course of his existence Guy was “seeing
life,” and that, too, without a cent in his pocket. He was bewildered,
intoxicated with pleasure, and there was but one thing to throw a cloud
over his enjoyments. That was the way his landlady looked at him when he
came down to breakfast in the morning with trembling hands, and red and
swollen eyes, and declined to take anything more than a cup of coffee.
On such occasions there was an expression on the good lady’s face that
cut Guy to the heart, and somehow always led to the mortifying
reflection that for the last six weeks he had not paid her a cent for
his board. Then he would seem for the moment to come to his senses; but
the observant Mr. Jones was always ready to step in and nip in the bud
any resolutions of amendment he might make. As they walked toward the
store he would draw a glowing contrast between Guy’s present
circumstances and his former old-fogy manner of living, and wind up by
humming over a verse of doggerel something like the following:

    “As we journey through life, let us live by the way,
      And our pilgrimage gladden with feasting, not fasting;
    Let us banish dull care, and keep sorrow at bay,
      For our days are all numbered, and life is not lasting.”

His plans were not yet fully matured, and consequently he was not ready
for Guy’s awakening.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXVI.

                      GUY RECEIVES A PROPOSITION.


THE shipping clerk and commercial traveler walked out of the store
arm-in-arm, and bent their steps toward a billiard saloon. Mr. Jones
talked incessantly. The sober face Guy wore, and the words he had let
fall a while ago, were small things in themselves, but much too
important to be disregarded, for they were signs of the awakening which
was sure to come, but which Mr. Jones, for reasons of his own, wished to
postpone for a day or two longer. So he tried to keep up Guy’s spirits,
and believing that a little assistance might not come amiss, led him
into Dutch Jake’s saloon, where they had a glass of beer and a cigar
apiece, Jones paying for one and Guy treating to the other.

“Chalk it, Jake,” said Guy, as he walked around the end of the counter
for a match to light his cigar.

“Vell,” said the Dutchman with some hesitation, “I shalks dis, but I
don’t likes dis shalking pisness pooty vell, nohow. You peen shpending
monish like plazes, Meester Harris—you know it? Your pill peen running
dwo months.”

Guy reddened to the roots of his hair. This was a gentle hint that Jake
wanted him to pay up, and he had never been dunned before.

“How much do I owe you?” he asked.

“Eight tollars und vorty zents; you know it now.”

“Eight dollars and—Great Scott! how can that be?” exclaimed Guy, almost
overwhelmed with astonishment. “I haven’t been stuck for a game of cards
for the last two weeks.”

“Vell, it’s all fair, every zent!” almost shouted the Dutchman, bringing
his fist down on the counter with a sounding whack. “You dinks I sheats
you, py dunder?”

“Oh, now, Jake, you needn’t get on the rampage,” said Jones, interposing
to calm the rising storm. “Guy is not disputing your bill—he is a
gentleman. He will pay every cent of it in a few days.”

“Vell, dot’s all right, put it’s petter he bays it pooty gwick. Ven a
man gomes here mit vine glose und a vine vatch und shain, und runs me a
pill here in mine house von eight tollars und vorty zents, I don’t likes
dis pisness.”

While the Dutchman was talking himself hoarse Guy and his companion beat
a hasty retreat. Jones seemed to look upon the matter in the light of an
excellent joke, and laughed heartily over it, but Guy said nothing. He
was in a very serious frame of mind. He did not in the least enjoy the
game of billiards that followed, for his thoughts were full of the
unpleasant incident that had just happened. He was learning now what all
people who go in debt must learn sooner or later—that a bill, like the
snow-ball a boy rolls up to build his mimic fort, accumulates rapidly.
He was glad when the game was finished. He and Jones took a cigar at the
counter, and were about to move away when the bar-tender beckoned to
Guy.

“I don’t want you to think hard of me, Harris,” said he, leading Guy out
of earshot of his companion, “but I just thought that I would suggest to
you that perhaps your bill here is rather larger than you think. It has
been running five weeks, and we like to have our customers settle up at
least once a month.”

“How much is it?” asked Guy with as much indifference as he could throw
into his tones.

“Only twenty-four dollars. Don’t misunderstand me now. I am not dunning
you, for I know that you are a thoroughbred, and that you are able to
pay it at any moment. I merely wish to call your attention to it.”

“I am glad you did,” said Guy. “I’ll see to it. Good-evening.”

Had Guy suddenly been knocked over by some invisible hand he could not
have been more amazed. Thirty-two dollars in debt, and several creditors
yet to hear from! Had he been asked an hour before to name the sum he
owed these two men, he would have said not more than five dollars. He
had kept no account of the bills he had run at other places, and if they
exceeded his estimate of them in the same proportion that these two did,
what would become of him? Where could he raise the money to pay them? He
could not bear to think about it. He overtook his companion at the door,
and the latter saw very plainly that the awakening had come.

“Well, perhaps it is as well that it should come now as at a later day,”
soliloquized the commercial traveler. “I’ve got him just where I want
him, and I’ll make him a proposition to-night. I have another whole day
to operate in before I start out on my travels, and a great deal can be
accomplished in that time. How much is it, Guy? Twenty-four dollars!
That is less than I thought it would be. Billiards at twenty-five cents
a game, and fancy drinks at fifteen cents each count up, you know. When
are you going to pay it?”

“I don’t know. I can’t pay Jake’s bill, much less this one.”

“Well, now, I say! Look here, my dear fellow, this won’t do, you know!”
exclaimed Mr. Jones, suddenly stopping in the street and turning a most
astonished face toward Guy. “Remember, if you please, that these people
to whom I have introduced you are my personal friends, and that I
brought you to their notice supposing you to be a gentleman. You _must_
pay these bills. My honor is at stake as well as your own, because I
introduced you. If you don’t do it, your creditors will call upon Mr.
Walker.”

“Great Scott!” ejaculated Guy, who had never thought of this before.

“Certainly they will,” continued Mr. Jones. “And just consider how I
should feel under such circumstances! I should never dare to look a
white man in the face again. I didn’t think you were dishonest.”

“And I am not, either,” returned Guy with spirit. “I should be glad to
settle these bills, but how can I do it without money?”

“Oh, that’s the trouble, is it? It isn’t want of inclination, but a lack
of means. Is that it?”

“That’s just the way the matter stands,” answered Guy.

“Then I ask your pardon,” said Mr. Jones, grasping Guy’s hand and
shaking it cordially. “I misunderstood you. But are you really out of
money?” he added, with a look of surprise, although he knew very well
that Guy was penniless, and had been for weeks.

“I haven’t a red,” was the despairing reply.

“Don’t let it trouble you. I can remedy that.”

“You can!” exclaimed Guy, astonished and delighted.

“Of course. I earn three or four thousand every year, outside of my
commission, and in an hour I can explain the mode of operating, so that
you can do the same.”

“And will you?” asked Guy.

“I will, I assure you. Harris, when I am a friend to a man I am a friend
all over. And what is the use of my professing to think so much of you
if I am not willing to prove it?”

“You are a friend, indeed,” returned Guy with enthusiasm, “and if you
will help me out of this scrape I will never go in debt again as long as
I live.”

“Oh, as to that,” said Mr. Jones indifferently, “it doesn’t signify. The
best of us get short sometimes, and then it is very convenient to have a
friend or two who is willing to credit us. All one has to do is to get
up a reputation for honesty, and then he can run his face as long as he
chooses.”

“What is this plan you were speaking of?” asked Guy.

“I will tell you this evening. After supper we will go up to our room,
and while we are smoking a cigar we’ll have a long, friendly talk.”

Guy did not want any supper. He could think of nothing but his debts and
his companion’s friendly offer to help him out of them, and he was
impatient to learn how his relief was to be accomplished, he urged Jones
to reveal the secret at once, but the latter could not be prevailed upon
to say more on the subject just then, and Guy was obliged to await his
pleasure.

Supper over, the cigars lighted, and the door of their room closed to
keep the smoke from going out into the hall where the landlady would be
sure to detect it, Guy and the commercial traveler seated themselves,
one in the easy chair and the other on the bed, and proceeded to discuss
matters.

“In the first place,” said Mr. Jones, “in order that I may know just
what to do, you must tell me how much you owe, and give me the names of
those to whom you are indebted—that is, if you are perfectly willing to
do so.”

“Of course I am,” returned Guy readily. “I will meet your friendly
advances half-way. To begin with, there are my bills at Dutch Jake’s and
the billiard saloon, amounting to thirty-two dollars and forty cents.
Then I am indebted thirty dollars to Mrs. Willis, and if I may judge by
the way she looks at me now and then, she would be wonderfully pleased
if I would pay up.”

“Oh, she doesn’t need the money,” said Jones. “She has a little fortune
of her own, and only keeps boarders for company. If she says anything to
you, there are plenty of ways to put her off. Tell her that you will
settle up as soon as you draw your next quarter’s salary.”

“That would be a good joke on her, wouldn’t it?” said Guy with a forced
laugh. “To tell the truth,” he added, with some hesitation, “I—that
is—you know Mr. Walker allows me to be my own paymaster, and I have
already drawn and spent my last quarter’s salary. I shall not get a cent
of money from the firm for five weeks.”

“I am overjoyed to hear it,” said Mr. Jones to himself. “Things are
working better than I thought. I’ve got you in a tight corner, my lad,
and all that is required is a little careful handling to get you in the
way of embezzling.” Then aloud he said: “That is a very bad state of
affairs, Guy. These people must be paid at once.”

“I know they ought to be paid, and you said you would put me in the way
of doing it.”

“So I will. I’ll come to that directly. But who else do you owe?”

Guy went on with the list of those to whom he was indebted, checking
each one off on the fingers of his left hand as he pronounced his name.
Jones listened in genuine amazement, for Guy had been carrying things
with a much higher hand than he had supposed. His debts, according to
his own showing, footed up one hundred and twenty-five dollars, and if
the amounts charged against him on the books of his creditors exceeded
his expectations as greatly as Jones hoped they would, he owed at least
two hundred dollars. The commercial traveler took down the names and
amounts as Guy called them off—a proceeding that Guy could not see the
necessity of.

“You mustn’t show that to anybody,” said he.

“Certainly not,” replied Jones with an injured air. “I wish to ascertain
just how much you owe, so that I may know how large a sum of money it
will take to put you on your feet again. One hundred and twenty-five
dollars,” he continued, after he had added up the column of figures.
“That is a bad showing, Guy—a very bad showing indeed. It is a large sum
to one whose salary amounts to only four hundred dollars a year, but it
must be paid. Are you ready to listen to my plans now?”

“I am,” said Guy. “I am all ears.”

“I do not suppose that you will like them at first,” said Mr. Jones,
“but if you will take my advice you will consider well before you reject
them. I can only say that I am about to describe to you a business to
which, as I happen to know, a great many people resort to enable them to
eke out a respectable livelihood.”

With this, Mr. Jones took a long pull at his cigar by way of
inspiration, settled back on his elbow on the bed, and proceeded with a
minute and careful explanation of the business to which he had referred.
He had not said many words before Guy’s eyes begun to open with
surprise, and the longer he listened the more amazed he became. When Mr.
Jones drew from his pocket the implements of his trade and exhibited
them to Guy, the latter jumped from his chair in high indignation.

“I’ll never do it!” said he with emphasis. “I haven’t amounted to much
during the time I have knocked about the world, but I have never yet
been mean enough to play confidence man.”

“This is the way you repay the interest I take in you, is it?” demanded
Mr. Jones angrily. “I offer you a friend’s advice and services, and you
abuse me for it.”

“You are no friend when you try to get me into danger,” said Guy.

“There’s no need of getting excited over it,” said Mr. Jones, as the
shipping clerk begun pacing nervously up and down the room. “I am not
trying to get you into danger. I have followed this business for years,
and know that there is no trouble in carrying it out successfully; but
mark you—there will be trouble if you don’t pay your debts, and serious
trouble, too. What will Mr. Walker say? He thinks everything of you
now—says you’re one of the finest young fellows in St. Louis.”

“Does he say that?” asked Guy, who could not remember that any one had
ever spoken a word in his praise before.

“Yes, he does; and if I were you I would work hard to retain his good
opinion.”

“I don’t see that I can retain it by becoming a swindler,” said Guy.

“He will never know it; but he will know there’s something wrong when
your creditors carry their bills to him, as they certainly will, if you
don’t settle up soon.”

“Great Cæsar!” gasped Guy, who trembled at the bare mention of the
merchant’s name in connection with his debts. “Is there no other way
out? Can’t you lend me some money?”

“Not a red, my dear fellow. I manage to spend all I make as soon as it
gets into my hands. There is no other way out that I can think of now.
As I told you before, I did not expect that you would like the business
at first—I know I objected when it was proposed to me—but you will find
that it will grow less distasteful the longer you think about it. It is
a sure road to ease and fortune, and you had better take time to
consider before you refuse to try it. But you are getting down-hearted,
Guy. Let’s go out for a breath of fresh air. It will liven you up a
bit.”

“No, I don’t care to go out,” said Guy. “I am in no mood to enjoy
anything.”

“Then you will excuse me, won’t you? I have an engagement at this hour.
I will be back at eleven, and in the meantime you had better smoke
another cigar, and think the matter over.”

“There’s no need that I should think it over. I’ll never consent to
it—never. My creditors will not drive me to such extremities.”

“Oh, they won’t, eh?” said Mr. Jones to himself as he closed the door
and paused a moment on the landing outside. “We’ll see about that, my
fine lad. I’ll have them following you like so many sleuth-hounds before
twenty-four hours have passed over your head. You’ll find that they
won’t care what becomes of you so long as they get their money. There
_is_ another way out of the difficulty, but I don’t think it quite safe
to propose it to Guy to-night. I will tell him of it to-morrow. By that
time he will be cornered so tightly that he will be glad to do anything
to get out.”

So saying the commercial traveler laughed softly to himself, and slowly
descended the stairs.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXVII.

                      WHAT HAPPENED AT THE STORE.


IN THE hall Mr. Jones met his landlady. The sight of her seemed to
recall something to his mind, for he quickly thrust his hand into his
pocket, and said as he approached:

“I am ashamed of myself, Mrs. Willis, but I never thought of it before,
I assure you.”

“Why, what do you mean, Mr. Jones?” asked the lady in surprise.

“I mean that, contrary to my usual custom, I have neglected to pay my
week’s board.”

“Pray don’t mention it,” said Mrs. Willis, accepting the bill her lodger
tendered her. “If I had needed the money I should not have hesitated to
ask for it. But, Mr. Jones, I am really afraid that I shall have to
speak to your friend, Guy.”

The commercial traveler spread out his feet, placed his hands behind his
back, and gazed fixedly at the oil-cloth on the floor, but had nothing
to say.

“It isn’t the money I care for,” said the landlady, “but I can see very
plainly that Guy is getting into bad habits. He is going to ruin as fast
as he can, and I think it is your duty to advise him to do better.”

“I do, Mrs. Willis; indeed I do, very frequently,” replied Jones, in a
sorrowful voice; “but I find that it is of no use. I have no more
influence with him than I have with the wind. I am surprised to hear
that he owes you,” he added, with some indignation in his tones, “but I
know the reason for it. It isn’t because Guy isn’t able, or doesn’t want
to pay, but simply because he is so careless. If you will take my advice
you can get your money to-morrow.”

“What must I do?”

“Do as the rest of his creditors do—call upon him at the store. Suppose
you come about six o’clock in the evening? You will be sure to find him
in then.”

“Oh, I can’t do that,” said Mrs. Willis quickly. “I don’t want to dun
Mr. Harris.”

“Of course not; you merely wish to remind him that he is in your debt,
that’s all.”

“Why couldn’t I speak to him here and now?”

“You could, certainly, but it would do no good. He would promise
faithfully to pay up at once, and never think of the matter again. He is
just so forgetful. I really wish you could make it convenient to call on
him to-morrow evening at six o’clock,” added Mr. Jones, “for by so doing
you will benefit Guy as well as yourself. He will draw his quarter’s
salary then, and if you can get your money out of him it will keep him
from spending it for beer and billiards—a practice to which he has of
late, I am sorry to say, become very much addicted.”

The argument was a clincher, and put all the good lady’s scruples to
rout. She did not need the money, and neither did she want to dun Guy;
but if by that means she could keep him from spending his hard earnings
foolishly, it was her duty to do it. So she promised to follow Mr.
Jones’ advice, and the latter, after begging her not to say a word to
Guy concerning what had just passed between them, leisurely pulled on
his gloves and left the house.

“There’s one hound I have put on your track, Mr. Harris,” muttered the
commercial traveler when he had gained the street. “If I could only
raise a suspicion in her mind that her money is in danger, wouldn’t she
make things lively though? For good, fine, ornamental dunning, commend
me to a mad landlady, who can do more of it in five minutes than any ten
men can do in half an hour. I know, for I have had experience with
them.”

With this reflection Mr. Jones pulled his coat collar up around his
ears, for the evening air was chilly, and hurrying down Fourth Street
turned into the door of a fashionable tailoring establishment. Meeting
the proprietor as he entered he exclaimed:

“Now, Mr. Warren, I am quite sure that you were on the point of starting
for my boarding-house to dun me for that bill I owe you. I am really
ashamed of myself—but here’s the——”

“Halloo! what’s the matter with you, Jones?” interrupted the tailor.
“Your bill is a mere trifle, not more than ten or fifteen dollars, and
if I had wanted the money I should not have failed to let you know it.
But, Jones, I intend to make you a present of that and more, too. You
have recommended our house extensively during your travels, and in that
way have helped us many a dollar. If you will step into the back part of
the store we’ll take your measure and put you up a fine business suit.”

“You are very kind,” said Mr. Jones gratefully. “I accept your offer
with thanks. I should like a new business suit, one something like that
you made for Harris a few weeks ago. By the way, if it is a fair
question, what did he pay you for it?”

“Not one dime,” said the merchant with a laugh.

“How? I don’t understand you.”

“I mean that we have never seen a cent of his money since he began
trading with us.”

“Is it possible?” exclaimed Mr. Jones. “I declare I never saw that
fellow’s equal for putting off things. Send your bill down to the store
to-morrow evening at six o’clock, and give him a first-class
overhauling.”

“Oh, I guess I won’t do that. He may be a little short just at present,
and if he is I don’t want to press him. We are not in need of money.”

“But Guy isn’t short; he’s got plenty of funds.”

“Then perhaps I should make him angry, and that wouldn’t pay, for he’s a
good customer.”

“No, you’ll not make him mad,” said Mr. Jones, “for he has got so in the
habit of being dunned that he expects it, and never thinks of paying a
bill without it. You’ll have to talk right up to him, for he is as full
of excuses as an egg is of meat. He’s perfectly honest, but so peculiar.
You needn’t tell him that I suggested this plan of operations to you.”

“Of course not,” said Mr. Warren.

The conversation ran on in this channel while the tailor was taking Mr.
Jones’ measure, and the result was that the merchant announced his
determination to send his bill to his debtor at the store on the
following evening at six o’clock.

When Mr. Jones went out he bent his steps toward a livery stable, where
a conversation of a like character with the above took place between him
and the proprietor, and with the same result. Then he called at a
billiard saloon, dropped into Dutch Jake’s for a moment, and wound up
his walk by visiting a hat store and one or two furnishing
establishments. Having then called upon all of Guy’s creditors, he
lighted a cigar and strolled slowly homeward, well satisfied with his
evening’s work. Guy’s debts amounted to two hundred and seventy-five
dollars.

“He’ll never be able to pay them out of the salary he draws now,”
thought Mr. Jones. “There are only two courses of action open to him,
and no matter which one he chooses, he is doomed as surely as his name
is Guy Harris. I ought to manage some way to bring this business to old
Walker’s ears,” added Mr. Jones, stopping suddenly and looking down at
the sidewalk in a brown study. “I have it. Hyslom is just the man. He is
mean enough for anything.”

Mr. Jones turned, and hastily retracing his steps to a billiard saloon
he had visited a few minutes before, beckoned to a seedy-looking man he
found there, who followed him to the farthest corner of the room. A
whispered conversation was carried on between them for a few moments,
and was brought to a close by Mr. Jones, who slipped a five-dollar bill
into the hand of his seedy companion and went out.

His plans against Guy were now all perfected, and making his way
homeward with a light heart, he tumbled into bed and slept soundly
beside his victim, who all the night long tossed uneasily about, never
once closing his eyes in slumber.

Mr. Jones and the shipping clerk ate breakfast together the next morning
as usual, and set out in company for the store. Neither of them referred
to the matters that had been discussed the night before. They were so
disagreeable that Guy did not want to talk about them if he could help
it, and Mr. Jones was much too cunning to speak of them himself. He knew
that the leaven was working, and he wanted to give it plenty of time.

When they reached the block in which the store was located, Mr. Jones
begun casting anxious glances about, as if he were looking for some one.
Presently he discovered a man, dressed in a shabby genteel suit of
black, standing in a door-way on the opposite side of the street. This
individual, seeing that Mr. Jones’ eyes were fastened upon him, nodded
his head, slapped the breast-pocket of his coat, and made other signs
which must have been perfectly intelligible to Mr. Jones, for he replied
to them by various gestures of approval and delight.

Guy remained at the store but a few minutes—just long enough to receive
some instructions from Mr. Walker—and then went out and hurried toward
the levee.

As soon as he had disappeared, Mr. Jones walked to the door and
flourished his handkerchief once or twice in the air; whereupon the
shabby individual in the opposite door-way hurried down the sidewalk to
the nearest crossing, came over to Mr. Jones’ side of the street, and
with an air of bustle and business entered the store and inquired for
Mr. Walker.

On being shown into the private office he placed his hat on the floor,
and pulling out a memorandum-book, which was filled with papers, folded
and endorsed like bills, said:

“You may have heard of me, Mr. Walker. My name is Hyslom, and my
business is collecting bad debts. I am a professional dun, at your
service. If it will not conflict with the rules of your establishment, I
should like a few minutes’ interview with Mr. Harris.”

At this the merchant begun to prick up his ears.

“The shipping clerk is absent just now,” said he. “May I be allowed to
inquire into the nature of your business with him?”

“Certainly, sir,” replied the pretended collector. “It is no more than
right that you should be made acquainted with the habits of your
employees. Mr. Harris, it seems, has been rather fast during the last
few months, spending money with a lavish hand, and running in debt to
livery stables, billiard saloons, tailoring establishments and beer
gardens. I have bills against him to the amount of two hundred dollars
and over. I am well aware of the fact that he is perfectly good, for as
he is a very wealthy young man and a nephew of yours, I really——”

“Sir,” said the merchant, “Mr. Harris is no relation to me.”

“Indeed!” exclaimed the collector, starting up in his chair. “Then he is
sailing under false colors. He says you are his uncle, and has
repeatedly told his creditors to send their bills to you, and they would
be settled.”

“I know nothing about his debts,” said Mr. Walker, greatly astonished.
“You must see Mr. Harris himself. Good-day, sir.”

The bogus collector returned his memorandum-book to his pocket, picked
up his hat, and bowing himself out of the private office, hurried
through the store, and down the street, like a man driven to death with
business.

Mr. Walker watched him as long as he was in sight, and then arose slowly
to his feet.

“I expected better things of Guy than this,” said he to himself. “If I
have been deceived in him I shall be tempted to distrust everybody.
Where did he get the money he has been spending so foolishly? He must
have used some belonging to the firm.”

So saying, Mr. Walker left his private office to begin a thorough
investigation of Guy’s accounts.

Business went on as smoothly as usual in the store that day with
everybody except Guy. He was kept so busy, both in doors and out, that
he had but little time to devote to his troubles; but his work dragged
heavily, and every thing he undertook seemed to go wrong end foremost.
Six o’clock came at last, and while Guy, wearied in body and mind, was
standing at the book-keeper’s desk, rendering an account of his day’s
work, a clerk hurried up with the information that a lady had called to
see him on private business.

“A lady—on private business?” repeated Guy. “I am not acquainted with
any ladies in St. Louis.”

There was one lady, however, with whom he was pretty well acquainted,
and that was Mrs. Willis; and she it was who had called to see him.

“Mr. Harris,” said she, as if she hardly knew how to make known her
errand, “I have come to ask you if you could make it convenient to
settle your board bill this evening?”

“No, ma’am, I cannot,” said Guy, reddening. “I have no money.”

“But you draw your quarter’s salary to-day, do you not?”

“No, ma’am. I haven’t a cent due me from the firm. I know this ought to
have been paid long ago, Mrs. Willis, and I am sorry indeed that I have
kept you waiting. I will hand you the very first dollar I get.”

It was plain that the landlady’s heart was not in the business. She had
undertaken it merely from a sense of duty, and having, as she believed,
fulfilled that duty, she was ready to drop the board bill and talk about
something else.

After a few commonplace remarks about the weather, and the lively
appearance of the streets, she bowed pleasantly to Guy and went out.

The clerk, feeling like a criminal, walked slowly back to the
book-keeper’s desk, but scarcely had he reached it when he was informed
that there was another visitor waiting to see him in the front part of
the store.

This time it proved to be a gentleman—one of the clerks in the employ of
the tailor he patronized so extensively. He shook Guy cordially by the
hand, asked him how business was prospering, and produced a bill from
his pocket-book.

“That’s the way you stand on our books,” said he, “and I thought I would
drop in and see how you were fixed,” a slang expression for “see if you
had any money.”

The clerk beat a tattoo with his fingers on the counter, whistled
“Dixie,” and run his eyes about the store as if he were taking a mental
inventory of the stock. He had been told by his employer that he might
find it necessary to give Guy a good talking to, and he was screwing up
his courage.

“Eighty-seven dollars!” exclaimed Guy, as he run his eye over the bill.
“Impossible! The last time I spoke to Mr. Warren about my account he
told me it was only fifty dollars.”

“But that suit of clothes you have on your back now came from our house
since then,” said the clerk.

“That’s so,” returned Guy. “I forgot that. But it beats me how these
bills do run up.”

“Yes; one can’t get dry goods for nothing in these times. Are you going
to ante?”

“Not now. I can’t.”

“Oh, that’s played out. Come down!” said the clerk, extending his hand
toward Guy and rapping his knuckles on the counter. “Short settlements
make long friends. Pay me now.”

“But I tell you I can’t. I haven’t a cent of money.”

“Now, Harris,” said the clerk, raising his voice, “permit me to say that
this thing is getting monotonous. If you don’t pay, and that too in
short order, we’ll snatch you bald-headed.”

“Don’t talk so loud,” whispered Guy, in great excitement. “I’ll pay you
as soon as I can. Tell Mr. Warren that I’ll call and see him about this
bill.”

“All right. If you know which side of your bread is buttered you won’t
waste time in doing it. The old man talks of sending your bill to Mr.
Walker.”

The clerk departed, and his place was almost immediately filled by Dutch
Jake, who entered with an air which said very plainly that he wasn’t
going to stand any nonsense. Guy’s heart sunk within him.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                            CHAPTER XXVIII.

                            THE PARTNERSHIP.


“WEE GATES?, Meester Harris?” said Dutch Jake, in a voice so loud that
Guy trembled in apprehension. “How ish dis pisness? You got mine
monish—mine eight tollars und vorty zents?”

“No,” said Guy, “I haven’t got it.”

Jake’s whole appearance changed in a second; his red face grew redder
than ever; he squared himself in front of the counter, planted his feet
firmly on the floor, and doubling up his huge fist, begun flourishing it
in the air above his head in readiness to emphasize the words he was
about to utter.

Guy saw that there was a crisis at hand, Jake was fairly boiling over
with fury, and unless he was appeased on the instant, something dreadful
would happen. Guy thought rapidly, and spoke just in time.

“Hold on!” said he, “and hear me out. I haven’t got the money now, but
I’ll get it as soon as the book-keeper is through with the cash account,
and on my way home I’ll drop in and hand it to you.”

These words produced another magical change in the angry German. The
fierce frown vanished and a genial smile overspread his face. The
sledge-hammer fist was opened and extended in a friendly manner across
the counter toward Guy.

“Dot’s all right, Meester Harris,” said he. “Dot’s _all_ right. Ven you
comes around ve has a glass of peer at mine exbenses, ain’t it? Oh,
yah!”

Jake departed, and then came the hatter, the livery stable keeper, the
jeweler, the man who had furnished the young spendthrift with the fine
shirts and neck-ties he wore, and lastly, the proprietor of the billiard
saloon—all of whom presented bills which greatly exceeded Guy’s
calculations. They all appeared to be satisfied with their debtor’s
promise to pay up at once. But some of them left him with the assurance
that if money were not speedily forthcoming, they would place their
accounts before Mr. Walker.

Guy was utterly confounded. He could not imagine what had caused all his
creditors to become so pressing in their demands. Like one in a dream he
went through his business with the book-keeper, and when it was
completed, hurried away to find his friend and counselor, Mr. Jones.

In the back part of the store was a small apartment which was used as a
wash-room, and to which light was admitted through a single pane of
glass set in the door. In this room Guy found Mr. Jones, busy performing
his ablutions. He had retreated there immediately on the entrance of
Mrs. Willis, and through the pane of glass before mentioned had watched
all that went on in the store. He could not hear what was said, but he
knew by the impatient gestures of some of the creditors and the
despairing expression that frequently overspread Guy’s face, that some
bitter things had been said and some alarming threats made.

“Great Scott!” whispered Guy as he entered and closed the door behind
him. “What does this mean, Jones? The whole city of St. Louis has been
here with bills against me.”

“It means, dear fellow, that these people want their rights,” returned
the commercial traveler in a tone of voice which led Guy to believe that
his friend deeply sympathized with him in his troubles.

“But do they imagine that I am made of money—that I can raise almost
nine months’ wages at a moment’s warning?” cried Guy, whose distress was
painful to behold. “I owe two hundred and seventy-five dollars. Jones, I
am ruined!”

“It certainly looks that way,” was the thought that passed through the
mind of the commercial traveler, but he looked down at the floor and
said nothing.

“If you have the least friendship for me suggest something,” continued
Guy in a trembling voice—“something—_anything_—no matter what it is if
it will only put two hundred and seventy-five dollars in my pocket. I
must have it, for these men have almost all threatened to call upon Mr.
Walker if I don’t settle up at once. If he should hear how I have been
going on he would discharge me.”

“Yes, I believe he would,” answered Mr. Jones, twirling his mustache and
gazing through the window into the store. “It would doubtless make him
angry, for merchants, you know, are very particular in regard to the
habits of their clerks. It is a hard case, Guy—a desperate case; and I
confess that it is one I cannot manage, although I am fruitful in
expedients. I have thought the matter over since I have been in here,
but have hit upon no honest plan to get you out of your difficulties. It
is true,” added Mr. Jones, speaking as if he were communing with
himself, “you handle considerable of the firm’s money, and might borrow
two or three hundred of it just to shut up the mouths of these impatient
creditors.”

“Oh, no,” exclaimed Guy quickly; “I can’t do that.”

“I didn’t suppose you would,” continued the commercial traveler, in his
oily tones, “but it is an expedient often resorted to by business men to
help them out of desperate straits like yours, and I can’t see that
there would be any danger in it in your case. A good many of our
customers are settling their business preparatory to going to war.
Suppose that one of them pays you four or five hundred dollars, goes
into the army and gets killed, and you use the money! Who would be the
wiser for it? Of course you would not be dishonest enough to steal the
money—you would only borrow it until such time as you could replace it
out of your salary; and if you felt any conscientious scruples about it,
you might pay interest for the use of it.”

“But how could I account for the money being in my possession when I got
ready to pay it over?” asked Guy.

“Easily enough. You could say to Mr. Walker some morning: ‘I received a
letter from Mr. So-and-So last night. He went into the service six
months ago, you know, without settling with us. Here’s the amount of his
bill with interest to date.’ That’s all fair and square, isn’t it?”

“But Mr. Walker or the book-keeper would want to acknowledge the receipt
of the money,” said Guy.

“Of course they would. You could give them some fictitious address, and
as you have all the letters to mail, you could easily see that that
particular letter did not go into the office.”

“But you said something about the man being killed. Suppose that happens
before I have had time to save enough out of my salary to replace the
money I have borrowed. Then what? He can’t pay his debt after he is
dead.”

“Of course not; and in that case you’ll be smart enough to say nothing
to nobody about it. Just keep mum. The amount of his bill will go on the
debtor side of the profit and loss account, but you’ll be just that much
ahead.”

As Mr. Jones said this he looked sharply at Guy, and told himself that
his specious arguments were beginning to have their effect. The shipping
clerk was gazing steadily at the floor, and there was an expression on
his face that had never been seen there before.

“I am afraid I couldn’t carry out that plan successfully,” said Guy,
after a few moments’ reflection. “It is somewhat complicated, and my
knowledge of business is so limited that I might make a mistake
somewhere. I would much rather go into partnership with you, as you
suggested last night.”

Mr. Jones hastily seized the towel and buried his face in it to conceal
his exultation. He had Guy under his thumb at last.

“I think myself that it would be the safer plan,” said he, as soon as he
had controlled himself so that he could speak with his usual steadiness
of voice, “and it is the surest way, too.”

“It is a way I don’t like,” said Guy. “It is swindling.”

“But it brings in the money by the handful, and money is what makes the
mare go in these times,” returned Mr. Jones. “We’ll go home and talk it
over.”

“You must be very particular in your explanations,” said Guy. “It is a
new business to me, you know, and I might spoil the whole thing.”

“Never fear. It is easily learned, and I will go over it so often that
you can remember everything I say and do. This is your last chance, you
know, for I leave the city on the eleven o’clock train to-night, to be
gone at least three weeks.”

The commercial traveler had already been more than a quarter of an hour
in making his toilet, and had got no further than the washing of his
hands and face; but now he begun to bestir himself. The most complicated
part of it all—the brushing of his perfumed locks and the adjusting of
his hat and neck-tie before the glass—occupied just one minute, about
one-tenth of the time Mr. Jones usually devoted to it. Then he was ready
to give Guy his first lesson in playing the part of confidence man.

In order that they might be free from all interruption, they went
directly home and locked themselves in their room, where they remained
in close consultation, coming out when the supper-bell rung, and
returning immediately after disposing of a very light meal. By that time
Guy had thoroughly mastered the part he was to perform, and all that
remained to be done was to hunt up somebody with plenty of money, and
try the effect of their scheme upon him. As soon as it begun to grow
dark they left the house, and sauntered away, arm-in-arm, as if they had
determined upon nothing in particular. Arriving at Fourth Street, they
stationed themselves in a dark door-way, and Mr. Jones, settling into an
easy position, closely scrutinized every man who passed, finally
singling out one as an object worthy of their attention.

There was nothing particularly noticeable about this man, either in his
clothing or manners, for he was as well-dressed as the majority of the
pedestrians who were constantly passing along the street, and there was
none of that “country air” about him which seems to be inseparable from
so many who live in the rural districts. From what Guy had learned of
the nature of the business in hand, he inferred that their act could be
practiced with safety and success only on green countrymen, and this
individual seemed to him to be a most unpromising object to operate
upon. But Mr. Jones thought differently.

“He’s the fellow we’re looking for,” said he, in a whisper. “The only
question is whether or not he is well fixed; but that is something we’ve
got to find out. Follow him up and speak to him at the first
opportunity. If he doesn’t give you a chance make one for yourself. Be
careful now.”

With a beating heart Guy stepped down from the door-way and set out in
pursuit of the gentleman; and before he had gone a block an opportunity
to accost him presented itself. When the gentleman reached a crossing he
stopped and looked up at the building, searching no doubt for the names
of the streets. Guy came up behind him and also stopped and looked about
with a bewildered air, as if he did not know which way to turn.

“I beg your pardon, sir,” said he; “will you be kind enough to tell me
which way to go to find Robinson’s hardware store?”

“I should be glad to tell you if I knew, but I am a stranger here,” was
the reply.

“Are you, indeed?” said Guy. “So am I; and the worst of it is, I fear I
am lost.”

“I am in the same situation,” said the stranger. “I am trying to find my
hotel, and if I don’t succeed very soon I shall call a carriage.”

“Why, so you can. I never thought of that.”

“Where are you from?” asked the stranger.

“Brattleboro, Vermont,” replied Guy, “and I never before was so far away
from home. I have one friend here, a brother-in-law, if I could only
find him, who owns an extensive hardware store. Where do you live, sir?”

“A few miles from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and this is my first visit to St.
Louis. I am stopping at the Olive Street Hotel.”

“So am I; but, to tell the truth, I haven’t funds enough to pay for such
expensive lodgings, and that’s another reason why I am so anxious to
find Robinson. My father wouldn’t give me much money for fear I should
fall into the hands of—sharpers, I believe he called them.”

“Yes, that’s what they are,” said the stranger with an air of superior
wisdom. “Your father is a sensible man. It isn’t just the thing to trust
an innocent young fellow like you alone in a great city with plenty of
money in his pocket. He is almost sure to lose it.”

“Are you not afraid?” asked Guy.

“Me? No. I’ve traveled.”

“Then you will let me stay with you, won’t you? I shall feel safe in
your company.”

“Certainly, I will.”

“Well, suppose we go and see if we can find our hotel. I’d rather walk
than call a carriage. Your name is——”

“Whitney,” replied the stranger. “And yours?”

“Benjamin—Rufus Benjamin, at your service,” said Guy.

The embryo confidence man had the satisfaction of seeing that he was
making rapid headway, and when Whitney moved away with him he took his
arm, and the two walked along conversing as familiarly as though they
had been acquainted for years.

Guy seemed so innocent and confiding and made himself appear so ignorant
of city life, that Whitney wondered how his father came to trust him so
far away from home, and repeatedly assured him that it was a fortunate
thing for him that they met just as they did, for had Guy been left to
find his way back to his hotel alone, he would have been almost certain
to get himself into trouble of some kind.

Finally, as they were passing a beer-garden their attention was
attracted by the strains of music, and Whitney proposed that, as it was
yet early in the evening, they should step in and see what was going on.
Guy agreed, and when they had seated themselves at a table in a remote
corner of the garden, he called for cider. He never drank anything
stronger, he said, for his father didn’t allow it. But the German had no
cider, and Guy, after a great deal of persuasion, was at last prevailed
upon to indulge in a glass of soda-water, while Whitney solaced himself
with a mug of beer. For nearly half an hour they sat at the table
conversing upon different topics, smoking their cigars and sipping at
their glasses, and then the door opened and Mr. Jones came in.

“There’s the very man I have been looking for,” said Guy joyfully. “How
very fortunate! Robinson, come here.”

Mr. Jones approached the table at which his partner was sitting, and
after looking at him for a moment as if trying to recollect where he had
seen him before, suddenly seized him by both hands, and began pulling
him about over the floor as if he were overjoyed to meet him.

“Why, Rufus Benjamin, is this you?” he exclaimed. “You don’t know how
glad I am to see you.”

“And neither do you know how glad I am to see you,” returned Guy. “I
have been looking for you all the afternoon. Mr. Robinson, permit me to
introduce my friend, Mr. Whitney, from Ann Arbor, Michigan.”

“Happy to meet you, Mr. Whitney,” said Jones, extending his hand. “I am
always glad to make the acquaintance of any of Benjamin’s friends.”

“I never met him before this evening,” said Whitney, “but I think I have
acted the part of a friend in taking him under my charge. When I first
saw him he was as pale as a sheet, and trembling as if he had the ague.”

“Well, I was lost,” said Guy, who wondered what Whitney would think if
he knew the real cause of his nervousness and excitement. “I have never
been alone in a big city like this, you know.”

“I don’t suppose the boy has been outside of the State of Vermont half a
dozen times in his life,” said Jones. “How are things prospering in that
out-of-the-way part of the world anyhow, Rufus?”

“We’ve had a very good season in our parts, and the crops have done
well,” replied Guy. “But, Robinson, why didn’t you meet me at the
depot?”

“Why did you not write and tell me when to expect you?” asked Jones.

“I did.”

“Well, I have not received the letter. I have just returned from
Washington, and no doubt I shall find it waiting for me at home. Where
are you stopping, gentlemen? At the Olive Street House, eh? You must
permit me to take charge of you now, and to say that you shall not stop
at a hotel any longer. I will call a carriage presently and take you
home with me. I know that Mollie will be glad to have you come,
Rufus—she’s my wife, you know, Mr. Whitney, Benjamin’s sister—for it is
fully two years since she has seen you.”

The conversation thus commenced continued for a quarter of an hour. Mr.
Jones was in no hurry to begin his business operations, for Guy was
playing a part that was entirely new to him, and he was afraid to trust
him. In a few minutes, however, he had learned a good deal of Whitney’s
history and habits, and having satisfied himself that he was a good
subject to operate upon, he gave Guy the signal, and the latter prepared
for action.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXIX.

                        THE PARTNERS IN ACTION.


“ROBINSON,” said Guy, after a preliminary cough and a desperate attempt
to subdue his increasing excitement, “I understood you a while ago to
say that you have just returned from Washington. You went there on some
business connected with politics, I suppose?”

“Oh, no,” replied Mr. Jones. “I don’t trouble my head about politics. I
have always made my living honestly, and I always intend to do so. I
went there to take out a patent on a recent invention of mine.”

“What is it?” inquired Mr. Whitney, with some eagerness. “I am
interested in every new invention, for I do a little business in that
line myself sometimes. I own the rights for several washing-machines,
pumps, and scissor-sharpeners in our county.”

“And this is just what you need to complete your list,” said Mr. Jones.
“It is a fine thing, and is bound to make somebody independently rich
one of these days. You know, Rufus, that about a year ago I wrote you
that my store had been entered by burglars, who broke open my safe and
robbed it of six thousand dollars.”

“I recollect the circumstance,” said Guy.

“Well,” continued Mr. Jones, “that convinced me that business men ought
to take more precautions to guard their property from the assaults of
outlaws, so I set my wits at work, and I finally succeeded in perfecting
a burglar-proof lock—an arrangement which is at once simple and
convenient, but which can neither be cut with a cold-chisel, blown open
with gunpowder, or even unlocked by any one who does not understand its
construction. I gave away a good many models while I was in Washington,
but I think I have one or two left.”

So saying, Mr. Jones begun to overhaul his pockets, and finally produced
a small brass padlock, similar in size and shape to those sometimes used
on dog-collars.

“Ah! yes, here is one,” said he, “and I defy any man in the world to
open it without breaking it. This model, you will, of course,
understand, Mr. Whitney, is intended merely to illustrate the principles
of the invention. The locks, when ready for use, will be made of the
best of steel and be large and heavy. I have one attached to the safe at
my store, and to-morrow you will have an opportunity to see how it looks
and operates. I will give it to you on easy terms, and will warrant—by
the way, there’s my partner, Mr. Benton. I want to see him on particular
business, so I beg that you will excuse me. I will return in one
moment.”

As Mr. Jones said this he jumped to his feet, and disappeared through
the door, evidently in pursuit of a gentleman who had just gone out. He
left his invention on the table, and Whitney picked it up and examined
it. The key was tied to it by a piece of ribbon, and this Whitney
inserted in the lock, when, behold! it opened like any other common
padlock. He was astonished at his success. He closed the lock again, and
opened it with all ease. Then he handed it to Guy, and he did the same,
and appeared to be as much surprised thereat as was Mr. Whitney.

At this moment, Mr. Jones came back.

“Well, gentlemen,” said he, hurrying to the table and picking up the
lock. “I have just made an appointment with my partner, and it is
necessary that I should run down to the store for a few minutes. Will
you accompany me?”

“No,” replied Guy; “we’ll stay here. I am too tired to run around any
more to-night.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Jones, without giving Whitney time to say whether
he would go or not. “I’ll return in a quarter of an hour with a
carriage, and then we’ll go round to the hotel after your luggage. In
the meantime, enjoy yourselves to the best of your ability. I will leave
my invention with you, and you can examine it at your leisure.”

“We have already inspected it to our satisfaction,” replied Whitney with
a smile. “I couldn’t make a fortune by selling an arrangement like that.
We opened it very easily.”

“You did!” exclaimed Mr. Jones.

“Certainly,” said Guy. “If I were a burglar, and wanted to get into your
safe, that lock would not keep me out.”

Mr. Jones looked from one to the other of his companions, and then
dropped into a chair, apparently overwhelmed with amazement.

“Is it possible that I have made a failure after all?” said he. “If the
secret mechanism of the invention can be so easily discovered, how does
it come that the officials in Washington did not see through it at once?
Gentlemen, you are either dreaming or joking.”

“No, we are awake and in sober earnest,” said Guy. “We certainly did
open that lock, and to convince you of the fact, we’ll do it again. Hand
it out here.”

Again Mr. Jones was silent.

“I may have made a mistake,” said he, after gazing thoughtfully at the
floor for a few moments, “but I can hardly believe it.”

“Give me the lock,” repeated Guy, “and I will bet you any sum you please
that I will open it at the first trial.”

“Oh, I never bet,” said Jones, quickly rising to his feet and buttoning
up his coat. “I regard the taking of money gained in that way as but
little better than highway robbery.”

“You can’t have much faith in your invention,” said Whitney.

“Yes, I have unbounded faith in it.”

“I left the most of my money at the hotel in charge of the clerk, but
here’s a small amount which says that I did open that lock, and that I
can do it again,” said Guy, drawing from his pocket a twenty-dollar
bill, which his friend and partner had furnished him for this very
purpose.

Jones drummed with his foot on the floor, puffed out his cheeks, and
scratched his head like a man in deep perplexity. He looked first at
Whitney, then at Guy, then down at the money that had been placed on the
table, and finally dropped into his chair again.

“I believe I’ll take a hand in this,” said Whitney. “I don’t often do
things of this kind, in fact never, unless I see a chance to make
something, but I’ll stake twenty-five dollars on it just for luck.”

Mr. Jones again arose to his feet and nervously rubbed his chin as if he
were completely bewildered by this turn of events, all the while
watching the movements of Whitney, who produced his pocket-book and
counted out the sum he had named.

“Gentlemen,” said the commercial traveler, “when I see persons willing
to wager such large sums of money as those you have laid upon the table,
I always know they are betting on a sure thing.”

This remark had just the effect that Mr. Jones intended it should have.
It led Whitney to believe that in spite of all he had said, the patentee
had suddenly lost faith in his invention.

After a moment’s hesitation he brought out his pocket-book again and
counted down twenty-five dollars more, which he also placed upon the
table.

“Now, Robinson, what are you going to do about it?” asked Guy.

“Why, when I am among gentlemen I do as gentlemen do, of course,”
replied Mr. Jones. “But to tell the truth, the confident manner in which
you act and speak convinces me that I have made a grand mistake.”

Having said this Mr. Jones paused in the hope that Whitney would take
courage and go down into his pocket-book after more money. And in fact
this little piece of strategy came very near being successful, for
Whitney put his hand into his pocket, but after thinking a moment he
pulled it out empty.

“I _know_ I have made a mistake,” said Mr. Jones.

Here another long pause was made, but as Whitney showed no disposition
to increase his wager, Mr. Jones continued:

“But it is too late to remedy the matter now, and the invention must
stand or fall according to its merits.”

Mr. Jones counted out seventy dollars with which he covered Guy’s bet
and Whitney’s, after which the money was raked into a pile and placed
under a hat, to hide it from the view of the other people in the garden.
Mr. Jones then put his hand into his pocket and produced his patent
lock—not the one he had exhibited before, but another that was not to be
opened. In shape and size it was so exactly like the first that had they
been seen together no difference could have been detected between them.

“Now,” he said, “if I have made a failure, I am willing to give seventy
dollars to be convinced of the fact.” And as he pushed the lock across
the table toward Whitney, his hand trembled so naturally that the dupe
really believed that this accomplished sharper had made the first bet of
his life, and that it had excited him.

Whitney took the lock with a confident smile and inserted the key into
it, expecting of course to open it as he had opened the other; but his
smile suddenly gave way to a look of astonishment and alarm, and his
face lengthened out wonderfully when he found that the key would not
turn. He tried it over and over again, shook the lock, and even pounded
it on the table, but it was all in vain. Then he handed it to Guy, and
he met with no better success.

“What do you suppose can be the matter with it?” asked the latter, after
he had made several attempts to open the lock.

“I’m sure I don’t know,” replied Whitney. “Let me try again.”

“We opened it without the least trouble before,” continued Guy.

“Oh, you are certainly mistaken, Rufus,” said Mr. Jones blandly.

“No, he isn’t!” exclaimed the dupe. “I am not blind, and I know that we
both opened this lock not ten minutes since. But we can’t do it now,” he
added, handing the invention back to its owner, who put it back into his
pocket and took charge of the money.

“This is the first I ever made by betting,” said he. “Now I must be off
to fulfill my engagement with my partner. I’ll return very shortly, and
then we will go home.”

So saying Mr. Jones disappeared, leaving Guy and Whitney to talk the
matter over at their leisure.

“What an idiot I was to risk my money on that thing,” said the latter
regretfully. “I ought to have known that a man who has spent a whole
year in perfecting an invention is better acquainted with it than a
stranger. I am nearly strapped. I haven’t money enough to pay my fare to
Chicago, and I don’t know a soul this side of there.”

“Don’t let it trouble you,” said Guy soothingly. “Robinson will return
that money in the morning, and then he will read us a long lecture on
betting.”

“Do you really think he will give it back?” asked Whitney, in a more
hopeful tone.

“I am sure of it. He does not intend to keep it, for he was brought up
in New England, and according to his idea, betting is no better than
gambling. Some more cigars, waiter. I’ve got a quarter left.”

The cigars were brought, and Guy, receiving the matches from the hand of
the waiter, deposited them in a little pool of beer upon the table, so
that when he wanted to light their cigars the matches would not burn.
Guy grumbled at this, and said he would go to the bar for a light. He
went; and Whitney, who was deeply occupied with his own thoughts,
bemoaning his folly for risking his money on that patent invention, and
wondering if Robinson would be generous enough to return it in the
morning, did not see him when, after lighting his cigar, he slipped
through the door into the street.

Guy’s first attempt at swindling had met with success, but it did not
bring with it those feelings of happiness and independence which he had
so confidently looked for. There was not a criminal in St. Louis who
felt so utterly disgraced as he did at that moment. The reaction had
come after his hour of excitement, and his spirits were sadly depressed.
He looked upon it now as a most contemptible proceeding to wheedle one’s
way into a stranger’s good graces, and then seize the first opportunity
to do him an injury. Accompanying this reflection was the thought—and
his mind would dwell upon it, in spite of all he could do to prevent
it—that he had rendered himself liable to legal punishment, and that he
was every moment in danger of being arrested and thrust into jail. Had
Whitney’s money been in his pocket just then, he would have lost not a
moment in returning it to its rightful owner; but it was safely stowed
away about the good clothes of his friend and partner, Mr. Jones, who
was seated in a certain bowling alley, which had been designated
beforehand as the place of meeting, solacing himself with a cigar, and
anxiously awaiting Guy’s appearance.

When the latter came in, Mr. Jones beckoned with his finger, and Guy
followed him to the furthest corner of the saloon.

“Well,” said the commercial traveler, “how do you like it as far as you
have gone? Twenty-five dollars for an hour’s work I call pretty fair
wages. If you make that amount every night, it will not take you long to
pay your debts.”

“I don’t like the business at all,” said Guy, “and I will never attempt
it again.”

Mr. Jones settled back in his chair, looked up at the ceiling through
the clouds of smoke that arose from the cigar, and said to himself:

“I don’t know that it makes any difference to me whether you do or not.
If you don’t pay your debts in this way, you must use some of the firm’s
money. When you do that your days as shipping clerk are numbered, and my
brother will step into the position.”

Then aloud he asked:

“How did you get away from him?”

“I did just as you told me,” replied Guy, rather impatiently, for it was
a matter that he did not like to talk about. “I dampened the matches,
went to the bar for a light, and stepped out when he wasn’t looking.”

“He didn’t bleed as freely as I hoped he would,” continued Mr. Jones;
“but, after all, we did very well. Here’s your share of the
spoils—twenty-five dollars.”

It was on the point of Guy’s tongue to refuse to accept it; but he
thought of Dutch Jake, who was probably at that very moment stamping
about his little groggery like a madman, because his eight dollars and
forty cents had not been paid according to promise, and knowing that the
man must at all hazards be prevented from making another visit to the
store, he took the money and put it into his pocket.

“Now I must run down and say good-by to my brother,” said Mr. Jones,
“and by that time the ’bus will be along to take me across the river.
When I return I hope to find you on your feet, and with money in your
pocket. Take care of yourself.”

Mr. Jones hurried out, and in a few moments more was standing in the
presence of his brother, and recounting in glowing language the success
of his plans.

Will was in ecstasies.

“I will put the finishing touch to them,” said he. “I will find Whitney,
tell him that he has been swindled, and put him up to have Guy
arrested.”

“That would be a cunning trick, wouldn’t it?” said Mr. Jones.

“Why, it will bring the matter to the notice of Mr. Walker,” said Will,
“and that’s just what I want.”

“Well, it is just what I _don’t_ want,” said Mr. Jones. “If Guy is
arrested, I lose my situation, for of course he will blow on me. You let
him alone. I’ve given him plenty of rope, and if he doesn’t succeed in
hanging himself by the time I get back, I can easily do it for him.”

The commercial traveler hurried out to catch the omnibus, and Will
tumbled into bed to dream of Guy’s disgrace, and his immediate accession
to the office of shipping clerk.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXX.

                          WORDS FITLY SPOKEN.


GUY LEFT the bowling alley shortly after Mr. Jones went out, and
avoiding all the principal thoroughfares, and taking all the back
streets in his way, finally reached Dutch Jake’s saloon. He had ample
time to think over his situation, and was fast giving way to that
feeling of desperation which all criminals are said to experience. He
was ruined beyond all hope of redemption, he told himself, and he might
as well go on. He _must_ go on, for it was too late to turn back.

Guy remained at Dutch Jake’s saloon three hours, apparently the gayest
of the gay, and driven by this spirit of recklessness and desperation
that had taken possession of him to commit excesses that astonished
everybody present. About one o’clock he got into an altercation with
somebody, which threatened for a time to end in a free fight, but Dutch
Jake promptly put a stop to the trouble by dragging Guy out of the
saloon by the collar, throwing him headlong upon the pavement, and then
slamming and locking the door to prevent his return.

The boy’s pockets were empty. The last cent of his ill-gotten gains had
found its way into Jake’s money-drawer, and all Guy had got for it in
return was more alcohol than he could carry and an appellation which, in
his maudlin condition, tickled his fancy wonderfully. Some one had
called him “the prince of good fellows,” and during the last hour his
fuddled companions had dropped his name and addressed him entirely as
“Prince.”

“But if I’m a prince,” stammered Guy, holding fast to a lamp-post and
looking in an uncertain sort of way toward the door that had just been
closed behind him, “wha’s ye use lockin’ m’ out? Do zey want to (hic)
’sult me? Zey’d bet-better mind zer eyes!”

That is the way with saloon-keepers, Guy. It is a part of their
business. They have no respect or friendship for you—it is your money
they want, and when they have emptied your pockets of the last cent, and
the accursed stuff they have sold to you mounts to your brain and steals
away your wits, and the Evil One has taken full possession of you, they
thrust you into the street, leaving you to shift for yourself.

The next few hours were an utter blank to Guy. He did not know how he
got home, but that he got there in some way was evident, for when he
came to himself (about daylight) he was lying across the foot of his bed
with all his clothes on, and the door of his room was standing wide
open.

The instant his eyes were unclosed the events of the night came back to
him, accompanied by a splitting headache and a feeling of nervousness
and prostration that was almost unbearable.

With scarcely energy enough to move, he staggered to his feet and closed
the door; as he did so he caught a glimpse of his face in the mirror. He
could scarcely recognize himself. Was that pale, haggard countenance,
set off with blood-shot eyes and a black and blue spot on his left
cheek, which he had received by coming in contact with some lamp-post on
his way home—was that face the face of Guy Harris? Without the beauty
spot he looked for all the world as Flint looked on the morning he came
creeping out of the forecastle of the Santa Maria, after sleeping off
the effects of the drug that had been administered to him.

Sick at heart and so dizzy that he could not stand without holding fast
to something, Guy turned and was about to throw himself upon the bed
again, when he heard a light step in the hall and a tap at his door.

“Mr. Harris,” said the landlady’s gentle voice, “it is almost eight
o’clock.”

“Great Scott!” thought Guy, “and I ought to be at the store this very
moment. I don’t see how I can stand it to work all day, feeling as I do.
I’ll have to fill up on beer again before my hand will be steady enough
to hold a pen. Yes, ma’am,” he added aloud. “I will be down immediately.
I declare my voice has changed, too. I’m not myself at all. I feel as if
I were going to drop all to pieces.”

The announcement that it was time for him to be at work infused some
life into Guy. By the aid of a clean shirt and collar and copious
ablutions he made a little improvement in his appearance, but the
general feeling of worthlessness and the overwhelming sense of shame
that pressed upon him, could not be touched by cold water and clean
linen. The thought that he must spend the next ten hours in contact with
his fellow-men was terrible. He did not want to see anybody. He opened
the door very carefully, and went down the stairs with noiseless
footsteps, intending to leave the house before his landlady should see
him; but she was on the watch. She met him in the hall, and there was
something in her eye which told Guy that she knew at least a part of the
incidents that had happened the night before.

“Good morning, Mr. Harris,” said she, with her usual pleasant and
motherly smile, “I have kept your breakfast warm for you.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Willis,” said Guy, in a very unsteady voice, “but I
cannot stop to eat anything; I am late now. Besides, I am not hungry.”

“No matter; you can’t work all day without taking something nourishing,”
returned the landlady, and as she spoke she took Guy’s arm, and paying
no heed to his remonstrances led him into the cozy little dining-room,
and seated him at the table.

A tempting breakfast, consisting of his favorite dishes and a cup of
coffee, such as Mrs. Willis only could make, was placed before him, but
Guy could not eat. He wished he could sink through the floor out of the
lady’s sight. He wished she would go away and leave him to the
companionship of his gloomy thoughts; but she had no intention of doing
anything of the kind. She closed all the doors, and then came and stood
by the boy’s side with her hand resting on the back of his chair.

“Guy,” said she sorrowfully, “what made you do it?”

The clerk stirred his coffee, but could make no reply.

“I know you will forgive me for speaking about this,” said Mrs. Willis,
laying her soft, cool hand on Guy’s feverish forehead, “I do it because
I feel a mothers interest in you. I have a son somewhere in the wide
world, and if he should fall into such ruinous habits as these, I should
feel very grateful if some kind soul would whisper a word of warning in
his ear. Stop and think of it, Guy! Stop now, while you can. What would
your dear mother say?”

As Mrs. Willis uttered these words—the first really kind, affectionate
words that had fallen upon his ear from the lips of a woman for long,
long years—Guy’s heart softened, a great lump came up in his throat, and
tears started to his eyes. Mrs. Willis was in a fair way to accomplish
something until she spoke of his mother. Then Guy thought of his
father’s wife, and the old feeling of desperation came back to him.

“I have no mother,” said he. “She is dead.”

“Then think of your father,” urged Mrs. Willis. “What would he say?
Surely he loves you, and you ought to respect his feelings.”

“Well, if he loves me he has never shown it,” retorted Guy bitterly. “I
don’t care what he thinks. He never respected my wishes or feelings
while I was at home, and I don’t see why I should respect his now.”

“Oh, Guy, don’t talk so. There must be some one whose good opinion you
value—some one you love. Who is it?”

Guy was silent. He could not recollect that during the time he had been
absent from home he had thought of more than one of his relations with
any degree of affection.

“I don’t know of anybody,” said he at length, “except my Aunt Lucy—and
you.”

“Then for your aunt’s sake—for my sake, Guy, promise me that this shall
never happen again. Promise me faithfully that, as long as you live, you
will never touch a drop of anything intoxicating, and that you will
never again go inside a billiard saloon or a card-room. Promise me.”

Again Guy was silent, not because he was unwilling to answer, but
because he could not. His heart was too full. Mrs. Willis was satisfied
that if the promise was once made, it would be religiously kept. She had
read Guy as easily as she could read a printed page, and was well enough
acquainted with him to know that when he once fully made up his mind to
a thing, he was like Hosea Biglow’s meeting-house—too “sot” to be easily
moved. So she was resolved to have the promise, and she took a woman’s
way to exert it. She put her arms around Guy’s neck, and drew his face
up so that she could look into it. When she saw that his eyes were
filled with tears, she knew that she had conquered.

“Promise me,” she repeated.

“I promise,” said Guy in a husky voice.

“Heaven help you,” said Mrs. Willis fervently; and as she said it she
kissed him and glided out of the room.

“Great Cæsar!” exclaimed Guy as soon as she had disappeared.

He jumped to his feet, overturning his chair as he did so, ascended the
stairs four steps at a time, entered his room and slammed the door
behind him. He was not accustomed to such treatment as this, and he
hardly knew what to make of it. It was some minutes before he had
collected himself so that he could think calmly.

“I looked for nothing but a good scolding and an invitation to make
myself scarce about this house,” said Guy to himself; “and if Mrs.
Willis had treated me in that way she would have served me just right.
But she has given me a chance for my life. If she will only stand by me
I will come out all right yet, for I’ll keep that promise no matter what
happens. She doesn’t know about my swindling operations, but Mr. Walker
must know of them. I am going to rub this thing all out and begin over
again; and, in order to do it as it ought to be done, I must tell him
everything. If it brings me my walking papers I shall have nobody to
thank but myself.”

Guy put on his hat and went down the stairs and out of the house,
walking with a firm step and his countenance wearing a determined
expression. He scarcely looked to the right or left while he was passing
along the street, and when he arrived at the store he went straight to
the private office, where Mr. Walker sat busy with his correspondence.

“May I have a few minutes’ private conversation with you, sir?” he
asked.

“Certainly, Guy,” replied the merchant, looking up with some surprise.
“Lock the door and sit down.”

Guy did as he was directed, and then, without any preliminary words by
way of apology or excuse for his conduct, begun and told the story of
his mistakes from beginning to end. He kept back nothing except the name
of the confederate who had assisted him in fleecing Mr. Whitney, and
that he revealed only when it was demanded. Mr. Walker was greatly
astonished. When Guy finished his story he sat for some moments in
silence.

“I wish the boy had a pleasant home to go to,” thought the merchant.
“That’s the place he ought to be, and there’s where he would be safe.
But I am sorry to say he hasn’t got it. If he goes back to Norwall his
father’s unreasonable strictness and partiality, and his mother’s
indifference will drive him straight to ruin. He ought to have kind
words now, for he has had more than his share of harsh ones.”

“Don’t hesitate to speak out, Mr. Walker,” said Guy, who believed that
the merchant was thinking how he could best communicate to him the fact
that his services were no longer needed. “If I am to be discharged,
please say so.”

Mr. Walker understood and fully appreciated the situation. Guy was
thoroughly penitent—there could be no question about that; but there was
an ominous glitter in his eye and a determined set to his tightly closed
lips which the merchant did not fail to notice, and which told him as
plainly as words that if there ever was a moment in one’s life when his
future was to be decided for good or ill, that moment in Guy’s life had
arrived. The right word just then would have buried his resolutions of
amendment beyond all hope of resurrection, and sent him down hill with
lightning speed. Mr. Walker was not an instant in deciding on his
course.

“My dear boy,” said he, rising and taking Guy’s hand in his own with a
cordial grasp, “I have no intention of saying anything of the kind. Why
should I discharge you when I have all faith in you? You are a capable,
painstaking clerk, and until yesterday I never knew there was anything
in your conduct with which anybody could find fault. It has been a
bitter lesson, Guy, you know. Will you profit by it?”

“Indeed I shall, sir,” replied the boy with tears in his eyes.

“Then I shall rest perfectly satisfied that you will never make these
mistakes again. My confidence in you is as strong as it ever was, for
there is always hope for one who voluntarily confesses a fault. So take
courage and begin over again. You have the making of a smart man in you,
Guy, and I hope to live to see you honored and respected.”

These words were too much for Guy. Had Mr. Walker upbraided him, as he
knew he deserved, the old spirit of recklessness and desperation, which
Mrs. Willis had so nearly exorcised, would have come back to him, and he
could have kept up a bold front; but the accents of kindness touched his
heart.

He covered his face with his hands and wept bitterly. Mr. Walker waited
until the violence of his grief had subsided and then continued:

“You have made all the amends in your power, Guy, and now I will help
you to do the rest, so that you can begin over again in good shape. In
the first place, you must return Mr. Whitney’s money.”

“Oh, Mr. Walker!” exclaimed Guy.

“It must be done!” said the merchant. “No half-way work will answer. I
will furnish the funds, and I will also provide means for the payment of
all your debts. I will be your only creditor. And when you have settled
with all these men, Guy,” he added earnestly, “make a resolution and
stick to it, that as long as you live you will never again go in debt.
Wear a threadbare coat, if you must, but wear one that is paid for.”

As Mr. Walker said this, he turned to his safe, and counting out a sum
of money in bank-notes, handed it to Guy.

“I don’t deserve this kindness, sir,” said the boy, his tears starting
out afresh.

“Yes, you do, Guy. I regard you as well worth saving.”

The merchant passed out of the private office, and Guy, hastily wiping
his eyes, went into the wash-room, where he spent a few minutes in
removing all traces of his tears, after which he hurried out of the
store and bent his steps toward the Olive Street Hotel.

“Bob Walker was a fool,” thought Guy, feeling of his well-filled
pocket-book to make sure that the scene through which he had just passed
was a reality, and not a dream. “A boy who will run away from a father
like that deserves to be hanged.”

It required the exercise of all the courage Guy possessed to face Mr.
Whitney, but being determined to go through with the good work so well
begun in spite of every hazard, he boldly entered the hotel, and almost
the first man he saw when he entered the reading-room was the swindled
gentleman from Ann Arbor, who was pacing back and forth, with his hands
under his coat-tails, and an expression of great melancholy on his face.
When he saw Guy approaching, he stopped and stared at him as if he could
scarcely believe his eyes.

“Why, Benjamin,” he cried, “is this really you? What made you two
fellows run away and leave me in such a hurry last night?”

Guy did not know what to say to this. He did not want to spoil things by
telling lies, so he concluded that it would be best not to answer the
question at all.

“That man you saw me with last night left the city at eleven o’clock on
business, and I have come to return your money,” said Guy, taking out
his pocket-book.

“Have you!” exclaimed Whitney, so overjoyed that his voice was husky.

“Yes. There are your fifty dollars, and if you will take a friend’s
advice, you will never make another bet with strangers.”

“I don’t think I ever shall,” said Whitney, pocketing his recovered
cash. “You have read me the best lesson I ever received. Do you know, it
had been running in my head all the morning that I fell among thieves
last night? Curious, wasn’t it? Why, I have several times been on the
point of starting for the police headquarters. That burglar-proof
arrangement of Robinson’s is a fine thing, I’ll warrant. I guess it
wasn’t locked when we opened it the first time. I should like to go down
to his store and see how it looks on his safe, but I have just received
a telegram asking me to come immediately, for my mother is very ill, so
I must be off by the first train. I could not have gone through, if you
had not been good enough to return my money. Let’s go and take
something.”

“No, sir; nothing for me,” said Guy.

“A cigar, then?”

“No, I am obliged to you. Good-day. Thank goodness that job is done,”
said Guy, as he left the hotel, “and I am glad to get through with it so
easily. Suppose Whitney had given the police a description of Jones and
myself, and had us arrested. Whew! I’ll not run another such a risk.”

Guy made good use of his time, and by twelve o’clock he had called upon
every one of his creditors and paid all his debts in full. The
invitations to drink and smoke which he received were almost as numerous
as the places he visited, but he firmly declined every one of them. He
carried home with him a much lighter heart than he had brought away. He
went straight to Mrs. Willis with the story of Mr. Walker’s kindness,
and had she been his own mother—as Guy wished from the bottom of his
heart she was—she could not have been more delighted with the turn
affairs had taken.

That day proved most emphatically to be the turning point of Guy’s life.
His choice had been made for all time. His subsequent career showed that
Mrs. Willis had not been mistaken in her estimate of his character. His
stability and fixedness of purpose surpassed her expectations. Never
once did he forget his promise. And his performance in well-doing met
with its reward. Long before he had time to repay the money advanced him
by Mr. Walker, that gentleman promoted him to the position of assistant
book-keeper, and Guy never gave him reason to regret the step.

Will Jones and his brother terminated their connection with the store on
the very day Guy held his memorable interview with Mr. Walker. The
former was discharged, and a dispatch sent after the commercial traveler
commanding his immediate return to St. Louis; but Mr. Jones, scenting
danger from afar, did not see fit to obey. Guy never heard of him
afterward.

The scenes in the life of Guy Harris which I have attempted to describe
in this story were enacted more than twelve years ago, and Guy has now
become a man. Strict regard for truth compels me to say that he is
neither a governor nor a member of the legislature; but he is a
prosperous man and a happy one, and in the city in which he has taken up
his abode there are none who are held in higher esteem than he.

Now and then he visits his father at Norwall, but he does it from a
sense of duty and not for pleasure, for his old home has no more
attractions for him now than it had in the days of his boyhood. Between
him and his relatives there is a great gulf fixed which they can all
see, and which they know can never be bridged over. Mr. Harris is
painfully conscious of the fact, and would willingly give every cent of
his possessions to have it otherwise, but it is too late. “It might have
been,” but the favored hour has gone by. Guy’s affections were long ago
alienated. There are two people in the world, however, upon whom he
bestows all the love of his ardent nature, and they are Mrs. Willis and
Mr. Walker. If there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,
are there not rich blessings laid up in store for those who lead that
sinner to repentance?



                                THE END.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                         THE BOYS’ HOME SERIES

                             --------------

                       Uniform with this Volume.

                             --------------

This series affords wholesome reading for boys and girls, and all the
volumes are extremely interesting.—_Cincinnati Commercial Gazette._

                             --------------

  JOE’S LUCK; or, A Boy’s Adventures in California. By HORATIO ALGER,
      JR.

  JULIAN MORTIMER; or, A Brave Boy’s Struggles for Home and Fortune. By
      HARRY CASTLEMON.

  ADRIFT IN THE WILDS; or, The Adventures of Two Shipwrecked Boys. By
      EDWARD S. ELLIS.

  FRANK FOWLER, THE CASH BOY. By HORATIO ALGER, JR.

  GUY HARRIS, THE RUNAWAY. By HARRY CASTLEMON.

  BEN BURTON, THE SLATE-PICKER. By HARRY PRENTICE.

  TOM TEMPLE’S CAREER. By HORATIO ALGER, JR.

  TOM, THE READY; or, Up From the Lowest. By RANDOLPH HILL.

  THE CASTAWAYS; or, On the Florida Reefs. By JAMES OTIS.

  CAPTAIN KIDD’S GOLD. The True Story of an Adventurous Sailor Boy. By
      JAMES FRANKLIN FITTS.

  TOM THATCHER’S FORTUNE. By HORATIO ALGER, JR.

  LOST IN THE CAÑON. The Story of Sam Willett’s Adventures on the Great
      Colorado of the West. By ALFRED R. CALHOUN.

  A YOUNG HERO; or, Fighting to Win. By EDWARD S. ELLIS.

  THE ERRAND BOY; or, How Phil Brent Won Success. By HORATIO ALGER, JR.

  THE ISLAND TREASURE; or, Harry Darrel’s Fortune. By FRANK H. CONVERSE.

  A RUNAWAY BRIG; or, An Accidental Cruise. By JAMES OTIS.

  A JAUNT THROUGH JAVA. The Story of a Journey to the Sacred Mountain by
      Two American Boys. By EDWARD S. ELLIS.

  THE KING OF APELAND. The Wonderful Adventures of a Young
      Animal-Trainer. By HARRY PRENTICE.

  TOM, THE BOOT-BLACK; or, The Road to Success. By HORATIO ALGER, JR.

  ROY GILBERT’S SEARCH. A Tale of the Great Lakes. By WILLIAM P.
      CHIPMAN.

  THE TREASURE-FINDERS. A Boy’s Adventures in Nicaragua. By JAMES OTIS.

  BUDD BOYD’S TRIUMPH; or, The Boy Firm of Fox Island. By WILLIAM P.
      CHIPMAN.

                             --------------

_=The above stories are printed on extra paper, and bound in Handsome
Cloth Binding, in all respects uniform with this volume, at $1.00 per
copy.=_

           --------------------------------------------------

_For sale by all Booksellers, or will be sent post-paid on receipt of
price, by the publisher,= A. L. BURT, 56 Beekman St., New York.=_

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                     _Useful and Practical Books_.

           --------------------------------------------------

=Why, When and Where.= A dictionary of rare and curious information. A
treasury of facts, legends, sayings and their explanation, gathered from
a multitude of sources, presenting in a convenient form a mass of
valuable knowledge on topics of frequent inquiry and general interest
that has been hitherto inaccessible. Carefully compared with the highest
authorities. Edited by ROBERT THORNE, M.A. 500 pages. Cloth, 12mo, price
$1.00.

“In fact it is a miniature encyclopedia devoted to concisely stated
facts on matters of every-day interest, yet beyond the scope of
every-day knowledge.”—_Hartford Times._


=A Cyclopedia of Natural History.= Comprising descriptions of Animal
Life: Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Batrachians and Fishes. Their Structure,
Habits and Distribution. For popular use. By CHARLES C. ABBOTT, M. D.
620 pages. 500 illustrations. Cloth, 12mo, price $1.00.

“The author has shown great skill in condensing his abundant material,
while the illustrations are useful in illustrating the information
furnished in the text.”—_Times, Troy._


=The National Standard Encyclopedia.= A Dictionary of Literature, the
Arts and the Sciences, for popular use; containing over 20,000 articles
pertaining to questions of Agriculture, Anatomy, Architecture,
Biography, Botany, Chemistry, Engineering, Geography, Geology, History,
Horticulture, Literature, Mechanics, Medicine, Physiology, Natural
History, Mythology and the various Arts and Sciences. Prepared under the
supervision of a number of Editors, and verified by comparison with the
best Authorities. Complete in one volume of 700 pages, with over 1,000
illustrations. Cloth, 12mo, price $1.00.


=Law Without Lawyers.= A compendium of Business and Domestic Law, for
popular use. By HENRY B. COREY, LL.B., member of New York Bar. Cloth,
12mo, price $1.00.

“The volume before us is a very convenient manual for every-day use,
containing a general summary of the law as applied to ordinary business
transactions, social and domestic relations, with forms for all manner
of legal documents.”—_Troy Times._


=Dr. Danelson’s Counselor, with Recipes.= A trusty guide for the family.
An illustrated book of 720 pages, treating Physiology, Hygiene,
Marriage, Medical Practice, etc. By J. E. DANELSON, M. D. Illustrated.
Cloth, 12mo, price $1.00.

“The Counselor is pure and elevating in its morals, and wise and
practical in the application of its counsels. It can but be a helper in
homes following its directions.”—_Rev. J. V. Ferguson, Pastor M. E.
Church, Mohawk, N. Y._


=The National Standard History of the United States.= A complete and
concise account of the growth and development of the Nation, from its
discovery to the present time. By EVERIT BROWN. 600 pages. Illustrated.
Cloth, 12mo, price $1.00.

In this most interesting book our country’s history is told from the
discovery of America down to the election of Benjamin Harrison as
President of the United States.

           --------------------------------------------------

_For sale by all Booksellers, or will be sent post-paid on receipt of
price, by the publisher, =A. L. BURT, 56 Beekman St., New York=._

------------------------------------------------------------------------



 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_);
      text that was bold by “equal” signs (=bold=).





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Guy Harris, the Runaway" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home