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- Facing the World - 6/22 -


He didn't want Harry to catch sight of him when he descended from the hill, and accordingly scuttled away sufficiently far to escape suspicion, yet not too far to entirely lose sight of Harry's movements.

Five minutes later Harry descended from the hill, and bent his steps toward that part of the railway where the accident had occurred. Joel, who had hastened away in a different direction, went back to the hill as soon as he thought it would be safe, and eagerly ascended it. He found without difficulty the spot where Harry had been digging. With the help of a fragment of wood which he had picked up below, he in turn began to dig--his eyes glistening with expectation and cupidity.

He kept digging, but gradually became anxious, as the expected treasure did not show itself.

"I'm sure I have dug deep enough," he said to himself.

"He must have took the money when I fell from the tree," thought Joel, crestfallen. "He's served me a mean trick. Won't I tell dad, though, and get him into trouble? Oh, no!"

Meanwhile Harry, not knowing how narrowly he had escaped being robbed, pursued his way to the railway.

"If I were only in my old home," he thought, "I would ask Mr. Howard to take care of it for me. Then I should know it was all right."

He thought of the president of the railroad, to whom he was principally indebted for the money.

"If I could only see him," he thought, "I would ask him to take care of it for me."

What was his surprise, when, on reaching the depot, the first person on whom his eyes fell was the very gentleman of whom he was thinking.

"How do you do, sir?" said Harry, politely.

"Ah, my young friend that saved the train!" said the president cordially. "I hope you haven't spent the money you received on riotous living."

"No. Will you take care of it for me? I don't want to spend it, and I am afraid of losing it."

"Well, my boy, if you really desire it, I will take the money."

"I shall regard it as a very great favor."

No sooner said than done. They went into the depot and Harry, counting out two hundred and fifty dollars, passed it over to the president.

He made out a brief receipt, signing it, "Thomas Conway, President of the Craven County Railroad," and Harry pocketed it with a feeling of relief.

While he was standing in front of the depot waiting for the arrival of the eight-thirty train, Joel came up.

"Goin' a-travelin'?" asked Joel, with a grin.

"Not this morning."

"I wish I had a hundred dollars!" continued Joel, surveying Harry sharply. "I'd make a journey out West. Say, Harry, did you ever have a hundred dollars in your pocket?"

"Yes."

"Maybe you've got it now?"

"Where should I get it?" demanded Harry.

"I do'no. Jest empty your pockets, and le'me see how much you've got."

"Thank you; I don't see any use in it," said Harry.

"You dassent!"

"Very well! Call it that."

"Joel's been spying on me. He must have seen me on the hill," concluded Harry. "It's well I gave most of my money to Mr. Conway."

CHAPTER V

MR. FOX LEARNS HARRY'S SECRET

Harry had acted none too soon. It happened that his secret had been discovered not only by Joel, but by Joel's father, that very morning.

About ten o'clock Mr. Fox had occasion to go to the village. In the post office he met an acquaintance from a neighboring town, with whom he passed the usual compliments.

"By the way, Fox," said his friend, "I had a narrow escape the other day."

"What was it, Pearson?"

"Came near being smashed up on the railroad. There would have been an end to us, but for a brave boy, who signaled the train in time."

"That boy was my ward," said John Fox, complacently.

"You don't say so! Well, he was a lucky chap."

"I don't think so. He didn't get much for his bravery."

"I don't see how you can say that. How much money did he get?"

"Twenty-five dollars, and of that he gave ten to the woman whose tablecloth he borrowed."

"There's some mistake about that. There must have been forty or fifty bills put into his hands."

"Is this true?" ejaculated Fox, in amazement.

"Just as true as I'm standing here. If there wasn't two or three hundred dollars I'll eat my head."

"The artful young rascal!" exclaimed Fox, in virtuous indignation.

"Perhaps he thought you would take it from him. The boy was smart," said Pearson, laughing.

"You call it smart! I call it base and treacherous!"

Mr. Fox walked thoughtfully away. He was considering how he should get hold of his ward's money. It was not a question easy to answer. Evidently Harry was a boy who kept his own counsel, and knew how to take care of himself.

"Joel seems to have a great partiality for my society," thought Harry, when, after dinner, his guardian's son continued to follow him about.

Our hero would have been quite willing to dispense with Joel's companionship, but, being good-natured, he did not feel like dismissing him, as he would have done had he suspected that the boy was acting as a spy upon him, at his father's request.

Mr. Fox said very little to his ward at the table, but Harry felt that he was eyeing him intently.

After supper Harry was about to leave the room when Mr. Fox stopped him.

"Wait a moment, young man," he said, in a commanding tone.

"Very well, sir," returned Harry, quietly.

"How much money did the passengers give you?"

"Almost three hundred dollars," answered Harry, composedly.

"Did you ever hear the like?" exclaimed Mrs. Fox, in amazement. "If it had only been Joel."

"Thunder!" exclaimed that young gentleman. "Well, you was lucky. No such luck for me!"

"It is well you have told me," said John Fox; "not but I knew before. I met one of the passengers to-day, and he gave me an idea how much it was. You will please hand it over to me, and I will take care of it."

"I shall not be able to comply with your request, Mr. Fox," said Harry. "I have not the money with me."

"I don't believe it. You had it this morning. And Joel has been with you ever since; so you haven't had time to hide it."

"So that was the reason you favored me with your company, Joel," said Harry, with a glance at his guardian's son.

"All you've got to do is to hand over that money now, Harry Vane. Mind, I intend to have it."

"I assure you, Mr. Fox, that I haven't the money with me."

"Where is it, then?" asked Mr. Fox, incredulous.

"I have put it into the hands of a gentleman in whom I have confidence, who will take care of it for me."

"What's the man's name?" demanded John Fox.

"That is my secret."

"You have rebelled against my lawful authority. Maria, what is it my duty to do with this boy?"

"Lock him up!" answered Mrs. Fox, grimly.


Facing the World - 6/22

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