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- The Young Musician - 10/43 -

same view.

On the other hand, the squire was fond of having his own way, and he had now gone so far that he could not recede without loss of dignity.

"I think," he answered stiffly, "that I understand my duty as well as a boy of fifteen. I don't mean to keep you here long, but it is the best arrangement for the present."

"Of course it is," said Zeke, well pleased with the humiliation of his enemy.

"Shut up, Zeke!" said his father, observing from the squire's expression that he did not fancy Zeke's interference.

"All right, dad," said Zeke good-naturedly, seeing that things had turned out as he desired.

"Jump in!" said Mr. Tucker to Philip.

Our hero, without a word, obeyed. He was firmly resolved that Squire Pope should not have his way, but he did not choose to make himself ridiculous by an ineffectual resistance which would only have ended in his discomfiture.

Seated between Mr. Tucker and the squire, he was driven rapidly toward the poorhouse.



There was no room for Zeke to ride--that is, there was no seat for him--but he managed to clamber into the back part of the wagon, where he sat, or squatted, rather uncomfortably, but evidently in the best of spirits--if any inference could be drawn from his expression.

The poorhouse was not far away. It was a three-story frame house, which badly needed painting, with a dilapidated barn, and shed near by.

A three-story farmhouse is not common in the country, but this dwelling had been erected by a Mr. Parmenter, in the expectation of making a fortune by taking summer boarders.

There was room enough for them, but they did not come. The situation was the reverse of pleasant, the soil about was barren, and there were no shade or fruit trees. It was a crazy idea, selecting such a spot for a summer boarding-house, and failure naturally resulted.

There had, indeed, been two boarders--a man and his wife--who paid one week's board, and managed to owe six before the unlucky landlord decided that they were a pair of swindlers. He had spent more money than he could afford on his house, and went steadily behind-hand year after year, till the town--which was in want of a poorhouse--stepped in and purchased the house and farm at a bargain. So it came to be a boarding-house, after all, but in a sense not contemplated by the proprietor, and, at present, accommodated eleven persons--mostly old and infirm--whom hard fortune compelled to subsist on charity.

Mr. Tucker had this advantage, that his boarders, had no recourse except to stay with him, however poor his fare or harsh his treatment, unless they were in a position to take care of themselves.

When Philip came in sight of the almshouse--which he had often seen, and always considered a very dreary-looking building--he was strengthened in his determination not long to remain a tenant.

Mr. Tucker drove up to the front door with a flourish.

A hard-featured woman came out, and regarded the contents of the wagon with curiosity.

"Well, Abigail, can you take another boarder!" asked Mr. Tucker, as he descended from the wagon.

"Who is it?"

"Well, it ain't likely to be Squire Pope!" said Joe facetiously; "and Zeke and I are regular boarders on the free list."

"Is it that boy?"

"Yes; it's Phil Gray."

"Humph! boys are a trial!" remarked Mrs. Tucker, whose experience with Zeke had doubtless convinced her of this fact.

"I sha'n't trouble you long, Mrs. Tucker," said Philip. "I don't intend to stay."

"You don't, hey?" retorted Joe Tucker, with a wolfish grin and an emphatic nod of the head. "We'll see about that--won't we, Squire Pope?"

"The boy is rather rebellious, Mrs. Tucker," said the selectman. "He appears to think he knows better what is good for him than we do. You may look upon him as a permanent boarder. What he says is of no account."

Philip said nothing, but he looked full at the squire with an unflinching gaze. If ever determination was written upon any face, it was on his.

"Come down there!" said Mrs. Tucker, addressing our hero. "You're at home now."

"Mr. Dunbar won't know what has become of me," said Philip, with a sudden thought. "They will be anxious. May I go back there and tell them where I am?"

"Do you think I am green enough for that?" Mr. Tucker, touching the side of his nose waggishly. "We shouldn't be likely to set eyes on you again."

"I will promise to come back here this evening," said Philip.

"And will you promise to stay?" asked Squire Pope doubtfully.

"No, sir," answered Philip boldly. "I won't do that, but I will engage to come back. Then Mr. Tucker will have to look out for me, for I tell you and him frankly I don't mean to stay."

"Did you ever hear such talk, squire!" asked Mr. Tucker, with a gasp of incredulity. "He actually defies you, who are a selectman and an overseer of the poor."

"So he does, Mr. Tucker. I'm shocked at his conduct."

"Shall we let him go?"

"No, of course not."

"I agree with you, squire. I know'd you wouldn't agree to it. What shall I do about his wantin' to run away?"

"It will be best to confine him just at first, Mr. Tucker."

"I'll shut him up in one of the attic rooms," said Mr. Tucker.

"I think it will be the best thing to do, Mr. Tucker."

Philip took all this very coolly. As to the way in which they proposed to dispose of him for the present he cared very little, as he did not intend stay till morning if there was any possible chance of getting away. The only thing that troubled him was the doubt and anxiety of his good friends, the Dunbars, when he did not return to the house.

"Squire Pope," he said, turning to that official, "will you do me a favor?"

"Ahem! Explain yourself," said the squire suspiciously.

"Will you call at Mr. Dunbar's and tell them where I am."

Now, for obvious reasons, the squire did not like to do this. He knew that the Dunbars would manifest great indignation at the arbitrary step which he had adopted, and he did not like to face their displeasure, especially as his apology would perforce be a lame one.

"I don't think I am called upon to do you a favor, seeing how you've acted, Philip," he said hesitatingly. "Besides, it would be out of my way, and I ought to get home as soon as possible."

"Then you refuse, sir?"

"Well, I'd rather not."

"Will you get word to them, Mr. Tucker?" asked Philip, turning to him.

"I hain't got time," answered Mr. Tucker, who feared that the Dunbars would come for Philip and release him in the course of the evening.

Philip was nonplused. Always considerate of the feelings of others, he was unwilling that his friends should suffer anxiety on his account.

As Mr. Tucker and Squire Pope walked away together, our hero turned to Zeke.

"I suppose it's no use to ask you to do me a favor, Zeke?" he said.

"Do you want me to tell Frank Dunbar where you are?"

The Young Musician - 10/43

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