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- The Young Musician - 40/43 -


"How do you mean?"

"I mean I wish I had a father and sister."

"Haven't you?"

"My father is dead," said Philip gravely, "and I never had a sister."

"Oh, well, I don't know as I'm so lucky," said Henry. "Sisters are a bother. They want you to go round with them, and the old man is always finding fault."

Philip's relations with his father had always been so affectionate that he could not understand how Henry could talk in such a way of his.

"I don't know what makes you ask me such a lot of questions," said Henry, showing impatience. "Come, what do you say to my offer ?"

"About forming a partnership?"

"Yes."

"I'd rather not--in that way."

"In what way?"

"I mean for the purpose of going out West to kill Indians."

"You've no idea what fun it would be," said Henry, disappointed.

"No, I suppose not," said Philip, smiling.

"Then I suppose I shall have to give it up," said Henry.

"Now I have a proposal to make to you," said Philip.

"What is it?"

"If you agree to go home, I'll pay your expenses and go along with you. I've never been to New York, and I'd like to have some one with me that could show me round the city."

"I can do that," said Henry. "I know the way all about."

"Then will you agree?"

"Yes."

"Then come along, and we'll stop at the first convenient place and get some supper."

CHAPTER XLI.

AN ADVENTURE IN THE WOODS.

"I shall do a good thing if I induce Henry to go home," thought Philip. "That is rather a queer idea of his about wanting to kill Indians. It seems to me as much murder to kill an Indian as any one else."

He only thought this, but did not express it, as he did not care to get into a discussion with his new acquaintance, lest the latter should recall his consent to go home.

"I say, Philip," said Henry, who had now learned our hero's name, "we ain't in any hurry to go to New York, are we?"

"I thought we might take a train to-morrow morning, and go straight through."

"But I'd rather take it easy, and travel through the country, and have adventures."

"But you forget that your father will be anxious about you."

"Yes, I suppose he will."

"I'll tell you what I'll do. If you'll write a letter to your father, and let him know that you are safe with me, I'll do as you say."

"All right," said Henry, in a tone of satisfaction; "I'll do it."

"Father'll pay you all you have to spend for me," Henry added, after a moment's pause.

"Very well; then I will be your banker."

Philip was not foolish enough to protest that he did not care to be repaid. All he had in the world was a little less than a hundred dollars, and when that was gone he was not absolutely sure of making any more at once, though he felt tolerably confident that he could.

"Suppose you let me have ten dollars now," suggested Henry.

"I think I would rather keep the money and pay the bills," said Philip quietly.

He was not sure but that Henry, if he had a supply of money in his pockets, would reconsider his promise to go home and take French leave.

Of course, it would be extremely foolish, but his present expedition did not indicate the possession of much wisdom.

"I don't see what difference it makes," said Henry, looking dissatisfied.

"I won't argue the point," answered Philip good-naturedly.

"I wish I was in New York, near a good restaurant," said Henry, after a pause.

"Oh. I forgot! You are hungry."

"Awfully. I don't believe there's a hotel within two or three miles. I don't think I can hold out to walk much farther."

A few rods farther on was a farmhouse standing back from the road, old-fashioned-looking, but of comfortable aspect.

A young girl appeared at the side door and rang a noisy bell with great vigor.

"They're going to have supper," said Henry wistfully. "I wish it was a hotel!"

Philip had lived in the country, and understood the hospitable ways of country people.

"Come along, Henry," he said. "I'll ask them to sell us some supper. I am sure they will be willing."

Followed by his new acquaintance, he walked up to the side door and knocked--for there was no bell.

The young girl--probably about Philip's age--opened the door and regarded them with some surprise.

Philip bowed.

"Will you be kind enough to tell us if there is any hotel near-by?" he asked.

"There's one about three miles and a half farther on."

Henry groaned inwardly.

"I am going to ask you a favor," said Philip. "My friend and I have traveled a considerable distance, and stand in need of supper. We are willing to pay as much as we should have to at a hotel, if you will let us take supper here."

"I'll ask mother," said the young girl.

And forthwith she disappeared. She came back in company with a stout, motherly-looking woman. Philip repeated his request.

"Why, to be sure," she said heartily. "We always have enough, and to spare. Come right in, and we'll have supper as soon as the men-folks come in."

They entered a neat kitchen, in the middle of which was set out a table, with a savory supper upon it. Henry's eyes sparkled, and his mouth watered, for the poor boy was almost famished.

"If you want to wash come right in here," said the farmer's wife, leading the way into a small room adjoining.

The two boys gladly availed themselves of the permission, though Henry would not have minded sitting right down, dusty as he was. However, he felt better after he had washed his face and bands and wiped them on the long roll towel that hung beside the sink.

They were scarcely through, when their places were taken by the farmer and his son, the latter a tall, sun-burned young man, of about twenty, who had just come in from a distant field. The farmer's wife soon explained the presence of the two young strangers.

"Sho!" said the farmer. "You're pretty young to be travelin'. You ain't in any business, be you?"

Henry was rather ashamed to mention that his business was killing Indians, though, as yet, he had not done anything in that line. He had an idea that he might be laughed at.

"I am a little of a musician," said Philip modestly.


The Young Musician - 40/43

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