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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesDo And Dare: A Brave Boy's Fight For Fortune - Chapter 16. A New Battle Of Bunker Hill
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Do And Dare: A Brave Boy's Fight For Fortune - Chapter 16. A New Battle Of Bunker Hill Post by :susan Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :2884

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Do And Dare: A Brave Boy's Fight For Fortune - Chapter 16. A New Battle Of Bunker Hill


Just opposite the monument is a small, one-story structure, where views of the shaft may be purchased and tickets obtained.

"There is a small admission fee," said Herbert's companion.

"How much is it?" asked our hero.

"Twenty cents."

As Herbert thrust his hand into his pocket for the necessary money, his companion said:

"You had better let me pay for both tickets."

Though he said this, he didn't make any motion to do so.

"No, I will pay for both," said Herbert.

"But I really cannot permit you to pay for mine."

And still the speaker made no movement to purchase his ticket.

Herbert settled the matter by laying half a dollar on the desk, and asking for two tickets. He began to see that, in spite of his disclaimer, his guide intended him to do so. On the whole, this didn't please him. He would rather have had his offer frankly accepted.

"I didn't mean to have you pay," said the young man, as they passed through the door admitting them to an inner apartment, from which there was an exit into a small, inclosed yard, through which they were to reach the entrance to a spiral staircase by which the ascent was made.

Herbert did not answer, for he understood that his guide was not telling the truth, and he did not like falsehood or deceit.

They entered the monument and commenced the ascent.

"We have a tiresome ascent before us," said the other.

"How many steps are there?" asked Herbert.

"About three hundred," was the reply.

At different points in the ascent they came to landings where they could catch glimpses of the outward world through long, narrow, perpendicular slits in the sides of the monument.

At last they reached the top.

Herbert's guide looked about him sharply, and seemed disappointed to find a lady and gentleman and child also enjoying the view.

Herbert had never been so high before. Indeed, he had never been in any high building, and he looked about him with a novel sense of enjoyment.

"What a fine view there is here!" he said.

"True," assented his companion. "Let me point out to you the different towns visible to the naked eye."

"I wish you would," said the boy.

So his guide pointed out Cambridge, Chelsea, Malden, the Charles and Mystic Rivers, gleaming in the sunshine, the glittering dome of the Boston State House and other conspicuous objects. Herbert felt that it was worth something to have a companion who could do him this service, and he felt the extra twenty cents he had paid for his companion's ticket was a judicious investment.

He noticed with some surprise that his companion seemed annoyed by the presence of the other party already referred to. He scowled and shrugged his shoulders when he looked at them, and in a low voice, inaudible to those of whom he spoke, he said to Herbert: "Are they going to stay here all day?"

"What does it matter to me if they do?" returned Herbert, in surprise.

Indeed, to him they seemed very pleasant people, and he was especially attracted by the sweet face of the little girl. He wished he had been fortunate enough to possess such a sister.

At last, however, they finished their sightseeing, and prepared to descend. Herbert's companion waited till the sound of their descending steps died away, and then, turning to Herbert, said in a quick, stern tone: "Now give me the money you have in your pocket."

"What do you mean?" he said.

Herbert recoiled, and stared at the speaker in undisguised astonishment.

"I mean just what I say," returned the other. "You have one hundred and fifty dollars in your pocket. You need not deny it, for I saw you draw it from the bank and put it away."

"Are you a thief, then?" demanded Herbert.

"No matter what I am, I must have that money," said the stranger. "I came over with you exclusively to get it, and I mean business."

He made a step towards Herbert, but the boy faced him unflinchingly, and answered resolutely: "I mean business, too. The money is not mine, and I shall not give it up."

"Take care!" said the other, menacingly, "we are alone here. You are a boy and I am a man."

"I know that; but you will have to fight to get the money," said Herbert, without quailing.

He looked to the staircase, but his treacherous guide stood between him and it, and he was practically a prisoner at the top of the monument.

"Don't be a fool!" said the stranger. "You may as well give up the money to me first as last."

"I don't propose to give it up to you at all," said Herbert. "My employer trusted me with it, and I mean to be true to my trust."

"You can tell him that it was taken from you--that you could not help yourself. Now hand it over!"

"Never!" exclaimed Herbert, resolutely.

"We'll see about that," said his companion, seizing the boy and grappling with him.

Herbert was a strong boy for his age, and he accepted the challenge. Though his antagonist was a man, he found that the boy was powerful, and not to be mastered as easily as he anticipated.

"Confound you!" he muttered, "I wish I had a knife!"

Though Herbert made a vigorous resistance, his opponent was his superior in strength, and would ultimately have got the better of him. He had thrown Herbert down, and was trying to thrust his hand into his coat pocket, when a step was heard, and a tall man of Western appearance stepped on the scene.

"Hello!" he said, surveying the two combatants in surprise. "What's all this? Let that boy alone, you skunk, you!"

As he spoke, he seized the man by the collar and jerked him to his feet.

"What does all this mean?" he asked, turning from one to the other.

"This boy has robbed me of one hundred and fifty dollars," said the man, glibly. "I fell in with him in the Boston cars, and he relieved me of a roll of bills which I had drawn from a bank in Boston."

"What have you got to say to this?" asked the Western man, turning to Herbert, who was now on his feet.

"Only this," answered Herbert, "that it is a lie. It was I who drew the money from the Merchants' Bank in Boston. This man saw me cash the check, followed me, and offered to come here with me, when I asked him for directions."

"That's a likely story!" sneered the young man. "My friend here is too sharp to believe it."

"Don't call me your friend!" said the Western man, bluntly. "I'm more than half convinced you're a scamp."

"I don't propose to stay here and be insulted. Let the boy give me my money, and I won't have him arrested."

"Don't be in too much of a hurry, young man! I want to see about this thing. What bank did you draw the money from?"

"From the Merchants' Bank--the boy has got things reversed. He saw me draw it, inveigled himself into my confidence, and picked my pocket."

"Look here--stop right there! Your story doesn't hang together!" said the tall Westerner, holding up his finger. "You said you met this boy in a horse car."

"We came over together in a Charlestown horse car," said the rogue, abashed.

"You've given yourself away. Now make yourself scarce! Scoot!"

The rascal looked in the face of the tall, resolute man from the West, and thought it prudent to obey. He started to descend, but a well-planted kick accelerated his progress, and he fell down several steps, bruising his knees.

"Thank you, sir!" said Herbert, gratefully. "It was lucky you came up just as you did. The rascal had got his hand on the money."

"He is a miserable scamp!" answered Herbert's new friend. "If there'd been a police-man handy, I'd have given him in charge. I've come clear from Wisconsin to see where Warren fell, but I didn't expect to come across such a critter as that on Bunker Hill."

Herbert pointed out to his new friend the objects in view, repeating the information he had so recently acquired. Then, feeling that he could spare no more time, he descended the stairs and jumped on board a horse car bound for Boston.

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