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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesJoe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 23. Not Wholly Black
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Joe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 23. Not Wholly Black Post by :waytogo-store Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1472

Click below to download : Joe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 23. Not Wholly Black (Format : PDF)

Joe's Luck; Or, Always Wide Awake - Chapter 23. Not Wholly Black

CHAPTER XXIII. NOT WHOLLY BLACK

"I know this man, Mr. Watson," said Joe.

"Who is he?"

"He is the same man who robbed me of my money one night about three months ago--the one I told you of."

For the first time, Rafferty recognized Joe.

"There wasn't enough to make a fuss about," he said. "There was only two dollars and a half."

"It was all I had."

"Let me up!" said Rafferty, renewing his struggles.

"Joe, have you got a rope?" asked Watson.

"Yes."

"Bring it here, then. I can't hold this man all night."

"What are you going to do with me?" demanded Rafferty uneasily.

"Tie you hand and foot till to-morrow morning and then deliver you over to the authorities."

"No, you won't!"

He made a renewed struggle, but Watson was a man with muscles of iron, and the attempt was unsuccessful.

It was not without considerable difficulty, however, that the midnight intruder was secured. When, at length, he was bound hand and foot, Watson withdrew to a little distance. Joe and he looked at Rafferty, and each felt that he had seldom seen a more brutal face.

"Well," growled Rafferty, "I hope you are satisfied?"

"Not yet," returned Watson. "When you are delivered into the hands of the authorities we shall be satisfied."

"Oh, for an hour's freedom!" muttered Jack Rafferty, expressing his thoughts aloud.

"What use would you make of it?" asked Watson, in a tone of curiosity.

"I'd kill the man that led me into this trap!"

Watson and Joe were surprised.

"Was there such a man. Didn't you come here alone?"

"No; there was a man got me to come. Curse him, He told me I would only find the boy here!"

"What has become of him?"

"He ran away, I reckon, instead of standing by me."

"Where was he?"

"At the winder."

"Could it have been Hogan?" thought Joe.

"I think I know the man," said our hero. "I'll describe the man I mean and you can tell me if it was he."

He described Hogan as well as he could.

"That's the man," said Rafferty. "I wouldn't peach if he hadn't served me such a mean trick. What's his name?"

"His name is Hogan. He came over on the same steamer with me, after robbing me of fifty dollars in New York. He has been at the mines, but didn't make out well. This very afternoon I gave him supper--all he could eat--and charged him nothing for it. He repays me by planning a robbery."

"He's a mean skunk," said Watson bluntly.

"You're right, stranger," said Rafferty. "I'm a scamp myself, but I'll be blowed if I'd turn on a man that fed me when I was hungry."

The tones were gruff but the man was evidently sincere.

"You're better than you look," said Watson, surprised to hear such a sentiment from a man of such ruffianly appearance.

Jack Rafferty laughed shortly.

"I ain't used to compliments," he said, "and I expect I'm bad enough, but I ain't all bad. I won't turn on my pal, unless he does it first, and I ain't mean enough to rob a man that's done me a good turn."

"No, you ain't all bad," said Watson. "It's a pity you won't make up your mind to earn an honest living."

"Too late for that, I reckon. What do you think they'll do with me?"

In those days punishments were summary and severe. Watson knew it and Joe had seen something of it. Our hero began to feel compassion for the foiled burglar. He whispered in Watson's ear. Watson hesitated, but finally yielded.

"Stranger," said he, "the boy wants me to let you go."

"Does he?" inquired Rafferty, in surprise.

"Yes. He is afraid it will go hard with you if we give you up."

"Likely it will," muttered Rafferty, watching Watson's face eagerly, to see whether he favored Joe's proposal.

"Suppose we let you go--will you promise not to make another attempt upon this place?"

"What do you take me for? I'm not such a mean cuss as that."

"One thing more--you won't kill this man that brought you here?"

"If I knowed it wasn't a trap he led me into. He told me there was only the boy."

"He thought so. I don't belong here. The boy let me sleep here out of kindness. Hogan knew nothing of this. I didn't come till after he had left."

"That's different," said Rafferty; "but he shouldn't have gone back on me."

"He is a coward, probably."

"I guess you're right," said Rafferty contemptuously.

"You promise, then?"

"Not to kill him? Yes."

"Then we'll let you go."

Watson unloosed the bonds that confined the prisoner. Rafferty raised himself to his full height and stretched his limbs.

"There--I feel better," he said. "You tied the rope pretty tight."

"I found it necessary," said Watson, laughing. "Now, Joe, if you will open the door, this gentleman will pass out."

Rafferty turned to Joe, as he was about to leave the restaurant.

"Boy," said he, "I won't forget this. I ain't much of a friend to boast of, but I'm your friend. You've saved me from prison, and worse, it's likely; and, if you need help any time, send for me. If I had that money I took from you I'd pay it back."

"I don't need it," said Joe. "I've been lucky, and am doing well. I hope you'll make up your mind to turn over a new leaf. If you do, and are ever hard up for a meal, come to me, and you shall have it without money and without price."

"Thank you, boy," said Rafferty. "I'll remember it."

He strode out of the restaurant, and disappeared in the darkness.

"Human nature's a curious thing, Joe," said Watson. "Who would have expected to find any redeeming quality in such a man as that?"

"I would sooner trust him than Hogan."

"So would I. Hogan is a mean scoundrel, who is not so much of a ruffian as this man only because he is too much of a coward to be."

"I am glad we let him go," said Joe.

"I am not sure whether it was best, but I knew we should have to be awake all night if we didn't. He could have loosened the knots after awhile. He won't trouble you any more."

"I wish I felt as sure about Hogan," said Joe.

"Hogan is a coward. I advise you to keep ft revolver constantly on hand. He won't dare to break in by himself."

* * * * *

The next morning, after breakfast, Watson prepared to go out in search of work.

"I must begin at the bottom of the ladder once more," he said to Joe. "It's my own fault, and I won't complain. But what a fool I have been! I might have gone home by the next steamer if I hadn't gambled away all my hard earnings."

"What sort of work shall you try to get?"

"Anything--I have no right to be particular. Anything that will pay my expenses and give me a chance to lay by something for my family at home."

"Mr. Watson," said Joe suddenly, "I've been thinking of something that may suit you. Since I came to San Francisco I have never gone outside. I would like to go to the mines."

"You wouldn't make as much as you do here."

"Perhaps not; but I have laid by some money and I would like to see something of the country. Will you carry on the restaurant for me for three months, if I give you your board and half of the profits?"

"Will I? I should think myself very lucky to get the chance."

"Then you shall have the chance."

"How do you know that I can be trusted?" asked Watson.

"I haven't known you long," said Joe, "but I feel confidence in your honesty."

"I don't think you'll repent your confidence. When do you want to go?"

"I'll stay here a few days, till you get used to the business, then I will start."

"I was lucky to fall in with you," said Watson. "I didn't want to go back to the mines and tell the boys what a fool I have been. I begin to think there's a chance for me yet."

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