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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Young Musician - Chapter 8. In The Enemy's Hands
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The Young Musician - Chapter 8. In The Enemy's Hands Post by :louis1899 Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1005

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The Young Musician - Chapter 8. In The Enemy's Hands

CHAPTER VIII. IN THE ENEMY'S HANDS

Philip heard a step, and turned to see whose it was; but, when he recognized Mr. Tucker, the latter's hand was already on his collar.

"What have you been doin' to Zeke? Tell me that, you young rascal," said Mr. Tucker roughly.

"He pitched into me savage, father," answered Zeke, who had picked himself up, and was now engaged in brushing the dust from his coat.

"Pitched into ye, did he?" repeated Joe Tucker grimly. "I reckon he didn't know your father was 'round. What have you got to say for yourself, eh?"

Philip regarded his captor contemptuously, and didn't struggle to escape, knowing that he was not a match for a man five inches taller than himself. But contempt he could not help showing, for he knew very well that Zeke had inherited his mean traits largely from his father.

"I'll thank you to remove your hand from my collar, sir," said Philip. "When you have done that, I will explain why I pitched into Zeke, as he calls it."

"Don't you let go, father!" said Zeke hastily. "He'll run away, if you do."

"If I do, you can catch me between you," returned Philip coolly.

"I reckon that's so," said Mr. Tucker, withdrawing his hand, but keeping wary watch of our hero.

"Now go ahead!" said he.

Philip did so.

"I saw Zeke torturing a small dog," he explained, "and I couldn't stand by and let it go on."

"What was he doin' to him?" inquired Mr. Tucker.

"Putting the poor animal's head into this dirty pool, and keeping it there till it was nearly suffocated."

"Was you doin' that, Zeke?" asked his father.

"I was havin' a little fun with him," said Zeke candidly.

"It might have been fun to you, but it wasn't to him," said Phil.

"Why didn't you ask Zeke to stop, and not fly at him like a tiger?" demanded Mr. Tucker.

"I did remonstrate with him, but he only laughed, and did it again."

"He hadn't no right to order me," said Zeke. "It wa'n't no business of his if I was havin' a little fun with the dog."

"And I had a little fun with, you," returned Philip--"You couldn't have complained if I had dipped your head in the water also."

"I ain't a dog!" said Zeke.

"I should respect you more if you were," said Philip.

"Are you goin' to let him talk to me like that!" asked Zeke, appealing to his father.

"No, I ain't," said Mr. Tucker angrily. "You've committed an assault and battery on my son, you rascal, and you'll find there ain't no fun in it for you. I could have you arrested and put in jail, couldn't I, squire?"

"Ahem! Well, you could have him fined; but, as he is to be under your care, Mr. Tucker, you will have a chance of making him conduct himself properly."

"What do you mean by that, Squire Pope?" asked Philip quickly.

"Young man, I do not choose to be catechized," said Squire Pope, in a dignified manner; "but I have no objections to tell you that I have made arrangements with Mr. Tucker to take you into the poorhouse."

"I've heard that before, but I couldn't believe it," said Philip proudly.

"I guess you'll have to believe it pretty soon, he, he!" laughed Zeke, with a grin which indicated his high delight. "I guess dad'll make you stand round when he gits you into the poor-house."

"Don't you consider me capable of earning my own living, Squire Pope?" asked Philip.

"Ahem! Yes, you will be one of these days. You won't have to stay in the almshouse all your life."

"You'll have a chance to earn your livin' with me." said Mr. Tucker. "I shall give you something to do, you may depend."

"You can make him saw and split wood, father, and do the chores and milk the cow," suggested Zeke.

"I have no objection to doing any of those things for a farmer," said Philip, "but I am not willing to do it where I shall be considered a pauper."

"Kinder uppish!" suggested Mr. Tucker, turning to Squire Pope. "Most all of them paupers is proud; but it's pride in the wrong place, I reckon."

"If it is pride to want to earn an independent living, and not live on charity, then I am proud," continued Philip.

"Well, squire, how is it to be," asked Mr. Tucker.

"Philip," said Squire Pope pompously, "you are very young, and you don't know what is best for you. We do, and you must submit. Mr. Tucker, take him and put him in the wagon, and we'll drive over to the poorhouse."

"What! now?" asked Philip, in dismay.

"Just so," answered Joe Tucker. "When you've got your bird, don't let him go, that's what I say."

"That's the talk, dad!" said Zeke gladfully. "We'll take down his pride, I guess, when we've got him home."

Joe Tucker approached Philip, and was about to lay hold of him, when our hero started back.

"You needn't lay hold of me, Mr. Tucker," he said. "I will get into the wagon if Squire Pope insists upon it."

"I'm glad you're gettin' sensible," said the squire, congratulating himself on finding Philip more tractable than he expected.

"And you will go to the poorhouse peaceful, and without making a fuss?" asked Joe.

"Yes, I will go there; but I won't stay there."

"You won't stay there!" ejaculated the squire.

"No, sir! In treating me as a dependent on charity, you are doing what neither you nor any other man has a right to do," said Philip firmly.

"You don't appear to remember that I am a selectman and overseer of the poor," said the Squire.

"I am aware that you hold those offices; but if so, you ought to save money to the town, and not compel them to pay for my support, when I am willing and able to support myself."

Squire Pope looked a little puzzled. This was putting the matter in a new light, and he could not help admitting to himself that Philip was correct, and that perhaps his fellow citizens might take the 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.

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