Leon made a clutch for his property. He over did the matter, Hugh thought, acting in an exuberant fashion.
“Oh! mebbe I’m not joyful over getting my hands on you again, you poor old time-keeper!” he exclaimed, as he snatched the silver watch up and shook it, as though any fault could be attached to the article in question. “A fine chase you’ve given me to-night; and playing the part of sneak thief in the bargain; but then, of course, you believe what I told you, now, Hugh, since you’ve seen that the watch was in my locker?”
Hugh did not care to fully commit himself, it seemed, judging from the way in which he went on to say:
“We’ve seen you recover your watch all right, Leon; and it was in your locker just as you said; but whether you forgot it, or left it there on purpose, is a question I’m not prepared to settle.”
Of course there was no further excuse for Hugh keeping that grip on Leon’s shoulder, so he released his hold, and the other gave a sigh as of relief at this evidence of a change in policy on the part of his captor.
“Say, I wish you’d do me a great favor, Hugh,” Leon went on to say, as though he believed in the old maxim that it is wise to “strike while the iron is hot.”
“As to what?” demanded the one addressed in this whining way.
“What’s the use of saying anything about this business?” Leon went on eagerly. “It certainly wouldn’t do any good, and I proved to you that I enter here just to recover my watch, didn’t I? But mebbe it might get to my dad’s ears, how I’d gone and been so careless about looking after my property. You see, he told me that if I lost this birthday present he’d not get me another watch till I graduated from high school; and say, I’m beginning to lose all hope of that ever happening in case. But you will keep mum about it, won’t you, Hugh; just to save me from getting up against it rough with my strict dad?”
It sounded like a reasonable request, Hugh must have thought. Besides, no matter what the intentions of Leon may have been, there had really been no harm done, owing to the fact of their being drawn to the spot by discovering his skulking figure dimly outlined in the moonlight.
Hugh considered before committing himself to making any reply. He did not believe most of what the other so glibly declared, partly because he knew very well that Mr. Disney was not a strict parent at all, but a most indifferent one, or he would never have allowed his young hopeful to go in the company of Nick Lang, and take part in many of the other’s practical jokes. Some of these had bordered on a serious nature, like the time the electric current was shut off abruptly when the graduation exercises were going on at night-time in the big auditorium in the high school building; and the ensuing utter darkness almost created a panic among the audience, composed principally of women and young people, the wires having been severed, it was later discovered, at a point where they entered the building.