Dick was after them, but he could not capture them; he was but a young dog, and the enemy was two to one. A heavy kick sent him rolling over, just as the thieves reached the wall, and before he could pick himself up again they were over it, and making good their escape.
At the sound of Dick’s cry Huldah went flying back to the spot whence the sound came. “Oh, Dick, Dick, what have they done!” she cried, terrified.
Dick, though, was not one to make a fuss about anything. Kicks he was well accustomed to. Men, according to his experience, were given to kicking. Limping heavily, but mightily pleased with his fray, he came running up to her. Huldah knelt down in the path beside him, and hugged him to her. “Oh, Dick!” she cried, anxiously, passing her little hand over him to feel for any hurt. “Poor Dick, you are always getting knocked about by somebody!”
But Dick was far less concerned than she was. All that really troubled him was that his enemies had escaped him, and had got off so lightly.
“Huldah! Huldah!” called a frightened voice from the doorway. “Whatever is happening? Oh, do come in, child, and bring Dick. I am terrified to be left alone! Come in, both of you, and shut the door;” and at the sound of her voice Dick gave up his frantic search for his enemies, and limped quickly back. When the lady who gave him the ham-bone called, she must never be kept waiting!
WHAT THE MORNING BROUGHT.
It was a very shaken, tremulous trio which stood and faced each other in the tiny kitchen, after they had locked and bolted the door. Dick trembled with excitement and eagerness only, but Mrs. Perry was really frightened.
“But what of my poor hens!” she gasped, as Huldah poured out the adventures of the night. “Will the thieves come back again? What can I do? There’s twelve of them; I can’t bring them all indoors, and yet—oh, poor dears, and they so tame, and knowing me so well. I’d sooner see them all dead than in the hands of such men; and they’ll be so frightened.”
“They’re all safe enough, ma’am,” said Huldah, consolingly. “The thieves didn’t as much as open the door before Dick was on them, and they won’t be coming back here again in a hurry; they’ll never feel sure but what Dick’s under the wall waiting for them.”
Mrs. Perry bent down, and patted Dick’s head gratefully. It was the first time she had actually touched him. “Good dog,” she said, warmly. “Oh, you good doggie, to protect a strange old woman and her belongings!” and Dick was overcome with pride and gratitude for her condescension.
“Oh, I am glad it has all ended so well,” she exclaimed, with a deep sigh of thankfulness. “What with the shouting and the barking and confusion, I couldn’t make out anything, or hear what you said, and I thought for certain they’d got away with the poor things;” and she patted Dick’s head again, to his great delight and Huldah’s. “I must sit down, I am that shaken,” and she crept over to a chair and dropped into it wearily, “and I am sure you must be too, child. I wish the fire hadn’t gone out; it seems chilly now, for all ’twas such a hot day,—at least, I am chilly.”