“So, it’s ye, is it, Paul Morrison? This is some surprise, seein’ as ye’re the last boy I’d expect to be up ter sech meanness. What d’ye think yer father’ll say w’en he hears ’bout this?”
“I guess he’ll laugh, and say it was about the cutest trick ever played on you, Mr. Growdy,” came the immediate answer; “but please get me down from this. Perhaps the blood will all run to my head. Tie my hands if you want, and fix it so I can’t run away; but I couldn’t stand this long.”
“So ye think yer father’d larf, do ye? I never wud ‘a’ b’lieved Doctor Morrison was the kind o’ man to encourage practical jokes on anybody,” grumbled the old man, plainly at a loss to understand what was meant.
“Well, he isn’t, and I’d be sorry to have him know I was guilty of such a thing. But you’re barking up the wrong tree, Mr. Growdy, I give you my word we none of us had any trick in mind when we came here to-night.”
“Then what took you in my dooryard here; for I heard a pack runnin’ away when I kim out of the house? Tell me that, Paul,” insisted the farmer; but the hand that held that cruel looking whip had fallen to his side, which was a good sign.
“I’ll be only too glad to do so if you let me up. Tie my hands, my legs too if you want, sir; but I’m getting dizzy from having my head below my heels.”
Peleg stooped still closer. He again held the lantern down so that he could look into the face of his prisoner; after which he did something that Paul had hardly expected—bent over, seized the rope connected with the laden hogshead, and pulling hard succeeded in casting the loop that had just encircled Paul’s ankles, over a post of the fence.
“Get up, Paul!” he said, grimly, yet with a flicker of curiosity in his wrinkled face; as though a dim suspicion that there might be something out of the ordinary back of this, had begun to take possession of his mind.
Paul regained his feet, a little wobbly to be sure, for he had experienced a bad fall, and his head felt rather tender where it had come in contact with the hard ground.
“Thank you, Mr. Growdy. And now I’m going to tell you something. Perhaps you will find it hard to believe me, and again you may not just appreciate our way of taking matters in our own hands, when the request of the women of Stanhope didn’t have any effect. Look around your dooryard, Mr. Growdy. Do you see anything changed here?”
The farmer held up the lantern, and what he saw caused him to utter an exclamation.
“Ev’ry one o’ ’em gone, by hokey! If so be ye’ve smashed all my rigs, Paul Morison, I’ll have the law on ye, as sure as my name’s Peleg Growdy!” he roared, aghast at what he deemed a serious discovery.
“Come with me, Mr. Growdy. Notice as you go that this place doesn’t look much like a pigpen now. In fact, I calculate it’s as clean as any dooryard around Stanhope. Even the ladies can drive past now without being shocked. And Mr. Growdy, if you will take the trouble, sir, to look under that wagon shed, you’ll see every one of your vehicles just where they should be when not in use!”