Then the heavens seemed to almost split with the sudden outburst of wild shouts that raced up and down that street.
“He’s done it! Hurrah! The boy’s stopped him! Bully for Paul Morrison!”
Men shouted, boys shrieked, while women embraced in their tears. The tense strain was over, for willing hands had clutched the lines after Paul’s weight had brought the wild runaway to a staggering halt; and the danger was past.
Then ensued a wild scene, everybody trying to get hold of the boy who had known what to do in an emergency, and not only that, but had done it.
Confused, overwhelmed, Paul in the great confusion tried to flee; but while he did manage to duck under many of the hands outstretched to clutch him, it was only to dart into the arms of some one who pressed him to his heart.
And looking up the boy saw above him the face of one whom he loved—his father, who had been a witness to his adventure.
“That was well done, my boy; and I’m glad I saw it!” was all the good doctor said; but Paul never forgot the proud look that accompanied the words.
It would return to him many times in the distant future, when he might be tempted by the fascinations of the world to turn aside from the narrow path which he had chosen to tread; and must ever be a guide and beacon for his footsteps.
Then came Jack, with William, Tom Betts and Bluff Shipley, all nearly wild over the fact that it was their chum who had acquitted himself so well.
Before Paul could make his escape he found his hand gripped by the father of the child in the wagon, who happened to be a prosperous farmer, with whom Doctor Morrison was well acquainted.
“I never could tell you what I think about this, my boy,” he said, with deep feeling. “The child’s mother’ll never forget you, be sure of that. And it ain’t right for me to offer you any reward for doing such a fine thing; but I want you to buy something with this ten dollars, that every time you look at it you’ll remember little Tod Perkins, what owed his life to you.”
“Oh! I couldn’t think of it, Mr. Perkins. Why, it was just pie to me, you know. Please don’t make me take it!” said the boy, still more confused; but the farmer had already turned away to embrace his child, and there seemed nothing for it but to accept the gift.
“Don’t offend him by refusing, Paul; he means well, and perhaps you can buy something with it that will serve as a reminder,” said the doctor, always trying to avoid hurting other people’s feelings.
“Why, sure, what’s to hinder you buying your scout’s uniform with it?” declared William at this juncture.
“You certain earned it, if anybody ever did work for what they got!” avowed Bobolink, positively.
“Oh! w-w-why wasn’t it m-m-me?” wailed Bluff, in pretended grief.
“Say, do you think you could have nailed that runaway horse, with such an impediment twisting you up?” demanded Bobolink, grinning.