“Scat my ——!” he exclaimed. “Hain’t had such a good tussle I dunno when.”
“Bill’s considered ruther an awk’ard customer,” remarked Dick. “I guess he hain’t had no such handlin’ fer quite a while.”
“Sho!” exclaimed Mr. Harum. “The’ ain’t nothin’ to him but wind an’ meanness. Who was that feller with him?”
“Name ’s Smith, I believe,” replied Dick. “Guess Bill brought him along fer a witness, an’ I reckon he seen all he wanted to. I’ll bet his neck’s achin’ some,” added Mr. Larrabee with a laugh.
“How’s that?” asked David.
“Well, he made a move to tackle you as you was escortin’ Bill out, an’ Mr. Lenox there caught him in the collar an’ gin him a jerk that’d ‘a’ landed him on his back,” said Dick, “if,” turning to John, “you hadn’t helt holt of him. You putty nigh broke his neck. He went off—he, he, he, he, ho!—wrigglin’ it to make sure.”
“I used more force than was necessary, I’m afraid,” said Billy Williams’s pupil, “but there wasn’t much time to calculate.”
“Much obliged,” said David with a nod.
“Not at all,” protested John, laughing. “I have enjoyed a great deal this morning.”
“It has ben ruther pleasant,” remarked David with a chuckle, “but you mustn’t cal’late on havin’ such fun ev’ry mornin’.”
John went into the business office, leaving the banker and Dick.
“Say,” said the latter when they were alone, “that young man o’ your’n ‘s quite a feller. He took care o’ that big Smith chap with one hand; an’ say, you c’n git round on your pins ’bout ’s lively ’s they make ’em, I guess. I swan!” he exclaimed, slapping his thigh and shaking with laughter, “the hull thing head-an’-shouldered any show I seen lately.” And then for a while they fell to talking of the “sorril colt” and other things.
When John went back to the office after the noonday intermission it was manifest that something had happened to Mr. Timson, and that the something was of a nature extremely gratifying to that worthy gentleman. He was beaming with satisfaction and rustling with importance. Several times during the afternoon he appeared to be on the point of confiding his news, but in the face of the interruptions which occurred, or which he feared might check the flow of his communication, he managed to restrain himself till after the closing of the office. But scarcely were the shutters up (at the willing hands of Peleg Hopkins) when he turned to John and, looking at him sharply, said, “Has Dave said anythin’ ’bout my leavin’?”
“He told me he expected you would stay as long as might be necessary to get me well started,” said John non-committally, mindful of Mr. Harum’s injunction.
“Jest like him,” declared Chet. “Jest like him for all the world; but the fact o’ the matter is ‘t I’m goin’ to-morro’. I s’pose he thought,” reflected Mr. Timson, “thet he’d ruther you’d find it out yourself than to have to break it to ye, ’cause then, don’t ye see, after I was gone he c’d lay the hull thing at my door.”