A train had pulled into the station, and a tired, travel-worn young man, descending from a sleeper, walked rapidly up the street to learn the occasion of what appeared to be a riot. When he was close enough to understand its nature, he dropped his bag and came on at top speed, shouting loudly to the battered mongrel, who tried with his remaining strength to leap toward him through a cordon of kicking legs, while Eugene Bantry again called to the policeman to fire.
“If he does, damn you, I’ll kill him!” Joe saw the revolver raised; and then, Eugene being in his way, he ran full-tilt into his stepbrother with all his force, sending him to earth, and went on literally over him as he lay prone upon the asphalt, that being the shortest way to Respectability. The next instant the mongrel was in his master’s arms and weakly licking his hands.
But it was Eskew Arp who had saved the little dog; for it was his stick which had tripped the clerk, and his hand which had struck him down. All his bodily strength had departed in that effort, but he staggered out into the street toward Joe.
“Joe Louden!” called the veteran, in a loud voice. “Joe Louden!” and suddenly reeled. The Colonel and Squire Buckalew were making their way toward him, but Joe, holding the dog to his breast with one arm, threw the other about Eskew.
“It’s a town—it’s a town”—the old fellow flung himself free from the supporting arm—“it’s a town you couldn’t even trust a yellow dog to!”
He sank back upon Joe’s shoulder, speechless. An open carriage had driven through the crowd, the colored driver urged by two ladies upon the back seat, and Martin Pike saw it stop by the group in the middle of the street where Joe stood, the wounded dog held to his breast by one arm, the old man, white and half fainting, supported by the other. Martin Pike saw this and more; he saw Ariel Tabor and his own daughter leaning from the carriage, the arms of both pityingly extended to Joe Louden and his two burdens, while the stunned and silly crowd stood round them staring, clouds of dust settling down upon them through the hot air.
THREE ARE ENLISTED
Now in that blazing noon Canaan looked upon a strange sight: an open carriage whirling through Main Street behind two galloping bays; upon the back seat a ghostly white old man with closed eyes, supported by two pale ladies, his head upon the shoulder of the taller; while beside the driver, a young man whose coat and hands were bloody, worked over the hurts of an injured dog. Sam Warden’s whip sang across the horses; lather gathered on their flanks, and Ariel’s voice steadily urged on the pace: “Quicker, Sam, if you can.” For there was little breath left in the body of Eskew Arp.
Mamie, almost as white as the old man, was silent; but she had not hesitated in her daring, now that she had been taught to dare; she had not come to be Ariel’s friend and honest follower for nothing; and it was Mamie who had cried to Joe to lift Eskew into the carriage. “You must come too,” she said. “We will need you.” And so it came to pass that under the eyes of Canaan Joe Louden rode in Judge Pike’s carriage at the bidding of Judge Pike’s daughter.