“There isn’t much chance of it. If he is in danger of that, he will have sense enough to ask for food, or to write to me for help. I rather hope he will have a hard time.”
“It will do him good. If I sent for him and brought him back against his will, he would probably start off again when he has a good chance.”
Jennie could not quite follow her father in his reasoning, and was inclined to think him hard and unfeeling. She missed her brother, who, whatever his faults, treated her tolerably well, and was at any rate a good deal of company, being the only other young person in the house.
Just then the servant entered with three letters, which he laid down beside his master’s plate.
Mr. Taylor hastily scanned the addresses.
“Here is a letter from Henry,” he said, in a tone of satisfaction.
“Oh, read it quick, papa!”
This was the letter which Mr. Taylor read aloud, almost too deliberately for the impatience of his daughter:
“Dear Father: I am alive and well, and hope to see you in a few days. I guess I made a mistake in running away, though I didn’t think so at the time, for I wanted to see life, and have adventures. I don’t know how I should have got along if I hadn’t met Philip Gray. He’s a tip-top fellow, and is paying my expenses. I told him you would pay him back. He has got me off the idea of going West to kill Indians.”
“Oh, papa!” exclaimed Jennie, opening her eyes wide. “I didn’t know that was what Henry went for.”
“I don’t think the Indians would have felt very much frightened if they had heard of his intention. However, I will proceed:
“I was all out of money when Philip met me, and I hadn’t had anything to eat since morning, he bought me some supper, and is paying my expenses. He is a poor boy, coming to New York to get a place, if he can. He has got a violin, and he plays beautifully. He earned all the money he has by giving concerts.”
“I should like to see Philip,” said Jennie, with interest.
“I asked him if he wouldn’t go out West with me, but he wouldn’t. He told me he wouldn’t do anything for me unless I would agree to come home.”
“He is a sensible boy,” commented Mr. Taylor, in a tone of approval.
“We thought at first of coming right home on the cars, but I wanted to walk and see something of the country, and Philip said he didn’t mind. He told me I must write and tell you, so that you needn’t feel anxious.
“You will see us in a few days. I will bring Philip to the house. Your son, Henry Taylor.”
“Is that all?” asked Jennie.
“Yes; I consider it a very fair letter. It is evident Henry has made the acquaintance of a sensible boy. I shall take care that he doesn’t let it drop.”
A fresh start.