Five days later, just as Mr. Taylor was sitting down to dinner, at the close of the day, the door-bell rang violently.
There was a hurried step heard in the hall, and the door opening quickly Henry Taylor rushed in, his face beaming with smiles.
“Oh, I’m so glad to see you, Henry!” said Jennie, embracing him. “I missed you awfully.”
Henry looked at his father, a little doubtful of his reception.
“Are you well, father?” he asked.
“Quite well,” responded Mr. Taylor coolly. “Where did you leave your scalps?”
“What?” ejaculated Henry, bewildered.
“I thought you left home to kill Indians.”
“Oh!” said Henry, smiling faintly.
“I didn’t meet any
Indians—except one—and he was friendly.”
“Then your expedition was a failure?”
“I guess I’ll leave the Indians alone,” said Henry sheepishly.
“That strikes me as a sensible remark. Of course, a few Indian scalps would be of great use to you. I fully expected a present of one, as a trophy of my son’s valor; but still, in case the Indian objected to being scalped, there might be a little risk in performing the operation.”
“I see you are laughing at me, father,” said Henry.
“Not at all. You can see that I am very sober. If you think you can make a good living hunting Indians—I don’t know myself how much their scalps bring in the market—I might set you up in the business.”
“I am not so foolish as I was. I prefer some other business. Philip told me—”
“Where is Philip?” asked Jennie eagerly.
“I left him in the parlor. He said I had better come in first.”
“Go and call him. Invite him, with my compliments, to stay to dinner.”
Henry left the room, and reappeared almost immediately with Philip.
Both boys were perfectly neat in appearance, for Philip had insisted on going to a hotel and washing and dressing themselves.
As he followed Henry into the room, with modest self-possession, his cheeks glowing with a healthy color, both Jennie and Mr. Taylor were instantly prepossessed in his favor.
“I am glad to see you, Philip,” said the broker, “and beg to thank you, not only for the material help you gave Henry, but also for the good advice, which I consider of still greater importance and value.”
“Thank you, sir. I don’t feel competent to give much advice, but I thought his best course was to come home.”
“You haven’t as high an idea of hunting Indians as Henry, I infer?”
“No, sir,” answered Philip, smiling. “It seems to me they have as much right to live as we, if they behave themselves.”
“I think so, too,” said Henry, who was rather ashamed of what had once been his great ambition.
“You haven’t introduced me to Philip—I mean Mr. Gray,” said Jennie.
“This is my sister Jennie, Phil,” said Henry, in an off-hand manner.