For another boarder would bring him sixty cents a week more.
They stopped the horses and prepared for business.
IN THE ENEMY’S HANDS
Philip heard a step, and turned to see whose it was; but, when he recognized Mr. Tucker, the latter’s hand was already on his collar.
“What have you been doin’ to Zeke? Tell me that, you young rascal,” said Mr. Tucker roughly.
“He pitched into me savage, father,” answered Zeke, who had picked himself up, and was now engaged in brushing the dust from his coat.
“Pitched into ye, did he?” repeated Joe Tucker grimly. “I reckon he didn’t know your father was ’round. What have you got to say for yourself, eh?”
Philip regarded his captor contemptuously, and didn’t struggle to escape, knowing that he was not a match for a man five inches taller than himself. But contempt he could not help showing, for he knew very well that Zeke had inherited his mean traits largely from his father.
“I’ll thank you to remove your hand from my collar, sir,” said Philip. “When you have done that, I will explain why I pitched into Zeke, as he calls it.”
“Don’t you let go, father!” said Zeke hastily. “He’ll run away, if you do.”
“If I do, you can catch me between you,” returned Philip coolly.
“I reckon that’s so,” said Mr. Tucker, withdrawing his hand, but keeping wary watch of our hero.
“Now go ahead!” said he.
Philip did so.
“I saw Zeke torturing a small dog,” he explained, “and I couldn’t stand by and let it go on.”
“What was he doin’ to him?” inquired Mr. Tucker.
“Putting the poor animal’s head into this dirty pool, and keeping it there till it was nearly suffocated.”
“Was you doin’ that, Zeke?” asked his father.
“I was havin’ a little fun with him,” said Zeke candidly.
“It might have been fun to you, but it wasn’t to him,” said Phil.
“Why didn’t you ask Zeke to stop, and not fly at him like a tiger?” demanded Mr. Tucker.
“I did remonstrate with him, but he only laughed, and did it again.”
“He hadn’t no right to order me,” said Zeke. “It wa’n’t no business of his if I was havin’ a little fun with the dog.”
“And I had a little fun with, you,” returned Philip—“You couldn’t have complained if I had dipped your head in the water also.”
“I ain’t a dog!” said Zeke.
“I should respect you more if you were,” said Philip.
“Are you goin’ to let him talk to me like that!” asked Zeke, appealing to his father.
“No, I ain’t,” said Mr. Tucker angrily. “You’ve committed an assault and battery on my son, you rascal, and you’ll find there ain’t no fun in it for you. I could have you arrested and put in jail, couldn’t I, squire?”
“Ahem! Well, you could have him fined; but, as he is to be under your care, Mr. Tucker, you will have a chance of making him conduct himself properly.”