“Yes. How do you like it?”
“I don’t see any wash-stand, or any chance to wash.”
“Come, that’s rich!” said Mr. Tucker, appearing to be very much amused. “You didn’t think you was stoppin’ in the Fifth Avenoo Hotel, did you?”
“This don’t look like it.”
“We ain’t used to fashionable boarders, and we don’t know how to take care of ’em. You’ll have to go downstairs and wash in the trough, like the rest of the paupers do.”
“And wipe my face on the grass, I suppose?” said Philip coolly, though his heart sank within him at the thought of staying even one night in a place so squalid and filthy.
“Come, that’s goin’ too far,” said Mr. Tucker, who felt that the reputation of the boarding-house was endangered by such insinuations. “We mean to live respectable. There’s two towels a week allowed, and that I consider liberal.”
“And do all your boarders use the same towel?” asked Phil, unable to suppress an expression of disgust.
“Sartain. You don’t think we allow ’em one apiece, do you!”
“No, I don’t,” said Philip decidedly.
He had ceased to expect anything so civilized in Mr. Tucker’s establishment.
“Now you’re safe in your room, I reckon I’d better go downstairs,” said Tucker.
“I will go with you.”
“Not much you won’t! We ain’t a-goin’ to give you a chance of runnin’ away just yet!”
“Do you mean to keep me a prisoner?” demanded Philip.
“That’s just what we do, at present,” answered his genial host.
“It won’t be for long, Mr. Tucker.”
“What’s that you say? I’m master here, I’d have you to know!”
Just then a shrill voice was heard from below:
“Come down, Joe Tucker! Are you goin’ to stay upstairs all day?”
“Comin’, Abigail!” answered Mr. Tucker hastily, as he backed out of the room, locking the door behind him. Philip heard the click of the key as it turned in the lock, and he realized, for the first time in his life, that he was a prisoner.
A PAUPER’S MEAL
Half an hour later Philip heard a pounding on the door of his room.
He was unable to open it, but he called out, loud enough for the outsider to hear:
“Who is it?”
“It’s me—Zeke,” was the answer that came back.
“Did you tell the Dunbars where I was?” asked Philip eagerly.
“I shouldn’t think you had time to go there and back,” said Philip, fearing that Zeke had pocketed his money and then played him false. But, as we know, he was mistaken in this.
“I didn’t go there,” shouted Zeke. “I met Frank on the bridge.”
“What did he say?”
“He was mad,” answered Zeke, laughing. “I thought he would be.”
“Did he send any message to me?” asked Philip.