“I agree with you, Frank. Squire Pope may be assured that he has lost my vote from henceforth. Hitherto I have voted for him annually for selectman, knowing that he wanted the office and considering him fairly faithful.”
“Father,” said Frank, after a thoughtful pause, “do you think Philip would be justified in escaping from the poorhouse?”
“I do,” answered Mr. Dunbar. “In this free country I hold that no one ought to be made an object of charity against his will.”
“Philip is strong enough and smart enough to earn his own living,” said Frank.
“That is true. I will myself give him his board and clothes if he will stay with me and work on the farm.”
“I wish he would. He would be a splendid companion for me; but I think he wants to leave Norton, and try his fortune in some larger place.”
“I can’t blame him. If his father were living and he had a good home, I should not think it wise; but, as matters stand, it may not be a bad plan for him.”
“Father,” said Frank, after supper, “I am going out and I may not be back very early.”
“Are you going to see Philip?”
“Yes; but I want to see him alone. If possible, I will see him without attracting the attention of Joe Tucker.”
“You won’t get into any trouble, Frank?” said his mother anxiously.
“No, mother; I don’t know what trouble I can get into.”
“You may very likely fail to see Philip,” suggested his father. “I hear that Tucker and his boarders go to bed very early.”
“So much the better!” said Frank, in a tone of satisfaction. “The only one I want to see is Philip, and he isn’t likely to go to sleep very early.”
Mr. Dunbar smiled to himself.
“Frank has got some plan in his head,” he thought. “I won’t inquire what it is, for he has good common sense, and won’t do anything improper.”
About eight o’clock, Frank, after certain preparations, which will hereafter be referred to, set out for the poorhouse, which was about a mile distant.
Philip makes his escape.
It grew darker and darker in Philip’s chamber, but no one came to bring him a light. It was assumed that he would go to bed before he required one.
By seven o’clock the paupers had settled themselves for the night, and when eight o’clock struck, Mr. and Mrs. Tucker sought their beds. It was no particular trial for Joe Tucker to go to bed early, for he was naturally a lazy man, and fond of rest; while his wife, who worked a great deal harder than he, after being on her feet from four o’clock in the morning, found it a welcome relief to lie down and court friendly sleep. Zeke wasn’t always ready to go to bed. In fact, he would much rather have gone up to the village now and then, but if he had done so he would have had to stay out all night. There was one thing his parents were strict about, and that was retiring at eight o’clock.