“Where did you hear ’em, Abigail?”
“Eight outside. Open the window and look out, and you may see ’em.”
Mr. Tucker was not entirely willing to do this, but still he preferred it to going down-stairs after the spoons, and accordingly he advanced, and, lifting the window, put his head out, as described at the close of the last chapter.
Philip and Frank were just ready to go when they heard the window rising, and naturally looked up in some trepidation.
“It’s old Tucker!” said Frank, in a low voice.
Philip looked up, and saw that his friend was right.
Mr. Tucker had not yet discovered them, but the whisper caught his ear, and looking down he caught sight of the two boys.
In his alarm, and the obscurity of the night, he did not make out that they were boys and not men, and was about to withdraw his head in alarm, when a mischievous impulse seized Frank Dunbar.
“Give me the ball, Philip!” he said quickly.
Philip complied with his request, not understanding his intention.
Now, Frank belonged to a baseball club, and had a capital aim. He threw up the ball and struck Mr. Tucker fairly in the nose. The effect upon the terrified Joe was startling.
Full as his mind was of burglars, he fancied that it was something a great deal more deadly that had struck him.
“Oh, Abigail! I’m shot through the brain!” he moaned in anguish, as he poked in his head and fell back upon the floor.
“What do you mean, Joe?” asked his wife, in alarm, as she hastened to her prostrate husband, whose hand was pressed convulsively upon the injured organ, which, naturally ached badly with the force of the blow.
“I’m a dead man!” moaned Mr. Tucker; “and it’s all your fault. You made me go to the window.”
“I don’t believe you’re shot at all! I didn’t hear any report,” said Mrs. Tucker. “Let me see your face.”
Mr. Tucker withdrew his hand mournfully.
“You’ve only been struck with a rock or something,” said she, after a careful examination.
“It’s bleeding!” groaned Joe, seeing a dark stain on his night-dress.
“Suppose it is—it won’t kill you. I’ll look out myself.”
But she saw nothing. Philip and Frank had immediately taken to flight, and vanished in the darkness.
“They’ve run away!” announced Mrs. Tucker. “My spoons are safe.”
“But my nose isn’t,” groaned Mr. Tucker.
“You won’t die this time,” said Mrs. Tucker, not very sympathetically. “Soak your nose in the wash-basin, and you’ll be all right in the morning.”
The two boys were destined to have another adventure that night.
A night adventure.
“I didn’t mean to hit him,” said Frank, as he and Philip hurried away from the poorhouse, “I only intended to give him a fright.”