Philip received a cordial welcome from Mr. and Mrs. Dunbar, who, however, hardly expected to see him so soon. “Are you willing to receive a pauper beneath your roof?” asked Philip, smiling.
“That you will never be while you have health and strength, I’ll be bound,” said Mr. Dunbar. “I like your pride and independence, Philip.”
They tried to induce Philip to give up his resolution to leave Norton the next morning, but did not succeed.
“I will come back some time,” he said. “Now I feel better to go.”
At five o’clock the next morning, with a small bundle swung over his shoulder, attached to a stick, Philip Gray, carrying his violin, left the village, which, for some years, had been his home. Frank accompanied him for the first mile of his journey. Then the two friends shook hands and parted—not without sorrow, for who could tell when they would meet again?
A professional engagement.
A depressing feeling of loneliness came to Phil after he had parted with Frank. He was going out into the world with no one to lean upon, and no one to sympathize with him or lend him a helping hand. No wonder he felt friendless and alone. But this mood did not last long.
“I shall find friends if I deserve them,” he reflected, “and I don’t mean to do anything dishonorable or wrong. I am willing to work, and I believe I can make a living.”
Leaving him to proceed, we go back to the poor-house, where his absence was not noticed till morning.
Joe Tucker, in spite of the blow which his nasal organ had received, slept pretty comfortably, and was awakened at an early hour by his vigilant spouse.
“You’d better go up and wake that boy and set him to work, Mr. Tucker,” she said. “There are plenty of chores for him to do.”
“You are right, Abigail,” said Mr. Tucker, with approval. He reflected that he could assign to Philip some of the work which generally fell to himself, and the reflection was an agreeable one. He had tried to get work out of Zeke, but he generally found that it was harder to keep him at work than it was to do the job himself.
After he had made his toilet—not a very elaborate one—Mr. Tucker went up-stairs to arouse his young prisoner. He found the key in the outside of the door. Everything seemed right.
“I wonder how he feels this morning?” chuckled Mr. Tucker. “Wonder whether he’s tamed down a little?”
He turned the key in the lock and threw open the door. He glanced at the bed, started in amazement to find that it had not been slept in, and then his wonder ceased, for the telltale rope explained how the boy had escaped.
He ran down-stairs in anger and excitement.
“What’s the matter with you, Joe Tucker?” demanded his wife. “Are you drunk or crazy?”
“Enough to make me both, wife,” he answered. “The boy’s gone!”