“It is for your good,” said Abner.
“I’d rather keep it,” said Herbert.
Abner Holden hardly knew what to do. The money was by this time safely stowed away in Herbert’s pocket, where he could not very well get at it. However, he had a plan for getting it which he resolved to put into practice when they stopped for dinner.
ON THE WAY
By the time they had ridden twenty miles both Herbert and Mr. Holden felt hungry. The fresh air had produced a similar effect upon both. They approached a broad, low building with a swinging sign and a long piazza in front, which it was easy to see was a country tavern.
“Do you feel hungry, boy?” inquired Abner Holden.
“Yes, sir,” returned our hero.
“So do I. I think I shall get some dinner here. You can get some, too, if you like.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Oh, there’s no occasion to thank me,” said Mr. Holden, dryly. “I shall pay for my dinner, and if you want any, you can pay for yours.”
Herbert looked surprised. As he had entered Mr. Holden’s employ, he supposed of course that the latter would feel bound to provide for him, and it certainly seemed mean that he should be compelled to pay for his own dinner. However, he was beginning to suspect that his new employer was essentially a mean man.
“How much will it cost?” asked Herbert, at length.
“Thirty-seven cents,” was the reply.
It must be remembered that this was in the day of low prices, when gold was at par, and board could be obtained at first-class city hotels for two dollars and a half a day, and in country villages at that amount by the week.
“Thirty-seven cents!” Herbert hardly liked to break in upon his scanty hoard, but the morning air had sharpened his appetite, and he felt that he must have something to eat. Besides, he remembered one thing which fortunately Mr. Holden did not know, that in addition to the five dollars which Dr. Kent had given him he had the ten dollars sent him by his uncle, and not only that, but a little loose change which he had earned.
“Well, are you going to get out?” asked Abner Holden. “It’s nothing to me whether you take dinner or not.”
“Yes, I guess I will.”
“Very well,” said Holden, who had a reason for being pleased with his decision.
Both went into the tavern. There were two or three loungers on a settle, who gazed at them curiously. One of them at once appeared to recognize Abner Holden.
“How dy do, Holden?” he said. “Who’ve you got with you?”
“A boy I’ve taken,” said Holden, shortly.
“A pretty smart-looking boy. Where’d you pick him up?”
“Over in Waverley. He’s got some pretty high notions, but I guess I’ll take ’em out of him in time.”
“Yes,” chuckled the other; “I warrant you will.”