Everything was in doubt except one point. He felt that he had broken, finally, the tie that bound him to Mr. Holden. He would not return to him. He had experienced enough of Abner’s ugly and unreasonable temper to feel that there could be no harmony between them, and as to submitting to personal violence from such a man as that, his blood boiled at the thought. He knew that he should resist with all the strength he possessed, and what the result might be he did not dare to think. What lay before him in the future he could not conjecture, but whatever it might be, he felt that it was better than to remain an inmate of Abner Holden’s household, and in his power.
But where should he go? That was a question not easily answered. After his experience of his uncle’s indifference to him, he did not wish to appeal to him for aid, yet he felt that he should like to go to New York and try his fortune there. Thousands of people lived there, and earned enough to support them comfortably. Why not he? It was a thousand miles off, and he might be some time in getting there. He might have to stop and work on the way. But, sooner or later, he resolved that he would find his way to the great metropolis.
But there was one difficulty which presented itself at the outset. This difficulty related to his clothing. He had on a pair of overalls and a ragged vest which Abner had provided for him, intending that he should save the good suit he brought with him for Sundays. His present suit, which had been worn by half a dozen of his predecessors, Herbert decidedly objected to wearing, as, in addition to being faded and worn, it was by no means a good fit. He must get his other suit.
But this was in Mr. Holden’s attic, and it would hardly be prudent to venture back for it, as Abner was on the lookout for him, and there would be a collision, and perhaps he might be forcibly detained. Fortunately, his money he had about him. This amounted, as the reader already knows, to nearly fifteen dollars, and would, no doubt, be of essential service to him in the project which he had undertaken. As to the clothes, he must think of a way of securing them, before setting out on his journey to New York.
RALPH THE RANGER
One thing was certain. There was no chance of obtaining the clothes at present. Probably his best course would be to wait till night, and then come back to the house on the chance of gaining Mrs. Bickford’s attention. In the meantime, probably, the best thing to be done was to conceal himself temporarily in a belt of woods lying about a mile back of Abner Holden’s house.