A FOUR-FOOTED FOE
Abner Holden’s reflections, when he found himself left alone in Ralph’s cabin, bound hand and foot, were not of the most agreeable nature. It was humiliating to find himself baffled at every point, and, for once, completely defeated in his attempt to exercise his authority over the boy who had been bound to him.
That Herbert should escape from him beyond the chance of recovery seemed now almost certain. If he were free, something might be done. But he was so securely bound that it was impossible to get free without help, and the lonely situation of the cabin made it very doubtful whether anyone would come within hearing until the return of Ralph himself. When that would be was uncertain.
Three hours passed, and still no prospect of release. The bonds chafed his wrists, and his situation was far from comfortable. He tried to loosen the cords, but without success.
“Must I stay here all night?” he thought, in alarm.
But deliverance was at hand, though its first approach was disagreeable.
A large dog entered the cabin through the open door, drawn thither, probably, by curiosity. When he saw Abner he appeared to take a dislike to him, and barked vehemently.
“Go away, you brute!” said Abner, wrathfully.
The dog, however, appeared instinctively to understand that Abner Holden was able only to threaten him, and barked more furiously than before; sometimes approaching within a foot of the helpless prisoner, and showing a formidable row of teeth, which Abner feared every moment might fasten upon his arm or leg.
Abner Holden was not a man of courage. Though his disposition was that of a bully, he was easily frightened, and the fierce look of the dog alarmed him not a little. In fact, it might have tested the courage of a much braver man than Mr. Holden.
“Go away!” he shrieked, shrinking back as far as he could from the open mouth of his persecutor.
A hoarse bark was the only reply, and the dog made an artful spring, which was only a feint, but had too much the appearance of earnest to suit his enemy.
“Oh, will nobody save me from the brute?” groaned Abner, in an ecstasy of terror. “If I could only get my hands loose!” and he tugged frantically at the cord.
Feeling how utterly he was at a disadvantage, he condescended to coax his fierce antagonist.
“Be quiet, that’s a good dog,” he said, with hypocritical softness.
The dog noticed a change in his tone, and evidently viewed it with some suspicion. Still his bark became less fierce and his looks less threatening.
“Good dog!” repeated Abner, in wheedling tones. “There’s some dinner.”
And he pushed over the provisions which Ralph had left.
While the dog was apparently taking his offer into consideration, a boy’s voice was heard outside, calling “Carlo, Carlo!”