A COMPACT

We must now change the scene to a fine estate in the interior of New
York State, near one of the beautiful lakes which give such a charm to
the surrounding landscape.

The estate was a large one, laid out in the English style, with a fine
mansion centrally located and elegantly furnished. Surely the owner of
this fine domain was worthy of envy, and ought to have been happy.

Let us enter the breakfast room and make acquaintance with him.

There he sits in an easy-chair, a white-haired, shrunken old man, his
face deeply lined, and wearing a weary expression as if the world
afforded him little satisfaction.

It was the same old man whom we last saw in the circus at Crampton. He
had gone home with his nephew at once, having become weary of travel.
It was wise, perhaps; for he was old, and to the old rest is welcome.

His nephew sat near by with a daily paper in his hand, from which he
appeared to have been reading to his uncle.

“That will do, Hugo,” said the old man. “I—I don’t find any interest
in the paper this morning.”

“How are you feeling, uncle—as well as usual?”

“Well in health—that is, as well as I can expect to feel, but my life
is empty. I have nothing to live for.”

“Why don’t you die then?” thought the nephew, but he did not express
his thought. On the contrary, he said, “Surely, uncle, you have much to
live for. You are rich, honored.”

“But I have no one to love me, Hugo,” said the old man, plaintively,
“no one of my own blood. My son is dead, and his son—do you know,
Hugo,” he continued in a different voice, “I cannot get out of my mind
that boy we saw in the circus?”

Hugo shrugged his shoulder, but did not venture to express the
annoyance he felt.

“You mean the—the O’Connor boy,” he said indifferently.

“O’Connor!” replied his uncle, in surprise. “You told me his name was
Oliver Brown.”

“Did I?” said Hugo, flushing. “Oh, well, I had forgotten. The name
didn’t impress me. I thought he was an Irish boy.”

“You said he was born in Montreal, and that his parents lived there
now.”

“Oh, well, no doubt you are right, uncle: you know I didn’t take as
much interest in him as you—”

“True, Hugo; but surely you could detect the wonderful resemblance to
my son Julian.”

“I can’t say I did, uncle; but probably we looked at him with different
eyes.”

“That was natural. How much do you think they pay him in the circus,
Hugo?”

“Really, uncle, I haven’t the slightest idea. I never knew any circus
people. Four or five dollars a week, perhaps.”

“I have been thinking, Hugo, I should like to have that boy live with
me.”

“You can’t be in earnest, uncle,” said Hugo, very disagreeably
surprised.

“Why not? He may not be akin to me; but he looks like my dead son, and
for that resemblance I could come to love him. It would be a great
comfort to me to see him every day, and have him come in and out. He
might read to me, and so relieve you of some of your duties, Hugo.”

“But I have never asked to be relieved of them, uncle,” said Hugo,
bashfully.

“I know that, Hugo, but he would be company for us both. I want you
to go and bring him back with you. You can find out how much they pay
him at the circus, and offer him more to come here. I will give him a
chance to study, engage masters for him, and—”

“Make him your heir, I suppose,” said Hugo to himself, with a dark
frown, which his uncle did not see; “not if I am able to prevent it.
My uncle must think I am a fool to bring into the house so dangerous
a rival. After waiting so many weary years for Chestnutwood, does he
think I am going to let it drift into the hands of an unknown boy
simply because he looks like my cousin Julian?”

These thoughts passed through the mind of Hugo Richmond, but it is
needless to say that he did not give utterance to them, or to anything
like them. His course was not to oppose strongly any whim of his uncle,
but to seemingly assent, and then oppose it secretly, while the old man
thought him to be promoting it.

Nevertheless Hugo was very much annoyed at the present caprice of his
uncle, as he chose to style it.

“I wish I had never gone into that circus,” he reflected, with
annoyance. “Till then my uncle’s mind was at rest, and he didn’t
trouble himself with the thought that Julian’s son might still be
alive. Now the mischief has been done, and the sight of that boy has
upset him and endangered my prospects. Who would have thought that such
a chance visit would have led to such results? Well, well, it is going
to give me some trouble, but I am master of the situation, and my uncle
shall never again set eyes on that boy if I can prevent it.”

Hugo took his hat and went out to look after some laborers who were at
work in the rear of the lawn, when his attention was drawn to a rather
shabby-looking figure approaching the house.

Hugo stopped short, till the stranger should come up. He intended to
warn him off the grounds, as an intruder.

“Look here, my man,” he said, with an air of authority, “are you aware
that these are private grounds?”

“I suppose they are,” said the intruder, smiling.

Hugo was surprised to see that he showed no confusion or timidity, but
stood his ground boldly. The fellow’s unconcern nettled him.

“Then, if you suppose they are,” he said, sharply, “you must know
that you are trespassing. You can have no business here, and the best
course, if you wish to avoid trouble, is to turn about and gain the
highway as speedily as possible.”

Hugo fancied that this would be sufficient to put the intruder to
flight, but he was mistaken.

“Who told you I had no business here?” he asked.

“Don’t be impertinent! A man like you can have no business here unless
you wish to obtain a position as laborer, and we have no vacancy of
that kind.”

The intruder held out his hands and said, quietly: “Do them look like
the hands of a laborer?”

Hugo glanced at them. They were as white and unsoiled by any of the
outward evidences of manual labor as his own. Yet the man was shabbily
dressed, and looked poor. Be that as it might, he had never been
accustomed to labor with his hands.

“No,” answered Hugo, “but that isn’t in your favor. However, I have no
further time to waste with you. Leave these grounds at once.”

“Not until I have had some further conversation with you, Mr. Hugo
Richmond,” said the visitor, regarding Hugo fixedly.

“Who are you?” demanded Hugo, abruptly. “You know my name, it seems.
Have I ever known you?”

“Yes.”

“What is your name?”

“Fitzgerald.”

“I aver that you are he,” said Hugo, after a brief glance of scrutiny,
“though I should hardly have known you. I am glad you are come. I was
wishing particularly to see you.”

Fitzgerald looked surprised. He had fancied that he would be an
unwelcome, perhaps a dreaded apparition, yet here was the man who he
had thought would be disturbed at his appearance actually expressing
his pleasure at meeting him.

“Then I am glad I came,” he said. “I thought perhaps you would be sorry
to see me.”

“So I should have been a week since. Now something has occurred which
makes a meeting between us desirable.”

“Is your uncle dead?” asked the visitor, with eager interest.

“No, he is still living,” returned Hugo, with a half unconscious sigh
of regret. “Walk with me to yonder summer-house. I must have some
serious conversation with you.”

Fitzgerald followed, wondering considerably what Hugo had to say
to him, and the two sat down in a summer-house or rustic arbor at
some distance from the house, where there were not likely to be any
listeners to their speech.

When they were seated Hugo asked abruptly, “What did you do with
Julian’s boy?”

Fitzgerald started in some surprise, and perhaps embarrassment, and
answered, “You know very well, Mr. Hugo. He died of scarlet fever.”

“So you reported, and I was quite ready to accept the report without
inquiring into particulars. Now I have reason to doubt your statement.”

“Oh, well, he may have died of something else,” said Fitzgerald,
shrugging his shoulders. “As long as he died, I suppose it didn’t
matter to you what was the nature of his disease?”

“Not if he were really dead.”

“You don’t doubt that, do you?”

“Yes, I do; moreover, I am quite convinced that it is false.”

“Then you had better keep it to yourself,” suggested Fitzgerald with
a cunning smile, “since the boy, if alive, would be his grandfather’s
heir.”

“But suppose his grandfather suspects he is living?”

“That would alter matters. But why should he suspect?”

“Fitzgerald, do you know where this boy is?” asked Hugo, searchingly.

“I don’t even know that he is living. If you do you know more than I do
about him.”

“You know, at least, that he did not die at the time you reported his
death.”

“Well, I don’t mind confessing as much as that.”

“_You played me false!_” said Hugo, with angry bitterness.

“Suppose I did?” retorted Fitzgerald, defiantly. “That’s better than to
kill an innocent boy, isn’t it?”

“Hush!” exclaimed Hugo, in alarm. “Don’t use such words. They might be
overheard.”

“How do you know the boy is alive?” asked Fitzgerald, after a pause.

“I saw him myself within a week.”

“Where?”

“At Crampton, in a circus performance; the boy was riding bareback in
the ring. He is called on the bills, ‘The Boy Wonder,’ and is a daring
and graceful rider. Julian was always fond of horses.”

“What name does he bear?”

“Robert Rudd.”

“Are you sure it is Julian’s son?”

“As sure as I need be. He is the perfect image of my cousin at his age.”

“The boy has no suspicion of his origin, I suppose?”

“Not the slightest.”

“Then why need you be troubled?”

“Because my uncle was with me, and he, too, noticed the extraordinary
resemblance of the boy-rider to his son. Ever since he has been
restless, and now he insists upon my seeking out the boy, and bringing
him here to live with him.”

Fitzgerald whistled.

“That would make a dark lookout for you, Mr. Hugo,” he said.

“Of course it would. Besides, if the boy knew anything of his past
history, my uncle would be readily convinced that it was really his
grandson, and I would be set aside as the heir to Chestnutwood.”

“I see.”

“Now tell me, Fitzgerald, how does it happen that the boy has been
trained up to such a career?”

“I can’t tell positively. I gave a tramp a sum of money to take charge
of him and carry him about, passing him off as his own son. I suppose
the man died and the boy fell in with some circus people, who saw that
they could make use of him.”

“That seems plausible enough,” said Hugo, thoughtfully. “At any rate
our concern is not with the past, but with the future. I suppose you
are not exactly prosperous?”

Fitzgerald drew a purse from his pocket, and extracted a twenty-five
cent coin.

“That is all the money I have,” he answered.

“Do you feel like going into my employment again?”

“Yes.”

“Then we will see if between us we cannot stave off this danger which
threatens my prospects.”

There was a lengthened conference, into the particulars of which
we need not enter, stating only that Robert was the subject of it.
Fitzgerald left Chestnutwood that same evening, plentifully supplied
with money.

Continue Reading

THE CANVAS MAN

When Mr. Tarbox came to understand how he had been hoaxed by the boys
he was furious, but his anger was ineffectual, for there seemed no way
in which he could retaliate. He had had his opportunity in the woods,
but that had passed, and was not likely to come again. Meanwhile he
found it hard to bear the jocose inquiries of his neighbors touching
his encounter with the “tiger.”

For instance, the next day he met the constable in the street.

“How are you, Mr. Tarbox?” inquired Spriggins, smiling.

“Well enough,” growled Tarbox, quickening his pace.

“I hear you had an adventure with a tiger yesterday,” said the
constable, with a waggish smile.

“Suppose I did!” he snapped.

“Ho, ho! Were you very much frightened?” continued the constable.

“I wasn’t half so much scared as you were when I wanted you to arrest
the giant.”

It was the constable’s turn to look embarrassed. “Who said I was
afraid?”

“It was enough to look at you,” said Tarbox.

“Well, maybe I was a little flustered,” admitted Spriggins. “Who
wouldn’t be afraid of a man ten feet high? They do say, Tarbox, that
you did some pretty tall running, and there wasn’t no tiger loose after
all.”

And Mr. Constable indulged in a chuckle which irritated the farmer
intensely. He resolved to retaliate.

“Do you know where I am goin’, Spriggins?” he asked.

“No.”

“Then I’ll tell you,” answered Tarbox, with a malicious smile. “I’m
goin’ to Squire Price to get another warrant for the arrest of
Anak—I’ve found out that that’s his name—and I’m goin’ to get you to
serve it.”

The constable’s countenance changed. “Don’t be foolish, Mr. Tarbox,” he
said.

“I understand my business, Spriggins, and I shall expect you to do
yours. I’ll see you again in half an hour.”

“I may not be at home; I expect I’ve got to go over to Medville.”

“Then put it off. Your duty to the State is ahead of all private
business.”

He went on his way leaving Mr. Spriggins in a very uneasy frame of
mind. When he went home to supper, he said to his wife: “Mrs. S., after
supper I’m going up into the attic, and if Nathan Tarbox comes round
and asks for me, you say that I’m out of town.”

“But it wouldn’t be true, Spriggins,” replied his wife.

“I know it won’t; but he wants me to arrest the giant, and it’s as much
as my life is worth,” answered the constable, desperately. “I don’t
think I’m a coward, but I ain’t a match for a giant.”

The farmer, however, did not come round. He had only made the statement
to frighten Spriggins, and retaliate upon him for his joke about the
tiger.

In the afternoon Robert, while out for a walk, fell in with one
of the canvas men, a rough-looking fellow, named, or at least he
called himself, Carden. Canvas men, as may be inferred from the name,
are employed in putting up and taking down the circus tent, and
are generally an inferior set of men, not differing much from the
professional tramp. Robert, who, in spite of his asseverations, had
considerable self-respect and proper pride, never mingled much with
them, and for that reason was looked upon as “putting on airs.” His
friend, Charlie Davis, was much more popular with them.

“Hallo, Robert,” said Carden, familiarly.

The canvas man was smoking a short, dirty clay pipe, and would have
made an admirable model for a picture of a tramp.

“Hello, Carden!” said Robert, coolly.

“Walkin’ for your health?” asked the canvas man, in the same
disagreeably familiar tone.

“Partly.”

Carden was walking by his side, and Robert did not like the familiarity
which this would seem to imply.

“Pretty good town, this!” continued Carden, socially.

“Yes.”

“Sorry I haven’t another pipe to offer you, Robert, my boy.”

“Thank you; I shouldn’t use it.”

“Don’t mean to say you don’t smoke, eh, Bob?”

“I don’t smoke.”

“That is, not a pipe—I dare say you wouldn’t mind a cigar or
cigarette, now.”

“I don’t smoke at all now. I did once, but found it was injuring me,
and gave it up.”

“Oh, it won’t hurt you. I’ve smoked since I was a chap so
high”—indicating a point about three feet from the ground—”and I
ain’t dead yet.”

Robert did not reply to this, but looked around anxiously for some
pretext to leave his unwelcome companion.

Just then they passed a wayside saloon.

“Come in, Bob, and have a drink!” said Carden, laying his hand upon the
boy’s shoulder. “It’ll do you good to whet your whistle.”

“No, thank you,” said Robert, shrinking from the man’s touch.

“Oh, don’t be foolish. A little whiskey’ll do you good.”

“Thank you, I would rather not.”

Meantime Carden was searching in his pocket for a silver coin, but his
search was fruitless.

“I say, Bob, I am out of tin. Come in and treat?”

“You must excuse me, Mr. Carden,” said Robert, coldly.

“Come, don’t be stingy! You get good pay, and can afford to stand
treat. We poor canvas men only have $15 a month.”

“If this will do you any good,” said Robert, producing a silver
quarter, “you are welcome to it.”

“Thank you; you’d better come in, too.”

Robert sacrificed the coin to regain his freedom, as Carden’s entering
the saloon seemed to offer the only mode of release.

“What a stuck-up young jackanapes!” muttered Carden, as he entered the
saloon. “He thinks a deal of himself, and don’t want to have nought to
do with me because I’m a poor canvas man. I doubt he’s got a good deal
of money hid away somewhere, for he don’t spend much. I heard Charlie
Davis say the other day Bob had $200.”

Carden’s eyes glittered with cupidity as the thought passed through his
mind.

“I’d like to get hold of it,” he muttered to himself. “It would be a
fortune for a poor canvas man, and he wouldn’t miss it, for he could
soon gain as much more. I wonder where he keeps it.”

“It’s the worst of the life I lead,” said Robert to himself, as he
walked on, “that I am thrown into the company of such men as that. It
isn’t because they are poor that I object to them, for I am not rich
myself; but a man needn’t be low because he is poor and earning small
pay. I suppose Carden and the other canvas men think I am proud because
I don’t seek their company, but they are mistaken. I have nothing in
common with them, except that we are all in the employ of the same
manager. Besides, I do talk with Madigan. He is a canvas man, but he
has had a good education and is fitted for something better, and only
takes up with this rather than be idle.”

Half an hour after, Charlie Davis joined him.

“Rob,” said Charlie, “I met Carden, just now. He was half drunk, and
pitching into you.”

“He ought not, for I had just lent him a quarter.”

“He said you were too proud to drink with him.”

“That is true, though I wouldn’t drink with one I had more respect for.”

“He asked me where you kept your money. You’d better look out for him.”

“I shall. I have no doubt he is capable of robbing me, and I would
rather spend my own money myself.”

“I’m not afraid of his robbing me,” said Charlie.

“No, I suppose not; but I wish you would save some of your money, so as
to have something worth stealing.”

“Oh, I’ll begin to save sometime.”

It was perhaps the thought of this conversation that led Robert in the
evening after the entertainment was over, or rather after his part of
it was over, to walk round to one of the circus wagons, in which, in a
small closet, he kept some of his clothing and the whole of his money.

As he came up he saw in the darkness the crouching figure of a man
trying the lock of his compartment with one of a bunch of keys he held
in his hand.

“What are you doing here?” demanded Robert, in a quick, imperious tone.

The man, like all who are engaged in a disreputable deed, started
suddenly and half rose from his crouching position, still holding the
keys in his hand. He did not answer immediately, probably because it
was rather difficult to decide what to say.

“What are you doing here?” demanded Robert, once more.

“None of your business!” answered the man, whose temper got the better
of his prudence.

“I should think it was my business, as you were trying to get at my
property.”

“That’s a lie!” said the man, sullenly.

As he spoke he stepped out of the wagon, and Robert recognized him as
the canvas man, Carden, introduced in the last chapter.

“It’s the truth,” said Robert firmly. “I know you, Carden, and I am not
much surprised. It won’t do to try it again.”

“I’ve a great mind to thrash you for your impudence!” growled Carden.

“I can defend myself,” returned Robert, coolly, who had plenty of
courage.

Carden laughed derisively.

“What can you do?” he said. “You’d be like a baby in my grasp.”

“I am not afraid of you,” said Robert, with composure. “Don’t come
around here again.”

“I shall go where I please,” said Carden, with the addition of an oath.
“And don’t you go to telling tales of me, or I’ll wring your neck.”

Robert did not answer, but when Carden had slunk away, opened the
locker himself, and took out a wallet filled with bills.

“It is imprudent to leave so much money here,” he reflected. “If I
hadn’t come up just as I did, Carden would have got hold of it. What
shall I do with it?”

Robert felt that it would not do to carry it round with him, as that
would be about as imprudent as to leave it in the locker. He decided
after a little reflection upon leaving it with the manager of the
circus, in whom he had every confidence, and deservedly. He accordingly
sought Mr. Coleman after the entertainment was over.

“Well, Robert, what is it?” asked the manager, kindly.

“I have a favor to ask of you, sir.”

“Very well; what is it?”

“I came near losing all my savings to-night. Will you take charge of
this wallet for me? I don’t feel safe with it in my possession.”

“Certainly, Robert. How much money have you here?”

“Two hundred dollars.”

“Whew! You are rich. You say you came near losing it?”

“Yes, to-night.”

“How was that?”

Robert detailed his visit to his locker, and his discovery of the
canvas man attempting to open it, but he mentioned no names.

“Which of the canvas men was it?” asked Mr. Coleman.

Robert hesitated.

“I don’t want to get the man into trouble,” he said.

“That does you credit, but if we have a thief with us it is important
that we should know it, for there are others whom he may try to rob.”

From what he knew of Carden, Robert felt that the apprehension was very
well founded, and he saw that it was his duty to mention the name of
the thief.

“It was Carden,” he answered.

“The very man I suspected,” said the manager. “The other men are rough,
but he looks like a scoundrel. He came to me and begged for work, and
I engaged him, though I knew nothing about him. I shall see him in the
morning, and discharge him.”

The manager did not forget. The next morning he summoned Carden, and
said, quietly, “Carden, you are no longer in my employ. I will pay you
to the end of the week, but I want you to leave now.”

“What’s that for?” growled the canvas man, looking ugly.

“It’s on account of what happened last night,” said the manager.

“Has that young fool been blabbing about me?”

“I have said nothing about any one.”

“No, but I know Robert Rudd’s been telling tales about me.”

“He answered my questions, but said he didn’t want to get you into
trouble.”

“Of course not!” sneered Carden. “He’s a nice boy, he is; the young
liar.”

“You seem to know what he said,” observed the manager, eying the man
keenly.

“I s’pose he said I was tryin’ to rob him.”

“He did, and I believed him.”

“Then he lied!” said the man, fiercely. “He’ll repent the day he told
tales about me.”

“That will do, Carden,” said the manager, quietly. “Here’s your money.”

Carden went off swearing. As he was leaving the grounds of the circus
he met Robert.

“You’ve been blabbing about me. I’ll fix you,” he said.

Robert made no reply, for he did not care to get into a dispute with
such a man.

Continue Reading

TRAPPED.

Robert foresaw that trouble was in store for him, as he had seen enough
of the farmer to understand his disposition. However, the boy was not
easily startled, nor was he of a nervous temperament. He looked calmly
at Tarbox and said: “Very well, sir, what do you want of me?”

“What do I want of you? I shouldn’t think you’d need to be told. You
remember me, don’t you?”

“Perfectly well,” answered Robert.

“Perhaps you can remember where you saw me last?”

“In the circus last evening.”

“No, I don’t mean that—before that.”

“In your own field, trying to whip a poor boy who was going to call the
doctor for his sick mother.”

“Look here, boy,” said Tarbox, reddening; “none of your impudence!”

“Did I tell the truth?” asked Robert quietly.

“Never mind whether you did or not. I ain’t going to stand any of your
impudence. Where’s that big brute Enoch?”

“If you mean Anak, I left him in the tent.”

“He needn’t think he can go round insulting and committing assault and
battery on his betters,” said Tarbox.

“You can tell him that if you like, sir; I am not responsible for him.”

“No, but you are responsible for trespassin’ on my grounds.”

“I would do it again if I saw you trying to flog a defenceless boy,”
said Robert, independently.

“You would, hey?” sneered Tarbox. “Well, now, you may change your
opinion on that subject before we part company.”

“Come, Rob, let’s be going,” said Charlie Davis, who didn’t find this
conversation interesting.

“You can go,” said Tarbox; “I hav’nt anything ag’inst you; but this
boy’s got to stay.”

“What for?” asked Charlie.

“What for? He’ll find out what for.”

“If you touch him, I’ll send Anak after you,” said Charlie.

“You will, hey? So you are impudent, too. Well, I’ll have to give you a
lesson, too.”

Tarbox felt that it was time to commence business, and made a grab for
Robert’s collar, but the boy was agile, and quickly dodging ran to one
side.

Charlie Davis laughed, which further annoyed and provoked Mr. Tarbox,
but the wrath of the farmer was chiefly directed against Robert, who
had witnessed his discomfiture at the hands of the Norwegian giant.
He therefore set out to catch the young circus-rider, but Robert was
fleet-footed, and led him a fruitless chase around trees, and Tarbox
was not able to get his hand on him. What annoyed the farmer especially
was that the boy did not seem at all frightened, and it appeared to be
no particular effort to him to elude his grasp.

Tarbox was of a dogged, determined disposition, and the more difficult
he found it to carry out his purpose the more resolved he was to
accomplish it. It would never do to yield to two boys, who both
together had less strength than he. It was different from encountering
Anak, who was a match for three ordinary men.

But Tarbox, in spite of his anger, and in spite of his superior
strength, was destined to come to grief.

He had not paid any special attention to the younger boy, being intent
upon capturing Robert. Charlie, taking advantage of this, picked up a
stout stick, which had apparently been cut for a cane and then thrown
aside, and took it up first with the intention of defending himself,
if necessary. But as Tarbox dashed by without noticing him, a new idea
came to Charlie, and thrusting out the stick so that it passed between
the legs of the pursuer, Tarbox was thrown violently to the ground, on
which he lay for a moment prostrate and bewildered.

“Climb that tree, Rob!” called out Charlie quickly.

Robert accepted the suggestion. He saw that no time was to be lost, and
with the quickness of a trained athlete made his way up the trunk and
into the branches of a tall tree near at hand, while Charlie with equal
quickness took refuge on another.

Tarbox fell with such violence that he was jarred and could not
immediately recover from the shock of his fall. When he did rise he
was more angry than ever. He looked for the two boys and saw what had
become of them. By this time Robert was at least twenty-five feet from
the ground.

“Come down here, you, sir!” said the farmer, his voice shaking with
passion.

“Thank you, sir,” answered Robert coolly; “but at present I find it
more agreeable up here.”

“Come down here, and I’ll give you the worst thrashing you ever had!”

“Your intentions are very kind, but the inducement isn’t sufficient.”

“If I hadn’t fallen just as I did, I’d have had you by this time.”

“That’s just what I thought when I put the stick between your legs,”
called out Charlie Davis from another tree.

It may seem singular, but until then Tarbox had not understood how he
came to fall. He had an idea that he had tripped over the root of a
tree.

“Did you do that?” he asked wrathfully, turning to the smaller boy.

“Yes, I did.”

“If I could catch you, you wouldn’t get out of this wood alive.”

“Then I’m glad you can’t get me,” said Charlie, looking unconcernedly
down upon his stalwart enemy.

“You’re two of the worst boys I ever saw,” proceeded the farmer,
wrathfully.

“And I’m sure you’re the worst man I ever saw.”

“What’s your name?” asked Tarbox, abruptly.

“Charlie Davis; I’m sorry I haven’t got my card with me, or I’d throw
it down to you.”

“I’d like to have the bringing up of you.”

“All right! Perhaps I’ll appoint you my guardian.”

“You’re more impudent than the other one, though you ain’t so big.”

“Are you comin’ down?” he inquired of Robert.

“Not at present.”

“I won’t stir from here till you do, if I have to stay all night.”

This was not a cheerful reflection, for the two boys were expected
to be present and ride in the evening, and their absence would be
regretted, not only by the manager, but also by the public, with whom
they were favorites.

“I say, Rob,” called out Charlie, “how fond he is of our company!”

“So it seems!” responded Robert, who was quite cool but rather annoyed
by the farmer’s persistence.

“I only wish Bruiser were alive!” said Tarbox. “Then I’d know what to
do.”

“What would you do?” asked Charlie.

“I’d leave him to guard you, and then I’d go home and get my gun.”

“What for?”

“I’d soon bring you down if I had that,” answered the farmer, grimly.

“If that’s what you would do I’m glad old Bruiser’s kicked the bucket,”
said Charlie.

“I never shall get such another dog!” said Tarbox, half to himself,
in a mournful voice. “Nobody dared to go across my ground when he was
alive.”

“Was that the dog that Anak killed?” asked Charlie.

“Yes,” answered Robert, briefly. “He was a vicious-looking brute and
deserved to die.”

At that moment Tarbox chanced to notice the stick which had produced
his downfall, and a new idea came to him.

He picked it up, and breaking it in two seized one piece and flung it
with all his force at Robert.

The latter caught and flung it back, knocking off the farmer’s hat.

Tarbox was naturally incensed, and began again to hurl the missile, but
anger disturbed his aim so that this time it went wide of the mark.

“I say, Robert,” said Charlie, “this is interesting.”

“I’m glad you find it so,” answered Robert. “I can’t say I enjoy it.”

“You may just as well come down and take your thrashing now,” said
Tarbox, “for you’re sure to get it.”

“If you’re in a hurry to get home to supper, perhaps we’ll wait for you
here,” suggested Charlie, politely.

“Shut up, you saucebox! You won’t have much appetite for supper!”
retorted Tarbox.

He sat down where he could have a full view of both trees, when
presently he heard Charlie call out in a terrified tone, “Rob, look
there! The tiger’s got loose! See him coming this way! Can he climb
trees?”

Tarbox stopped to hear no more. He sprang to his feet, and without
waiting to bid the boys good-by he took to his heels and fled from the
wood, feeling that his life was in peril.

Robert quickly understood that Tarbox was the victim of a practical
joke, and did his best to help it along. He had amused himself during
his connection with the circus in imitating the cries of wild beasts,
and now from his perch in the tree reproduced the howl of a wolf so
naturally that Tarbox, hearing it, and knowing no better, thought it
proceeded from the throat of the tiger. Of course he increased his
speed, expecting every moment that the dangerous animal would spring
upon him and tear him to pieces.

“If I only had my gun with me,” he reflected in his dismay, “I might be
able to defend myself.”

He lost his hat somewhere on the road, and breathless and hatless
entered his own back door, shutting and bolting it after him, and with
disordered look entered the sitting-room where his wife was seated, in
a comfortable chat with Mrs. Dunlap, a neighbor.

Tarbox sank into a rocking-chair, and, gasping, stared at the two
ladies.

“Good gracious, Nathan!” exclaimed his wife, in a flutter; “what on
earth has happened?”

“Was anything chasin’ ye?” asked Mrs. Dunlap, unconsciously hitting the
mark.

“Yes,” answered Tarbox, in a hollow voice.

“Was it the Norwegian giant?” inquired Mrs. Tarbox, apprehensively.

“Worse!” answered Tarbox, sententiously.

“Worse! Do tell. Good gracious, Nathan, I shall go into a fit if you
don’t tell me right off what it was.”

“It was a tiger!” answered her husband, impressively.

“A tiger!” exclaimed both ladies, startled and affrighted.

“Yes, I’ve had a narrow escape of my life.”

“But where did he come from?” asked Mrs. Dunlap.

“Come from? Where should he come from except from the circus? He broke
loose and now he’s prowling round, seeking whom he may devour.

“O heavens,” exclaimed Mrs. Dunlap, terror-stricken, “and my innocent
children are out picking berries in the pasture.”

“Tigers are fond of children,” said Tarbox, whose hard nature found
pleasure in the dismay of the unhappy mother.

“I must go right home and send for the children,” said the mother, in
an agony of apprehension.

“You may never live to get home,” said Tarbox.

“Oh what shall I do?” said Mrs. Dunlap, wringing her hands. “Won’t you
go home with me, Mr. Tarbox? I can’t stay here with my poor children in
peril.”

“No, I thank you. My life is worth something.”

“You might take your gun, Nathan,” said Mrs. Tarbox, who was stirred by
the grief of her friend.

“Oh yes,” said Tarbox, sarcastically; “you’re very ready to have your
husband’s life exposed. You’d like to be a widow. Maybe you think I’ve
left you all my property.”

“You know, Nathan, I never thought of that. I only thought of poor Mrs.
Dunlap. Think how sad it would be if Jimmy and Florence Ann were torn
to pieces by the terrible tiger.”

There was a fresh outburst of grief from the stricken mother at the
heart-rending thought, but Mr. Tarbox was not moved.

“Mrs. Tarbox,” said he, “if you want to see Mrs. Dunlap home you can
take the gun.”

“Oh, I shouldn’t das’t to,” said Mrs. Tarbox, hastily. “I—I shouldn’t
know how to fire it.”

“I think you’d be more likely to shoot Mrs. Dunlap than the tiger,”
said her husband, derisively.

“Where did you come across the—the monster, Nathan?” asked Mrs.
Tarbox, shuddering.

“In the woods. I heard him roar. I ran from there as fast as I could
come, expecting every minute he would spring upon me.”

“Was there any one else in the wood?”

“Yes,” answered Tarbox, smiling grimly. “There’s two circus boys there.
They clumb into trees. I don’t know whether tigers can climb or not. If
they can they’ve probably made mincemeat of the boys by this time.”

“It’s terrible!” said Mrs. Dunlap, shuddering. “Perhaps my innocent
darlings are in the clutches of the monster at this very moment.”

And the unhappy lady went into a fit of hysterics, from which she was
brought to by a strong bottle of hartshorn held to her nose.

It so happened (happily for her) that her husband at this moment
knocked at the door. He had gone home to find something, and failing
had come to the house of his neighbor to inquire of his wife its
whereabouts. Great was his amazement to find his wife in such agitation.

“What’s the matter?” he asked, looking about him.

“O Thomas, have you heard the terrible news?” said his wife.

“I haven’t heard any terrible news,” was the bewildered reply. “Is
anybody dead?”

“Our two poor innocent darlings may be dead by this time,” sobbed his
wife.

“What does it all mean? Where are they?”

“Out in the berry pasture. The tiger may have caught them by this time.”

“What tiger?”

“The one that’s broken loose from the show.”

“I just came from the tent, and they don’t know anything there of any
tigers breaking loose. Who told you about it?”

“Mr. Tarbox. The tiger chased him all the way home from the woods.”

“That is strange. Did you see him, Mr. Tarbox?”

“I heard him roar,” answered Tarbox, “and he was close behind me all
the way.”

“Are you sure it was a tiger?”

“No; it may have been a lion. Anyhow, it was some wild critter.”

“O husband, do go after our poor children. And take Mr. Tarbox’s gun. I
am sure he will lend it to you.”

“I may need it myself,” said Tarbox, doubtfully.

“Give me a stout stick, and I’ll manage,” said Mr. Dunlap, who was a
more courageous man than his neighbor. “Come along, wife.”

“I—I hope, Mrs. Tarbox, we shall meet again,” said Mrs. Dunlap, as she
kissed her friend a tearful good-by. “I don’t feel sure, for we may
meet the terrible beasts.”

“If you do,” said Mrs. Tarbox, with tearful emotion, “I’ll come to your
funeral.”

Somehow this didn’t seem to comfort Mrs. Dunlap much, for when they
were fairly out of the house she observed sharply, “That woman’s a
fool!”

“You seem to like to call on her, Lucinda.”

“That’s only being neighborly. She has no heart or she wouldn’t allude
so coolly to my funeral. But do let us be getting home as soon as you
can.”

“I tell you what, Lucinda, I don’t take any stock in this cock-and-bull
story of a tiger being loose. I heard nothing of it at the tent.”

“But Mr. Tarbox said it chased him.”

“Tarbox is a coward. But here are two boys coming; they belong to the
circus. I will ask them.”

Robert and Charlie Davis were coming up the road. No sooner had their
enemy fled than they descended from the trees in whose branches they
had taken refuge, and started on their way home, laughing heartily at
the farmer’s fright.

“I say, boys,” said Mr. Dunlap, “don’t you two boys belong to the
circus?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Robert.

“What’s this story I hear about a tiger having escaped from his cage?”

“Who told you?” asked Robert.

“Mr. Tarbox.”

“Did he see him?”

“He said the tiger chased him all the way home.”

Both boys burst into a fit of laughter, rather to the amazement of
Mr. Dunlap and his wife. Then they explained how the farmer had been
humbugged, and Mr. Dunlap shouted with merriment, for Tarbox was very
unpopular in that town, and no one would feel troubled at any deception
practised upon him.

“Then the children are safe?” said Mrs. Dunlap, with a sigh of relief.
“Don’t you think I ought to go and tell Mr. Tarbox?”

“No; let Tarbox stay in the house, like a coward that he is, for fear
of the tiger. It’s a good joke at his expense. That was a pretty smart
trick, boys.”

“Old Tarbox will feel like murdering us if he ever finds out the
truth,” said Charlie.

“He feels so now, so far as I am concerned,” said Robert. “I am not
afraid of him.”

Continue Reading

TWO BOYS ON A TRAMP

When Robert left the ring, the old man sank back into his seat, and his
interest in the performance ceased. For some reason his nephew also was
anxious to leave the tent.

“Uncle,” he said, “hadn’t we better go back to the hotel? It will be
too fatiguing for you to remain here all the evening.”

“Will that boy ride again?” asked Mr. Richmond, eagerly.

“No, he is not to appear again.”

“Then I think I will go. As you say, I may feel fatigued.”

There was a hack in waiting to convey them back to the hotel, for the
distance was too great for a feeble old man to walk.

When they reached the hotel, Mr. Richmond went at once to his chamber,
attended by his nephew.

“You had better go to bed at once, uncle,” said Hugo, and he prepared
to leave the room.

“Stay a moment, Hugo. I want to speak to you,” said the old man.

“Very well, uncle,” and Hugo seated himself.

“The sight of that boy has affected me strangely, Hugo,” said Mr.
Richmond. “He seems just what Julian was at his age.”

“You said so before, uncle,” said Hugo, in a tone of annoyance; “but I
assure you there is nothing in it. My eyes are better than yours, and I
could see no likeness.”

“Suppose Julian’s child were living,” proceeded Mr. Richmond, not
heeding his nephew’s last speech, “he would be about the age of that
boy.”

“There are tens of thousands of boys about the same age, uncle,” said
Hugo, flippantly.

“Yes, but they haven’t his look,” returned the old man, shrewdly.

“Really, uncle, you are troubling yourself to no purpose. The son of
Julian died when he was four years old, as Fitzgerald reported to us.”

“He might be mistaken. If he only were!” exclaimed the old man, with
deep emotion. “How bright my few remaining years would be if I had
Julian’s son with me!”

“No doubt. But he is dead, and we may as well give up all thoughts of
such a possibility. Besides, uncle, you have me, and I try to do all
I can for you. If I have failed, I deeply regret it,” continued Hugo,
assuming a tone of sorrow.

“No, no; I have no fault to find with you, Hugo,” said his uncle,
hastily. “You are devoted to me, as I am well aware; but you cannot be
to me what a son or a grandson might be.”

“No, I suppose not,” said Hugo, with a sneer which his uncle did not
detect. “But I am afraid, uncle, you will have to be content with my
humble services, however unacceptable they may be.”

“Nay, Hugo, I do not mean to mortify you. I am truly grateful for your
devotion, and you will find it to be so when I am gone.”

“You are a long time going!” thought Hugo, as his cold glance rested on
the trembling form of his uncle. “It is exasperating that you should
linger so, cutting me off perhaps for half a dozen years longer from
the enjoyment of the estate which is one day to be mine.”

It was well that the old man could not read the thoughts of the man in
whom he placed so much confidence. He little knew the cold, crafty,
scheming character of the man who supplied to him the place of son and
grandson.

“If you have no more to say, uncle, I will leave you,” said Hugo,
rising.

“I came near forgetting. I want you to find out all about that boy and
let me know. The manager boards at this hotel.”

“Still harping on the boy!” muttered Hugo. “Very well, uncle, I will do
as you say.”

“Thank you, Hugo. I shall feel more easy in mind when I have learned.”

As Hugo left the room, he said to himself, “I will do as my uncle
requests, but for my own benefit, not his. Though I would not confess
it to him, the resemblance to my cousin is startling. I don’t wonder
Uncle Cornelius noticed it. Can it be possible that Fitzgerald deceived
me, and that the boy is really alive, and is a bareback circus-rider?
He is capable of playing me false. If he has done so, I must at all
hazards prevent my uncle finding it out. The estate of Chestnutwood,
for which I have schemed so long, must be mine. The life of a frail
old man alone separates me from it now, but if this boy were found, then
I should sink back to my life of humble dependence. It shall never be!”

It was not yet 10 o’clock, and Hugo was in no mood for bed. He went
down-stairs and remained in the bar room till the return of the hotel
guests who were connected with the circus.

Towards 10.30, Mr. Coleman, proprietor of the circus, entered the
office of the hotel. He was in good spirits, for there had been a large
attendance at the first performance, and the prospects of a successful
season were flattering.

“Good evening, Mr. Coleman,” said Hugo, approaching the manager, to
whom he had been introduced; “did your first performance pass off well?”

“It was immense, sir, immense! I am proud of Crampton! It has received
me royally,” returned the manager, enthusiastically.

“I am glad to hear it. May I offer you a cigar?”

“Thank you, sir.”

“You will find mine choicer than any you can procure here. I spent a
part of the evening at the tent.”

“I hope you didn’t get tired.”

“Oh, no; that was not the cause of my coming away. The fact is, my
uncle, who was with me, became fatigued (he is a very old man), and I
felt obliged to come home with him. I should have been glad to stay
till the close.”

“It’s a pity you did. Coleman’s circus, though I do say it myself, has
no superior on the road this season.”

“I can easily believe it, sir. By the way, I was rather interested in
the bareback riding.”

“It takes everywhere. I have two of the smartest boy riders in the
country.”

“Where did you pick them up?” asked Hugo, with assumed carelessness.

“The younger one, Charlie Davis, comes from Canada.”

“My attention was particularly attracted to the other.”

“Robert Rudd?”

“Yes, if that is his name. How long has he been with you?”

“Two seasons. Before that he was with another smaller circus.”

“How long has he been riding?”

“Ever since he was eight or nine years old. That boy is perfectly
fearless with horses. Not many grown men can ride as well. And that
isn’t all! I could easily make a lion tamer of him if he were willing.
He has a wonderful power over the wild beasts. I believe he would go
into their cages and they wouldn’t offer to harm him.”

“My cousin Julian had a passion for horses,” thought Hugo. “If this boy
were his son he would come honestly by his taste.”

“You don’t know how he came to adopt such a life, do you?” he asked.

“No; I believe the boy was alone in the world. I have heard him say he
was under the care of a man who called himself his uncle, but for whom
he does not seem to entertain any affection. Whether this man deserted
him, or he ran away from the man, I don’t know. At any rate he fell
in with some men in our business, and a well-known rider, seeing that
the boy was quick and daring, offered to instruct him in his special
line. The boy accepted, and that is the way he drifted into the show
business.”

“You say he has no relatives?”

“None that he knows of.”

“Has he any education?”

“He can read and write, and I believe he knows something of arithmetic.
He is smart enough, if he ever got an opportunity, to learn. I am
selfish, however, and should not like to lose him, though I might
consent if he could better himself. You see, sir, although I am in the
show business myself, I don’t consider it a very desirable career for
a boy to follow. I’ve got a boy of my own, but I have placed him at
boarding-school, and he shall never, with my permission, join a circus.
You’ll think it strange, Mr. Richmond, but so far as I know, Henry has
never yet witnessed a circus performance.”

“I quite agree with you, Mr. Coleman,” said Hugo. “Then I offer you
another cigar.”

“Thanks, but I never smoke but one just before going to bed. If you are
here to-morrow evening I shall be glad to offer you a ticket to the
show.”

“Thank you, but I must get away to-morrow with my uncle.”

As Hugo went up-stairs to his room he said to himself, “It is high time
we left the place, for the manager’s story leads me to think this boy
may be my cousin’s son after all. My uncle must never know or suspect
it, or my hopes of an inheritance are blasted.”

The next morning when Hugo entered his uncle’s apartment, according to
custom, the old man asked eagerly, “Did you learn anything about the
boy, Hugo?”

“Yes, uncle, I learned all about him. He was born in Montreal, and
his father and mother live there now. He sends them half his earnings
regularly. His name—that is, his real name—is Oliver Brown.”

Mr. Richmond never thought of doubting the truth of this smoothly-told
fiction, but he was greatly disappointed. He sighed deeply, and when
Hugo proposed to continue their journey that day he made no objection.

“Mr. Tarbox, where on earth have you been?” inquired his wife, when her
liege lord returned about 11.30 o’clock.

“I’ve been to the circus,” said the farmer shortly.

“Oh, why didn’t you take me, Nathan? I’ve always wanted to go to the
circus,” said Mrs. Tarbox in a tone of disappointment.

“It isn’t a fit place for you,” said her husband.

“You went!” said his wife, significantly. “If it’s a fit place for you,
why isn’t it for me?”

“Do you think I went there for pleasure? You ought to know me better
than to suppose I would visit such a demoralizing spectacle for
amusement.”

“Then why did you go?”

“I went to arrest that brute who kicked Bruiser to death and assaulted
me. That’s why I went.”

“Did he feel bad when you arrested him?” asked Mrs. Tarbox, with
natural curiosity.

“No; I had to defer it, for the warrant wasn’t rightly made out.”

“Dear me! Did it take all the evening?” asked his wife.

“Peace, woman! You ask too many questions,” said Tarbox, who found it
rather difficult to explain matters.

“It must have been so nice to see the circus,” murmured Mrs. Tarbox;
“but I am sure I should have been afraid of the giant.”

“There was a fat woman,” growled Tarbox, “who looked as silly as you
do. I dare say she wasn’t, though.”

“How funny you are. Nathan!” said his wife, who wasn’t at all
sensitive. “How was she dressed?”

“How on earth should I know? She didn’t wear a coat and pantaloons.”

“It must take a sight of calico to make her a dress. How much does she
weigh?”

“Two tons, more or less,” answered Tarbox.

“Good gracious!” ejaculated his simple-minded wife. “I never heard the
like. Do let me go to the circus, husband. I should so like to see her.”

“You might never come back alive. There’s lions, and tigers and wild
cats all around. They often break out of their cages and kill a dozen
people before they can be stopped.”

Mrs. Tarbox turned pale and gave up her idea of going to the circus.

“You’d make a nice meal for a tiger. They’re fond of bones,” continued
the farmer, grimly.

“O, Nathan, don’t say another word. I wouldn’t go now if I could get in
for nothing.”

The next day, after a consultation with Squire Price and the constable,
Mr. Tarbox concluded that it wouldn’t be worth while to obtain a new
warrant for the arrest of the giant, as he had reason to believe that
Mr. Spriggins would go out of town to avoid serving it. It was hard
to give up his cherished scheme of vengeance, particularly as he had
already expended a dollar in vain; but there seemed no alternative.

“One thing I can do,” he said to himself; “if I can get hold of that
boy that was with Enoch I’ll give him a thrashing. He trespassed on
my grounds, and I saw him laugh when the brute kicked Bruiser. I can
manage him, anyway.”

There was no afternoon performance at the circus except on Wednesday
and Saturday, and Robert and his friend Charlie Davis were at leisure.

“Let’s go on a tramp, Charlie,” said Robert, after they had eaten
dinner.

“I’m with you,” said Charlie. “Where shall we go?”

“Oh, well, we’ll go across the fields. Perhaps we’ll go into the woods.
Anything for fun.”

The two boys set out about two o’clock, and after reaching the borders
of the village took a path across the fields.

“I wish nuts were ripe, Rob,” said Charlie. “We’d have a nice time
knocking them off the trees. Do you remember last fall up in Maine?”

“Yes, but it’s June now, and we can’t have any fun of that kind.
However, we can have a good time. Do you see those bars?”

“Yes.”

“I’m going to vault over them.”

“All right. I’ll follow.”

Robert ran swiftly, and cleared the bars without touching them. Charlie
followed, but, being a shorter boy, felt obliged to let his hand rest
on the upper bar. They were accustomed to springing from the ring upon
the backs of horses, and practice had made that easy to them which was
difficult for ordinary boys.

“I say, Charlie,” said Robert, thoughtfully, as they subsided into a
walk, “what are you going to do when you are a man?”

“Ride, I suppose.”

“In the circus?”

“Of course.”

“I don’t think I shall.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to be a circus rider all my life.”

“I should think you would. Ain’t you the Boy Wonder?”

“I shan’t be the Boy Wonder when I’m twenty-five years old.”

“You can’t make so much money any other way.”

“Perhaps not; but money isn’t everything I think of. I would like to
get a better education and settle down to some regular business.”

“There’s more fun in circus riding,” said Charlie, who was not as
thoughtful a boy as his companion.

“I don’t see much fun in it,” said Robert. “It is exciting, I know,
but it’s dangerous. Any day, if your nerves are not steady, you are
likely to fall and break a limb, and then good-by to your riding.”

“There’s no use in thinking about that.”

“I think there is. What could we do if we had to give up riding?”

“Oh, something would turn up,” said Charlie, who was of an easy
disposition. “We might take tickets or keep the candy stand.”

“That wouldn’t be very good employment for a man. No, Charlie, I think
this will be my last season at circus riding.”

“What will you do?”

“I am saving money so that, at the end of the season, I can have
something to keep me while I am looking round.”

“You don’t say so, Rob! How much have you saved up?”

“I’ve got about two hundred dollars saved up already.”

Charlie whistled.

“I had no idea you were so rich,” he said. “Why, I haven’t got five
dollars.”

“You might have. You are paid enough.”

“Oh, it goes some way. I guess I’ll begin to save, too.”

“I wish you would. Then if you want to leave the circus at the end of
the season we’ll go somewhere together, and look for a different kind
of work. We can take a room together in Boston or New York, eat at the
restaurants, and look for something.”

“I don’t know but I should like going to New York,” said Charlie.

By this time they had reached the edge of the woods, and were probably
a mile or more from the town. There was no underbrush, but the trees
rose clear and erect, and presented a cool and pleasant prospect to
the boys, who had become warm with walking. So far as they knew,
they were alone, but in this they were mistaken. Mr. Tarbox had some
wood-land near by, and he had gone out to look at it, when, alike to
his surprise and gratification, his eyes rested on the two boys, whom
he at once recognized as belonging to the circus, having seen them ride
the evening before. He didn’t care particularly for Charlie Davis, but
Robert Rudd had been with Anak when he inflicted upon him so mortifying
personal chastisement, and he looked upon the boy as an accomplice of
the man.

“That’s the very boy I wanted to see,” said Tarbox to himself, with a
cruel smile. “I can’t manage that overgrown brute, but I can manage
him. I’ll give the boy a lesson, and that’ll be better than nothing.”

Tarbox was naturally a tyrant and a bully, and, like most men of his
character, was delighted when he could get hold of a person of inferior
strength.

“Oh ho!” he said to himself, “the boy can’t escape me now.”

“Look here, boy,” he said, in an impatient tone.

Robert turned quickly, and saw the frowning face of Tarbox.

Continue Reading

THE EVENING ENTERTAINMENT

The performance had not commenced—indeed, half an hour would elapse
before the hour fixed—and several of the performers were to be seen
among the spectators about the cages of the animals. One of these
Tarbox recognized.

“Look at that boy!” he said, clutching the constable’s arm.

He pointed to Robert Rudd and Charlie Davis, the two young riders, who
were walking together.

“What of him?” asked Spriggins.

“That’s the young villain that was with Enoch.”

Spriggins inwardly wished that the warrant was for Robert instead of
the giant.

“Why didn’t you arrest him instead of the giant?” he asked.

“Perhaps I will yet, for he trespassed on my grounds; but it was Enoch
that shook me up and killed Bruiser. Look here, young feller,” he
said, addressing Robert.

Robert turned and smiled as he recognized the farmer.

“Oh, it’s you,” he answered.

“Yes, it’s me,” answered Tarbox sternly. “Where is Enoch?”

“Who do you mean?”

“That overgrown brute that was with you this afternoon.”

Charlie Davis asked a question in a low voice of Robert, and then
turning to Tarbox before Robert had a chance to answer him asked: “Do
you want to buy a dog, mister?”

“You’re too small! I don’t want a puppy!” answered Tarbox, scowling.

“Oh, you’re too fresh!” answered Charlie, rather annoyed, particularly
as Robert laughed.

“Why don’t you answer me, boy?” demanded Tarbox angrily.

“I will conduct you to my friend, the Norwegian giant,” answered Robert
politely.

“Come along, Spriggins!” said Mr. Tarbox, pulling after him the
reluctant constable.

Spriggins would have enjoyed a leisurely examination of the Albino
sisters, the wild man from Borneo, the living skeleton, and the fat
lady, but none of them had attractions for Mr. Tarbox, whose soul was
fired by the desire for revenge. All too soon they reached the chair
where in massive dignity sat Anak, the Norwegian giant.

As Anak’s eyes rested on the approaching visitors, he looked amused.

“I’m glad to see you, my friend,” he called out, in the deep tones
natural to him, to Tarbox.

“And I’m glad to see you,” said Tarbox, spitefully. “I came here
expressly to see you.”

“You’re very kind,” said Anak. “Take a good look. There ain’t so much
of me as there is of my friend, Mme. Leonora,” with a wave of the hand
towards the fat lady; “but you can look at me as much as you want to.”

“I shall soon see you in a prison cell,” said Mr. Tarbox, sternly.
“Constable Spriggins, do your duty, sir.”

Poor Spriggins gazed at the immense man before him, with his heart
gradually sinking down into his boots. Never in all his life had he
been placed in such an embarrassing position. What utter nonsense it
was for him to think of leading out such a monster by the collar. Why,
he couldn’t begin to reach up to Anak’s collar.

“Can’t we compromise this thing?” he asked, faintly.

“No, we can’t, Spriggins; I insist upon your doin’ your duty.”

“What do you want?” asked Anak, in some curiosity.

“Produce your warrant, Spriggins,” said Tarbox.

The constable mechanically drew it out from his inside pocket.

Tarbox saw that he must take the initiative, and he was perfectly
willing to do so.

“Enoch,” he said, “this man is an officer of the law. He has a warrant
for your arrest.”

“For my arrest?” inquired Anak, opening his eyes in amazed surprise.

“Yes, for assault and battery on me, Nathan Tarbox, and the murder of
my dog, Bruiser. Such things can be done in Norway, p’r’aps, but they
ain’t allowed in the State of Massachusetts. Spriggins, do your duty.”

The constable looked at the giant uncomfortably, and edged away a
little.

“What!” said Anak, shaking his sides, “does he want to arrest me?”

“Yes,” said Tarbox, grimly. “Spriggins, read the warrant.”

“Read it yourself, Mr. Tarbox.”

Tarbox did so with evident enjoyment, but Anak’s enjoyment seemed no
less.

“Ho, ho, ho!” he shouted. “This is a joke!”

“You won’t find it much of a joke,” said Tarbox. “Come, Spriggins, do
your duty.”

“Mr. Enoch,” said the constable, in a trembling voice, “if you’ll come
with me without making any fuss, I’ll see that you are well treated.”

“Suppose I don’t?” said Anak.

Spriggins looked helplessly at Tarbox. That was a question he could not
answer.

“Then it’ll be the worse for you,” said Tarbox, who was always ready to
make up for his companion’s deficiencies.

“Can’t you wait till the performance is over?” asked the giant, smiling.

“To be sure,” said Spriggins, quickly. “Anything to oblige.”

“No,” said Tarbox, decidedly. “The warrant must be served now. You have
no discretion.”

“I’d like to oblige the gentleman,” said the constable, who wanted to
avoid trouble and see the performance.

“You can’t. It won’t be allowed.”

“What’s the use of losing the benefit of our money, Mr. Tarbox?”

“That’s my affair. I don’t want to see the circus. I consider it a
wicked snare to lure souls to Satan.”

“But I don’t; you can go, you know,” suggested Spriggins.

“No; I shall stay here to see that you do your duty.”

“You have no charge over me,” said the constable, with some spirit.

“All the same you need looking after. Enoch, if you defy the law you’ll
find it the worse for you. This ain’t Norway.”

“No; we’ve got no such fools as you in Norway,” retorted the giant.
“Tell me what you want.”

Tarbox whispered to Spriggins.

The latter in a tremulous voice said, “Enoch, I arrest you in the name
of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and I require you to come with me
at once.”

“Come and take me,” said Anak, his broad face relaxing with a smile.

“What do you mean?” asked Tarbox, quickly.

“I mean that I shan’t stir from this chair. My contract with this show
requires me to sit here. If the constable wants me, he must take me by
force. He needn’t be afraid. If he can take me he may.”

Even Tarbox looked rather nonplussed. Both he and Spriggins together
would have found it impossible to carry off a giant weighing over four
hundred pounds.

“You see, we’ll have to give it up,” said Spriggins, with evident
pleasure.

“You’re glad of it!” said Tarbox, suspiciously. “You don’t want to do
your duty.”

“I’ve tried to do it, and it’s no use,” said the constable, with a
little show of spirit. “If I had the strength of a yoke of oxen, I
might do something; as it is, I can’t.”

“You’d better come quietly, Enoch,” said Tarbox, his own courage
beginning to fail.

A crowd had collected about the two, and derisive smiles and remarks
greeted the lamentable failure of Tarbox’s scheme of revenge.

“Get a wheelbarrow, mister,” said a boy from a neighboring town.

“Hadn’t you better try a derrick?” suggested a man beside him.

“You must be a lunatic!” said another.

“We’d better go, Mr. Tarbox,” said Spriggins, uncomfortably.

“I won’t stir,” said Tarbox, looking around him with a scowl, “till I
see that warrant served. I wish I was a constable.”

“It wouldn’t be healthy for you, old man!” said Charlie Davis, who,
with Robert, had been drawn to the scene, and heard the colloquy.

“I’d make you healthy if I had you with me for a few minutes,” said
Tarbox, scowling.

“Thank you; you’re very kind, but my time is too valuable,” said
Charlie.

“What is all this?” asked a voice of authority.

It was the voice of the manager, who had been attracted by the crowd as
he was going his rounds.

“The matter is that we’ve got a warrant for this man’s arrest!” said
Tarbox, pointing to the giant.

“Show me your warrant!”

It was handed him.

He smiled as he read it, and handing it back, remarked, “Your warrant
is mere waste paper, gentlemen.”

“Why is it?” asked Tarbox, defiantly.

“Because there is no such man as Enoch in this show.”

“Isn’t that his name?” asked Tarbox.

“No, it isn’t. If you can find a man by that name you are welcome to
take him.”

“Crushed again,” remarked Charlie Davis, mockingly.

Tarbox made a grab for the boy’s collar, but failed to secure him.

“Come along out, Spriggins,” he said, in a tone of deep depression.

“You can go if you like,” said the constable, independently; “I’m going
to stay and see the show.”

Nathan Tarbox was not a liberal man. Indeed he had the reputation of
being very close-fisted and mean. Never had he been known to invite a
friend to a place of amusement, never had he been willing to incur the
expense of a dime for another. Yet here he had paid fifty cents for a
ticket of admission to the circus, and presented it to the constable.
We know, however, why he did this. He saw no other way of compassing
his revenge upon the giant who had so grievously offended him, and
revenge even outweighed money in his eyes.

Well, it had turned out a failure. In spite of the cowardice of
Spriggins something might have been accomplished, and at all events the
Norwegian might have been put in the attitude of a man defying the law,
which would have made the eventual penalty greater. But there had been
a ridiculous error in the warrant—an error for which he was compelled
to admit that he himself was responsible. Thus he was balked of his
vengeance, for the time being at least, and he was a dollar out of
pocket. That Spriggins should deliberately disobey him and stay to see
the show was aggravating. He would rather have thrown the money away.

“Goin’ to stay and see the show!” repeated Tarbox, angrily. “You can’t
do it, Spriggins.”

“Why can’t I?”

“I didn’t buy you the ticket for no such purpose.”

“Can’t help that, Mr. Tarbox. I should be a fool to leave the show, now
I’m in, and my ticket paid for.”

“Then, Mr. Spriggins, I shall expect you to repay me the fifty cents I
spent for your ticket.”

“You must excuse me, Mr. Tarbox; you paid me in. I didn’t ask you to,
but now I’m in I’m goin’ to stay. I wouldn’t have come to pay my own
ticket, for I’m a poor man, and I can’t afford it.”

“Do you think I can afford to throw away a dollar on two tickets?”
demanded the farmer, angrily.

“I should say you could if you wanted to. You’re pretty well off, and if
I was as rich as you I wouldn’t mind goin’ to anything that comes round.”

“You don’t know anything about my circumstances. Besides I guess
they’ll give me my money back, if I tell ’em how I was deceived into
buyin’ tickets.”

“Ask them, if you want to. If they’ll do it, I’ll go out.”

The two made their way to the portal, and Tarbox said to the
ticket-taker: “I only came in on business; I didn’t come to see the
show. I want to know if I can get my money back.”

“Of course not,” said that official.

“But I came in on business connected with the law.”

“Can’t help it! You’ve seen part of the show already; I saw you lookin’
at the curiosities.”

“I wanted to arrest one of the curiosities,” said Tarbox, indignantly.
“I wouldn’t give two cents to see ’em all.”

“Then if you’re an enemy of the show, you can’t expect any passes. Just
stand aside and let people pass.”

Tarbox was utterly disgusted. He was baffled at every turn. If he only
had been concerned he would not have minded so much, but that Spriggins
should pass an evening of enjoyment at his expense rankled in his
breast.

“We’ll go out anyhow,” said he to the constable.

“You can do as you please, Mr. Tarbox. I’m goin’ in to get a seat and
see the show.”

“Your conduct is disgraceful, constable. You ain’t fit for your
position.”

“I shall do as I please,” said Spriggins, independently. “If you choose
to let the show keep your money, and you get nothing for it, you may.
I ain’t such a fool. They’d be glad if all would do the same. All they
want is the money.”

This argument made an impression upon the farmer. As he couldn’t get
his money back, it did seem worth while to get some value for it.
Besides, if the truth must be told, he had some curiosity to see the
performance. Never in all his life had he been to a circus, and he
always spoke of them as sinful; still he wanted to know what they were
like.

“I don’t know but you’re right, constable,” he said. “I don’t hold to
enconragin’ such demoralizin’ sights, but on the other hand I don’t
want to do ’em a favor by makin’ ’em a present of a dollar for a free
gift. I feel obliged to stay, situated as I am.”

“That’s the way to look at it,” said the constable, gratified at the
change in his companion’s sentiments. “Come and let’s get seats, so we
can see what’s goin’ on.”

He led the way and Tarbox followed him. They succeeded in obtaining
favorable seats, notwithstanding it was within five minutes of the time
for beginning the varied list of performances.

It must be admitted that Mr. Tarbox was interested, in spite of
himself, in the successive features of the entertainment. I do not
propose to describe them in detail. I advance to one in which one of
our characters takes part.

“Gentlemen and ladies,” said the manager, “I will now introduce to
your notice Robert Rudd, the champion bareback rider of his age in the
world.”

A horse was led into the ring, and Robert, dressed in tights and a
showy costume, bounded into the ring also.

The horse was started. He ran along by the side of it; then, laying
his hand upon the animal, vaulted upon his back. After riding round
the ring once or twice he rose to his feet and maintained his position
with perfect ease while the horse, stimulated by the crack of the whip,
galloped round the course.

“I declare, that beats all!” said Spriggins, who had never attended a
circus before.

“That’s the boy that was with the giant,” said Tarbox.

“Well, he’s a smart rider. I never saw the beat of him.”

Mr. Spriggins was destined to be still more astonished. Hoops were
brought and placed at regular intervals, covered with paper, and the
boy rider jumped through each in succession, landing again on the
horse’s back.

“Did you ever see anything like it before, Mr. Tarbox?” asked the
constable.

“No, and I never want to again,” said Tarbox, with a growl, though he
regarded the boy’s performance with as eager curiosity as his companion.

“I think it’s beautiful,” said Spriggins; “I’m glad we come.”

“I dare say you do, as long as I pay the bills,” said Tarbox, in a
sarcastic voice.

“Don’t you like it yourself?”

“I don’t care anything for it. I only stayed because I didn’t want the
show people to get the advantage of us.”

Robert finished his act, and at his exit was greeted with a storm of
applause.

He was followed by the younger boy, Charlie Davis, who went through
a similar performance, and was received with similar favor. Young
performers generally win the favor of an audience, and their efforts to
please are received with considerable indulgence, though on the present
occasion this was not needed.

On two reserved seats sat an old gentleman whose seamed face and
bleached hair indicated advanced years. By his side sat a man of
thirty-five, with a dark face and keen, watchful black eyes, whose
expression was not likely to prepossess a stranger in his favor. The
lines about his mouth indicated a hard, selfish man, whose thoughts
were centred in himself.

This much by way of introduction. I need only add that the first
impressions likely to be formed of this man were the correct ones. To
the old man who sat at his side, and whom he regarded watchfully, he
bore the relation of nephew.

It was perhaps surprising to see at the circus a man as old as
Cornelius Richmond, for this was the name of the uncle, but he had
been persuaded by his nephew, Hugo, with whom he was travelling, to
attend, and, as the only alternative was an evening at a dull hotel,
he yielded. But during the first part of the performance he looked on
in a listless manner, not seeming interested. Hugo, who was younger,
appeared more attentive. But when Robert Rudd bounded into the ring,
the old man started, and leaning forward, said quickly, in a tone not
free from agitation, “Do you see that boy, Hugo?”

Hugo, too, seemed struck by the boy’s appearance, but he answered with
studied indifference, “Yes, uncle, I see him. What of him?”

“Is he not the image of my dead son? Never have I seen such a
resemblance to what Julian was at his age!”

“My dear uncle,” said Hugo, shrugging his shoulders, “I assure you that
it is all a fancy on your part. To me he looks very unlike my cousin.”

“You don’t remember him as I do, Hugo. If Julian’s son were living, he
would look like that boy.”

“Possibly, uncle,” said Hugo, carelessly; “but as he is dead that
cannot interest us!”

While Robert was in the ring the old man followed him with a glance
almost painful in its eagerness.

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