Bound to Rise/Chapter XXXIII
"Where am I?" asked Harry, the next morning, as he sat up in bed and stared around him.
"Don't you remember?" asked Jeff, smiling.
Jeff was standing by the bedside, already dressed.
"Yes; I remember now," said Harry, slowly. "What time is it?"
"Seven o'clock! I meant to be dressed at six."
"That is the time I got up," said Jeff.
"Why didn't you wake me up?"
"You looked so comfortable that I thought it was a pity to wake you. You must have felt tired."
"I think it was the cold that made me sleepy. I got chilled through when I lay on the ground there, tied hand and foot. But I must get up in hurry now."
He jumped out of bed, and hurried on his clothes.
"Now," said Jeff, "come down into the kitchen, and mother'll give you some breakfast."
"I am giving you a great deal of trouble, I am afraid," said Harry.
"No, you're not. It's no trouble at all. The rest of the family have eaten breakfast, but I waited for you. I've been up an hour, and feel as hungry as a wolf. So come down, and we'll see who'll eat the most."
"I can do my part," said Harry. "I've got a good appetite, though I've been up a food deal less than an hour."
"Take your overcoat alone," said Jeff; "or will you come up and get after breakfast?"
"I'll take it down with me. It isn't my coat, you know. Mine was a much better one. I wish I had it back."
Jeff, meanwhile, had taken up the coat.
"There's something in the pocket," he said. "What is it?"
"I didn't put anything in."
Harry thrust his hand into the side pocket for the first time, and drew out a shabby leather wallet.
"Perhaps there's money in it," Jeff suggested.
The same thought had occurred to Harry. He hastily opened it, and his eyes opened wide with astonishment as he drew out a thick roll of bills.
"By hokey!" said Jeff, "you're in luck. The robber took your pocketbook, and left his own. Maybe there's as much as you lost. Count it."
This Harry eagerly proceeded to do.
"Three--eight--eleven--thirteen--twenty," he repeated, aloud. He continued his count, which resulted in showing that the wallet contained ninety-seven dollars."
"Ninety-seven dollars!" exclaimed Jeff. "How much did you lose?"
"Then you've made just fifty-seven dollars. Bully for you!"
"But I've exchanged a good overcoat for a poor one."
"There can't be more than seventeen dollars difference."
"Not so much."
"Then you're forty dollars better off, at any rate."
"But I don't know as I can claim this money," said Harry, doubtfully. "It isn't mine."
"He won't be likely to call for it. When he does, and returns you the money and the coat, it will be time to think about it."
"I will ask Professor Henderson about that. At any rate I've got my money back, that's one good thing."
This timely discovery made Harry decidedly cheerful, and, if anything, sharpened his appetite for breakfast.
Now Mr. Selden had gone out to oversee some farm work; but Mrs. Selden received out hero very kindly, and made him feel that he was heartily welcome to that she could offer. She had many questions to ask about the bold robber who had waylaid him, and expressed the hope that he had left the neighborhood.
"Perhaps he'll come back for his wallet, Harry," said Jeff. "You'd better look out for him."
"I shall take care how I carry much money about with me, after this," said Harry. "That was what got me into a scrape yesterday."
"He wouldn't make out much if he tried to rob me," said Jeff. "I haven't got money enough about me to pay the board of a full-grown fly for twenty-four hours."
"You don't look as if your poverty troubled you much," said his mother.
"I don't have any board bills to pay," said Jeff, "so I can get along."
"I should think you would feel nervous about riding to Pentland alone," said Mrs. Selden, "for fear of meeting the man who robbed you yesterday."
"I do dread it a little," said Harry, "having so much money about me. Besides this ninety-seven dollars, I've got a hundred and fifty dollars belonging to my employer."
"Suppose I go with you to protect you," said Jeff.
"I wish you would."
"I don't think Jefferson would make a very efficient protector," said his mother.
"You don't know how brave I am, mother," said Jeff, in the tone of an injured hero.
"No, I don't," said his mother, smiling. "I believethere was a time when you were not very heroic in the company of dogs."
"That's long ago, mother. I've got over it now."
"If you would like to ride over with your friend, you may do so. But how will you get back?"
"Major Pinkham will be up there this afternoon. I can wait, and ride home with him."
"Very well; I have no objection."
The two boys rode off together. Harry was glad to have a companion who knew the road well, for he did not care to be lost again till he had delivered up the money which he had in charge. There was no opportunity to test Jeff's courage, for the highwayman did not make his appearance. Indeed, it was not till the next morning that he discovered the serious blunder he had made in leaving his own wallet behind, and, though he was angry and disgusted, prudential considerations prevented his going back. He was forced to the unpleasant conviction that he had overreached himself, and that his intended victim had come out best in the "exchange" which "was no robbery." I may as well add here that, though he deserved to be caught, he was not, and Harry has never, to this day, set eyes either upon him or upon the coat.
When Harry arrived at Pentland, he found that no little anxiety had been felt about him.
"Has Harry come yet?" asked the sick man, at ten o'clock the evening previous.
"No, he hasn't," answered the nurse.
"It's strange what keeps him."
"Did he have any money of yours with him?"
"Yes, I believe he had."
"Oh!" ejaculated Mrs. Chase, significantly.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I didn't say anything, did I?"
"I am afraid he may have been attacked and robbed on the road."
Mrs. Chase coughed.
"Don't you think so?"
"I'll tell you what I think, professor," said the nurse, proceeding to speak plainly, "I don't think you'll ever see anything of that boy ag'in."
"It ain't safe to trust boys with money," she answered, sententiously.
"Oh, I'm not afraid of his honesty."
"You don't say! Maybe you haven't seen as much of boys as I have."
"I was once a boy myself," said the professor, smiling.
"Oh, you--that's different."
"Why is it different? I wasn't any better than boys generally."
"I don't know anything about that; but you mark my words--as like as not he's run away with your money. How much did he have?"
"I can't say exactly. Over a hundred dollars, I believe."
"Then he won't come back," said Mrs. Chase, decidedly.
Here the conference closed, as it was necessary for Mr. Henderson to take medicine.
"Has the boy returned?" asked the professor, the next morning.
"You don't expect him--do you?"
"Certainly I expect him."
"Well, he ain't come, and I guess he won't come."
"I am sure that boy is honest," said Professor Henderson to himself. "If he isn't, I'll never trust a boy again."
Mrs. Chase was going downstairs with her patient's breakfast dishes, when she was nearly run into by our hero, who had just returned, and was eager to report to his employer.
"Do be keerful," she expostulated, when, to her surprise, she recognized Harry.
So he had come back, after all, and falsified her prediction. Such is human nature, that for an instant she was disappointed.
"Here's pretty work," she said, "stayin' out all night, and worryin' the professor out of his wits."
"I couldn't help it, Mrs. Chase."
"Why couldn't you help it, I'd like to know?"
"I'll tell you afterwards. I must go up now, and see the professor."
Mrs. Chase was so curious that she returned, with the dishes, to hear Harry's statement.
"Good morning," said Harry, entering the chamber.
"I'm sorry to have been so long away, but I couldn't help it. I hope you haven't worried much about my absence."
"I knew you would come back, but Mrs. Chase had her doubts," said Professor Henderson, pleasantly. "Now tell me what it was that detained you?"
"A highwayman," said Harry.
"A highwayman!" exclaimed both in concert.
"Yes, I'll tell you all about it. But first, I'll say that he stole only my money, and didn't suspect that I had a hundred and fifty dollars of yours with me. That's all safe. Here it is. I think you had better take care of that yourself, sir, hereafter."
The professor glanced significantly at Mr. Chase, as much as to say, "You see how unjust your suspicions were. I am right, after all."
"Tell us all about it, Harry."
Our hero obeyed instructions; but it is not necessary to repeat a familiar tale.
"Massy sakes!" ejaculated Betsy Chase. "Who ever heerd the like?"
"I congratulate you, Harry, on coming off with such flying colors. I will, at my own expense, provide you with a new overcoat, as a reward for bringing home my money safe. You shall not lose anything by your fidelity."