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The Young Bank Messenger By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 4445

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

When James Fox returned to the apartment where the boys were still seated at the table he said, "Ernest, I should like to speak to you a minute."

Ernest followed him out of the room.

"Is there any person connected with the bank at Emmonsville who wears the dress of a Quaker?" began the outlaw.

Ernest hesitated a moment.

"Speak out, boy!" said Fox. "I must and will know."

"Yes, sir."

"Is he a detective?"

"He may act as such."

"Is he under pay at the bank?"

"I think he is."

"Do you know where he is now?"


"Was he at the bank when you left it yesterday afternoon?"

"No, sir."

"Do you know where he was?"

"I saw him ride away with a farmer."

John Fox and Hugh exchanged glances. Their suspicions were confirmed.

"Is he in any trouble?" asked Ernest, becoming a questioner in his turn.

"No. For aught I know he may be at the bank."

Ernest looked relieved, and for two reasons. He was glad that Luke was not in trouble. Then he knew that when his disappearance was discovered, Luke would leave no stone unturned to rescue him. It was a comfort to think that he had a powerful friend outside.

"That will do," said the outlaw. "You may return to Frank."

"How long are you going to keep me here?" asked Ernest, anxiously.

"Are you already tired of remaining with us?"

There was something in the outlaw's tone that savored of kindness. Ernest felt that in some way he had ingratiated himself with him.

"I would like my freedom. I am not used to confinement," he said.

"Very natural. I cannot let you go just yet, but I will not allow you to be harmed. Do not be alarmed."

"I am not," answered Ernest.

"Why not? You know my reputation."

"Yes, but thus far you have been kind to me."

"True. I like you, for you are kind to my boy, and I see that he enjoys your company. Listen! I shall be away all day, probably. Do what you can to amuse Frank."

"I will. I should be very lonely without him."

"That is a good boy, Hugh," said John Fox, as Ernest left them. "I should like to keep him with us."

"Why don't you, then?"

"I am afraid he would be unhappy."

"I never knew you to take such a liking to a boy before."

"I never

have. Indeed, I have seldom met any. All my dealings have been with men. But, Hugh, we must lose no time. We must try to rescue John, if possible. It is no more than he would do for me, if our cases were reversed."

"Very well, captain. I am ready to follow wherever you lead."

"I know that, Hugh. You have always been faithful to my brother and myself."

"I always will be, captain," said Hugh, with a look of loyal devotion.

"I know it. I am sure that we have no better friend than Hugh Humphries."

"You only do me justice, captain. Will you forgive me if I say something?"

"Say what you please, Hugh."

"What you have said of me is just, but I don't think you can say it of all in the band."

"Is there any one whom you suspect? If so, it is your duty to tell me."

"I don't take much stock in Peter Longman."

"I am afraid you are suspicious, Hugh."

"Not without cause. I have noticed some things about him that I don't like. I think he is quite capable of turning against you."

"I have never remarked anything of the sort, but I know you would not speak without cause. Tell me what you want me to do."

"Only to be on your guard. Don't trust Peter as you trust me."

"I never have. And now have you any suggestions to make?"

"You might visit this farmer who helped the Quaker arrest your brother."

"It may be a good plan. Who is the farmer?"

"His name is Ezekiel Mason."

"I know where he lives. He is the last man I should suppose would be capable of such mischief."

"He could have done nothing without the Quaker's help."

"Very well, we will take the farm on the way. Still I don't know that we shall learn anything beyond what we already know."

Before leaving the cave they disguised themselves as farm workmen. In this dress they approached the farm-house, but there was something that diverted them from their original purpose and led them to keep their distance.

Sitting on the portico was a tall man dressed as a Quaker.

"That's the man!" Said Hugh, quickly. "That's the man who drove up to the jail last evening with your brother."

James Fox looked at him closely.

"It is best to let sleeping dogs lie," he said. "We will push on to the jail."

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