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Between them there had never been any very close bond of sympathy such, for instance, as always had existed between Phil and his aunt. His uncle's share in the growing lad's up-bringing had been of the superficial sort a pat on the back, a "run along now, my boy; I'm busy." Always it had been Aunt Dolly to whom he had taken his childish difficulties for sympathetic adjustment.

More than once, the man came within an inch of his quarry. But always, by the most imperceptible spurt of speed, Laddie arranged to keep himself and his dear satchel from capture. Then, in no time at all, the game ended; and with it ended Lad's baby faith in the friendliness and trustworthiness of all human nature.

So the boy ran blindly on in brave pursuit of the man who had stolen their mounts while the Pony Riders slept. Suddenly, without the slightest warning, Tad felt himself encircled by a pair of powerful arms, and, at the same time, he was lifted clear of the ground. But even then the lad's presence of mind did not desert him, though the vise-like pressure about his body made him gasp.

"So this is the lad's first night with the sheep in the fields, and the old man's last night, I fear," said the aged shepherd, sadly. "It is not often in these days that I venture out to keep the watches of the flock; but this one night of the year I have spent upon these hills these many years, and I always shall as long as I have strength to walk so far." "Was your father, too, a shepherd?"

In one of these rooms there lived, with his family, that tall, gaunt, shaggy, middle-aged man, in his shiny black coat and paper collars, without any cravats, who had been the lad's gentle monitor on the morning of his entering college. He, too, was to spend the summer there, having no means of getting away with his wife and children.

"When I saw him younder to-day, smooth and smiling, standing so well with his fellow-men, my heart rose up against him; I daredna bide, lest I should cry out in the kirk before them all and call God's justice in question God that lets Jacob Holt go about in His sunshine, with all men's good word on him, when our lad's light went out in darkness so long ago. Is it just, Katie?

Then he felt the lad's breast, shoulders, and arms, exclaiming in honest admiration, "What a godlike form!"

But the dragon felt that he had found his match, and did not think of speaking, but, invisible to the youth, approached, drew his sword, and aimed straight at his enemy's head to hack it off, but the blow only broke the lad's jaw.

Davis staggered back with arms covering his face protectingly and again Jack struck him heavily between the eyes. Davis fell to the floor in a heap, where he lay whining. Jack stood over him angrily. "Get up!" he commanded quietly. "Get up and fight. I'm not through with you yet." Davis grovelled upon the floor, seeking to clasp the lad's knees. "Get up!" commanded Jack again.

Joe glanced once more at the stern face. "Considering we'd go after Girty and his redskins if they were alone, we're pretty likely to go quicker now that they've got white women prisoners, eh?" and Joe laughed fiercely between his teeth. The lad's heart expanded, while along every nerve tingled an exquisite thrill of excitement. He had yearned for wild, border life.

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