So Darry and Greg Holmes assisted young Mosher to his feet. Dave took hold of Tag's arm, though the latter did not resist, but walked along like one in a dream. "Want any help, Dick?" asked Greg. "I believe I wouldn't object to having a friendly arm to lean on," Prescott replied. "I've been standing here so long that my hip is stiff again."
"I wouldn't want him to find me, now!" thought Dick, a cold chill running over him at the thought of Tag's desperate savagery. But at that moment Prescott accidentally made a sound, which, slight though it was, caught young Mosher's ear. In a twinkling Tag wheeled about, listening, peering. Then, straight toward Prescott he came. "Oh, it's you, is it?" demanded young Mosher harshly.
Neither did he tell how, night after night, he had watched beside the big house into which he had seen his master carried, nor how many times he had been driven away in the morning by the servants. But Tag's troubles were over now. He had found his master. "Well, ol' fellow, we can't stay here all night.
Now then, there's yer bed," and he threw into a corner an old piece of carpet that he had picked up on a vacant lot. The dog understood and settled himself with a long, contented sigh, as if he would have said: "At last I've found a master and a home." In a day or two Tag's lameness disappeared, and his devotion to his new master was unbounded.
Tappan has been quite wonderful. Why, Duane, he's a perfect old dear; and we all are so terribly contrite and so anxious to make amends for our horrid attitude toward him when he ruled us with an iron rod." "He's a funny old duck," mused Duane. "That son of his, Peter, has had the 'indiwidool cultiwated' clean out of him. He's only a type, like Gibson's drawings of Tag's son.
The county has put a reward of two hundred and fifty dollars on Tag's head. After we've come up with him I guess it will be many a year before Tag Mosher will have a chance to do any more stealing or fighting. But if you haven't seen him here in three days we may as well be moving on. Thank you. Of course, if you see Tag, you won't tell him anything about our being here?"
The golden opportunity he was looking for was plainly visible on his horizon, but it had a way of remaining stationary, and as it was contrary to Tag's nature to move unless under great pressure, the two never met.
This last caution was necessary, for the older man, in his eagerness to embrace the lad whom he believed to be his son, almost crashed into him. "So you're my son -my boy, Egbert!" cried the father. "That's the fairy tale that has been shied at me a good many times lately," replied Tag gruffly. Mr. Then, understanding, and remembering Tag's unhappy past, he patted the boy's shoulder.
"Awful bad head, a heavy day yesterday," said Dicky "drunk blind." "Had to put him in a wheelbarrow, wheeled him into a greengrocer's shop, put a carrot in his mouth, and rang the bell," shouted Muchross. "Ha, ha, ha!" shouted the others. "Had a rippin' day all the same, didn't we, old Dicky? Went up the river in Snowdown's launch. Had lunch by Tag's Island, went as far as Datchet.
For an instant -Prescott's heart was in his mouth, for he knew something of the wicked scattering power of such a weapon, when discharged, and he feared for the girls. The next instant, however, his common sense told him that the hammers had descended harmlessly. By desperate force he wrenched the piece out of Tag's hands, hurling it away.