"But perhaps he may get out of money, and not be able to get anything to eat. You wouldn't want him to starve, papa?"
"There isn't much chance of it. If he is in danger of that, he will have sense enough to ask for food, or to write to me for help. I rather hope he will have a hard time."
"It will do him good. If I sent for him and brought him back against his will, he would probably start off again when he has a good chance."
Jennie could not quite follow her father in his reasoning, and was inclined to think him hard and unfeeling. She missed her brother, who, whatever his faults, treated her tolerably well, and was at any rate a good deal of company, being the only other young person in the house.
Just then the servant entered with three letters, which he laid down beside his master's plate.
Mr. Taylor hastily scanned the addresses.
"Here is a letter from Henry," he said, in a tone of satisfaction.
"Oh, read it quick, papa!"
This was the letter which Mr. Taylor read aloud, almost too deliberately for the impatience of his daughter:
"Dear Father: I am alive and well, and hope to see you in a few days. I guess I made a mistake in running away, though I didn't think so at the time, for I wanted to see life, and have adventures. I don't know how I should have got along if I hadn't met Philip Gray. He's a tip-top fellow, and is paying my expenses. I told him you would pay him back. He has got me off the idea of going West to kill Indians."
"Oh, papa!" exclaimed Jennie, opening her eyes wide. "I didn't know that was what Henry went for."
"I don't think the Indians would have felt very much frightened if they had heard of his intention. However, I will proceed:
"I was all out of money when Philip met me, and I hadn't had anything to eat since morning, he bought me some supper, and is paying my expenses. He is a poor boy, coming to New York to get a place, if he can. He has got a violin, and he plays beautifully. He earned all the money he has by giving concerts."
"I should like to see Philip," said Jennie, with interest.
"I asked him if he wouldn't go out West with me, but he wouldn't. He told me he wouldn't do anything for me unless I would agree to come home."
"He is a sensible boy," commented Mr. Taylor, in a tone of approval.
"We thought at first of coming right home on the cars, but I wanted to walk and see something of the country, and Philip said he didn't mind. He told me I must write and tell you, so that you needn't feel anxious.
"You will see us in a few days. I will bring Philip to the house. Your son, HENRY TAYLOR."
"Is that all?" asked Jennie.
"Yes; I consider it a very fair letter. It is evident Henry has made the acquaintance of a sensible boy. I shall take care that he doesn't let it drop."
CHAPTER XLIV. A FRESH START.
Five days later, just as Mr. Taylor was sitting down to dinner, at the close of the day, the door-bell rang violently.
There was a hurried step heard in the hall, and the door opening quickly Henry Taylor rushed in, his face beaming with smiles.
"Oh, I'm so glad to see you, Henry!" said Jennie, embracing him. "I missed you awfully."
Henry looked at his father, a little doubtful of his reception.
"Are you well, father?" he asked.
"Quite well," responded Mr. Taylor coolly. "Where did you leave your scalps?"
"What?" ejaculated Henry, bewildered.
"I thought you left home to kill Indians."
"Oh!" said Henry, smiling faintly. "I didn't meet any Indians—except one—and he was friendly."
"Then your expedition was a failure?"
"I guess I'll leave the Indians alone," said Henry sheepishly.
"That strikes me as a sensible remark. Of course, a few Indian scalps would be of great use to you. I fully expected a present of one, as a trophy of my son's valor; but still, in case the Indian objected to being scalped, there might be a little risk in performing the operation."
"I see you are laughing at me, father," said Henry.
"Not at all. You can see that I am very sober. If you think you can make a good living hunting Indians—I don't know myself how much their scalps bring in the market—I might set you up in the business."
"I am not so foolish as I was. I prefer some other business. Philip told me—"
"Where is Philip?" asked Jennie eagerly.
"I left him in the parlor. He said I had better come in first."
"Go and call him. Invite him, with my compliments, to stay to dinner."
Henry left the room, and reappeared almost immediately with Philip.
Both boys were perfectly neat in appearance, for Philip had insisted on going to a hotel and washing and dressing themselves.
As he followed Henry into the room, with modest self-possession, his cheeks glowing with a healthy color, both Jennie and Mr. Taylor were instantly prepossessed in his favor.
"I am glad to see you, Philip," said the broker, "and beg to thank you, not only for the material help you gave Henry, but also for the good advice, which I consider of still greater importance and value."
"Thank you, sir. I don't feel competent to give much advice, but I thought his best course was to come home."
"You haven't as high an idea of hunting Indians as Henry, I infer?"
"No, sir," answered Philip, smiling. "It seems to me they have as much right to live as we, if they behave themselves."
"I think so, too," said Henry, who was rather ashamed of what had once been his great ambition.
"You haven't introduced me to Philip—I mean Mr. Gray," said Jennie.
"This is my sister Jennie, Phil," said Henry, in an off-hand manner.
"I am very glad to see you, Mr. Gray," said Jennie, extending her hand.
"I am hardly used to that name," said Philip, smiling.
"When I get well acquainted with you I shall call you Philip."
"I hope you will."
Within an hour Miss Jennie appeared to feel well acquainted with her brother's friend, for she dropped "Mr. Gray" altogether, and called him Philip.
At her solicitation he played on his violin. Both Mr. Taylor and Jennie were surprised at the excellence of his execution.
When Philip rose to go, Mr. Taylor said cordially:
"I cannot permit you to leave us, Philip. You must remain here as our guest."
"But, sir, I left my things at a hotel."
"Then Henry will go with you and get them."
So Philip found himself established in a fine house on Madison Avenue as a favored guest.
The next morning, when Mr. Taylor went to his office, he asked Philip to go with him. Arrived in Wall Street, he sent a boy to the bank with a check. On his return, he selected five twenty-dollar bills, and handed them to Philip.
"You have expended some money for Henry," he said.
"Yes, sir; but not quarter as much as this."
"Then accept the rest as a gift. You will probably need some new clothes. Henry will take you to our tailor. Don't spare expense. The bill will be sent to me."
"But, Mr. Taylor, I do not deserve such kindness."
"Let me be the judge of that. In a few days I shall have a proposal to make to you."
This was the proposal, and the way it was made:
"I find, Philip," said Mr. Taylor, some days later, "that Henry is much attached to you, and that your influence over him is excellent. He has agreed to go to an academy in Connecticut, and study hard for a year, provided you will go with him. I take it for granted you haven't completed your education?"
"I shall pay all the bills and provide for you in every way, exactly as I do for Henry."
"But, Mr. Taylor, how can I ever repay you?" asked Philip.
"By being Henry's friend and adviser—perhaps, I may say, guardian—for, although you are about the same age, you are far wiser and more judicious."
"I will certainly do the best I can for him, sir."
During the next week the two boys left New York, and became pupils at Doctor Shelley's private academy, at Elmwood—a pleasant country town not far from Long Island Sound—and there we bid them adieu.