Bound to Rise

by Horatio Alger

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Chapter XXXI

Harry was soon on his way home. It was already getting dark, and he felt a little anxious lest he should lose his way. He was rather sorry that he had not started earlier, though he had lost no time.

He had gone about two miles, when he came to a place where two roads met. There was no guideboard, and he could not remember by which road he had come. Luckily, as he thought, he described a man a little ahead. He stopped the horse, and hailed him.

"Can you tell me which road to take to Pentland?" he asked.

The man addressed turned his head, and, to his surprise, our hero recognized his table companion at the inn.

"Oh, it's you, my young friend!" he said.

"Yes, sir. Can you tell me the right road to Pentland? I have never been this way before to-day, and I have forgotten how I came."

"I am thinking of going to Pentland myself," said the other.

"My sister lives there. If you don't mind giving me a lift, I will jump in with you, and guide you."

Now, though Harry did not fancy the man's appearance, he had no reason to doubt him, nor any ground for refusing his request.

"Jump in, sir," he said. "There is plenty of room."

The stranger was speedily seated at his side.

"Take the left-hand road," he said.

Harry turned to his left.

"It's rather a blind road," observed the stranger.

"I think I could remember in the daytime," said Harry; "but it is so dark now, that I am in doubt."

"So I suppose."

The road on which they had entered was very lonely. Scarcely a house was passed, and the neighborhood seemed quite uninhabited.

"I don't remember this road," said Harry, anxiously.

"Are you sure we are right?"

"Yes, yes, we are right. Don't trouble yourself."

"It's a lonely road."

"So it is. I don't suppose there's anybody lives within half a mile."

"The road didn't seem so lonely when I came over it this afternoon."

"Oh, that's the effect of sunshine. Nothing seems lonely in the daytime. Turn down that lane."

"What for?" asked Harry, in surprise. "That can't be the road to Pentland."

"Never mind that. Turn, I tell you."

His companion spoke fiercely, and Harry's mind began to conceive alarming suspicions as to his character. But he was brave, and not easily daunted.

"The horse and carriage are mine, or, at least, are under my direction," he said, firmly, "and you have no control over them. I shall not turn."

"Won't you?" retorted the stranger, with an oath, and drew from his pocket a pistol. "Won't you?"

"What do you mean? Who are you?" demanded Harry.

"You will find out before I get through with you. Now turn into the lane."

"I will not," said Harry, pale, but determined.

"Then I will save you the trouble," and his companion snatched the reins from him, and turned the horse himself. Resistance was, of course, useless, and our hero was compelled to submit.

"There, that suits me better. Now to business."

"To business. Produce your pocketbook."

"Would you rob me?" asked Harry, who was in a measure prepared for the demand.

"Oh, of course not," said the other. "Gentlemen never do such things. I want to burrow your money, that is all."

"I don't want to lend."

"I dare say not," sneered the other; "but I shan't be able to respect your wishes. The sooner you give me the money the better."

Harry had two pocketbooks. The one contained his own money--about forty dollars--the other the money of his employer. The first was in the side pocket of his coat, the second in the pocket of his pants. The latter, as was stated in the preceding chapter, contained one hundred and fifty dollars. Harry heartily repented not having left it behind, but it was to late for repentance. He could only hope that the robber would be satisfied with one pocketbook, and not suspect the existence of the other. There seemed but little hope of saving his own money. However, he determined to do it, if possible.

"Hurry up," said the stranger, impatiently. "You needn't pretend you have no money. I know better than that. I saw you pay the landlord."

"Then he saw the professor's pocketbook," thought Harry, uneasily. "Mine is of different appearance. I hope he won't detect the difference."

"I hope you will leave me some of the money," said Harry, producing the pocketbook.

"It is all I have."

"How much is there?"

"About forty dollars."

"Humph! that isn't much."

"It is all I have in the world."

"Pooh! you are young and can soon earn some more. I must have the whole of it."

"Can't you leave me five dollars?"

"No, I can't. Forty dollars are little enough to serve my turn."

So saying, he coolly deposited the pocketbook in the pocket of his pants.

"So far so good. It's well, youngster, you didn't make any more fuss, or I might have had to use my little persuader"; and he displayed the pistol.

"Will you let me go now, sir?"

"I have not got through my business yet. That's a nice overcoat of yours."

Harry looked at him, in doubt as to his meaning, but he was soon enlightened.

"I am a small person," proceeded the man with black whiskers, "scarcely any larger than you. I think it'll be a good fit."

"Must I lose my overcoat, too?" thought Harry, in trouble.

"You've got an overcoat of your own, sir," he said.

"You don't need mine."

"Oh, I wouldn't rob you of yours on any account. A fair exchange is no robbery. I am going to give you mine in exchange for yours."

The stranger's coat was rough and well worn, and, at its best, had been inferior to Harry's coat. Our hero felt disturbed at the prospect of losing it, for he could not tell when he could afford to get another.

"I should think you might be satisfied with the pocketbook," he said. "I hope you will leave me my coat."

"Off with the coat, youngster!" was the sole reply.

"First, get out of the buggy. We can make the exchange better outside."

As opposition would be unavailing, Harry obeyed. The robber took from him the handsome overcoat, the possession of which had afforded him so much satisfaction, and handed him his own. In great disgust and dissatisfaction our hero invested himself in it.

"Fits you as if it was made for you," said the stranger, with a short laugh. "Yours is a trifle slow for me, but I can make it go. No, don't be in such a hurry."

He seized Harry by the arm as he was about to jump into the carriage.

"I must go," said Harry. "You have already detained me some time."

"I intend to detain you some time longer."

"Have you got any more business with me?"

"Yes, I have. You've hit it exactly. You'll soon know what it is."

He produced a ball of cord from a pocket of his inside coat, and with a knife severed a portion. "Do you know what this is for?" he asked, jeeringly.


"Say, 'No, sir.' It's more respectful. Well, I'll gratify your laudable curiosity. It's to tie your hands and feet."

"I won't submit to it," said Harry, angrily.

"Won't you?" asked the other, coolly. "This is a very pretty pistol, isn't it? I hope I shan't have to use it."

"What do you want to tie my hands for?" asked Harry.

"For obvious reasons, my young friend."

"I can't drive if my hands are tied."

"Correct, my son. I don't intend you to drive tonight. Give me your hands."

Harry considered whether it would be advisable to resist. The stranger was not much larger than himself. He was a man, however, and naturally stronger. Besides, he had a pistol. He seceded that it was necessary to submit. After all, he had saved his employer's money, even if he had lost his own, and this was something. He allowed himself to be bound.

"Now," said the stranger, setting him up against the stone wall, which bordered the lane, "I will bid you good night. I might take your horse, but, on the whole, I don't want him. I will fasten him to this tree, where he will be all ready for you in the morning. That's considerate in me. Good night. I hope you are comfortable."

He disappeared in the darkness, and Harry was left alone.

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