JACK IS PURSUED

“ARE you goin’ to take me away to-day?” asked Jack, who wished to be
assured that the dream was coming true.

“Yes, Jack, but I can’t take you away as you are. I know a place near by
where you can take a good bath. I will leave you then, and go round by
myself and buy you some clothes. I can guess your size.”

He led the way to a barber’s shop which advertised baths, procured a
ticket, and leaving Jack with strict injunctions to wash himself
thoroughly, sallied out in search of an outfit for his young companion.
That did not take long. He returned with two good sized bundles, and
requested Jack to dress himself in them. When Jack emerged from the
bath-room he was quite transformed. He was still thin, and his features
looked pinched, but his dress was, in all respects, that of a boy
belonging to a well-to-do family.

“Now I think I must have your hair cut, and you will do.”

In truth, Jack’s long, elf-like locks made his face appear even thinner
than it really was.

“Don’t you want to be shaved, too, young man?” asked the barber,
jocosely.

“Perhaps he wants to be shaved,” said Jack, pointing to Mark, with a
smile.

Mark colored a little, realizing that he scarcely needed that operation
any more than Jack.

“Now look at yourself in the glass, Jack!” said Mark.

Jack obeyed, and looked first bewildered, then pleased. He thought at
first that he was looking at another boy.

“Is that me?” he inquired, almost incredulously.

“I think it is. Peggy wouldn’t know you,” answered Mark, with a smile.

“I don’t want her to,” answered the little boy.

Mark had forgotten one thing—a pair of shoes. As he scanned Jack
critically, he noted the omission, and said, “Jack, we must go to a shoe
store. It will never do for a young gentleman like you to wear a pair of
shoes out at the toes and sides.”

“They don’t look very well,” said Jack, with a downward look.

“As you may be taken for my son,” said Mark gravely, “I want you to look
well.”

“You’re only a boy!” said Jack, who was inclined to a literal
understanding of what was told him.

“You wouldn’t take me for twenty-five, then, Jack?”

“No, you’re not that, are you?”

“Well, not quite.”

They had not far to go to a shoe store, but it took some time to get
fitted to a pair of shoes, on account of Jack’s having a high instep.
This delay came near wrecking their plans. Tim Roach, who usually passed
his time in roaming about the streets, without any special occupation,
caught sight of Jack as he entered the shoe store with Mark. He let his
eye rest upon him carelessly at first, but his indifferent glance was
soon succeeded by a look of the most intense amazement.

“My eye!” he exclaimed, “if that isn’t little Jack dressed out like a
prince! What’s happened, I wonder, and who’s that with him? I jest wish
he’d rig me out that way.”

Tim did not make himself known, but peered curiously in at the door of
the store.

“I wonder whether Peggy knows about it?” he soliloquized. “I don’t
believe she does. Wouldn’t she open her eyes to see the kid rigged out
that way. I’d like to tell her.”

Circumstances seemed to favor the gratification of this wish, for not
many rods away he caught sight of Peggy and Lyman Taylor talking
together.

“I’ll go and tell her,” he said.

We will precede him and relate what had taken place between the two
schemers. Peggy had started out with the confident belief that Lyman had
played her false, and meant to carry away Jack without her knowledge or
consent. It did, indeed, look as if she were correct, for it must be
remembered that she knew nothing of Mark’s mission to Chicago, Lyman not
having thought it necessary to tell her. She wanted to meet Lyman and
“have it out with him,” if she found any confirmation in her suspicions.

Lyman chanced to turn, and seeing Peggy with her eyes fixed on him,
retraced his steps till he reached her.

“Do you want to see me, Peggy?” he asked.

“Yes, I wanted to see you, Mr. Lyman Taylor, and ask what you mane by
tryin’ to stale away the bye from me?”

Lyman stared at her in surprise.

“I don’t know what you mean,” he answered, with a shrug of his
shoulders. “I thought it was understood that we would restore the boy to
his grandfather if he would make it worth our while.”

“And you didn’t mane to take away the bye without my knowin’ it?”

“Certainly not. Who told you so?”

“And you haven’t told the bye about goin’ back to his grandfather?”

“I haven’t spoken a word to the boy on the subject.”

“Then how did he know about it?”

“Does he know about it?”

Peggy then told her companion about what she had overheard Jack say in
his sleep the night before. Lyman Taylor was surprised and alarmed, and
these feelings were so evident on his face that Peggy acquitted him of
any breach of faith.

“I don’t understand it,” he said, meditatively. “I have never spoken a
word about the matter except in your room. Did you ask him about it?”

“I asked him when did he see you, and he said yesterday.”

“He might have seen me, but I had no conversation with him.”

“So he said.”

“He told the truth. I don’t think any harm is done, Peggy. He must have
overheard what we were talking about when we supposed him asleep.”

“That’s true. Maybe he did.”

“That won’t interfere with our plans that I can see. I have written to
my uncle and expect to hear from him in a few days. I will let you know
what he says as soon as I get the letter.”

Then it was that Tim Roach came up, looking preternaturally knowing.

“How are you, Peg?” he said. “Are you walkin’ wid your beau?”

“Go away wid you! You’re always botherin’.”

“You’d orter see what I did jest now,” said Tim, wagging his head.

“What did you see, then?”

“I seed your Jack rigged out like a prince in new clothes and a new hat.
Didn’t he look fine?”

“You saw Jack dressed that way?” gasped Peggy.

“Yes, I did.”

“You’re lyin’ now.”

“Wish I may die if I didn’t.”

“Where was he?”

“In Simpson’s shoe store, pickin’ out a nice new pair of shoes.”

“How could the boy get all these things without money?” asked Lyman
incredulous.

“There was a big boy wid him was buyin’ the things.”

“A big boy!” repeated Lyman quickly; “how old was he?”

“Maybe sixteen or seventeen.”

An expression, full of dismay, overspread Lyman Taylor’s face.

“It is Mark Manning!” he exclaimed. “Quick, boy, tell me where he is.”

“In Simpson’s shoe store.”

“And who is Mark Manning?” asked Peggy bewildered.

“The boy his grandfather sent out here to find him. It’s he that has
been telling Jack about his grandfather. Quick, Peggy! we must go and
stop him, or he’ll take Jack away and leave us out in the cold.”

The ill-matched pair hurried to the place indicated by Tim.