|CHAPTER XII. -- LED AWAY.|
AND what had become of Harry Hazeley in all this time? Let us go back a little.
Probably all would have gone well with the lad, who was beginning to see a new life stretching our before him under the sunny influence of his sister, had his father lived.
While Mr. Hazeley exercised but little restraining power over his son during his life, the fact that he had a father had considerable influence over Harry. When Mr. Hazeley was killed, Harry realized that he was thrown on his own resources, and the fact that he was subject to no higher authority, took a firm hold upon him. At first, the idea aroused in him an innate, but undeveloped manliness, and he determined to stand by his mother and sister, and be a comfort to them as well as a support.
But the inherent weakness in his character soon gained the supremacy, and for the time over-ruled.
It was inevitable that he should mingle with his companions in work, and soon they gained an influence over him that was not for his highest good. Being somewhat older then he himself was, they instilled into him a false idea of their superiority, and it was by this means they retained him in their "set"--a a set-off wild, dissipated young men.
Where was his judgment? Alas! he had inherited sufficient of his mother's weak disposition to over-rule it, and consequently, he was one of the kind most easily deceived and led.
One of the youths, whose name was Edward Hopkins, gained considerable influence over Harry. He it was who persuaded him One of the youths, whose name was Edward Hopkins, gained considerable influence over Harry. He it was who persuaded him to leave his mother and sister, and seek employment in another town, where, he said, work could easily be secured, with shorter hours and greater pay. This seemed very inviting to Harry, who at that time, never thought of deserting his, home, but was anxious to earn more money, and thus become better able to care for the family and have more for what called pleasure-cards and gaming and wine, for he
Poor boy! How many noble men has Satan conquered and then cast off? How many homes has he ruined, and hearts broken, and hopes destroyed?
But I am glad to say that I shall not be obliged to trace Harry Hazeley to the bottom of the pit into which he had fallen, for God had most graciously heard the prayers of his loving, trusting sister, who had first set the example of prayer to the mother, who now frequently joined her, and he was not permitted to reach its utmost depths.
True, he went down pretty far, and his rescue was affected by rather severe means; but what mattered that, so he was saved?
After leaving home, Harry plunged into his new, reckless life with a strength that not only surprised, but very soon disgusted Hopkins, who wished to preserve the appearance, at but very soon disgusted, at least, of a gentleman.
Harry had been able to secure a first-class, remunerative position very readily, but so much went to satisfy his craving for excitement, that none was left, to send
After a while, however, his increasing unsteadiness secured for him dismissal from the shop where he had been employed. He was fortunate in securing place after place, but unfortunate in being unable to retain them, until at length he did but little length he did but little work and a good deal of gambling. The work he then did was around and about the saloons where he had chances to game and drink.
One bitter cold night in. December, a group of men stopped in front of one of these places, and after some discussion, entered. It proved to be Harry's stopping place, and he was sitting by the fire, for the time being idle.
To look at the sunken cheeks, restless eyes, and uncared-for appearance, one would never suppose this was the once straight, all, active Harry Hazeley, so greatly was he changed.
The leader of the group of young men who entered the bar-room appeared to be attracted by the forlorn figure near the stove, as soon as he came in. He seemed to know him, for presently he walked over to him and tapping him familiarly on the shoulder. cried:
"Why, hello, old chap! How are you?"
Harry immediately recognized his old acquaintance, Edward Hopkins. He did not appear particularly glad to see him however.
"Say, old fellow, you don't seem ready to shed tears of joy at seeing your old chum," remarked Ed, in a jovial tone, sitting down beside him.
Harry said nothing, but sat looking into the fire.
Harry said nothing, but sat looking into the fire. "Look here, now, Hal; you do look a little hard up. Haven't been getting along so well lately, I guess?"
"No, I haven't," said Harry, without turning around.
Will listen to me," resumed Ed. "The old proverb,
a friend in need is a friend indeed,' is true, isn't it?"
"What of it?" questioned Harry, still apathetic.
"Just this,"replied Ed, bringing his hand heavily down on his knee, "that on his going to be a friend to you now."
Harry smiled incredulously. His confidence in the friendship of such a flashily-dressed fellow as Ed was, had been shaken.
"Come, don't be so glum, Hal. I've something to say to you," Ed continued, glancing around the room.
His comrades were all occupied in another part of the room.
"Now," went on Hopkins, lowering his voice, "we fellows," nodding toward the group, "are planning a little business. And if you want to, you can help us."
"What is it," asked Harry, indifferently.
Edward took no notice of his manner, but went on:
"Well, we're going to--er--ah--walk into a small establishment, you know," and he winked slyly at Harry.
"Steal?" asked Harry, in a cold tone.
"If you like to put it that way, yes."
"Look here, Ed Hopkins," and Harry turned in scorn upon this hypocritical friend, who seemed so desirous of ruining him entirely. "Look here," he repeated, "let me tell you I don't want to share any of your 'little plans.' I've fallen low, I know but I'm not a thief yet," and Harry straightened himself up and looked with a flashing eye into the crafty face beside him.
Hopkins was angry, as much because he had partially let Harry into his secret, as because he had refused to join him. However, he congratulated himself that he had not gone very far, and he left him abruptly, in a high temper, going over to the group at the other end of the room.
A heated discussion was progressing there about something in connection with the game of cards they were
Presently there was a sound of scuffle, during which was heard the report of pistol. Immediately there was stampede, and pistol. Immediately there was a stampede, and when the officer, who had been attracted to the spot by the noise, rushed in, followed by a small crowd of men and boys, no one was to be seen but Harry Hazeley. He was lying on the floor by the stove, and gave no sign of life as the officer rolled him over. Whether the pistol had been fired accidentally or intentionally, nobody knew. The shot, However, was certainly not intended for the one who received it. It was found on examination that Harry was wounded in the side. He had also, in falling struck his head against the edge of the stove, and cut it.
"Well," said the officer, "I guess we'll have to take this young fellow to the hospital. From his looks he'll not be likely to have a better place to go, to even if he could tell where he belonged."