Tom quailed. But presently the temptation rose up strong again and the
boys agreed to try, with the understanding that they would take to their
heels if the snoring stopped. So they went tiptoeing stealthily down,
the one behind the other. When they had got to within five steps of the
snorer, Tom stepped on a stick, and it broke with a sharp snap. The man
moaned, writhed a little, and his face came into the moonlight. It was
Muff Potter. The boys' hearts had stood still, and their hopes too,
when the man moved, but their fears passed away now. They tip-toed out,
through the broken weather-boarding, and stopped at a little distance
to exchange a parting word. That long, lugubrious howl rose on the night
air again! They turned and saw the strange dog standing within a few
feet of where Potter was lying, and facing Potter, with his nose
"Oh, geeminy, it's him!" exclaimed both boys, in a breath.
"Say, Tom--they say a stray dog come howling around Johnny Miller's
house, 'bout midnight, as much as two weeks ago; and a whippoorwill come
in and lit on the banisters and sung, the very same evening; and there
ain't anybody dead there yet."
"Well, I know that. And suppose there ain't. Didn't Gracie Miller fall
in the kitchen fire and burn herself terrible the very next Saturday?"
"Yes, but she ain't dead. And what's more, she's getting better, too."