Young Dickie had just resolved to stay in the swamp with his new friends and be a ho-bo for the rest of his days when he heard a commotion at the edge of the shantytown.
The heiress, Diana Royce-Slaughter, was there, astride her menacing steel bi-cycle. She was dressed in an elegant worsted frock of Russian cut, and her monocle glittered coldly in the light of the great bonfire. A crowd of ho-bos was gathered 'round as she addressed them in a mocking drawl.
"Attention human wreckage," said the heiress. "Your presence on my property has lately come to my notice, much as a blemish appears unwanted on my silky, flawless skin. And, like a boil or sore, your squatter's town must be lanced for reasons both sanitary and aesthetic."
The residents of Ho-Bo Alley stirred angrily at her words. Diana Royce-Slaughter paused, and sneered. "You are all hereby evicted," she continued. "I intend to flood this area and convert it into the world's largest humidor."
The old ho-bos wailed in despair. "Where would you have us go, then," demanded Old Furry Abe. "This is our only home!"
"That is not my concern," replied the haughty girl. "You shall have five minutes; then I turn on the hoses."
The panic that followed was not unlike the sweeping of the wind through a pile of dried autumn leaves; ho-bos young and old ran shrieking into the night, carrying Dickie along like a twig in a cataract. He ran and ran for so long that he did not know where he was, until finally he burst out of the swamp, alone, by a dusty country road that he knew to be many miles distant from the town. He saw no sign of Old Furry Abe, nor the mayor's pretty daughter; there was nothing to be done, then, but to start at once on the weary trip back home.
Had Dickie not been so tired from his run, and the terror of his flight, perhaps he might have been more nimble on his feet that night; but when he heard a strange clatter of gears and jingle of little bells coming fast behind him, he did not jump to the side of the road quite quick enough. There was a sickening thud of machine striking flesh, and Dickie was thrown senseless to the ground.
Diana Royce-Slaughter felt her bi-cycle crush some large object in the road, which she presumed to be a badger, or perhaps an Irishman. She was surprised indeed when she looked back to see a boy of about her own age sprawled there broken in the moonlight.
Her initial impulse was to pedal away carefree, for under normal circumstances she cared no more for a stricken boy than she would a smashed ant. Something in Dickie's fierce animal beauty, though, splayed there upon the road, caught her eye; and while countless young suitors had wooed her in the past, none had such dainty curls and soft, pouting lips as this mysterious lad.
"Why, it is the ho-bo boy from the squatter's camp," thought the girl. "There I triumphed not unlike a Caesar, or a Khan of modern day; so, then, ah ha! This shall be my spoils of war!" So thinking, she scooped young Dickie from where he lay and tucked him neatly into the basket that graced her cycle's prow before pedaling away into the night, with a ringing of bells and a flourish of the little reflective streamers that hung gaily from her handlebars.
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