Excerpt from The Errand Boy by Horatio Alger
1 Phil Brent was plodding through the snow in the direction of the house where he lived
with his stepmother and her son, when a snowball, moist and hard, struck him just below his
ear with stinging emphasis. The pain was considerable, and Phil’s anger rose. He turned
suddenly, his eyes flashing fiercely, intent upon discovering who had committed this outrage,
for he had no doubt that it was intentional.
2 He looked in all directions, but saw no one except a mild old gentleman in spectacles,
who appeared to have some difficulty in making his way through the obstructed street. Phil did
not need to be told that it was not the old gentleman who had taken such an unwarrantable liberty
with him. So he looked farther, but his ears gave him the first clue. He heard a chuckling laugh,
which seemed to proceed from behind the stone wall that ran along the roadside.
3 "I will see who it is," he decided, and plunging through the snow he surmounted the
wall, in time to see a boy of about his own age running away across the fields as fast as the
deep snow would allow.
4 "So, it’s you, Jonas!" he shouted wrathfully. "I thought it was some sneaking fellow like you."
5 Jonas Webb, his stepbrother, his freckled face showing a degree of dismay, for he had not
calculated on discovery, ran the faster, but while fear winged his steps, anger proved the more
effectual spur, and Phil overtook him after a brief run, from the effects of which both boys panted.
6 "What made you throw that snowball?" demanded Phil angrily, as he seized Jonas by the
collar and shook him.
7 "You let me alone!" said Jonas, struggling ineffectually in his grasp.
8 "Answer me! What made you throw that snowball?" demanded Phil, in a tone that showed
he did not intend to be trifled with.
9 "Because I chose to," answered Jonas, his spite getting the better of his prudence. "Did it
hurt you?" he continued, his eyes gleaming with malice.
10 "I should think it might. It was about as hard as a cannon-ball," returned Phil grimly. "Is
that all you’ve got to say about it?"
11 "I did it in fun," said Jonas…
12 "Very well! I don’t like your idea of fun. Perhaps you won’t like mine," said Phil, as he
forcibly drew Jonas back till he lay upon the snow, and then kneeling by his side, rubbed his
face briskly with snow…
13 Jonas shrieked and struggled, but in vain. Phil gave his face an effectual scrubbing,
and did not desist until he thought he had avenged the bad treatment he had suffered.