“Despite Tub’s eye wound he never so much as stumbled, and I felt for the first time we knew and understood each other; I sensed in him a desire to improve himself, which perhaps was whimsy or wishful thinking on my part, but such are the musings of the traveling man” (page 102)
This quote is showing how Eli showed his love for Tub and that he felt like he knew what he was going through. Tub is a weak, sad, beat up horse that they drag along their quest. Eli comes off as weak, compared to Charlie who is not. So Eli feels like he connects with Tub in that way.
“At this same time I could feel Tub looking at me. I decided to return to our travels.” (Page 78)
When Charlie and Eli find the Indian and the black horse, Eli gets on the black horse and they drag Tub behind because of his recent injury to his eye. Eli starts to think that it is a relief to be free of Tub but doesn’t like the fact that he feels this way. He knew that Tub was very sad about his choice, but Eli did not have a choice other than to bring the new horse along.
On page 78, Eli states “I looked back at him and watched as he did his best to keep up. His eye was watering and bloodshot and he held his head up and to the side, as if to avoid drowning”
It is easy to tell that Eli knows how Tub feels, like he is not good enough for the task he wishes to do. Just like Tub, Eli does not think that he is the best candidate for the journey him and Charlie are on.