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A Silver Dollar

A Silver Dollar image
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[Copyright, 189L, by American Press Associatioo. AJÍ righta reserved.l ■f y O I, Y whizzf" ex1 claimed Albert. JKt Much mast be fcff forgiven t o the Br i? )oy. even by the P)most ceasorious reader, lor be Tras n o t only astonished but greatly ezcited. T h e n, too, be was yoanu, and although he would sometimes have 1 i k e (1 t o use stronger lauguag than that, ha did not dare to do it, for reasons connected more losely witn a strap ana a wooosnea tuan (Títh the Sunday school. Therefore he only said "Holy whizzl" It i3 more than likely, in these Fauntleoy days, that there may be boys who do ot get excited on or about the Fourth of uly. In other worda, they are not boy3. At all events, they are no such boys as Alert wa3. He had been a real, live boy ver since his birth. There never had been ny necessity to inquire as to the origin of ny disturbance around his father's house rhen Albert was at home. All that was considered necessary by any one was for lis father to eet hold of Albert with one land and the strap with the other. All things considered, it wa3 not surprisng that Albert was excited when he saw, ying on the gronnd, just inside his father's rontgate, a large, round, brightsilver dolar. It was the morning of the third of July. ïilver dollars were not so much a part of Albert's usual experience as pennies and lickels were, and lately even these had een hard to get hold of, and here was a rr hole, entire dollar. Soine boys would have been tempted to Leep it and say nothing about it, andgpend t at once for the necessary ammunition or the celebration of the following day, ut Albert was not even conscious of a eeling of temptation. He knew well inough who had dropped it. His sister Haggie, eighteen yearsold, very oftenstood ij that gate moonlight nights, and never alone. So, although he knew that it must lave been George Whittaker who had lost ,he dollar, there was no struggle in Aljert's mind as to the propriety of keeping d. He just kept it without any thought of struggling. . And he spent it. That was a procedure which he could not undertake without considerable care and precaution. His ownership of the few previous dollars he had lad was always a hollow mockery. His Kunt was accustomed to give him a dollar every time he had a birthday, but he had never been allowed to use it. His father liad always taken it away from him and put it in the bank. This time he tingled iown to bis toes at the thought that his father knew nothing about it, and so could not take it away from him. So he determined to expend it at once, and with this end in view he sought out his best friend - a bad boy named James. Albert oalled him Jim, and so did almost every body else. Taffy is good, and you may buy a great quantity of it for a dollar. Also it is possible to purchase for that sum very many marbles and tops, but no well regulated boy buys much taffy, or any tops or marbles whatsoever, on July 8. James' principal earthly possession was an old horsepistol, and Albert owned a small brass cannon, consequently a liberal supply of powder and caps was first provided. Then half a dozen of the largest firecrackers in the little store were selected, and the rest of the money was laid out in firecrackers of ordinary size. "They ain't as good as the big ones," said James philosophically, "but you get a heap more." "Do you want any torpedoes?" asked the good old lady who kept the store. "Naw," said Albert, with great scorn. "Torpedoes is only good enough for girls." Supplies having been obtained, thcre mained oiily two things to do, bat these two w e r 6 enough to keep the boys busy aü day. Kirst a safe hiding place had to be vf ound, and that was no easy matter, í o r there were other boys in the v i 1 La g e who woold not hesitateto plunder them if they shoald find such treasares, and neither Albert nor James dajred carry them into nis own house. A lickzng wasn't so very mach, bat it would not do to have the powder and crackers confiscated. "Say, Jün, 111 teil you what," said Albert at length. "We'U tie 'em all together ta a big bundie and keep it In your barn lili tonight. Then after all our folks has gone to bed you f eten it over and come under my window, and Fll let down a rope and pull itup. You give me the wbistle when you come, and I'll be all ready." "All right," said James, and that was settled. Then it remained to quarrel about whether they had spent the money to the best advantage. James contended that they ought to have bought some Roman candles, while Albert favored the thought of having skyrockets, and so earnestly did eaca advocate hia own views that they almost came to blows. After some hoors, however, this subject was torgotten ia consideration of the sUU more excitiM auestion. whetber ms of the amraüriïtTori'shoukl be used that mght, or whether it should all be kept Lor the Fourth. A boy has a great many things to consider on such occasions, and it was important to decide on the best way to avoid getting licked, and at the same time get all the good out of that dollar. Finally tt was decided that it was best to wait till morning. It is a most interesting and instructivo thing to notice how things that seem to be the most irreleyent and inconsequent sometimos work together toward the most astonishing resulta. In this case, if it had not been f or a hole in Mr. Whittaker's vest pocket, a splinter, a penknife and a dear Uttle white anger; and if Albert hadn't carried oS two spools of cotton from Maggie's work basket the day before, it would probably have- But this is a little too fast. All went on as the boys had planned It tmtil Albert went to his room to wait for James. To be sure. George Whittaker had called to invite Maggie "io a picnic next day, and Albert reflected with much disgust that he and Maggie would stand by the gate for some time, and so keep him waiting; but he knew James was too wary to come till George had gone away, so he was not alarmed. He looked out at the front gate instead of going to bed, just as he had done many times before. "Goshl" he said to himself, 'Til bet I wouldn't go sparkin' no gal if I was as big as him. I'd be down at the corner playin' billiards." Now the gate was an old one, and Albert sometimos whittled on it when he could not think what else to do, wherefore there were sométame unexpected edges akmg the top of it. There was one now, nd as Maggie and George Whitteker stood there, never dreaming that Albert was looking on, but talking of- but how can anybody guess what they were talking of? - Maggie rubbed her hand idly along this sharp edge, and suddenly gave a little scream. "Oh!" she said, Tve run a splinter in my flnger." "Ohl" said GJeorge Whittaker, very mach agitated, "that is too bad. liet me t&ke it out." And he took her hand in his and looked at it carefully. Then he took out his penknife. Now a very small splinter in a girl's flnger may be or may Dot be a matter of iniportance. It dependa on circumstances. Ordinarüy Maggie would have pulled, it out in a jifEy and neverthought of it again, but under the existine circumstances it took fnlly fifteen minutes before that finger was in such a condition that George Whittaker was able to let go oí it. Just before fie did so Albert spoke to himself again. "Gosh!" he said, ".what a fooi a feller is to kiss a gal's handl If he wants to kiss her, why don't he kiss her in the niouth? She'd a good deal druther ho would." Very possibly Gieorge Whittaker did not kuow this. He let o her hand with a little sigh, and slipped the penknife into his vest pocket. And the penknife slipped right through and feil on the ground. Maggie saw it iall and told him about it, and he investigated things, discovering that the lining and pocket were both torn. "Well, there," said he, "that accounts for it. I lost a silver dollar last night. It must have slipped through that hole." "You must have it mended right away," said Maggie, with womanly promptness. "Come back in the sitting room." So they went back, George notbing loth, and found old Mr. Wllson there ronding and smoking his pipe. I Ie did not object to the oourtabip that was going on, but on üi otmtrary approved it thoroushly, but you would never eatch him going to bed until Maggie was safe in her om room. He looked up inquiringly when they entered the room, and Maggie began with entirely unnecessary confusión to explain what had happened. Mr. Wilson did not talk much, but what he did say was generally to the point. Moreover, he was fond of a joke. He listened while Maggie explained, and then said dryly: "H'm! That's what comes of a young man living alone, with no women folks to take care of him." George was fnlly as mnch embarrassed as Maggie was at this kind of a speech, but there didn't seem to be any way of concealing his confusión, while Maggie bnsied herself looking for a needie and thread. So he stood still and suffered whiie Mr. Wilson chuckled to himself, and mnttering 6 o ra e t li i u g about "helping a lame dog over a stile," turned back to his reading. Bat Maggie didn't find her thread. If sbe had, perhaps Albert wooldn't have been foaml out. She searehed through her work basket, and there was no cotton there. She was an exceedingly human yoang woman, and she grew angry. "That Albert has been rifling this basket again," she said with some temper. "He is always in mischiei." Then a sudden thought carne to her. "Oh, Georgel" she exclaimed. "I wonder if it was your dollar that he bougbt such a lot of fireworks with." "What's thatf What's that?" said Mr. Wilson. "Oh, nothing," said Maggie, "only Albert bonxht a lot of lirecrackers today from old Mts. Jones. She was speaking to me abont it, and I woudered where he gab the money." George laughed. "That's all right," be said. "If anybody fotmd it I hope it was Albert." But Mr. Wilson looked {jrave. He said nothing, however, and Maggie presently found some thread and mended the pocket, and the two yoang peopJe went out to the gate again. When they got outside George gathered np his eoorage and spoke desperately. "Maggje," he said, "I wish you would mend all my clothes." MagRie laughed. "Why, I hope they don't all need mending," she said. "Of conree," stammered George, "Imean when they do need it." "Well," said Maggie, hanging her bead, "I don't know but what I might undertake to do that." "But I mean for always, for all your life," exdaimed Georgs. Aiter that thero was some more converstipn,_aDd old Mr. WUaon haii to como to ttieüoor twicetótell ÜagiieiiOwTateit was before she carne in. Whea she did come in he looked at herpretty closely, bat she only said "Good nigbt, papa," and he kissed her and sbe went up stairs while, he locked up. Then he followed, and going on ap to the attic he very quietly locked Albert's door on the outside. If that deluded youngster had not had his head out of the window looking for James he wonld probably have heard hia father, but as it was he drew up the bundie all right, and hiding it under hú bed ly down without knowing that he was a prisoner. He was one, choaRu. Mr. Wilson had been a boy himself. and he had assitroed Albert's room to him with special reference to the fact that climbing out oí the window was out of the question. Therefore Albert had nothing to do but to wait, when he found his door locked next raorning, until such time as his father saw fit to come up and release nin. It was a fine situación for a boy with a dollar's worth of fun in his room, and an impatient chum whistling outside, oí a Fourth of JuJy. It seemed a long time to wait, for Albert was a wake bef ore four o'elock, but as a matter of f act Mr. Wilson went op quite early to his boy's room. Entering, be found Albert fully dressed, looking out of the window, listeoing to various noises in ;he yillage. There were tears in his eyes, ut he brushed them away bf ore tarning to speak to his father. "I underst&nd," said the father, "that yon bought some firecrackers yesterday." "Yes, sir," said Albert. "Let me see them," said Mr. Wilson, and the boy brought out his bundie and opened it. "That is a fine lot. Where did you get the money to buy them withí" "I found it, sir." "Where did you find it?" "By the front gate." "Lhdn't you know wbo ie belongea to?" "No, sir," said the boy, hesitating a little; and then with a desperate buret of courage he said: "Yes, Iknew wellenough; but, Pop, don't you know it's the Fourth of July? I reckon when you was a boy you wouldn't 'a' gone 'round hunting up owners for süver dollars when they jumped right up at you, and you hadn't got no money nor no firecrackers." Now, Mr. Wilson did not suppose for a minute that he would have done any such thinp;, and moreover he liked the boy's frankness, and although he did use the strap occasionally, believing that he ought to do so, he did not like it any more than Albert did. It wasn't the first time the boy had put him in a quandary. "Well, my son," he said, not unkindly, after he had considered a moment, "I am willing to make allowances, but you must remember to be honest above all things. You must pay back that dollar." "Yes, sir," said Albert, delighted at getting off so eaaily. Bat after he had escaped from the house and ioined Jim, and the two were disturbing the peace to the best of their ability, he saw a well known figure coming down the village street, and ran toward it. "Say, George Whittaker," he exclaimed breathlessly, "ain't you going to be my brother?" Whittaker laughed and asM, "Whyf" " 'Cos if you are," said Albert, "I don 't 8'pose Til have to be in any great hurry about payin' back that dollar o' yonrs what I found. It'U be all in the family, you know." And George laughed aprain, and told hun be needn't be in any special hurry. And af ter the flrecrackers were all gone, Albert said confldentially to Jim, "After all, lt makes a feller f eel heaps botter to get hts money honegt, don't it?" "I don't know." said Jim.