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A Sharp Trick

A Sharp Trick image
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Anna Mowry was left in charge of her two yotmger brothers one snmmer while her parents went to California. She was with them in a f armhouse on the Massachnsetts coast, and frequently lectared them on questions of moráis and manners. One evening she talked to them on the subject of honesty. "I have often read in the papers," she said, "of young men who are first led into extravagance and then rob or defrand their employers. If a brother of mine was to be guilty of such díshonesty I would never forgive him - never! I would not acknowledge him as my brother!" The boys had never been tempted to steal, and the snggestion that temptation and fall were possible, together with their sister's threat, startled and impressed them. The next day, while the question of honesty was still fresh in their minds, Anna carne in, eager and excited. "I hear," ebe said, "that a woman in the neighborhood has some fine oíd Satsuma ware. Her husband was a sea captain and brcraght it to her fif ty yeaxs ago. Come with me. I am going to try to buy a piece of it." The house, when they reached it, was a meager, forlom little cottage. The woman was old; her lean, palé face lightened when she saw Anna. She waa poorly ciad. Here was a chance of earning money! "Lookin' for rooms, ma'am?" she Baid. "I have some good ones to let." "No," said Anna, carelessly. "We jost stopped for- a glass of water." "Why, sister!" exclaimed Bob, astonished at the deception. She shook her head angrily at him to be silent, and when the woman left the room she whispered, "If she knew what I carne for she would charge twice as high for the ware." Then she f olio wed her hostess, who was opening a cnpboard. "Yon have some nice glasses there," she said. "Tes; cost a dollar a dozen," "Very neat pattern indeed." Anna turned the cheap, ngly shaped goblet in her hand, while her keen eye scanned the recess of the cnpboard. "Qneer looking old china cup, that," she said. "May I see it? Thank you. What is it?" "Some foreign kind of crockery. My husband brought it to me. I've been told it was worth considerable money." "Ah? I shouldn't like to give rntich for it. It's a dingy looking bit of china. I think I would give seventy-five cents for it - just for Lhe oddity." "I conldn't let it go for less than a dollar," said the woman anxiously. "My husband gave it to me, but I do need money." Anna laid the cnp down, declaring that it was "dingy," trat after some biggling she bonght it f or a dollar. She hurried away with it, her cheeks flnshed and her eyes shining. "Cousin Bell gave twenty-five dollars for not half so good a speciment" she cried exaltantly, when they were on the road. "Is this worth so much?" asked Bob gravely. "It is worth more, bat she did not know it." "That was a pretty sharp trick of yours, Anna," said Tom thoughtfully, after a pause. Anna langhed complacently. "Yes, I think so," she said. When the lads were alone that night Bob said: "Anna said she wonld not acknowledge ns as brothers if we stole money. Didn't she the same as steal that cnp from the old woman if it was worth twenty-five dollars? If the old woman had known it she wonld not have let it go for a dollar. A-n-na. took advantage of her ignorance. She really stole it." "It looks like that," repöed Tam. "Well, then, I guess Arm woaldn't miad sharp tricks in business if wewere men, Torn, wonld sheT' "No," said Torn. The seed was planted wbich would reach a deadly grcwth hereafter, and Anna's talk abont dishonesty was