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An Adventure

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Ten years ago found me not with tho snug business I now possess, but employed as a commercial traveler in the grocery line. My duties frequently took me to Birmingham, and, if I ain to teil my story truthfnlly, I must say I was at that periGd of my history, to put it mildly, no better than I ought to have been. The life of a commercial ík one íríiBght with very great temptation, and Í was not always stroiig enongh to eep my feet out of the midst of the briers which then beset my path, with ■which statement my readers will readily agree vhen they read the strange incident I am uow going to relate. It was 6 o'clock on an auttimn evening. The streets of Birmingbam were swept with rain. I had had a tolerably Bncoessful day, and there reposed in my pockets the som of L20, which I had collected f rom my firm's customers. Having nothing particular to do, and the tnrrents of rain absohately prohibiting all open air enjoyment, I went to the hotel I was staying at, and although I ! had already drank during the afternoon more than I ought and much more than I needed I callee! for afnrther supply of brandy, and -while sipping it was joined by a stranger, who seemed eager to enter into conversation -with me. Nothing backward, and witb tongne fairly set a-wagging, I talked, too, and I believe that before raany raoments he bad ageertained that I had L20 belonging to niy employer ín my possession. The brandy flniabed, nothing wonld satisfy my newíoundfrieud bnt that ho shoulïl take me to the theater, where the well known play of "Drink" was being performed. I remember -well how, half tipsy as I was, I shuddered at the realistic portraiture by one oí the , artista of a victim to delirium tremens. I remember how the horrors of drink ■were delineated and was sane enough to reniark to my companion : "Bosh ! They aro overdrawing it !" "Certainly," he replied, "they are overdrawing it. But it's only a play. Thero are driüking bars here ; they are a reality. Come, let's go and get something." So we went and "got something," and, to cut a loug story short, when I left the theater, lean ing on the arm of my friend, I was helplassly intoxicated. The nest Ihing I knew was tbis : The rainclonds hart rolled away, and fitful gleams of moonlight reveaJed to me the f act that Iwas in a strange room, lying on a strange bed. Two o'clock chimed nnt-, frnm a neiErhborinK steenle. Sobered with fright, I raised myfeif, and then, quick as a lightning flash, carne the tbought - my money ! My clolhes were thiown serosa the bottom of the bed. I eearohed the trousers pocket. The gold was there. Then I heard voices in soft conversatiou coming upfrorn below. Noiselessly I opened the bedroom door and listened. "Sure he's all sereno?" queried one volee, to which another responded, "He won't wake till 6, at the earliest. " "Very good," said the first voice. "Mind, il he wakes while you're doing it" - Tho sentence was punctuated by the nnmistakable click of a pistol, and I shivered - uot from cold. "And at 6 or 7, or whenever he does wake," continuad the voice, "teil hiru yon picked hini up drunk in the street and lairiod hiru in here ont of compassiou or safety, and you will easily convince him that he was robbed out of doors. But, mind, I have done my part in plying him with drink and in decoyiiifi him here. See you do yours in gracefnllyrelievingthe poorfoolof his L20!" Here a step on the stairs warned me to close the door, and I got back to bed. Hearing the knob of the door fwrn, I began to breathe heavily after the fashiou of a dranken man, and the uext instant, shadiug the candle with his hand, there appeared the form of a strange man, who was soon peering flxedly into my face. Satisiied apparently with his examinatiou, my visitor searched niy pockets, ponuced upon the gold, of oonrse, and qnickly transferred it from itserstwhile resting pliice to - wbcre do you gucss? He went to a birdoage, which uow íor the first timo I observe g np. drew out its sliding door, qnietly emptied my gold iuto it, replacad the slide and midresscd and lay down beside me. He was soon asleep, and hope sprang np Within me, but, alas, of all the light gleepers he was the lightestleverknew! Whenever I moved, he appeared to be on the alert. It wasinipossible to crawl qnt of bed .without his being conscious of (lie fact. Besiúes ónder his pilJow I knew was tb pistol, and, iu despaií, I had reluctantly to rest on aa ealru aud nncouceïimd as I possibly could. AH wakeful I passed that honibln i night, and the skrw honra dragged on interminably. Bnt at lougtli a project prosented ifself to icy uow sharpened I eenses, which project I pnt iuto ezecution wbeD 6 o'cloek efcruck. "Failure, " said I to myself, "means simply death. pnceess uieaus a saved reputation wíth my cmployera and a vow oí stricfeHt sobriety. " Everything beii:g perfeetly qniet, I i simnlated a gradual waking up, and my first yawn opened tiie eyes of ni y bedíellow. Tlie second had ihe effect of raising bim frotn bis recnmbeBC pofition in the bed, and when I slowly and painfully a-woke he was bendiDg over uie, ail solicjtnda. Daylight was now etcaliug into the room. "My poor fellow," exclaimed the assiduous one, "how do you feel noy? Yon will wouder, no doubt, at beiug ín my bed, but the fact ís yon were ill last uight, were yon not?" "111?" I said. "111?" And I put my band mechauioally to myhead. "Well, I think I must have been. My bead does ache sol" He emiled and replied, "Well, my dear fellow, not to pnt too fine a poict npon it I fouud yon late last night in the gntter, just a little bit the -worse for liqnor, and two somewiiat disreputable lookíaa nien who were with you asked ne if I could manage to look after yon ior tbenight." I expressed mj prof onnd thanks to my ?ood fiiond ior fais UDSolfish ldndness, tj but he inodestly waved them aside, y ing deprecatingly : t( "Duty, sir, duty! I cannot neglect a tf genuine case of human raffering or danger -without soiue ettempt, however slight, at snccor. " fc I thanked hirn again. n "I am iïl," I said. "I had too nmch $ brandy ye&terday. I rnusthavo a hair of s the dog that bit me. I must have a nip now. It is the only thing which will put me right. If yon have any brandy P in the house, for heaven's sake, sir, r bring mo a drop!" He hesitated a moment, then rejoiued : J "Certainly. Lie there and I'll be back B with it in a moment," and disappeared. Much qaicker than I can relate it, I f sprang up, went to tho birdcage, drew g the sliding tray, transforred all the '( tents into my handkerchief and thence into my coat pocket, finally replacing ( the tray. Not a moment too soon -was I back between the sheets, for in an inBtant my good Samaritan arrived with the brandy. I drank and prof essed to be j much better. I dressed ; eo did he. Would I have breakfast? No ! I most reluctantly asked to be excused, being , in hastetocatch the first train I possibly could back to town, and I pointed out , to my noble host that either breakfast or that train must of neeessity ba given up. Would he forgive me if I feit ccmpelled to choose the train? I searcbed in my trousers pocket for my money, gave a start of surprise, shrieked out: "They have robbed me, those villains. Robbed me last night !" And I simula ted as ably as I could a most woeful expression of grief and despair. My good friend sympathized deeply with me. He invoked maledictions on the head of any on 8 who could be base enough to rob an unfortunate stranger, and with a ge'nerosity well nigh unnaralleled he pressed upon me to cept, seeing I was penniless, as a temporary loan if I liked, the surn of 10 shillings. "Do take ií," be nrged. "It is, yon know, more blessed to give than to receive. I am iiot rich myself, but a few shilliugs in the cause of philantbropy I shalJ not, cannot miss." So, with rencwed assnrance of indebtedness, I wished ny estimable ben efactor adieu ; told liim I should never forget him as long as I lived (here I really was spealiing the trnth) and departed. What the localily was I knew not, but I wamlered- nay, I inshed ou and 011 - tmtil I saw a sleepy looking jehn, whom I bade drive rue with all possible speed to the station. The train was just starting, and I juinped into an erupty compartment. Hastily I untied he bag and soanned the contents. Lo andbehold! I found that I had swept the birdcage clean, for when I counted the money there were L42 in gold and two L5 Bank of England notes, making the -very respectable total of L52. Now I am happily and peacefully settled in lifo, and when round the fireside at night I p called on for a story, nothing delightf me better tban to teil my tale of how the trappers were trapped.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News