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Which Did She Mean

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It was atruly rural party that waited in barrowing suspense for the train which was to leave in two or three hours. They had been to a fair, and in their periods of comparativa reposo passed the time reoouuting their experiences and observations. "I oan't he'p bein anxious, " the old gentleman said apologetioaüy to a gate tender. "Ye see, there ain't nobody to home, an somebody up in our country is developin a ter' ble appetito fur Leghorn chickens, which is my specialty. I don't lika the idee of stayin here overnight, dodgiu bunko steerers, when we orter be chasin chiokin thieves. " "Haven 't you got a hiredman on the place?" "We brougnt 'im along. He was willin to pay bis own way, an ez he'd of quit ef 1 hed told 'im he'd gotter stay, I thort it 'nd save trouble in the end." "Yes siree, " chimed in the hired man, who carne up jnst at that poinfc in the conversation, "I had to move weth the percession. An I wouldn'fcof missed seein what I did fur nothiii. I guess I got through weth more siphts thau iiuybody else in the huil outñt. " "I rockon yo didn't ccmo srrc-3 v.:y more that was ew au startlin i . ;.n eome of the rest of us, " replied iho old gentleman iu a blasé tone of tolerstioii. "I know of one thing thet ye didn't see, iur motljer Bays she had her eye on ye ill the time. Hev ye got any money?" "Two dollar an sixty cents," was the self satisfied response. "Then ye didn:t see whnt I'm talkin j about. Ye run over to tbet storo an buy 3 cents' wuth of English walnuts an I'U show it toye. I'll be over whui mother an Zeb is, 'cause it'll interest them too. " Wh?n the hired man came back f rom bis errand, the old gentleman was saying to bis wiie: "I was out fur experience, an ye can't git experience without its costin a leetle soroethin. I learnt a new game, an I want Zeb an the hired man ter know about it, so's ter put 'em on their guard again the wickednesa of this here world. All ye need is eome walnut shells an a paper wad." The members of bis household followed him to the window ledge, and, after a few preliminary passes to loosen up bis muscles for feats of legerdemain, be paused to remark: "Now, ye'U understan, of conrse, thet this here ain't no lesson in gamblin, I jes' wanter show ye how it.'s done. When ye go ter town, ye'll know jes' ez much about it ez them sharpers does an be on yer guard. It:s a game whur the man ez does the guessiu ain't got no show whutsomever. " He rnanipulated the shells and the paper wad in imitation of tlio man ho had seen at the fair, and stepping back said : "Course, I don't want ye ter bet nothin, 'causo that 'ud be jes' like robbin yer. But it won 't do uo harm fur ye ter make a guess, so's ter show ye how the dag-oned swindle operates. " "I'U bet yö my new knife agin that buckhorn handled one of yer'n thet I kin piek out the shell ez hez the paper wad underit,"remarked the hired man. "I wouldn't Jet ye do it. Don't ye onderstan' thet this is a skin game I'm a-showin ye?" "I don't keer nothin 'bout that. I've got that ther paper wad located an ye da'sn't bet thet I ain't. " "I da'sn't, da'sn't I? I don't like ter take no advantage of ye, but ye're a man growed an responsible fur yer own acks. Put up yer knife. " The stakes were laid on the window ledge, and the hired man promptly selected the right phell. "By hokey," exclairned the old gentleman, "ye've guessed itl It must 'a' been by a miracie. " He tried it again, and tbis time not only the hired man, but Zeb and the old lady, risked all their available small change. Again the amateur tbimble rigger juggled the shells, and with the same resul t, "Better own up an quit, father," suggested Zeb. "I wcn't do nothin of the kind, " was the reply. In the course of time he issued promissory notes for. a saddle blanket, a pair of boots, six pearl collar buttons, a calicó dress, a pair of bearskin gloves, seven plugs of tobáceo and $4. 50. But he was not discouraged. Ho was preparing for another shuffleof the walnut shells, when his wife exclaimed: "Elihu, aiu't it purty near train time?" There was a simultaneous rush for the gate. Their train had been gone nearly 15 minutes. "Waal, " said the old gentleman, "it's disapp'intin ter hev ter set here teil the nex' one goes, but we've had the benefit of the exposy, anyhew. Ye kin allus dror a moral írorn most any thing that happens. It all goes ter show thet there ain't any way of bein re'ly safe in games of chance, no matter which side ye're on." "Yes, "said Zeb, "it all come ter pass 'long of hevin ter kill time in this here place. " "Whur's the hired man?" "He told me thet, ezit wouldbeagood While teil the train went, he reckoned he'd take eome of his winnin's an paint the town a little bit." The old lady passed aronnd soine red apples and remarked: t "To my way of thinkin, there's another eternal truth thet this afternoon hez demonstrated. " "What is it, Mirandy?" "A fooi an his money are eoon parted. " And her husband never took the troubit) to inquire whether she ineant hira or the hiiöd


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