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Only A Husk

Only A Husk image
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Toin Darcey, yet a youog man, had grown to be a very bad one. At heart he niay have been all right, if his head and wil) had been all right, but these beiug wrong, the whole machine was going to the bad very tast, tbuugh there were times when the heart feit sotuething of its own truthful yearniugs. Tom had lost bis place as foreman in the great machine shop, and what raoney he had now earned caine from odd jobs of tinkering which he was able to do here and there at private liouses ; for Toni was a genius as well as a meehanic, and when his head was stesdy enough he could mend a clook or clean a watch as well as he cóuld set up and regúlate a steam engine - and this latter he could do better than any other man employed in the Scott Falls Manufacturing Compaoy. Oue day Tom had a job to mend a tiroken niowing machine and reaper, for which he had receiyed five dollars, and on the following morning he started out for his old ha uut, the villaje tavern. He knew hió wit'e sadly needed the inuuey and that his two little children were in absoluto suffering for the waut of clothing ; and ihiit cuorning he beid a debate with the better part ot himself, but the better part had beoome very weak and shaky, and the demon ot' appetite carried the day. So away to the tavern Tom went. For two or three bours he feit the ezhilaratiug .¦ffor-to nt thfl lnhnli(i draueht. and ïd hiiutelf happy, as he raid sing and laugh ; but, as usual, stupefaclion lollowed, and the man died out. He drank while he could stand, and then lay down in the corner, where his companions left him. It was late at night, almost midnight, when the landlord's wit'e carne into thebarrooni to see what kept her hubband up and quiokly xaw Tom. "Peter," said she, not in a pleasant mood, "why don't you send that miserable Tom Dareey home? He's been hanging around here long enough." Tom's stupefaction wae not sound sleep. The dead coma had left the brain, and the calling of his name stung his senses to keen attention. He had an insane love for rum, but did not love the landlord. In other years he had loved and wooed the sweet laaiden, Ellen Goss, and he won her, lcaviDg Peter Tindar to Uke up with the vinegary spinster, who had brought hiui the tavern, and he knew that lately the Upater had gloated over the misery of the woman who once discarded him. ''Wby don't you eend him home?" demanded Mrs. Tinder, with an impatient stamp of the foot. "llush, Betsy ! He's got inoney. Let him be, and he'll be aure to spend it before he goes home. I 11 have the kernel of the nut, and his wife may have the husk!" With a sniff and a snap Betsy turned away ; and sbortly afterward .Tom Dareey lifted himsclf upon his elbow. "Ah, Tom, are you awake?" "Yes." "Then rise up and have a warm glasa." Tom got upon his feet and steadied hiinMlf. "No, Peter, I won't drink any more tonight." 'lIt won't hurt you, Tom- just a glass. "I ktiow it won't," satd Tom, buttoning up his coat by the ouly solitary buttun left, 'I know it wop't." And with thin he went out into the chili lir of night. When he got away from tbe shadow of the tavern, he stopped and looked up at the taire, and theo he luokeJ down upon the earth. "Aye," he muttered, grindiog hia heel in the gravel, "Poter Tindar is taking the keroel and leaving poor Ellen the, in J I am helpiog him to do it. I am robiug my wife of joy, robbing my ehildren of honor and comfort, robbing myself of love and life, just tbat Peter Tindar may have the kernel and Ellen the ! We'll see. It was a revelation to the man. The tavem-keeper's brief speech, uieant noi f'or bis ears, had come upon his censes as feil the voioe of the Risen one upon Saul of Tarsus. 'Wo'll ee," he replied, setting his feet firnily upon the ground, and then lie wended his way homeward. On the following morning he said to his wife : "Ellen, have you any coffee in the house ?" "Yes, Tom." She did not teil him that her sister had given it to her. iSlie was glad to hear him aak for ooffee instead of oíd, oíd eider. "I winh you would make a cup good and stron?-" „, , There was really music in Toto s voice, and the wife set about the work wilh a strange fluiter in her heart. Toui drank two cups of the strong, fragrant coffee, and then went out- went out with a resolute step, and walked straight to the great manufactory, where he found Mr. Scott in the office. "Mr. Scott, I want to learn my trade over again." "Eh, Tom. What do you mean 't" "I mean that it'a Torn Darcey, come back to the old place, asking forgivcness f'or the past, hoping to do better in the future. T "Tom!" cried the manufacturer, starting forward and grasping Toui'b hand, "are you in earnest 1 Is it really the same old Tom?" "It's what's left of him, sir, and we will have bim wholo and strong very üood, if you will only set him to work." "Work ! Aye, Tom, and blesa you too. i There is an engine to be set up and tested tody. Come with me." i Tora's hands werc weak and unsteady, i but his brain was clear, and under hia piTvisioQ tbe engioc was set up aud tested but it was not perfect. There were I takes which he had tn correct, and it was late in the eveniog wheo the work was completed. 'How is it now, Tom?" asked Mr. Scott, as he cánie iiito the testing house and found the workmen ready to depart. "Sho's all right, sir. You niay give your warrant without fear. "God bless you, You don't know how like sweet music the old voice sounds. Will you take your old place again?" "Wait till Monday morning, sir. If you will offer it to me then I will take it." At the little cottage Ellen Daroey's fluttering hart was suiking. That mortiing after Toni was xone i-he had tbund a twodollar bill in lier ooffee-cup. She knew he hud lef 't it for her. She had been out and bought tea and sugar and flour and butler and a bit of tender steak ; and al! day long a ray of üirht had been dancing and skimining betbre her, a ray f'roui the blesed lixht of othor days. Wilh prayer and hope she Bet out the toa-table and waittd, but the un went down and no Toni cauie. Hight o'cloek - ;ind alyiost nine. Oh, was it but a false glimmer after all ? Hark ! The old step ! strong, eager for home. Yes, it was Toni, wilh the old griine upon lii tumis and tha odor of oil Lipón lii' t';il ['Dt. "I have kept you waitinp, Nellie." "Torn!" "I didn't mean to, but the work hung m." "Toni, Torn! You have been to theold shop." 13i V "Yes; aud I'ni to have the old pkce, nd- " "Oh, Tom!" And she threw her arms around nis neck sind covered his face with kisses. "Nellie, dading, wait a little and you nhall have the old Tom back a;ain." "Oh, Toin. I've got biui nuw, now - blesHhini! My own Tuiu ! My husband, uiy dailiog !" And tlien Tooj Darcey realized the full power and Messing of a woiuan's love. On the followiiiL' Monday morning Tom Darcey wuuied his place at the-hcad of the great machine' shop, and those who thoroughly künw hitu had no fear of his going back into his old habits. A few days later, Tom met Peter Tindar on the street. "Eh, Tom, old boy, wbat s up? Yes, I see. But 1 hope you havea't t'orsaken us, Toni ?" "[ have forsaken only the evil you have in store, Peter. The fact is, I concluded my wife and chihiren had fed on husks long enough, and if there was a kernel left in my heart or in my inanhood, they should havt' it." "Ah, you heard what I said to my wile that nigfat ?" "Yes, Peter, and I shall be grateful to you for it as long as I live. My reniembrance of you wiil always be relieved by that tine of warmth and brightness.-


Old News
Ann Arbor Courier