Press enter after choosing selection

In The Old Well

In The Old Well image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

"Tliere's no use talking. Únele Jedediali was uever koown to help anybody!" said Phiney Metz, despondently. "But we might isk him. wouldnot cost miytliing,"' sakl her sister Tilda, wlio sat on the tuble swinging lier pretty, shahby little feet to aud fi o in a perplexed fashion. JosepLine and Matilda - thosi' wcre the n-al uamea of these browu facid, sturdy little las.-ies wlio were trying lo baltle in the hard uncoRiprooiUÍDl world. Oíd Mr. Metz wasdead; ttie Metz tarín bad passed luto other hands, and all the dlstant rclatives liad made up tlieir minds tliat Pnlaey and Tilda were really no business of tlirirs. Tliere was only ten dollars in the alenaef (ur#O whicii biíonged to tliclr joint Arm, and .-ouiethiiiii, they feit, must be done. And so tbelr thoughts reverted to nu aucient granduncle, one Jedediah Jackton, who had goue to Harpervilie, and there vegutated in i dim old jewelry shop, where be uiended watcbes, replated wlnleware, and repaired damaged spectacle tor all tbe old gentlemen and ladio in tne ueiyhborhood. To Uuole Jedediah they went. He rlewed tbein with laekluster eye?, with a maiinitviug glan in one band and a chamóla leather in the otlier. "Kb?" he said. "My niece Mary'n düiiglitersP It teems to me tbat 1 do remi'inbiT soineihing about her dying and there being a lawsuit about the farm. Father gone too, -li ? Well, well, this is a world of chances." "If you could lind something for us to do, Uncle Jedediuh," tainily began Phiney. "Tbere's always something for people to do in this world. At least, thal's my experience. Takeoffyonr bonnetg, girls. You are welcome to B home bere, such as it is," Me said. Uncle Jedediah was kind in M odd, absent-minded way, to his grandnieces. He obtalned a as sliop-girl for Phiney, and kept Tilda at home as bousekeeper and general f.ictotum - and the treah, rosy country girls lost never a sbade of bloom In the quaint city home. Two leafy trees whispered over the bosvwindow where liimi; the watohes and eyeglasses, and just oppsite the door a singular depressiou in the pavement held the light July rains long after they had dried away trom the otlier places. "Uncle Jedediah, why don't you have tliat place tillnd up?" said Pbiney. And flie looked despairingly nt the little shoe splaslied with wet whioh she liad unguardedly placed in tbe treacherous pool. "My dear, I have, but the pavement st'ttles agaia. 1 1 V tbe site of au old well tliat used to be here longbefore the houses were built," answered the old man. Phiney looked up and down the quiet elmsbaded 6treet. Was it possible a farmhouse well once bubbled np here, tbat cool plantain-leaves carpeted tbe around, and tbat thirsty cbildren came herelo drink? "Itcan'tbe healthy,1' said Tildu. "It ain't unbealtliy tbat ever I found out," said Uncle Jedediah, searebing among a drawt-r full of tiny screws for sonie desired variety of spiral. The next morning was Sunday. All the simple household slept an bour or so later on this day of rest, as a general tbing, so tbat tbe sun wassliiniíig througb the shutter cracks of the little shop when Pliiney came to cali her unole to breakfast. But, to her surprise, the faded lounge, upon wbicb he usually slept, was ¦mpty; he sat in un arm-cbair near tbe flickering gag-ligbt- whlcli shone so yellow and inuiky in contrast with the golden morning beams- bending ove' his work. "Uncle Jedediah! didn't you know tliat it was Snnday?" cried Phiney, in dismay. But Uncle Jedediah dld notanswcr hcr. He never i-poke a word inore in this world. He was quite dead. "Eigbty-odd years told. What can youexpect? People are uot born iminortal novvadays. And such a nice little business be liad. Dear, deai! there w.-i-n"t a man near coulil repair a watcb as he eould !" said the neighbors. The place, tbe property, and all were leít to his neices, and it was quite a windfall, for Uncle Jedediah liad always been mi lionest hard-working man. "What are ve to do?'' said Tilda. "We can't carrv on the business of repairing jewelry." said Pliiney. Okl Major Decply suegested tlmt tlic place should be sold. Alderman Uniiblechin intlmatcd tliat the city tinglit perbapi pay a fair price for tbe place as a site for an hospital. Mr. Chlppendale oil'cied ten tbousand dollars for tbe rigbt to transforin it into a dry goods emporiutn. But while ttie uirls were considering these various offt-rs a slrange thing caine to pass. Matilda came down to breakfast one morning wlth a troubled face. "Phiney. I nave had such a distressi'ul drcam," gald slie. "O Tilda, dear so have I '." cxcluiincd Josephir.e. "Únele Jedediah!" tasppd Tilda. "Yes, Únele Jededlah Looklng at me as p.-ili! as death md tryinj t tel I me soinetliing, cmly no sumid ItêUfid frora his Upe," 8aid l'hiney. "Únele Jededuh, witli a little ruítyold plck-axe, trying lo dig up tlie oíd puviug btones over t lie oíd well," said Tilda. "W'hat do yon mppOM U imana, Ti] da?" aski'd lier lieten "ü dear, I don't know," eried Tilda, wrinjíini; her hands, "hut 1 shall not rest quietly unlil we have the oíd well opened." Major Deeply lau;:hed scornfully. Aklerman Doublei'hin intimated that he liad no patience witli si,persition. But Phiney and Tilda, in DOwlse disniayed, summoned two or linee stalwart men and set theui to difrginir, and they dur steadily for neirly lialt a day. "I told yon so; ilotiling bul stones and rustv iron," suiil .Nf.ijor Deeply. "Whatelse eould tliere be?" remarked Alderman D.iublechiu, witli contenipt. "Tbe tlieory ot' my dear frierul, the Kev. Mr. Sapeer," began Mr. Cliippendule, "has alwaj's been tliat - '' "Hallo !"' cried one of the redshirted giants, v, lióse hemd had long ugo disappeared below the level of the puveinent: "here's an old iron kettle soldenul up as tijfbt as a bnckbat ! And it'a na heavy as if it was weigbted wlth lead. Look alive up there! There you are I ' It was the old fairy stmv over afrabt. A pot of buried treasure - the savins of Ui'Cle Jedediah's lifethne - hidden in the (lriecl-up well. They excavated the whole front of the stoie but found nothing exeept muid and creeping beetles; and the next week they coiumenced the work of tearinj: down the ancient stnicture, fiom which, plio?nix-like, a dry gooda eraporium was about to rise. There was not so inuch nioney in the iron pot, after all; only about two thousand dollars in old silver coins. lint that, with the price paid to our two heroincs by the Euiporium Company, made theni independent They went back to the little country village and boayht back the old Iniiiiestead, settlinir quiitly down there for lite, to the gret delight of all the reUtions, who, it Iheir own testiniony could be believed, had not exparlenced a happy moment since Mnlllda and JoMpblM had gone away. And when they were nwrricd- as mirry, of course they did - and entered on the sweet kingdoni of homes of thrir own, they never forjiot Uncle Jedediah. And their little ones, bpgins for fulry stnrles in the dusk, would alway8 fay : "M.immn, nlxa hogin witli the oue about Uncle Jedediah's btiried treasure,


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News