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The Deacon's Plot

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A reiisonably gOod man was Deacon Pilscy, as times weht, but if be had a weukness it was foi making thiiigs in general go about as he wanted to. Not an overbearing man by any means, and certainly not a violent one, but with wonderiully cute and quiet and subtle ways of his ojVn, by which ho brought ipatters about without letting other peopie know how the thing was done. When a man is aceustomed to have his own way lie makes up his mind pretty easily, but thore was one point of all others upon which Deacon Pilsey had been set and iijíed for ycars, and the care of which lay heavy on his miud, ior the timo had come when, in his judgment, BOmething deep re.quirod to be planned and all his skill exercised in ciirrying it out To a roind liko his, thüt had taken a perfect measur of every other in the villuge, and for miles around it, thore could be but little difficnlty in selecting his tools and assistiints, and hu liad no peed of ! counselors. T)at yus Kow he Jfsippened i to be teUpÚg 60 i.'oiifiílfíitiiiliy to Mr. Joo i Gaines, as tho two ttood by the , gate. ' Why, Peatón s:i 1 .Toe, "I always thought you ljked Bob Ilumphrey. He's ( a tip-top t'ellow, and a good match for any RÍrl 1 know of." " So he is, so he is," replied the f eacon. " Cun'í say a word agin him. Knew him j front' a boy. Can't forbM him the house, or uny oí' that sort of lionsense ; but then he can't have Irene Wyer " " I doíi't see how you'll help it, deacon. , Yiw' 'vnv her guardián, and she is ibout of iig;.'1 i " Not for a year - that's iiojv tho will ; eads - and she's in my own house, ou , tnow. I gucfs 1 can íix somo things, , speciallj' if }m'll taru in and help me. íou'ro a lawyer, Joe Gaines, but you're a ■oung onn yot, and 111 give yon the fatesi foe yon eVer dreamod f if vpu'll only ', íiteh teams with me and see that Bob lumphrey don't get the upper hand. " Well, jf tbat's what you're afte,r, so i t's al) right ni sqvir I'd as lief r-iru 'ee one way us another. Whai's yvur rogramme V " "Well, you know there's nigh onto hirty thousand a comin' to Irene Wyer, u her own right, and I've took the best tiiid of care of t.. It's bten a mighty ight of troublc, áhd all along I'v.e thought ot my son Scott." "Scott Pilsey ! " intorrupted Joe. "Why, : les in California. ' " He won't bo long. He's comin' íome iuside .o' sic months, and I want to ceep Irene safo for liiaj. Thqy used to ie wonderful thick, and he writ to her egular ever so long arter he went away, and so did shu to him." " iio tliey corresjiond now ? " said Joe. " No, not now There's the rub. That's one reason I'm lookiug out so sharp aftex 3ob. Now, I want you to juat take a íolt and try to koep Bob off till f-'cott, juts back. "ï'wou't be for long, and lrcno ain't such bad company, nohow." " I don't know," said Joe. " There's Maggie and her mother. I couldn't. be jarticularly attentive to Irene without :heir tnowing it. And Bob Ilumphrey will he sute íu be around most of the ;ime, aüd it won't be long before I have the whole viliage tulking the matter up. ' " Never mind that, Joe, never raind that. lt'll be all right when Scott comes iiomo. I'll give you the biggeat kind of afee." " Well, deacon," coolly replied the lawyer, "it's a pretty tougb. case, but I'll take it on oné condition." " Whafs that ? " "Why, so long as it's only fan, and all that, I'll go alujad, but if it seems as if I Was doing any hann, anythiug real bad, you know, I'm to be at liberty to back out." " Well, I don't mind, so long as you let me know in time." And so tho Deacon and the lawyer discussed their plot to their satisfaction, and when all was settled the latter took his own way down the broad and grassgrown Street of the viliage. " The oíd shark ■ "' he muttered, as he strolled leisurely on " What on earth put it into his plotting oíd head to pitch on me for liis tool 'i lie never was more than half decent to me before. I rockon I'll earn niy fee, but I'll be fair and square with Bob Humphrey. What would Irene say if she knew what was up 'i Wouldn't thogo black eyes of her's strike fire? " Now, it happcned that oflate, ucknown to the deacon, perhaps, there had been growing up more than a little closoness of intimacy between Joe Gaines and Bob Humphroy, and thus it was treachery to his friend as well as unfairness to the pretty heiress, to which the young law yer liad allowed himself to be bribed by the deacon'a promised feo. A deep fellow was Joe Gaines, and a marvolous manipulator of social affairs Again and again, as days and weeks an months went by, did Deacon Pilsey con gratúlate himself on hip admirable selection, and chucklo in his utmost being as Jio witnessed the well-contrived suocessof Jre's manoeuvres. There wero picnics and drives and partiee, and entertainments of vai ious kinds, but in vain did Bob Humphrey invite or propose ; the youDg lawyer was sure to be beforehand with him, and it aunost seeroed as if sweet, uiiussuming, quiot littlo Maggie i'ilsuy heraelt, the deacon's daughter, had joinod tho secret longue iigninst her triend Irene, so oftoa was soine excuse deviscd by which she was mude to appear in tho latter's stead. Tlien, too, thoro were the homo ovenings at the deaoon's house, wbn the subtle-minded old plotter conld have huggcd bimtelf with satisfnction as ho siit by and witnessed with his owu eyes ; the admirable raunncr in which jee i QuDCá worked for bis fee. '■ Xi tulas a lawyer, alter all," ho said ! to himself. " 1 dou't care mucn what he j charges. I only hope he'll kei-p it up till Scott gits houiu. And then to see Bob Humplirey I Why, the tellcw's got tho )urs(-veranee of tho stiints, but he ; ain't nowhtre with Joe Gaines." As for Irene herself, her red lips ed and hmghod, andh;rbright eneil and parkloil, itnd hor lite seeined ' ilowiag ouward vory plüasantly, s if no deep-luiil plots tod schemiugs had any i power over her or her Aloreover, through it all Jee Gaines sacmed to maintain tüe most complete exttrnal Hemblanoe of frank hearted frieudship } with Bob Humphrüy. Odd as it may seein, the young lawyer also found that ha prnotico had undergonc a vory sensible inciense, caused mainly by the warm, though covert, etiibniunis which tho ! good deacon's heart compellid him to tur hero and there, in his keen appreciation of his young frieul's tact and management. Time will fly, however, and the mails at last brought to the Pilsey homestead the weloomo news Ihat its absent hope aad huir would shortly return. There were letters trom bcott Pilsey to his niother and sister Maggie, and to Irene Wyer, and even to his old fripnds and sho.liiiutos Joo Gaiuoa and Bob Humphrey, and to each one he lind doubtless some matter of special interest to communiciite. No noisj', sinoky, disgusting railway traina is yot vexed tho retirement and repose ot the village, but at last, on a morning when all thiugs woro in a state of almost painful oxpectaucy of his arrival, not the ordinary stage-coach, but a private hired carriage, heavy with packages and trunks, bora Scott Pilsey to the door of his father's house. In an instant the littje verandah was fall of those who awaitcd him, but when the deacon's tall, sun-burned and bushybearded son sprang out upan the grj,?p, ho turned his back to the verandah tor a moment, while he nided the niovements of a gracefui, well-favored, dark-featurcd young ludy, whofollowed him, and whom, even in the first warinth of his "welcome horne," he iutroduuod as "jny wife, my Lucia:" iluggio Pilïey hugged her and kissed her, and so did Irene, and so, in a moment more, did olü Mrs Pilsey, and the deacon was too veise a man to socn: ultogethcr astonished, while Joe Gaines and Bob Huiuphrey wero fairly boisterous. In tact, iScott Pilsey's California brido wíts so overeóme by the warmt h of hor grecting that the poor young thing forgot her pridt' and burst mto toara. In a iialt' minute at'ti r that there wasn't a la'ly visible) :md (Jus JJob and Joe knew ejjough tu leave the deacon and his son td tlumiselves. The two young men went off aun in arm, but they were back agaiu bol'ore the day was over. Tho deacon's face was a triflo sorious, but ïjot eyactly cjoudy, and before long he mauagcd to get Joe G;iius off by him - self for a bit of i private cüiversation. " And so, Joe," ho said, " you and the test knew all about this matter of iScott's somo time ago?" ' Well. j'es ; Irene told ino in confidenco, and tlieiij when they wrote and told Scott how matters stood here, ho wroto to eongrutulato us, and bogge i us not to spoil his surprise to you. We couldn't Uil ufter all that, you know." "AhemJ lyelj- no - I can't say ; but p'rajis not. I can't be mad with Scott, tor she's brought him a big rancho and a niine ; but what am I to do with you now 'i I like Bob Huraphrey first-rate - I alle rs did like Bob- and now it can't be Scott, I (ion't see as J. otter to interfere. foo've earned your fee, and I'll pay it ; but, then, vou see, there aiu't no more uso " "Oh, no, not a bit." intcrruptcd Toe. " Bob it a gocA fnllosv, and he and Maggie are just suitfd. Irene and I think that Maggie couldn't have made a botter match, and we think Scott's dono splendidly woll." J']nn3 and you," exclaimed tho deacari: ' Yes, of course.. I'ye explained to her hat I can't afford to loso my fee. I told ïer so at tho boginning, and she said I must earn it. Seerus to me I havo done bat; but I'll lot you up." "Dono it!" fxclaimcd the dpacon. ' AVell, yes Joo ; on the whole, I should rather be inclined to say I gucss I think rou koet ! Yen - you a tul Irene ! "


Old News
Michigan Argus