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Temperance

Temperance image
Parent Issue
Day
18
Month
May
Year
1882
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Dilly was perched on a fence-post, her light hair flying about her face, as usual, and her Jittle, red hands clasped behind iier back. The three ov four smal] toes that peepedoutthrough her ragged shoes were red, also, ior the autumn day was cold ; but Dilly was used to such triflea. Toddies, the baby, who could not climb the fence contented himself with looking through. He was bundied up in an odd fashion, of Dilly '3 own invention - in an old shawl ; aud, if the round face tliat peeped between the fence-rails was roughened by the chili winds, he, like Dilly, had grown accustomed tosuch discomforts. It occurred to Freddy Burr, in the next ynid,however,that their aituatlon was Heaicely agreeable. He looked up fioni the stick he was trying to split with nis new hatchet, and aaked : 'What makes you sit up there such a d;iy as thisV Why don't you go into the house and keep warmV "Causo l'd rather stay here and wateh you,' aaid üilly, serenely. ' 'ïain't no í'un in the house.' 'Well, I wouldn't think it was auy f un out here, 1 can tell you, if 1 didn't have a warm coat and scarf and these thick boots,' remarked Freddy, displaying the pair of red-topa, that were his pride. üilly looked at theni, and an old, vague wonder awoke as she did so, and grew more distinct, untll, presently, it took shape in word?. ' Why don't 1 have such things, too, Freddy Barr - shoes and new clothes and something to wear on ïny head ?" "Cause your father drinka 'em ur,' answered Freddy, proinptly, aud without the slightest heaitation in disclosing the truth. Dilly pondered a moment andas proniptly denied. 'No, he don't, either. Folks can't drink suoh things. W here do you get yours?' 'My father buys 'em i'or me ; and the i i;asön yours don't get any for you is 'cause they all go into old Barney's rum barrels, down at the corner. ïliat's the way of it, true as you live, Dilly Keene ; and it's awf ui mean, too!' declared Freddy, growing indignant as he explained. ïhen a voice f rom the pretty lioitse beyond called Freddy, and lie ran in, while Dilly and Toddies, witli tiieir amusement of watching ended, turned slowly away. Dilly surveyed herseli and the baby thoughtfully, and sat down upou an old log to medítate. It what Freddy iSurr told her was true, tsomething ought to be done about it ; and the longer she poudered, the more f ully she becamed conviuced that slie had heard the UuUi. ' 'Cause other f olku has tliings and we don't, and it must be ours go Borne where else,' she rea.soned. 'They can't be any good there, either. I'm just sure they cau't. Mebby Tve got a hood - niebby it would be a nice red on e, pretty and warm. Wish 1 had it novv. Wish Toddies had-' She stopped as a brilliant plan ilashed suddenly in her brain. Wouldu't her mother be surprised, iL she could do that- poor mother, who waa out washing, and who would be so tired when she oame home at night. 'Toddies, let's do it!' sue said, springing up, excitedly. 'Let's go an'seeif we can get some of 'ein.' 'Yah!' answeïed Toddlea, contentedly, and, taking his hand, Dilly opened the creaking gate and led the way down the streek There vvere a number of men in the store at the corner - a queer store, with acuitain acrossthe lower half of its front window. Dilly saw them when the door opened; but she was adeterwinedhttlebody, when once she had decided apon the propei thing to do. So she only clasped Toddle's hand closer, and walked iii and up to the counter, makiiií? an extra effort lo speak distinctly, because her lieart beat so tast. 'Please, sir, havo you got auything of our.s a-suak heV There waa an Instant's silence, and then a sbout of laughter trom the men. 'Well, now, that'saneatwayof putting it. Hy, Keene, these youngsters of yours want to know if Barney luis you i ti soak here?' An old slouched lial behind the stove was raised a litüe, but there was no other sign that the inan heard. Dilly shrank back abashed. 'Oh! 1 didn't mean him.' 'What did you mean, Uien?' asked a coarse, red-faced mau, advancing from behind the bar and speaking in tones not at allgentle or amiable. 'Shoes and coats and such things,' faltered Dilly, 'Iloods- l'm 'fraid its spoiled with the whisky; but mebby ma eould wash it out. Wouldn't you take some of 'em out of your barrel, Mr. Barney'? We need 'em awful bad.' '] should think as rnuch,' muttered one af the bystanders, surveying the two dilapidated figures; but Mr. Barneys wrath was risicg. 'What barrels? Who sent you here f' hu deinanded, angrily. 'Your rum-barrel,' anawered Dilly, standing her ground desperately, though withalittlecatehin her breath, that was just ready io break into a sob. 'Ma works hard all the time, and she looks 80 sorry ; and we don't have any nice dinners at our house, like Freddy Burr's; and uo new shoss, nor caps, nor anything. I asked Freddy where our good things went to, 'cause they don't come to our house ; and he said you liad them down here in your barrels. Please, do take some of 'em out, Mr. Barney. l'm sure it can't make any body 's drink taste a bit better to have a little boy's ana girl's new shoes and dressea and everytning in the barrel.' 'You're right thee, sissy. U's nigh about spoiled the taste of mine,' said one of the group at the counter, putting down his glass with a queer, perplexed look. Jiut there was no ity in the bar-keeper's look. fluit was wrathf ui. 'We've liad enough of thls nonsense ! Now, you leave, you young ragainuflins, as last as your feet will carry you, and never let me catch you inside these doors again.' He stepped toward them, as íi' tu drive them out; but the man behind ti'.e stove auddeuly arose. 'Take care, Barney ! You'd better not touch tliem. ïou've kiiocked me about of ten enough but you'd best let them alone.' There was a lire in the eyes undei the old sloucbed hat, before which Mr. Barney drew back. Both ehtldren were er y ing by that time; but the father took a hand of each, 'Come, üilly; come, baby,' and, without a look lo his companions, he passedout Lnto the street. It was a very silent walk. Toddle's tearu we ried as soon as the Btranger, whose loud voice had awakened bia baby terror, was out of sight; but pooi' little Dilly's heart was sore with disappointmeut and (car. Slic had failed in the Bcheme that sbe had thought promised so fairly. No hood nor shoes had sbe seen, after all her braveiy in venturiug into that dreadful store, and who could ttll how angry her father might bei1 She stoleshy glances up under the old hat; but she only saw a sober, downcast faoe, and he said nothing, nor even when they had reached honu'. He hunted up some f uel and made a better üre ; and then sat down beforo it, with his head between his hands, and left the ehlldren totheirown devices. But two weeks later Dilly completed the atory, confldentially, to Freddy Buit. 'See here!' she said, pushing the toes of stout new shoes through the fence. 'Where did you get 'em?' asked Freddy. 'And see here !' continued Dilly, bobbing up for a instant, to show the hood ttiat covered the yellow'hair, and touching it slRniflcantly with her fitiger. 'Where did yoa j;et Vrii?' tepeated Freddy. 'My pa worked and bonght 'em and brought 'em home ; and they didn't get into nobody'a barrel,' explained Dilly, with great pride and little regard for grammar. Then she pressed her small tace againat the ience tor n prolonged interview. 'When yon told me Mr. Barney had all our nice thiugs down in his store, in a barrel, I just went right down there, ind asked hito for 'em - me and Toddies.' 'You didn't!' exclaimed horrifled Freddy. 'Did too!' declared Dilly, with an emphatic nod. 'Well, lie wouldn't give me one of 'em, and hc was just as cross as anything. So, then, my pa got up f rom the stove and walked home with us. He dldn't scokJ a bit; buthejust sat down before the lire, this way,and thinked.andthinked and thinked. At last, he put liis hand in one pocket, and there wasn't anything there; and he put his hand in another, and found ten cents, nul he went out and bought soine meat for supper. Then when ma came home he talked to her, and they both wied - 1 clon't know wliat for, 'leas it was 'cause we couldn't ge! the tiiings out of that old barre!. And ma liuggod and kissed me most to deaih that night, she did. 'Well, my pa got some work tlie next day, ainl Lruught home some moiiey: and uow he had i'ound a place to work every Oiy. He bought all these thing.j, and hu says his little boy and fdri shall have thinga like

Article

Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat