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Uncle Blights Thanksgiving

Uncle Blights Thanksgiving image
Parent Issue
Day
25
Month
November
Year
1891
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

"It'g like asking a man to find a needle iu a hay mow," said Mr. Sepple, the jeweler, as he lookril up at Col. Granger, with tho odd, nearsighted look that jewelers Have after they havo pond over the tiny nieehanism of watches by the hour. "I don't as-k you to find it," said Col. Granger, a libtle impaticntly. "I don't expect tlia,t any o no wUl find it now. But I am always on tJie lookout for it. Strangor tliings have happened." "Yes, I know," shrewdly assented Sepple. "But wlion a thing has beea lost for a hundrcd yoars, it don't generally turn up on the hunclred and first. - especially a little thing like a geni." 'You never studied the theory o( chances, did you ?" said the coloncl. "No." "Huph! I thought not. I nave." "It was an asteria, you say ?" as&ed Sepple, after a few minutes' siience. "I don't know anytliing about your asterias," retorted Col. Granger, impatiently. "My grandmother always callee! it a nt-ar-sapphire." "Yok, I know the variety," said Wepple, nodding his head which even at forty, was beginning to be bald on the crown and Blightly silvercd wiUi gray at the sidos. "Almost as priceless as a diamond, if only one could lay hold of it. But mine isn't a fashionable business, you know," with a little elgh. "There aron't niany 6apphires that go through my hands in the course of a year- or of ten years, cither, for that matter. The car conductora loave their watches here to be repaired; tlie tradesmen arauml tüie ave. bring me a decent custom of clocks and musicboses, and that sort of thing, and on the holidays I sell banglee and brooches and silver thirables to the ehop girls. I don't handle gems much, except when Laurent & Co. 'are hurried and their foreman sends me a batch of work to do for them. But I used to know aU about those things Wbea I was & young man, leaming the trade. You don't see mally of those asterias." "It had been in our iamily nobody knows how many years," said Col. Granger, le'aning idly over the show case, where the morning sunshine corrnscated amoing the cheap car rings and plated chains and piles oí eye glasses. "But my .srandíather was e. little inclined to b3 wild. He enpaged himselí to a young actress- a girl -svho-m his friendo couldn't recognize. Of coursO they broke up the match and sent him to Bombay. IIow ■ere they to know he would be drowned on the voyage out ?" "Did he wcar the sapphire ? Deually, I mean ?" "In a ring- yes. But ít Con t absolutely follow that it vas lost with him. He may have sold it; he was one of tliose fellows- the breed isn"t enttrely xtinet yet- who ara always wantlng money. Or he may have given it to the glrl." "I don't know, I asver knew." Sepple laughed a short laugh as he retornad to the magnifylng glass whlch fommandoil such an nrray of brase -wheels and coge. "I don't think mueh oí your theory oí chances," said he. Col. Granger laughed as he went out. He rather liked the eccentric Jeweler thaa otherwise, in upite of his odd, hlunt manaer. He had scarcely left -che store befoa-e the curtained doorway at the back i;H-ncil softly. and :i palé little -ornan, dressed in rusty black, gllded in. "Have yon any money this morning, Simón V stoe asked nlmost in a whteper. "Xd." he answered, sadly. "I thoogbt perhape that gentleman - " "He di'dn't come to buy," Bepple iiiterruptcd; "he only carne to talk." Mrs. So.pplc Bigbed. "Tbe ehildren need shoes," said she, "and my beet gowo i's too sliabby to wear oí a Sunday any longer. But we could get alODg somehow if someThins could be paid on the butcher's aícooint. And the ehildren .iré almady beglbnlng to count the days until Thenksgiving." "Thíy had better let it alone," eaid Sepple sherply. "We're not likely +o have any very extenaiVe merrymaki'ng this ThanksglTing." Mrs. Sepple looked wistfully at him. "It goes to my heart, Simón," she Kid, "to fíive ap all Idea of keping thianksBi'ving day. At home, we always looked forward to it half tlie year, and backward the other half." Sepple laid down his magniíyhiK glasé, and rïsing, carne i-lose to his wife and put his hand kindly on her BÍtoulder, while an odd Kpasm contracted his features. "Yes, I know it, Kitt.y," h? said "don't thínk, dear, that Iv'e forgotten liow I took you away from a a comfortable farm-liouse, where no Biich word as want was ever known-. You've had a hard time ever Bince, my giïl. Tire folks are dead, and the old htrase is sold, and Thanksnivintc has somehow passed out of our lives. But it ism't my fault, Kitty. If hard -work -would have done It, you ehould have walked iïi velvete' and worn silk and satin all your days. Luck baa been against me, that is all; ".vere's a. dollar. I di'd moan to keep it to get that pane of glass in the thop wïndow mended, but I will manage somehow with a piece of brown paper for a day or tivo-until Belton pays the bill." "But guppose he doeen't pay it '?" "Them my pane of glass won't be put in. Itun- quickly, now while the Vaby's asleep. Bhes' so Xretful with that last tooth that uobody can do anythtng with her but you." But, even on the threshold, Mrs. w Sppple met a Uttle, wri&kled olí man, dre-ssod in a fa doel olive sult cut after a most antiquatctl l'ashion and carryi'ng ;i shaliby leathor valiso in hls hand. 'Is this tiimon. Sepple's place ?" ■afd he. "Yes, yon are Kitty Blight's dauithtor I" to the astonished house-niother. I should have known you in Caffraria. Kiss mo, my dear. I am your great umie. Benjamin Blight !" '""Bu-t - hut," stammered Mrs. Sepple, -umable to disassociate her inind from old Maas, "You died in Australia. At least my great unele Benjamin Blight did." "No, I didn't" said the old man, with eome acerbity. "If I died in Australia, how could I be here ? It teïl'i my fault if people said what wasm't true." "Dear Únele Blight." said Kitty, "I am Try glad to see you. Your eyes are like my mother's, now that I look at you, and - " The old maji &et down Jiis shabby valtM with Bê slgb of relief. "I'm thankfiü to find someone who i& glad to see me," said he. "I've thought a good many times of late that it would have been botter if I had died iu Australia. I carne back here to wid my da.vs amoiig my relations. And the old house is sold, and the folks are uiovcd away- those of them that arent l.vinjr in tho churchyard, and it's only here and there that a very old person remembers that there was ever such a person as Benjamin Blight. You are the last card ia tho game, Niece Kitty. Nobody else Avants me. Your Cousin Calvin Bald it wasn't convenient t-o recelve me into hU family, but knew of a Home for Indigent Old People that he eould get me tnto if I'd join. he Baptist church. And Hlrom Blight, old Hiram's grandson, you know, he told me up and down, he couldn't saddle himself with relations whom he had uever seen or heard of. I mtgh'í. be an imposter for all he knew; and íf I wasn't, t was quite inexcusable for one t-o e penniless at the age of eightyfóur. And Zoe, that's HLram's grandson's sister, a grand lady on 50th street, says that she 1b very sorry that she cannot help me in any way. Ah, well-a-day, Kitty, it's a queer fpellng, when n man crosses 3,000 miles of ocean, to tspend Thanksgiving wfth his kindred and finds nobody glad to siee him !" "Come insdde and sit down," said Simon Sepple, heartily. "We're not rich, like Calvin Blight, or aristocratie, like Zoe; but we'll make you ki.ndly welcome ito euch as we have." "Ki.tty," he whispered to his wife, "You had bettor buy n Uttle voasting pLece of pork and a few applea for Siauce. Your poor old unele looks aa ü' he needed üomiethLng to brace hüu up. Don't bo afraid, ehild. 111 inake him comportable -whilo yoa are go no." So these simple-hearted people took in the okl man, who - except on the 6ubjects of fifty yeara aso- was really nothing mbre than an additional chüd to care for. "Those people are crazy,"' growlod oíd Mr. Balitan, the landlord. "Can't pay their own debts; nix weeks behind on tlieir rent, and yet they jnrust needs assume the feeding of anotheir mouth and the clotliiiiir of a nother back." "Would you lot the old man ertarve ?" bluntly domandod Sepple;and Mr. Bullion could only innttor sömething nbout the principie of political economy and the improvidence of workkig people. Mr. Sepple was sltttng by the witid-ow of their sniall dlnlng-room one day, dolng an odd job of dreeemiaking for a neighbor, wherefoy Bhe hoped to carii enoiigh ïo buy an unprotontious Thanksiiivinp: tnrkcy. for Tiicle Blight's niLnd dweït Wlth Bri nus priistcii"y OH til" idea Of the festival whlch had b?en nothing but b dream to Hun tor 90 many oxiled yiears. "If it Ls only a sniall turkoy," said 6he, "with a, puit of cranberriesj and the theapest pie fhat we can buy at the baker'e, it wLll .satisfy Uncle Blight and the children. 111 get along with my alpaca dre.ss for the pr-ewi ui . and my bonnet isn't so very shabby if I koop the veil well pinncil over it. Uiwle Bliglit and tlie children wül be so pleased if they can have a. genuino ThankfgLving!" And Mr. Sepple smiled uadly and said: "Yon aro always thinking of other people, Kitty." She was stitching busily away at the floiuices of Mrs. Meeker's garnet merion drees, and Uncle Blight at the othor window ivas amusing the c-hildi-em. He loved thm, and they were iond of him; and Mrs. i-k'pple, quick to seize upon any eallent point of gratr itude, declared that the ehildren were no trouble at all fcinoe Uncle Blight ("irac. He had been ají aetor once, in that far-off country where bis Ufo was erpont, and in the old brown vali.so there were rcmnants of Btage finory that filled th eltttle folk' hearts wlth glee. And when he could be induced to reJiearse the "funny parts," as little Mollie called them, Mrs. lïepple declared that "it was every bit as good as a. plaj7," and nearly died with laughing. Suddenly Mollie broke away irom the rest and darted into the shop, dTessed in a quaint robO of imitation ermine, with a brass mounted liara on ]w;r head. "Ix)ok, papa, look!" ehe wied. "1 am just like the picture of Emprese Josephine in the big 'History!' " Mr. Sepple was busy cxamining a deficiënt link In Col. Granger's watch chain through his glass. "Run back to your snother, child," !)e said, without looking at the smal masqnerader. Bat Col. Granger took a step for ward. "Stop!" saiil he. "Am I tlreaming or i.s tliat the asteria I have been. looking for all my Ufe ?" Sepple laughed, without laying down the magnifier. "It's only a set of stage jeweiry that üncle Blight bought at the auction ealo of a deceased actress at Sydney," said he "He lusod to be on the etage himaelf. It does for the children to play with." "Did you ever eee It ?" said Granger, bliarply. "No; J've uo time for suc-h antics. I've lieaxd theoi talk about the blue gïnsa stones, lut - " Little Mollie buret into a wail. "He hoL taken away tny crown!" snid slie. "I ain't the Empress Josephine n,ny more!" Col. Granger puslied üie tinsel tiara aeróse thte counter. "Look at thiat central Btone," said lue in a, voice that quivered with surprossed einotton. "Do you cali that glaas." Sepple mttered au exclamation of amazement. The gide jewels on the bram crown were, of course, oolored crystal, tlue central one blazed -with the blue, eix-rayed light of a genuine gein! "Whwt does this mean ?" he said. "Asi Bure as you and I stand here, Ooi. Granger, tíbta is a star sapphire!" "I knew I should find it," said Granger, in a tone of quiet conviction. "What do you tnink of the theory of chancee now, old fellow ?" Uncle Blight was questioned as to the history of tlie "asteria," but he could giv them. no defimite inforjnation. His mind waa Nvcak, and ïnterrogatories bewildered him. He baid bought tlie stage Jeweiry, Jie eaSd, at the auction of one Mme. Juraiti, an old actress who dLed a few months before he left Sydney. He had done so simply because Mme. Jurati tui once acte-d on the boards with himsielf, nud he desíred 'fcO' possess a nememto of her. That was all he knew. It bad been a rainy day and there were iew bidders, clse He could aot haVe afforded even the few shillogs that lio had paid for the outfit. "And I batte inven it to little Molido," he said. "Mollie reads to the old mam and keeps him compauy. Mollie shall we ar the crown." So the star sapphire drifted back aeróse the ocean to its original owneir, no one ikenw through wliat clouds of mist and tradïtion. And Col. Granger bought it of uhe Sepples íor a srum which ha.ndsomly cleared off tlioir diebts and lift a surplus to begin the worlil with anew. On Thanksgivhig day they sat down to a. dinner as nearty an possible ikc tliat whteh Kitty's had been wout to prepare in the old ïoiise by the sea. Thare was a genuine turkey. witli chicken pie and cranberry tnrts; there were red applles and gold edged pumpkin pie, i.nd Raming autunin leaves to deck tihe board; and there was a pitcher of country eider and plenty of hickory mits aftcrward. "It's wortli crosetng the sea. íor liis Thanksgiving dinner," said Uncle Bli.cht, witth a. beaming face. But before tlue nioon vose he cross■a a deeper, darker sea. Tlioy found ïim sïttinu' placidly before the Hre, vit H lii'- cyrs closril ;is if in sleep. Vuil as Simón Sepple drrw hila Wife wciTiiily ;uv;iy. lic s.iiil: "Heaven bl ss hls silvi-r hairs, Kitty, h.E li;is hrouuht U8 a blesslng." -

Article

Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Courier