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Adventures Of Tad

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Attthok Off "Pepper adams," "Blows Oot toSea," "Paul Grajtton," Et& ICopyrighted, inse, by D. Lothrcp Co., and Publishíd b'j Special Arrangement.} CHAPTER HL- CONTINÜED. "Down to Commercial wharf, where our vessel lies, was the unhesitating answer. "My father is Captain Jethro Flagg, and I'm Polly Flagg," continned Miss Polly, vaguely conscious that Bonie 6ort of inti-oduction waa the proper thing, nnder all the circumstances. "My name is Tad - I mean Thaddeus - Thorne, and I'm f rom Philadelphia," iaid Tad, wishing that his jacket was less threadbare and his shoes were whole, as he glanced at the simple but neat dress of his companion, wkose face was completely overshadowed by a deep calicó sun-bonnet shaped like the tilt of a market wagon. "Oh!" returned Polly, and then, instead of speaking of the weather, or asking Tad how he liked Boston, Polly plunged headlong into a personal explanation: "The cook waan't well thia morning," she began, "so I had to go to market, for father was np-town. And while I was hurrying back through Lewis Lañe, because it was nearer, those hon-id boys chased the poor little dog that had got lost, and he ran to me so pitiful," said Polly, bending over the smal] animal in her arras until it was completely eclipsed by the sunbonnet, "that I caught him up, and said they shouldn't have him. Then rou camo along, and - I'm ever so much obliged." The abrupt wind-np, though a little Incoherent, was perfectly satisfactory to Tad. "He'll be a nice little dog after he's washed," Tad remarked, patting the pup to cover his embarrassment, for Tad wasn't used to thanks, particularly from girls. "I guess he's a Newfoundland," he continued, with a knowing glance at the aninial's ears and paws, "and they' re first-class water-dom, you know." Polly nodded, and, after a short pause, looked curiously at the handsome traveling sachel ia Tad's hand. "You don't belong to any of those vessclsP" she asked, inquiringly. For tliey had crossed busy Commercial Street, and were walking along the platform on the water front, where the pedestnan looks down upon the bewildering mazo of masts, spars and cordage belonging to the coasting and fishIng craft huddled in the basin between the two wharves. "No," replied Tad, in a low voice. He could not teil her that he belonged to nothing- to no one, as he mentally expressed it. It would make him 6eem like a sort of vagrant, yonthful tramp. Nor did he - to Polly's secret disappointment - account for his possession of the handsome little traveling sachel, wiih its silver mountings, at wlíich Polly had cast admiring glanocs. 'I hope he carne by it honesüy," thought Polly, and then was ashamcd oí the ungenerous self-suggestion. Yet, I am afraid it lingered unconsciously in her mind, for she had ia the flush of her gratitudedecidod sho would ask Tad to take dinner with herself and Captain Flagg, oa board the "Mary J." But as they reached the end of Commercial wharf, where the "Mary J." was moored, Polly hesitated a little. "You can come aboard, if you like," she said; but Tad, who noticed her almost imperceptible change of manner without being able to accouut for it, shook his head. "Oh, no, miss; I don't look fit," he replied, with a glance at his shabby clothes and patched shoea, that was pathetic "I come down here," he continued, simply, "because there waan't any other place where I oould set down and look over the papera - good-morning, miss," and before Polly could roply Tad was gone. CÏIAPTER IV. Just astern of the "Mary J." a large iron steamer was discharging her cargo of cotton bales, a dozen or more of which were tiered up one upon another, at the verge of the wharf. Looking about him to make sure that he was unobserved, Tad scrambled up the back side of the tier, and, crawling nimbly over the top, dropped into a narrow niche between two of the bales, where, well sheltered f rom the wind, and warmed by the sun, he found that without being seen he could look directly down upon the "Mary J. V' deck. Polly Flagg had thrown aside her ugly head-gear, and, using the end of the half-house for a wash-bench, was vigorously scrubbing the small dog, who feebly protested, in a bucket of warm water furnished by the cook - a diminutivo colored man with very round shoulders, and wooly locks pleatifully powdered with gray. "There, little dog," said Polly, as she rubbed the whimpering pup with a bit of an old sail-cloth, "you were never so clean in your life before. Now, George Washington" - addressing the oolored individual- "take him and lay him in the galley, by the fire, till he's dry." "'Pears though he orter be c'nsiderably refrigerated by his absolution, Miss Polly," returned Washington, with a convulsive giggle, as, receiving the small bundie, he hurried back to the galley, which was a sort of large "cubby-house," midway between the two masts, where the cooking was done. Meanwhile, Pollyunpinned herdress, which she had carefully turned up in xront during the washing, pulled down her sleeves and, without resuming the big sun-bonnet, walked to the rail, where she stood looking up the wharf in an expectant attitude. "She isn't exac'ly stylish-lookin1," said Tad, viewing Miss Polly critically, from hispointof observation, "butshe's got a goodish kind oí a face." No - Polly was not stylish-looking. Her cheeks were as rosy and round as a Baldwin apple, and her small nose not innocent of freckles. Then, too, her mouth was rather large, though one forgot its size in the kindliness of her smile, which, moreover, showed a verj perfect set of small, even, white tceth. Polly had a pair of pleasant dark eyea that, when she was a bit, excited, looked almost black, and she was also the poasessor of what the novelists cali "a wealth" of bronze-tinted chestnut hair, with a natural crinkle in it, which no amount of art could have imitated. But Polly briefly summed up her own personal appearance in one terse sentence "red hair, freckles and a snub-nose;" and no amount of reasoning could convince her she was not undeniably plain, or - as she unhesitatingly affirmed- "awful homely." "I don't believe it's polite to stare at ladies, even if they can't see you," suddenly thought Tad. And vaguely wondering at his own newly-awakened sense of propriety, Tad settled back in his cozy nook and, puiling out his three papers, began running over the "Lost" columna, but his search was in vain. Watches had been lost, diamonds stolen, gold-headed canes taken by mistake and pet poodles lured from their homes - for the recovery of each and aï of which rewards were offered. with th suggestive "no questions asked," as ar extra inducement for their return But there was no reference in any ol the papers to "a small alligator-skin sachel, with nickel mountings, left bj mistake in the waiting-room of the Broad Street depot," or words to that effect; and Tad began to wonder what he had best do next. He eould not advertise under the head of "Found," for five cents was all the money Tad had in the world; so, finally, he was f o reed to the conclusión that all he could do was - to use his own unspoken thought - "to hang on a spell longer." It was much harder to decide what he should do with himself. The bag had some one to look out for it, but there was no one to look out for Tad. And, for the first time in his short life, Tad feit a feeling of something like homesickness creep over him. A familiar voice on the wharf, close to the pile of cotton bales, aroused Tad very suddenly from his rêverie. "lt's that Jones!" he excitedly exclaimcd, though under his breath, as be peered down at the speaker. It was indeed that ingenious gentleman, as, lifting his hat with winning politeness he had accosted Miss Polïy, who wa.evidently impressed at such a displaj of courtesy. "May I ask, miss," said Jones, calling up his most agreeable smile, "whether you have seen a shabby-looking boy, carrying a small alligator-skin sachel, anywhere in tilia Ticinity withüj half an hour?" "Why, yes - he was down here-awhile ago, but I guess he's gone np-town again," replied Polly, wondering what the stranger wanted oí the boy who called himsell Tad Thowe. Mr. Jones looked sadly disappointed at Polly'a answer, while Tad, winking at himself, chuckled silently. Wliat Mr. Jones might have said is uncertain, for just then a third party hove in sight - to use a nautieal phrase- who, Tad feit by a sort of instinct, must be Captain Jethro FLagg. He was a tremendously stout man, with iron-gray hair and a rim of white whiskers which made a sort of halo about his fat, weather-beaten face. The blue shirt, pea-jacket, canvas trowsers, oil-skin Lat and heavy sea-boota which he wore left no doubt as to the nature of his calling. "hovr, then, üphr'm,' said Captain Flagg, in a voice like a trumpet with a bad cold, as, turning about, he addressed a long-legged youth who brought up the rear with a heavy basket, "heave ahead lively with them stores, my hearty, or you won't fetch the schooner till dinner-time." Thus admonished, Ephraim muttered something inaudible, and, reachingthe edge of the wharf in a breathless oondition, set the basket down with a bang, while the Captain greeted Miss Polly with a jovial wink. "Haven't got to put back for nothing this time, Polly," he triumphantly announced, unmindful of the presence of Mr. Jones, whose abjtracted gaze was seemingly directed at the little pehnant which floated from the schooner's topmast head. "The stores is all in the basket, the new jib is coming down this afternoon, and IVe got my freight money along of my clearance papers all right in here," holding up a flat, japanned tin case as he spoke. For, being very absent-minded, though constantly ruminating in his great responsibility as master of the coasting schooner "Mary J.," Captain Jethro Flagg uaually forgot some part of his up-town erran ds, and was invariably sent back therefor by practical Polly, as a sort of atonement for his sins of omission. Polly nodded approvingly at her father's assertion, while Tad, as an unobserved but interested on-looker, noticed that, at the mention of freightmoney, Mr. Jones' eye feil from the topmast head to the japanned tin case in Captain Flagg's Land, and briefly rested thereon. Suddenly producing a note-book from hia pocket he began writing on a blank leaf, occasionully glancing thoughtfully at the "Mary J.," as though noting down a brief description of her build and rig, to tlie evident uneasiness of Captain Flagg, who regarded Mr. Jones and Iris little book with ill-concealed suspicion. "Beg pardon, Captain," said the latter, looking up with easy familiarity, as Ephraim and George Washington succeeded by their united efforts in gettingthe stores safcly on board, "but I'm a Globe reporter. Any thing extr'ord'nary or unusual last voyage that would make us an item, eh?" He held his head a little one side as he spoke, and tapped his teeth with the end of his pencil in such a business-like manner ihat the Captain1! face cleared at once. "Extraord'nary!" thoughtfully repeated Captain Flagg, leaning up against a cotton bale, and inviting his companion by a nod to do the same, "well, lcmme overhaul the log a bit, an' see. Polly," elevating his voiee for the benefit of his daughter, who was regarding the representative of the press with adnairing awe, "what night was it welostSam overboard, whilstwe was hove to off Thatcher's Islan'?" "A week ago last Thursday," prornptly retnrned Polly, with a shade of sadness in her tone. "Ah, indeed!" returnsd Mr. Jones' interestedly, as he jotted something down in the note-book, and continued to write as he talked. "Heavy gale, I presume, and man feil from aloft, reefing the- a - niain t'gallant sails?" Regarding the speaker for a brief moment in pitying silence, Captain Flagg proceeded to enlighten his ignorance. "Only square riggers carries t'galrns'lá," he explained, "and the 'Mary J.,1 bein' a fore-an-after, has no need o' sech. Sam," solemnly continued the Captain, laying his sittmpy forefinger on Mr. Jones' arm. to commani his undivided attention, "Sam was a black pig- the cunnin'est, knowin'esi - why, what's that?" he exclaimed suddenly breaking off in his eulogium on his lost porker, as the sound of a 8uppressed giggle was heard to proceed from directly overhead. Turning his eyes upward as he tlius spoke, and catehing a glimpse of Tad's mirthful face peering over the top of the cotton bales, Captain Flagg's fingers insensibly relaxed their hold upon the japanned tin case containing his papers and money. This was the moment for which Mr. Jones had been watching! Whipping the tin case from the Captain's unreeisting grasp, he dodged round the pile of cotton bales before Captain Jethro could say "Jack Robinson" orPolly recover her breath to scream. Now, despite his sudden, ill-timed mirth, Tad had been sharply watching the movements of the erratic Mr. Jones, whose purpose he had dimly suspected from the first moment of hÍ3 pretended interview. And, as he snatched the caso, Tad, scrambling from his hidingplace with inconceivable rapidity, slid down on the back side of the cotton bales, just in time to confroat the eseaping Jones. Unlike the average boy-hero of fio tíon, Tad did not throw himself bodily npon the would-be robber, regardless of personal safety, etc. But, instead, resorting to a device not unknown to playful youth in moments of extrema hflarity, he threw himself on all founi directly in front of the fiying feet of t íraudvüent felón! Uttenng a wild whoop of dismay.Mr. Jones plunged with ontstretched arm over Tad's prostrate body and struck' the wharf with such startling suddcnness that the tin case flew from hia fingers and was immcdiately scized by Tad, who had scrambled to his fect ia a twinkling, though only a second or two sooner than the active Jones hirnself, who, taking to his heels with the speed poetically attributed to the startled fawn, was quickly lost to sight íimong the surrounding drays and express-wagons. Without his hat, and in a vcry bewildered frame of mind, Captain Jethro Flagg rolled heavily around the corner of the pile of cotton bales. Following him at suitable intervals carne breathIes9 Polly, astonished G. Washington Johnson and the remainder of the "Mary J's" crew, including the ehief mate - all comprehended in the lengthy person of Ephraim K. Small, othcrwise known as "Eph." Tad's honest face shone with pleasurable excitement as he handed the tin box to Captain Flagg, and began brushing his dusty knees, while Polly Flagg smiled her approbation. "My lad," said Captain Flagg, placing his big hand on Tad's shoulder, "it'i nigh eight bells - come along and have some dineer. We'll talk over matter aboard the vessel." An invitation of this sovt - particularly under all the circumstances, was not to be refused, and Tad, recovering the sachel from its hiding-place among the cotton bales, accompanied Captain Flagg on board of the "Mary J.," wheie mutual explanations followed, while George Washington was bringing the dinner into the small cabin. In contributing his own share, Tatl insensibly told the most of his simple story, after which Polly Flagg, with sparkling eyes, related lier morning adventure and Tad's connection therewith; hearing which, Captain Jethro gravely shook hands with Tad across the table, without speaking. Indeed, he finishcd his dinner in like silence, and, pushing his chair back, sst stariug so hard at the youth that Tad began to feel very hot and uncomfortable. "My lad," snddcnly said the Captain, " which way might you be cal'latin' to steer? Is it 'bout ship, and put back to Philadelphy, or," continued the speaker, rising to fanciful heights, "is it dead before the wind to whatever port promises the best freights and biggest profits?" With a dim comprehension of Captain Flagg's meaning, Tad, conscious of a slight choking in his ttroat, replied sadly that he didn"t know - he had no mother, no friends, no home, and it didn't matter mach where he went or what became of him. Polly's eyes shone sympathetically, and the Captain's voice was quite husky when, a little later, he replied to Tad'g despondent answer. [TO BE CONTINUED.]


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