The box-car children

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The box-car children
Physical Description:
146 p., 4 leaves of plates :col. ill. ;21 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Gertrude Chandler Warner
Publisher:
Rand McNally & Co.,
Place of Publication:
|a Chicago; |a New York
Publication Date:

Notes

General Note:
Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny Alden are brothers and sisters - and they're orphans. The only way they can stay together is to make it on their own. One night, during a storm, the children find an old red boxcar that keeps them warm and safe. They decide to make it their home.
General Note:
Boxcar children (Fictitious characters)Juvenile fiction. ChildrenConduct of life Juvenile fiction Orphans Juvenile fiction. Families Juvenile fiction Brothers and sisters Juvenile fiction. Adventure and adventurers

Record Information

Source Institution:
UF Special Collections
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 30510995
oclc - 20605582
System ID:
AA00012793:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text















































































.....



iiiii 1
i



















THE BOX-CAR
CHILDREN



















A







THE BOX-CAR
CHILDREN
By Gertrude Chandler Warner
Author of "Star Stories For Little Folks" and, with
Frances Warner, of "Life's Minor Collisions"

With pictures by
Dorothy Lake Gregory


RAND M9NALLY & COMPANY
CHICAGO NEW YORK
















Copyright, 1924, by
RAND MNALLY & COMPANY


5MA-24









THE CONTENTS


THE FLIGHT .

THE SECOND NIGHT

SHELTER .. ..

A NEW HOME

HOUSEKEEPING .

EARNING A LIVING

AT HOME .....

BUILDING THE DAM

CHERRY PICKING

THE RACE .

MORE EDUCATION

GINSENG .

TROUBLE....

CAUGHT .

A NEW GRANDFATHER

A UNITED FAMILY

SAFE .


PAGE
9
. 9
. IS

27

S. 34

43

. 5I

. 6I

. 71

. 8I

S 88

. 96

. 105

III

120

127

. 134

. 142
































































Jess shul the door :c"h as mluch care as she had opened it






THE FLIGHT


ABOUT seven o'clock one hot summer
evening a strange family moved into the
little village of Middlesex. Nobody knew where
they came from, or who they were. But the
neighbors soon made up their minds what
they thought of the strangers, for the father
was very drunk. He could hardly walk up
the rickety front steps of the old tumble-down
house, and his thirteen-year-old son had to help
him. Toward eight o'clock a pretty, capable-
looking girl of twelve came out of the house
and bought a loaf of bread at the baker's.
And that was all the villagers learned about the
newcomers that night.
"There are four children," said the bakeshop
woman to her husband the next day, "and their
mother is dead. They must have some money,
for the girl paid for the bread with a dollar
bill."
"Make them pay for everything they get,"
growled the baker, who was a hard man. The
father is nearly dead with drink now, and soon
they will be only beggars."
9





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


This happened sooner than he thought. The
next day the oldest boy and girl came to ask
the bakeshop woman to come over. Their
father was dead.
She went over willingly enough, for someone
had to go. But it was clear that she did not
expect to be bothered with four strange children,
with the bakery on her hands and two children
of her own.
"Haven't you any other folks?" she asked
the children.
"We have a grandfather in Greenfield,"
spoke up the youngest child before his sister
could clap her hand over his mouth.
"Hush, Benny," she said anxiously.
This made the bakeshop woman suspicious.
"What's the matter with your grandfather?"
she asked.
"He doesn't like us," replied the oldest boy
reluctantly. "He didn't want my father to
marry my mother, and if he found us he would
treat us cruelly."
"Did you ever see him?"
"Jess has. Once she saw him."
"Well, did he treat you cruelly?" asked the
woman, turning upon Jess.





THE FLIGHT


"Oh, he didn't see me," replied Jess. "He
was just passing through our- where we used
to live-and my father pointed him out to me."
"Where did you use to live?" went on the
questioner. But none of the children could be
made to tell.
"We will get along all right alone, won't
we, Henry?" declared Jess.
"Indeed we will!" said Henry.
"I will stay in the house with you tonight,"
said the, woman at last, "and tomorrow we will
see what can be done."
The four children went to bed in the kitchen,
and gave the visitor the only other bed in the
house. They knew that she did not at once
go to bed, but sat by the window in the dark.
Suddenly they heard her talking to her hus-
band through the open window.
"They must go to their grandfather, that's
certain," Jess heard her say.
"Of course," agreed her husband. "Tomor-
row we will make them tell us what his name is."
Soon after that Jess and Henry heard her
snoring heavily. They sat up in the dark.
"Mustn't we surely run away?" whispered
Jess in Henry's ear.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


Yes!" whispered Henry. "Take only what
we need most. We must be far off before morn-
ing, or they will catch us."
Jess sat still for a moment, thinking, for
every motion she made must count.
"I will take both loaves of bread," she
thought, "and Violet's little workbag. Henry
has his knife. And all Father's money is in my
pocket." She drew it out and counted it in
the dark, squinting her eyes in the faint light
of the moon. It amounted to nearly four
dollars.
"You'll have to carry Benny until he gets
waked up," whispered Jess. "If we wake him
up here, he might cry."
She touched Violet as she spoke.
"Sh! Violet! Come! We're going to run
away," she whispered.
The little girl made no sound. She sat up
obediently and tried to make but the dim
shadow of her sister.
"What shall I do? she said, light as a breath.
"Carry this," said Jess, handing her the
workbag and a box of matches.
Jess tiptoed over to the tin box on the table,
drew out the two loaves of bread; and slipped





THE FLIGHT


them into the laundry bag. She peered around
the room for the last time, and then dropped
two small clean towels and a cake of soap into
the bag.
"All right. Pick him up," she said to Henry.
Henry bent over the sleeping child and lifted
him carefully. Jess took the laundry bag,
turned the doorknob ever so softly, opened the
door ever so slowly, and they tiptoed out in a
ghostly procession.
Jess shut the door with as much care as she
had opened it, listened to the bakeshop woman's
heavy snoring for a moment, and then they
turned and picked their way without a sound
to the country road.
"She may wake up before morning, you
know," whispered Henry. "We must do our
fastest walking before then. If we can only
get to another town before they find out we're
gone, they won't know which way to go."
Jess agreed, and they all walked briskly
along in the faint moonlight.
"How far can you carry Benny?" asked
Violet.
"Oh, at least a mile," said Henry confidently,
although his arms were beginning to ache.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


Benny was five years old, and he was a fat,
healthy boy as well.
"I think we could all walk faster if we woke
him up," said Jess decidedly. "We could each
take his hand and almost carry him along."
Henry knelt by the roadside and set the
little fellow against his knee.
"Come, Benny, you must wake up now and
walk!" said Jess coaxingly.
"Go away!" Benny mumbled with his eyes
shut, trying to lie down again.
"Let me try," Violet offered softly.
"Say, Benny, you know little Cinnamon
Bear ran away to find a nice warm bed for the
winter? Now, you play you're Cinnamon, and
Henry and Jess will help you along, and we'll
find a bed."
Violet's little plan worked. Benny was never
too cross to listen to the wonderful stories his
sister Violet could tell about Cinnamon Bear.
He stood up bravely and marched along,
yawning, while his big brother and sister almost
swung him between them.
Not a soul passed them on the country road.
All the houses they saw were dark and still.
And when the first faint streaks of morning





THE FLIGHT


light showed in the sky, all four children were
almost staggering with 'sleep.
"I must go to sleep, Henry," murmured Jess
at last. Little Benny was asleep already, and
Henry was carrying him again.
"The first place we come to, then," panted
Henry.
Violet said nothing, but she kept her eyes
open.
Finally she caught Henry's sleeve. Couldn't
we make that haystack do?" she asked, point-
ing across a newly mown field.
"Indeed we could," said Henry thankfully.
"What a big, enormous one it is! I was too
sleepy to see it, I guess."
"And see how far away from the farmhouse
and barn it is, too!" echoed Jess.
The sight gave them new courage. They
climbed over two stone walls, got across a brook
somehow with the heavy child, and arrived at
the haystack.
Henry laid his brother down and stretched
his aching arms, while Jess began to burrow
into the haystack. Violet, after a moment of
watching her, did the same.
"Here's his nest," said Jess sleepily, taking





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


her head out of the deep round hole she had
made. Henry lifted the child into the opening
and was pleased to see that he curled up instantly,
smiling in his sleep.
Jess pulled wisps of hay over the opening
so that it was absolutely invisible, and then
proceeded to dig out a similar burrow for
herself.
"We can stay here just-as long-as we
like, can't we, Henry?" she murmured, digging
with her eyes shut.
"We sure can," replied Henry. "You're an
old brick, Jess. Get in, and I'll pull the hay
over the hole."
Violet was already curled up in her nest,
which was hidden so completely that Henry
spoke to her to see if she were there. Then he
wriggled himself backward into the haycock
without stopping to hollow it out, pulled a
handful of hay over his head, and laid his head
on his arm.
Just as he did so he heard a heavy voice say,
"Now, then, lass, git along!" Then he heard
the rumble of a milk wagon coming down a
near-by lane, and he realized thankfully that
they had hidden themselves just before the





THE FLIGHT


first farmer in the neighborhood had set off
toward Middlesex with his milk cans.'
"He will say he didn't meet us coming this
way," thought Henry, "so they will hunt for
us the other way. And that will give us time
to cover a lot more ground."
He dropped asleep just as the roosters all
over the valley began to answer each other.







THE SECOND NIGHT


T HE roosters crowed and the hens clucked;
the farmer's wife began to get breakfast,
and the four children slept on. Dinner time
came and went, and still they slept, for it must
be remembered that they had been awake and
walking during the whole night. In fact, it
was nearly seven o'clock in the evening when
they awoke. Luckily, all the others awoke
before Benny.
Can you hear me, Jess? said Henry, speak-
ing very low through the wall of hay.
"Yes," answered Jess softly. "Let's make
one big room of our nests."
No sooner said than done. The boy and girl
worked quickly and quietly until they could
see each other. They pressed the hay back
firmly until they had made their way into
Violet's little room. And then she in turn
groped until she found Benny.
"Hello, little Cinnamon!" whispered Violet
playfully.
And Benny at once made up his mind to
laugh instead of cry. But laughing out loud
18





THE SECOND NIGHT


was almost as bad, so Henry took his little
brother on the hay beside him and talked to
him seriously.
"You're old enough now, Benny, to under-
stand what I say to you. Now, listen! When
I tell you to keep still after this, that means
you're to stop crying if you're crying, or stop
laughing if you're laughing, and be just as still
as you possibly can. If you don't mind, you
will be in danger. Do you understand?"
"Don't I have to mind Jess and Violet too?"
asked Benny.
"Absolutely!" said Henry. "You have to
mind us all, every one of us!"
Benny thought a minute. "Can't I ask for
what I want any more?" he said.
"Indeed you can!" cried Jess and Henry
together. "What is it you want?"
"I'm awful hungry," said Benny anxiously.
Henry's brow cleared. "Good old Benny,"
he said. "We're just going to have supper--or
is it breakfast?"
Jess drew out the fragrant loaf of bread.
She cut it with Henry's jackknife into four
quarters, and she and Henry took the two
crusty ends themselves.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


"That's because we have to be the strongest,
and crusts make you strong," explained Jess.
Violet looked at her older sister. She thought
she knew why Jess took the crust, but she did
not speak.
"We will stay here till dark, and then we'll
go on with our journey," said Henry cheerfully.
"I want a drink," announced Benny.
"A drink you shall have," Henry promised,
"but you'll have to wait till it's really dark.
If we should creep out to the brook now, and
any one saw us-" He did not finish his
sentence, but Benny realized that he must wait.
He was much refreshed from his long sleep,
and felt very lively. Violet had all she could
do to keep him amused, even with Cinnamon
Bear and his five brothers.
At last Henry peeped out. It was after nine
o'clock. There were lights in the farmhouse
still, but they were all upstairs.
"We can at least get a drink now," he said.
And the children crept quietly to the noisy
little brook not far from the haystack.
"Cup," said Benny.
"No, you'll have to lie down and drink with
your mouth," Jess explained. And so they did.





THE SECOND NIGHT'


Never did water taste so cool and delicious as
it did that night. to the thirsty children.
When they had finished drinking they jumped
the brook, ran quickly over the fields to the
wall, and once more found themselves on the
road.
"If we meet any one," said Jess, "we must
all crouch behind bushes until he has gone
by."
They walked along in the darkness with light
hearts. They were no longer tired or hungry.
Their one thought was to get away from their
grandfather, if possible.
"If we can find a big town," said Violet,
"won't it be better to stay in than a little town?"
"Why?" asked Henry, puffing up the hill.
"Well, you see, there are so many people in
a big town, nobody will notice us-"
"And in a little village everyone would be
talking about us," finished Henry admiringly.
"You've got brains, Violet!"
He had hardly said this, when a wagon was
heard behind them in the distance. It was
coming from Middlesex. Without a word, the
four children sank down behind the bushes like
frightened rabbits. They could plainly hear





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


their hearts beat. The horse trotted nearer,
and then began to walk up the hill.
"If we hear nothing in Townsend," they heard
a man say, "we have plainly done our duty."
It was the baker's voice!
"More than our duty," said the baker's wife,
"tiring out a horse with going a full day, from
morning until night!"
There was silence as the horse pulled the
creaky wagon.
"At least we will go on to Townsend tonight,"
continued the baker, "and tell them to watch
out. We need not go to Intervale, for they
never could walk so far."
"We are well rid of them, I should say,"
replied his wife. "They may not have come
this way. The milkman did not see them,
did he?"
The baker's reply was lost, for the horse
had reached the hilltop, where he broke into
a canter.
It was some minutes before the children dared
to creep out of the bushes again.
"One thing is sure," said Henry, when he
got his breath. "We will not go to Townsend."
"And we will go to Intervale," said Jess.





THE SECOND NIGHT 23

With a definite goal in mind at last, the
children set out again with a better spirit.
They walked until two o'clock in the morning,
stopping often this time to rest and to drink
from the horses' watering troughs. And then
they came upon a fork in the road with a white
signpost shining in the moonlight.
"Townsend, four miles; Intervale, six miles,"
read Henry aloud. "Any one feel able to walk
six more miles?"
He grinned. No one had the least idea how
far they had already walked.
"We'll go that way at least," said Jess
finally.
"That we will," agreed Henry, picking up his
brother for a change, and carrying him "pig-
back."
Violet went ahead. The new road was a
pleasant woody one, with grass growing in the
middle. The children could not see the grass,
but they could feel it as they walked. "Not
many people pass this way, I guess," remarked
Violet. Just then she caught her toe in some-
thing and almost fell, but Jess caught her.
The two girls stooped down to examine the
obstruction.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


"Hay!" said Jess.
"Hay!" repeated Violet.
"Hey!" cried Henry, coming up. "What did
you say?"
"It must have fallen off somebody's load,"
said Jess.
"We'll take it with us," Henry decided
wisely. "Load on all you can carry, Jess."
"For Benny," thought Violet to herself. So
the odd little party trudged on for nearly
three hours, laden with hay, until they found
that the road ended in a cart path through
the woods.
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Jess, almost ready
to cry with disappointment.
"What's the matter?" demanded Henry in
astonishment. "Isn't the woods a good place
to sleep? We can't sleep in the road, you
know."
It does seem nice and far away from people,"
admitted Jess, "and it's almost morning."
As they stood still at the entrance to the
woods, they heard the rumble of a train. It
roared down the valley at a great rate and
passed them on the other side of the woods,
thundering along toward the city.





THE SECOND NIGHT 25

"Never mind the train, either," remarked
Henry. "It isn't so awfully near; and even if
it were, it couldn't see us."
He set his brother down and peered into the
woods. It was very warm.
"Lizzen!" said Benny.
"Listen!" echoed Violet.
"More water!" Benny cried, catching his big
brother by the hand.
"It is only another brook," said Henry with
a thankful heart. "He wants a drink." The
trickle of water sounded very pleasant to all
the children as they lay down once more to
drink.
Benny was too sleepy to eat. Jess quickly
found a dry spot thick with moss between two
stones. Upon this moss the three older children
spread the hay in the shape of an oval bed.
Benny tumbled into it with a great sigh of
satisfaction, while his sisters tucked the hay
around him.
"Pine needles up here, Jess," called Henry
from the slope. Each of them quickly scraped
together a fragrant pile for a pillow and once
more lay down to sleep, with hardly a thought
of fear.





26 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

"I only hope we won't have a thunderstorm,"
said Jess to herself, as she shut her tired eyes.
And she did not open them for a long time,
although the dark gray clouds piled higher and
more thickly over the sleeping children.







SHELTER


WHEN Jess opened her eyes it must have
been about ten o'clock in the morning.
She sat up and looked all around her. She
could see dimly the opening where they had
come into the woods. She looked around to
see that her family was still safely by her.
Then she looked up at the sky. At first she
thought it must still be night, and then she
realized that the darkness was caused by an
approaching storm.
"Whatever, whatever shall we do now?"
demanded Jess of the air.
She got up and looked in every direction for
shelter. She even walked quite a little way
into the woods, and down a hill. And there
she stood, not knowing what to do next.
"I shall have to wake Henry up," she said at
last. "Only how I hate to!"
As she spoke she glanced into the forest, and
her feet felt as if they were nailed to the ground.
She could not stir. Faintly outlined among the
trees, Jess saw an old freight or box car. Her
first thought was one of fear; her second, hope





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


for shelter. As she thought of shelter, her feet
moved, and she stumbled toward it.
It really was a freight car. She felt of it.
It stood on rusty broken rails which were nearly
covered with dead leaves. Then the thunder
cracked overhead. Jess came to her usual senses
and started back for Henry, flying like the wind.
He was awake, looking anxiously overhead. He
had not noticed that Jess was missing.
"Come!" panted Jess. "I've found a place!
Hurry! hurry!"
Henry did not stop to ask questions. He
picked up Benny, telling Violet to gather up
the hay. And then they ran headlong through
the thick underbrush in Jess' wake, seeing their
way only too well by the sharp flashes of
lightning.
"It's beginning to sprinkle!" gasped Henry.
"We'll get there, all right," Jess shouted
back. "It's not far. Be all ready to help me
open the door when we get there!"
By sheer good fortune a big tree stump
stood under the door of the freight car, or the
children never could have opened it. As it
was, Jess sprang on the stump and Henry,
pausing to lay Benny down, did likewise.





SHELTER 29

Together they rolled back the heavy door about
a foot.
"That's enough," panted Jess. "I'll get in,
and you hand Benny up to me."
"No," said Henry quietly. "I must see first
if any one is in there."
"'It will rain! protested Jess. Nothing will
hurt me."
But she knew it was useless to argue with
Henry, so she hastily groped in the bag for the
matches and handed them to her brother. It
must be confessed that Jess held her breath
while Henry struck one and peered about inside
the car.
"All's well!" he reported. "Come in, every-
body!"
Violet passed the hay up to her brother, and
crawled in herself. Then Jess handed Benny
up like a package of groceries and, taking one
last look at the angry sky and waving trees,
she climbed in after him.
The two children managed-to roll the door
back so that the crack was completely closed
before the storm broke. But at that very
instant it broke with a vengeance. It seemed
to the children that the sky would split, so





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


sharp were the cracks of thunder. But not a
drop of rain reached them in their roomy
retreat. They could see nothing at all, for the
freight car was tightly made, and all outside was
nearly as black as night. Through it all, Benny
slept on.
Presently the thunder grew fainter, and
rumbled away down the valley, and the rain
spent itself. Only the drip from the trees on
the top of the car could be heard. Then Henry
ventured to open the door.
He knelt on his hands and knees and thrust
his head out.
The warm sunlight was filtering through the
trees, making golden pools of light here and
there. The beautiful trees, pines and white
birches and oaks, grew thickly around and the
ground was carpeted with flowers and wonder-
ful ferns more than a yard high. But most
miraculous of all was a miniature waterfall,
small but perfect, where the same little brown
brook fell gracefully over some ledges, and
danced away down the glen.
In an instant Jess and Violet were looking
over Henry's shoulder at the pretty sight.
"How different everything looks with the





.SHELTER


sun shining!" exclaimed Jess. "Things will
soon be dry at this rate."
"It must be about noon," observed Henry,
looking at the sun. And as he spoke the faint
echo of mill bells in the distance was heard.
"Henry!" said Jess sharply. "Let's live here!"
"Live here?" repeated Henry dully.
"Yes! Why not?" replied Jess. "Nobody
uses this car, and it's dry and warm. We're
quite far away. And yet we are near enough
to a town so we can buy things."
"And we're near water," added Violet.
Jess hugged her sister. "So we are, little
mouse," she said-"the most important thing
of all."
"But--" began Henry.
"Please, Henry," said Jess excitedly. "I
could make this old freight car into the dearest
little house, with beds, and chairs, and a
table-and dishes-"
"I 'd like to live here, too," said a determined
little voice from the corer, "but I don't want
to, unless-"
"Unless what?" asked Henry, panic-stricken.
"Unless I can have my dinner," Benny
finished anxiously.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


"We'll have something to eat right away,
old fellow," said Henry, thankful it was no
worse. For he himself was beginning to see
what a cozy home the car really would make.
Jess cut the last loaf of bread into four pieces,
but alas! it was very dry. The children were
so hungry that they tore it with their teeth
like little dogs, but Benny was nearly crying.
He did not actually cry, however, for just at.
the crucial moment Violet started a funny
story about Cinnamon Bear eating bread crusts
out of the ash can.
"He ought to have milk," said Jess quietly
to Henry.
"He shall have milk," replied Henry. "I'll
go down the railroad track to the town and
get some."
Jess counted out a dollar in ten dimes and
handed it to Henry. "By the time our four
dollars are gone, you will have some work to
do," she said.
All the same Henry did not like to begin his
trip. "How I hate to leave you alone, Jess!"
he said miserably.
"Oh, don't you worry," began Jess lightly.
"We'll have a surprise for you when you come





SHELTER


back. You just wait and see!" And she
nodded her head wisely as Henry walked slowly
off through the woods.
The moment he was out of sight she turned
to Benny and Violet. "Now, children," she
said, "what do you think we're going to do?
Do you know what I saw over in the sunny
part of the woods? I saw some blueberries!"
"Oh, oh!" cried Benny, who knew what
blueberries were. "Can't we have some blue-
berries and milk?"
"We certainly--" began Jess. But the
sentence never was finished, for a sharp crackle
of dry leaves was heard. Something was moving
in the woods.







A NEW HOME


K EEP still!" whispered Jess.
Benny obeyed. The three children were
as motionless as stone images, huddled inside
the freight car. Jess opened her mouth in
order to breathe at all, her heart was thumping
so wildly. She watched like a cat through the
open door, in the direction of the rustling noise.
And in a moment the trembling bushes parted,
and out crawled a dog. He was an Airedale
and was pulling himself along on three legs,
whimpering softly.
Jess drew a long breath of relief, and said to
the children, "It's all right. Only a dog. But
he seems to be hurt."
At the sound of her voice the dog lifted his
eyes and wagged his tail feebly. He held up
his front foot.
"Poor doggie," murmured Jess soothingly,
as she clambered out of the car. "Let Jess
see your poor lame foot." She approached the
dog carefully, for she remembered that her
mother had always told her never to touch a
strange dog unless he wagged his tail.





A NEW HOME


But this dog's tail was wagging, certainly, so
Jess bent over without fear to look at the paw.
An exclamation of pity escaped her when she
saw it, for a stiff, sharp thorn had been driven
completely through one of the cushions-of the
dog's foot, and around it the blood had dried.
"I guess I can fix that," said Jess briskly.
"But taking the thorn out is going to hurt you,
old fellow."
The dog looked up at her as she laid his paw
down, and licked her hand.
"Come here, Violet, and Benny," directed
Jess.
She took the animal gently in her lap and
turned him on his side. She patted his head
and stroked his nose with one finger, and offered
him the rest of her breadcrust, which she had
put in her apron pocket. The dog snapped it
up as if he were nearly starved. Then she
held the soft paw firmly with her left hand,
and pulled steadily on the thorn with her right
hand. The dog did not utter a sound. He
lay motionless in her lap, until the thorn
suddenly let go and lay in Jess' hand.
"Good, good!" cried Violet.
"Wet my handkerchief," Jess ordered briskly.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


Violet did so, dipping it in the running brook.
Jess wrapped the cool, wet folds around the hot
paw, and gently squeezed it against the wound,
the dog.meanwhile trying to lick her hands.
"We'll s'prise Henry, won't we?" laughed
Benny delightedly. "Now we got a dog!"
"To be sure," said Jess, struck with the
thought, "but that isn't what I intended for a
surprise. You know I was intending to get a
lot of blueberries, and maybe find some old
dishes in a dump or something--"
"Can't we look while you hold the dog?"
asked Violet anxiously.
"Of course you can, Pet!" said Jess. "'Look
over there by those rocks."
Benny and Violet scrambled through the.
underbrush to the place Jess pointed out, and
investigated. But they did not hunt long, for
the blueberries were so thick that the bushes
almost bent over with their weight.
"0 Jessy," screamed Benny, "you never
saw so many in your life! What'll we pick
'em into?"
Come and get a clean towel," said Jess, who
noticed that Benny was already "picking into"
his own mouth.





A NEW HOME


"But that's just as well," she thought.
"Because he won't get so hungry waiting for
the milk." She watched the two children a
moment as they dropped handfuls of the bluish
globes on the towel. Then she carefully got
up with her little patient and went over and
sat down in the center of the patch. The berries
were so thick she did not have to change her
position before the towel held over a quart.
"Oh, dear," sighed Jess. "I wish I could
hunt for some dishes, so we could have blue-
berries and milk."
"Never mind tonight," said Violet. "We
can just eat a handful of berries and then take a
drink of milk, when Henry comes."
But it was even better than that, for when
Henry came he had two bottles of milk under
one arm, a huge loaf of brown bread under the
other, and some golden cheese in waxed paper
in his pocket.
But you should have seen Henry stare when
he saw what Jess was holding!
"Where in the world-" began the boy.
"He came to us," volunteered Benny. "He
camed for a s'prise for you. And he's a nice
doggie."





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


Henry knelt down to look at the visitor, who
wagged his tail. "It wouldn't be a bad thing
to have a watchdog," said Henry. "I worried
about you all the time I was gone."
"Did you bring some milk?" inquired Benny,
trying to be polite, but looking at the bottles
with longing eyes.
"Bless his heart!" said Jess, struggling to
her feet with the.dog. "We'll have dinner right'
away-or is it supper?"
"Call it supper," suggested Henry, "for it's
the last thing we'll have to eat today."
"And then tomorrow we'll start having three
meals every day," laughed Jess.
It was certainly a queer meal, whatever it
was. Jess, who liked above all things to be
orderly, spread out the big gray laundry bag
on the pine needles for a tablecloth. The brown
loaf was cut by a very excited'little hostess into
five thick squares; the cheese into four.
"Dogs don't eat cheese," Benny remarked
cheerfully. The poor little fellow was glad of
it, too, for he was very hungry. He could
hardly wait for Jess to set the milk bottles in
the center of the table and heap the blueberries
in four little mounds, one at each place.





A NEW HOME


"I'm sorry we haven't cups," Jess remarked.
"We'll just have to drink out of the same
bottle."
"No, we won't," said Henry. "We'll drink
half of each bottle, so that will make at least
two things to drink out of."
"Good for you, Henry," said Jess, much
relieved. "You and Benny use one, and Violet
and I will use the other."
So the meal began. "'Look, Benny," directed
Henry. "Eat a handful of' blueberries, then
take a bite of brown bread, then a nibble of
cheese. Now, a drink of milk!"
"It's good! It's good!" mumbled Benny to
himself all through the meal.
You must not imagine that the poor wander-
ing dog was neglected, for Jess fed him gently,
as he lay in her lap, poking morsels of bread
into his mouth and pouring milk into her own
hand for him to lap up.
When the meal was over, and exactly half
of each bottle of milk remained, Jess said, "We
are going to sleep on beds tonight, and just as
soon as we.get our beds made, we are all going
to be washed."
"That'll be fun, Benny," added Violet.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


"We'll wash our paws in the brook just the
way Cinnamon does."
"First, let's gather armfuls of dry pine
needles," ordered Jess. "Get those on top
that have been lying in the sunshine." Jess
laid the dog down on a bed of moss as she
spoke, and started energetically to scoop up
piles of the fragrant needles. Soon a pile as
high as her head stood just under the freight-
car door.
"I think we have enough," she said at last.
Taking the scissors from Violet's workbag, she
cut the laundry bag carefully into two pieces,
saving the cord for a clothesline. One of the
big squares was laid across Benny's hay and
tucked under. That was the softest bed of all.
Violet's apron and her own, she cut off at the
belt.
"I'll sleep next to Benny," said Henry, "with
my head up by the door. Then I can hear
what is going on." A big pile of pine needles
was loaded into the freight car for Henry's bed,
and covered with the other half of the laundry
bag.
The remainder of the needles Jess piled into
the farthest corer of the car for herself and





A NEW HOME


Violet. "We'll all sleep on one side, so we can
call it the bedroom."
"What'll be the other side?" inquired Benny.
"The other side?" repeated Jess. "Let me
think! I guess that'll be the sitting room, and
perhaps some of the time the kitchen."
"On rainy days, maybe the dining room,"
added Henry with a wink.
"Couldn't it be the parlor?" begged Benny.
"Certainly, the parlor! We forgot that,"
agreed Jess, returning the wink. She was
covering the last two soft beds with the two
aprons. "The tops of these aprons are wash-
cloths," she said severely. Then armed with
the big cake of soap she led the way to the
brook. The dog watched them anxiously, but
when Jess said, "Lie still," he obeyed. From
the moment Jess drew the thorn from his foot
he was her dog, to obey her slightest command
and to follow her wherever she went.
The clean cool brook was delightful even to
Benny. The children rolled up their sleeves
and plunged their dusty arms into its waters,
quarreling good-naturedly over the soap, and
lathering their stained faces and necks with it.
When they were well rinsed with clear water





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


they dried themselves with the towel. Then
Jess washed both towels nicely with soap,
rinsed them, and hung them on the clothesline
of tape, which she had stretched between two
slender birch trees. They flapped lazily in the
wind.
"Looks like home already, Jess," said Henry,
smiling at the washing.
The tired children clambered into the "bed-
room," Jess coming last with the wounded dog.
"We'll have to leave the door open, it's so
hot," said Henry, lying down with a tired sigh.
And in less than ten minutes they were fast
asleep, dog and all-asleep at six o'clock, asleep
without naming the dog, without locking the
door, without fear, for this was the first night
in four that they had been able to go to sleep
at night, as children should.








HOUSEKEEPING


THE next morning Jess was up before the
others, as was fitting for a little house-
keeper. That is, she was first if we except
the dog, who had opened one eye instantly
every time his little mistress stirred in her
sleep. He sat watching gravely in the door
of the car as Jess descended to get breakfast.
She walked from the little waterfall quite a
distance down the brook, looking at it with
critical eyes.
"This will be the well," she said to herself,
regarding a small but deep and quiet basin
just below the falls. Below that she found a
larger basin, lined with gravel, with flat stones
surrounding it.
"This will be the washtub," she decided.
"And now I must go back to the refrigerator."
This was the strangest spot of all, for' behind
the little waterfall was a small quiet pool in
which Jess had set the milk bottles the night
before. Not a drop of water could get in, but
all night long the. cool running water had
surrounded the bottles. They were now fairly


1





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


icy to the touch. Jess smiled as she drew them
out.
"Is it good?" asked Benny's voice. There
he sat in the door of the car, swinging his legs,
his arm around the shaggy dog.
"It's delicious!" declared Jess. "Cold as
ice." She climbed up beside him as she spoke,
bringing the breakfast with her. The other
two children sat up and looked at it.
"Today, Jess," began Henry, "I will go back
to town and try to get a job mowing lawns or
something. Then we can afford to have some-
thing besides milk for breakfast."
Milk suited Benny very well, however, so
the older children allowed him to drink rather
more than his share. Henry did not waste
any time talking. He brushed his hair as well
as he could without a brush, rolled down his
sleeves, and started for town with the second
dollar.
"Glad you've got a dog, Jess," he called
back, as he waved his straw hat.
The children watched him disappear around
the curve and then turned to Jess expectantly.
They were not mistaken. Jess had a plan.
"We'll explore," she began mysteriously.





HOUSEKEEPING


" We'll begin here at the car, and hunt all over
these woods until we find a dump!"
"What's a dump?" inquired Benny.
"0 Benny!" answered Violet. "You know
what a dump is. All old bottles and papers
and broken dishes."
"And wheels?" asked Benny interestedly.
"Will there be any old wheels?"
"Yes, maybe," assented Violet. "But cups,
Benny! Think of drinking milk out of a cup
again!"
"Oh, yes," said Benny, politely. But it was
clear that his mind was centered on wheels
rather than cups.
The exploring party started slowly down the
rusty track, with the dog hopping happily on
three legs. The fourth paw, nicely bandaged
with Jess' handkerchief, he held up out of
harm's way.
"I think this is a spur track," said Jess.
"They built it in here so they could load wood
on the cars, and then when they had cut all
the wood they didn't need the track any more."
This explanation seemed very likely, for here
and there were stumps of trees and decaying
chips. Violet took note of these chips, and





46 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

remembered them some days later. In fact,
both girls kept their eyes open, and pointed
out things of interest to each other.
"Remember these logs, Violet, if we should
ever need any," said Jess pointing.
"Blackberry blossoms!" returned Violet
briefly, turning one over gently with her foot.
"Big flat stones!" remarked Jess, later on, as
they came upon a great heap of them.
Here the track came out into the open sun-
shine, and broken pieces of rail showed clearly
where it had joined the main track at some
time in the past. And here from the top of
the wooded hill the children could plainly see
the city in the valley. They walked along the
track, picking out a church steeple here and
there, forgetting for a moment the object of
their search.
"There's a wheel!" Benny cried triumphantly
from behind.
The girls looked down, and with a glad cry of
surprise Jess recognized a dump at the foot of
the hill. They found it not composed entirely
of ashes and tin cans, either, although both of
these were there in great profusion. It was a
royal dump, containing both cups and wheels.





HOUSEKEEPING


"0 Benny!" cried Jess, "if it hadn't been
for you!" She hugged him, wheel and all,
and began turning over the rubbish with
great delight.
"Here's a white pitcher, Jess," Violet called,
holding up a perfect specimen with a tiny chip
in its nose.
"Here's a big white cup," said Jess delight-
edly, laying it aside.
"Want a teapot, Jessy?" inquired Benny,
offering her an enormous blue enameled affair
without a handle.
"Yes, indeed!" cried Jess. "We can use
that for water. I've found two cups and a
bowl already. And Violet, we ought to be
looking for spoons, too."
Violet pointed without speaking to her little
pile of treasures. There were five iron spoons
covered with rust.
"Wonderful!" pronounced Jess with rapture.
Indeed, it is doubtful if collectors of rare and
beautiful bits of porcelain ever enjoyed a search
as much as did these adventurers in the dump
heap.
Benny actually found four wheels, exactly
alike, probably from the same cart, and insisted





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


upon carrying them back. To please him, Jess
allowed him to add them to the growing pile.
"Here's a big iron kettle," observed Violet.
"But we won't really cook with a fire, will we,
Jess?"
"We'll take it back, though," replied Jess
with a knowing look. "We can pile lots of
dishes in it."
They could, and did, but not until after
Benny had discovered his beloved "pink cup."
It was a tea-party cup of bright rose-color with
a wreath of gorgeous roses on it, and a little
shepherdess giving her lamb a drink from a
pale blue brook. It had a perfectly good handle,
gold into the bargain. Its only flaw was a
dangerous crack through the lamb's nose and
front feet. Jess made a cushion for it out of
grass and laid it on top of the kettle full of
treasures. All the things, even the wheels, were
laid on a wide board which the two girls carried
between them.
Can you imagine the dishwashing when the
gay party returned to the freight car? Children
do not usually care for dishwashing. But never
did a little boy hand dishes to his sister so care-
fully as Benny did. On their hands and knees










i /


LI'1


Bo'iny disci ercJ h: Ieloved "pink cup"





HOUSEKEEPING


beside the clear, cool little "washtub," the three
children soaped and rinsed and dried their pre-
cious store of dishes. Jess scoured the rust
from the spoons with sand. "There!" she
said, drying the last polished spoon. The
children sat back and looked admiringly at
their own handiwork. But they did not look
long. There was too much to be done.
"Jess," exclaimed Violet, "I'll tell you!"
Violet seldom spoke so excitedly. Even Benny
turned around and looked at her.
"Come and see what I noticed inside the car
last night!"
Both children followed her, and peered in at
the door.
"See, on the wall, right'over on the other
door, Jess." Now, all Jess could see were two
thick chunks of wood nailed securely to the
closed door opposite the open one. But she
whirled around and around as fast as she could,
clapping her hands. When she could get her
breath, however, she skipped over to the board
they had carried, dusted it nicely, and laid it
carefully across the two wooden projections.
It was a perfect shelf.
"There!" said Jess.





50 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

The children could hardly wait to arrange
the shining new dishes on the shelf. Violet
quietly gathered some feathery white flowers, a
daisy or two, and some maidenhair ferns, which
she arranged in a glass vase filled with water
from the "well." This she put in the middle,
with the broken edge hidden.
"There!" said Jess.
"You said 'there' three times, Jessy," re-
marked Benny, contentedly.
"So I did," replied Jess laughing, "but I'm
going to say it again." She pointed and said,
"There!"
Henry was coming up the path.







EARNING A LIVING


H ENRY had all sorts of packages under his
arm and in his pockets. But he wouldn't
open them or tell a thing about his adventures
until dinner was ready, he said. "Jess, you're a
wonder!" he exclaimed when he saw the dishes
and the shelf.
The big kettle was selected, and they all
began to pick blueberries as fast as they could,
telling Henry meanwhile all about the wonder-
ful dump. At last the tablecloth was spread
and Henry unwrapped his parcels before the
whole excited family.
"I bought some more brown bread," he said,
producing the loaves, "and some more milk-
in the same little store where I went yesterday.
It's kept by a little old man, and it's called a
Delicatessen Shop. He has everything in his
store to eat. I bought some dried beef because
we can eat it in our fingers. And I bought a
big bone for the dog."
"His name is Watch," Jess interrupted.
"All right," said Henry, accepting the name.
"I bought a bone for Watch."





52 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

* Watch fell on the bone as if he were famished,
which indeed he nearly was.
It was a rapturous moment when Jess poured
the yellow milk into four cups or bowls, and
each child proceeded to crumble the brown
bread into it with a liberal scattering of blue-
berries. And then when they ate it with spoons!
Nobody was able to speak a word for several
minutes.
Then Henry began slowly to tell his tale.
"I earned a dollar just this morning," he
began proudly. "I walked along the first
shady street I came to -nice houses, you know.
And there was a fellow out mowing his own
lawn. He's a nice fellow, too, I can tell you-
a young doctor." Henry paused to chew
blissfully.
"He was pretty hot," Henry went on. "And
just as I came to the gate, his telephone rang.
I heard it, and called after him and asked if he
didn't want me to finish up."
"And he said he did!" cried Jess.
"Yes. He said, 'For goodness' sake, yes!' "
Henry answered smiling. "You see, he wasn't
used to it. So I mowed the lawn and trimmed
the edges, and he said he never had a boy trim





EARNING A LIVING


it as well as I did. And then he asked me if
I wanted.a steady job."
"0 Henry!" cried Violet and Jess together.
"I told him I did, so he said to come back
this afternoon any time I wanted, or tomorrow-
he said he didn't care just when-any time."
Henry gave his cup a last polish with his
spoon and set it down dreamily. "It's a pretty
house," he went on, "and there's a big garden
behind it--vegetable garden. And an orchard
behind that-cherry orchard. You ought to
see the cherry trees! Well, when I was trimming
the edges near the kitchen door, the cook came
and watched me. She's a fat Irishwoman."
Henry laughed at the recollection.
"She asked me if I liked cookies. Oh, if you
had smelled them baking you'd have died
laughing, Benny. Dee-licious! So I said I did,
and she passed me out one, and when she went
back I put it in my pocket."
"Did she see you?" asked Jess anxiously.
"Oh, no," said Henry confidently. "For I
carefully chewed away for a long time on
nothing at all."
Benny began to look fixedly at Henry's
pocket. It certainly was still rather bulgy.





54 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

"When I went, the doctor paid me a dollar,
and the cook gave me this bag."
Henry grinned as he tossed the paper bag
to Jess. Inside were twelve ginger cookies with
scalloped edges, smelling faintly of cinnamon
and sugar.
"I'm going to keep track of everything I
earn and spend," said Henry, watching Jess as
she handed around the cookies with reverence.
"How are you going to write without a
pencil?" asked Jess.
"There are pieces of tailor's chalk in my
workbag," said Violet.
Henry gave his younger sister a gentle pat,
as she returned with her workbag and fished
for the chalk.
While the girls rinsed the empty dishes in the
brook and stored away the food for supper,
Henry was beginning his cash account on the
wall of his bedroom. It was never erased, and
Henry often now looks at the account with
great affection.
Soon the girls came to inspect it. Meanwhile
Benny looked on with great delight as Watch
tried to bury his bone with only one paw to
dig with.





EARNING A LIVING


"Earned, $I.oo; Cash on hand, $3.85," read
Jess aloud.
Below, he had written:
Milk .24
Bread .zo
Bread .20
Cheese .io
Milk .24
Beef .20
Bone .05
Cloth .Io
"Cloth!" exclaimed Violet. "What on earth?"
Henry laughed a little, and watched her face
as he drew out his last package and handed it
to her.
"I thought we ought to have a tablecloth,"
he explained. "So I got a yard at the ten-cent
store-but it isn't hemmed, of course."
With a cry of delight Violet unwrapped the
brown cloth with its edge of blue. Her clever
fingers were already evening the two ends. She
was never so happy as when with a needle.
Henry set off again with a light heart. Here
was one sister curled up happily against a big
tree, setting tiny stitches into a very straight
hem. Here was another sister busily gathering
pliant twigs into a bundle for a broom with





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


which to sweep the stray pine needles from the
house. And here was Benny, curled up sound
asleep on the ground with the dog for a pillow.
It was quite late when Henry returned. In
fact, it was nearly seven o'clock, although he
didn't know that. .Several treasures had been
added in his absence. The broom stood proudly
in the corner with a slim stick for a handle.
The new tablecloth had been washed and was
drying on the line. And Jess, who had decided
to wash one garment a day, had begun with
Benny's stockings. When Henry came they
were being put on again with much pride by
Benny himself. Violet had darned a big hole
in each.
This time Henry himself could not wait to
tell his sisters what he had. He passed them
the package at once, with shining eyes.
"Butter!" cried Jess with a radiant face.
It was butter, cool and sweet. Nobody
remembered that they had been a week without
tasting either butter or meat when at last they
sat down to their royal supper.
"These are trick spoons," explained Henry.
"Turn them upside down, and use the handle,
and they become knives."





EARNING A LIVING


They were knives; anyway, they were used
to spread the delicious morsels of butter on
the brown loaf. With.dried beef, and a cookie
for dessert, who could ask for better fare?
Certainly not the four children, who enjoyed it
more than the rarest dainties.
"I washed the doctor's automobile this after-
noon," Henry related. "Then I washed both
piazzas with the hose, and tomorrow I'm going
to hoe in the garden. Oh, wouldn't I love to
have a nice cold swim in that brook!"
Henry was hot and sticky, certainly. He
looked with longing eyes at the waterfall as he
finished the last crumbs of his supper.
"I wonder if we couldn't fix up a regular
swimming pool," he said, half to himself.
"Of course we could," replied Violet, as if
nothing were too difficult. "Jess and I know
where there are big logs, and big flat stones."
"You do, hey?" said Henry staring at his
gentle little sister.
"Well, why couldn't we, Henry?" struck in
Jess. "Just a little below this -there is a sort
of pool already, only not big enough."
"We sure could!" cried Henry. "Some day
I'll stay home from work, and we'll see."





58 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

Nobody realized that Henry had been working
only one day in all. Anyway it seemed as if
they had always lived in the comfortable home
in the freight car, with Henry plying back and
forth from the city each day, bringing them new
surprises.
Henry went to bed that night with a head
full of plans for damming up the brook. He
almost shouted when he thought suddenly of
Benny's wheels. He began to plan to make a
cart to carry the heavy stones to the brook.
And that was when he first noticed that Watch
was not asleep. He could see his eyes shining
red in the darkness. It must have been around
eleven o'clock.
Henry reached over and patted his rough
little back. Watch licked the hand, but didn't
close his eyes. Suddenly he began to growl softly.
"Sh!" said Henry to the dog. Now thoroughly
startled, he sat up; Jess sat up. They did not
hear a sound.
"Better shut the door," breathed Henry.
Together they rolled the door very slowly and
softly until it was shut.
Still they did not hear anything. But still
Watch continued his uneasy growling.





EARNING A LIVING


Violet and Benny slumbered on. Jess and
Henry sat motionless, with their hearts in their
mouths.
"Supposing it was some other tramp," whis-
pered Jess, "somebody else that wanted to
sleep here!"
"Watch would bite 'em," whispered Henry
briefly. Jess never knew what confidence Henry
had in the faithful dog.
Then a branch cracked sharply outside,
and Watch barked out loud. Jess smothered
the the dog instantly in her arms. But it had
been a bark and it was loud, clear, and unmistak-
able.
"That settles it," thought Henry. "Who-
ever it is, knows there's someone in here." And
the boy waited with the new broom in his hand,
expecting every moment to see the door opened
from the outside.
But nothing happened. Nothing at all. The
children sat in perfect silence for at least a half
hour, and nothing more was heard. Watch
sniffed a little when Henry finally rolled the
door open again. But he then turned around
three times and lay down beside Jess, apparently
satisfied at last.





6o THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

Taking the dog's conduct as a sure guide,
Henry composed himself for sleep.
"It must have been a rabbit or something,"
he said to Jess.
The occupants of the freight car slept peace-
fully until morning.







AT HOME


JESS and Henry had a short committee meet-
ing next morning before the others awoke.
It was agreed that nobody should be allowed to
stray off into the woods alone, not even the dog.
And with much mystery Henry left some orders
with all of them, as to what they should build
for him during the morning.
"What for?" asked Benny.
"Shan't tell, old fellow," teased Henry.
"You just build it, and you'll see later."
So Henry walked briskly through the woods,
feeling sure that the noise in the night had been
made by a rabbit.
Having no watch, Henry made a slight mis-
take by appearing at the young doctor's door
before eight o'clock. He was just in time to
meet the doctor coming in from a night call.
If Henry had not been so eager to begin
work, he would have noticed how the young
man's dark eyes examined him from head to
foot, even to his plastered hair, wet with brook
water. It was not the doctor who directed his
work, but the doctor's mother- the sweet-faced
61





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


Mrs. McAllister, whose heart was centered in
her son and her vegetable garden.
Her heart warmed to the boy when she saw
how carefully he thinned out the carrots, which
had been sadly neglected.
"I have been so busy," she declared, "that I
have actually stayed awake nights worrying
about these carrots. There-see that?" She
pulled out a fairly good-sized carrot as she
spoke. It had to come out, for it was much
too near its neighbors. In fact, when Henry
had thinned out half a row he had quite a little
pile of eatable carrots, each as large as his
thumb. When Mrs. McAllister saw Henry
deftly press the earth back again around the
carrots which remained standing, she left him
quietly with a smile. Here was a gardener
whom she could trust.
Henry worked steadily in the hot sun, com-
pleting row after row of carrots, parsnips, and
onions. When the mill bells rang at noon he
worked on, without noticing that his employer
was again watching him.
When he did at last notice her he asked her,
smiling, what she wanted done with the things
he had pulled up.





AT HOME


"Oh, throw them away," she said indiffer-
ently. "Toss them over into the orchard, and
sometime we'll burn them when they get dry."
Do you mind if I take them myself?" asked
Henry, hesitatingly.
"Oh, no," said Mrs. McAllister cordially.
"Have you chickens? That will be fine."
Henry was thankful that she went right along
without waiting for an answer. But in a way
he did have chickens, he thought.
"You must stop working now," she said.
"Any time you want to do something, there
will be a place for you here." She gave him a
dollar bill, and left the delighted boy with the
piles of precious little vegetables. As long as
Henry expected to return so soon, he hastily
selected an orderly bunch of the largest of the
carrots and the smallest of the onions. He
added a few of the miniature parsnips for good
measure. They looked like dolls' vegetables.
When Henry walked down the drive with his
"bouquet," he would have seen a face at the
window if he had looked up. But he did not look
up. He was too anxious to get to the little
old man's shop and order his meat.
So it happened that Henry walked in





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


upon his little family at about two o'clock
with all the materials for a feast. The feast
could not be made ready before night, Jess
hastened to explain to Benny, who was per-
fectly satisfied anyway with bread and milk
in his pink cup.
'.'Your building is done," Benny informed
his brother. "I builded lots of it."
"He really did," agreed Violet, leading the
way to the sunny open spot a trifle behind the
house. The "building" was a fireplace. With
an enormous amount of labor, the children had
made quite a hollow at the base of a rock. This
was lined completely with flat stones. More
flat stones had been set on end to keep out
the wind. On top of the stones lay the most
wonderful collection of firewood that you can
imagine, all ready to light. There were chips
and bits of crumpled paper, pine cones, and
dry twigs. Beside the big rock was a wood-
pile. The children had apparently been working
like beavers all the morning. Jess had found a
heavy wire in the dump, and had fastened it
between two trees. On the wire the kettle
swung merrily.
"Fine! Fine!" shouted Henry when he saw





AT HOME


it. "I couldn't have done it so well myself."
And he honestly believed it.
"We have dinner at night, here," observed
Jess impressively. "What did you buy?"
When the girls saw the tiny vegetables they
began with cries of delight to cut them from
their stalks with Henry's knife and a broken
paring knife. They scrubbed them in the
"washtub," filled the kettle half full of water
from the "well," and proceeded in great excite-
ment to cut the raw meat into cubes. When
this had been dropped into the kettle, Henry
lighted the fire. It burned frantically, as if it
were trying to encourage the stew to do its
best. Violet laid the tin plate over the top
for a cover, and they all stood by to hear the
first bubble. Soon the savory stuff in the
'kettle began to boil in good earnest. Watch
sat down gravely near it, and gave an approv-
ing sniff at intervals.
"Keep it boiling," advised Henry as he
departed again. "When I come home tonight
I'll bring some salt. And for mercy's sake,
don't get on fire."
Violet pointed silently at the big teapot. The
little girl had filled it with water in case of





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


emergency. "That's if Benny gets on fire,"
she explained- "or Watch."
Henry laughed and went on his way happily
enough. He wished he might share the delight-
ful task of keeping the fire going and sniffing
the stew, but when he found out his afternoon's
duties, he changed his mind .abruptly.
"Think you can clean up this garage?"
asked Dr. McAllister quizzically when he
appeared.
Henry flashed a look around the place, and
met the young man's eyes with a smile. It did
need cleaning rather badly. When its owner
purred out in his high-powered little car, Henry
drew a long breath and began in earnest. He
opened all the chests of drawers to begin with.
Then he arranged all the tools in the largest
deep drawer, and with a long-handled brush
and a can of black paint that was nearly dry,
he labeled the drawer TOOLS with neat letter-
ing. Another drawer he lettered NAILS, and
assorted its contents into a few of the many
boxes that were lying around. He folded up
the robes he found, swept off the shelves and
arranged the oil cans in orderly ranks, sorted
out innumerable pairs of gloves, and then swept





AT HOME. 67

the floor. He washed the cement floor with
the hose, and while waiting for it to dry he
rinsed his brushes in turpentine.,
To tell the truth, Henry had found a few
things in the rubbish which he had stored in
his own pocket. The treasure consisted in this
case of a quantity of bent and rusty nails of all
sizes, and a few screws and nuts.
When Dr. McAllister returned at six o'clock
he found Henry corking up the turpentine and
arranging the brushes on the shelf.
"My word!" he exclaimed, staring at his
garage with his mouth open. Then he threw
back his head and laughed till his mother came
down the walk to see what the matter was.
Look at my gloves, Mother," he said, wiping
his eyes. "All mated up. They never met
each other before, that I remember."
Mrs. McAllister looked the garage over, and
observed the newly labeled drawers. Her son
opened one of them, and looked at his four
hammers.
"My tack hammer, Mother," he said, "your
tack hammer, and two other hammers! That
last one I never expected to see again. If you
can use it, you may have it, my boy."





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


Now, it is no exaggeration to say that at
that moment if Henry had been asked what
he wanted most of anything in the world he
would have answered without any hesitation
whatever, "A hammer."
He accepted it gratefully, hardly able to stand
still, so anxious was he to put it into use on
the hill he called home.
"Tomorrow's Sunday," said the doctor.
"Shall I see you on Monday?"
"Oh, yes," replied Henry, who had lost all
track of the days.
"The cherries need picking," said his new
friend. "We could use any number of cherry
pickers, if they were as careful as you." He
gave him an odd look.
"Could you?" asked Henry eagerly. "I'll
surely come down."
With that, he bade his friends good-by and
started for home, richer by another dollar, two
doughnuts the cook had given him, a pocket full
of crooked nails, and the rest of the vegetables.
When he reached his freight-car home a
delicious savor greeted him.
"Onions!" he shouted, running up to the
kettle. The cook stood by and took off the





AT HOME


cover and put in the salt. It was absolutely
the most tantalizing odor that Henry had ever
smelled. Years afterward Jess tried to dupli-
cate it with the same kettle, vegetables from
the same garden and all stirred with the same
spoon, but it didn't equal this stew in flavor.
"A ladle, as sure as I live!" gasped Henry.
Jess had found a tin cup in the dump, and
fastened on a wooden handle with a bit of
wire. And when she ladled out four portions
on four plates of all sizes, some of them tin, and
laid a spoon in each, the children felt that the
world held no greater riches. The tiny onions
floated around like pearls; the carrots melted
in your mouth; and the shreds of meat were
as tender as possible from long boiling. A bit
of bread in one hand helped the feast along
wonderfully. The little wanderers ate until
they could eat no more.
# "I have time before dark to make Benny's
cart," observed Henry, biting a crisp, sweet
carrot.
"With my wheels?" asked Benny.
"Yes, sir, with your wheels," agreed Henry.
"Only, when it's done, you'll have to cart
stones in it."





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


"Sure," said Benny with satisfaction. "Cart
stones or anything.'
"We'll need it in making the dam," explained
Henry for the benefit of his sisters. Tomorrow's
Sunday, so I shan't work down in the town.
Do you think it's all right to build the pool on
Sunday, Jess?"
"I certainly do," replied Jess with emphasis.
"We're just building the dam so we can keep
clean. I guess if Sunday is your only day off,
it'll be all right."
Henry's conscience was set at rest as he began
with great delight to hammer out his bent nails.
He and Benny ran about finding pieces of wood
to fasten the wheels on. A visit to the dump
was necessary at last, in order to find just the
right piece of timber for a tongue, but before
it was too dark to see, Henry had pounded the
last nail in place and trundled the flat cart back
and forth just to see it go. The cart seemed
valuable enough to all of them to take into the
house for the night. And Henry could not
afford to laugh at Benny for going to sleep with
his hand upon one of his precious wheels, for he
himself had tucked his new hammer under his
pillow.







BUILDING THE DAM


EVEN a hammer makes a good pillow if
one is tired enough, and the freight-car
family slept until the nine-o'clock church bells
began to ring faintly in the valley. There were
at least a dozen churches, and their far-away
bells sounded sweetly harmonious in so many
different keys.
"They almost play a tune," said Violet, as
she listened.
"I like music all right," replied Henry in a
business-like way, "but I for one shall have to
get to work.'
"This will be a good day to wash all the
stockings," said Jess. "We'll all be wading
so much in the brook, anyway."
After breakfast the first thing Henry did was
to survey, with critical eyes, the spot they had
chosen for a pool. It was a hollow about three
yards across. There were no stones in it at all.
"It's big enough already," remarked Henry
at last, "but it hasn't enough water in it."
He measured its depth with a stick. "We'll
have to guess at inches," he said.


_ _1_





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


"I have a little tape measure in my work-
bag," ventured his sister Violet.
Henry flashed a smile at her. "Is there
anything you haven't got in your workbag?"
he asked her.
The children measured the wet stick carefully.
The water was just ten inches deep in the
deepest part.
Henry explained his plan of engineering to
his sisters. "We will have to haul some big
logs across this narrow part and stuff them
from this end with stones and underbrush. It
ought to be three feet deep before we get
through."
"0 Henry!" protested Jess. "Benny would
get drowned."
"Drowned!" echoed Henry. "How tall do
you think he is, anyhow?"
They measured the little boy and found him
to be forty-two inches tall. That settled it;
the pool was designed to be three feet in depth.
Luckily the largest logs were not far away;
but as it was, it was a matter of great labor for
the builders to drag them to the scene of
operations.
Let's get all the logs up here first," suggested





BUILDING THE DAM


Jess. "Then we can have the fun of laying
them across."
The two older children dragged all the logs,
while Violet and Benny attended to the stones,
with the help of .the cart. Occasionally Henry
was called upon to assist with a heavy stone,
but for the most part Benny puffed out his
cheeks and heaved the stones himself. In fact,
Henry decided at this point to let Benny drop
them into the water as he gathered them.
" Splash 'em right in, old fellow," he directed.
"Only keep them in a nice straight line right
across this place between these two trees. It
won't make any difference how wet he gets,"
he added in an aside to Jess. "We can dry him
in the sun."
Jess thought a little differently, although
she said nothing. She took off Benny's little
crinkled blouse and one pair of bloomers, and
started to hang them on the line.
"Good time to wash them!" she exclaimed.
"Let me wash them," begged Violet. "You're
more useful building the dam." There was
wisdom in this suggestion, so Jess accepted it
gratefully, and even added Henry's blouse to
the laundry.






74 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

"When we finish the dam they will surely
be dry," she said.
As for Henry, he was only too glad to work
without it. "Makes me feel lighter," he declared.
Rare and beautiful birds came and watched
the barefooted children as they scurried around,
building their wall of masonry. But the chil-
dren did not have any eyes for birds then.
They watched with delighted eyes as each stone
was added to the wall under the clear water,
and it began to rise almost to the surface.
"That makes a solid foundation for the logs,
you see," explained Henry with pride. "They
won't be floating off downstream the minute
we lay them on."
Then at last the time arrived when they
were to lay the logs on.
"Let's wedge the first one between these
two trees," said Jess, with a happy thought.
"Then if each end of the log is on the upper
side of the trees, the harder the water pounds
the tighter the dam gets."
"Good work!" exclaimed Henry admiringly.
"That's just what we'll do."
But the children were not at all prepared
for what happened the moment the first big





BUILDING THE DAM


log was splashed into its place on top of the
stone wall.
The water, defeated in its course down the
rocky bed, gurgled and chased about as it met
the opposing log, and found every possible hole
to escape.
"Leaks," said Henry briefly, as the water
began to rush around both ends and pour over
the top of the log. "We'll make the logs so
thick it can't get through. We'll lay three logs
across, with three logs on top of them, and three
more on top of that."
The children set about stubbornly to accom-
plish this. Violet held great sprays of fine
underbrush in place until each log was laid.
Wetter children never were seen. But nobody
cared. They resolutely plugged the ends with
more stones, more underbrush, and more logs.
Each time a leak was discovered,, someone
dropped a stone over it. Even Benny caught
the fever of conquering the mischievous water
which slipped from their grasp like quicksilver.
When the three top logs were at last dropped
into place, the excited children sat down to
watch the pool fill. This it did slowly.
Finding now no means of exit, the water was





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


quieter. It rose steadily up the barricade of
logs. It widened beautifully. Henry could not
sit still. "It slopes!" he cried. "See how
clear it is! And still! See how still it is!"
And then the water began to overflow the
logs. It spilled over the top with a delightful
curve. And on the other side it formed a
second waterfall-not high and narrow and
graceful like the natural fall above, but very
low and wide. "Just like a regular mill dam,"
said Henry.
He held the measuring stick out as far as he
could and plunged it into the water. It lacked
an inch of being three feet deep.
"Deep enough," he declared.
In fact it looked so deep that Benny could
not conceal a slight fear.
"That's the beauty of the slope," observed
Jess. "Benny can wade in just as far as he
wants to, and no farther. We all know what
the bed of the pool is like-no holes or stones."
The girls had to leave to prepare dinner, but
Henry could not be persuaded to leave the
wonderful swimming pool. "I'd rather swim
than eat," he said.
Luckily for the children, their supply of





BUILDING THE DAM


provisions was the largest of any day since
their flight. The girls lighted the fire and
heated up the remainder of the stew and cut
the bread. The butter, hard and cold in the
refrigerator, was taken out, and four portions
cut from it. The two doughnuts made four
half rings for dessert.
The cooks rang the dinner bell. This was
an ingenious arrangement hung on a low
branch. It consisted of a piece of bent steel
swung on a string. Violet hit it sharply with
another piece of steel. It sounded deeply and
musically through the woods, and the boys
understood it and obeyed at once.
It was evident the moment they appeared
that at least three of the family had been swim-
ming. Watch shook himself violently at inter-
vals, spattering water drops in all directions.
Henry and Benny, fresh and radiant, with
plastered hair and clean dry stockings and
blouses, apparently liked to swim and eat, too.
"You can actually swim a few strokes in it,
Jess, if you're careful," Henry said, with
excusable pride, as he sat down to dinner,
Building a dam is wonderful sauce for a
dinner. "I think stew is much better the





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


second day," observed Benny, eating hungrily.
There remained two more adventures for
the eventful day. The girls cut their hair.
Violet's dark curls came off first. "They're
awfully in the way," explained Violet, "and so
much trouble when you're working."
They were tangled, too, and Jess cut them
off evenly by a string, with Violet's little scissors.
Jess' chestnut hair was long and silky and nicely
braided, but she never murmured as it came off
too. The two girls ran to the brook mirror to
see how they looked. The new haircut was
very becoming to both.
"I like you better that way," said Henry
approvingly. Lots more sensible when you're
living in the woods."
Around four o'clock the children took a long
walk in the opposite direction from any of their
other explorations. They were rewarded by two
discoveries. One was a hollow tree literally
filled with walnuts, gathered presumably by a
thrifty squirrel the previous fall. The other
discovery frightened them a little just at first.
For with bristling back and a loud bark, Watch
suddenly began to rout out something in the
leaves, and that something began to cackle and





BUILDING THE DAM


half run and half fly from the intruders. It was
a runaway hen. The children succeeded in
catching the dog and reducing him to- order,
although it was clear he liked very much to
chase hens.
"She had some eggs, too," remarked Benny
as if trying to make pleasant conversation.
Jess bent over incredulously and saw a rude
nest in the moss in which there were five eggs..
"A runaway hen!" said Henry, hardly believ-
ing his eyes. "She wants to hide her nest and
raise chickens."
The children had no scruples at all about
taking the eggs.
"Almost a gift from heaven," said Violet,
stroking one of the eggs with a delicate finger.
"It wouldn't be polite to refuse them."
Scrambled eggs made a delicious supper for
the children. Jess broke all the eggs into the
biggest bowl and beat them vigorously with a
spoon until they were light and foamy. Then
she added milk and salt and delegated Violet
to beat them some more while she prepared the
fire. The big kettle, empty and clean, was
hung over the low fire and butter was dropped
in. Jess watched it anxiously, tipping the





8o THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

kettle slightly in all directions. When the
butter had reached the exact shade of brown,
Jess poured in the eggs and stirred them care-
fully, holding her skirts away from the fire.
She was amply repaid for her care when she
saw her family attack the meal. Clearly this
was a feast day.
"We shall have to be satisfied tomorrow to
live on bread and milk," she observed, scraping
up the last delicious morsel.
But when tomorrow came they had more
than bread and milk, as you will soon see.







CHERRY PICKING


H ENRY meditated awhile all to himself
early the next morning as to whether he
ought to take any one with him for the cherry
picking. "He certainly said he could use more
than one," he mused.
Failing to decide the question, he laid it
before his sisters as they ate bread and milk
for breakfast.
"I can't see any reason, except one, why we
shouldn't all go," said Jess.
"What's that?" asked Henry.
"Well, you see there are four of us, and
supposing grandfather is looking for us, it will
be easier to find four than one."
"True," agreed Henry. "But supposing we
went down the hill and through the streets two
by two? And you took Watch? "
It was finally agreed that Henry and Benny
would attract very little attention together;
Violet and Jess would follow with the dog, who
would trace Henry. And so they set out. They
took down the clothesline and closed the car
door. Everything instantly looked as lonesome


_ __~_





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


as heart could wish. Even the merry little
brook looked deserted.
When the children arrived at the McAllister
orchard they soon saw that they were not the
only workers. Two hired men and the young
doctor himself were carrying ladders and baskets
from the barn, and the Irish cook was bringing
piles of square baskets from the house-the
kind that strawberries are sold in.
'The girls can pick cherries as well as I can,"
said Henry, introducing his sisters. "Benny
ought not to climb very tall trees, but we had
to bring him."
"Benny can carry the baskets, perhaps,"
suggested the doctor, much amused. "You
see, this is a cherry year, and we have to work
quickly when we once begin. Perhaps he could
fill the small baskets from the big ones."
It was a "cherry year," certainly. There
were two varieties in the orchard, the pale
yellow kind with a red cheek, and the deep
crimson ones which were just as red in the
center as they were on the outside. The red
ones were huge, bursting with juice, and the
trees were laden full with the luscious fruit.
Even the air was perfumed.





CHERRY PICKING


It was a pretty sight that the doctor finally
turned his back upon when he went on his
calls. Henry, slim, tanned, and graceful, picked
rapidly from the tallest ladder in the largest
tree. The two girls in their sensible bloomer
suits could climb like cats. They leaned against
the ladders easily about halfway up, their fluffy
short hair gleaming in the sun. Benny trotted
to and fro, waiting upon the busy pickers, his
cheeks as red as the cherries themselves.
"Eat all you want," Dr. McAllister called
back. They did not really obey this command,
but occasionally a set of white teeth bit into
one of the glorious oxhearts.
In less than an hour Benny had made five
firm friends. The hired men joked with him,
the cook petted him, the young doctor laughed
at him delightedly, and sweet Mrs. McAllister
fell in love with him. Finally he seated himself
comfortably at her side under the trees and
filled square boxes with great care under her
direction.
"I never had such a cheerful crowd of cherry
pickers before," Mrs. McAllister said at last.
"I'd much rather stay out here than go into
the house where it is cool."





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


Evidently Mary the cook felt the same way,
for she kept coming to the orchard for some
reason or other. When the doctor returned at
lunch time his orchard was ringing with laughter,
and good-natured barks from Watch who could
not feel easy in his mind with his mistress so
high up in a tree where he couldn't follow.
Dr. McAllister paused in the garage long
enough to give a sniff to the boiling cherries in
the kitchen, and then made his way to the
orchard, where he received a warm welcome.
"There's no use in your going home to
lunch," he smilingly observed, at the same time
watching Henry's face carefully. "You can eat
right here in the orchard, unless your mother
will be worrying about you."
This remark met with an astounding silence.
Henry was the first to collect his wits. "No,
our mother is dead," he said evenly, without
embarrassment.
It was the doctor who hastened to change
the subject he had introduced. "I smelled
something when I came in," he said to Benny.
"What did it smell like?" inquired Benny.
"It smelled like cherry slump," replied the
doctor with twinkling eyes.





CHERRY PICKING


"Cherry what?" asked Jess, struggling down
her ladder with a full basket.
"I think that's what they call it-slump,"
repeated Dr. McAllister. "Do you care to
try it?"
At this moment Mary appeared in the orchard
with an enormous tray. And at the first sight
of her cookery, nobody cared the least what
its name was. It was that rare combination
of dumpling beaten with stoned cherries, and
cooked gently in the juice of the oxheart
cherries in a real "cherry year." It was steam-
ing in the red juice, with the least suspicion of
melted butter over the whole.
"Do get two more, Mary," begged Mrs.
McAllister, laughing. It tastes so much better
under the cherry trees!"
This was another meal that nobody ever
forgot. Even the two hired men sitting under
another tree devouring the delicious pudding,
paused to hear Benny laugh. Nowadays those
two men sometimes meet Henry-but that's
another story. Anyway, they never will forget
that cherry slump made by Irish Mary.
v Almost as soon as lunch was over Benny
rolled over on the grass and went to sleep, his





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


head, as usual, on the dog's back. But the
others worked on steadily. Mrs. McAllister
kept an eye on them from the screened porch
without their knowledge.
"Just see how those children keep at it," she
said to her son. "There is good stuff in them.
I should like to know where they come from."
Dr. McAllister said nothing. He sauntered
out into the orchard when he thought they had
worked long enough. He paid them four
dollars and gave them all the cherries they
could carry, although they tried to object.
"You see, you're better than most pickers,
because you're so cheerful."
He noticed that they did not all leave the
yard at the same time.
When the cherry pickers returned to their
little home they examined everything carefully.
Nothing had been disturbed. The door was still
shut, and the milk and butter stood untouched
in the refrigerator. They made a hilarious meal
of raw cherries and bread and butter, and before
the stars came out they were fast asleep-happy
and dreamless.
That evening, very much later, a young man
sat in his study with the evening paper. He





CHERRY PICKING


read the news idly, and was just on the point
of tossing the paper aside when this advertise-
ment caught his eye:
Lost. Four children, aged thirteen, twelve, ten
and five. Somewhere around the region of Middle-
sex and Townsend. $5ooo reward for information.
JAMES HENRY CORDYCB
"Whew!" whistled the young man. "James
Henry Cordyce!"
He sat in perfect silence for a long time,
thinking. Then he went to bed. But long
after he had gone upstairs he whistled again,
and could have been heard to say-if anyone
had been awake to hear it-"James Henry
Cordyce! Of all people!"







THE RACE


THE Cordyce Steel Mills stood a little aside
from the city of Greenfield, as if they were
a little too good to associate with common
factories. James Henry Cordyce sat in a huge
leather chair in his private office. He was a
man nearly sixty years of age whose dark brown
hair was still untouched by gray. He had
rather hard lines around his mouth, but softer
ones around his eyes. Printed on the ground-
glass top of his door were these words in black
and gold:
J. H. CORDYCE-President
Private
Once a year J. H. Cordyce allowed himself
a holiday. If he had a weakness, it was for
healthy boys-boys running without their hats,
boys jumping, boys throwing rings, boys swim-
ming, boys vaulting with a long pole. And in
company with three other extremely rich men
he arranged, once a year, a Field Day for the
town of Intervale. The men attended it in
person, and supplied all the money. This was
Field Day.





THE RACE


All through the spring and early summer
months, boys were in training for miles around,
getting ready for Intervale's Field Day. And
not only boys, but men also, old and young,
and girls of all ages into the bargain. Prizes
were offered for tennis, baseball, rowing, swim-
ming, running, and every imaginable type of
athletic feat. But usually the interest of the
day centered on a free-for-all race of one mile,
which everyone enjoyed, and a great many
people entered. A prize of twenty-five dollars
was offered to the winner of this race, and
also a silver trophy cup with little wings on
its handles. Sometimes this cup was won
by a middle-aged man, sometimes by a girl,
and sometimes by a trained athlete. Mr.
Cordyce smiled about his eyes as he closed
his desk, ordered his limousine, and went out
and locked the door of his office. The mill
had been closed down for the day. Everyone
attended Field Day.
Henry was washing the concrete drives at
. Dr. McAllister's at this moment. He heard
the doctor call to him from the road, so he
promptly turned off the hose and ran out to
see what was wanted.





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


"Hop in," commanded the doctor, not stop-
ping his engine. "You ought to go to see the
stunts at the athletic meet. It's Field Day."
Henry did not wish to delay the doctor, so
he "hopped in."
"Can't go myself," said Dr. McAllister. "I'll
just drop you at the grounds. There's no
charge for admittance. You just watch all the
events and report to me who wins."
Henry tried to explain to his friend that he
ought to be working, but there was actually no
time. And when he found himself seated on
the bleachers and the stunts began, he forgot
everything in the world except the exciting
events before his eyes.
Henry had no pencil, but he had an excellent
memory. He repeated over and over, the name
of each winner as it appeared on the huge
signboard.
It was nearly eleven o'clock when the free-
for-all running race was announced.
"What do they mean-free-for-all?" asked
Henry of a small boy at his side.
"Why, just anybody," explained the boy,
curiously. "Didn't you ever see one? Didn't
you see the one last year?"





THE RACE 91

"No," said Henry.
The boy laughed. "That was a funny one,"
he said. "There was a college runner in it,
and a couple of fat men, and some girls-lots
of people. And the little colored boy over
there won it. You just ought to have seen
that boy run! le went so fast you couldn't
see his legs. Beat the college runner, you
know."
Henry gazed at the winner of last year's race.
He was smaller than Henry, but apparently
older. In a few minutes Henry had quietly
left his place on the bleachers. When the boy
turned to speak to him again, he was gone.
He had gone, in fact, to the dressing room,
where boys of all sizes were putting on sandals
and running trunks.
A man stepped up to him quickly.
"Want to enter?" he asked. "No time to
waste."
"Yes," replied Henry.
The man tossed him a pair of white shoes
and some blue trunks. He liked the look of
Henry's face as he paused to ask in an under-
tone, "Where did you train?"
"Never trained," replied Henry.





92 THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN

"I suppose you know these fellows have been
training all the year?" observed the man.
"You don't expect to win?"
"Oh, no!" replied Henry, apparently shocked
at the idea. "But it's lots of fun to run,
you know." He was dressed and ready by this
time. How light he felt! He felt as if he
could almost fly. Presently the contestants
were all marshalled out to the running track.
Henry was Number 4.
Now, Henry had never been trained to run,
but the boy possessed an unusual quantity of
common sense. "It's a mile race," he thought
to himself, "and it's the second half mile that
counts." So it happened that this was the
main thought in his mind when the starter's
gong sounded and the racers shot away down
the track. In almost no time, Henry was far
behind the first half of the runners. But
strangely enough, he did not seem to mind
this greatly.
"It's fun to run, anyhow," he thought.
It was fun, certainly. He felt as if his limbs
were strung together on springs. He ran easily,
without effort, each step bounding into the next
like an elastic.





THE RACE 93

After a few minutes of this, Henry had a
new thought.
"Now you've tried how easy you can run,
let's see how fast you can run!"
And then not only Henry himself, but the
enormous crowd as well, began to see how fast
he could run. Slowly he gained on the fellow
ahead of him, and passed him. With the next
fellow as a goal, he gradually crept alongside,
and passed him with a spurt. The crowd
shouted itself hoarse. The field all along the
course was black with people. Henry could
hear them cheering for Number 4, as he pounded
by. Six runners remained ahead of him. Here
was the kind of race the crowd loved; not an
easily won affair between two runners, but a
gradual victory between the best runner and
overpowering odds. Henry could see the finish-
flag now in the distance. He began to spurt.
He passed Numbers 14 and 3. He passed 25, 6,
and I almost in a bunch. Number 16 remained
ahead. Then Henry began to think of winning.
How much the twenty-five dollar prize would
mean to Jess and the rest! Number 16 must
be passed.
"I'm going to win this race!" he said quietly





THE BOX-CAR CHILDREN


in his own mind. "I'll bet you I am!" The
thought lent him speed.
"Number 4! Number 4!" yelled the crowd.
Henry did not know that the fellow ahead had
been ahead all the way, and just because he-
Henry-had slowly gained over them all, the
crowd loved him best.
Henry waited until he could have touched
him. He was within three yards of the wire.
He bent double, and put all his energy into
the last elastic bound. He passed Number 16,
and shot under the wire.
Then the crowd went wild. It scrambled
over and under the fence, cheering and blowing
its horns. Henry felt himself lifted on many
shoulders and carried panting up to the review-
ing stand. He bowed laughing at the sea of
faces, and took the silver cup with its little
wings in a sort of dream. It is a wonder he
did not lose the envelope containing the prize,
for he hardly realized when he took it what
it was.
Then someone said, "What's your name,
boy?"
That called him to earth. He had to think
quickly under cover of getting his breath.








C~f


If lifted on many shoulders


I ,


Henry felt hims





THE RACE 95

"Henry James," he replied. This was per-
fectly true, as far as it went. In a moment the
enormous signboard flashed out the name:
HENRY JAMES No. 4. AGE 13
WINNER OF FREE-FOR-ALL
Meanwhile the man of the dressing room was
busy locating Mr. Cordyce of the Cordyce Mills.
He knew that was exactly the kind of story
that old James Henry would like.
"Yes, sir," he said smiling. "I says to him,
'You don't expect to win, of course.' And he
says to me, 'Oh, no, but it's lots of fun to run,
you know.'"
"Thank you, sir," returned Mr. Cordyce.
"That's a good story. Bring the youngster
over here, if you don't mind."
When Henry appeared, a trifle shaken out
of his daze and anxious only to get away,
Mr. Cordyce stretched out his hand. "I like
your spirit, my boy," he said. "I like your
running, too. But it's your spirit that I like
best. Don't ever lose it."
"Thank you," said Henry, shaking hands.
And there was only one in the whole crowd that
knew who was shaking hands with whom, least
of all James Henry and Henry James.







MORE EDUCATION


WITH twenty-five dollars in his hand, Henry
felt like a millionaire as he edged through
the crowd to the gate.
"That's the boy," he heard many a person
say when he was forced to hold his silver cup
in view out of harm's way.
When Dr. McAllister drove into his yard he
found a boy washing the concrete drives as
calmly as if nothing had happened. He chuckled
quietly, for he had stopped at the Fair Grounds
for a few minutes himself, and held a little
conversation with the score-keeper. When
Henry faithfully repeated the list of winners,
however, he said nothing about it.
"What are you going to do with the prize?"
queried Dr. McAllister.
"Put it in the savings bank, I guess," replied
Henry.
"Have you an account?" asked his friend.
"No, but Jess says it's high time we started
one."
"Good for Jess," said the doctor absently.
"I remember an old uncle of mine who put





MORE EDUCATION 97

two hundred dollars in the savings bank and
forgot all about it. He left it in there till he
died, and it came to me. It amounted to
sixteen hundred dollars."
"Whew!" said Henry.
"He left it alone for over forty years, you
see," explained Dr. McAllister.
When Henry arrived at his little home in
the woods with the twenty-five dollars (for he
never thought of putting it in the bank before
Jess saw it), he found a delicious lunch waiting
for him. Jess had boiled the little vegetables
in clear water, and the moment they were done
she had drained off the water in a remarkable
drainer, and heaped them on the biggest dish
with melted butter on top.
His family almost forgot to eat while Henry
recounted the details of the exciting race. And
when he showed them the silver cup and the
money they actually did stop eating, hungry
as they were.
"I said my name was Henry James," repeated
Henry.
"That's all right. So it is," affirmed Jess.
"It's clever, too. You can use that name for
your bank book."




Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EAQWLRD3I_Z8ZMB4 INGEST_TIME 2012-10-26T22:29:06Z PACKAGE AA00012793_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID EYFB0FGRR_C4IHHD INGEST_TIME 2014-06-02T18:25:35Z PACKAGE AA00012793_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES