• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Nephew and uncle
 A champion
 School days
 A piece of mischief
 The sober second thought
 Face to face
 The re-union
 Queer doings
 On the king's highway
 A rough experience
 Into the wood
 Like a dream
 What it all meant
 Coe Crawford
 At the savings bank
 Companions on the road
 Leading the way
 At the old cabin
 How it came out
 In the blizzard
 The new home
 Working his way
 The sound of footsteps
 What it all meant
 A friendly warning
 What followed
 "Wait!"
 The dark shadow
 Done by a crank
 "1804"
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: True to his trust
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087082/00001
 Material Information
Title: True to his trust
Physical Description: 329, 6 p., 5 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ellis, Edward Sylvester, 1840-1916
Davis, John Steeple, 1844-1917 ( Illustrator )
Penn Publishing Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: Penn Publishing Company
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Publication Date: 1898, c1897
Copyright Date: 1897
 Subjects
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Honesty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Diligence -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Success -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Theft -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Coins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Inheritance and succession -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Edward S. Ellis; illustrated by J. Steeple Davis.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements follow text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087082
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002398681
notis - AMA3601
oclc - 259990327

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
        Front Cover 3
    Front Matter
        Page 1
    Frontispiece
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Nephew and uncle
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    A champion
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    School days
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    A piece of mischief
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 46a
        Page 47
        Page 48
    The sober second thought
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
    Face to face
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
    The re-union
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Queer doings
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    On the king's highway
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
    A rough experience
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
    Into the wood
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
    Like a dream
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 128a
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
    What it all meant
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
    Coe Crawford
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
    At the savings bank
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
    Companions on the road
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
    Leading the way
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    At the old cabin
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 206a
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
    How it came out
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
    In the blizzard
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 230a
        Page 231
    The new home
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
    Working his way
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
    The sound of footsteps
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
    What it all meant
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
    A friendly warning
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
    What followed
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
    "Wait!"
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
    The dark shadow
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
    Done by a crank
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
    "1804"
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
    Advertising
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
        Back Cover 3
    Spine
        Spine
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TRUE TO HIS TRUST








BY


EDWARD S. ELLIS, A. M.
Author of Comrades True," "Among the Esquimaux," Etc.


ILLUSTRATED BY J. STEEPLE DAVIS


THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY
PHILADELPHIA MDCCCXCVIII






























COPYRIGHT 1897 BY THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY
















CONTENTS



CHAP. PAGE
I NEPHEW AND UNCLE . . .... 7
II A CHAMPION ................ 17
III SCHOOL DAYS ................ 29
IV A PIECE OF MISCHIEF . . .... 41
V TIHE SOBER SECOND THOUGHT . ... 49
VI FACE TO FACE ................ 56
VII THE RE-UNION ................ 66
VIII QUEER DOINGS . . . . 76
IX ON THE KING'S HIGHWAY . . 89
X A ROUGH EXPERIENCE . . .. 101
XI INTO THE WOOD ............... 113
XII LIKE A DREAM ............... 125
XIII WHAT IT ALL MEANT . . . 137
XIV COE CRAWFORD ............... 150
XV AT THE SAVINGS BANK. . . 163
XVI COMPANIONS ON THE ROAD . ... .174
XVII LEADING THE WAY . . .... 187
XVIII AT THE OLD CABIN . . .... 199

5








6 CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE
XIX How IT CAME OUT ............. 212
XX IN THE BLIZZARD .. . . . 222
XXI THE NEW HOME. . . . 232
XXII WORKING His WAY . . . 242
XXIII THE SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS . . .. 252
XXIV WHAT IT ALL MEANT . . .... 261
XXV A FRIENDLY WARNING . .. . 270
XXVI WHAT FOLLOWED . . . .. 280
XXVII "WAITI" .................. .289
XXVIII THE DARK SHADOW . . . .. 299
XXIX DONE BY A CRANK . . .... 309
XXX "1804" ................... 318










TRUE TO HIS TRUST


CHAPTER I

NEPHEW AND UNCLE

WELDON STAFFORD was the brightest and
most popular boy in the Copeland village
school. He easily led all the others in his
studies, but never showed any consciousness of
his unusual ability in that respect. He was
always ready to help the dull boy or girl, even
to the extent of sometimes violating the rules
of the teacher; he was a fine runner, skater,
and swimmer and in short was so full of rugged
life and spirits that the wonder was how he
managed to be half as good as he was. It seems
to be the law among youths that the most
talented are brimming over with mischief,
which, so long as it is not of a harmful char-
acter, cannot be severely condemned. It is
when such a disposition tramples upon the
rights of others and disregards their sensibili-







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


ties and feelings that it should be frowned upon
and suppressed.
There was sound philosophy in a remark of
the wise superintendent, who, like the teacher,
was fond of Weldon. At the close of one of
the terms when the official was present, the in-
structor read aloud the marks of the boys and
girls in their studies and deportment. Of course
Weldon led all in the former, but he stood fifth
in conduct.
"Let me congratulate you," said the superin-
tendent, as he took the blushing boy's hand
before the whole school; "in a certain sense,
you deserve the highest credit in deportment."
Observing the looks of surprise on the faces
of teacher and pupils, the superintendent ex-
plained :
It is because it was a good deal harder for
you to reach fifth position than it was for the
honor lad to attain first; the puzzle to me,"
added the gentleman, with a twinkle of his
eyes, "is that you don't stand at the very
foot."
I can't understand myself why I don't," re-
plied Weldon amid the laughter of teacher and
pupils.







NEPHEW AND UNCLE


Mr. Freeman, the instructor, came to the
rescue of his favorite pupil.
"I gave Weldon full credit for his efforts,
rather than for the success which attended those
efforts."
The superintendent laid his hand on the
curly head.
Be encouraged, my young friend, to keep on
trying. Fortunate it is for all of us that there
is One who makes no error in keeping the ac-
counts against us. I find that your demerits are
chiefly for whispering to others and helping them
in their lessons, varied now and then by a prank
which you can understand would destroy all
discipline if your teacher overlooked it."
The superintendent took care not to refer to
one fact, which Weldon never suspected. Had
the teacher debited the boy with all the slips
that ought to have been charged against him,
he would in truth have stood very near the foot
in deportment; but, when Mr. Freeman knew
that in nearly every instance, Weldon was help-
ing another boy in his studies, and that his
motive was to do his classmate a kindness, the
teacher quite often forgot to put a black mark
against Weldon's name.






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


"It would have made me feel mean," he ex-
plained to the superintendent, "and since he
did not know that I was aware of his infraction
of the rules, no harm was done."
"Surely not, but in my opinion, you acted
justly. He is a manly fellow and if his life is
spared, is sure to make a noble man."
Now, since Weldon and two other lads have
much to do in the story that follows, some infor-
mation about the three is necessary at this point.
Weldon was the son and only child of a
widow, who lived about two miles from the
town of Copeland, where the boy attended
school. Her husband had been dead ever since
the infancy of the son, and he left his widow in
such straitened circumstances that it was hard
to understand how she lived in seeming com-
fort and was able to send Weldon to school.
It was done by a rigid economy which no one
suspected, and which was not dreamed of by
Weldon in the happy, overflowing good nature
of his youth. He almost worshiped that pale,
quiet, frail parent, whose hand had never been
lifted against him, and whose gentle request was
more powerful in influencing him than the rod
could ever have been.






NEPHEW AND UNCLE


The brother of Mrs. Stafford was Jabez Bur-
winkle, who must have been born a crank,"
for no one could remember when he failed to
answer to that description. His home was on a
small farm at the foot of Hurricane Mountain,
where the stone house was put up long before
the Revolution, and was occupied by his
ancestor, who had to fight Indians, shoot
bears, panthers, and wolves, and to shiver in
winter and half suffocate in summer; for that
structure, somehow or other, seemed to have
been located in a spot afflicted with the worst
climate of a section which can furnish as great
a variety of weather as any spot on the habit-
able globe.
But the old man and his wife held fast, and
in due time were succeeded by their sturdy, law-
less children, until, at the time to which I refer,
Jabez Burwinkle was past threescore, had been
a widower for ten years, and had two sons,
Daniel and Samuel. They were twins, and in-
herited all the bad qualities-of their father. A
curious fact was that the twins were born on the
same day with Weldon Stafford, so that the
three boys were of precisely the same age.
Jabez Burwinkle, without any reason at all







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


except his own brutal meanness of disposition,
refused to speak to his sister, or to allow her to
visit his home. Once, when Weldon was quite
young, he ventured to call upon his cousins.
He had hardly appeared on the scene when the
snarling old man demanded his name.
"Weldon Stafford, sir," replied the lad, re-
spectfully removing his hat.
Is your mother Mrs. Susan Stafford, who
lives up the road ?"
"Yes, sir, and I'm your nephew."
Wait a minute," said the old man, turning
away and hastily entering the house.
"I guess he's going to bring me a piece of
cake," mused young Weldon, wondering why
neither of his cousins came out-doors, but stood
at one of the windows looking out and grinning
at him.
"Mother said Uncle Jabez was a queer sort
of man, but she doesn't know how clever he is.
I feel just like having a big piece of cake. I
wonder whether it has white sugar on the top,
like she sometimes makes-"
At this point in the lad's musings his uncle
came out of the door with a rush. Instead of
bearing a toothsome gift for him, he held a big






NEPHEW AND UNCLE


switch in his right hand, and before Weldon
knew what it meant, it was descending about his
plump legs, and every blow cut like red-hot
wire.
"You young brat! I'll teach you better than
to come snooping over here! Don't ever dare
to show your face again in sight of my house!"
It has been said that Weldon Stafford was an
unusually fleet runner, and it was fortunate that
such was the case. He was barely ten years old
at this time, but with a yell of dismay and pain,
he whirled about and sped down the lane with a
speed which even Jabez Burwinkle could not
equal. When the fugitive looked around, he
saw the irate old fellow standing motionless,
switch in hand, and scowling at him as if with
disappointment because the boy did not wait and
take more punishment. And in range with the
father stood the twins, who had come out of the
front door and seemed in danger of falling to
the ground with mirth. They had never wit-
nessed anything quite so amusing.
I don't see what there is to laugh at," mut-
tered Weldon; "but Dan and Sam think it's
mighty funny. I wonder why their father
switched me ? It must have been because I'm






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


his nephew; I don't see how I'm to blame for
that, for I'm as much ashamed of it as he is."
It was just like Weldon not to tell his mother
anything about his treatment. He knew it
would grieve her loving heart, and he was not
the boy willingly to cause her pain. Besides, it
couldn't reduce the welts on his legs.
"Hello, Weldon, when are you coming
round to visit us ?" asked Dan Burwinkle the
next day, when they met at school, while he
and his brother grinned.
It was a mean question, but Weldon replied:
I think I'll wait for an invitation next time."
"A good idea; I say, boys, you oughter seen
him yesterday," said Sam, addressing the curious
youngsters who gathered round. "He stood
out in front of our house with that sweet smile
on his face, till suddenly the old man got tired
of it and began walloping him with a big switch.
You could have heard him yell for two miles,
and he begged off and said he wouldn't do so
again, and finally the old man let up on him.
I'd have give a dollar if you could have seen
him; you'd died laughing."
This account was not strictly in accordance
with the facts, but it was near enough to pre-






NEPHEW AND UNCLE


vent any contradiction on the part of the victim.
Boys are thoughtless and unfeeling, and despite
Weldon's popularity, there was a general laugh
at his expense which he took with the best grace
possible.
It was during the following winter that Jabez
Burwinkle was seized with what threatened to
prove a mortal illness. He was so grievously ill
that Dan and Sam were kept out of school. The
unexpected vacation was so welcome that it was
useless for them to pretend to any grief. Their
parent at times was terribly harsh with them, and
they would have been glad of a release, even if
it came in the most dreadful of all forms.
When Weldon brought the news home, his
mother was much affected. The thought of los-
ing her only brother without a reconciliation
between them distressed her beyond measure.
Undecided what to do, she stopped the doctor
when he was riding past her home, and inquired
concerning the sick man.
I guess he'll die this time," replied the phy-
sican in his matter-of-fact manner.
"What is the trouble with him ?"
"It is hard to say, except there is a general
breaking up of his system; he is well along in






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


years, and hasn't the reserve force that otherwise
might pull him through."
"How long do you think he will last ?"
"Perhaps a week or a fortnight; sometimes
one in his condition lingers for months, but gen-
erally they go off much sooner."
"You do not feel able to benefit him ?"
"Medicine is of little help in such a case, but
I have known the best of results to follow from
a severe nervous shock, when a person is in his
condition. It seems to rouse and give life to the
patient."
Jabez Burwinkle received the needed shock
that evening. Mrs. Stafford waded through the
snow and tempest to the door of her brother,
whose only companions were his unfilial boys,
and entered the home whose threshold she had
not crossed for years. The sight of his sister
roused the old man to new life, and he drove her
angrily out in the storm and forbade her ever
intruding again. She departed without a word
and they never met afterward, but the smiling
physician insisted that the good woman had
builded better than she knew, for straightway
the old man rallied and soon was his cranky,
churlish self again.










CHAPTER II


A CHAMPION

WHERE there was such strong contrast of
character between the twins and their cousin,
the danger of collision was imminent. They
had come perilously near fighting more than
once. That they did not was due to the self-
restraint of Weldon and that self-restraint was
due to the teaching of his mother.
It seems to me," said the son in one of those
sweet, confidential talks with his parent which
remained the greatest consolation of his life,
"that sometimes a boy ought to fight."
"There may be occasions when it is justifi-
able, but they rarely occur."
"Tell me some of them, mother."
"Well, if a lad is wantonly attacked, he can-
not be blamed for defending himself against
injury, or," she added, hesitatingly, "in defend-
ing some helpless boy or girl from the attacks
of others."
Weldon sighed.
"I haven't had anything like that, and I
2 17







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


don't have any trouble in school except with
Cousin Sam and Dan. They provoke me be-
yond what I can stand."
"Tell me in what way."
"They sneer at me, call me a coward, and
say that you are so poor that you can't dress
me much better than a beggar: that makes me
madder than anything else," said Weldon, with
a flash of his eyes; "I don't mind what they
say about me, but they must be careful of what
they say about you."
"If I can stand the truth, why need you fret
yourself? I am poor and it is no disgrace."
"Maybe not, but it roils me dreadfully to
hear any one say so."
"You are getting the right sort of training;
it will benefit you through life."
"How?"
In many ways; you are learning self-control,
which is one of the most blessed moral victories
that a human being can attain. The man who
holds his temper in subjection is the greatest of
conquerors; never were truer words written than
that such a man is greater than he that taketh
a city; not one person in a thousand is capable
of such mastery, but he who is holds an advan-







A CHAMPION


tage over every one who has never attained that
power."
"I am sure you are right, mother, as you
always are, but I wish you would give me per-
mission to do just one thing."
"I will gladly do so if it is for your
good."
"Let me give Sam and Dan one good all-
round whipping. I will make it so complete
that neither of them will ever want another.
I would like to have some other fellows train
me in self-control; it's getting tiresome to have
the same teachers. I'll promise that there won't
be any need of doing it again."
Strange as it may seem, Weldon inherited a
good deal of his waggishness from his mother.
Sorrow, trial, and suffering had left their im-
press upon that gentle countenance, but the
sense of the ludicrous never wholly departed.
She smiled in spite of herself as she looked into
that frank, handsome, pleading face.
I sympathize with you, my son, but such an
act on your part would be like the yielding of
the reformed drunkard to temptation. It would
undo the work of months past."
"And of months to come," groaned the lad,







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


who, however, resolved to obey his parent in
spirit and letter.
The following morning, when Weldon was on
his way to school, he found a boy waiting for
him at the Corners-that is, where the high-
ways crossed, a half-mile before reaching Cope-
land. This lad was Jim, a colored "bound
boy," who attended school during the winter
months. He had done so for several winters.
When he began receiving instruction it was
with the alphabet, of which he remembered
only two letters-" I" and "0." Upon the
coming of spring, when he had to leave school,
he had gained a pretty fair knowledge of the
whole alphabet, but that knowledge oozed away
during the summer, so that he always began at
the same place ii his primer, which was the
beginning.
Jim was several years younger than Weldon.
He had an immense mouth, splendid teeth
which were always in sight, for rarely did the
grin leave his face except to give way to a peal
of laughter, so loud and comical that it always
made every one who heard it laugh in sym-
pathy.
Jim was sitting on the fence, with his dog-






A CHAMPION


eared primer under his arm. The colored boy
was very fond of Weldon, and had hurried
across fields and perched himself thus a half an
hour before, so as to be sure of not missing him.
When his friend saw the broad black face, sur-
mounted by the well-known cap with the single
button at the crown, the big bulging eyes, and
the shining white teeth, he called out:
Hello, Jim! Are you going to school?"
"Yes; I start agin fur de winter."
He slid off the top rail and joined Weldon,
who asked:
"How many of your letters do you re-
member ?"
"Two," was the proud response; "I.cored
mighty neah forgotten' denim, but I held fast, and
wouldn't let 'em get away from me."
"Which letters are they ?"
"'I' and '0.'"
"What does 'I' look like ?"
"Haw I haw !" roared Jim; "you can't fool
me; 'I' am dat big round letter dat looks like
a knot hole in de fence, and 0' am de straight
up-and-down one dat looks like a hitchin' post;
sometimes dey got sort ob hazy in my mind, but
I hung onto 'em and I'm gwine to work hard







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


dis winter, so as to scoop in two, free more
letters."
Weldon laughed, for he was amused with the
simplicity of the fellow. The temptation to
indulge in some sport at his expense was strong,
but he felt that it would be wrong and he
refrained. Before they reached school he suc-
ceeded in impressing upon Jim the identity of
the two letters that he had got mixed. Not only
that, but he actually taught him three others,
" Q," Z," and X," and to Weldon's credit be
it recorded, that the five characters thus im-
pressed upon Jim's memory never left him. In
that brief walk the dull lad learned more than
he had ever learned in a month at school.
Jim's welcome was uproarious. His good
nature made him-the butt of the boys, who
never seemed weary of playing tricks upon him.
"Hello, Jim, I was waiting for you," said
Dan Burwinkle, walking up and solemnly ex-
tending his hand. As Jim, with an immense
grin, reached out to take it, Dan snatched off
the other's cap and ran. Jim made a plunge
after him, but Sam, who was waiting for
such action, thrust out his foot and Jim fell
violently on his face.






A CHAMPION


He was hurt and Weldon ran forward to
help him up. As he did so he saw blood on his
cheek, and the poor boy was not laughing.
"What a shame!" exclaimed the indignant
Weldon; no one but a coward would do that."
Neither of the twins heard this remark, for
Dan having reached some distance with the cap,
was flinging it in the air, while Sam and several
other boys were hurling stones at it as it went
up and came down. It was this fact that caused
Jim more uneasiness than his own hurts.
"Say, Weldon, can't yo' git my cap?" he
asked through the tears which he could not keep
back; Mrs. Cummings said she would whip me
if dat cap was hurt, and I has to wear it ebery
day and Sundays too."
I'll get it for you," replied Weldon, darting
off to where it was serving as a target. None
of the boys suspected his purpose, or the task
would not have been so easy. As the cap
dropped to the ground he snatched it up and
came back like a race-horse.
"Here, Jim, keep it on your head; it's a little
soiled, but isn't hurt."
"Wery much 'bliged fur yo' kindness," re-
plied the colored lad, who shoved his primer in






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


his pocket, so that he could use both hands to
keep his cap in place.
The Burwinkle twins were angered that their
sport should be interfered with in this manner,
and they arrived on the scene the next minute.
Dan made straight for Jim, intending again to
secure his cap, but the lad read his purpose and
held fast with both hands. He could not pre-
vent his tormentor, however, from seizing hold
of it. The two tugged fiercely, and soon a tear-
ing sound was heard.
"Oh, please, don't! Yo's ruinin' my cap!
I'll get a lickin' fur dat I"
The twins laughed, and Dan paused an instant
to get a better hold, meaning to have the head-
gear if he had to tear it to shreds. Before
he could do so, Weldon did some quick think-
ing.
"Mother says it is right for me to defend
myself or to protect any boy or girl from being
injured by others. It looks to me as if it is
about time for me to sail in."
And he sailed in.
Catching Dan Burwinkle by the nape of his
coat, he wrenched him away from the colored
boy and hurled him backward with such force






A CHAMPION


that the bully fell to the ground, his own hat
flying a dozen feet from him.
"What do you mean, you sneak ?" demanded
Sam, plunging like an angry bull at Weldon,
who, although his face was white with passion,
was as cool as if sitting at his studies in school.
Just as Sam raised his fist to strike, he received
a blow full in the face, which sent him over on
his back, as if he had been struck by the piston-
rod of a steam engine.
It cannot be said that thus far Weldon had
gone outside of the counsel of his mother. He
was surely saving an unfortunate boy from per-
secution, and it was necessary to use violence in
order to do so, but he had carried matters with
such a rush that it may be said the task was
completed. Certainly Sam Burwinkle would
be unwise to attack him again after his dis-
astrous repulse, while Dan, having climbed to
his feet, stood irresolute, looking for a chance to
get in a foul blow. But, instead of awaiting an
assault from Dan, Weldon discounted it.
"You're a. coward to impose on Jim that
way; why don't you take a boy of your own
size?" demanded Weldon, advancing upon him.
Dan would have turned and fled, but for the







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


ridicule of the other lads, who gathered round
delighted, as is generally the case, over the
rumpus.
"Don't hurt him too much, Dan! Easy now;
look out! he's coming for you !"
Dan's main hope was his brother; whose face
was smarting from the blow he had received.
Surely, when three boys of the same age are
involved, and two are on the same side, there
ought to be a chance of two to one in favor of
the twins.
So it was that unfortunately for himself, Dan
Burwinkle stood his ground. He had a little
time in which to prepare for the charge and
quickly formulated a plan of campaign which
ought to have brought him victory. Possibly
it would have done so, had Weldon followed
the expected line of action, but he did not.
Dan made a terrific sweep, but in a flash he
was on his back with Weldon on top, and show-
ing him no mercy. Dan did his best to protect
himself, but he was powerless. Blinking
through the tempest of blows,, he saw his
brother a few paces away, bareheaded and rub-
bing his forehead, but indifferent to everything
else.






A CHAMPION


"Sam! Sam!" he shouted; "pull us apart!
don't you see we're killing each other ?"
My eye is so bunged up that I can't see
straight; you keep it up for an hour or two and
then I'll try to help."
Seeing that he was deserted by his natural
ally, Dan did not hesitate to shout Enough !"
Instantly Weldon ceased his blows.
"Are you sure you've got enough?" he
asked, disappointed that he had no excuse
for keeping the thing going a little while
longer.
"Of course I am! Don't I know? Let me
up !"
Will you promise to let Jim alone after
this ?"
No; I'll be hanged if I will," replied Dan,
maddened at the sight of the grinning boys
standing round. He furiously twisted his body
about in the effort to displace the incubus, but it
was impossible.
"Sam, pull him off! Then we'll both down
him!"
"You will, eh ?" said Weldon, who managed
to keep an eye on Sam ; "take that!"
"Murder! help! Didn't I holler 'Enough'?"







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


But you must promise me that you won't
plague Jim any more."
"All right; I promise."
Weldon took his knee from the breast of Dan
and allowed that battered individual to climb
to his feet. He kept his eye on him for a minute,
and seeing he intended doing nothing, turned
toward Sam.
Now, I'll settle with you."
Confound it! Haven't you just settled with
me ?" whined the thoroughly frightened twin,
still rubbing his eye; "I'll let the darkey
alone."
Weldon had no pretext for further hostilities,
and turned away.
Gib me yo' hand," said the delighted colored
boy; "let's shake; dey didn't hurt my cap,
and I couldn't hab walloped dem any better
myself."










CHAPTER III


SCHOOL DAYS

ONE commendable trait about Weldon Staf-
ford was that he cherished ill-will against no
one. This, too, was mostly due to the training
of that noble mother who taught him the great
truth, so hard for many to grasp, that revenge
never pays, and hurts the one who indulges in
it more than the victim.
In the case of his bout with his cousins, it
may be claimed that there was no cause for any
purpose of revenge on his part. It was Dan
and Sam who might be expected to nurse that
sentiment, and that they did so, for a long, long
time, was proven by the events which followed.
Still it was natural for the one who had chastised
them for their meanness to hold them in con-
tempt and dislike, but there was nothing of that
nature in Weldon's disposition.
It often happens that a boy who is dull finds
some study in which he shows a singular pro-
ficiency. It was thus with the Burwinkle
twins. They were of fair intelligence in most
29






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


of their lessons, but Sam was exceptionally good
in grammar; while Dan was unevenly good in
spelling. It was the custom at the beginning
of the term for the boys and girls to draw for
their places in the class. Weldon, when this
practice was begun, drew the lowest number,
and, of course, went to the foot. Dan Bur-
winkle was directly above him, but during the
first week Weldon mowed down the whole class
on a difficult word, and reached the head. The
rule was that the one who was there at the close
of school each day should take his or her place
at the foot on the following day, the rotation
being regular, so that if a pupil never missed a
word he was certain to reach the head several
times during the term.
The habit of "telling" had become so com-
mon in the class that the teacher was forced to
adopt a harsh rule to break it up. He decreed
that if any boy or girl helped another in the
spelling of a word, such offender should go to
the foot of the class if detected, while the one
exposing the act should be entitled to the
vacated place, provided it was higher in the class
than his own.
This proved effective, for the penalty was






SCHOOL DAYS


severe, and few cared to incur the risk of being
shut out from all chance of gaining one of the
prizes, for, as the term drew to a close, the con-
test became close and stirring.
The rewards offered by the teacher were a
first and second medal, so handsome that there
was little choice between them. The last day
of the fall term came during the week which
succeeded the fight between Weldon Stafford
and his cousins. He had told the whole story
to his mother, who did not reprove him, but after
a moment's silence asked the singular question:
Wouldn't you like to punish Dan more se-
verely than you did ?"
"Well, mother, I don't think the job could
be much improved on; I am sure Dan thinks
so," said Weldon with a laugh. "I will own
that I was a little disappointed at the time be-
cause I hadn't an excuse to keep things hum-
ming a little longer."
I think he ought to be punished still more."
Well, mother, if your heart is set on it, I'll
do my duty," and the boy pinched his biceps to
make sure his muscle was reliable.
"You tell me that Dan stands next to you in
the spelling class."






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


"Yes," replied Weldon, who began to have a
glimmering of what was coming.
Then, if you do not miss, you are sure of the
first prize, while, if he does not miss, he is cer-
tain to receive the second ?"
Her son nodded his head.
Do your best to prevent Dan from missing."
The tears came into Weldon's eyes as he rose
and kissed his mother.
"That's just like you! I don't believe any
boy in the world has half as good a mother as
I-"
"Tut, tut," interposed his parent, placing her
hand over his mouth, there are thousands bet-
ter than I; but what of my plan ?"
I believe that's what you call heaping coals
of fire on your enemy's head."
It is the doctrine of the Bible."
I am ready to do all I can ; but, mother, you
may think it strange for me to say, but I don't
believe the rule will work with Dan; you don't
know him as well as I."
"But he will be glad to accept help from
you."
Rather, for he has done it many a time, but
he doesn't feel a spark of gratitude for it."






SCHOOL DAYS


"You cannot be sure of that; you will be
sowing seed which some day will bear fruit, and,
then, too, an act of that kind will do you great
good."
Weldon bent his head in thought. It was no
special sacrifice demanded of him, for he was not
to surrender his own chances. It would have
been too much for his mother to expect him .to
do that, but he was simply asked to help Dan to
maintain his hold upon the second prize.
There were two ways of doing this: he could
drill Dan each day on the few difficult words
which he was likely to miss, or he could break
the rules by secretly helping Dan if he faltered
during the spelling lesson.
His mother would not wish him to break a
rule of the school, so he assured her that he
would do his utmost to carry out her counsel.
And, somehow or other, with the promise, he
felt better and more pleased with himself.
But the obstacle he expected presented itself.
When Weldon offered to drill his cousin on the
half-dozen words that were difficult in the les-
son, he replied:
You're too kind; I know them well enough;
I don't want your help."






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


"Just as you please; but a fellow can't be
too certain. However, it's no concern of
mine."
"Then why did you put in your oar?"
"To help one who doesn't know what it is to
be thankful."
The next day was the last of the term, when
the prolonged contest was to be decided. It was
conceded by every one that Weldon Stafford
was certain of the first prize, for, after having
gone through the term without missing a word,
he was not likely to fail on the home stretch."
Next to him stood Dan Burwinkle, who had
only to do equally well to secure second prize,
and no one dreamed that he would miss.
But lo! on the very last round Dan stumbled
on the word "tranquillity." He was uncertain,
and with his hesitation his doubt increased.
Weldon saw he would surely miss, unless some
one violated the rules by prompting him. Dan
looked appealingly at him. Weldon passed his
hand across his mouth, and as he did so brushed
the solution, as may be said, to him by whisper-
ing, "two l's," the whole thing being managed
so adroitly that only the cousins knew what had
been done.






SCHOOL DAYS


It saved Dan Burwinkle, who, the moment he
realized it, called out to the teacher:
"Mr. Freeman, Weldon Stafford told me! I
did not need his help."
Is that true ?" asked the grieved instructor.
"Yes, sir."
"You know the penalty."
Weldon promptly walked to the foot of the
class, thereby losing the first prize, which went
to his cousin, while the second was won by a
small girl.
It served me right," reflected Weldon, his
face white and his soul stirred by a tempest of
wrath, for he had been the victim of one of the
meanest acts conceivable.
If I had kept my lips closed I should have
won first prize; I helped him to win second
and he took the first from me. I wonder what
mother will think of heaping coals of fire on his
head. I didn't complete that business last
week, and I should dearly love to do it after
school."
It was fortunate for Dan that he was prudent
enough to keep away from his cousin after
school hours. He saw the expression on his
face, and knew that it needed but a spark to set






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


off the powder. It was fortunate, too, for Wel-
don that the train was not fired. Had he once
"cut loose," he would have done that which
would have pained his mother and caused him-
self inexpressible regret.
When the good parent heard the story that
evening she was greatly shocked.
I never knew a more contemptible act; you
told the truth when you said that you under-
stood Daniel better than I. I sympathize with
you, and yet it is he who suffered the most."
"I suppose that is true, but it will be some
time before I can' content myself with the
thought."
"In the first place, you violated a rule in
prompting him. From what I have heard, it is
by no means.the first time you have done it, not
only with your cousins, but with others; that
was wrong on your own part."
I don't deny it, but when a boy or girl looks
at you so pitifully and you have only to whisper
a letter, it is hard to refuse."
I am sure of it; your motive did you credit,
but if you had been more resolute in obeying
Mr. Freeman, none of this trouble would have
come to you."






SCHOOL DAYS


"I know that he thinks more of me than he
does of Dan," remarked Weldon, weakly hunt-
ing for consolation.
"So does every boy and girl in school, and
every one who knows you. You should take
great comfort from that fact."
"I do, but, mother, don't you think it about
time for me to cease heaping coals of fire on the
head of Dan or Sam ?"
Perhaps it is, but none the less you can act
a manly part. Do not try to curry favor with
them, but, at the same time, hold yourself aloof
and above their mean ways."
Well, let it go; my cousins may take some
pleasure in their meanness, but I don't envy
them. The new term begins on Monday, and
we shall draw again for our places in the spell-
ing class. Then we shall see what we shall see."
At the drawing on the following Monday,
Weldon was a little dismayed by the result,
for Dan Burwinkle drew number one, while
Weldon himself caught the very lowest number
and took his place at the foot of the class. His
cousin cast a supercilious glance at him, but
Weldon affected not to see it, and muttered to
himself:








It will take grit this time to win, but I'll do
it if the chance comes to me, only for a single
day."
The history of the spelling class could not
have been more interesting or marked by more
striking coincidences. Dan Burwinkle had set
his heart on winning first prize again, and for
half the term he did not miss a single word. If
he could keep that up, nothing could shut him
out from securing the reward. Weldon Stafford
was equally proficient, and yet he could not win,
without the failure of those ahead of him.
One day, just after it was his turn to go to
the foot of the class, his chance came. A word
drifted all the way from Dan Burwinkle, who
was at the head, to Weldon, who spelled it cor-
rectly. Thus, at one step, he passed to the front
of all the rest. Barring sickness or a miss,
nothing could prevent his winning.
Thus the battle raged until the last day and
the final contest came. The coincidence that
struck every one was that Weldon and his cousin
held precisely the same positions as before, the
former being at the head, with Dan second. If
these places were maintained, Weldon would
gain the first and Dan the second prize; but lo I


TIMUE TO HIS; T~kUS






SCHOOL DAYS


once more, when the contest was nearly over,
Dan faltered on a word. He cast an appealing
glance at Weldon, who could have readily
prompted him, and wondered whether he would
forget that other contest and help him out once
more.
Weldon was not quite foolish enough to do
that. He smiled and shook his head. Dan
made a desperate effort, failed, and when the
contest was over stood third, thus gaining no
part of the awards.
"I'm satisfied," remarked Weldon, when
school was dismissed; "you stole the other
prize, Dan, but you couldn't work it this time."
"I don't care; I've got one of 'em, anyway."
But you haven't the satisfaction of knowing
you won it honestly, as I did."
What difference does that make, eh ?"
None to you, but it would to any one else.
I sort of feel it in my bones that you will never
get another prize."
"I'll show you," growled the other, walking
off with his brother.
The prophecy came true. At the next term
Weldon won first prize again, and a little crip-
pled boy the second. The following term, which







40 TRUE TO HIS TRUST

took them into the summer, Weldon would have
won again, had he not missed on the final test
and allowed a pale-faced girl to pass above him,
and that he did it purposely was as certain as
that the sun rises and sets, and his mother, when
she learned the facts, did not reprove him.
It was during the summer vacation succeed-
ing this term that Weldon's love of mischief
involved him in a scrape which afterward caused
him to think before acting upon the impulse of
the moment.










CHAPTER IV


A PIECE OF MISCHIEF

ON the afternoon of a sultry day in August,
Pedro, the Italian, stopped under the grateful
shade of a huge oak at the side of the highway
for a short siesta. Pedro's inseparable compan-
ion was an immense black bear, with which he
traveled through the country, stopping in front
of the various dwellings or in the villages or at
the seaside, where he put Garibaldi" through
his numerous performances to the delight of the
children and the pleasure, perhaps, of their
parents.
It is curious how the bear, one of the stupid-
est of animals, can be taught so many amusing
tricks. Some of his acts would seem to indicate
a superior order of intelligence; but Garibaldi
could not be said to be very highly educated.
He would stand on his hind feet, and, while his
master droned a monotonous song, wabble and
swing about in his lumbering, awkward way,
his big mouth open and his red tongue lolling
41






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


out, and everybody thought it wonderful danc-
ing. Then he would carry a broomstick nest-
ling upon his shaggy shoulder, while Pedro put
him through a drill original with himself.
Besides all this, he would climb fifteen or
twenty feet up the trunk of a tree, and when he
reached the lower limbs and looked down on
the gaping crowd he seemed to be grinning, as
if to ask: "Well, what do you think of me
now?"
All the time Pedro kept up his clucking and
vigorous orders, which did not appear to inter-
est Bruin; and when he was through, off came
Pedro's hat, and he made the circuit of the
spectators, who were expected to drop in a
penny or two apiece in payment for the enter-
tainment. It was to be noted that during the
performances, Garibaldi was always muzzled-
which was a prudent thing, for he often showed
a disposition, when wrestling with his master,
to use his teeth. Besides, he was so fond of
hugging that Pedro often had to use consider-
able dexterity and to whack the animal roughly
with his long stick to escape his ardent embraces.
To prevent his wandering too far, a thin-linked
chain, about a dozen yards in length, was fast-






A PIECE OF MISCHIEF


ened at one end to the metal collar around the
neck of Garibaldi, the other end being in the
grasp of his master.
Having finished his entertainment at the
little country village of Copeland, Pedro and
Garibaldi were plodding over the dusty road
on their way to the next town, when they
were attracted by a spreading oak, whose cool
shadow covered a wide space of green grass at
the wayside. It was so inviting that Pedro sat
on the ground, linked the end of the chain
around his wrist, fastening it so that it could
not be pulled loose, and lay down on his back
for a nap. Having secured the brute to him he
knew he could not wander off, for the strain on
the narrow chain would awaken his master.
Garibaldi had shown a disposition to part com-
pany with Pedro more that once before, and the
Italian was too wise to tempt him.
The brute was fat and in good condition, for
he fared well at the hands of the boys and girls.
He, too, must have been tired, for when his
master lay down, with his dilapidated straw hat
over his brown face to keep the flies away, Gari-
baldi sagged to the ground, taking care that he
had the benefit of the enveloping shadow; and







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


with his lolling tongue showing through his
big muzzle, which looked like a base-ball mask,
he was content to wait as long as his master
chose.
Thus matters rested when Weldon Stafford
appeared on the scene, and as good or bad for-
tune would have it, he had set out to conduct a
big, fast-growing calf to the meadow beyond the
tree. The animal was just as full of mischief
as was the boy himself, and as a consequence
there was trouble from the first.
A rope twenty feet long was tied to a collar
about the neck of the young bull, while Weldon
held the other end and tried to regulate matters.
His situation was something like that of Pedro,
with the difference that his special animal had
not been "tamed" and was governed by the
most erratic of impulses. His movements were
as disjointed and unsystematic as the species
of fireworks known as the chaser," which helps
to make the Fourth of July glorious.
After starting from home the calf plodded
along behind Weldon in his one-sided fashion,
as if he meant to be an example of obedience.
The lad, confident that his task was the easiest
in the world, walked ahead whistling and con-






A PIECE OF MISCHIEF


tented, until the sudden slackening of the rope
caused him to look around to learn the cause.
The calf was coming toward him at a gallop
with lowered head. Thus early did he show
the dangerous disposition of mature years.
Weldon made a big jump, but he was a second
too late, and received a tremendous bump which
flung him forward on his hands and knees. He
was not hurt, and, scrambling to his feet, faced
about to receive the next charge. There was
nothing malicious, however, in the act of the
animal. In fact, it was only a piece of sportive-
ness.
Having butted over the lad, he was satisfied
for the time. With a snort he glared at the
fence as if he did not like its looks. Then
lowering his head, he cantered toward it. There
was a crash, but the fence was not injured, see-
ing which the calf started straight down the road
on a gallop, with Weldon trotting after him
and holding back with might and main. The
situation was now changed, the calf leading the
boy.
While pulling back and running reluctantly
after the animal, the latter stopped with such
suddenness that Weldon sat down in the middle






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


of the road with a thump that fairly made his
teeth rattle. But they were nearing the
meadow where all this trial and trouble would
end, and Weldon was not discouraged.
Suddenly he caught sight of the bear sitting
on its haunches under the oak tree, with his
sleeping master lying near, his straw hat over
his face. The sight of the oddly-assorted couple
appeared to sober the calf, for, though not
mature enough to be afraid of the shaggy brute,
he was on his good behavior at once. He walked
sedately forward without once tugging at the
rope, looking, however, out of the corner of his
eye at the lumbering beast, who seemed to be
waiting for a professional pitcher to hurl a ball
for him to catch.
The spirit of mischief instantly cropped to
the surface in the boy. He stood only a mo-
ment, when he grasped the splendid chance that
offered. He had seen the animal performing in
the village, and had no fear of him, especially
while his mouth was muzzled. Stepping gently
forward, Weldon unhooked the catch of the
chain at the collar of bruin, who was thereby
set free. He appeared to realize it at once, for,
with hardly a moment's waiting, he lumbered








'A, t'-
'a.'



4i. ;.t*





3.~L
.1,


Ii ~ Ii


WELDON UNHOOKED THE CHAIN
(Page 46.)






A PIECE OF MISCHIEF


down the road, turned to the left a few rods
away, clambering over a low fence and heading
for a dense stretch of woods not far off. Weldon
was a little frightened at the promptness of
.Garibaldi, but felt sure that his master would
speedily recover him.
Without any pause the lad hooked the catch
of the chain into the leather strap around the
neck of the calf, deftly untying the rope and
looping it over his arm like the lasso of a cow-
boy. Thus Garibaldi had waddled off to free-
dom, and his place had been taken by the calf.
Meanwhile Pedro was sleeping heavily, never
dreaming of the strange performance at his
elbow.
But he could not remain long in ignorance,
for the young bull, it will be remembered, had
not gone through the taming process of the
more formidable beast. Weldon Stafford slipped
behind the trunk of the oak, where he. could
keep out of sight, and waited for the awaken-
ing of Pedro.
The calf stood like a statue, as if trying to
figure out what it all meant. Then he began
backing with sturdy vigor. The chain was
quickly drawn taut and still he tugged. Pedro's






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


limp arm was lifted and pulled out hori-
zontally by the prisoner, who did not relax
his efforts. The head and shoulders of the
man slewed around, and then, flinging his hat
aside, he started up with an angry exclamation
in his native language. He seized the rod
lying near him, leaped to his feet and started
toward the animal that had broken in upon
his slumbers. Pedro had taken a few steps
when he stopped short with an exclamation of
dismay.
What was the matter with Garibaldi ? What
marvelous change was this ? Did his eyes deceive
him ? Was he still sleeping or awake.
He might have believed it was all a troubled
vision of sleep but for that furious tugging,
which never once stopped and still drew him
unwillingly forward.
0 my my !" groaned Pedro; "what has
made Garibaldi grow so small?"










CHAPTER V


THE SOBER SECOND THOUGHT

THE calf resented the liberty that had been
taken with him. He must have seen that he
was furnishing more entertainment than he was
receiving. Emitting a curt, angry bellow-the
evidence of what his voice would be later on-
he dropped his head and galloped toward Pedro,
who would have let go of the chain had it not
been fastened to his wrist. As it was, he whirled
about and took to his heels so abruptly that the
catch was loosened from the collar of the calf,
and away the poor fellow went with the chain
streaming after him.
Weldon, who was shaking with laughter,
peeped from behind the tree and saw the man
disappearing down the road in a cloud of dust.
The calf stopped his pursuit with the suddenness
that he had begun it, and came back at a more
sober pace. As if he divined who was the
author of the trouble he made an unexpected
lunge at the lad, and, before Weldon could get
4 49






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


out of the way, sent him sprawling with a shock
greater than he had yet received.
And the mischievous boy was served right.
He had no business to do what he had done,
and merited all the punishment he received.
Having cleared the decks, as may be said, the
calf once more set off down the road in the
right direction, though it is not likely that he
knew it or he would have taken the opposite
course. Weldon kept near him, and at the
place where the bars were down he succeeded
by skillful mancevring, in getting the obdurate
creature to enter the meadow, where he was
to be left for the time.
Weldon did a good deal of thinking on his
way home. Now that he had enjoyed his laugh
he saw the serious side of the incident. The
bear belonging to Pedro had disappeared, and
his owner had fled in a panic in a different di-
rection. Doubtless they were miles apart, and
there was no saying whether they would ever see
each other again. The man's means of earning
a living had been taken from him by Weldon,
who wondered how he could have been so
thoughtless and cruel.
And there was a still more alarming view of






THE SOBER SECOND THOUGHT


the matter. He remembered how Garibaldi had
always been muzzled, and how he tried to bite
him through his mask while the lad was un-
loosening the chain. When the brute found
himself in the woods his natural instincts would
return, he would manage in some way to free
his head from the muzzle, and then woe to those
whom he encountered!
Altogether it will be seen that Weldon had
abundant food for meditation and was uncom-
fortable to the last degree. It was his custom to
have no secrets from his mother, and he had
not been at home fifteen minutes when she knew
it all.
"When will my boy learn to be considerate
of the feelings of others?" she asked, in that
mild, reproachful voice which was tenfold harder
to bear than the most angry berating.
I didn't think," he replied, desperately, and
with a vain effort to keep back the tears.
"And whose fault is it that you did not
think ?"
I'm the worst boy that ever lived !" he ex-
claimed, giving way to his grief, "and I deserve
to be well punished !"
No," said she, gently, as she placed her arm






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


affectionately about his neck; "all my hopes
and happiness rest upon you. I want you to
become a good man. You are truthful, obedi-
ent, honest, and almost everything that you
should be. But no one can live by the Golden
Rule who does not remember the feelings of
others. Your love of mischief leads you to do
things which cause pain to others. You must
conquer that weakness of your nature or you
will never be happy."
"I shall never do anything like that again,"
persisted Weldon stoutly, wiping the tears from
his eyes.
"I hope you will not; but, when a person
has done a wrong act, it is not enough for him
merely to feel sorry: he must try to repair the
wrong, and not rest until he has done all in his
power to undo the mischief."
Weldon looked at his mother with a ques-
tioning expression. He understood the mean-
ing of her words.
"I'll do anything I can to make it right with
Pedro, but I have no money to pay him for the
loss of his bear."
True; but you can help him to recover the
animal."






THE SOBER SECOND THOUGHT


"And I'll do it!" exclaimed the impetuous
lad, catching up his hat.
"Make haste slowly," said she. "What do
expect to do by rushing out of doors in that
headlong fashion ?"
"Why, catch the bear and bring him back to
Pedro."
"Have a care or the bear may catch you.
Even if he does not work the muzzle off, his
great forelegs are strong enough to crush you to
death. I wish my boy to do everything he can
to recover Pedro's property, but it will not help
him to allow the bear to kill you."
"What can I do ?"
"It seems to me that the best course is for
you to hunt up Pedro, tell him what you have
done, how sorry you are, and offer to help him
in finding his animal."
"I don't know where to look for him, but
I'm ready. When shall I go ?"
When there is a duty to be performed there
is no time like the present. It seems to me that
the longer the bear is left to roam through the
woods the more difficult it will be to recover
him."
"That suits me," replied Weldon, who Was so






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


penitent over the wrong done that he was im-
patient to undo it. "I don't believe all the
mothers in the world know as much as you," he
added with reverent affection.
And no boy in the world can be a finer boy
than mine if he will always obey the voice of
his conscience," she replied, kissing the manly
countenance that could never bear to leave the
house without the salute.
Now what shall I do ?" he asked, pausing in
the open door; hunt up Pedro first, or find out
where the bear is gone and then go and tell
him ?"
I won't lay any plan for you, but I leave you
free to do as you think best. I hope you will
be through in time to return before dark."
Little did Weldon Stafford suspect the fear
and misgivings in the heart of that noble
mother as she stood in the door and watched
him hurrying down the highway. She felt that
her boy needed the lesson, and the more deeply
it was impressed upon him the more likely was
it to cure him of the habit which, without being
malicious of itself, was sure to bring pain to
others.
But perhaps her affection made her timid, for






THE SOBER SECOND THOUGHT


she saw danger in the work the boy had set out
to do. She had studied Garibaldi when he gave
a performance in front of their home, and
noticed his huge size. He must have been pos-
sessed of enormous strength,which, if he chose to
exert it, would be perilous to man or beast. She
noticed, too, how often he tried to use his fright-
ful jaws, and was only prevented by the muzzle.
Pedro's dexterity enabled him to elude the
attempts of the brute now and then to bring
him within his crushing embrace, though, after
all, it was the voice of the master which was the
all-controlling power.
"Now that he is beyond hearing," she re-
flected, "the bear will become savage and dan-
gerous. Heaven keep my boy safe and send him
back to me I"










CHAPTER VI


FACE TO FACE

MEANWHILE Weldon Stafford was hurrying
forward on the line of duty. The thought that
he had set out to right a wrong, and that it could
not be done too soon, gave vigor and promptness
to his movement and an eagerness to finish the
task for which there never ought to have been
the necessity.
I wonder whether I should bring the gun,"
he abruptly asked himself when he had gone
about a hundred yards. He stopped short and
thought of the old weapon that was supported
on the deer's antlers over the mantel-piece, and
had not been used since his father took it into
the woods with him. It's got a big load in it,
and the charge would kill Garibaldi."
But what good would it do him or Pedro to
shoot the bear ? Reflection told the youth that
if he could do nothing more than restore the
carcass of the animal to the owner it would be
better for him to keep out of the business
56






FACE TO FACE


altogether. He resumed his walk more thought-
fully, trying to decide upon the best course to
pursue. His purpose was to help the Italian to
recover his valuable property, and the right way
to do this was not yet clear.
One thing, however, was evident, or rather
two things: he must locate master and brute.
When last seen the man was running down the
road as hard as he could, dragging the thin
chain after him. It could not be expected that
he would continue his flight indefinitely, or that
he would not soon awaken to the nature of the
blunder he had made in thinking that Garibaldi
had shrunk to such diminutive proportions
while his master was asleep. Pedro would
grow cooler at least in thought, and return to
look for the bear that some one had released.
While it was uncertain where the man should
be looked for, there was more certainty concern-
ing Garibaldi. Weldon had noticed where he
crashed over the low fence, and he saw him
heading for Seven Mile Swamp, no more than
a furlong distant. This large tract of timber
was composed of every variety of forest, and
with one portion which was always under
water. Had Garibaldi been given a week in







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


which to select a refuge and home, he could not
have done better than to choose the Seven Mile
Swamp.
When Weldon came to the place in the fence
where the animal had turned off from the high-
way, he leaned his elbow on the top rail and
thought hard.
Here's where he headed for the swamp. I
don't know where Pedro has gone, but I do
know which way his bear went. Pedro will
think Garibaldi has made for the Seven Mile
Swamp, so that's where I will look for him."
This was pretty good reasoning for a boy of
Weldon's age. His plan, as he hurried across
the undulating meadow, was to find out where the
bear was feeding, and then hunt up Pedro and
direct him to the place. The Italian was so well
known through the country that some of the
neighbors would be able to put Weldon on his
track.
In a matter of this kind there is always an
element of considerable doubt. After locating
the bear, it was not reasonable to suppose
he would remain in one spot until his master
came to claim him, but he might stay in the
vicinity. When he became hungry he would







FACE TO FACE


raid the nearest farmers, probably withdrawing
to the woods again after his meal. If he did not
readily discover a supply of domestic animals,
and he met a man or woman or a boy or girl,
the beast would make for such person, with
little choice between him or her and a cow or
calf or sheep.
It was the thought of this that sent a chill of
terror down the back of the boy and quickened
his steps with the feeling that not a moment was
to be lost. If the death of any person was the
result of this afternoon's mischief, Weldon was
sure he would die of remorse and horror.
Several hours of daylight remained, but he
wished that it were morning, so that he could
keep at his work until it was finished.
I don't know much about bears," he reflected,
"but I believe they prowl around at night; so
Garibaldi will keep awake. I have heard that
they crawl into some hollow tree or among the
rocks when cold weather comes, and sleep till
spring. Gracious! I wish it would grow cold
to-night, so he would think winter was coming
and go to sleep."
But such an occurrence was impossible in the
month of August, and Weldon knew better than






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


to count upon anything of that nature. It would
seem that, having known from the first that the
beast was somewhere in the woods, the right
course was to hunt up Pedro and give him the
information. But Weldon was anxious to take
positive news to the owner, and therefore devoted
himself to locating his property more definitely.
In crossing the meadow between the highway
and Seven Mile Swamp the bright-eyed lad
easily tracked the animal, who had disturbed the
earth to some extent by his heavy tread. The
trail took an almost direct line for the woods, so
that he was able to follow it at a fast walk until
he reached the margin of the forest. Along the
edge of the wood ran a sluggish brook, shallow
and so narrow that he was able to leap across
without wetting his shoes. Here, where the
ground was wet and soft, he saw the imprints of
the bear's feet more plainly. Consequently
there could be no mistake as to the point where
the animal had passed into the forest.
The wood contained a moderate amount of
undergrowth, but not enough to interfere with
a ready passage by man or brute. The leaves
appeared to be rumpled, but, after following the
supposed trail for a few rods, the pursuer did






FACE TO FACE


not know whether he was right or wrong. He
concluded to give over the attempt and devote
himself to looking for the animal without regard
to the signs he might have left, and which would
have been readily followed by an experienced
hunter or a dog.
It was cool and pleasant among the trees.
Weldon had often wandered through the woods
in the spring searching for flowers, and in the
autumn when the nuts were ripe. He was fa-
miliar with the large stretch of forest, but could
think of no definite plan to follow except to keep
advancing, peering to the right and left, and
even among the limbs of the trees themselves.
One thought caused the lad discomfort. The
bear would be likely, when he found himself in
what seemed to be his old haunts, to feel some-
thing of his natural fierceness of disposition.
Beyond the controlling sound of his master's
voice, he would forget that he was a civilized
bear, and become the savage he had been. The
annoying muzzle would be worked off his nose
in some way, after which the only person who
might safely meet him would be he who held a
loaded gun in his hands.
I wonder if a bear can out-run me," thought






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


Weldon. I don't believe he can, for he's so
much bigger he can't dodge between the trees
and through the bushes as fast as I can. But
I don't want to race with him; I would have to
take to the meadow and the road to reach home,
and there he would beat me."
When Weldon had penetrated to a distance
of a hundred yards or more, he reached a broad
hollow where the depression was ten or twelve
feet below the rest of the wood. It looked as if,
at some time in the past, a broad creek had
flowed there, the bed of which had been dry for
a long time. The trees were fewer in number
and there was no undergrowth in the little
valley.
As he stood on the bank hesitating a moment
before crossing to the other side, he thought the
leaves directly in front were overturned and dis-
turbed as if by the feet of some animal that had
recently passed. The roughly marked line
could be followed with the eye to the other side,
where it vanished among the undergrowth.
I guess I'm on his trail, and it seems to me
he isn't far off- "
At that instant a rustling of the bushes to the
left caused the lad to turn his head like a flash.






FACE TO FACE


On the side of the valley where he was stand-
ing lay a tree which, growing in the bot-
tom, had toppled over so that the trunk sloped
up the bank. On the other side of the prostrate
trunk, with his forepaws resting on it, was the
bear!
Weldon's first startling thought was that the
brute was not Garibaldi, but one much larger
and more dangerous. His fur, too, seemed
darker, but that was doubtless due to the gloom
of the wood. He seemed to have discovered the
youth before the latter saw him, and with his
forefeet on the fallen tree, so that his head and
shoulders were elevated, was calmly studying
the youngster as if trying to identify him.
A second glance told Weldon that the brute
was really Garibaldi; but he was the wild bear
of the wilderness now, with his taste of freedom
so sweet that he did not mean to be robbed of
it again. No more wabbling about on his hind
feet for the amusement of little boys and girls;
no more playing soldier or wrestling in sport
with Pedro-the cool, grateful, far-reaching for-
est was henceforth to be his home.
With the recognitionof Garibaldi came another
alarming discovery. The very thing dreaded by







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


Weldon and his mother had come to pass-the
bear had freed himself of his restraining muz-
zle! Whatever he chose to do with those pro-
digious jaws, he was at liberty to do.
The lad had accomplished that which brought
him to this spot-he had found Garibaldi; and
it only remained to hurry off and. tell the news
to Pedro. It was the best time in the world to
retreat.
And no one could have been more eager to
do this than Weldon. He began moving back-
ward with his face to the bear, hoping to get far
enough away in the course of a minute or two
to pass out of sight. Probably he would have
succeeded had not his heels caught in a vine.
He did not fall, but stumbled, and had to throw
out his arms and leap about in a lively manner
to keep his feet. There may have been some-
thing in the action which angered the bear, for,
with a threatening growl, he leaped over the log
as lightly as a poodle and made direct for
Weldon.
No more walking backward now! The lad
wheeled and dashed for the open field at the
highest bent of his speed, with the bear crashing
after him. It took the fugitive but a minute or







FACE TO FACE


two to discover that Garibaldi, despite his great
size, could run much faster than he. He was
certain to overtake the fugitive before he reached
the margin of the wood, where the advantage
of the pursuer would be still greater.
"I must take to a tree!" was Weldon's
thought; but,. unfortunately, in his panic, in-
stead of seeking refuge in a sapling he selected
a large trunk, up which the brute could follow
him with as much ease almost as over the ground
itself.











CHAPTER VII


THE RE-UNION

No boy could have been a more skillful
climber than Weldon Stafford, and, finding the
pursuing beast fast gaining on him, he made a
leap for the first large tree which presented
itself and went up the shaggy trunk with the
nimbleness of a sailor. The feat was the more
creditable since he could not span the tree with
his arms, but the rough, jagged bark gave him
all the support needed, and at the moment Gari-
baldi arrived directly beneath, the boy was fif-
teen feet above ground and still ascending with
all the energy at his command.
Five feet more and he reached upward and
grasped the lowermost limb, over which he
swung himself and gained a secure seat from
which he looked down at the monstrous brute.
Don't you wish you could get me, old fellow ?
Gracious! he is going to get me!"
At that moment, the fugitive recalled a terri-
fying fact: Garibaldi could climb the tree as
66






THE RE-UNION


readily as he! Not only that, but he proceeded
to do so with hardly a moment's hesitation.
Weldon ought to have thought of this, for he
had seen the brute do the same thing when
giving performances under the eye of Pedro.
Clasping the rough bark, which broke off in
large chunks under his claws, he began coming
up the trunk after his supper, which he did not
mean should escape him.
He looked frightful with his huge jaws open,
his red tongue lolling out, and the immense
head steadily rising higher and higher with
every exertion of the formidable muscles, pow-
erful enough to crush the strongest man as if he
were an eggshell.
But Weldon Stafford did not intend to sit
still on the limb and wait for the beast to seize
and devour him. He began climbing higher
among the limbs toward the top of the tree. It
is doubtful what would have been the result, for
the bear would have pressed the pursuit as long
as he could, had not an unexpected advantage
presented itself to the lad.
He was half-way to the top of the tree, when
he noticed that a tall, slender hickory grew so
near that its limbs mingled the rugged branches






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


which had supported him thus far. The moment
that Weldon saw the bear following him, he
awoke to the fact that he had made a fatal mis-
take in the selection of his refuge, for while
Bruin can readily climb a tree whose trunk is
too large to prevent his paws meeting, he can-
not ascend the small, smooth sapling that affords
no "grip" for his paws. Had Weldon, there-
fore, selected a young tree with a diameter not
greater than five or six inches, he would have
been as secure as if in his own home.
It looked as though there was still time to
remedy his error, and, under the impulse of his
fright, he moved quickly out on one of the
limbs to the slight hickory. He was so far
above ground that the narrow trunk looked un-
equal to his weight, but he decided to try it.
The brute was making his way up the larger
tree, winding in and out among the limbs with
surprising facility for so bulky an animal, and
would soon overtake Weldon unless he did some-
thing desperate.
The boy was already so far out on the branch
that it sagged downward a couple of feet with
his weight, and threatened to give way alto-
gether. He was within reach of the hickory,






THE RE-UNION


and bracing himself made the leap. His eye
was true and both arms were flung around the
slim, graceful trunk. Hickory, however, is an
elastic wood, as every one knows, and this little
tree was unable to bear the sudden weight. The
boy's impact carried the top far out of the per-
pendicular, and instead of righting itself now
that the sapling had started, it continued curv-
ing rapidly over like a bow, and let him down
with a grace and gentleness that landed him on
his feet without the slightest jar.
Once more Weldon stood on the ground,
while Garibaldi was thirty feet above him
among the strong limbs of the larger tree. He
was in the act of moving out on the branch to
reach his prey, when it dropped beyond his
reach for the moment. He paused and stared
as if he did not comprehend the mystery, but
with hardly a moment's delay he straightway
began backing down the trunk with the inten-
tion of finishing the job that had been inter-
rupted.
Having been lowered to the ground so quickly
and easily, Weldon Stafford did not do that
which he might have done, and which would
have placed him beyond reach of the fierce






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


animal. Instead of taking refuge in another
sapling he broke into a run for the edge of the
wood, hoping to gain enough start to take him
across the meadow and to the highway so far
ahead of his pursuer that he would be able to
reach home in safety.
He had taken the right direction, and in a
few minutes saw the increasing light which
showed where the trees ceased to grow. He
sped onward, and with a flying leap cleared the
brook running along the edge of the wood.
Then, since the decision, or rather the hope he
had formed, was a most important one, probably
involving the question of life and death, he
paused and looked back. If the bear was too
close it would not do to make a break.
To his astonishment, he neither saw nor heard
anything of him. The woods were as still as
if they contained no living thing. It could not
be that Garibaldi was trying to steal upon him
unawares, though that was the first thought that
had come to the terrified lad. No, he must
have lost sight of his prey. Descending to the
ground he was unable to see anything of the
boy, though he must have known the course he
had taken. At any rate, he had given up the






THE RE-UNION


pursuit, and Weldon was safe by the narrowest
chance of his life.
The errand that had brought him thither was
accomplished, and it now remained to hunt up
Pedro and make his report.
At the moment of turning his back on the
forest he caught sight of a man approaching at a
loping trot. He was coming from the direction
of the highway, was in a hurry, and evidently
laboring under great excitement.
"It is Pedro!" exclaimed Weldon. "Now
that's lucky !"
Halloa, meester boy!" called the Italian,
swerving in his course so as to approach him in
a direct line. "Oh, I am in greet trouble !"
"What is it, Pedro ?" asked Weldon, as he
came up.
"Garibaldi! Oh, he is goned away! He has
leeft me I am ruined !"
Is he dead ?" asked Weldon, holding back
the truth to make the revelation more pleasing.
"I do not know! I do not know! He is
gone; he went away when I was asleep. I shall
die if I do not find him !"
I saw a bear back there in the woods a little
while ago; maybe he is Garibaldi."






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


"Oh, yes! He is Garibaldi! I know I
know! Tell me where !"
But Weldon had already pointed in the right
direction, and the delighted Italian was rushing
through the undergrowth with the eager vigor
shown by the brute himself in his pursuit of the
boy a brief while before. The latter followed at
a safe distance, meaning that the interview
should be between the owner and his property,
instead of between the latter and the young
man.
Pedro still had his long slender chain and
cudgel with him, with one end of the former
looped about his wrist, and he went with so
much speed through the wood that Weldon
found it hard work to keep in sight of him.
Suddenly the Italian uttered a joyous cry.
He had described Garibaldi, who was probably
as much surprised, if not equally pleased, at
sight of him. The power of the human mind
over the brute creation was never more strik-
ingly shown than in this instance. Only a
short time before, Garibaldi had been in savage
pursuit of the lad, whom he would have man-
gled and devoured could he have reached him;
for there can be no question that the odor of






THE RE-UNION


the woods, the sight of the trees around him,
and the displacement of the muzzle had brought
into life all the savagery of his nature; but at
the shout of his master Bruin started as if from
an electric shock. He knew that voice and
recognized the stocky figure that strode toward
him without a thought of fear.
It was he who had beaten him with a cudgel,
who had made him stand on his hind legs and
dance to his droning song, who had wrestled
with him and who was more ready to use harsh
words and punish than he was to cheer and
reward. The man spoke sharply, and advanc-
ing straight to Garibaldi called him all sorts of
bad names in Italian, and wound up by giving
him several resounding blows on his head with
the cudgel.
That did the business. Had the man shown
any timidity, perhaps the bear would have been
vicious, but the voice, the manner, and the
blows brought back Garibaldi to his modern
self. He had been a wild bear for an hour or
two, but now he was a tame one. The trans-
formation was complete.
Rearing on his hind legs, the subdued brute
began circling about with his ponderous side-






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


long, waltz-like step, as if he heard again the
familiar music. The sight of the tractable
animal and the joy in recovering him started
Pedro upon his old droning song, and there in
the cool woods, with only one boy as a spectator,
the performance given so many times along the
dusty highway was repeated. Around and
around waltzed Garibaldi to the music of his
master's voice, and then he played the soldier,
using the broomstick for a musket.
"And only to think," mused Weldon, "that
wicked creature chased me up a tree a few min-
utes ago and meant to make a supper off of me.
I wouldn't be safe now if it wasn't for Pedro; I
think Garibaldi is watching me out of the
corner of his eye as if to tell me he is only
waiting for another chance."
When the exhibition was over, Pedro walked
up to the bear and linked the hook of the chain
into the collar about his neck. Garibaldi bit in
a lumbering way at his master's hand and re-
ceived a cuff by way of reproof. The muzzle
was gone and it was not worth while to look
for it.
Pedro was happy, for he felt himself again.
Drawing a ragged, bloated wallet from his






THE RE-UNION 75

pocket he fished out a five-dollar bill and
handed it to Weldon.
"What is that for, Pedro ?"
You tell me where Garibaldi be-you make
me happee-I give you money."
"I cannot take it, for it was I who made you
unhappy."
I do not understand what it be as you say-
eh, how you make me onhappee ?"
It was I that set Garibaldi free, Pedro; I
am very sorry, and hope you will forgive me."
When at last the truth was made clear the
grateful Italian was glad to tell Weldon that he
forgave him, and so the lad ran home with a
light heart.










CHAPTER VIII


QUEER DOINGS

WELDON STAFFORD did not forget the lesson
of the Italian Pedro and his tame bear. The
boy had extracted a great deal of amusement
from the part he played, but the trouble, the re-
gret, and self-accusation which followed far out-
weighed all the. pleasure. It was true, as his
mother said, that practical jokes never pay.
"It has been hard work for me to keep out
of such things, but, after this, when I feel like
having sport at another's expense, I shall first
count the cost."
When the father of the boy died, so long be-
fore that the son could only retain the most
shadowy remembrance of the sorrowful event,
he had a moderate sum of money in the little
savings bank at Copeland. For several years
the widow had left this untouched, it being the
wish of her life that she might save it all for
her son. The latter never suspected the pain-
ful economy exercised by his loved parent.
76






QUEER DOINGS


Perhaps it is the nature of healthy, rugged
boys to be thoughtless, but she managed with
such skill and cheerfulness that he could hardly
be blamed for his blindness.
But as the boy increased in years his needs
grew. It was necessary to keep him well clad
and to continue him at school as long as possi-
ble. He cheerfully did the chores and rendered
her all the help in his power, which was a good
deal. He never permitted her to do any work
that it was possible for him to do, but, of neces-
sity, there was much about the household that
was out of his province.
So the time came when she was obliged to
make a draft upon the little sum in the sav-
ings bank. At first the mother, when in the
village on other business, drew out the money
without Weldon knowing it, but, after a time,
she entrusted it to him.
"We shall need a little now and then," she
said, in her cheerful way, "but it will last for a
good while to come. By and by, when I grow
so old as to be of no account, I shall let you put
it back again."
"I don't know about that, but there's one
thing certain, you shall never want for any-






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


thing as long as I have the power to get it for
you."
"You need not tell me that, my son," she re-
plied, kissing the bright face, which now stood
higher than her own; "no mother was ever
blessed with a better boy than I; but, Weldon,
as there isn't much for you to do to-day, you
may as well go to the village and draw out ten
dollars."
She handed him the bank-book, and he
shoved it into the inside pocket of his coat and
started down the road, whistling as he went.
It may be a little thing to tell, but it is the
little things which show the real character of a
person. Weldon felt a natural curiosity to know
the amount still standing to their credit in the
bank, and he had only to open the book and
glance at the figures, but nothing could have
induced him to do so. His mother had never
told him, and believing that it was because she
preferred he should not know, he did not ask
for the information, nor use the means so often
at his command.
It was early in the afternoon that he left
home. There was nothing for him to do by
way of helping his mother, and he said he






QUEER DOINGS


might be late in returning. She expressed no
objection, and he walked down the road in that
happy condition of the boy who knows that a
good many hours to come are at his command.
There were several things to tempt a boy like
him to loiter. There was the mill pond, deep
and cold and clear, in which he loved to frolic
and swim and dive and disport himself; there
were the cool woods where he was fond of wan-
dering, and there was the Seven Mile Swamp,
through which he had picked his way so many
times that no hunter in the country was as
familiar with its recesses as he.
"I have heard there are bears there; I know
there was one the other day, and he was enough
for me. Business before pleasure, as the teacher
says, and I'll go to Copeland first and draw the
money."
At the Corners he saw Jim, the colored boy,
sitting on the fence, just as he had done many a
time, as if waiting for him. There was nothing
in his power that Jim would not have been glad
to do for the champion who had whipped two
boys, each as old as himself, to protect the col-
ored lad from persecution.
It being sultry weather, Jim was barefoot and







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


wore a straw hat, most of whose crown was
gone, so that his shaggy wool showed through
the top. As usual, his big white teeth shone
from the sooty expanse of face.
"Hello, Weldon, Ise waiting' for yo'," he said,
as the elder greeted him.
Glad to see you, Jim; are you going to the
village ?"
No; ain't gwine anywhar; but Ise got sum-
thin' to tell yo'; would yo' like to hear what it
are ?"
"Of course; what is it ?"
"Yo' won't tell nobody ?"
Not if you do not wish me to do so; you
know you can trust me, Jim."
Jim slipped off the fence and came forward,
still grinning, and sank his voice to a whisper:
"I knows ebery one ob 'em."
"What are you talking about? Every one
of what ?"
"My letters !"
Weldon laughed, pleased because the boy was
so well pleased himself.
Why, I remember that when you left school
last spring you knew all your letters."
"Ob course; dat's it; I used to know 'em






QUEER DOINGS


ebery spring, but when de wedder got warm and
I warn't in school, dey slipped away from me,
but I held 'em tight dis time; ef yo' don't blebe
me, jes' try fur yo'self."
Weldon took a splinter from one of the rails,
and, stooping over, made the letters on the
ground. He pointed here and there and tested
his pupil until not one of them had been missed.
He answered promptly and correctly in every
instance.
"Jim, I'm just as much pleased as you; you
have laid the foundation, and all you have to do
is to build on it. The hardest part of your work
is done."
If there ever was a picture of content and con-
ceit it was Jim, when he leaned his back against
the fence, took off his dilapidated hat, and
scratched his head.
"I'd neber got such a high old eddycation'if
it hadn't been for yo', Weldon."
"What did I have to do with it ?"
Don't yo' disremember dat morning' when we
was gwine along hyah togedder and yo' showed
me fibe ob de letters ?"
"Yes; I remember that."
"Well, when we got to de school grounds






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


dem mean Burwinkle twins went fur me and yo'
jes' lammed de life out ob 'em."
"I haven't forgotten that, Jim."
"It must hab been dat dat whalin' yo' gib 'em
sorter 'pressed de letters onto my mind. I've
been thinking' ober it and hab a big idee."
"What is it?" asked the amused Weldon.
Why, next winter, when I go to school agin,
I water take up de studies ob joggerphy, as-
tronermy, grammar, and Latin and Greek."
But, Jim, there are lots of other things that
you will have to learn first."
Dat's all right," replied the colored lad with
a wave of his hand; but I wants to engage yo'
to lambast dem Burwinkle twins ebery day next
winter, so as to 'press de studies onto my mind;
if yo'll do dat, I'll soon be de biggest scholar in
de school 'ceptin' yo'self; nobody kin beat yo';
what do yo' say, Weldon ?"
Weldon threw back his head and laughed loud
*enough to be heard a half-mile away. Jim was
in earnest, and his proposition appealed to the
waggish side of Weldon's nature. And yet he
was unwilling to hurt the feelings of the boy.
"I'll always help you, Jim, so far as I can;
but you are in too much of a hurry; you must






QUEER DOINGS


first learn to spell and read. Put in all your
spare time this summer in doing that; come over
and see me as often as you can, and I'll give you
a lift when you come to the rough places. Stick
to it, and there is no reason why you shouldn't
manage to get a good education before you grow
up to be a man."
Jim thanked him, and went whistling across
the meadows to his home, while Weldon, just as
pleased and happy, sauntered to the village.
Every one there knew him, and when his bright
face appeared in the bank, Mr. Allen, the
cashier, nodded with a smile of welcome. Cope-
land was such a small place that the single
officer was sufficient to attend to all the duties
in the institution, except on special occasions.
It so happened that he and Weldon were the
only ones in the small building.
How much do you want this afternoon,
Weldon ?" asked the man cheerily.
Ten dollars, please."
Mr. Allen, the cashier, with a pleasant nod,
took the bank-book from Weldon, opened it and
glanced at the enclosed check, for ten dollars, and
signed by the mother of the youth. Instead of
handing out the small sum, the official spent a






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


few minutes in figuring, and then filled in a new
check, calling for more than a hundred dollars.
"Please sign that for your mother, Weldon,"
he said; I presume," he added, with a laugh,
"that your mother will allow you to act as her
attorney, even though you are a minor, and it
may not be strictly legal."
Weldon was half indignant.
"What do you mean by doing that? You
have no right to disregard my mother's wishes.
She wants ten dollars-no more and no less-
and without paying any attention to that, you
ask me to draw out more than a hundred. I
prefer to obey my mother rather than you, and
refuse to do as you request."
There was a peculiar expression on the face
of the cashier. He glanced around the room to
make sure no one else was within hearing.
Then he added in an earnest undertone:
Weldon, ask me no questions; do as I tell
you, and your mother as well as yourself will
thank me. You ought to know me well enough
to feel that I would not do either of you an in-
justice. If you hesitate, it may be too late."
Weldon saw that his friend was serious. He
knew he was indeed a true friend to him and his







QUEER DOINGS


parent, and there must be good reason, there-
fore, for his strange request, which if obeyed
could not bring any loss to the mother. With-
out a word Weldon signed the check, and while
he was doing so, Mr. Allen tore the original one
to fragments, and threw them on the floor.
The boy wrote his mother's name in full, and
beneath it, per W. S."
I know that in law I haven't the right to do
that," he remarked, as he laid down the pen,
"but the only one to make any trouble is
mother, and I'm sure she'll never do it. All
this is because you advise me, Mr. Allen."
"You'll never regret it," said the cashier, as
he placed the money inside the book and flipped
a rubber band around it; "one more request:
I wish you and your mother to tell no person of
this. Will you promise me that ?"
"Yes; I can promise for both of us."
Thanks."
All this was beyond the comprehension of
Weldon, but he knew there was good reason for
the action and request. He shoved the book
into its former place in the inside pocket of his
coat, and buttoned the latter over it, and was
about to pass out when th.e gentleman said:






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


"Wait a minute or two; how would you like
to earn five hundred dollars ?"
"First rate, if there is any way of earning
it," replied Weldon, who began to think Mr.
Allen was in a curious mood that afternoon.
By way of explanation, the cashier turned to
his desk and picked up a ten-dollar bill, which
he passed through the grating to him.
"Tell me what you think of that."
Weldon examined it carefully. He was so
little accustomed to handling money that he was
a poor judge of it.
"It seems to be new and very pretty," he re-
marked, handing it back.
"Look at it again and tell me whether you
see anything wrong about it."
The youth turned it over and scrutinized the
front and back, but his experience had been too
limited for him to observe that which another
might have detected at a glance. Noting his
perplexity, the cashier said:
"That bill is a counterfeit and one of the
most dangerous in circulation. There are thou-
sands of them through the country."
"I don't remember handling many of them,"
observed Weldon with a smile.







QUEER DOINGS


"I wish I could say as much; the bank has
been hit hard; there's five hundred dollars
offered for the detection of the criminals who
are issuing that money."
"That is a big sum to me; but what chance
have I of earning it ?"
It is suspected by certain parties that the
counterfeiters have their quarters somewhere in
the neighborhood of Copeland. Now, if you
can locate them, the reward will be yours."
This was startling news to Weldon, who had
not dreamed of the significance in the previous
words of his friend. And yet what means had
he of learning who the guilty parties were and
where they were located?
"I am sure I should be glad to earn the re-
ward, but I can't see the least chance of doing
so."
"You are familiar with the country for sev-
eral miles around ?"
"Yes, I am."
"Well, use your wits and keep your eyes
open."
"Suppose I should see something-"
"Sh! not another word! Keep mum."
This interruption was caused by the entrance






TRUE TO IIS TRUST


of a man who was dressed and acted like a
farmer. He wore his trousers tucked in the top
of his boots, and, slouching up to the cashier,
asked, in a drawling voice:
"Kin ye tell me when the next train leaves
for New York ?"
"At half-past three."
"And when does the next one arriv' ?"
"At a quarter to five."
Weldon had no excuse for remaining longer,
and walked out. As he did so, he became aware
of two interesting facts. The farmer-looking
individual hadvery keen eyes and looked sharply
at him several times.
"I wonder whether he is a farmer," mused
Weldon, as he reached the outside; he is
dressed like one, but it strikes me he is some-
body else."










CHAPTER IX


ON THE KING'S HIGHWAY

THE feelings of Weldon Stafford, when re-
turning from the savings bank can well be
imagined. His friend, the cashier, had opened
the prospect before him of securing five hun-
dred dollars. What a magnificent sum Ah,
if he could obtain it! Was there a possi-
bility of doing so ?
Weldon's strong common sense told him that
the chance was so slight that it amounted to
almost nothing, yet he could not drive it from
his mind. For the first time in his life he realized
the poverty of himself and mother. He saw
with a pang how that loved mother had scrimped
and denied herself, not merely luxuries, but
necessities, and she had done it all for his sake.
Here he was, a rugged, healthy lad, taller than
she, and strong enough to take her in his arms,
as he had done many a time, and carry her
about as if she were a mere child. He had
been kept regularly at school. His clothing, if
89







TRUE TO HIS TRUST


plain, was tidy and becoming, and he said to
himself that not a single want had been denied
him.
I wish I could gain it for her sake," he said,
with a thrill of resolve; "she should not work
so hard; she should have comforts; she should
rest, and so far as money could do it, the burden
should be lifted from those dear shoulders."
There is nothing so tempting as the building
of air castles. Weldon found himself contin-
ually doing this, but he resolutely forced his
mind into the practical channel. The first in-
dispensable step was for him to locate the coun-
terfeiters, of whom he had been told, and that
could not be done unless they were somewhere
in the neighborhood, which by no means was
certain.
And then, while walking thoughtfully over
the highway, he speculated as to where such a
band of lawbreakers would be likely to make
their headquarters.
"They wouldn't dare take lodgings with any
of the farmers, for they must keep their home
a secret from every one else. They would hunt
out some deserted village, where no one would
suspect they were hiding, and where they could






ON THE KING S HIGHWAY


work without fear of drawing attention to them-
selves. Where is there such a place ?"
It has been said that no one was more familiar
with the country surrounding the little town or
village of Copeland than Weldon Stafford.
This knowledge extended to the section on the
side furthest from his home. He had hunted
chestnuts and hickory nuts through all the
woods for miles, and in many places he could
make his way at night with as much certainty
as if the sun were shining. This was especially
true of the country through which he was now
passing, and which lay in the vicinity of his
own home.
"I wonder whether Uncle Jabez knows any-
thing about the men," murmured Weldon,
giving rein to an odd fancy. "Nobody ever
goes to his house and he is wicked enough to do
anything like that. But what of Dan a.nd
Sam?"
This question was the stumbling-block to the
possibility which took form in his mind. Not
that the twins were not vicious enough to do
anything that was wicked; the fact that it was
wicked would make it attractive to them, but
Weldon needed no one to tell him that a party






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


of criminals whose safety depended upon secrecy
were too wise to trust two boys with knowledge
that was likely at any time to prove their own
undoing. Further thought convinced the youth
that evil as was his uncle, it was not to be sup-
posed he was mixed up in any way with coun-
terfeiters.
"They wouldn't trust any one with their
secret; I can't imagine how many of them there
are, but no matter what the number, they are by
themselves and will stay by themselves until
they have to leave the country."
It was a cause of regret with him that the
entrance of the farmer-looking man into the
bank shut off his conversation with the cashier.
But for that interruption, he would have gath-
ered some knowledge that would be of great
help.
"I'll go down again to-morrow and talk with
him," was the conclusion of the youth, who was
dreaming of the fortune that might possibly be
within his reach.
It is unnecessary to remind the reader that
Weldon Stafford was a wide-awake youngster,
who generally had his wits about him, but he
was excusable on this occasion for being so






ON THE KING'S HIGHWAY


wrapped up in day-dreams as hardly to be con-
scious of where he was or what he was doing,
other than simply walking along the road on
this sultry day in midsummer.
It was because of this that he failed to observe
two facts which otherwise would have attracted
his notice. Before he was two hundred yards
from Copeland, a man left the place and took
the same direction. He sauntered forward so
slowly that he gradually fell further behind, but
had any one been watching him, he would have
been convinced that the person was interested
in Weldon and was following him. Had the
lad looked behind him, he would have discov-
ered the fact, but he was so absorbed in his
reveries that he gave as little thought to the
rear as to the front.
The second fact was that there was another
man at the front who was equally concerned in
the youth. He was not walking over the high-
way as was the other, but was standing under
the same large oak, under which Pedro, the
Italian, had lain down to rest some time before,
with such disastrous consequences to himself
and his bear Garibaldi.
Probably Weldon would have noticed this






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


second man as he drew near the huge oak had
he remained in view, but the individual took
care to keep out of sight. Several times he had
peeped from behind the trunk and noted the lad
walking slowly toward him, but his head was
projected only just far enough to observe this
fact, and even had Weldon cast a look in ad-
vance he could not have discovered him, for
there was nothing in the situation to cause mis-
giving on the part of the youth.
The last time the individual peered from his
hiding place Weldon Stafford was only a few
hundred feet away. He was almost in exact
line with the second man, who was walking so
fast that he was close to the lad. This person
saw that which escaped Weldon, for he was look-
ing for it, while the youth was not; and, observ-
ing his confederate, the one at the rear raised
his hand and moved it in a peculiar way. Evi-
dently the gesture was meant as a signal for the
one under the tree, and was so understood
by him, though he made no answering sign, for
that would have been almost certain to have
caught the eye of the unsuspicious youth.
"I'll have to have a talk with mother about
it," mused Weldon; she is worth a dozen per-






ON THE KING'S HIGHWAY


sons and I have been thinking so much that
everything is mixed-hello !"
At this juncture, as he came within the cool
shadow cast by the immense oak, a man stepped
from behind the trunk and stood before him.
His action was so unexpected that Weldon was
startled, though ordinarily he would have seen
nothing in the movement to frighten him, for
was not this the broad highway, on the middle
of a summer afternoon, in one of the most law-
abiding sections of our country? But the
nerves of the lad were keyed to a high point,
because of his stirring reveries? and this abrupt
calling down to the realities of life was in the
nature of a shock.
He noted that the man was tall, quite well
dressed, had dark hair and mustache, and pierc-
ing black eyes. His face, though forbidding,
was lighted by a smile, as if he were seeking
to win the confidence of the boy, from whom, as
he stepped into view, he was separated by
hardly a dozen feet.
It was apparent from the action of the stran-
ger that he meditated something wrong. Other-
wise, he would not have kept out of sight until
the boy was so close, and by placing himself






TRUE TO HIS TRUST


directly in front of Weldon, it was obvious that
he meant to hold him for a time in the highway.
It was these facts which caused Weldon to
reflect with a thrill of misgiving that he had in
his possession the money drawn from the sav-
ings bank, amounting, as he knew, to over a
hundred dollars, and including, as lie believed,
every penny that was due his mother.
He means to rob me," was the conviction of
the youth, as he instinctively pressed his hand
to the breast of his coat, to make sure the bank-
book was in place; "but, before he succeeds,
there'll be a fight."
These thoughts and others flashed through his
brain in the moment succeeding the appearance
of the stranger, who had hardly presented him-
self when he said:
"Good afternoon, young man; which way ?"
He did not approach Weldon, who had
stopped short. Strong, active, and plucky as
was the youth, he knew he was no match for
this full-grown man, and he quickly made up
his mind as to his course of action.
So long as the two maintained their relative
position, no harm could come to the lad, who
resolved to keep a close watch upon him, and the




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