The boy and the deacon, or, Enemies for life

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The boy and the deacon, or, Enemies for life
Series Title:
Brave & Bold
Hancock, Harrie Irving
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New York
Street & Smith
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1 online resource (29 p.) 29 cm.: ;


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Detective and mystery fiction ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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028885621 ( ALEPH )
230456855 ( OCLC )
B15-00030 ( USFLDC DOI )
b15.30 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Brave and Bold

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l:OftGER $TORIES THAN CONTAIHED IN Fl VE C:E"'Te.. ANY FIVE CENT LIBRARY PUBLISHED -I l "Now, march on before me," said Ben to the captured highwayman, "and remember that I have you covered with


BRAVE LD i i A Different Complete Story Eve,.Y Week I11iu d W.ellly By S"'1 scriptiot1 per year. Entered accordin1r to Act of Congress in the year Iqo3, in tlu Office of IM Librarian of Congress Waslli1urton D l: STREET & SMITH 238 William St. N Y No. H. N E W Y O R K Oc t obe r 3, 1 903. Pr ice Fi v e C e nts, TH[ BOY AND THE D[!CON: OR, Er.._emies fo:r Life. B y HARR I E IRVIN G HANCOCK CHAPTER I. BEN AND THE OLD DEACON. "Well, Ben, lookin' for wo r k, I s'pose ?" "I'm always ready for any honest work, deaco n-that is when there's a n y pay attached to it." "That's gen'rally the rule. There's not m a n y who l abor for nothin'-not even in t h e Lor d's vineya r d The deacon followed t his last remark with a thin a n d rather di scordant c ac kle which was as near to a laugh as he ever got. It was e vid ent that he felt he had s aid something very good, and Ben Spence r pe r mitted himself to grin, as labor is in duty b ound to capital. D e acon Bumpus stood on the veranda of the only s tore in Wade ville. It was the deacon's store, too. Moses Jeremiah Bumpus had passed t h e esta t e of midd l e age some yea r s ago. He had lived in Wadeville all his l ife, a n d, to t he comfo r tab l e prope r ty left him by his parents, now long d e ad, he ha d by the greatest industry-and the greatest pars i mony as well contrived to amass a conside r able fortune, although he was us u ally inclined to deny this fact fo r self-gratulatio n He was a shini n g light in the church was Deacon Bumpus. He loved to lead at the weekly praye r meeting, too, though his nasal v oice was fa r from musical. He believed thoroughly i n his right to lead in the singing o n Sundays, for he hel d t hat sincer e devot ion an d piety were mor e a c ceptable to the Lord than m ere harmony of tone. In matters of business t h e deaco n was also at home He was noted for being ahle to drive a sharp bargain and thought t his in no way incon sistent with the broad principles o f Christianity. When a poor farmer was obli ged to run up a long bill a t the store, the deacon was wont to relate the parable of the servant who was forgiven a great d e bt, though he never forgave the debt. H e mer ely extended the credit, in exceptionally deserving cases, and took great pains to collect his own all in good time Had you asked the aver a ge resident of vVadeville, he would pro ba b l y h ave. inform e d you that th e d ea con was a "leetle clo s e," but a g o od m a n, ne vert hel ess, and a cr e rlit to the vill a ge. Perhaps n o ne of hi s n e ighbor s lo ve d him, but the deacon was generally re s pected, all the same. Ben Spence r was the only so n of a p oor widow who took in washing, went out by the day to do cleaning, o r did any honest work that would enable her to p a y her way in the worl d for Mrs. Spencer had a fervent horror of s hiftlessn es s or debt. Ben was a gpod boy, and, though not q u ite sixteen he h aci earned many a do l la r for his mother in various ways Now he looked eagerly at the deacon, who had offered him a pro s pect of earning a little money. "What do you wan t me to do deacon?" "Well, boy, I ain't quite sure I want ye to do a n ythi n g." "If you do, please tell me quick for time is money, and I 've got to convert as mu c h of my lei s ure into cash as I can during this summer vacation." "How you talk," mutter ed the deacon. "In my t i me, boys didn t have so much to say 'bout money. They was glad to work


2 BRA VE AND BOLD. all they could an they was gen'rally satisfied when they had enough to eat an' enough to cover their backs." "It takes money to accomplish even that," Ben retorted "Please tell me what you want

BRA VE AND BOLD. 3 CHAPTER II. A SURPRISE FOR BEN SPENCER. Mrs. Spencer, fat, fair, and nearly forty, stood on the shady porch of her little cottage. "Dinner is waiting for you, she said, as our hero came in through the gale. "It is so warm to-day that I stepped out on the porch to get the benefit of what cool air there is. What have you been doing, my boy? You look warm and tired." "I have been working at a little job, mother. Here is the money." He handed her the dime Mrs. Spencer looked rather displeased. "Only ten cen:s, Ben? I would rather you wouldn't work on such a hot day as this, when there is so little money in it as this." "But I thought even ten cent would be handy for something," the boy protesrcd. "So it will, Ben, so it will; but I don't like to have you work hard for such small r eturns. You d i d splendidly during haying time, and you must not wear yourself out now, if you mean to accomplish wonders when school opens again. We have quite a little ready money in the house now, and I don't like to see you working so hard. Who could have had the heart to set a boy to work for ten cents on such a day as this?" "Deacon Bumpus hired me to cut wood for an hour." Mrs. Spencer's ejaculation of "Oh!" exp r essed volumes, for the deacon 's close-fistedness in money matters was proverbial in Wadeville. They seated themselves at th e table, and Ben ate with an ap petite that was in no way diminished by the work he had d one He was unusually silent durinothe meal. When it was over he suddenly pushed his plate away and demanded: "Mother, what did Deacon Bumpus mean when he said that, if it hadn't been for him, I'd have been a workhouse brat?" "Did the deacon say that?" demande d Mrs. Spencer, in distress. "Yes, mother." Now, when it was too late, our hero regretted his abrupt ques tion, for the look of pain on Mrs. Spencers face was intense. Tears stood in her And Ben would rather have had his question go unanswered than to have caused her this evident distress, for he loved his mother de eply for her unselfish goodness to him. "It was very unkind of the deacon," she faltered, and the tears began to course slowly down her cheeks Ben was on his feet in an instant and at his mother's side. "Never mind, mother," he cried, kissing her. "I don't want to know, anyway. I wouldn't ha've if I had supposed it would cause you so much grief." "You will have to be answered some day, anyway," said Mrs. Spencer, with a deep sig h "Then I will wait patiently until that day comes," Ben replied, soothingly. Mrs. Spencer was silent for some moments and then she said: "Ben, I have always intended to tell you some time, and I suppose you a re old enough to know now, as well as any other time But tell me, my boy, have you never suspected the truth?" The boy was gazing intently at the floor, but he felt the anxious gaze of her eyes. "I have sometimes thought." he answered, slowly, "sometimes thought-forgive me-that-that perhaps you were not my own mother." Mrs. Spencer now sobbe d aloud. "Oh, my boy, it is u se less to defy the instinct. I am not your mother, though God kn ows I have done my best all these years to be a mother to you. I-1--" She broke down now in a fit of choking sobs. "You have always been a mother to me," he cried, throwing his arms about her. "No boy in town has had so good a mother as I. And, before long, I hope I shall be able to begin to pay it all back to you. I shall always take good care of you, mother, for mother I shall always call you," Mrs. Spencer began to dry her eyes. "Then you don't love me less Ben, when you !mow I am not your mother? I have always loved you as if you were my own child She needed no answer. The look in Ben's eyes was sufficient. Both sat in si l ence for some time Then Ben went on : "Ca n you tell me who my mother was? for I presume, of course, that she is dead." Mrs. Spenc e r shook her head. "No one knows, my boy-at l east, none save Him who knows all things." "But what did Deacon Bumpus mean? 'What is he to me?" "It happened y ears and years ago, Ben," she began, slowly. "When you were a tiny baby, you were left in a basket on the deacon's front doorstep one night. He took you in, and Patience Marston, his hou s ek ee per, cared for you that night. "But the deacon could not keep you permanently, and so he came to me I had just lost my baby, and my heart was hungry for a little one to love. The next morning the deacon brought you down, in the same basket, and offered me two hundred and fifty dollars to leg a lly adopt you." "The deacon offered you two hundred and fifty dollars to adopt me?" Ben cried, incredulously. "Yes, Ben. I think I b e gan to love you as soon as I lifted you out of the ba ket. But my husband and I were very poor, and the money offered was an inducement, as it would just pay off the mortgage on tliis cottage. "So we adopted you. When you were not over three years old my dear husband died, and you have only an indistinct recollec tion of one of the best men that ever lived." "But I can't understand," Ben broke in, "why Deacon Bumpus should ever pay so much money for such a little thing. It must have broken hi s heart, or he must have been a much more liberal man in years past than he is now." "He said it was a good deal of money to _pay," Mrs. Spencer went on. "But he said that somehow it seemed as if the Lord, had had a hand in leaving that basket on his doorstep, and he felt that he wasn't doing his duty to the Lord if he didn't make some provision for the little babe." "It seems incredible," Ben insisted, musingly. "Mother, Deacon Bwnpus must have had some other motive which he didn t want to tell you. I can't believe that he did it out of simple goodness of heart." "I know the deaLon is rather a close man, but I am afraid you don't do him full justice, my son, for I am su r e that he acted from generous and disinterested motives in doing as he did by you. He told me that he felt he was a steward of the Lord." "From a good many men I would believe that," muttered Ben. "But somehow I can't swallow it when it comes to Deacon Bumpus. He had some other motive, you can depend upon it, mother, and some day I mean to find out what it was Mrs. Spencer shook her head deprecatingly. "I am afraid, my son, that you are liable to form hasty j udg ments. It is a way with young people, I think. I remember that I was apt to be that way. It may be that I am, even to-day, al


, 4 BRAVE AND BOLD. though I struggle never to jump too quickly to conclusions. However unsparing we may be, Ben, in our judgment of our selves, we should always endeavor to be generous, and even in dulgent in our estimate of other-s." Mr.s. Spencer begai:i to bustle about with the dinner things, washmg, scou ring and putting away. Ben picked up a book and sat down to read, but his mind was so full of his own affairs that it was a fruitless attempt. When he had sat thus for some moments, staring blankly at the open pages, he h eard a familiar whistle from the street, followed by a voice shouting : "Ben-Ben Spencer! Oh-h-h, Ben!" Our h ero answered the whistle, and took his cap. "There's Tom Foley, mother. I think I'll go out with him for a while." "Very well,' my son." In view of what had just transpired, Ben went up to l\Irs. Spencer, and su rpri sed her by kissing her very affectionatelv. "Ahvays the same mother to me," he whispered, and ran o ut to meet his especial chum. Tom Foley was a short, thick-set boy, a year younger than Ben, with a mass of stubborn red hair and the prize freckles of \.Vadeville on his round, honest-looking face. He was a boy of generous but rash impulses, who got into rnaqy scrapes, and who would have got into many more if it had not been for the restraining influ ence that Ben Spencer exercised oi:er him, Tm11 was, at. this rnome11t, sitting on the grass by the w:iyside, cnt1qlly examming a stone bruise on one of his brown, bare feet. "Where are you going, Tom?" "Oh, Hain't got nothing to do but tramp around. Didn't wanter stay at home, 'cause I knew father'd ask me to sort over some old iron, and it's too hot to work in that blazing shop such an afternoon as this." Judson Foley, TEJrn's father was the blacksmith of vVadeville. "How would you like to go fishing up the creek?" Ben sug gested. "Nope. Too hot to dig bait, Jnd fish too lazy to bite "The fish are not the only things that are lazy," Ben retorted, with a meaning smile. Tom was quick to comprehend this thrust. "You always was a great fei!er to work, Ben Somehow I don't take to it in the same way." ''I don't like work for the mere sake of work," Ben replied "but I d,o like it when it brings in anything. But, then, moth e r i s poorer than your folks." -"My fo. lks are poo1 enough," Ton1 asserted positively. "Why, I asked dad for three dollars to buy that old punt of Tom Butts, rn I could paddle around on the pond. What do you s'pose dad told me?" "That {t would cost than that to fis h you up from the bottom of the pond?'' "Nope. Said three -dollars didn't grow on the bl}Shes around here "No, it doesn't, ei_th_ er." _ "So I don't see but what we're poor enough," Tom Foley wound up, dolefully. Then Ben told his chum of the wood-chopping episode of the !'1orning, refraining, however, from mentioning the talk he had just had with his mother. 'I tell you what, Ben," Tom declared, "old Bumpus is a h-y-p-o-k-r-i-t-hypocrite l He's so mean that I shouldn't think the grass'd be willing to grow on his land." CHAPTER III. WHICH RELATES SEVERAL INCIDENTS. The boys strolled slowly along the shady streets of the village, and eventually up at the store-that center of all excitement in a country village. It was not a very liYely place on this afternoon, however, for the heat of the day kept :ill people inside who were not obiiged to work out of doors. Ben and Tom Foley seated themselves on the veranda, which was on the shady side of the street. "\.Vhew !" sputtered Tom, mopping his fac.e, "I am glad I don't have to work for a living to-day. I don t see how anybody can work in weather like this.." Deacon Bumpus, corning from the inside of the store, overheard this remark. "Idleness is the parent o' debt and crime," he commented, sententiously. The old man looked up and down the street, and, there being no possible customer in sight, he proceeded to exemplify his idea of industry by tipping back in his chair and going soundly to sleep, with the side of the building for a pillow. After a few moments his lips parted, and he began to snore mellifluously "He's dead to the world," whispered Torn. "A man who lays awake nights to think how he can cheat his neighbors is a daisy sleeper in the daytime. Hello, here comes Mr. Paul." Farmer Paul was slowly approaching the store. his round, rubi ctuid face glowing and perspiring under a straw hat with a prodigiously broad brim. He w as by all odds the most popular man in town with the boys, for he was a jolly old bachelor, who never forgot that he had once been a boy. "And I was a terror, too, I te11 ye," he was wont to wind up. "When it comes to tellin the truth, neighbor, the boys o' to-day are a durned sight better behaved than their daddies was." "Brother Bumpus i s a s leep, I see," he remarked, as he gained the veranda. The deacon awoke at the sound of the voice. "Ah Brother Paul, glad to see ye, glad to see ye. \Vhat can I sell ye to-day?" "Nothin'-nothin'. Jest dropped around to set in the shade." The deacon arose and went into the store, and the farmer promptly appropriated the vacant chair. The rattle of wheels was heard down the street, and a farm wagon came in sight with a stout, middle-aged woman and three small children on the seat. "There's Mis' Briggs ," said Paul. "Shes a plucky woman, I tell ye. Husban' died a year ago and left her six children, an' she a-ru1111in' the farm, with only one of her boys big enough to help her at all. She's a woman that deserves a lift. The object 0 his remarks drbVe up to the store and the deacon came out rubbing his hands. "Deakin." said Mrs. Briggs "here's some butter an' eggs I wanter sell )le-eighteeq dozen eggs an' ten o' butter. How much be ye payin' ?" "Cash, ma am, or trade P" demanded the deaton, solemnly. "Cash, deaki1i-I want money bad .'' "I can give ye nin e cents a dozen, ma'am, an' ftmrteen cents a pound for the butter." Mrs. Briggs' face showed her disappointment. "Things has gone dcwn, then, has they, deakin ?" s he (lemalided, anxiously. "Yes, Mis' Briggs, an little market at any price."


BRA VE AND BOLD. 5 "That's too bad; an' I need money so terrible." The trade was consummated at the figures, and the deacon be gan to carry the stuff into the store. Fanner Paul approached the woman and said, quietly: "I don't wanter break off no trade thet's been made, Mis' Briggs, but the next time ye've got any produce to sell, Mis' Briggs, bring it to me, an' I'll get ye a better price, if I hev to cart the stuff to town for ye." The woman nodded her head gratefully, but said nothing, for just then the deacon came out with the money, and Mrs. Briggs drove off. "Brother Bumpus." said Paul, "it's none o' my business, but it seems to me thet ye gave thet woman a drefful poor price for stuff." I had to, groaned the deacon. "The market's terrible poor, an' like as not the stuff'!! spile on my hand s 'fore I can sell it. "Nonsense!" muttered Paul, under his breath. Tom Foley had witnessed the scene with intense indignation, for he calculated that the old man had given the widow at lea t a dollar less than he could have bought from a better-posted seller. Deacop Bumpus," he demanded, do you ever read the Bible?" The old man faced his youthful interrogator with a lo o k of inten s e astonishment, and Farmer Paul ga,e vent to a hearty roar of laughter. Do I read the Bible?" he ejaculated. "An' me a

6 BRA VE AND BOLD. Saying which, Bert seized his jacket, and beat a hasty retreat, muttering: ''I'll get square with that low-lived Spencer, if it costs me my life!" Deacon Bumpus and Farmer Paul had witnessed the whole affair from the store veranda. "That Ben's a plucky chap, deakin," observed Paul. "He'll end his days in jail," growled the deacon, "an' Tom Foley'll be his cellmate." "Ye talk, deakin, as if ye'd like to see thet come to pass ." "Mebbe I would," muttered Deacon Bumpus, so low that the farmer did not hear him. CHAPTER IV. BEN"S ENEMIES TRIUMPH. The week passed, and Saturday came around. That was always a busy evening with the deacon, f9r then it was that a great many villagers bought their entire supplies for the following week. There was far more than one man could do to wait upon all the customers, and so Deacon Bumpus was compelled to engage extra help for Saturday evenings. Though he did not like either Ben Spencer or Tom Foley, yet 'the boys were popular with the people of vVadeville, and were also very handy about the store. So he generally called their services into requisition, sometimes for money, but mor-e often for some other consideration. Ben and Tom presented themselves at the store early on this particular Saturday evening. "Going to have any work for us to-night, deacon?" Ben inquired. "Mebbe. What d'ye want fer workin' for me?" "Will you pay us cash?" "No, sir! Money's too scarce." "Then I'll tell you whatwe'll do, deacon. Tom and myself want to go hunting some day next week. Now, you let us take your shotgun all next week, and thirty loads with it, and Tom and I will work for you to-night. We can go up to your house after the gun to-morrow forenoon ." Deacon Bumpus demurred for a while, claiming that this was an excessive bargain, but finding he could gain the boys' services with no less a concession, he finally agreed. "But ye must work brisk, boys. I can't afford to keep ye here in idleness." The customers began to come in soon after, and the boys worked with a will. The next morning, Sunday, was much cooler than any day in the week had been,' and after breakfast Ben and Tom set off for a stroll through the surrounding country. During their walk, Spencer determined to take young Foley into his confidence. So he told him all that he had learned from adopted mother concerning his advent into Wadeville, and also how Deacon Bumpus had paid Mrs. Spencer out of his own pocket to adopt the baby st.-anger. "There's something strange about all that," said Tom Foley, sagely. "It don't seem like the deacon to pay all that money to have you adopted, when he could ju"st as well send you to a foundling asylum, without having to pay a cent for your keep. Ben, I tell you there's something queer about it. Deacon Bumpus had mighly good reasons for spending so much of his precious money upon you." "Do you know what I believe, Tom?" "Course I don't." "I believe that the old man knows something about my origin. He might be able to tell me who my parents were." "Why don't you ask him?" demanded Tom, breathlessly. "Because that would do no good. If he has kept silent aJ\ these years, it is because he doesn't mean to tell any one what he knows. If I were to ask him, I should only put him on his guard. "Oh, no, Tom; I have resolved upon a much better course than that. I mean to go into this matter without saying a word to any one, and, before I get through with the investigation, I am determined to know who and what I am. "If the deacon has acted squarely in what he has done, I shall be grateful to him; if he has, on the other hand, done me or mine any wrong, then I mean to unmask and expose him. But I am resolved to know whether he has done me good or evil." "And there's my hand, Ben Spencer," cried Foley. "I'll help you in any way you want me to." "Then, first of all, Tom, keep my secret." ''I'll do it, Ben. I'm mum as a clam." They had walked on a little far\her, when Tom said: "There's the deacon's home. S'pose we go down there now and get the gun?" Deacon Bumpus was, of course, at church, but his housekeeper, Patience Marston, a woman of very uncertain age, was at home, for she always declared that Sunday came she was too tired to go to church. "Good-morning, Miss Marston," said Ben. "We have called for the gun and some ammunititm which the deacon agreed to let us have." "Yes, he s left it for ye," replied the housekeeper, "though, if I had my way, I'd never trust no boys with guns. Now mind, don't you shoot it off 'round this house." They had not gone far, when Tom Foley, who was carrying the gun, persisted in stopping to load it. "For we might see some game," he explained. "But I wouldn't shoot on Sunday, Tom," protested Ben. "Give the poor animals the same day of rest that we enjoy." They had gone a little farther, when Tom suddenly perceived a fine, fat rabbit darting to cover. The butt of the gun flew to Tom's shoulder, and the next instant the Sabbath stillness was disturbed by a crashing explosion. The rabbit toppled over dead, and the boys ran forward to secure their game. "It's a plump one, Tom I" cried Ben, forgetting his scruples for the moment. Now, it so happened that church had just "let out," and the good people of Wadeville, coming along in solemn procession, were horrified to hear the crash of the gun. "Some ungodly man is desecrating our sacred day!" exclaimed Deacon Bumpus, in a horrified tone. Bert Eastman, who was a little in advance of the rest, now came running back. "It's Ben Spencer and Tom Foley!" he cried. "They've shot a rabbit." The people returning from church now swept around a bend in the road and came full upon the two culprits. Tom still held the gun, while Ben had the rabbit. "So that's the unrighteous way you boys use the gun I was kind enough to let ye take?" exclaimed the deacon. ''A shootin' on Sunday!" Nearly all of the people bent reproving glances upon the boys, who stood there abashed and confused.


BRA VE AND BOLD. 7 Bert Eastman, who had not yet got over the effects of his thrashing, enjoyed their discomfiture hugely. ''l was allus 'raid them boy d come to a bad end,., declared the deacon turning to the rest. "'I'll trounce you for thi Tom," declared his father. And Mrs. Spencer added, gently: "Ben, I am very sorry and grieved to find you thus engaged on the Sabbath." "Parson, what d 'y e think o' this?" demanded the deacon. The Re, :\Ir. Elkins. a thin, little, old man, who was greatly beloved in vVade, ille, bent a mildly reproving glance upon the "They have done wrong, very wrong, of course," the clergyman said, slowly, ''but we 11mst bear in mind that our young friend s are only t>oy I know them both to be good boys, but boys will sometin1es b e thoughtles'. I am sure they will not agai n break the Sabbath." The parson tarted to move o n again, as if he thought th e matter disposed of, but Deacon Bu111p11s cried har hly: "That won't do. There's a law agin' huntin' on Sundays, an' the law is made for boys. as well as men. C o n s table, as one of the selectmen of this village, I call upon ye to arrest them boy s for breaking the Sabbath. They must be learned a lesson. 'Surely deacon," remon trated Parson Elkins, "I trust you will not proceed to s uch an extreme measure as this. You s urel y don't want the boys sent to jail for 1riere boyish thoughtlessness?" And Blacksmith Foley added: "Leave the boy s to t'heir parents, deac on. They'll see that they're fully punished.'' But the deacon was obdurate. "As a selectman, I'm bound t' see that the laws are obeyed. Constable, do yer duty." So Constable Farrar took our hero and Tom Foley in charge, and led them in disgrace through the streets to the vill<1ge lock-up. "Boys, I'm sorry fer ye," said the c011stable, as he locked them up. "The !imitable pu11ishmc1:t for yer offen e is ixty days in the county jail. And the boys were left to meditate in sorrow. They had two Bumpus and Bert Eastman who were anything but di pleased at the eourse events h:i.d taken. "That Spencer boy is gittin' too pesky fresh," muttered Deacon Bump11s. "A couple o months in jail'll do him good, an' when he gits out mebbe he'll treat me with more respect. "But most likely he'll feel so disgraced that he 'll keep away from this town, an' then he'll go to the bad quick. I shan't be sorry t' see the last o' him Filled with \d1ich thoughts, the good old man went home to his St.fhday dinner, while our two young friends languished in the lock-up without any. CHAPTER V. WHAT HAPPENEU JN COURT. T11e night that followed their arrest was not a pleasant one to Ben Spencer and Tom Foley, but they made the be st of it. The jail was such a flimsy and antiquated structure that the boys could undoubtedly have made their escape had they been so minded, but nothing was farther from their wishes Justice Brittain held c ourt in the town hall at 9 A. M. every Monday and Thursday. So the next morning ou r two young friends were conducted into hi s august presence. Justice Brittain was a little man, past sixry, who 11ad dispensed law in that part of the county for the past thirty years. He knew personally almost every one who came ithin hi s jurisdiction. There was great excitement in Wadeville that morning. Insignificant as the charge against the boys was, it was the first criminal case that had been tried in the town hall for over a year, for the people of Wadeville were an orderly lot, and the bulk of their court business was of a civil nature. The excitement of the people was shown in the fact that when the doors of the town hall opened nearly three himdred people entered and took seats. The buzz of conversation ceased when Constable Farrar pounded on the floor with a s taff and announced: ''The court!" All the spectators aros e to their feet as Justice Brittain entered and took his seat behind the desk on the platform. The ju tice s eemed surprised at the s ize of the crowd present. "Ts there any business to come before the court this morning, Mr. Constable?., he demanded. "Yes, your honor, one criminal case-Benjamin Spencer and Thomas Foley boy s are charged with hunting on the Lord's Day... "Bring in the pri so ners. All eyes were centered upon the door as the constable reentered between our two young friends, carrying the shotgun and the telltale carcass of the rabbit. The boys felt their situation keenly, and Tom Foley, whose had resulted s6 disastrously, was a picture of contrition. "Prisoners," said the justice, "you are charged with hunting on the Lord's Day. Do yo.l plead guilty or not guilty?" "I'm guilty, I s'pose," Tom muttered, s hamefacedly. "I fired the gun off." "Well, what have you to say?" demanded the justice, n oticing that OlJr hero hesitated. "I imagine I ain guilty, too, yotJr honor." Ben responded. ''I was with Tom when he shot the rabbit and so I suppose t was a party to the affair." Tom started to protest hi s friend's inn ocence, hut the court interrupted him a little sharply. "I would advise you, Master Spencer. to plead 'not guilty.' \'Vhen the evidence is all in, I can better decide your guilt or innocence. A plea of not guilty simply means that you de sire to have the evidence heard on both sides." "Very well your honor; 1 will plead not guilty, then." "The evidence for the prosecution will now be heard," an nounced the justice. The spectators were breathless. In the main, the two boys were popular with the people of the Yi!lage but there were many in that assembly who belie\ed, with the deacon that the law s must be upheld, no matter who the offenders were. Constable Farrar first put upon the stand. After he had told what he knew of the affair, Deacon Bumpus testified The old man got a little out of the line of "admissible eY: dence," and branched off into a di ssertation of which the follo\\" ing i s a part: '' A respect for the law, judge, is the foundation of <111 good order. I let the boys take my gm1 thinkin' as how they would behave themselves with it. If I d 'a' s'posed they was meditatin' a-goin' a-huntin' on Sunday, I'd a-let my tongue cleave to the ruff o' my mouth afore they'd get thet gun from me. "Thi s is a forrard age, justice. The youngsters o to-day is too pesky fre sh. If they can't naterally respect the sanctitude o' the Lord's Day, they must be made to do it."


8 BRA VE AND BOLD. "Amen!" responded a woman from one of the rear seats, and two or three other people echoed the cry. "Order I" said the court, sternly "This is not a prayer meet ing." Deacon Bumpus gazed at the justice in astonishment. "I s'posed, judge, thet expressions o' piety were in good order anywhere. "You are expressing your own opinions, deacon," Justice Brittain continued. "Since I do not understand that you hate been retained as counsel for either side, I must ask you to confine yourself strictly to facts. If you have told all you know of the shooting of the rabbit by the defendants yesterday, you may step down, and make room for the next witness." The deacon opened his mouth two or three times, but was so surprised that he could say nothing, and finally he stepped down, with the air of one who has tried to perform a grave duty, but has been prevented from carrying out his intention. Two or three more witnesses were heard, and then the court decided that he had heard all the testimony that was needed for the prosecution. "Now, boys, you can say what you have to say for your-selves, but only one at a time, please." "Will you hear me first?" urged Tom Foley. uYes." Tom arose, and stood ill at ease, with the eyes of all that vast assemblage upon him. "Take your hands out of your pockets," admonished the court. Tom did so, and stood more abashed than ever, looking first at the ceiling and then at the floor, and unable to articulate a single word. "Proceed," commanded the court. Tom was now so hopelessly confused that his tongue r efused to wag, and he looked furtively at the co 'urt, standing awkwardly, and looking for all the world as if he wanted to run away. "Stand up straight," ordered Justice Brittain, "and don't be afraid. Act just as if you were going to speak a piece at the school exhibition." This gave Tom a cue, He bowed low to the court, scraped awkwardly, hemmed two or three times, and then began desperately: "If you please, Mr. Brittain, it wasn't me at all-that is, I-I-I -mean it wasn't Ben Spencer. I was lugging the gun, and when I saw the rabbit I shot him. Ben didn't want me to do it, and he wa'n't no party to the shooting." Saying which, Tom made another bow, and sa t down in con fusion. Then Ben related all that had occurred, seeking in no way to screen himself at his chum's expense. When Ben had finished speaking, Justice Brittain sat silent for a few moments, and the assemblage was breathless. Upon his verdict depended whether the boys went to jail for a long or a shor. t term, for there were few present who did not expect a finding of guilty against both of the prisoners. Justice Brittain's W'ords, therefore, fell as a surprise upon all present. "It is clear to me," he said, "that the Spencer boy was no party to the offense charged. He was opposed to the shooting on the Sabbath, and would doubtless have prevented it if he 50 uld have done so. I therefore '.lrder that Benjamin Spencer be discharged from custody." A buzz of voices ran around the courtroom, and Ben's mother and friends showed their delight at this verdict. "Order !" shouted the court. "A:; to the Foley boy," Justice Brittain went on, "there is abundant evidence to warrant me in finding him guilty of the offense charged. As to the sentence I shall impose--" Here the court hesitated again, and was silent for some moments. Then he resumed: "It seems to me that this offense was not intended as a willful and flagrant violation of the law It was, rather, the result of boyish thoughtlesshess and natural exuberance of spirits. I there fore sentence the defendant, Foley, to pay a fine of two dollars, and in case the fine is not paid, he shall serve four days in the county jail." "The fine is paid, your honor," Blacksmith Foley said, step-ping fo rward and depositing the amount upon the judge's desk. Deacon Bumpus was on his feet in a moment. "Your honor, this punishment is too light." "That is a matter for the court alone to determine," was the stern reply from the bench. The deacon became more exasperated than ever, and shouted: "Justice Brittai11, the people o' Wadeville love Jaw an' order, an' they won't stand sech justice as you're dispensin'." "Another remark like that, deacon, and I shall fine you for contempt of court." Deacon Bumpus said no more, but went out in a terri01e rage. He had many sympathizers, for he had been so long looked upon as a prominent citizen and good man that the people were not yet ready to withdraw their respect and regard. Ben came out, followed by Tom, who carried the gun. "I want that gun back again," sputtered the deacon, attempting to take it. "You can't have it until the week's up," Tom retorted, defiantly "I'm a-gain' 1.o take that gun," said the deacon, firmly. "Ye shan't have no more chance to make bad use of it." Mr. Foley here interfered. "Deakin, ye've made my boy enough trouble about it already. He and Ben worked for ye on the understandin' they were to have the use of the gun for a week. If ye try to take thet gun away afore the week's up, I'll sue ye. sure as guns." Blacksmith Foley was known to be a man of his word. After some ineffectual sputtering, Bumpus decided not to take the gun, but set out for his store, accompanied by a large fol lowing of his sympathizers, from whom Parson Elkins somehow seemed to be absent. As for Ben and Tom, they were surrounded by at least two score of sympathetic boys, who cheered them to the echo. CHAPTER VI. TOM FOLEY GETS As soon as Ben and Torn could tear themselves away from their enthusiastic schoolfellows, they started home together. "Ben, I'm gain to get hunk with that old reprobate," Tom de clared, earnestly. "Who?" "Who?" Foley echoed, in amazement. "Why, Deacon Bumpus, of course."' "I think we have come out of it so well that we can afford to let him alone," Ben replied. "It won't do any harm to show that we can be generous and forgiving." "Forgiving nothing!" Tom echoed, indignantly. "I tell you, I mean to get hunk with him. And I know a good way to do it." "How?" "Why. you and I, Ben, will lay ourselves out to find what it w?.s that made him take such a big interest in you when you were a baby. Depend upon it, old fellow, that you'll find something


BRA VE AND BOLD. 9 in it to enable us both to get square with Deacon Moses Bumpus. If he,didn't want to cover up some of his wrongdoing, you can be sure he'd never have paid so much money to have you taken care of." "That's the way it looks to me," Ben answered. "Still, I don't mean to go into this investigation in the hope of securing venge. I shouldn't deserve to succeed if I did, for revenge isn't a very noble thing. If the deacon would tell me the whole truth about my origin, I'd agree to let revenge alone." "He tell the truth!" Tom cried, scornfully. "Oh, yes," Ben went on, argumentatively. "I believe Deacon Bumpus is a truthful man. He is close, I know, and apt to be hard, but I can't believe him to be a full-fledged hypocrite." "That's where you and I differ," Foley retorted, indignantly. "If the deacon's done nothing wrong, what makes you imagine that he knows your secret. and yet doesn't tell it?" "It may be that he is trying to shield sdme one else," Ben re sponded, thoughtfully. "That's all rot," Tom cried, impatiently. "Time will show," was all Ben could say to this. "At all events, as long as I live; I shall never cease my efforts to unravel the tangled skein of my origin." When Ben entered the house, he found that Mrs. Spencer had arrived home before him. "Well, mother, I know yon are glad to see me safe out of trouble." "Indeed I am, my boy, and still more pleased to know that you were not at all at fault." The vegetable garden back of the house needed attending to, and Ben went to work as promptly as though be had not j nst passed through a-to him-very exciting episode. In.a day or two, the little flutter of excitement caused by the boys' scrape had died out in wadeville, and things went on as before. The most surprising fact of all, however, was that Deacon Bumpus appeared to desire to forget all that had happened. He met Ben and Tom on the street one day, and stopped and held out his hand to them. "Well, boys, I hope there's no hard feelin' atween us?" "'Tain't likely there is," was Foley's sarcastic reply. "You didn't do nothin' to us, except to try to send us to jail." "I'm a member of the board of selectmen," the old man re plied, "an' of course I have to do my best to see that the laws are obeyed." "It isn't necessary to say anything more about it," Ben said, coldly. ;'It's all in the past now." "An' let it stay there, an' be forgotten," the deacon urged, per suasively. "It may be that I was wrong, an' too quick, an' it's my duty now to see that there ain't no hard feelin's. Let's shake hands, an' forgit it." This seemed a fair proposition, and was evidently sincere. Ben was prompt to accept the proffered hand. "Very well, deacon; there's my hand on it." Tom was in honor bound to follow hi s chum and leader, and he did so, though, it must be confessed, with a very poor grace. "And now things is all made up atween n ," continued Deacon Bumpus, "come up to the store Saturday night, and work for me as usual; I'll give ye each ten cents an hour." "Very well," replied Ben, promptly. And Tom, too, gave a rather reluctant consent. Deacon Bumpus walked off with a beaming face, as if he felt that he had made honorable amends, and was now at peace with the whole world. "I wonder what his game is?" Tom muttered, gazing after the old man. "Oh, I imagine he felt a little ashamed, and wanted to do the right thing," Ben answered. "I'll bet that ain't the whole of it." The explanation of the affair was very simple. Deacon Bumpus had found that so many people in the village sided with the boys, and against him, that in order to all his trade at the store, he felt it best for his pocket that he should prove a reconciliation by employing our friends Saturday even ings. So, when Saturday evening came around, the boys presented themselves at the store. The deacon led them into the office, with many groans, and showed them a two-dollar bill. "Boys, I want ye to be mighty carefol to-night There's lots o' counterfeit bill s goin' 'round, an' I don't want ye t o take any. This here is a counterfeit two-dollar bill, an' I can't recollect who gave it to me. I've got a list o' counterfeits pasted on the wall, an' I want ye to read the list over. If ye ain't careful, ye'll be likely to ruin me." The two boys read the list, which gave descriptions of the latest counterfeits, and then went to work. Later in the evening, both boys happened to be in the office at the same time, for th'! purpose of making change, for the deacon steadfastly refu sed to put a money drawer under the counter outside. Deacon Bumpus came in, too, with a five-dollar bill, which he carefully compared with the printed list of counterfeits. I thought so," he muttered; "here's another counterfeit." "Who gave it to you?" Ben asked. 1 "Some travelin' feller I never saw before. His buggy's outside. He bought a three-dollar box of cigars, an' he's waitin' for his change, but he'll have ter give me better money than this." ''I'll tell you how to teach him a lesson, deacon," Tom Foley whispered, eagerly. "Just keep the bad bill, and say nothing about it, but give him the bad two-dollar bill in change. That'll teach him he can't play smart tricks upon you, if you do live in the country. The idea appeared so good that Deacon Bumpus hesitated not a moment. Throwing down the five-dollar bill, he picked up the two-dollar counterfeit and hurried out into the store. The unknown customer pocketed the bill, took the box of cigars, and dr()iVe off. And then, too late, it all dawned upon the deacon. "Ye young imp o' Satan!'.' he hissed, rushing back into the office, "ye've robbed me !" "How?" Tom demanded, innocently, though he was nearly choking with suppressed laughter. "Ye got me to give thet feller the bad two for the bad five." "Well, that's all right, ain't it? You both got bad money out of the deal, so neither's ahead." "But he's got the cigars-I never thought o' thet," groaned Deacon Bumpus. "That's so-it is too bad," Tom admitted. "I'll take thet three dollars out o' your pay," growled the old man. "Thet'll sarve ye right for bein' so stupid." "But you were just as stupid as I was," Tom retorted "You didn't see it, either, until the fellow had driven off. You needn't think you're going to take it out of my pay." "But I will," snarled Bumpus. "Ye'll work fer me fer nothing until thet three dollars is paid back." "See here," Tom suggested, "let's submit this question to the men sitting 011 the veranda. I 'll go by what they say."


IO BRAVE AND BOLD. "Of course," Ben put in, gravely, "you were really guilty of felony in knowingly passing a counterfeit bill. "Well, do I have to make up the three dollars?" Tom de manded. "I'll have ter let ye off this time," groaned the deacon, who in fancy saw State's prison looming up before him in case he pro Yoked the boys into telling what they knew of the matter. "I'm hunk with the old codger now," Tom whi pered to Ben, as the deacon shuffled out. CHAPTER VTI. DEACO'I BUMPUS STOOPS TO SIN, AND SUFFERS THE CONSEQUENCES. All Wadeville was at the country horse how early in the week following. It wa$ an event of s uch importance that even Deacon ::\foses Bumpus hitched one of his sorry plugs into the antique carryall, and drove himself and his hou sekeeper over to the grounds in style. Judson Foley was there. As a blacksmith, he wanted to show the horsemen of that section some of his own ideas about shoeing horses. And Tom Foley went everywhere that his father did on suc h occasions. .Mrs. Foley had invited Mrs. Spencer to go with them, and, as a matter of course, Ben went, too. Farmer Paul got into his sulky and drove his gray mare, which was currently believed to be the mo st rapid piece of horseflesh in or near Wadeville. Two colts which he had raised with great care were among the exhibits. To Deacon Bumpus there was an unplea sant feature at the outset-there was a charge of a dollar for the admittance of him self and 1\liss For a few moments he he sitated, and debated in his own mind the expediency of driving home but the eyes of his neighbors were upon him and pride gained the victory over avarice. '"Peanuts, popcorn and candy!" "Consult the witch of Ethiopia, and have your true fortune told, for ten cents!" "This way to see the five-legged calf! Only a nickel for ad mittance!" 'S mith & \Valdron's Punch and Judy and royal marionettes! Only ten cents to go in the tent and see the whole show! It will begin in five minutes !" These and other alluring announcements gteeted the ears of the newcomers, and caused every boyi sh heart to palpitate with joy and longing. Ben and Tom had twenty-five cents each to spend. They pooled issues, and began at once to plan the best way to get rid of their surplus wealth. "We've got to see that calf, and we can't miss the Punch and Judy," Tom began, "but thunder! that takes thirty cents at a lick. Oh, dear! I wish I wa.s a rich man. I'd see that every boy here had a good time." "1 see several rich men here ," Ben suggested, smilingly. "They won't do us any good," returned Torn, dolefully. "There's Deacon Bumpus, for instance.. He's got lots of money." Small good that'll do us," muttered Foley. "But, say, don t you s'posc we could strike him for some coin, and take it out in working for him? Ben shook his head. I don't lik e that plan, Tom. It don t do to spend your money before you've earned it." "That's a gnod notion, boys. Stick tc it!" The boys started, and turning. saw broad Farmer Paul smiling at them . "I ain't as rich as the deacon, boys, but if ye spend all your money, an' ain't seen all the sights, jest come to me, an' I'll put ye through an' welcome." And then the bachelor moved away, to escape the boys' heartfelt thanks. With this fine prospect ahead Tom Foley immediately began to plan to see eve rything upon the grounds. but Ben interrupted him. ''It won't do, Tom, to impose upon goo

BRAVE AND BOLD. II Ben quietly put his finger in one of the loops, the fellow pulled, and Ben's loop held. "Yer a smart one," the flashy fellow declared approvingly. "Now, try it again." A few rapid moves, and the l oops were laid again. "Now, choose o nce .more," urged the fellow. "I'll bet ye a dollar ye can't guess right this time." "I hav en' t got the money," Ben replied. "Well, then, make the bet fifty cents. Ye're a smart lad, and/"' ye can t make money easier'n that." "Thank you," Ben replied, quietly. "I don't believe I'll bet. You 've fixed it so that neither of the loops will hold this time. It's an old confidence swindle. I read all about it in a new spaper a f ew weeks ago." The confidence sharper looked mad. "See h ere, kid," he growled, "if ye was onter me, why didn't ye say so?" "I thought you wanted to amuse me," Ben retorted. "Oh, come off, kid. Come now, get a move op ye. Ye'll queer my business if ye stand here." Deacon Bumpus, who was moving about the grounds without spending a cent for any of the attractions, now came into sight. "Be n," whispered Tom, "if you love me, don t say a word now." And, raising his voice, he called out: Deac o n, have you seen this pu zzle? Greatest thing out!" The flashy young man "sized up" the newcomer quietly. He deftly arranged the loops and invited the deacon to put his finger in the right one. Deacon Bumpus studied the matter 1a moment, and then put his finger down. The loop held. Tten the confidence man played his victim so well that the deacon after first l ooking to see that there was no one in sight, agreed to a wager of five dollars To the amazement of the boys, he won. "Ye're too sharp, mister ," groaned the confidence man. "I don't care about playing this game against you." But the deacon, elated at his succe ss, u1sisted upon a bet of ten dollars. This time h e lost. His defeat caused be ads of perspiration to stand out all over his face. In desp e ration, he offered to wager twenty dollars. This time, too, he lo st. "Holy smoke !" he roared, "I've lost twenty-five dollars on yer gummed old puzzle." "Try another bet," urged the fellow. "Ye may get it back, an' more, too." "I can't; I've lost all I had about me already on yer sinful puzzle, young man. I believe ye' re a swindler." "Corne, cully, no hard names, now. A sport mustn't kick when he loses." The glare which the deacon gave the flashy young man would have annihilated him if a look could kill. "This thing's called the strap game," Tom volunteered. "It's rightly named," groaned the deacon. "It's strapped me, an' I believe ye was leagued with this swindler agin me I ll tell yer father on ye, ye young scalawag." "Do," mocked Tom. "Go tell him, and every one else you know, that you ve been gambling!" The implied threat terrifif'd the deacon. "Tom Foley," he groaned, "if ye'll keep about these here doings, I'll promise ye not to tell yer father, an' you an' Ben can keep the gun for another week, an' I'll give ye some more powder an' shot." "That's a whack," Tom replied, gravely, and the deacon wande;e d off, in a deep agony over the loss of the money he had gambled away. "Here, kid," said the flashy young man, "here's a < ;lollar." "What for?" Tom demanded. "Fer helpin' me ter rope in the old sucker." "Keep your money!" Tom retorted, indignantly. "I did that for revenge; but I m no sharper myself and I don't want your money." The boys wandered off again in search of other pastime. Ben f e lt ashamed at the way they had permitted the deacon to be robbed by the sha rp er, but Torn Foley sto utly declared that it "se rved the old codger good and right." In the afternoon, among the other events, the running races came off. Our two young friends rode Dr. Todd's horses. There were eighteen horses entered for the event, and the doc-tor's animals were by no means the favorites. But Ben and Tom rode the beasts for all they were worth. Ben's horse came in first and he won the promised five dollars. And the horse Tom Foley ro

BRA VE AND BOLD. gun thiS: week for k e eping still wa s a good deal like t a king bh:ck mail for our sil e nce ." "Pshaw!" rejoined Torn, "After the mean tricks the deaccn's played u s,' I 01ean to lay nights think ing up way s to get hunk on him. "Let. us, at least, Ben pcr s ish:d, "get even with h i m by pay ing him back in kind. If we don t play any worse tricks on him than he played on us, we re even, al;ld some dzy he ll realize that we are 1ike dyuamite-clangerou to h.a11dle." It will be seen that Ren Spencer bad n o t yet forgiven the deacon for causing their arres t and in c arcerati o n in the l oc k up a fort night before But he wanted to ''get even in a w a y that appealed to hi s strong si:rn1e of manlines!.'. think we d better give him the odd rabbit when we take the gun back to-morrow," Ben persi s ted. "\Veil, I s pose you'll have your w ay abo u t it, muttered Tom. You generally d o have your way, in the long rnn. Deacon Moses Bt1mptJs attended church, according t o hi s un varying custom, the next morning. But a most unusual thing happ e ned. \Vhile Parson Elkin!' was in the mid s t o f a yery long prayer the deacon began to feel ill. It came over him gradually, and he was intensely a s tonished However, it wa s nothing s eriou s-nothing m o re than a very aggravating nausea. ''It's mighty cur' us," groan e d the old man inwardly. I ain t never been taken this way sence the time I was fooli s h enough to go out in thet steamer the day the water wa s rough. I declar e t a goodne ss. if I d on't feel a s if I wa s a goin' to b e s e a sick o n dry land Oh, L ord!" He was wholly un e qual t o the task of foll o wing the words of the good old parson 's prayer. That terrible nau s ea was an all ab s orbing t o pic in i tse lf. ''I feel as if I was a-goin' to die," he groaned o nce m o r e to himself. It seem e d to him a s if Pars on Elkin s' prayer would never end for, though Deacon Bumpu.s re so lved that he mu s t leave the church, he did not da:-e to scandalize them all by going out dur ing the prayer. And so he sat there. h olding his hand s to hi s abd o men a pic -ture of mute agony. At last the l o ng-waitep-for Amen cam e The deacon fished under the seat for his hat, got i t and then walked out, slowly and with a s much dignity as he could summon. He walked down the road, aod gradually began to feel better under the revivifying effect of the s un and fresh air. At last he came to a spot so <;ool and shady that he accepted nature's silent invitation to s eat himself . With his back against a tree, he closed his eyes. The heat of the day and the drowsy hum of the ins ects did the rest. In less than three minutes he was sound asleep, and snoring with a vigw that must have startieQ the field insects. And so he slept on for an hour, with no s igns of an awakening. And here he was found by Ben Spencer and Tom Foley, when they passed by on their way to lea\'e the gun and the rabbi t at his house. "Well, there's the d e acon, c ried T om. "'vVo nd e r what he's doing out of church Sunday m o rni ng. Sound a s leep a s a l o g too." "'Sh!" whi s p e r e d B en. ' D o n t wak e him! "Might a3 well ," retumed Tom; -''then we c an give him his gun He can carry it home as well a-s we can And Tom moved forward to carry out thi s plan but Ben seized him by the arm, and whi spered: Hold on, Torn; here 's a chance to thoroughly s quare our a c counts with the d e ac o n ." Thi s announcement rendered T om Foley a s pliant a s could have bee11 desire d "How?" he d e manded e a gerly. "Well B e n r e plied s o full of hi s sc hem e that he could hardly s peak "the deac o n had u s arrested for s h o oting a rahbi t on Sun day. N ow, he e vidently ha s n t been to church, which will be le t o ut in a f e w minutes and if the peopl e come al ong nere and find him a sleep, with gun and a rabbit by his side, it'll be a clear case against him. He--" But Ben Spencer c o uld s ay no m o r e for the m o m e nt, for th e hugenes s of th e s cheme so appealed to him that he w as nearly ex ploding with laughte r, which he did his best t o s tifle ''Go o d enough!" howled Tom. 'When they c o m e along and find him, he'll be arre sted for s hooting on Sunday." And for a few moment s th e boy s w e re h e lpl ess. from s tifled Then they care fully l eam d the gun again $ t the very tree that the uncon s ci o us d e ac o n sa t propped again s t 'vV hen thi s was ac complished, th e y laid the telltale rabbit by his side T he o ld man s n o red bli ss fully on. The boy s were abou t to wit hdraw, wh e n Tom's vigilant eye s l ighte d up o n s omething H e picked it up, with a tified exclam a tion o f delight. It wa s a l>ottle more tlu 1 n half full of whiskey. "Now we'll fix him ," muttere d Tom. ''How?" que ri e d B en. "Why h e r e's a b o ttl e o f whi s k ey pro b a bly l ost b y some hired man wh o wa s out on a s pree las t night. I 'll s prinkle some on the d e acon 's clothe s and then, when the folk s find him here, t he fll not o nly think h e s be e n hunting on Sunday, but they 'll swear he's drunk, into the b a rgain. Oh, thi s i s huge!" Tom Foley carefully s prinkled the deacon' s cl ot h es w ith some of the pung ent liquor, and pm the b o ttle, conta ining the r e maind e r, in one o f the s leep e r' s pocket s And th e n feeling almos t a s if their stifled laughter w as likely t o prove fatal, our hero ancl his chum sneaked off into a clump of bushe s tha t commanded a g o od view of Deacon Bumpus' position, while th e deacon con t inued that s leep wh i ch was to prove so dear t o him The boys pe e ping c a uti o usly from their c o vert, saw the fore most of the crowd from church coming around a bend in the r o ad right up to the sp o t wh e re an inten s e surprise awaited them. And still Deacon !11oses Bumpus slept on! c;HAPTER IX. THE FALL OF BUMPUS. "What mad e Deac o n leave church s o early thi s m o rn ing?" inquired Parson Elkins as the church pe o ple were on their way h o me. It wa s > om ething most extraordinary for him to do. The re w e r e a few c onjectures express ed but' n o o n e s eem e d t o feel v e r y cert ain as to th e rea son. "Why there s Brother Bumpu s !" exclaimed t he R ev. i\fr. Elkins. as he came in s igh! of the s pot w here the old man sat sn o rin g H e app ears t o be either a s l e ep or unc o n s ciou s I do trus t tha t our w o rthy b r other i s not ill." "Why, m e rcy! he ha s a gun!" cried o ld Mrs. Riggl e s "Now, what can Brother Bumpu s be doing with a gun?"


BRAVE AND BOLD. This was too great a poser. Nobody ventured any explanation of this unlookcd.f<>r dis c.overy. Parson Elkins and half a dozen members of. his flock, who were in the lea.d of the rest, walked sl o wly up to the spot occupied by the snoi;ing deacon. Their amazement and dismay were so genuine and so evident that the rest hurried to the scene, and more than a hundred people crowded about the unconsciom1 Bumpus. The thick, soft carpet of grass so completely deadened the sounds of their footsteps that the sleeper was not awakened. "\Vhy, mercy me!'' exclaimed Miss Sophronia Scott, "do look at that gun and the poor little rabbit. I do believe that Deacon Bumpus has been hunting, and on the Lord's Day, too!" This impressoin rapidly became current. Parson Elkins looked very grave, indeed. "I trust that our brother, the deacon, can amply explain this untoward-looking circumstance," he said, sadly. "I think I will awaken him Mrs. Riggles, who had crowded into the foremost ranks of the onlookers, saw fit to interpose. "Don't ye do it, parson!" "Why not, Sister Riggles?" "Mercy! ye don't hev ter ask me that, d'ye ?" And Mrs. Riggles put two thin, sharp fingers over a nose that was also very sharp. Parson Elkins was more astonished than ever. "Be good enough to explain what you mean, Sister Riggles." "Why, goodness sakes alive, parson! ain't ye got no nose?" The minister regarded the good woman as if he feared she had taken leave of her senses. "I possess the olfactory organ, Sister Riggles, but I trust you will be good enough to point out what connection there is between that and this circumstance by which we are now con fronted." Mrs. Riggles lost all patience with this painfully obtuse pastor. "Why, goodness sakes alive, Mr. Elkins," she cried, "if ye'vi.; got a nose, jest go an' stand over this sinful old reprobate, who has allus professed to be a good brother o' the church." "Sister Riggles," expostulated the clergyman, "I trust you are not applying such language to Deac on Bumpus." "Thet's jest what I'm a-doin', parson, an' if ye'll do as I tell ye, ye'll see what I mean." The Rev. Mr. Elkins, with a very grave face, indeed, stepped forward and bent over the unconscious deacon And all that throng, scenting something even more startling than they had yet perceived,_ crowded about the spot. A very brief investigation betrayed to the pastor what had been apparent to Mrs. Riggles' sharper sense of smell at a greater distance. There were tears in the good old parson's eyes as he turned again to his flock. "Brethren," he said, in tones that faltered not a little, "for the first time in many years, I fear I have found a deacon who has been unfaithful to his trust. I sincerely hope I am mistaken, but I am almost convinced that our erring brother has not only been hunting on the Sabbath, but has even gone so far as to indulge in liquors." An awed hush. fell Ul?Oll the little flock at this terrible an nouncement. Parson Elkins stood over the deac:on, slowly shaking his head. as he put on his spectacles to hide the tears that would come to his weak, old eyes And then every one commenced to talk at once, in low tones. "I was mighty cur'us t' know what mttde the deakin go out when service wa'n't hardly begun," Mrs. Riggles admitted, with the solemn air of one who is imparting a dread secret. "I looked into the deakin s face when he \vent out, an' I must say, I never saw the deakin look that way before. He was a change

14 BRA VE AND BOLD. "Some o' you folks are drunk!" he cried. 'I kin smell the whiskey on yer breaths." "Thet's a drunken man all over!" cried Mrs. Riggles, scorn fully, holding up her hands and 'turning to the rest. "When a man's drunk, he allus accuses everybody else." The deacon heard this, and became angrier than ever. "Wlio dares t' say I'm drunk?" he roared. "I won't stay here 'nother minute said Mrs. Riggles, deci sively. "I won't have my ears insulted by any drunken man's talk." Her vi e ws were shared by many others, who followed her for some distance. Parson Elkins had been taking in the whole affair in helpless grief. Now he had laid one kindly hand upon the shoulder of the sup posed erring brother, and sa id : "Don't say any more, Brother Bttrnpus or you may be sorry for it later. I am sure you will be fully penitent when you come to your senses." "What are all ye lunatics a-drivin' at?" snarled the bewildered old man. "Say no more, brother; say no more," urged the pastor, sooth ingly. "Brother Paul and myself will see you s::ifely home." Before the deacon could protest, the pastor had taken hold of him by one arm, and Farmer Paul the other. They started along but the deacon was in anything but a pliant mood. "You'll wanter sleep off this drunk," commented Mr. Paul. "Who's drunk?" roared Bumpus, resisting weakly their attempts to lead him. "vVell, deakin, I shu'd say you was," responded the farmer. "See this?" And Mr. Paul drew from the deacon's s ide pocket the half-filled bottle of whiskey. Deacon Bumpus was so bewildered that he couldn't speak for several minutes. during which time h e was led toward home. When Deacon Bumpus did get control of his voice, he tried to protest his failure to comprehend any part of the appearances so damning against him. He offered to go before a notary public, and make oath that he had not been hunting that day, nor had a single drop of liquor passed between his lips. But Parson Elkins was mildly incredulous-Fanner Paul broadly so. In despair, the deacon gave up his pretensions of innocence, though, of course, he did not admit anything. His guides took him to his house, and left him, after urgiqg him to take to his bed and to keep to it all day. And all the rest of that Sunday the good people of Wadeville had a scandal of the first water to discuss. It was generally agreed that Deacon Moses Bumpus must stand trial before a parish meeting, and must be dis ciplined, although opini ons differed as to how severe that discipline ought' to be. As for Ben Spencer and Tom Foley, after witnessing the whole ludicrous affair from their place of concealment, they stole ti) their homes. By the following morning, Judson Foley, the blacksmith, who had been doing some deep thinking, called his son. "Tom, you and Ben Spencer played a joke upon the deac on. You might as well own up." And, after a few ineffectual protests, Tom did own up. Judson Foley told the joke to all, and by noon nearly every one in the village knew that the character of Deacon Bumpus had been vindicated, so far as drunkenness. and desecration of the Sabbath were concerned. But nearly every one agree d that the boys had played a richly deserved joke upon the old man. Deacon Bumpus thus stepped down from the pillory of public disgrace, but for many a day after that he was a butt of ridicule. And, somehow, the old man forgot one Christian duty-he never forgave the boys for the trick they had played him. CHAPTER X. FINDING TREASUJ!E TROVE. "What are you going to do this afternoon, Ben?" "I don't know, Tom." "I'm going fishing "Then I'll go with you." The best fishing in Wadeville was found where the creek crossed Farmer Paul's land. And the farmer denied any boy the privilege of fishing there, so it was a spot of general resort among anglers. On this afternoon, however, when the boys arrived, with their rods, lines and a shovel, they found themselves the only visitors t o the spot. "All of th i s land's been pretty well dug for bait," said Ben. "Suppose we dig up under that tree?" All right. You dig first, Ben, and then I'll take a turn." Ben dug for several minutes but his efforts were not rewarded b y the disco ve ry of many worms. So Tom took a tum, with no better success. Then Spencer seized the shovel once more. "We are digging a terrible hole," commented Tom. "1 Mr. Paul saw u s now, he d think we were trying to sink a mine on his land." "Hello!" muttered Ben; "what's this?" Tom was all attention as Ben prodded in the hole with the sho, el. "Only a piece of wood," Tom finally ventured. "I believe it's a box," Ben replied. "I'm going to dig it up, anyway, whatever it is." He dug energetically while Tom Foley thrust his hands into his trousers pockets and watched the work with great interest. It was a box, and evidently so old and decayed that Ben had to dig with considerable care to avoid breaking it. At last the soil about it was cleared away, and the boys carefully lifted their mysterious find out of the hole. Ben started to pry off the lid, but it needed no prying. With the first stToke or two the box fell to pieces. The boys uttered a cry of astonishment and delight. For the box was filled with dingy-looking silver coins! "Well, we are in luck," muttered Tom Foley, breathle ssly But Ben Spencer shook his head. "This doesn't belong to us, T o m." "Didn't we find it, Ben Spencer?" t "Yes, but not on our and." Tom's face fell to a doleful length. "Tha,t's so," he admitted discons o lately. "If no other owner appears, this money belongs to Mr. Paul." "I s'pose it does." "You go and find Mr. Paul, Tom. I'll stay here and watch the mon e y." of the warmth of the day, Tom Foley bounded off. It was half an hour before he came back. Farmer Paul accompanied him. "Well, Ben, Tom tells me you've made a wonderful find." "Yes, sir." much is there?"'


BRA VE AND BOLD. 15 "I don't knowr sir. I didn't want to touch it until you came." Farmer Paul seated himself on the ground, and began to sort and count the coins, while the boys looked on with breathless interest. "There's a hundred an' ninety dollars here," announced Paul, when he had finished counting. "Do you think the owner can be found?" Ben inquired. "No, I'll gamble on it he can't. The o ldest coin is dated r8o8, an' the owne r's likely been dead forty years or more. Well, boys, yere in luck.' "The money belongs to you," Ben replied. "We found it on your land." "So ye did, Ben; so ye did. But I take it ye don't know the law 'bout hidden treasure." "I don't know that I do, sir." "Vl'ell, boys, when hidden treasure's found, the law 'lows half to the o wner o' the land, an' t'other half goes to the finder.'' "Is that really the law?" Ben cried, delighted. wrhet's the law, my boy, sure's gospel." And the farmer really seemed more delighted at the boys' good luck than he did at his own. I m a-gain' to 'low you boys an even hundred for good measi1rn," he went on, and divided the money in this manner. "But suppose wt should spend this, and then an owner turned up?'" st1ggested Ben. "I'll take all the resk on thet,'' returned Paul. "Them coins are so old thet ye needn't be afraid of n1eetin' no rightful owner 'cept ourselves." The b o ys filled their pockets with their share, and the farmer did the same with his. '"We are v e ry much obliged to you," said Ben, "for being so fair as to tell us what the law is. We supposed it all belonged to you. because we found it upon your land." "An' I'm much 'bleeged t' ye, boys, for bein' square enough to come an tell me. afraid some h oys would have kept all th e money an' said nothin' bout it. But take good care o' your money boys. Ye oughter each o' ye turn your share into a good pile by the time ye reach twenty-one The boys hurrie d homeward Tom Fole y talked glibly of all that could be d o ne with his fifty dollars. Ben was silent at first. Finally, as they were nt>aring home he said: "Tom, do you know, I've been thinking a good deal about what Mr. Paul said to us You had better give up your notions of spending your money, anyway, for y our father is too sensible a man to allow you to spend fifty d o llars outright." "Now between us, we have one hundre d d o llars. Don't you think Tom, that we could mvest that amount of capital in some way that would enable us to make considerable money?" "I'd rather have a bicycle," rejoined Tom. "But see here, Tom. when we get through school, we >hall neither of us have a dollar to start in the world with, unless we contrive to earn and save while we are in school. I tell you, Tom. a fellow can start a great deal better in the world when he has some m oney to do it with." ''You're getting to be as bad as the deacon about money Tom. Well h e re's my gate. I'm goinlil' in to tell mother the news. I'll come over after supper, and we'll talk over this matter." Mrs. Spencer was, of course, delighled at Ben's luck. "But what will you do with so much money, my boy?" she inquired. "I have been thinking of that, mot11er. I think, if Tom will go in with me, that he and I can invest the money in some business that will enable us to earn more money. I should like to talk it over after supper with Mr. Foley. He's a man of good judgment in matters of business, and I think his advice would be worth something to us." Mrs. Spencer, delighted to see that her boy appreciated the ad vice of his elders, readily assented to this. After supper they walked over to the Foleys', who were near neighbors. "Good-evenin', Mrs. Spencer," said the blacksmith; "good-even in', Ben. Tom's been tdling me about the luck you two young sters had to-day. Tom has already proposed to me twenty dif ferent ways of spendin' the money, an' I haven't said 'yes' to any of them." "Are you willing, Tom, to go into a business schen1e with me?" Ben asked. "'Spose I might as well," Tom replied, disconsolately. "Pop w on't let me spend the money any way I want to." ''I don't mean to encourage him in squandering it, even if it is his money,'' the blacksmith replied, gravely "But Jet's hear of your scheme, Ben." "It is this,'' Ben answered; "I thought that Tom and myself might succeed in buying a horse and cart for one hundred dollars. My idea was for Tom and myself to start an expr s business." "I don't see that there is any demand for that kind of a busi ness in this village," Judson Foley objected, thoughtfully. ot here-no, sir; but Rutledge, the nearest big town, is eighteen miles away It is so far that people who have only small quantitie s of prodtJce to sell are obliged to sell it to Deacon Bumpus, who pays ve:y poor prices. ''Now, I think Tom and I could cart the produce to Rutledge and sell it on commission, so that we would make enough to pay for our trouble, and at the same time the people of Wadeville would realize better prices than if they sold to the deacon. "On the return trip, we could bring groceries, or provisions, or anything ,l e that the people here are now buying at the deacon's store. As he has the only store here, his charges are very high. On such stuff :!S we buy for our cu sto mers. we will charge a regular express tariff on each package. "Thu_ the people of Wadeville, by patronizing our express line, would be able to both buy and sell to better advantage than they can do at pre se nt. And we can start at first by running three trips a week." "But in a few week>,,. interjected i\Ir. Foley, "school will open, and then you can't spare the time." "I have thought of that," Ben replied. "But by fall there won't be much farm produce to go to town, and I think we can make one trip a w ee k do. We can go on Saturtlays then." Judso n Fol e y asked several questions, and raised many objec tions, but in the end he expressed approval of the scheme. "B ill Hawkins has a fairly good horse and wagon that I think he 'll sell you for a hundred,'' Mr. Foley announced. I'll see him in the morning, and see what he says.'' "Tom, do you want to go in this plan with me?" Ben asked. "Yes, I'm ready. It's a daisy, and we'll make money. After all, a bicycle wouldn't bring me any money." Hawkins was finally persuaded to part with the horse and wagon in question for a hundred dollars The two boys canvassed the village for ct1st0mers, in which they were ably assisted by Tom's father. Ben's scheme for an express line quite a stir in vVade ville. There were plenty of people who were tired of the deacon's penurious ways of doing bu iness, and these consented to give the boys a trial.


16 BRA VE AND BOLD. Early o n e morning, Ben and Tom drove out of Wadeville, with a big load of produce on the wagon, and orders for a consider able quantity of goods to be bought at Rutledge for their cus tomers. CHAPTER XI. AN ATTEMPT AT A "DICKER." "It's a-comin' to that-it's a-comin' to that. Moses Bumpus s hook his head sadly as he gave expression to this prophetic u tte rance. He was alone in his s tore. In fact, he was alone a good d ea l now a days. The new express line had carried all the cash trade away from his once prosperous store Still, Deacon Bumpus was hardly to be pitied. So far, he h a d steadfastly refused to acknowledge competition and meet it. He had had his own way so long that he could not change all at once. And the deac o n was not a poor man. While people in Wadeville could make only the vaguest esti mate of the extent of his worldly possessions, it was known to all that h e was a very "forehanded" man, who could retire from work at any time when he wished. But that was not the old man 's way. Like most ot r people who hav e been reared to unceasing hard work, he knew no other pleasures, could und erstand no other existence. As long a he reta ined his bodily health, he could b e depended upon to keep at work, striving to add more to the wealth that already far exceeded his needs. "Those b oys'll ruin me," h e groaned. The de;icon lit hi s corncob pipe, and sat down in his d eserted store to think. Not pleasant thoughts, certainly, for his face took on a scowl ing aspect. \>\' hile he was thinking thus, he he a rd two boys whistling "Thet's them, I'll bet," he muttered, an\Ze didn't und ersta nd it so," Ben repli ed. "Well, boys, what's yer figger t'sell outright, business an' all?" Ben looked i n qui rin gly ? t his chum. Tom Foley nodd e d "Go ahead Ben. I 'll stand by whatever you say." "\Veil. de a 'con," Ben wP.nt o n, deliberately. "here are our terms: for the h o r se and cart. the same price we p ai d for it-a hundre d For the goo d will of the business, three hundred m o re, four hundre d in all." T h e deacon so far forgot himself as to jump up and throw his pipe violen t l y behind the counter. "What!" he gasped. "Four hundred! Boys, are ye crazy?" "Net at all." "I won't pay it" roared the deacon, turning purple in the face. "Very well. not anxious to sell. We're clearing over sev enty -five dollars a month." "Ben Spencer," roared Bumpus, "ye're gittin' a leetle too big fer yer pants."


B RA VE AN D BOLD. Our hero made no r esponse to this vulgar taunt. "Boys, listen to me," the deacon went on, angrily. ''I'll buy ye out, business an' all, for two hundred. "The offer is respectfully declined." "Then, Ben Spencer an' Tom Foley, I'll settle ye 'nother way. Beginnin' with to-day, I'll put my prices lower'n you, if I have to sell below cost. Then ye'll lose all your customers i n a mighty short time. I'll show ye what the competition o' c<.pital can do." And the old man glared triumphantly at them, expecting to see the boys wilt under this threat. "Competition's the life of business, deacon," said Tom Foley, demurely, rising and sauntering out. Ben still kept his seat, however, and the deaco n seated himself, staring at the floor in sulky silence. Ben Spencer was silent a long time At last he gazed at the deacon intently, and asked : "V/ho am I, Deacon Bumpus? You surely know who my father and mother were." \Va s it imagination. o r did Deacon Bumpus really turn pale? "I don't know nothin'. he answered, testily. "I know how I found ye, a brat in a basket, o n my doorstep "Then why did you pay two hundred and fifty to have me adopted?" 'Jest kind-heartedness, an' now I'm sorry I q.idn't let you go t' th e workhouse." Ben saw the deaco:i would tell him nothing, and he went out, whistling a popular air that was then all the vogue, "Oh, What a Liar!" But Deacon Bumpus knew nothing of popular airs. CHAPTER XII. THE LONE HIGHWAYMAN, Deacon Bumpus was as good as his word. He took a hurried inventory of hi s stock, and marked all the price s down to astonishingly low figures. That same evening he dis played a sign outside the store which read: "ACTUALLY SELLING BELOW COST." Such an announcement could be depended upon to draw in vfstigation on the part of the Wadl':ville pe o ple. 'Wh en they went into the store they found that Deacon Bumpus was re :illy doing all he advertised. "An I'll buy produce al Rutledge figures of all who buy their goods of me," he announced. "Tryin' to nm Spencer and Foley outer the business, eh?" queri ed one customer. ''There ain't trade enough in this village for two," the deacon replied. "Competition is the life o' business, an' I mean ter have all t here is gain' here." "An' ye'll be apt t' git it, too, deakin, if ye keep yer prices where the:y a rc now." The astonishing news that Deacon Bumpus was really selling b e low the price at which the boys could buy soon had the desired effect. People can be depended upon to buy where they can buy cheap est, and Ben and Tom found their former patrons rapidly deserting them. ''The deacon's working against us for all he's worth," Tom muttered. "Yes," Ben replied. "It looks as if he's got over two-thirds of our business away from us. But we can on making small pay for the The deac o n may get discourag e d, selling at a loss, and then our chances will be improved again." But as the boys continued to do what business they could get for their express line, the de a con continued to sell at ruinous price s. '"With all the moliey I've got, I guess I can hold out longer'n two boys who ain't got no capital," he mused grimly. About this time there came a scare in Wadeville. A lone highwayman was about, a desperate fellow who took b i g ch ances to get a little money. Farmer Paul was the first to meet him. "The feller held me right up at the point of a pistol," he explained at the village. "I saw there wa'n't no chance to make a fight, so I h ad t' climb down off th' wagon an' let the feller take my pocketbook" "Anything in it?" queried a sympathetic bystande r "Forty dollars." "Whew!" "That settles it," muttered Hank Sibley "\Vhe n I'm drivin' after dark, I'm g a in to have a pistol on the seat beside me." The very next night Sibley met the h igh wayman. "He didn't give mt no show at all," Hank said, gloomily, in recounting his experience at the village store. '''Fore I knew there was any one around, he had hi s hand on my ho ss' bridle an had a pistol point e d .straight at my head. If I'd tried t' shoot, he'd filled me up with lead, so I had t' climb down off the seat, an' he got $3-40 an' a watch I paid six dollars for." ''And the pistol?" inquired Farmer Paul. "He got thet, too Hank answered, with an indesc r ibable pathos in his tone. And on still the next night another farmer was "held up" on still another road by the same daring highwayman. The consequence was that the peop l e of the village began to be afraid of going upon the outlying roads after dark. The highwayman became the one absorbing topic in Wadeville. Various plan s were discussed for entrapping-the daring fellow, but no one seemed particularly anxious to make that r isky experiment. "Boys, ye wanter be keerful," sa i d Farmer Paul, as he was helping the boys to load his produce on to the wagon one morning, for the farme wa s still among the boys' customers. "Do you mean the highwayman?" Ben inquired. "Yes, ye wanter look out thet ye meet him when ye're c omin' h ome to-night." "A pleasant prospect," commented Tom, grimly "Well, that feller ain't likely t' hurt if ye give in," Mr. Paul went on. 'But it'd be too bad if the feller made ye give up the m o ney ye'd got for the sales o' pro duce." \Ve don't have so much money about us now," Ben answered "The deacon's cut in prices has taken nearly all our trade from lls." "Still ye d on' t wanter Jose what money ye may have 'bout ye," the farmer persisted. "No, certainly not. We will keep our eyes open for the high\vayn1an." ''Ye carry some kind of a firearm, I s'pose ?" said Paul. Ben s h ook his head. 'No; I sho uldn't want to shoot th e pear devil, anyway. My dog Rover h as always gone with u before, and h e's better than a pistol; but Rov er's sick,' and I've h a d to leave him at home." "I ca n l et ye take a pi;tol Paul. "Thank you, but I don't believe J will." "Bette r take it," urged Paul. "Ye can't tell but what the feller has al ready got ye marked. Ye may meet him to-night when ye're comin' h ome." "And then he'd get the pistol as. well as our money," laughed Ben. "You remember what happened to Hank Sibley." And so, again thanking t h" farmer, Ben and Tom' drove off. "It see ms to me, Tom, that our load's getting lighter every trip we make. Our whole profit to-day won't :1mount to a dollar." "The deacon's fighting u s hard," 'tom commented, ''but I don't want to give in and stop our business." "Nor I, either/' Ben rejoined. '\Ve've got enough m o ney saved now to hoard the h o rse all winter, so, the Lord willing, we'll m ake our trips all throuc-h the winter, eYen if wc don't make a cent. You can bt sure I hat Deacon Bumpus will have to put a stop, sooner or later, to his present low prices. Then our turn will come again." Both boys were full of determination not to be driven out of the field by any competitor, of all by Deacon Bumpus. When they re ac hed Rutledge, it did not take them long to dis pose of what little produce they had to sell. And, a few minutes after that was done all their purchases for \Vadeville customers had been made. A merchant named Haight came up to Ben. "Spencer, do you carry money by your express line?" "Never haYe, sir, but we're always willing to enlarge our busi ness. H oweve r, you know there's a highwayman doing business up our way." "I see. W ll, of course, if you take the money for me you'll have to guarantee its safe delivery. Can you make good $200 iri case T intrust that amount to you?" And the merchant looked ,'earchingly at our hero. "Yes, sir," Ben answered. promptly "Betwee n our ho r se and


18 BRA VE AND wagon and what we have saved up, we could guarantee two hundred dollars." "I owe that amount to Deacon Bumpus. \Vill you take it to him, and bring me his receipt on your next trip?" "'Yes, sir; certainly. "And how mucfi do you want for it?" "Well, considering t\lf r isk, I shall have tg charge YOl\ a dQ!lar and a half. "Very well, Spencer, I'll agree to tbat. Coine in and a for the money, and be tha t you bring me the de acon's receipt the next time you come to town!" Ben receipted for the m o ney, ;rnd rec eive d it. Shortlr. after d ar!<, the found themselves slowly ascern;ling a long hill about three miles from \Vadevill, when a man jumped out from the bushes, rnvered them with a pistol and comman<;h;d them to jump to the grouncj. CHAPTER XIII. llE. MAKES A CLEVER CAPTURE. It all happened so suddenly that, if Ben Spence r had not prc vioulY upa11 the course of to be follow1;d in jus t such ;m emergency as the prt>sent o ne, h e would have had to get down off the waf,!'on and submit to being robh e d of the $zoo which had been intrustr:d to him. Toin Foley was in the road, holding his h ;mds up as high as could be desired. 'Come, young ter," said the highwayma n to Ben, "'get d own lively or I may have to hurt you." "Please don't shoot me," Ben as if badly frightened. The lone highwayman lauhod. "No knowing what I may l1a\'C to do," he r etorte d. And then, just for ;in 111stant, the hi i eyes and foll to the ground shrieking curse aftt!r curse. "You've blinde d me!" he yelled 'I meant to," was the calm rejoinder of Ben Spencer. who had leap e d to the ground and picked up the pistol which the robber had dropped. The latter continued to fill the air with curses and shrieks of agony, . He lay writhingon the gronnd, rubbing his hands into his eyes m a way that aggravated rather than allcyiate, for remernbtr that I h;ive this revolver pointed at your b:idc Tom, yo u get upon the wagon, and drive slowly. This gentlema n aud my>elf will walk alongside." The prisoner, finding himself perfectly helpiess, walked along as ordered, cursing himself roundly and leudly for ever allowing himse lf to be tahn by a tri cky boy. In this manne r they proceede d to Vladevil!e, which they reached in t l19n an hour. "Stop when we ge t to Farr:it_.s h o use, Torn directed Ben. And so they paused in front or the constable's house. Tom went to the d oo r and called out t o the constable, v\ho came to the g < !te highly incredulous. "Tom Foley tells me a yarn 'bou t ycr catchin' the highwavm:in ., said the olfa:ial. we have," Ben repl ied ":iPd here he is." T h e constable now percehed th!! prisoner standing there in the and muttered. "Well, I"ll be durned. Be yon the highway feller that's had all our folks 'fraid to drive out after d ark." "Of course i' ain't," growled the prisoner. ''How do vou know he is?" Farrar demande d of Ben. "Because he held us up," laughed the boy "That's pretty good reaso n for believing him a highwayman. i sn't it? And here's fellow's pistol that he gointed at our ht:ads." ''Thet's a likely story," sniffed the constable. "How did you get it away from him?" ,Sen narrated the circumstances of the capture, and the crai;>bed old constable's incredulity changed to admiration for Ben's cleverness. ''Hold onter the feller a minute," Ben Spencer. With that Farrar disappeared into his house, but came out a!{ain presently with a shotgun and a p;iir of handcuffs. The latter he adjusted to the prisoner's wrists. "Now, your halter off, boys; he won't get away."


BRA VE AND BOLD. 19 The constable now took charge of the handcuffed prisoner, and made him march at the muzzle of the shotgun. In this fashion they proceeded to the lockup in the basement of the town hall. Constable Farrar pushed the pris011er into the only cell and locked the door. "He.. max escape," Ben said, as they were going out. "Think so?" "Yes; he's ironed, I know, but if he can slip those handcuffs he'll break out easy enough." "I reckin not." "Why?" "Because I'm a-goin' to stand guard outside the winder all night long, an' in the mornin' I 'll take him to the county jail." "Well, we must leave you now." "Goin' to the store?" "Well, if ye see any o the folks thet's been robbed by this fell e r, send 'em up here to identify the prisoner." "I will." "A busy night," Ben commented to Tom, as they drove on to the store. "Yes. That cayenne pepper was a daisy trick. I saw you put the pack age on t he seat in Rutledge, but I thought it was a package you were bringing up for some one." N o, I bought it as a precautio11 against highwaymen, and it turned out to be very handy." "\i\f ell, I should say so." There was quite a crowd in Deacon Bumpus' store as the boys drove up They were all discussing that absoTbing to pic-the highwayman. Ben marched into the store, and went strairht up to the dea con . "Deacon, I saw Mr. Haight m Rutledge, and he gave me $200 to pay to you." "He must have been crazy!" retorted the ol d man. "Didn;t he know there was a hi ghwayman out?" "Yes; I told him so." "Well, where's the m o ney, boy?" "Deacon, w e met that highwayman." The. explosion of a bomb could not have created more excitement. Everybody crowded about the two boys. "So ye lost th e money," snarled Deaco n Bumpus. "If it takes yer last cent, Be n Spencer. ye'll have t' m a ke it g-ood to me." "Tei Mr. Haight, you mean!" Ben retorted. "It has nothing to do with you. Mr. Haight a nd myself would have had t o se ttle it if I had lost the money. But it happened that I did not. Deacon, here's your $200." And Ben triumphantly produced the roll of bills which had been intrusted to him by the Rutledge merchant. The deacon reached out both hands for the money. "Sign this receipt, first, deacon, and then I'll hand you the money." The deacon did so, and received the m011ey. "But what about that highwayman?" the old man demanded, testily. "What did ye wanter tell me a lie lik e that fer?" "It's no lie!" Ben retorted, triumphantly. And, turning to the men gathered about him, our hero announced: "Gentlemen, you'll find that highwayman in the cell under the town hall." CH APTER XIV. WADEVILLE ENJOYS A MYSTERY. Disbellef was written on nearly every face. It was incredible to these men of Wadeville that two striplings had vanq uished and captured the daring highwayman wh o had made able-bodied men timorous about driving on. lonely roads after dark. "Ye generally tell the truth, but thet's a pretty thin yarn, Ben. Spei:icer," observed one farmer. Judson Foley, who was present, eyed his so n sternly . "Tell me the truth, Tom. Did you and Ben really capture a highway robber?" "Yes, dad, that's just what we did." H

BRAVE AND BOLD. "So wot1ld I," affin:ned Hank Sibley. "Say, man, what did ye do with thet pistol ye took from me?" "What pistol?" growled the prisoner. "Ye know well enough." "V.' hat do you t<1ke me for?" "The feller who stood me up," rejoined Hank. "I'd swear to you till judgment day." "Oh, of course," wa$ the sneering answer, "ye're all ready to swear me into prison. I know what a crowd of country jay hawks is every time." "An' the country jzy-hawks kn ow what you are, too, every time," thundered Hank Sibley. "Hold on," said Farmer Pa!, "let n11! talk to him. What's yer name, prisoner?" "Find out, if you can." "Oh, you might as well tell me. That won't do you no harm. "\Veil, then, it's Bob Cricketts," was the prisoner's sullen answer, "An' what's yer business?" "That's none of your business." The village idiot, Jake, was among the curious throng. He had been g1:ntly inserting his way forward to get a look at the prisoner, though it is doubtful if the simple-minded fellow understood what it was all about. At last the simpleton worked himself into the front rank of the bystanders. He took one good, searching look at Cricketts' face, and then uttered a piercing shriek, such as only an idiot can. His eyes seemed phenomenally large, and he panted as if threat ened with a fit. "Le'me out! le'me out!" he gasped, pushing like a demon against the crowd which had gathered about him at this curious outbreak. Le'me out, le'me out! Bad man! hurt Jake! kill Jake! Le'me go, quick!" They made way for him, and the poor, p anting idiot rushed out of the lockup and fled down the stre e t as if h e fancied him self pursued by a legion of devils. So astonished was every one that, for a few moments, no word was spoken. ''Poor Jake-poor Jake!" exclaimed Dr. Todd, at last. "Of all sad afflictions, I think idiocy the greatest." "What's going to be done with me?" demanded Cricketts. "\Veil, in the mornin' ye're a-goin' o ver to jail," said Farrar. "Then ye'll have yer trial, an' after thet 1 reck'n likely enough ye'll go to State's prison." "I go to prison?" roared Cricketts; "well, if I do, there'll be the devil to pay. Somebody besides me will suffer, I c a n tell you." And he glared at the crowd in a way that was truly ferocious. Every one had satisfied his curiosity now, and so the crowd turned to go. Farrar locked the door of the cell. and resumed his sentinel duty outside the cell window. "Can nothing be done for poor Jake, doctor?" asked Ben, as they walked a way. "I don't know, my boy," responded Dr. Todd. "\!Vhen I was a young man I worked a good deal in the hospitals, and saw more or less of all kinds of lunatics. I have often resolved to investi gate Jake's case, and see if it is possible to restore his shaded faculties. "I wondered to-night, when I saw how uncontrollably Jake was frightened at sight of Cricketts, if there was anything in the past which has brought the two together. I would have asked tricketts, but he is so sullen that I do not believe he would have told me anything." The next morning all Wadeville was in a furore of excitement. Every one had heard of the captme of the highwayman, but now even more exciting news was abroad. Cricketts had escaped. "I can't imagine how he ever done it," Constable Farrar pro tested. "Ye see, 'long in the night I got taken awful hungry. _.I looked in the winder, an' I could hear the ptisoner snorin'. So I thought I'd run home an' git a bite to eat. "I wa'n't gone moren' twenty minu \!S, but when I came back the bars was wrenched off the winder, an' my man was goneclean gone. There wa'n't hide nor hair of him around. Then I run an' got Mr. Paul out o' bed, an' him an' me made a search, but we couldn't even find a trace o' the feller. It's the most cur'usest thing I ever knew." CHAPTER XV. THE DEACON'S HEART ENLARGES. Our two young friends kept resolutely to their express busineis despite the keen con-1petition of Deacon Bu!llpus, a.nd the result was that the latter began to gradually increase his prices. The prices at length becaine so nearly what they were before his startling reduction that, 0ne by one, the boys old customers rc turn

BRA VE AND BOLD. 2T The grin on Pe-ter s' face deepe11. ed as he aw th e sl i ghtly-built teacher pick lJP a ruler. 'Won't do nothing of the ort," he retorted, bluntly. "Then I shall have to use fon;e," was Simpson's quiet re s ponse. At this a roar of la.ughtel' went up from the s ch o lars. But Simspon seized Bill's hand Bill snatched his hand awa;y and struck the new teacher a flat blow on one ear that sent him staggering back. Th.en the big fell o w doubled hi fists, and as s umed a grinning defen ive. "Come on if ye wanter." Simpson "came on" with a suddenn es s 1.hat a s toni hed the j uvcnile spectators. Before Bill Peters could understand what had happened he s taggered from a blow scientifically delivered on the jngular. With a howl of ragrt the bully jumped at the little teacher, and gave three or four ponderous, hammering blows which struck nothing but the unresi sting air. Three times Peters went to earth, and not once did he s ucceed in touching his slim o pponent with his big red fists. When Bill got up for th e third time he wa obliged to confe ss even in the presence of all the boys, that he had had all he wanted. His nose was and he had all he could do to keep his left eye open. To say e1 en that the b o y were amazed would but inadequately express their feelings. Ed Saunders started to the relief of his chum But he didn't care to do it s ingle-handed. "Come on fellers," he shouted, "come on an rush the little dude outer s chooi. As he started forward, many other boys sprang to their feef. Ben Spencer was among the number, bnt he stepped quickly to the teacher's side, and cried: "Are you co11:'ards, fellows, that s o many of you rush attack one man? If you attempt that, you've got to thrash me. too ., ':Vie, too," cried T o m Foley. springing to his chum's side. That stayed the rush. Many of the boys saw the cowardice of the move, and returned t o their seats. Saunders and a few more remained on their feet, undecided. But the y had already witnessed Schoolma ster Simp s on's prowe ss, and Ben and Tom were known as two bard-fisted youths. "Return to your seals, boy ,'' comn1anded the teacher. After a moment of hesitation, they sullenly obeyed. "Not you, :.laster Peters. You may remain in fr ont of the desk." Simpson again picked up the ruler. "Hold up your hand, Peters." Bill obeyed, with very evident reluctance. \\' hack! whack! whack! "Ow!" Whack! whack! "Ow-w-w-w-w-w !" The pain at last was more than Bill Peters could bear, and, bi1r fellow though he was, he blubbered outright. "' "Return to your seat. sir!" And, ascending the platform, 1Ir. Simpson said: ''One of my accomplishments at college was boxing. I dislike to resort to force. but shall always do so when necessary to main tain discipline. I thank those scholars whose sense of fair play kept them from attacking me in a mass." After that, the work of the morning went on quietly enough. Things ran along smo o thly at school for the next month. Ben discovered that Mr. Simpson was well up in mathematics and, as this was our hero's hobby, he spent many an hour of study outside -the school with the new teacher. The express business, meanwhile, did not suffer, for every Saturday the boys made their trip. It was about this time that the then famous Barclay scheme for colonizing farmers in the Argentine Confederation began to be agitated in New England. The opportunities for growing rich in a few years on the fertile farms and ranches of that far-away South American republic were discus s ed on all ide s Even in \Vadeville a furore was created by the scheme. It was a red-letter day in the vlllage when the renowned Capt. Barclay himself came <1nd addres ed the i;>eoP,le in the lh!le t o wn hall. F o r days after little e lse was discussed in the village but the glorious possibilities of fortune in the Confe.deration. Many of the farmers decla,red their anxiety to sell their farms and emigrate at once. Even the boy s caught the fever, Ben and Tom among them. Deacon Bumpus called our hero one day into the office in the rear of his store. "Ben, I hear ye' d like t go to the Confederation?" Ben's e:ves sparkled. "Ye s d e at m, indeed I'c\ like to Of course, I don't want to give up my s tudies yet, bnt Capt. Barclay told me himself that l could easily get sixty dollars a month. down there, herding cattle, and that I'd fu1d plenty of youni college men who have gone down there to work, and that they would teach me in lei ure hours," "It's a grand scheme for a good, healthy, acti, e boy who's willin' to work,'' commenlcd the dea<;on. A n