Part 2 out of 5
"Did you see any?"
"Not exactly," said Andy, a little embarrassed; "but I heard a noise."
"Just so," said Sophia.
"Why didn't you wait till they appeared at the window, Andrew?"
"Because, ma'am, they would fire at me first. I wanted to scare 'em
"Perhaps you were right. You don't see any traces of them outside, do
"You can look for yourself, ma'am."
The two ladies went to the window, which as already explained, had
suffered from the discharge, and peered out timidly, but, of course,
saw no burglars.
"Are you sure there were any burglars, Andrew?" asked Priscilla.
"No, ma'am, I couldn't swear to it."
"Well, no harm has been done."
"Except breakin' the winder, ma'am."
"Never mind; we will have that mended to-morrow."
"Were you afraid, Andrew?" asked Miss Sophia.
"Not a bit," answered Andy, valiantly. "I ain't afraid of burglars, as
long as I have a gun. I'm a match for 'em."
"How brave he is!" exclaimed the timid lady. "We might have been
killed in our beds. I'm glad we hired him, Priscilla."
"As there is nothing more to do, we had better go to bed."
"That's a bully way to get out of a scrape," said Andy to himself, as
the ladies filed out of his chamber. "I expected they'd scold me.
Plague take the old gun--it kicks as bad as a mule. Oh, Andy, you're a
lucky boy to get off so well."
The next day Andy obtained permission to take out the gun in the
afternoon when his chores were done.
"I want to get used to it, ma'am," he said. "It kicked last night."
"Dear me, did it?" asked Sophia. "I didn't know guns kicked. What do
they kick with? They haven't got any legs."
Andy explained as well as he could what he meant by the gun's kicking,
and said it was because it had not been used for a good while, and
needed to be taken out.
"It needs exercise, just like horses, ma'am," he said.
"That is singular, Andrew," said Priscilla.
"Just so," observed her sister.
"It's a fact, ma'am," said Andy. "It gets skittish, just like
horses--but if I take it out sometimes, it'll be all right."
"Very well, you may take it, only be careful."
"Oh, I'll be careful, ma'am," said Andy, with alacrity.
"Now, I'll have some fun," he said to himself.
He found a supply of powder and some shot in the closet, and proceeded
to appropriate them.
"Come back in time for supper, Andrew," said Miss Priscilla.
"Yes, ma'am, I'm always on hand at meal times," answered our hero.
"That's because he's hungry," said Sophia, brilliantly.
"You're right, ma'am," said Andy; "my stomach always tells me when
it's supper time."
"It's as good as a watch," said Priscilla, smiling.
"And a good deal cheaper," observed Sophia, with another brilliant
Andy started up the road with his gun over his shoulder. It was his
intention after going a little distance to strike into the fields, and
make for some woods not far away, where he thought there would be a
good chance for birds or squirrels. He hadn't gone many steps before
he encountered Godfrey Preston, his antagonist of three days previous.
Now, Godfrey hadn't seen or heard anything of Andy since that day. He
had learned from his mother with great satisfaction that she had
discharged Mrs. Burke from her employment, as this, he imagined, would
trouble Andy. But of Andy himself he knew nothing, and was not aware
that he had already secured a place. When he saw our hero coming
along, his curiosity led him to stop and find out, if he could, where
he was going with the gun he carried on his shoulder, and where he
obtained it. So he looked intently at Andy, waiting for him to speak,
but Andy preferred to leave that to him.
"Whose gun is that?" asked Godfrey, in the tone of one who was
entitled to ask the question.
"Shure, it belongs to the owner," said Andy, with a smile.
"Of course, I know that," said Godfrey, impatiently. "I'm not quite a
"Not quite," repeated Andy, emphasizing the last word in a way which
made Godfrey color.
"What do you mean?" he said.
"What do I mane? It was only your words I repeated."
"Then, don't trouble yourself to repeat them--do you hear?"
"Thank you; I won't."
"You didn't tell me whose gun that is."
"No, I didn't."
"Very likely you stole it," said Godfrey, provoked.
"Maybe you'll go and tell the owner."
"How can I when you haven't told me whose it is?"
"No more I did," said Andy with apparent innocence.
"Where are you going with it?"
"Goin' out shootin'."
"So I supposed."
"Did you, now? Then what made you ask?" returned Andy.
"You are an impudent fellow," said Godfrey, provoked.
"I never am impudent to gentlemen," said Andy, pointedly.
"Do you mean to say that I am not a gentleman?" demanded the other,
"Suit yourself," said Andy, coolly.
"You're only an Irish boy."
"Shure, I knew that before. Why can't you tell me some news? I'm an
Irish boy and I'm proud of the same. I'll never go back on ould
"The Irish are a low set."
"Are they now? Maybe you never heard of Burke, the great orator."
"What of him?"
"Shure, he was an Irishman; and isn't my name Andy Burke, and wasn't
he my great-grandfather?"
"He must be proud of his great-grandson," said Godfrey, sarcastically.
"I never axed him, but no doubt you're right. But it's time I was
goin', or I shan't get any birds. Would you like to come with me?"
"No, I am particular about the company I keep."
"I'm not, or I wouldn't have invited you," said Andy, who was rather
quicker witted than his opponent.
"I should like to know where he got that gun," said Godfrey to
himself, following with his eyes the retreating figure of our hero. "I
am sure that isn't his gun. Ten to one he stole it from somebody."
But Godfrey's curiosity was not destined to be gratified that
afternoon, as it might have been if he had seen Andy turning into the
yard of the Misses Grant two hours afterward. He had not shot
anything, but he had got used to firing the gun, and was not likely to
be caught again in any such adventure as that recorded in the last
ANDY'S DEBUT AT SCHOOL
The first of September came, and with it came the opening of the fall
schools. On the first day, when Andy, at work in the yard, saw the
boys and the girls go by with their books, he felt a longing to go,
too. He knew very well that his education had been very much
neglected, and that he knew less of books than a boy of his age ought
"I wish I could go to school this term," he said to himself; "but it's
no use wishin'. Mother needs my wages, and I must keep on workin'."
The same thought had come to the Misses Grant. Andy had been in their
employ now for six weeks, and by his unfailing good humor and
readiness to oblige, had won their favor. They felt interested in his
progress, and, at the same moment that the thought referred to passed
though Andy's mind, Miss Priscilla said to her sister:
"The fall school begins to-day. There's Godfrey Preston just passed
with some books under his arm."
"I suppose Andrew would like to be going to school with other boys of
"Don't you think we could spare him to go half the day?"
"Just so," said Sophia, with alacrity.
"There isn't so much work to do now as there was in the summer, and he
could do his chores early in the morning. He could go to school in the
forenoon and work in the afternoon."
"Just so, Priscilla. Shall we give him less wages?"
"No, I think not. He needs the money to give his mother."
"Call him in and tell him," suggested Sophia.
"It will do at dinner time."
When the dinner was over, and Andy rose from the table, Miss Priscilla
introduced the subject.
"Are you a good scholar, Andrew?"
"I'm a mighty poor one, ma'am."
"Did you ever study much?"
"No, ma'am, I've had to work ever since I was so high," indicating a
point about two feet from the ground.
"Dear me," said Sophia, "you must have been very small."
"Yes, ma'am, I was very small of my size."
"I've been thinking, Andrew, that perhaps we could spare you half the
day, so that you could go to school in the forenoon--you could learn
something in three hours--should you like it?"
"Would I like it, ma'am? Wouldn't I, though? I don't want to grow up a
poor, ignorant crathur, hardly able to read and write."
"Then you can go to school to-morrow, and ask the teacher if he will
take you for half the day. You can get up early, and get your chores
done before school."
"Oh, yes, ma'am, I can do that easy."
"I think we have some schoolbooks in the house. Some years ago we had
a nephew stay with us, and go to school. I think his books are still
in the closet."
"Thank you, ma'am. It'll save me buyin', and I haven't got any money
"We shall give you the same wages, Andrew, though you will work less."
"Thank you, ma'am. You're very kind."
"Try to improve your time in school, as becomes the great-grandson of
such a distinguished orator."
"I'll try, ma'am," said Andy, looking a little queer at this allusion
to the great Edmund Burke. In fact, he was ashamed of having deceived
the kind old ladies, but didn't like now to own up to the deception
lest they should lose confidence in him. But he determined hereafter
to speak the truth, and not resort to deception.
The next morning, at twenty minutes of nine, Andy left the house
provided with books, and joyfully took his way to the schoolhouse,
which was a quarter of a mile distant. As he ascended the small hill
on which it stood, he attracted the attention of a group of boys who
had already arrived. Among them was his old adversary, Godfrey
"Is that Irish boy coming to school?" he said in a tone of disgust.
"What? Andy Burke? I hope so," said Charles Fleming, "he's a good
"He's only an Irish boy," said Godfrey, with a sneer.
"And I am only an American boy," said Charles, good-humoredly.
"You can associate with him if you want to; I shan't," said Godfrey.
"That's where I agree with you, Godfrey," said Ben Travers, who made
himself rather a toady of Godfrey's.
Andy had now come up, so that Charles Fleming did not reply, but
called out, cordially:
"Are you coming to school, Andy?"
"Yes," said Andy.
"I'm glad of it."
"Thank you," said Andy. "What's the matter with them fellows," as
Godfrey and Bill Travers walked off haughtily, tossing their heads.
Charles Fleming laughed.
"They don't think we are good enough for their company," he said.
"I'm not anxious for it," said Andy. "I like yours better."
"I didn't think you could get away from work to come to school. Are
you working for Miss Grant now?"
"Yes, but she lets me come to school half the day. She's a bully ould
"Well, half a loaf's better than no bread. Will you sit with me? I've
got no one at my desk. Say yes."
"It's just what I'd like, Charlie, but maybe Godfrey Preston wants to
sit with me. I wouldn't like to disappoint him," said Andy, with sly
"Sit with me till he invites you, then."
"That'll be a long day."
They went into the schoolhouse, and Andy deposited his books in the
desk next to Charlie Fleming's. He couldn't have wished for a better
or more agreeable companion. Charlie was the son of Dr. Fleming, the
village physician, and was a general favorite in the town on account
of his sunny, attractive manner. But, with all his affability, he was
independent and resolute, if need be. He was one of the leaders of the
school. Godfrey aspired also to be a leader, and was to some extent on
account of his father's wealth and high standing, for, as we have
seen, Colonel Preston was not like his son. Still, it is doubtful
whether anyone was much attached to Godfrey. He was too selfish in
disposition, and offensively consequential in manner, to inspire
devoted friendship. Ben Travers, however, flattered him, and followed
him about, simply because he was the son of a rich man. Such cases
occur sometimes among American schoolboys, but generally they are too
democratic and sensible to attach importance to social distinctions in
the schoolroom, or in the playground.
When the teacher--a certain Ebenezer Stone, a man of thirty or
upward--entered, Andy went up to him and asked permission to attend
school a part of the time. As there had been such cases in former
terms, no objection was offered by the teacher, and Andy went back to
his seat, a regularly admitted member of the school.
It was found necessary to put him in a low class to begin with. He was
naturally bright, but, as we know, his opportunities of learning had
been very limited, and he could not be expected to know much. But Andy
was old enough now to understand the worth of knowledge, and he
devoted himself so earnestly to study that in the course of three
weeks he was promoted to a higher class. This, however, is
When recess came, the scholars poured out upon the playround. Charles
Fleming and Godfrey Preston happened to pass out side by side.
"I see you've taken that Irish boy to sit with you," he said.
"You mean Andy Burke? Yes, I invited him to be my desk-fellow."
"I congratulate you on your high-toned and aristocratic associate,"
observed Godfrey, sarcastically.
"Thank you. I am glad to have him with me."
"I wouldn't condescend to take him into my seat."
"Nor do I. There isn't any condescension about it."
"He works for a living."
"So does my father, and so does yours. Are you going to cut your
father's acquaintance for that reason?"
"My father could live without work."
"He doesn't choose to, and that's where he shows his good sense."
"It's a different kind of work from sawing and splitting wood, and
such low labor."
"It strikes me, Godfrey, that you ought to have been born somewhere
else than in America. In this country labor is considered honorable.
You ought to be living under a monarchy."
"I don't believe in associating with inferiors."
"I don't look upon Andy Burke as my inferior," said Charlie. "He is
poor, to be sure, but he is a good fellow, and helps support his
mother and sister, as I would do in his place."
"Charlie Fleming," was heard from the playground, "come and choose up
Without waiting for an answer, Charlie ran to the field alongside the
schoolhouse, where the game was to take place.
A GAME OF BALL
"Come here," said Conrad Fletcher; "come here, Charlie, and choose up
for a game. We must make haste, or recess will be over."
"All right, Conrad."
The first choice devolved upon Conrad. He chose Ephraim Pinkham, noted
as a catcher.
"I take Elmer Rhodes," said Charlie.
"John Parker," said Conrad.
"Godfrey Preston," was Conrad's next choice.
"Can you play, Andy?" asked Charlie.
"Yes," said Andy.
"Then, I take you."
"I've a good mind to resign," said Godfrey, in a low voice, to Ben
Travers. "I don't fancy playing with that Irish boy."
However, he was too fond of playing to give up his place,
notwithstanding his antipathy to Andy.
Charlie Fleming's side went in first, and Charlie himself went to the
bat. The pitcher was Godfrey. He was really a fair pitcher, and
considered himself very superior. Charlie finally succeeded in hitting
the ball, but rather feebly, and narrowly escaped losing his first
base. He saved it, however.
Next at the bat was Elmer Rhodes. He hit one or two fouls, but not a
fair ball. Finally he was put out on three strikes; meanwhile,
however, Charlie Fleming got round to third base. Henry Strauss
succeeded in striking the ball, but it was caught by center field,
rapidly sent to first base, before Henry could reach it, then thrown
to the catcher in time to prevent Charlie Fleming from getting in. He
ran half-way to home base, but seeing his danger, ran back to third
base. Next Andy took the bat.
"Knock me in, Andy," called out Charlie Fleming.
"All right" said Andy, quietly.
"Not if I can prevent it," said Godfrey to himself, and he determined
by sending poor balls, to get our hero out on three strikes. The first
ball, therefore, he sent about six feet to the right of the batter.
Andy stood in position, but, of course, was far too wise to attempt
hitting any such ball. The next ball went several feet above his head.
Of this, too, he took no notice. The third would have hit him if he
had not dodged.
"Why don't you knock at the balls?" asked Godfrey.
"I will, when you give better ones," said Andy, coolly.
"I don't believe you know how to bat," said Godfrey, with a sneer.
"I don't believe you know how to pitch," returned Andy.
"How's that?" sending another ball whizzing by his left ear.
"I want them waist-high," said Andy. "My waist is about two feet lower
than my ears."
Godfrey now resolved to put in a ball waist-high, but so swiftly that
Andy could not hit it; but he had never seen Andy play. Our hero had a
wonderfully quick eye and steady hand, and struck the ball with such
force to left field, that not only Charlie Fleming got in, without
difficulty, but Andy himself made a home run.
"That's a splendid hit," exclaimed Charlie, with enthusiasm. "I didn't
think you could play so well."
"I've played before to-day," said Andy, composedly. "I told you I
would get you in, and I meant what I said."
Godfrey looked chagrined at the result. He meant to demonstrate that
Andy was no player, but had only contributed to his brilliant success;
for, had he not sent in so swift a ball, the knock would not have been
As there were but six on a side, two outs were considered all out.
"Who will catch?" asked Charlie Fleming; "I want to pitch."
"I will," said Andy.
"All right! If you can catch as you can bat, we'll cut down their
Andy soon showed that he was no novice at catching. He rarely let a
ball pass him. When Godfrey's turn came to bat, one was already out,
and Andy determined to put Godfrey out if it was a possible thing. One
strike had been called, when Godfrey struck a foul which was almost
impossible to catch. But now Andy ran, made a bound into the air, and
caught it--a very brilliant piece of play, by which Godfrey and his
side were put out. The boys on both sides applauded, for it was a
piece of brilliant fielding which not one of them was capable of. That
is, all applauded but Godfrey. He threw down his bat spitefully, and
said to Fleming:
"You didn't give me good balls."
"I gave you much better than you gave Andy," said Charlie.
"That's so!" chimed in two other boys.
"I won't play any more," said Godfrey.
Just then the bell rang, so that the game was brought to a close. Andy
received the compliments of the boys on his brilliant playing. He
received them modestly, and admitted that he probably couldn't make
such a catch again. It was very disagreeable to Godfrey to hear Andy
praised. He was rather proud of his ball-playing, and he saw that Andy
was altogether his superior, at any rate in the opinion of the boys.
However, he ingeniously contrived to mingle a compliment with a sneer.
"You're more used to baseball than to books," he said.
"True for you," said Andy.
"You're a head taller than any of the boys in your class."
"I know that," said Andy. "I haven't been to school as much as you."
"I should be ashamed if I didn't know more."
"So you ought," said Andy, "for you've been to school all your life. I
hope to know more soon."
"Anyway, you can play ball," said Charlie Fleming.
"I'd rather be a good scholar."
"I'll help you, if you want any help."
"Thank you, Charlie."
They had now entered the schoolroom, and Andy took up his book and
studied hard. He was determined to rise to a higher class as soon as
possible, for it was not agreeable to him to reflect that he was the
oldest and largest boy in his present class.
"Very well," said the teacher, when his recitation was over. "If you
continue to recite in this way, you will soon be promoted."
"I'll do my best, sir," said Andy, who listened to these words with
"I wish you were coming in the afternoon, too, Andy," said his friend,
Charlie Fleming, as they walked home together.
"So do I, Charlie, but I must work for my mother."
"That's right, Andy; I'd do the same in your place. I haven't such
foolish ideas about work as Godfrey Preston."
"He ain't very fond of me," said Andy, laughing.
"No; nor of anybody else. He only likes Godfrey Preston."
"We got into a fight the first day I ever saw him."
"What was it about?"
"He called my mother names, and hit me. So I knocked him flat."
"You served him right. He's disgustingly conceited. Nobody likes him."
"Ben Travers goes around with him all the time."
"Ben likes him because he is rich. If he should lose his property,
you'd see how soon he would leave him. That isn't a friend worth
"I've got one consolation," said Andy, laughing; "nobody likes me for
"But someone likes you for yourself, Andy," said Charlie.
"Myself, to be sure."
"And I like you as much, Charlie," said Andy, warmly. "You're ten
times as good a fellow as Godfrey."
"I hope so," said Charlie. "That isn't saying very much, Andy."
So the friendship was cemented, nor did it end there. Charlie spoke of
Andy's good qualities at home, and some time afterward Andy was
surprised by an invitation to spend the evening at Dr. Fleming's. He
felt a little bashful, but finally went--nor was he at all sorry for
so doing. The whole family was a delightful one, and Andy was welcomed
as a warm friend of Charlie's, and, in the pleasant atmosphere of the
doctor's fireside, he quite forgot that there was one who looked down
upon him as an inferior being.
Dr. Fleming had himself been a poor boy. By a lucky chance--or
Providence, rather--he had been put in the way of obtaining an
education, and he was not disposed now, in his prosperity, to forget
his days of early struggle.
Andy found that, in spite of the three hours taken up at school, he
was able to do all that was required of him by the Misses Grant. They
were glad to hear of his success at school, and continued to pay him
five dollars a week for his services. This money he regularly carried
to his mother, after paying for the new clothes, of which he stood so
much in need.
A LITTLE DIFFICULTY
It has already been said that Godfrey Preston was a conceited and
arrogant boy. He had a very high idea of his own importance, and
expected that others would acknowledge it; but he was not altogether
successful. He would like to have had Andy Burke look up to him as a
member of a superior class, and in that case might have condescended
to patronize him, as a chieftain might in the case of a humble
retainer. But Andy didn't want to be patronized by Godfrey. He never
showed by his manner that he felt beneath him socially, and this
greatly vexed Godfrey.
"His mother used to iron at our house," he said to Ben Travers one
day; "but my mother discharged her. I don't see why the boys treat him
as an equal. I won't, for my part."
"Of course, he isn't your equal," said the subservient Ben. "That's a
"He acts as if he was," said Godfrey, discontentedly.
"It's only his impudence."
"You are right," said Godfrey, rather liking this explanation. "He is
one of the most impudent boys I know. I wish my father would send me
to a fashionable school, where I shouldn't meet such fellows. That's
the worst of these public schools--you meet all sorts of persons in
"Of course you do."
"I suppose this Burke will be a hod-carrier, or something of that
kind, when he is a man."
"While you are a member of Congress."
"Very likely," said Godfrey, loftily; "and he will claim that he was
an old schoolmate of mine. It is disgusting."
"Of course it is. However, we needn't notice him."
"I don't mean to."
But in the course of the next week there was an occurrence which
compelled Godfrey to "notice" his detested schoolfellow.
Among the scholars was a very pleasant boy of twelve, named Alfred
Parker. He was the son of a poor widow, and was universally liked for
his amiable and obliging disposition. One morning, before school, he
was engaged in some game which required him to run. He accidentally
ran against Godfrey, who was just coming up the hill, with
considerable force. Now, it was very evident that it was wholly
unintentional; but Godfrey was greatly incensed.
"What do you mean by that, you little scamp?" he exclaimed, furiously.
"Excuse me, Godfrey; I didn't mean to run into you."
"That don't go down."
"Indeed, I didn't. I didn't see you."
"I can't help it. You ought to have been more careful. Take that, to
make you more careful."
As he said this, he seized him by the collar, and, tripping him, laid
him flat on his back.
"For shame, Godfrey!" said another boy standing by; but as it was a
small boy, Godfrey only answered:
"If you say that again, I'll serve you the same way."
Alfred tried to get up, but Godfrey put his knee on his breast.
"Let me up, Godfrey," said Alfred, piteously. "I can't breathe. You
"I'll teach you to run into me," said the bully.
"I didn't mean to."
"I want to make sure of your not doing it again."
"Do let me up," said Alfred.
In return, Godfrey only pressed more heavily, and the little fellow
began to cry. But help was near at hand. Andy Burke happened to come
up the hill just then, and saw what was going on. He had a natural
chivalry that prompted him always to take the weaker side. But besides
this, he liked Alfred for his good qualities, and disliked Godfrey for
his bad ones. He did not hesitate a moment, therefore, but ran up,
and, seizing Godfrey by the collar with a powerful grasp, jerked him
on his back in the twinkling of an eye. Then, completely turning the
tables, he put his knee on Godfrey's breast, and said:
"Now, you know how it is yourself. How do you like it?"
"Let me up," demanded Godfrey, furiously.
"That's what Alfred asked you to do," said Andy, coolly. "Why didn't
you do it?"
"Because I didn't choose," answered the prostrate boy, almost foaming
at the mouth with rage and humiliation.
"Then I don't choose to let you up."
"You shall suffer for this," said Godfrey, struggling, but in vain.
"Not from your hands. Oh, you needn't try so hard to get up. I can
hold you here all day if I choose."
"You're a low Irish boy!"
"You're lower than I am just now," said Andy.
"Let me up."
"Why didn't you let Alfred up?"
"He ran against me."
"Did he mean to?"
"No, I didn't, Andy," said Alfred, who was standing near. "I told
Godfrey so, but he threw me over, and pressed on my breast so hard
that it hurt me."
"In this way," said Andy, increasing the pressure on his prostrate
Godfrey renewed his struggles, but in vain.
"Please let him up now, Andy," said Alfred, generously.
"If he'll promise not to touch you any more, I will."
"I won't promise," said Godfrey. "I won't promise anything to a low
"Then you must feel the low beggar's knee," said Andy.
"You wouldn't have got me down if I had been looking. You got the
advantage of me."
"Did I? Well, then, I'll give you a chance."
Andy rose to his feet, and Godfrey, relieved from the pressure, arose,
too. No sooner was he up than he flew like an enraged tiger at our
hero, but Andy was quite his equal in strength, and, being cool, had
The result was that in a few seconds he found himself once more on his
"You see," said Andy, "it isn't safe for you to attack me. I won't
keep you down any longer, but if you touch Alfred again, I'll give you
Godfrey arose from the ground, and shook his fist at Andy.
"I'll make you remember this," he said.
"I want you to remember it yourself," said Andy.
Godfrey didn't answer, but made his way to the schoolroom, sullenly.
"Thank you, Andy," said Alfred, gratefully, "for saving me from
Godfrey. He hurt me a good deal."
"He's a brute," said Andy, warmly. "Don't be afraid of him, Alfred,
but come and tell me if he touches you again. I'll give him something
he won't like."
"You must be very strong, Andy," said the little boy, admiringly. "You
knocked him over just as easy."
"Did you ever know an Irish boy that couldn't fight?" he asked. "I'm
better with my fists than with my brains, Alfred."
"That's because you never went to school much. You're getting on fast,
"I'm tryin', Alfred," he said. "It's a shame for a big boy like me not
to know as much as a little boy like you."
"You'll soon get ahead of me, Andy."
Meanwhile Godfrey had taken his place in school, feeling far from
comfortable. He was outraged by the thought that Andy, whom he
regarded as so much beneath him, should have had the audacity to throw
him down, and put his knees on his breast. It made him grind his teeth
when he thought of it. What should he do about it? He wanted to be
revenged in some way, and he meant to be.
Finally he decided to report Andy to the teacher, and, if possible,
induce him to punish him.
"The teacher knows that my father's a man of influence," he said to
himself. "He will believe me before that ragamuffin. If he don't, I'll
try to get him turned away."
When, therefore, the bell rang for recess, and the rest of the
scholars hurried to the playground, Godfrey lingered behind. He waited
till all the boys were gone, and then went up to the teacher.
"Well, Godfrey, what is it?" asked the master.
"Mr. Stone, I want to make a complaint against Andrew Burke," said
"What has he done?"
"He is a brute," said Godfrey, in an excited manner. "He dared to come
up behind my back before school began, and knock me down. Then he put
his knee on my chest, and wouldn't let me up."
"What made him do it?"
"He knows I don't like him, and am not willing to associate with him."
"Was that all the reason?" asked the teacher, keenly.
"I suppose so," said Godfrey.
"I was not aware that Andy Burke was quarrelsome," said the teacher.
"He behaves well in school."
"Because he knows he must."
"Very well; I will inquire into the matter after recess."
Godfrey went back to his seat, triumphant. He didn't doubt that his
enemy would be severely punished.
Having made his complaint, Godfrey waited impatiently for the recess
to close, in order that he might see retribution fall upon the head of
Andy. He had not long to wait. Meanwhile, however, he was missed in
"Where's Godfrey?" asked one of the boys.
"He don't want to come out. He got a licking from Andy Burke."
"I ain't much sorry. It'll cure him of some of his airs."
"I don't know about that. It comes natural to him to put on airs."
"If anybody has insulted Godfrey," remarked Ben Travers, his toady,
"he had better look out for himself."
"Do you hear that, Andy? Ben Travers says you must look out for
"Who's goin' to punish me?" asked Andy. "If it's Ben, let him come
But Ben showed no disposition to "come on." He could talk and
threaten, but when words were to be succeeded by blows he never was on
hand. In fact he was a coward, and ought to have kept quiet, but it is
just that class that are usually most noisy.
Andy had no idea that Godfrey would complain to the teacher in a
matter where he was so clearly in the wrong, nor would he if he had
not relied upon his father's position to carry him through.
"Mr. Stone is a poor man," he thought, "and he won't dare to take the
part of a low Irish boy against the only son and heir of Colonel
Preston. He knows on which side his bread is buttered, and he won't be
such a fool as to offend my father."
While he said this he knew that it was very doubtful whether his
father would espouse his cause, but then Mr. Stone would probably
suppose he would, which would answer the same purpose on the present
When Andy re-entered the schoolroom with the rest of the boys at the
termination of recess, he saw Godfrey in his seat. The latter darted
at him a glance of malicious triumph.
When the noise of entering was over, Mr. Stone said:
"Andrew Burke, come forward!"
Considerably surprised, Andy came forward, and looked up with a modest
self-possession into the teacher's face.
"A complaint has been entered against you, Andrew," Mr. Stone began.
"What is it, sir?" asked Andy.
"You are charged by Godfrey Preston with violently assaulting and
throwing him down, just before school commenced. Is this true?"
"Yes, sir," answered Andy, promptly.
"You are charged with kneeling down upon him, and preventing his
"That is true," said Andy, quite composedly.
"I am surprised that you should have acted in this manner," said Mr.
Stone. "I did not think you quarrelsome or a bully."
"I hope I am not," said Andy. "Did Godfrey tell you why I knocked him
"He said it was because he would not associate with you."
"I hope you'll excuse my laughing, sir," he said, respectfully; "but
I'd rather associate with any of the boys than with Godfrey. I like
him least of all."
"Then, that is the reason you attacked him, is it?"
"Then, what was it?"
"If you don't mind, sir, I'd like to have you ask Alfred Parker."
"Alfred Parker," called out the teacher, "come forward."
"Do you know why Andrew attacked Godfrey Preston?"
"Yes, sir; it was on my account."
"On your account! Explain."
"This morning, before school, I was playing with another boy, and
accidentally ran into Godfrey. He got mad, and threw me over
violently. Then he pressed his knee on my breast till I could hardly
breathe. I begged him to let me up, but he would not, though he knew
that it was only an accident. While I was lying on the ground, Andy
Burke came up. He no sooner saw me than he ran up, and threw Godfrey
off, and got on him in the same manner, and I think he served him
As he uttered these last words, Godfrey scowled ominously, but Andy's
face brightened up. He was glad that Alfred was brave enough to speak
up for him.
"This alters the case considerably," said the teacher. "Is there any
other boy who witnessed the affair, and can substantiate what has been
said? If so, let him raise his hand."
Herman Reynolds raised his hand.
"Well, Herman, what do you know about it? Were you present?"
"Yes, sir, I was. It was just as Alfred said it was."
"What have you to say, Godfrey?" asked Mr. Stone, sternly.
"I don't mean to be insulted by an Irish boy," said Godfrey,
"Remember where you are, sir, and speak in a more becoming manner. Did
you attack Alfred Parker, as he says?"
"He had no business to run into me."
"Answer my question."
"Yes, I did."
"And did you kneel on his breast?"
"Oblige me by saying, 'Yes, sir.'"
"Yes, sir," said Godfrey, reluctantly.
"Why do you complain, then, of being treated in a similar manner by
"He has no business to touch me."
"If he had not interfered when he saw you maltreating his young
schoolfellow, I should have been ashamed of him," said the teacher.
This so far chimed in with the sentiment of the boys that they almost
involuntarily applauded; and one boy, arising, exclaimed:
"Three cheers for the teacher!"
The three cheers were given with a will, and, though they were,
strictly speaking, out of order, Mr. Stone was a sensible man, and the
only notice he took of it was to say:
"Thank you, boys. I am glad to find that you agree with me on this
point, and that your sympathies are with the weak and oppressed.
Godfrey Preston, your complaint is dismissed. I advise you to cease
acting the part of a bully, or you may get another similar lesson.
Andrew, when you exert your strength, I hope it will always be in as
just a cause. You may take your seat, and you also, Alfred."
The boys would have applauded again, but Mr. Stone said, waving his
"Once is enough, boys. Time is precious, and we must now go on with
our lessons. First class in arithmetic."
Godfrey had been equally surprised and angry at the turn that affairs
had taken. He was boiling with indignation, and nervously moved about
in his seat. After a slight pause, having apparently taken his
determination, he took his cap, and walked toward the door.
Mr. Stone's attention was drawn to him.
"Where are you going, Godfrey?" he demanded, quickly.
"Home," said Godfrey.
"You will wait till the end of school."
"I would rather not, sir."
"It makes no difference what you would rather do, or rather not do.
Are you sick?"
"Then you have no good cause for leaving, and I shall not permit you
to do so."
"I have been insulted, sir, and I don't wish to stay."
"By whom?" demanded the teacher, sharply.
Godfrey would like to have said, "By you," but he saw the teacher's
keen eye fixed upon him, and he didn't dare to do it. He hesitated.
"By whom?" repeated Mr. Stone.
"By Andrew Burke."
"That is no good reason for your leaving school, or would not be, if
it were true, but it is not. He has only meted out to you the same
punishment you undertook to inflict upon a smaller boy. Take your
"My father will take me away from school," said Godfrey, angrily.
"We shall none of us mourn for your absence. Take your seat."
This last remark of the teacher still further incensed Godfrey, and
led him temporarily to forget himself. Though he had been bidden to
take his seat, he resolved to leave the schoolroom, and made a rush
for the door. But Mr. Stone was there before him. He seized Godfrey by
the collar and dragged him, shaking him as he proceeded, to his seat,
on which he placed him with some emphasis.
"That is the way I treat rebels," he said. "You forget yourself,
Preston. The next time you make up your mind to resist my commands,
count in advance on a much severer lesson."
Godfrey was pale with passion, and his hands twitched convulsively. He
only wished he had Mr. Stone in his power for five minutes. He would
treat him worse than he did Alfred Parker. But a boy in a passion is
not a very pleasant spectacle. It is enough to say that Godfrey was
compelled to stay in school for the remainder of the forenoon. As soon
as he could get away, he ran home, determined to enlist his mother in
MR. STONE IS CALLED TO ACCOUNT
At home Godfrey gave a highly colored narrative of the outrageous
manner in which he had been abused, for so he chose to represent it.
He gave this account to his mother, for his father was not at home.
Indeed, he was absent for a day or two in a distant city.
Mrs. Preston was indignant.
"It is an outrage, Godfrey," she said, compressing her thin lips. "How
did Mr. Stone dare to treat you in this way?"
"I was surprised, myself," said Godfrey.
"Had he no more respect for your father's prominent position?"
"It looks as if he didn't."
"He is evidently unfit to keep the school. I shall try to persuade
your father to have him turned away."
"I wish he might be," said Godfrey. "It would teach him to treat me
with proper respect. Anybody would think that Irish boy was the son of
the most important man in town."
Both Godfrey and his mother appeared to take it for granted that a
teacher should treat his pupils according to their social position.
This is certainly very far from proper, as all my youthful readers
will, I hope, agree.
"I don't want to go back to school this afternoon, mother," said
"I don't wonder," said his mother. "I will tell you what I will do. I
will send a letter to Mr. Stone by you, asking him to call here this
evening. I will then take occasion to express my opinion of his
"That's good, mother," said Godfrey, joyfully.
He knew that his mother had a sharp tongue, and he longed to hear his
mother "give it" to the teacher whom he hated.
"Then, you think I had better go to school this afternoon?"
"Yes, with the note. If Mr. Stone does not apologize, you need not go
to-morrow. I will go upstairs and write it at once."
The note was quickly written, and, putting it carefully in his inside
pocket, Godfrey went to school. As he entered the schoolroom he
stepped up to the desk and handed the note to Mr. Stone.
"Here is a note from my mother," he said, superciliously.
"Very well," said the teacher, taking it gravely.
As it was not quite time to summon the pupils, he opened it at once.
This was what he read:
"MR. STONE: Sir--My son Godfrey informs me that you have
treated him in a very unjust manner, for which I find it
impossible to account. I shall be glad if you can find time
to call at my house this evening, in order that I may hear
from your lips an explanation of the occurrence. Yours, in
"Preston," said Mr. Stone, after reading this note, "you may say to
your mother that I will call this evening."
He did not appear in the least disturbed by the contents of the note
he had received from the richest and--in her own eyes--the most
important lady in the village. In fact, he had a large share of
self-respect and independence, and was not likely to submit to
browbeating from anyone. He tried to be just in his treatment of the
scholars under his charge, and if he ever failed, it was from
misunderstanding or ignorance, not from design. In the present
instance he felt that he had done right, and resolved to maintain the
justice of his conduct.
Nothing of importance occurred in the afternoon. Godfrey was very
quiet and orderly. He felt that he could afford to wait. With
malicious joy, he looked forward to the scolding Mr. Stone was to get
from his mother.
"He won't dare to talk to her," he said to himself. "I hope she'll
make him apologize to me. He ought to do it before the school."
Evidently Godfrey had a very inadequate idea of the teacher's pluck,
if he thought such a thing possible.
School was dismissed, and Godfrey went home. He dropped a hint to Ben
Travers, that his mother was going "to haul Mr. Stone over the coals,"
as he expressed it.
"Are you going to be there?" asked Ben, when Godfrey had finished.
"Yes," said Godfrey. "It'll be my turn then."
"Perhaps Mr. Stone will have something to say," said Ben, doubtfully.
"He won't dare to," said Godfrey, confidently. "He knows my father
could get him kicked out of school."
"He's rather spunky, the master is," said Ben, who, toady as he was,
understood the character of Mr. Stone considerably better than Godfrey
"I'll tell you all about it to-morrow morning," said Godfrey.
"I expect he'll apologize to me for what he did."
"Maybe he will," answered Ben, but he thought it highly improbable.
"Did you give my note to Mr. Stone?" asked his mother.
"What did he say?"
"He said he'd come around."
"How did he appear?"
"He looked a little nervous," said Godfrey, speaking not according to
facts, but according to his wishes.
"I thought so," said Mrs. Preston, with a look of satisfaction. "He
will find that he has made a mistake in treating you so outrageously."
"Give it to him right and left, mother," said Godfrey, with more force
"You might express yourself more properly, my son," said Mrs. Preston.
"I shall endeavor to impress upon his mind the impropriety of his
At half-past seven, Mr. Stone rang the bell at Mrs. Preston's door,
and was ushered in without delay.
"Good-evening, Mrs. Preston," he said, bowing. "Your son brought me a
note this afternoon, requesting me to call. I have complied with your
"Be seated, Mr. Stone," said the lady frigidly, not offering her hand.
"Thank you," said the teacher, with equal ceremony, and did as
"I suppose you can guess the object of my request," said Mrs. Preston.
"I think you stated it in your note."
"I desire an explanation of the manner in which you treated my son
this forenoon, Mr. Stone."
"Pardon me, madam; your son is in the room."
"I decline discussing the matter before him."
"I cannot understand why you should object to his presence."
"I am his teacher, and he is subject to my authority. You apparently
desire to find fault with the manner in which I have exercised that
authority. It is improper that the discussion upon this point should
take place before him."
"May I stay in the room, mother?" asked Godfrey, who was alarmed lest
he should miss the spectacle of Mr. Stone's humiliation.
"I really don't see why not," returned his mother.
"Madam," said Mr. Stone, rising, "I will bid you good-evening."
"What, sir; before we have spoken on the subject?"
"I distinctly decline to speak before your son, for the reasons
"This is very singular, sir. However, I will humor your whims.
Godfrey, you may leave the room."
"Can't I stay?"
"I am compelled to send you out."
Godfrey went out, though with a very ill grace.
"Now, madam," said the teacher, "I have no objection to telling you
that I first reprimanded your son for brutal treatment of a younger
schoolmate, and then forcibly carried him back to his seat, when he
endeavored to leave the schoolroom without my permission."
It was Mrs. Preston's turn to be surprised. She had expected to
overawe the teacher, and instead of that found him firmly and
independently defending his course.
"Mr. Stone," she said, "my son tells me that you praised an Irish boy
in your school for a violent and brutal assault which he made upon
"I did not praise him for that. I praised him for promptly interfering
to prevent Godfrey from abusing a boy smaller and younger than
"Godfrey had good cause for punishing the boy you refer to. He acted
"He has doubtless misrepresented the affair to you, madam, as he did
"You take this Andrew Burke's word against his?"
"I form my judgment upon the testimony of an eyewitness, and from what
I know of your son's character."
"From your own statement, this low Irish boy----"
"To whom do you refer, madam?"
"To the Irish boy."
"I have yet to learn that he is low."
"Do you mean to compare him with my son?"
"In wealth, no. Otherwise, you mustn't blame me for saying that I hold
him entirely equal in respectability, and in some important points his
"Really, sir, your language is most extraordinary."
At this moment there was an interruption. Godfrey had been listening
at the keyhole, but finding that difficult, had opened the door
slightly, but in his interest managed to stumble against it. The door
flew open, and he fell forward upon his knees on the carpet of the
MRS. PRESTON'S DISCOMFITURE
Godfrey rose to his feet, red with mortification. His mother looked
disconcerted. Mr. Stone said nothing, but glanced significantly from
Godfrey to Mrs. Preston.
"What is the matter, Godfrey?" she asked, rather sharply.
"It was an accident," said Godfrey, rather sheepishly.
"You can go out and shut the door, and take care not to let such an
accident happen again. For some unknown reason, Mr. Stone prefers that
you should not be present, and, therefore, you must go."
For once, Godfrey found nothing to say, but withdrew in silence.
"You appear to have formed a prejudice against Godfrey, Mr. Stone,"
said Mrs. Preston.
"I may have formed an unfavorable judgment of him on some points,"
said the teacher. "I judge of him by his conduct."
"To say that Andrew Burke is his superior is insulting to him and his
family, as well as ludicrous."
"I beg pardon, Mrs. Preston, but I must dissent from both your
statements. Andrew Burke possesses some excellent qualities in which
Godfrey is deficient."
"He is a poor working boy."
"He is none the worse for that."
"He should remember his position, and treat my son with proper
"I venture to say that Godfrey will receive all the respect to which
he is entitled. May I ask if you expect him to be treated with
deference, because his father is richer than those of the other boys?"
"It seems to me only proper."
"Do you expect me to treat him any better on that account?"
"I think my son's social position should command respect."
"Then, Mrs. Preston, I entirely disagree with you," said Mr. Stone,
firmly. "As a teacher, I have nothing whatever to do with the social
position of the children who come to me as pupils. From me a poor boy
will receive the same instruction, and the same treatment precisely as
the son of rich parents. If he behaves as he should, he will always
find in me a friend, as well as a teacher. Your son Godfrey shall have
no just complaint to make of my treatment. I will give him credit for
good conduct and faithful study, but no more than to Andrew Burke, or
to any other pupil under the same circumstances."
"Mr. Stone, I am surprised at your singular style of talking. You wish
to do away with all social distinctions."
"I certainly do, madam, in my schoolroom, at least. There must be
social differences, I am aware. We cannot all be equally rich or
honored, but whatever may be the world's rule, I mean to maintain
strict impartiality in my schoolroom."
"Will you require Andy Burke to apologize to Godfrey?"
"Why should I?"
"For his violent assault upon him."
"Certainly not. He was justified in his conduct."
"If my son was doing wrong, the Irish boy, instead of interfering,
should have waited till you came, and then reported the matter to
"And, meanwhile, stood by and seen Alfred Parker inhumanly treated?"
"I presume the matter has been greatly exaggerated."
"I do not, madam."
"Do I understand that you decline to make reparation to my son?"
"Reparation for what?"
"For the manner in which he has been treated."
"I must have talked to little purpose, if I have not made it clear
that your son has only received his deserts. Of course, he is entitled
to no reparation, as you term it."
"Then, Mr. Stone," said Mrs. Preston, her thin lips compressed with
indignation, "since Godfrey cannot meet with fair treatment, I shall
be compelled to withdraw him from your school."
"That must be as you please, madam," said the teacher, quite unmoved
by the threatened withdrawal of his richest pupil.
"I shall report to Colonel Preston your treatment of his son."
"I have no objection, madam."
"You are pursuing a very unwise course in alienating your wealthiest
"I have no patrons, madam," said Mr. Stone, proudly. "I return
faithful service for the moderate wages I receive, and the obligation,
if there is any, is on the part of those whose children I instruct."
"Really," thought Mrs. Preston, "this man is very independent for a
She resolved upon another shot, not in the best of taste.
"You must not be surprised, Mr. Stone," she said, "if the school
trustees refuse to employ you again."
"You mistake me utterly," said the teacher, with dignity, "if you
suppose that any such threat or consideration will make me swerve from
my duty. However, though I did not propose to mention it, I will state
that this is the last term I shall teach in this village. I have been
engaged at double the salary in a neighboring city."
Mrs. Preston was disappointed to hear this. It was certainly vexatious
that the man who had treated her son with so little consideration, who
had actually taken the part of a working boy against him, should be
promoted to a better situation. She had thought to make him feel that
he was in her power, but she now saw that her anticipations were not
to be realized.
As she did not speak, Mr. Stone considered the interview closed, and
"Good-evening, Mrs. Preston," he said.
"Good-evening, sir," she responded, coldly.
He bowed and withdrew.
When Godfrey, who was not far off, though he had not thought it best
to play the part of eavesdropper again, heard the door close, he
hurried into the room.
"Well, mother, what did he say?" he inquired, eagerly.
"He obstinately refused to make any reparation to you."
"Did you tell him what you thought of his treatment of me?" said
Godfrey, rather surprised that his mother's remonstrance had produced
no greater effect.
"Yes, I expressed my opinion very plainly. I must say that he's a very
impudent man. The idea of a poor teacher putting on such airs!"
continued Mrs. Preston, tossing her head.
"What did he say?"
"That that Irish boy was superior to you."
"I'd like to knock him over," said Godfrey, wrathfully.
Mrs. Preston was a lady, and it is not to be supposed that she should
join in her son's wish. Still, it did not occur to her that she should
mourn very much if Mr. Stone met with a reverse. She would like to see
his pride humbled, not reflecting that her own was greater and less
"You ought to have told him that he would lose his school," said
Godfrey. "That would have frightened him, for he is a poor man, and
depends on the money he gets for teaching."
"He is not going to teach here after this term."
"Good! Did he tell you that?"
"He is afraid of me, after all."
"You are mistaken, Godfrey. He is offered considerably higher pay in
Godfrey's countenance fell. It was as disagreeable to him as to his
mother to learn that Mr. Stone was to be promoted in his profession.
"Shall I have to go to school again, mother?" he asked, after a pause.
"No," said Mrs. Preston, with energy. "Upon that I have determined.
While Mr. Stone is teacher, you shall not go back. I will take care to
let it be known in the neighborhood why I keep you at home. I hope the
next teacher will be a man who understands the respect due to social
position. I don't care to have you put on an equality with such boys
as Andrew Burke. He is no fit associate for you."
"That is what I think, mother," said Godfrey. "The low beggar! I'd
like to come up with him. Perhaps, I shall have a chance some day."
When Colonel Preston returned home, the whole story was told to him;
but, colored though it was, he guessed how matters actually stood, and
was far from becoming his son's partisan. He privately went to Mr.
Stone and obtained his version of the affair.
"You did right, Mr. Stone," he said, at the end. "If my son chooses to
act the bully, he must take the consequences. Mrs. Preston does not
look upon it in the same light, and insists upon my taking Godfrey
from school. For the sake of peace, I must do so, but you must not
construe it as showing any disapproval on my part of your course in
"Thank you, Colonel Preston," said the teacher, warmly. "I can only
regret Mrs. Preston's displeasure. Your approval I highly value, and
it will encourage me in the path of duty."
THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT
Godfrey didn't return to school at all. He fancied that it would be
more aristocratic to go to a boarding school, and, his mother
concurring in this view, he was entered as a scholar at the Melville
Academy, situated in Melville, twelve miles distant. Once a fortnight
he came home to spend the Sunday. On these occasions he flourished
about with a tiny cane, and put on more airs than ever. No one missed
him much, outside of his own family. Andy found the school
considerably more agreeable after his departure.
We will now suppose twelve months to have passed. During this time
Andy has grown considerably, and is now quite a stout boy. He has
improved also in education. The Misses Grant, taking a kind interest
in his progress, managed to spare him half the day in succeeding
terms, so that he continued to attend school. Knowing that he had but
three hours to learn, when the others had six, he was all the more
diligent, and was quite up to the average standard for boys of his
age. The fact is, Andy was an observing boy, and he realized that
education was essential to success in life. Mr. Stone, before going
away, talked with him on this subject and gave him some advice, which
Andy determined to follow.
As may be inferred from what I have said, Andy was still working for
the Misses Grant. He had grown accustomed to their ways, and succeeded
in giving them perfect satisfaction, and accomplished quite as much
work as John, his predecessor, though the latter was a man.
As Christmas approached, Miss Priscilla said one day to her sister:
"Don't you think, Sophia, it would be well to give Andrew a Christmas
"Just so," returned Sophia, approvingly.
"He has been very faithful and obliging all the time he has been with
"I have been thinking what would be a good thing to give him."
"A pair of spectacles," suggested Sophia, rather absent-mindedly.
"Sophia, you are a goose."
"Just so," acquiesced her sister, meekly.
"Such a gift would be very inappropriate."
"A pair of boots," was the next suggestion.
"That would be better. Boots would be very useful, but I think it
would be well to give him something that would contribute to his
amusement. Of course, we must consult his taste, and not out own. We
are not boys."
"Just so," said Sophia, promptly. "And he is not a lady," she added,
enlarging upon the idea.
"Of course not. Now, the question is, what do boys like?"
"Just so," said Sophia, but this admission did not throw much light
upon the character of the present to be bought.
Just then Andy himself helped them to a decision. He entered, cap in
hand, and said:
"If you can spare me, Miss Grant, I would like to go skating on the
"Have you a pair of skates, Andrew?"
"No, ma'am," said Andy; "but one of the boys will lend me a pair."
"Yes, Andrew; you can go, if you will be home early."
"Yes, ma'am--thank you."
As he went out, Miss Priscilla said:
"I have it."
"What?" asked Sophia, alarmed.
"I mean that I have found out what to give to Andrew."
"What is it?"
"A pair of skates."
"Just so," said Sophia. "He will like them."
"So I think. Suppose we go to the store while he is away, and buy him
"Won't he need to try them on?" asked her sister.
"No," said Priscilla. "They don't need to fit as exactly as boots."
So the two sisters made their way to the village store, and asked to
look at their stock of skates.
"Are you going to skate, Miss Priscilla?" asked the shopkeeper,
"No; they are for Sophia," answered Priscilla, who could joke
"Oh, Priscilla," answered the matter-of-fact Sophia, "you didn't tell
me about that. I am sure I could not skate. You said they were for
"Sophia, you are a goose."
"It was only a joke."
The ladies, who never did things by halves, selected the best pair in
the store, and paid for them. When Andy had returned from skating,
Priscilla said: "How did you like the skating, Andrew?"
"It was bully," said Andrew, enthusiastically.
"Whose skates did you borrow?"
"Alfred Parker's. They were too small for me, but I made them do."
"I should suppose you would like to have a pair of your own."
"So I should, but I can't afford to buy a pair, just yet.
"I'll tell you what I want to do, and maybe you'll help me about
"What is it, Andrew?"
"You know Christmas is comin', ma'am, and I want to buy my mother a
nice dress for a Christmas present--not a calico one, but a thick one
"Alpaca or de laine?"
"I expect so; I don't know the name of what I want, but you do. How
much would it cost?"
"I think you could get a good de laine for fifty cents a yard. I saw
some at the store this afternoon."
"And about how many yards would be wanted, ma'am?"
"About twelve, I should think."
"Then it would be six dollars."
"Just so," said Sophia, who thought it about time she took part in the
"I've got the money, ma'am, and I'll give it to you, if you and Miss
Sophia will be kind enough to buy it for me."
"To be sure we will, Andrew," said Priscilla, kindly. "I am glad you
are such a good son."
"Just so, Andrew."
"You see," said Andy, "mother won't buy anything for herself. She
always wants to buy things for Mary and me. She wants us to be
well-dressed, but she goes with the same old clothes. So I want her to
have a new dress."
"You want her to have it at Christmas, then?"
"Yes, ma'am, if it won't be too much trouble."
"That is in two days. To-morrow, Sophia and I will buy the dress."
"Thank you. Here's the money," and Andy counted out six dollars in
bills, of which Miss Priscilla took charge.
The next day they fulfilled their commission, and purchased a fine
dress pattern at the village store. It cost rather more than six
dollars, but this they paid out of their own pockets, and did not
report to Andy. Just after supper, as he was about to go home to spend
Christmas Eve, they placed the bundle in his hands.
"Isn't it beautiful!" he exclaimed, with delight. "Won't mother be
glad to get it?"
"She'll think she has a good son, Andrew."
"Shure, I ought to be good to her, for she's a jewel of a mother."
"That is right, Andrew. I always like to hear a boy speak well of his
mother. It is a great pleasure to a mother to have a good son."
"Shure, ma'am," said Andy, with more kindness of heart than
discretion, "I hope you'll have one yourself."
"Just so," said Sophia, with the forced habit upon her.
"Sophia, you are a goose!" said Priscilla, blushing a little.
"Just so, Priscilla."
"We are too old to marry, Andrew," said Priscilla; "but we thank you
for your wish."
"Shure, ma'am, you are only in the prime of life."
"Just so," said Sophia, brightening up.
"I shall be sixty next spring. That can hardly be in the prime of
"I was readin' of a lady that got married at seventy-nine, ma'am."
"Just so," said Sophia, eagerly.
Miss Priscilla did not care to pursue the subject.
"We have thought of you," she continued, "and, as you have been very
obliging, we have bought you a Christmas present. Here it is."
Andy no sooner saw the skates than his face brightened up with the
most evident satisfaction.
"It's just what I wanted," he said, joyfully. "They're regular
beauties! I'm ever so much obliged to you."
"Sophia wanted to get you a pair of spectacles, but I thought these
would suit you better."
Andy went off into a fit of laughter at the idea, in which both the
ladies joined him. Then, after thanking them again, he hurried home,
hardly knowing which gave him greater pleasure, his own present, or
I will not stop to describe Andy's Christmas, for this is only a
retrospect, but carry my reader forward to the next September, when
Andy met with an adventure, which eventually had a considerable effect
upon his fortunes.
INTRODUCES AN ADVENTURER
Colonel Preston, as I have already said, was a rich man. He owned no
real estate in the town of Crampton, except the house in which he
lived. His property was chiefly in stocks of different kinds. Included
in these was a considerable amount of stock in a woolen manufacturing
establishment, situated in Melville, some twelve miles distant.
Dividends upon these were paid semi-annually, on the first of April
and October. It was the custom of Colonel Preston at these dates to
drive over to Melville, receive his dividends, and then drive back
Now, unfortunately for the welfare of the community, there are some
persons who, unwilling to make a living by honest industry, prefer to
possess themselves unlawfully of means to maintain their unprofitable
lives. Among them was a certain black-whiskered individual, who,
finding himself too well known in New York, had sought the country,
ready for any stroke of business which might offer in his particular
line. Chance led his steps to Melville, where he put up at the village
inn. He began at once to institute inquiries, the answers to which
might serve his purpose, and to avert suspicion, casually mentioned
that he was a capitalist, and thought of settling down in the town. As
he was well dressed, and had a plausible manner, this statement was
Among other things, he made inquiries in regard to the manufactory,
what dividends it paid, and when. Expressing himself desirous of
purchasing some stock, he inquired the names of the principal owners
of the stock. First among them was mentioned Colonel Preston.
"Perhaps he might sell some stocks," suggested the landlord.
"Where can I see him?" asked James Fairfax, for this was the name
assumed by the adventurer.
"You can see him here," answered the landlord, "in a day or two. He
will be here the first of the month to receive his dividends."
"Will he stop with you?"
"Probably. He generally dines with me when he comes over."
"Will you introduce me?"
Mr. Fairfax appeared to hear this with satisfaction, and said that he
would make Colonel Preston an offer for a part of his stock.
"Most of my property is invested in real estate in New York," he said;
"but I should like to have some manufacturing stock; and, from what
you tell me, I think favorably of the Melville Mills."
"We should be glad to have you settle down among us," said the
"I shall probably do so," said Fairfax. "I am very much pleased with
your town and people."
In due time Colonel Preston drove over. As usual, he put up at the
"Colonel," said the landlord, "there's a gentleman stopping with me
who desires an introduction to you."
"Indeed! What is his name?"
"Is he from this neighborhood?"
"No; from the city of New York."
"I shall be happy to make his acquaintance," said the colonel,
courteously; "but it must be after I return from the mills. I shall be
there a couple of hours, probably. We are to have a directorial
"I will tell him."
Colonel Preston attended the directors' meeting, and also collected
his dividend, amounting to eight hundred dollars. These, in eight
one-hundred-dollar bills, he put in his pocketbook, and returned to
the hotel for dinner.
"Dinner is not quite ready, colonel," said the landlord. "It will be
ready in fifteen minutes."
"Where is the gentleman who wished to be introduced to me?" asked
Colonel Preston, who thought it would save time to be introduced now.
"I will speak to him."
He went directly to a dark-complexioned man with black whiskers, and
eyes that were rather sinister in appearance. The eyes oftenest betray
the real character of a man, where all other signs fail. But Colonel
Preston was not a keen observer, nor was he skilled in physiognomy,
and, judging of Mr. Fairfax by his manner merely, was rather pleased
"You will pardon my obtruding myself upon you, Colonel Preston," said
the stranger, with great ease of manner.
"I am happy to make your acquaintance, sir."
"I am a stranger in this neighborhood. The city of New York is my
home. I have been led here by the recommendations of friends who knew
that I desired to locate myself in the country."
"How do you like Melville?"
"Very much--so much, that I may settle down here. But, Colonel
Preston, I am a man of business, and if I am to be here, I want some
local interest--some stake in the town itself."
"Quite natural, sir."
"You are a business man yourself, and will understand me. Now, to come
to the point, I find you have a manufactory here--a woolen
manufactory, which I am given to understand is prosperous and
"You are correctly informed, Mr. Fairfax. It is paying twelve per
cent. dividends, and has done so for several years."
"That is excellent. It is a better rate than I get for most of my city
"I also have city investments--bank stocks, and horse-railroad stocks,
but, as you say, my mill stock pays me better than the majority of
"You are a large owner of the mill stock; are you not, Colonel
"Yes, sir; the largest, I believe."
"So I am informed. Would you be willing to part with any of it?"
"I have never thought of doing so. I am afraid I could not replace it
with any other that would be satisfactory."
"I don't blame you, of course, but it occurred to me that, having a
considerable amount, you might be willing to sell."