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Brave Tom by Edward S. Ellis

Part 4 out of 4

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hair on the head of the criminal. He started, and stared affrightedly back
in the gloom.

"What do you say?" asked the merchant.

"It's all right; it's all right. I'll send it to you as soon as I can get
back to the city. Don't be too hard on a fellow, Warmore. I declare"--

"Enough has been said. Now go!"

He went.

"You are too tender-hearted," remarked Detective Lathewood, when he and
Mr. Warmore were walking homeward.

"Perhaps I am; but mean as is the man, I shuddered at the thought of
disgracing and ruining him for life."

"But it was _he_, not _you_, who does that."

"True; I know that's the way you officers of the law look at it. But this
is not the first time I have had dealings with young men who have yielded
to temptation. I think it is safer to err on the side of charity than
that of sternness. It is better to reform than to punish a man."

"Do you think you have reformed that specimen?"

"Far from it; he is the most contemptible scoundrel I ever knew. He is
rich, and therefore has no excuse for stealing. Worse than all, he tried
to ruin a young man whose shoe-latchet he is not worthy to unloose."

"So you unloose _him_. But let him go. He is certain not to trouble you or
any of your family again."

Two days later Mr. Warmore received a certified check for nine hundred
dollars; and thus the account between him and G. Field Catherwood was
closed. He was never seen in Bellemore again. Ten years later he died,
while travelling abroad with a woman whom he had made his wife. Then, for
the first time, Tom Gordon learned the particulars of the night when Mr.
Warmore assisted the detective.

Let us take one more, and the final, leap forward. Three years have passed
since Tom Gordon checked runaway Jack, and saved the life of pretty Jennie
Warmore. They have been three years of undimmed happiness to both; for
during the last one of those years they two became man and wife.

Oh, it all came about so naturally, that you would not care to know the
particulars. Tom was given a share in the business which he had done so
much to develop; and on the day previous to his wedding his prospective
father-in-law presented him with a half interest, thus insuring him a
handsome income for life.

Tom made one condition, which was carried out in spirit and letter. Mr.
Pitcairn, from whose hospitable roof he took his final departure, was to
have all the groceries, dry-goods, and every sort of supplies from the
store as long as he lived, without paying one penny therefor. And it is a
pleasure to record that this arrangement continued without break until the
old couple were finally laid to rest in the churchyard beside poor Jim
Travers who had passed on long before.

Among the wedding presents to the bride was the locket and chain which she
herself had taken from her neck years previous, when drowning in the North
River, and linked about the button on the coat of her rescuer. She and her
parents were amazed beyond measure as they stood with only her smiling
husband present, examining the treasure.

"It is the same," said the wondering mother, opening the locket, and
looking at the childish features, "the very one you wore about your neck
on that awful night."

"But where did it come from?" asked the father, taking it from his wife's
hand, and examining it with an interest that can hardly be described.

"There is no name with it," added Jennie, "and--do you know anything about
it, Tom?" she asked abruptly, turning short upon him.

"Didn't I tell you years ago, when you related the story, that the boy
would turn up sooner or later. Well, he has done so, and what of it?"

"But where is he?"

He opened his arms, and the proud, happy bride rushed into his embrace,
while the parents stared, not able quite to understand what it all meant.

"Yes," said he, looking around, "I was the fortunate boy who jumped into
the water after you, and found that chain wound round the button of my
coat. I have kept it and the locket ever since, but I never knew you were
the original until I heard the story from your lips."

"You scamp!" exclaimed Mr. Warmore. "And you never said a word about it."

"Yes, you mean fellow, why didn't you tell us?" demanded Jennie, disposed
to pout.

"You were sure you would know the young gentleman; and I meant that if I
ever gained your love you should love me for myself, and not for any
accident of the past."

"But--but how jolly it would have been if we had known it was you! For you
see I have had two heroes all along. One was you, and the other was that
unknown boy who took a plunge in the icy river for my sake."

"You may have those two heroes still," said Tom.

"So I have; but now the two are one."

"And so are _we_," he added, touching his lips to the sweet mouth that did
not refuse to meet them.

"And any way, I could not love you a bit more than I have all along."

And the grateful, happy fellow, in looking back over his stormy boyhood
and young manhood, and feeling how strongly he had striven at all times to
live by the Golden Rule, knew in his heart that it was to that fact that
he had Fought the Battle that Won.

* * * * *

The second volume in the "Brave and Honest" Series is entitled "Honest

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