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- Facing the World - 3/22 -


"Well, I'm thankful! Little did I ever think a tablecloth would do so much good. Why, it only cost me a dollar and a quarter."

"Allow me to ask your acceptance of this bill to pay you for the use of it."

"Land sakes! why, you've given me ten dollars!"

"It's all right. It came from the passengers. They gave me something too."

"You didn't tell me your name."

"My name is Harry Vane."

"Do you live round here? I never heerd the name afore."

"I've just come to the village. I'm going to live with John Fox."

"You don't say! Be you any kin to Fox?"

"Not very near. He's my guardian."

"If he hears you've had any money give you, he'll want to take care of it for you."

This consideration had not occurred to Harry. Indeed, he had for so short a time been the possessor of the money, of which he did not know the amount, that this was not surprising.

"Well, good-morning!" he said.

"Good-morning! It's been a lucky mornin' for both of us."

"I must go somewhere where I can count this money unobserved," he said to himself.

Not far away he saw a ruined shed.

Harry entered the shed, and sitting down on a log, took out the bills, which he had hurriedly stuffed in his pocket, and began to count them.

"Almost three hundred dollars!" murmured Harry, joyously. "It has been, indeed, a lucky morning for me. It has nearly doubled my property."

The question arose in his mind: "Should he give this money to Mr. Fox to keep for him?"

"No," he decided, "I won't give him this money. I won't even let him know I have it." Where, then, could he conceal it? Looking about him, he noticed a little, leather-covered, black trunk, not more than a foot long, and six inches deep. It was locked, but a small key was in the lock.

Opening the trunk he found it empty. The lock seemed in good condition. He made a pile of the bills, and depositing them in this receptacle, locked the trunk and put the key in his pocket.

Now for a place of concealment.

Harry came out of the shed, and looked scrutinizingly around him. Not far away was a sharp elevation surmounted by trees. The hill was a gravelly formation, and therefore dry. At one point near a withered tree, our hero detected a cavity, made either by accident or design. Its location near the tree made it easy to discover.

With a little labor he enlarged and deepened the hole, till he could easily store away the box in its recess, then covered it up carefully, and strewed grass and leaves over all to hide the traces of excavation.

"There that will do," he said, in a tone of satisfaction.

He had reserved for possible need fifteen dollars in small bills, which he put into his pocketbook.

John Fox had heard the news in the post office, and started off at once for the scene of danger.

"How'd they hear of the washout?" he asked, puzzled.

"I heerd that a boy discovered it, and signaled the train," said his neighbor.

"How did he do it?"

"Waved a shawl or somethin'."

"That don't seem likely; where would a boy find a shawl?"

His informant looked puzzled.

"Like as not he borrowed it of Mrs. Brock," he suggested.

Mrs. Brock was the woman living in the small house near by, so that the speaker's surmise was correct. It struck John Fox as possible, and he said so.

"I guess I'll go and ask the Widder Brock," he said. "She must have seen the train, livin' so near as she does."

"I'll go along with you."

The two men soon found themselves on Mrs. Brock's premises.

"Good-mornin,' Mrs. Brock," said John Fox.

"You've come nigh havin' a causality here."

"You're right there, Mr. Fox," answered Mrs. Brock. "I was awful skeered about it, for I thought my Nancy might be on the train. When the boy run into my yard----"

"The boy! What boy?" asked Fox, eagerly.

"It was that boy you are guardeen of."

"What, Harry Vane?" ejaculated Fox, in genuine surprise.

"Tell me all about it, Mrs. Brock."

"Well, you see, he ran into my yard all out of breath, and grabbin' a red tablecloth from the line, asked me if I would lend it to him. 'Land sakes!' says I, 'what do you want of a tablecloth?'"

"'The track's washed away,' he said, 'and I want to signal the train. There's danger of an accident.' Of course, I let him have it, and he did signal the train, standin' on the fence, and wavin' the tablecloth. So the train was saved!"

"And did he bring back the tablecloth?"

"Of course, he did, and that wasn't all. He brought me a ten-dollar bill to pay for the use of it."

"Gave you a ten-dollar bill!" exclaimed John Fox, in amazement. "That was very wrong."

"You hadn't no claim on the money if you are his guardeen. A collection was took up by the passengers, and given to the boy, and he thought I ought to have pay for use of the tablecloth, so he gave me a ten-dollar bill--and a little gentleman he is, too."

"A collection taken up for my ward?" repeated Fox, pricking up his ears. "Well, well! that is news."

John Fox was already on his way back to the road. He was anxious to find his ward.

CHAPTER III

HARRY DISAGREES WITH HIS GUARDIAN

Harry and his guardian met at the dinner table. Mrs. Fox had provided a boiled dinner, to which Harry was ready to do justice.

Mr. Fox seemed unusually pleasant.

"I find, Harry," he said, clearing his throat, "that you have already been distinguishing yourself."

"Then you heard of the narrow escape of the train?" said Harry.

"Yes, I heard that but for your presence of mind, and Mrs. Brock's tablecloth, there would have been a smash-up."

"What on earth are you talkin' about, John Fox?" demanded his wife, curiously.

"Well, you see, Maria, the rain of last night washed away part of the railroad track, and the train would have been plunged into a gully if our young boarder here hadn't seen the danger, and, borrowin' a tablecloth from Mrs. Brock, signaled the train."

"You don't say?"

"That isn't all," resumed John Fox. "The passengers took up a contribution, and I expect gave quite a handsome sum to our young friend."

"How much did the folks give you?" asked Joel eagerly.

"I've got fifteen dollars left," he replied. "I gave some money to Mrs. Brock for the use of the tablecloth."

John Fox looked disappointed and disgusted.

"You don't mean to say," he ejaculated, sharply, "that you gave away almost half of your money for the use of an old tablecloth that would be dear at a dollar?"

"If I hadn't had the tablecloth, I couldn't have attracted the engineer's attention," said Harry, mildly.

There was a little more conversation on the subject, but Harry


Facing the World - 3/22

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