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Full text of "The Tin box : and what it contained"

NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 



3 3433 08252601 7 







/% 



and What it Contained 



By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 

Author of "The Errand Boy," "Joe's Luck/ 

"Mark Manning's Mission," " Mark 

Mason's Victory," etc., etc. 



A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 

NEW YORK 




AH* 

>W 
L 



THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER I 

A COLLISION 

U HAVE you finished breakfast already, Harry?" 
asked Mrs. Gilbert, as Harry rose hurriedly from 
the table and reached for his hat, which hung on a 
nail especially appropriated to it. 

u Yes, mother. I don't want to be late for the 
store. Saturday is always a busy day." 

"It is a long day for you, Harry. You have to 
stay till nine o'clock in the evening." 

"I am always glad to have Saturday come, for 
then I can get my money," replied Harry, laugh- 
ing. "Well, good-by, mother I'm off." 

"What should I do without him?" said Mrs. 
Gilbert to herself, as Harry dashed out of the yard 
on the way to Mead's grocery store, where he had 
been employed for six months, 

That would have been a difficult question to an- 
swer. Mrs. Gilbert was the widow of a sea cap- 



2 THE TIN BOX 

tain, who had sailed from the port of Boston three 
years before, and never since been heard of. 

It was supposed that the vessel was lost with 
all hands, but how the disaster occurred, or when, 
was a mystery that seemed never likely to be solved. 

Captain Gilbert had left no property except the 
small cottage, which was mortgaged for half its 
value, and a small sum of money in the savings 
bank, which, by this time, was all expended for the 
necessaries of life. 

Fortunately for the widow, about the time this 
sum gave out Harry obtained a situation at Mead's 
grocery store, with a salary of four dollars a week. 
This he regularly paid to his mother, and, with the 
little she herself was able to earn, they lived com- 
fortably. It was hard work for Harry, but he en- 
joyed it, for he was an active boy, and it was a 
source of great satisafction to him that he was able 
to help his mother so materially. 

He was now fifteen years old, about the average 
height for a boy of that age, with a strong frame 
and a bright, cheerful manner that made him a 
general favorite. 

The part of his duty which he liked best was to 
drive the store wagon for the delivery of goods to 
customers. Most boys of his age like to drive a 
horse, and Harry was no exception to the rule. 

When he reached the store Mr. Mead, his em- 
ployer, said: 



THE TIN BOX 3 

"Harness up the horse as soon as you can, 
Harry. There are some goods to be carried out." 

"All right, sir/' answered Harry, cheerfully, 
and made his way to the stable, which stood in the 
rear of the store. It was but a few minutes before 
he was loaded up and was on his way. 

He had called at several places and left the 
greater part of the goods, when he found himself 
in a narrow road, scarcely wider than a lane. Why 
it had been made so narrow was unaccountable, for 
there was certainly land enough to be had, and 
that of little value, which could have been used. 
It was probably owing to a want of foresight on 
the part of the road commissioners. 

Just at the narrowest part of the road Harry saw 
approaching him an open buggy of rather a pre- 
tentious character, driven by a schoolmate, Philip 
Ross, the son of Colonel Ross, a wealthy resident 
of the village. 

I have said that Philip was, or rather had been, 
a schoolmate of Harry. I cannot call him a friend. 
Philip was of a haughty, arrogant temper. The 
horse and buggy he drove were his own that is, 
they had been given him by his father on his last 
birthday and he was proud of them, not without 
some reason, for the buggy was a handsome one, 
and the horse was spirited and of fine appearance. 

As soon as Harry saw Philip approaching, he 
proceeded to turn his horse to one side of the road. 



4 THE TIN BOX 

Philip, however, made no such move, but kept in 
the middle. 

"Isn't he going to turn out?" thought Harry. 
"How does he expect to get by?" 

"Why don't you turn out, Philip?" he called 
out. 

"Turn out yourself!" retorted Philip, haughtily. 

"That's what I'm doing," said Harry, rather 
provoked. 

"Then turn out more !" said the young gentle- 
man, arrogantly. 

"I have turned out my share," said Harry, stop- 
ping his horse. "Do you expect to keep right on in 
the middle of the road?" 

"I shall if I choose," said Philip, unpleasantly; 
but he, too, reined up his horse, so that the two 
teams stood facing each other. 

Harry shrugged his shoulders, and asked, tem- 
perately : 

"Then how do you expect to get by?" 

"I want you to turn out as far as you can," he 
said authoritatively. 

Harry was provoked, and not without reason. 

"I have turned out my share, and shan't turn 
out another inch," he said, firmly. "You must be 
a fool to expect it." 

"Do you mean to call me a fool?" demanded 
Philip, his eyes flashing. 

"You certainly act like one." 



THE TIN BOX 5 

"You'd better take care how you talk, you beg- 
gar!" exclaimed Philip, furiously. 

"I'm no more a beggar than you are, Philip 
Ross!" 

"Well, you are nothing but a working boy, at 
anv rate." 

m> 

"What if I am?" replied Harry. "I've got just 
as much right on this road as you." 

"I'm a gentleman," asserted Philip, angrily. 

"Well, you don't act like one; you'd better turn 
out pretty quick, for I am in a hurry and can't 
wait." 

"Then turn out more." 

"I shan't do it," said Harry, with spirit; "and 
no one but you would be unreasonable enough to 
ask me to do it." 

"Then you'll have to wait," said Philip, settling 
himself back provokingly in his seat, and eyeing 
Harry with a look of disdain. 

"Come, don't be obstinate, Philip," urged Harry, 
impatiently. "I only ask you to do your share of 
turning. We have equal rights here, even if you 
were three times the gentleman you pretend to be." 

"You are insolent, Harry Gilbert. I don't take 
orders from such as you." 

"Then you won't turn out?" asked Harry, gath- 
ering up his reins. 

"Suppose I don't?" retorted Philip, in a provok 
ing tone. 



6 THE TIN BOX 

'Then I shall drive on," said Harry, resolutely. 

"You wouldn't dare to !" 

"Wouldn't I ? You'll see. I will count ten, and 
if at the end of that time you don't turn out, I will 
drive on, and make you take the consequences." 

Philip glanced at him doubtfully. Would he 
really do what he said? 

"Pooh ! I don't believe it !" he decided. "Any- 
way, I'm not going to give way to a working boy. 
I won't do it." 

I am not going to decide the question whether 
Harry did right or not. I can only say that he 
claimed no more than his rights, and was not with- 
out excuse for the course he adopted. 

"One two three!" counted Harry, and so on 
until he had counted ten. 

Then, gathering up his reins, he said: 
'I ask you, Philip, for the last time, whether 
YOU will turn out?" 

j 

"I won't till I get ready." 

"Go 'long, Dobbin!" was Harry's sole reply. 
And his horse was put in motion. 

The natural result followed. The grocery wagon 
was strongly made, and fitted for rough usage. 
The buggy was of light structure, built for speed, 
and was no match for it. The two carriages locked 
wheels. That of the wagon was unharmed, but 
the wheel of the buggy came oft. 

The horse darted forward. Philip was thrown 



THE TIN BOX 7 

out at the side, aiming an ineffectual blow with 
his whip at Harry, as he found himself going, and 
landed in a half stunned condition on the grass at 
the side. 



Harry kept on until his wagon was clear of the 
wreck of the buggy, and then halting it, jumped oft 
to find the extent of Philip's injuries. 

The latter's horse, which had by a violent jerk 
freed himself from the shafts, was galloping up the 
road. 



8 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER II 

SIGNS OF A TEMPEST 

"ARE you hurt, Philip ?" asked Harry, anxiously, 
as he bent over the prostrate form of his an- 
tagonist. 

As he opened his eyes and saw the face of Harry 
bending over him, all came back to him, and his 
animosity revived. 

"Get away from me !" he exclaimed furiously, as 
he staggered to his feet. 

"I certainly will, if you don't need help," said 
Harry, glad that Philip had suffered no harm. 
'Where is my horse?" demanded Philip. 

"He has run awav." 

j 

"And it's all your fault !" exclaimed Philip, an- 
grily. "My buggy's broken, too, and all because 
you ran into me, you beggar!" 

U I wouldn't allow you to call me names if you 
hadn't been punished already for your unreason- 
able conduct," said Harry, calmly. "Whatever has 
happened you brought upon yourself." 



THE TIN BOX 9 

"Catch my horse!" ordered Philip, with the air 
of a master addressing a servant. 

"I've got something else to do," said Harry, 
coolly, and he sprang into the store wagon. 

"Are you going to drive off and leave me here?" 
demanded Philip, enraged. 

; 'I must, for my time isn't my own. It belongs 
to Mr. Mead. I would help you otherwise 
though you are to blame for what has happened." 

"You will suffer for this!" exclaimed the rich 
man's son, gazing at his broken buggy in helpless 
anger. "You'll have to pay for all the damage you 
have done!" 

"You can go to law about it, if you want to," 
said Harry, as he gathered the reins into his hands, 
and he drove off. "I've a good defense." 

To Philip's disgust, Harry drove off, leaving 
him alone with his disabled carriage. It was a 
good time to consider whether he had acted wisely 
in demanding more than the law or custom allowed 
him, but Philip was too angry for cool consid- 
eration. 

He could not persuade himself that a boy like 
Harry, the son of a poor widow, who had to work 
for his own living, had equal rights with himself. 

In the end he had to go home and bring back 
his father's hired man to take charge of the wreck. 
He learned that the frightened horse had already 
found his way to the stable, terrifying the family 



io THE TIN BOX 

with fears that Philip had been seriously hurt on 
the way, 

Philip gave a garbled account of the affair to his 
father and mother, and excited the indignation of 
both, but especially his mother. 

"I never heard of such an outrage never!" ex- 
claimed Mrs. Ross, emphatically. "To think that 
boy should deliberately run into you and endanger 
your life my poor Philip !" 

"That's just what he did, mother," said Philip, 
enjoying the indignation he had aroused. 

Colonel Ross was not quite so thoroughly con- 
vinced that his son was right. 

"Did you give Harry half the road?" he in- 
quired. 

| I gave him room enough to get by," answered 
Philip, evasively. 

'The law requires that you should give him half 
the road." 

'I hope, Mr. Ross, you don't justify that hor- 
rid boy in running into Philip?" said Mrs. Ross, 
sharply. 

"No, my dear; I consider that he acted very 
badly. But, in Order to make him amenable to the 
law for the damage Philip's team suffered, it must 
appear that Philip gave him half the road." 

'Then the law ought to be altered," said Mrs. 
Ross, with more anger than reason. "I've no doubt 
that Philip gave him all the room he needed. 



THE TIN BOX n 

When you were thrown out, did the heartless boy 
ride on and leave you to your fate?" asked the 
mother. 

"No; he got out and asked me if I was hurt," 
Philip admitted, reluctantly. 

"Much he cared!" said Mrs. Ross, contemptu- 
ously. 

'I suppose he was afraid he would be put in 
prison if I was killed," said Philip. 

"Yes, that was his motive, undoubtedly. He 
didn't offer to help you, I suppose? 1 ' 

"No; I asked him to, and he wouldn't," an- 
swered Philip, glad that he could blacken poor 
Harry's character. 

"The unfeeling young villain!" ejaculated Mrs. 
Ross. "He ought to be put in the State's prison !" 

"Do you think he can be ?" asked Philip, eagerly. 

"Of course he can, if your father exerts him- 
self as he ought." 

"Nonsense, Lucinda !" said Colonel Ross, who 
was not a fool. "It was a boyish misunder- 
standing." 

"You may call it that," retorted Mrs. Ross, 
raising her voice. "I call it a high-handed outrage. 
The boy ought to be arrested. Are you going to 
do anything about it, Philander Ross ?" 

Mrs. Ross generally addressed her husband by 
his Christian name when she was angry with him. 

"I will tell you what I will do, Lucinda. I will 



12 THE TIN BOX 

see Mead, and tell him that a boy who acts in that 
way is not fit to drive for him." 

"That's right, father. Make him discharge 
Harry. Then he'll have to go to the poorhouse, or 
beg." 

"And a very suitable punishment for him," said 
Mrs. Ross, approvingly. 

''I don't quite like to take the boy's means of 

living away from him," said Colonel Ross, who 

was by no means as unfeeling as his wife and son. 

'That would make his mother suffer, and she has 

been guilty of no crime." 

"She will uphold him in his iniquity, you may 
rest assured, Mr. Ross," said his wife, nodding 
emphatically. 'If she had brought up the boy to 
be respectful to his superiors this would not have 
happened." 

''He won't be able to pay damages if he loses 
his place," said Colonel Ross. 

'I don't care. I want him discharged from his 
situation." 

'Well, Lucinda," said her husband, shrugging 
his shoulders, "you had better undertake the man- 
agement of the affair. I am very busy, and can't 
spare the necessary time." 

"I will !" said Mrs. Ross, with alacrity. "I will 
call on the boy's mother, and also on Mr. Mead." 

"Don't be too extreme, Lucinda. Remember, it 
isn't a hanging matter." 



THE TIN BOX 13 

; 'I am not so sure but it ought to be. My poor 
child might have broken his neck. Oh, it makes 
my blood run cold when I think that he might be 
lying lifeless before me at this moment." 

"Don't say such things, mother," said Philip, 
nervously, unpleasantly affected by the picture his 
mother had drawn. 

"I can't help saying it, for it might have hap- 
pened." 

'Where are you going to first, mother?" asked 
Philip. 

'I will go first and call on Widow Gilbert. I 
consider her responsible, for if she had brought up 
the boy better this would never have happened." 

"May I go with you?" 

'No; I would rather go alone." 

If Philip had only been scarred, or had a wound 
to show, his mother would have taken him with 
her, to make her reproof more effective, but, as he 
showed no marks of the encounter, she saw no ad- 
vantage in his presence. 

'You just give it to her, mother," said Philip, 
in a tone of satisfaction. 

"I shall know what to say, my son." 

"Just frighten her, and make her think we are 
going to have Harry arrested." 

"I shall make her understand that the boy has 
done a very serious thing, and has made himself 
amenable to the law." 



14 THE TIN BOX 

"That's right, mother. Harry is too airy alto- 
gether. He seems to think that I am no better than 
he is a common working boy like him !" 

Mrs. Ross sailed out of the room, and dressed 
herself with unusual care, not out of respect for 
Mrs. Gilbert, but rather with the purpose of im- 
pressing her with her grandeur. 






THE TIN BOX 15 



CHAPTER III 

MRS. ROSS MAKES TWO UNSATISFACTORY VISITS 

IT was very seldom that Mrs. Ross condescended 
to visit her poorer neighbors, and it was, therefore, 
not without considerable surprise that Mrs. Gil- 
bert called to the door about eleven o'clock, just 
as she had put on the potatoes to boil for dinner 
recognized in the visitor on the doorstep Mrs. 
Colonel Ross. 

"Pray come in, Mrs. Ross. I am glad to see 
you," said the widow. 

'I will come in for five minutes," said Mrs. 
Ross, carefully gathering up her skirts, lest they 
should be soiled as she entered the humble cottage. 
She need not have been alarmed, for there was not 
a cleaner house in the village. 

Mrs. Gilbert brought forward the most com- 
fortable chair in her little sitting-room, and the 
visitor seated herself. 

"I am come on an unpleasant errand, Mrs. Gil- 
bert," she commenced, frigidly. 

"Unpleasant!" repeated the widow, with quick 



1 6 THE TIN BOX 

apprehension. ; TJas anything happened to my 
boy to Harry?" 

Improbable as it seemed that in such an event 
Mrs. Ross should be the messenger of ill tidings, 
it occurred to Mrs. Gilbert that she had come to 
inform her of an accident to Harry. 

The visitor's lips curled. What did it matter, 
she thought, whether anything happened to him or 
not? 

"Something has happened to my boy!" she said, 
with emphasis. 

"I am very sorry," said the widow, with quick 
sympathy. "I hope he is not hurt." 

"He might have had his neck broken, "said Mrs. 
Ross; "and by your son," she added, spitefully. 

; They haven't been fighting, have they?" asked 
Mrs. Gilbert, nervously. 

'No; but your son deliberately and maliciously, 
while driving Mr. Mead's store wagon, drove into 
my son's light buggy, damaged it. seriously, and my 
poor Philip was thrown out. Your son drove off, 
leaving him insensible by the roadside." 

It will be perceived that Mrs. Ross had some- 
what embellished the story, with the intention of 
producing a greater effect. 

'Was Philip much hurt?" asked the widow, 
anxiously. 

"He providentially escaped any serious injury, 



THE TIN BOX 17 

so far as we know. He may have suffered some 
internal injuries." 

"I am sorry to hear that there has been any dif- 
ficulty," said the widow, regaining her composure 
v/hen she learned that neither of the two boys were 
hurt; "but I cannot accept your account. Harry 
is quite incapable of deliberately and maliciously 
running into Philip." 

"I regret that you uphold your son in his wick- 
edness," said Mrs. Ross, coldly; "but I am not sur- 
prised. I told my husband before I set out that 
you would probably do so." 

"Mrs. Ross," said the widow, in a dignified tone, 
"I have known my boy for fifteen years, and 
watched him carefully, and I tell you positively that 
he wouldn't do what you have charged upon him." 

"Bo you question my statement?" demanded 
Mrs. Ross, haughtily. 

"Did you witness the encounter?" 

"No; but my son, who is the soul of truth, told 
me all the circumstances." 

"Your son was probably angry with Harry, and 
could not be depended upon to give an impartial 



statement.' 



"Slander him as much as you please," said the 
visitor, angrily. 'I have acquainted you with your 
son's outrageous conduct, and this is all I proposed. 
Of course we*- shall expect you or your son to pay 
for the damage done to the buggy, and he will be 



1 8 THE TIN BOX 

fortunate if we do not have him arrested for as- 
sault and battery." 

Mrs. Gilbert did not look as much terrified as 
Mrs. Ross expected. 

"I am very poor, as you know," she replied; 
"but if Harry is really to blame for what has hap- 
pened, I will do all that I can to repair the injury." 

"I am glad to see that you are talking more 
sensibly." 

"Don't misunderstand me," said the widow. "I 
have not heard Harry's statement yet. From what 
I know of him, 3 presume that Philip was more 
in fault than he. Of course, in that case, I shall 
not feel called upon to pay anything." 

"Of course!" sneered Mrs. Ross; "your son will 
throw all the blame on my poor boy. Fortunately, 
we have laws; and it will be the law that must de- 
cide this matter. It isn't for you to decide whether 
you will pay or not." 

This was meant as a threat, but Mrs. Gilbert 
answered, calmly: 

"You won't need to invoke the law, if you have 
a just claim." 

Mrs. Ross rose, for there seemed no more to say. 
She was considerably disappointed with the result 
of her mission. She supposed, as a matter of 
course, that the widow would defend her son; but 
she had not supposed that she would receive so 
calmly her threats of having recourse to the law. 



THE TIN BOX 19 

Indeed, she had expected that the widow would 
beg and plead for mercy, and appear panic-stricken. 
As it was, she felt that she was retiring from the 
contest decidedly worsted. She would not leave 
without one parting shot. 

"I regret, Mrs. Gilbert/' she said, seriously, 
"that you defend your son in this high-handed out- 
rage. I had thought better of you. I knew you 
were poor, and I sympathized with you. Now I 
feel obliged to say that you will only have your- 
self to blame for the steps I am about to take." 

The widow bowed, but did not gratify Mrs. 
Ross by inquiring what those steps were. 

It was very provoking, certainly. 

"I shall call on Mr. Mead, and insist on his dis- 
charging your son." 

Knowing what a serious blow this would be, 
Mrs. Gilbert did look troubled for a moment, and 
her visitor sailed away, with a slight feeling of sat- 
isfaction, in the direction of the grocery store. 

Meanwhile Harry, on his return to the store, 
had reported the accident, and submitted to a close 
cross-examination on the part of the storekeeper. 

"Do you think I am to blame, Mr. Mead?" 
asked Harry. 

"No; I don't see how you could do otherwise 
than you did. Young Ross is a disagreeable young 
puppy; but his family trades with me, and I don't 
like to offend them. Still, I shall not blame you." 



U' 

<r 



20 THE TIN BOX 

It will be seen that Mr. Mead was a just man, 
though a politic one. 

k Thank you, sir," said Harry, relieved. 

I am sorry this has occurred." 

u So am I, sir; but if I hadn't done as I did I 
should have been there now, for Philip was de- 
termined not to budge." 

"Well, we must smooth it over as well as we 
can. I presume that I shall have a call from Col- 
onel Ross or his wife. I hope it will be the colone], 
for he won't be so unreasonable as his lady." 

It so happened that the first person whom Mrs. 
Ross saw when she entered the grocery store was 
Harry. 

Her eyes flashed with resentment as they fell 
upon the persecutor of her poor boy, but she would 
not waste any words upon him. 

"Where is Mr. Mead?" she asked. 

"I will call him, madam," answered Harry, 
politely. 

Mr. Mead came forward, and Mrs. Ross re- 
hearsed her story, in terms which the reader can 
imagine for himself. 

"I think you misapprehend the matter, Mrs. 
Ross," said the storekeeper, politely. 'Your son 
maintained his position in the middle of the road 
and required Harry to do all the turning out. Of 
course you are aware that the law will not sustain 
any one in this." 



THE TIN BOX 21 

"Who told you that my son did not turn out?" 
asked Mrs. Ross, hastily. 

"Harry himself." 

"And do you credit his story?" demanded Mrs. 
Ross, with a sneer. 

"I have always found him to be a boy of truth." 

"I believe he has wilfully deceived you. I be- 
lieve he ran into my boy with the intention of in- 
juring him," said Mrs. Ross, violently. 

Harry was about to speak up, when a young man 
w r ho was standing by saved him the trouble. 

"I was there, Mr. Mead, and heard the whole," 
he said, "though neither of the boys saw me. I 
was in the piece to the left, behind the hedge. Phil 
Ross wouldn't turn out a mite, and Harry had to 
do as he did. When Phil was thrown out Harry 
got down from his team and went to see if he was 
hurt." 

Mrs. Ross listened, pale with anger. 

"I don't believe a word of it!" she said angrily. 
'That man is in a conspiracy with the Gilbert boy 
against my poor darling. I demand that you dis- 
charge Harry Gilbert from your employment!" 

"I am sorry to disoblige you, Mrs. Ross, but it 
would be unjust," said Mr. Mead. 

'Then we shall buy our groceries elsewhere !" 
said Mrs. Ross, spitefully tossing her head. 

"I shall be sorry to lose your custom, but I see 
no good reason for discharging Harry." 



22 THE TIN BOX 

Angrily Mrs. Ross left the store, a second time 
mortified at her want of success. 

"I am sorry, Mr. Mead, that you are likely to 
lose trade on my account," said Harry, with sin- 
cere regret. 

Mr. Mead smiled. 

"If Mrs. Ross leaves me she will have to go five 
miles for her groceries," he said quietly. 'We 
shall have them back again before long." 



THE TIN BOX 23 



CHAPTER IV 

HARRY LOSES HIS PLACE, AFTER ALL 

MRS. Ross carried out her threat, and trans- 
ferred her trade to a grocery in the neighboring 
village, but not without considerable inconvenience. 

Her pride compelled her to the course, notwith- 
standing the extra trouble she incurred, and this, 
also, she laid up against Harry. Her husband was 
opposed to any change, not being so spiteful as his 
wife, but allowed her to have her way. 

Meanwhile Mr. Mead, though he regretted to 
lose a good customer, did not show any signs of 
financial weakness, and there seemed to be no pros- 
pect of his failing. 

Had he done so Mrs. Ross would have been 
overjoyed, for she was very angry at all who up- 
held "that low Gilbert boy," as she designated him. 

It is said that all things come to him who waits, 
and circumstances were shaping themselves in a 
very gratifying way to Mrs. Ross and her schemes 
of revenge. 

One day as Harry was driving the store wagon 
which bore the name of his employer he was hailed, 



24 THE TIN BOX 

about a mile from the store, by a boy about his own 
age, who carried in his hand a carpetbag, and ap- 
peared to be making a journey on foot. 

"Hello!" said the traveler. 

"Hello!" returned Harry. 

"Are you working for my uncle?" asked the 
stranger. 

"I can tell you better when I find out who your 
uncle is. If you are the nephew of General Grant, 
or the czar of Russia, I am not working for him." 

"I see you like to joke," said the stranger. "My 
uncle is Mr. Mead, the storekeeper." 

"That is the name of the man I work for." 

"Then I guess you had better give me a lift, for 
I am going to my uncle's." 

"All right ! Glad to have your company." 

"What's your name?" asked the stranger. 

"Harry Gilbert. What's yours?" 

"Howard Randall." 

"Where do you live?" 

"I used to live at Upton, but my father is dead, 
and mother she's Mrs. Mead's sister told me 
I'd better come to see if Uncle Reuben wouldn't 
give me a place in his store." 

Instantly it flashed upon Harry that this new 
boy's arrival was likely to endanger his prospects. 
Mr. Mead, as he knew, had no occasion for the 
services of two boys, and he would naturally give 
his nephew the preference. He was not unjust 



THE TIN BOX 25 

enough to take a dislike to Howard in consequence. 
Indeed, the new boy had a pleasant face and man- 
ner, which led him to think he would like him for 
a friend. 

"If I do lose my place," thought Harry, "I will 
put my trust in God. I don't think He will see me 
or mother suffer, and I won't borrow trouble until 



it comes.' 



'Were you ever employed in a store ?" he asked, 
pleasantly. 

"No; that is, not regularly. I have been in our 
grocery store at home for a few days at a time, 
when the storekeeper's son was sick." 

'You look as if you were about my age." 

"I am sixteen. My birthday came last month." 
'Then you are a little older. I am not sixteen 
yet." 

'You look stronger than I. I should think you 
were older." 

Harry felt flattered. All boys like to be con- 
sidered strong and large for their age, and our 
hero was no exception to the general rule in this 
respect. 

U I don't know about that," he answered. "I 
guess we are a pretty good match. How far off 
is Upton?" 

"Fifty miles." 

"You haven't walked all the way, have you?* 
inquired Harry, in surprise. 



26 THE TIN BOX 

"Every step," said Howard, proudly. "You 
see, money isn't very plenty with us, and I told 
mother I didn't mind walking. I got a lift for a 
few miles the first day, so I haven't walked quite 
all the way." 

"You and I seem to be situated pretty much the 
same way," said Harry. ; 'I have no father, and 
we have hard work to get along." 

"You seem like a tiptop fellow. I think I shall 
like you." 

"The same to you," said Harry, smiling. U I 
am glad you are coming to Greenville to live." 

Harry was sincere enough in his words, so far 
as his impressions about the boy went, but when 
he reflected that through him he was likely to lose 
his place he felt a little troubled. 

"Look here !" said Howard, suddenly; "will you 
lose your place if uncle takes me into his store?" 

"I don't think he will need two boys," replied 
Harry, soberly. 

"Then I'd better see if I can't find a place some- 
where else. I don't want to take away your place, 
if you are poor and need the money uncle pays 



you." 



'I do need it, but I guess something else will 
turn up for me. You are Mr. Mead's nephew, and 
ought to have it." 

"I hope we shall be friends, at any rate," said 
Howard, warmly. 



THE TIN BOX 27 

"I am sure we shall, Howard," returned Harry, 
cordially, who felt attracted toward his new friend, 
in spite of the misfortune which his arrival would 
bring to him personally. 

Just then, within a quarter of a mile of the store, 
Harry saw his young enemy, Philip Ross, ap- 
proaching him. 

Philip was driving his buggy, which had been 
repaired since the accident. 

"I wonder if he will turn out for me?" thought 
Harry. 

Philip had learned wisdom from experience, and 
did turn out for the store wagon. He knew 
Harry's firmness too well to put it to the test a 
second time at his own expense. 

"Good-morning, Philip," said Harry, in his 
usual manner. 

Philip did not notice Harry's salutation, but held 
his head very high, while his face reddened and his 
lip curled as he drove by his late antagonist. 

"Who is that boy?" asked Howard, whose at- 
tention was drawn to Philip's singular conduct. 

"Philip Ross, son of Colonel Ross, a rich man in 
town." 

"Is he deaf?" 

"No." 

"He didn't seem to hear you say good-morning." 

"Oh, yes, he did," answered Harry, laughing; 
"but Philip isn't very fond of me." 



28 THE TIN BOX 

"Are you enemies?" 

"We had a little difficulty lately, and Philip 
hasn't got over it yet." 

"Tell me about it." 

Harry told the story, and Howard fully sus- 
tained him in what he had done. 

"He must be a mean boy." 

"He thinks he has more rights than common 
folks, such as he considers me. He tried or, at 
least, his mother did to have Mr. Mead turn me 
off, but your uncle is too just a man to go against 
me for doing my duty." 

"I noticed he gave you half the road this time," 
said Howard. 

"Yes," answered Harry, with a smile. ; 'He 
doesn't care to have his wheel taken off again." 

By this time they had reached the store, and 
Howard introduced himself to his uncle. The next 
day the blow fell. 

"Harry," said Mr. Mead, "I've got bad news 
for you. My nephew stands in need of a place, and 
I can't afford to keep two boys. I wish I could 
keep you, too." 

"I see how it is, Mr. Mead," said Harry, calm- 
ly, though his heart sank within him. ''Howard 
has the best right to the place. I trust something 
will turn up for me." 

"I have been perfectly satisfied with you, and 



THE TIN BOX 29 

am ready to give you the highest recommendation 
for honesty and fidelity." 

"Thank you, Mr. Mead." 

"You will stay till Saturday night, of course, 
unless something else should offer before that." 

Poor Harry ! His heart sank within him as he 
thought of the serious difference which the loss of 
his wages would make at home. The prospect of 
another situation was not very good, for Greenville 
was a small, quiet place, with very few places of 
business. 



30 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER V 

LOOKING FOR WORK 

HARRY shrank from telling his mother that he 
was about to lose his place, but he knew it must be 
done. 

In the evening, when he got hcme from the store, 
he seemed so restless that his mother asked him 
w r hat was the matter with him. 

'This is my last week at the store, mother," he 
answered, soberly. "I suppose that is what makes 
me feel nervous." 

"Has Mr. Mead been induced by Mrs. Ross to 
turn you away?" asked Mrs. Gilbert, beginning to 
feel indignant. 

"No; he isn't that kind of a man." 

"Isn't he satisfied with you?" 

"I ought to have told you at first that a nephew 
of his own needs the place, and he can't afford to 
employ two boys." 

"I believe Mrs. Ross is at the bottom of it, after 
all," said Mrs. Gilbert. 

"No, mother; there you are wrong," and Harry 



THE TIN BOX 31 

went on to explain that Howard's appearance was 
a surprise to his uncle. 

"What kind of a boy is he?" asked the widow, 
disposed to dislike in advance the boy who had been 
the means of depriving her son of a place. 

"He's a nice fellow. I like him already. Of 
course I am sorry to lose my place, but, if I must, 
I am willing he should have it. I think we shall 
be good friends." 

"But what are you going to do, Harry?" asked 
his mother, anxiously. "Your wages have been our 
dependence." 

"I am sure I shall get something else to do, 
mother," said Harry, in a tone of confidence which 
he did not feel. "Tending store isn't the only 
thing to be done. 1 ' 

"I am sure, I hope so," said Mrs. Gilbert, de- 
spondently. 

"Don't trouble yourself, mother, about the fu- 
ture. Just leave it to me, and you'll see if I don't 
get something to do." 

Nevertheless, the widow could not help troubling 
herself. She knew that employment was hard to 
find in the village, at any rate and could not 
conjecture where Harry was to find it. She did 
not, however, say much on the subject, fearing to 
depress his spirits. 

Saturday night came, and Harry received his 
wages. 



32 THE TIN BOX 

"I don't know where my next week's wages are 
coming from, Mr. Mead," he said, soberly. 

"You may be sure that I will recommend you for 
any employment I hear of, Harry," said Mr. 
Mead, earnestly. "I really wish I could afford to 
keep you on. You mustn't allow yourself to be 
discouraged." 

"I won't if I can help it," answered Harry. 

The next day was Sunday, and he did not realize 
that he was out of a position; but, when Monday 
morning came, and he could lie abed as long as he 
pleased, with no call to work, he felt sad. 

After a light breakfast, he rose from the table 
and took his hat. 

"Where are you going, Harry?" asked his 
mother. 

"I am going out in search of a job, mother," he 
replied. 

The number of stores was limited, and he was 
pretty sure in advance that there was no opening in 
any one of them, but he wanted to make sure. 

He applied at one after another, and without 



success. 

UT' 



I'd take you quick enough, Harry," said Mr. 
Draper, the dry-goods dealer, "but I've got all the 
help I need." 

"So I expected, Mr. Draper, but I thought I 
would ask." 

"All right, Harry. If I hear of anything, I will 



THE TIN BOX 33 

be sure to let you know," said Mr. Draper, in a 
friendly tone. 

All this evidence of friendliness was, of course, 
pleasant, but the prospect of a place would have 
been more welcome, so poor Harry thought. At 
ten o'clock he reached home. 

His mother looked up when he entered, but she 
saw, by the expression of his face, that he had not 
succeeded. 

'You must be tired, Harry," she said. "You 
had better sit down and rest." 

"Oh, no, I'm not tired, mother. If you'll tell 
me where the four-quart kettle is, I'll go and pick 
some blueberries." 

'What will you do with so many, Harry?" 

"Carry them to Mr. Mead. Every two days he 
sends a supply to market." 

''How much does he pay?" asked the widow, 
brightening up at this glimpse of money to be 
earned. 

"Eight cents a quart, payable in groceries. It 
won't be much, but will be better than nothing." 

"So it will, Harry. I don't know but I can do 
better going with you than to stay at home and 



sew.' 



"No, mother; you would be sure to get a head- 
ache, exposed to the sun in the open pasture. Leave 
me to pick berries. It is more suitable for me." 



34 THE TIN BOX 

"What time will you get home to dinner, 
Harry?" 

"I shall not come home till the middle of the 
afternoon. I'll take a little lunch with me, and eat 
in the pasture." 

So Harry started out, pail in hand, for the berry 
pasture. It was about a mile away, and was of 
large extent, comprising, probably, thirty acres of 
land. It was Harry's first expedition of the kind 
in the season, as his time had been so fully occupied 
at the store that he had had no leisure for picking 
berries. 

The berries were not so plentiful as they had 
been somewhat earlier, but they were still to be 
found in considerable quantities. 

Harry was not alone. Probably a dozen other 
persons were in the pasture, engaged in the same 
way as himself. All knew Harry, and some, who 
had not heard of his loss of place, were surprised 
to see him there. 

"And how is it you are here, Harry?' 1 asked 
Mrs. Ryan, a good-natured Irish woman, who was 
out, with three of her children, reaping a harvest of 
berries. "And how can Mr. Mead spare you?' 

"Because he's got another boy," answered 
Harry. 

"Shure it was mane to send you away, and your 
mother nadin' your wages." 

"He couldn't help it. He had a nephew - 



THE TIN BOX 35 

needed the place. But, perhaps, I can make a for- 
tune, like you, picking berries." 

"And shure you'd have to live a hundred years 
to do that, and have berries ripe all the year round. 
It's hard work, Harry, and poor pay." 

"You have the advantage of me, Mrs. Ryan. 
You've got three children to help you." 

"And don't I have to buy food and clothes for 
the same ? Shure, you're welcome to all they earn, 
if you'll board and clothe 'em." 

"I didn't think of that. Perhaps I am better off 
as I am." 

"And so ye are, I'm thinkin'." 

Harry found that, exert himself as he might, 
Mrs. Ryan picked nearly as fast as he did. She 
was used to it, and her pail filled up rapidly. 

Harry was glad he did not bring a larger pail, 
for to him, unaccustomed to bend over, the work 
was fatiguing, and when, as the town clock struck 
two, he saw his pail filled to the brim, he breathed 
a sigh of relief. 

"If the pail held more, I shouldn't feel satisfied 
to stop," he said to himself, "so I'm glad it 
doesn't." 

Mrs. Ryan had two pails and a basket, and each 
of her children carried a small pail, so that she re- 
mained in the pasture after Harry left. 

It was shorter for Harry to go at once to the 



3 6 THE TIN BOX 

store, instead of going round by his home, and this 
he resolved to do. 

About twenty rods from the store, rather to his 
vexation, he met Philip Ross, elaborately dressed 
and swinging a light cane. 

Philip, who had not heard of Harry's loss of 
place, regarded our hero with surprise, not un- 
mixed with curiosity. But for his curiosity, he 
would have passed him without a word. Curiosity 
conquered dislike, and he inquired: 

''Does Mead send you out to pick berries?" 

"No," answered Harry. 

"Haven't you been picking berries?" 

"This looks like it, doesn't it?" 

"Of course. Have you a holiday?" 
'Yes, a long holiday. I am not working for 
Mr. Mead now." 

An expression of joy lighted up the face of 
Philip. 

"Has he discharged you?" he asked. 

"He has taken his nephew in my place." 

"And so you have to pick berries for a living?" 
asked Philip, in exultation. 

'Yes," answered Harry, coolly. 

"I must go home and tell mother," said Philip, 
briskly. "Wait a minute, though. Do you want a 
job?" 

"Yes," responded Harry, rather surprised that 
Philip should feel any interest in the matter. 



THE TIN BOX 37 

"Then I can give you one. Come up to the house 
early every morning, and I'll hire you to black my 
shoes. I'll give let me see thirty cents a week." 

"Thank you, but I couldn't come up to your 
house. Bring them down to mine every morning, 
and I may accept the job." 

"Do you think I would demean myself by carry- 
ing dirty shoes round the village?" demanded 
Philip, angrily. 

"I don't know," said Harry, coolly. "You'll 
have to do it, if you want me to black them." 

Philip muttered something about impudence, but 
went off very well pleased, to report to his mother 
that she could trade at Mead's once more, as he 
had sent off Harry Gilbert. 



38 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER VI 

UNCLE OBED ARRIVES FROM ILLINOIS 

IT seemed odd to Harry to enter Mead's store, 
where he had been employed, merely as a customer. 

Mr. Mead nodded pleasantly. 

"It seems natural to see you here, Harry," hje 
said. "Have you been berrying?" 

"Yes, and I would like to sell my berries." 

"Very well. You know what I pay eight cents 
a quart." 

"I have four quarts." 

"Measure them out yourself, Harry. I will 
make an exception in your case, if you wish it, and 
give you the money for them." 

Harry accepted this offer, as he did not know of 
what groceries his mother stood in need. 

As he w r alked out of the store, he felt more confi- 
dence than he had done in the morning. He had 
not got a place, to be sure, but he had earned thirty- 
two cents. This was not quite half what he had 
been accustomed to earn at the store, but it was 
something. 



THE TIN BOX 39 

A little way from the store, Harry passed an old 
man, dressed neatly, but in a well-worn suit, walk- 
ing with some difficulty, with the help of a stout 
cane. He looked to be seventy years old, at least, 
and his appearance indicated that he was poor. 

As Harry passed, the old man called out: 

"Stop a minute, boy !" 

Harry stopped, and waited respectfully to learn 
what the old man wanted. It is a common com- 
plaint that most boys are wanting in respect to old 
age, but this charge could not be brought against 
Harry, who was uniformly courteous to all persons 
older than himself. 

Though he suspected the old man to be very 
poor, it made no difference to him. 

"Can you tell me where Mr. Ross lives?" asked 
the stranger. 

"Yes, sir. I suppose you mean Colonel Ross?" 

"I believe that's what they call him. His wife 
is my niece. 1 ' 

Harry was very much surprised to hear this. 

"Have you ever been there before, sir?" asked 
Harry. 

"No; I've been living out in Illinoy. But I'm 
getting old, and my only daughter died last month. 
So I've come here to visit my niece." 

"I don't believe Mrs. Ross will be very glad to 
see her uncle," thought Harry; "and I'm sure 
Philip won't." 



40 THE TIN BOX 

"I will show you the way, sir, if you wish," said 
Harry, politely. 

"I wish you would, if it isn't too much trouble/' 
said the old man. 

"Oh, no trouble at all," said Harry. 
'You seem to be a very obliging boy. What is 
your name?" 

"Harry Gilbert." 

"Are your parents living?" 

"My mother is living, but my father's dead 
that is, we expect he is. He was a sea captain, and 
never came back from his last voyage." 

"Did he leave your mother well off?" asked the 
old man, gazing attentively at Harry. 

Harry thought him rather inquisitive for a 
stranger, but credited him with good motives, and 
answered, readily: 

"No, sir; we are quite poor; but I have had a 
place where I earned four dollars a week at the 
grocery store. Mr. Mead had a nephew come last 
week, and now I am out of work." 

"That is unlucky for you." 

'Yes, sir; but I shall try hard to get something 
else soon." 

'You look like an industrious boy." 

"I like to work." 

"Where do you live ?" 

It so happened that Harry's house could be 



THE TIN BOX 41 

pointed out across the fields, though at least a quar- 
ter of a mile away. 

"There it is," he said, pointing it out; "but, per- 
haps, you cannot see so far?" 

"Oh, yes, I can see it." 

By this time they had reached the gate of Colonel 
Ross, and Harry felt that he might safely leave the 
old man. 

Out on the lawn was Philip Ross, who, with sur- 
prise and displeasure, saw Harry opening the gate 
for one whom he mentally designated as an old 
tramp. 

'What do you want here?" he asked, in a tone 
far from courteous or respectful. 

"What is your name?" asked the old man, fixing 
his glance on the questioner. 

"My name is Philip Ross, and I am the son of 
Colonel Ross," answered Philip, with an air of con- 
sequence. 

'Then I am your great-uncle, Philip," said the 
old man, surveying his young kinsman with an in- 
terest inspired by the feeling of relationship. 

"My great-uncle," repeated Philip, in mingled 
bewilderment and dismay. 

"Yes, Philip, I'm your mother's uncle, come all 
the way from Illinoy to visit you." 

Harry was amused to see upon the face of his 
young antagonist a look of stupefaction. 

It was a severe blow to Philip, especially in 



i . 

ir 



42 . THE TIN BOX 

Harry's presence, to be claimed as a kinsman by a 
shabby, old tramp. It was upon his tongue to ex- 
press a doubt as to the relationship, but he forbore. 
'Is your mother at home?" asked the old man. 
'You can ring the bell and see," answered Philip, 
deliberately turning his back and walking off. 

The old man looked after him, with a shrewd 
glance of intelligence, but expressed no opinion of 
him. 

"Harry," he said, turning to his young guide, 
"will you come with me to the door and ring the 
bell?" 

Harry complied with his request. 

The door was opened by a servant, who, on see- 
ing the old man, said, pertly: 

'We've got nothing for the likes of you," and 
was about to close the door on the two. 

"Stop !" said Harry, in a commanding voice, for 
he was provoked with the girl's ill manners. "Tell 
Mrs. Ross that her uncle is here. I think you'd 
better invite him in." 

"Well, I never!" said the girl, abashed. "I hope 
you'll excuse me, sir. Walk into the parlor, and 
I'll tell Mrs. Ross you are here." 

'Won't you come in, Harry?" asked the old 
man, who seemed to have taken a liking to his 
young guide. 

"No, thank you, sir. I shall see you again, if 
you are going to stay in the village." 



THE TIN BOX 43 

"Thank you ! you're a good boy," and the old 
man began to fumble in his pocket. 

"Oh, no. I can't take anything," said Harry^ 
hurriedly. 

Even if the old man had been rich, he would 
have declined compensation much more when he 
looked very poor. 

"Well, well! I'm much obliged to you, all the. 
same." 

Leaving Harry to find his way home, let us see 
what sort of reception the old man had from his 
niece. 

Within five minutes Mrs. Ross sailed into the 



room. 

u 



Why, Lucinda!" said the old man, heartily; 
it's a long time since I met you." 

"I do not remember ever having seen you," said 
Mrs. Ross, frigidly. 

''I haven't seen you since you were a little girl r 
for I've been living away out in Illinoy. I'm your 
Uncle Obed Obed Wilkins brother of your 
mother." 

"Indeed!" said Mrs. Ross, coldly, eyeing the old 
man's shabby attire with something like disdain. 
'You must be an old man !" 

"Seventy-two, Lucinda. I was born in October, 
while your mother was two years younger than I, 
and born in August. I didn't think to outlive her, 
seeing she was younger, but I have." 



44 THE TIN BOX 

"I think it was imprudent in a man of your age 
coming so far," said Mrs. Ross. 

"I was all alone, Lucinda. My daughter died 
last spring, and I wanted to be near some one that 
was akin to me, so I've come to see the only rela- 
tions I've got left on earth." 

"That's very cool," thought Mrs. Ross. "He 
expects us to support him, I suppose. He looks as 
poor as poverty. He ought to have gone to the 
poorhouse in his old home." 

To be sure, she would not like to have had it 
known that she had an uncle in the poorhouse ; but, 
so far away as Illinois, it would not have been 
known to any of her Eastern friends, and wouldn't 
matter so much. 

"I will speak to Colonel Ross about it, Mr. Wil- 
kins," she said, coldly. 'You can stay to supper, 
and see him then." 

"Don't call me Mr. Wilkins. I'm your Uncle 
Obed," said the old man. 

'You may be my uncle, but I am not sufficiently 
acquainted with you yet for that," she answered. 
'You can come upstairs, if you feel tired, and lie 
down till supper time." 

"Thank you, I will," said Uncle Obed. 

The offer of Mrs. Ross was dictated not so much 
by kindness as by the desire to get her shabby uncle 
well out of the way, and have a chance for a private 



THE TIN BOX 45 

conference with her husband, whom she expected 
every minute. 

If the unannounced visit of Uncle Obed may be 
thought to need an excuse, it can easily be found. 
For years, when Mrs. Ross was a girl, she and her 
mother were mainly supported by the now despised 
uncle, without whom they might have become de- 
pendent upon charity. 

It was not a time that Mrs. Ross, in her present 
luxury, liked to think about, and for years she had 
not communicated with the uncle to whom she owed 
so much. 

Full of charity himself, he was unconscious of 
her lack of gratitude, and supposed that her failure 
to write was owing to lack of time. He had come 
in good faith, when bereft of his daughter, to re- 
new acquaintance with his niece, never dreaming 
how unwelcome he would be. Philip's rudeness 
impressed him unpleasantly, but, then, the boy had 
never seen him before, and that was some excuse. 



46 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER VII 

AN UNWELCOME GUEST 

'I DON'T believe that old tramp's my great- 
uncle," said Philip Ross to himself, but he felt un- 
easy, nevertheless. 

It hurt his pride to think that he should have 
such a shabby relation, and he resolved to ascertain 
by inquiry from his mother whether there were any 
grounds for the old man's claim. 

He came into the house just after Uncle Obed 
had been shown upstairs by the servant, not to the 
spare room, but to a small, inconvenient bedroom 
on the third floor, next to the one occupied by the 
two servants. 

"Mother," asked Philip, "is it really true?" 

"Is what really true?" 

'That that shabby old man is any relation of 
ours?" 

"I don't know with certainty," answered his 
mother. "He says he is, but I shouldn't have 
known him." 

"Did you have any uncle in Illinois ?" 



THE TIN BOX 47 

"Yes, I believe so," Mrs. Ross admitted, reluc- 
tantly. 

"You always said you were of a high family," 
said Philip, reproachfully. 

Mrs. Ross blushed, for she did not like to admit 
that her pretensions to both were baseless. She was 
not willing to admit it now, even to Philip. 

( It is true," she replied, in some embarrassment; 
u but there's always a black sheep in every flock." 

Poor Obed ! To be called a black sheep a hard- 
working, steady-going man as he had been all his 
life. 

"But my mother's brother, Obed, strange to say, 
was always rustic and uncouth, and so he was sent 
out to Illinois to be a farmer. We thought that 
the best place for him that he would live and die 
there ; but now, in the most vexatious manner in the 
world, he turns up here." 

"He isn't going to stay here, is he?" asked 
Philip, in dismay. 

"No; we must get rid of him some way. I must 
say it was a very cool proceeding to come here with- 
out an invitation, expecting us to support him." 

This was a gratuitous assumption on the part of 
Mrs. Ross. 

"I suppose he's very poor. He doesn't look as if 
he had a cent. I presume he is destitute, and ex- 
pects us to take care of him." 

"You'd better send him packing, mother." 



48 THE TIN BOX 

"I suppose we shall have to do something for 
him/' said Mrs. Ross, in a tone of disgust. "I 
shall advise your father to buy a ticket for him, 
and send him back to Illinois." 

'That'll be the best way, mother. Start him off 
to-morrow, if you can." 

"I won't keep him long, you may be sure of 
that." 

By this time Colonel Ross had reached home, 
and his wife communicated to him the unwelcome 
intelligence of Uncle Obed's arrival, and advised 
him as to the course she thought best to pursue. 

"Poor old man !" said the colonel, with more 
consideration than his wife or son possessed. "I 
suppose he felt solitary out there." 

'That isn't our lookout," said Mrs. Ross, im- 
patiently. 'It's right enough to say poor old man. 
He looks as poor as poverty. He'll be better off in 
Illinois." 

"Perhaps you are right, but I wouldn't like to 
send him off empty-handed. I'll buy his ticket, and 
give him fifty dollars, so that he need not suffer." 

"It seems to me that is too much. Twenty dol- 
lars, or ten, would be liberal." 

The cold-hearted woman seemed to forget the 
years during which her uncle had virtually sup- 
ported her. 

'No, Lucinda ; I shall give him fifty." 

"You should think of your son, Colonel Ross/' 



THE TIN BOX 49 

said his wife. "Don't impoverish him by your fool- 
ish generosity." 

Colonel Ross shrugged his shoulders. 

"Philip will have all the money that will be good 
for him," he said. 

"Very well; as you please. Only get him off as 
soon as you can. It is mortifying to me to have 
such a looking old man here claiming relationship 



to me.' 



"He is your uncle, Lucinda, and you must men- 
tion the plan to him." 

"Very well." 

It was a task which Mrs. Ross did not shrink 
from, for she had no fear of hurting the feelings of 
Uncle Obed, or, rather, she did not care whether 
he chose to feel hurt or not. 

Uncle Obed was called down to supper, and took 
his seat at the handsome tea table, with its silver 
service. Colonel Ross, to his credit be it said, re- 
ceived his wife's uncle much more cordially than 
his own niece had done, and caused Uncle Obed's 
face to beam with pleasure. 

"Railly, Lucinda," said Uncle Obed, as he look- 
ed over the table, "you have a very comfortable 
home, I declare." 

"Yes, w r e try to have things comfortable around 
us," answered Mrs. Ross, coldly. 

"Years ago, when you and your mother lived out 



50 THE TIN BOX 

in Illinoy, I didn't think you'd come to live in a 
house like this." 

'Yes, people live in an outlandish way out- 
there, " said Mrs. Ross. 

"But they have happy homes. When Mary 
lived, I enjoyed life, though the old farmhouse 
seemed rough and plain, compared with your hand- 
some home. I'm glad to see my sister's child living 
so well, with all the comforts that money can buy." 

The old man's tone was hearty, and there was a 
smile of genuine pleasure on his rugged face. He 
was forced to admit that his niece was not as cor- 
dial as he hoped, but, then, ''Lucinda was always 
reserved and quiet-like," he said to himself, and so 
excused her. 

It must be said for Colonel Ross that he knew 
comparatively little about his wife's early life, and 
didn't dream of the large obligations she was under 
to Uncle Obed. He was a rich man, and the con- 
sciousness of wealth led him to assume airs of im- 
portance, but he was not as cold or heartless as hi? 
wife, and would have insisted on his wife's treat! ; 
her uncle better had he known the past. Even r: 
it was, he was much more gracious and affable thai: 
Mrs. Ross to the old man, whom he had never seen 
before. 

As for Philip, he was a second edition of his 
mother, and never addressed a word to Uncle 



THE TIN BOX 51 

Obed. When the latter spoke to him, he answered 
in monosyllables. 

"Nancy, you may leave the room. I'll call you 
if I want you." 

This was what Mrs. Ross said to the servant, 
fearing that Uncle Obed might refer to her early 
poverty, and that the girl might talk about it in 
the neighborhood. 

Though Colonel Ross made conversation easy 
for him, Uncle Obed could not help feeling the 
coldness of his niece. 

"Lucindy might treat me better," he thought, 
"after what I did for her in her early days. But I 
see how it is; she's ashamed of them, and I won't 
say anything to make her feel bad. I see I must 
look elsewhere for a home. Lucindy don't want 
me here, and I shouldn't feel at home myself. I 
wish Philip was more like that Harry Gilbert, who 
showed me the way here." 

Supper was over, and Philip took up his hat to 
go out. 

"Philip," said his father, "you forget that your 
uncle is here. You should stay to keep him com- 
pany." 

"I've got an engagement," said Philip, alarmed 
at the suggestion. 

"Can't you put it off?" 

"Let the boy keep his engagement," said Uncle 



52 THE TIN BOX 

Obed. 'I like to see young people particular about 
keeping their appointments." 

'Your uncle may like to walk out with you, and 
see something of the village." 

Philip looked dismayed at the prospect of being 
seen in the company of the rather shabby old man, 
who claimed to be his great-uncle. 

"No, no," said Uncle Obed. "I can find the way 
round by myself. A man that's used to the West- 
ern prairies doesn't get lost easily." 

Philip breathed a sigh of relief. For the first 
time he began to think that Uncle Obed had some 
sensible ideas. 

Uncle Obed took his hat and cane, and walked 
out slowly, making his way along the principal 
street. 

"I wish I could see that boy Harry Gilbert," he 
thought to himself for a new plan had occurred 
to him. "Why, bless me, there he is now," he said, 
as our hero turned the next corner. 

"Good-evening, sir," said Harry, cheerfully. 

"Good-evening, Harry. You're just the one I 
was wanting to see. I've got something to say to 
you." 

What Uncle Obed had to say was of importance, 
but must be deferred to the next chapter. 



THE TIN BOX '53 



CHAPTER VIII 

UNCLE OBED MAKES A PROPOSAL 

HARRY waited to hear what the old man had to 
say. 

"How do you and my grandnephew hitch 
horses?" asked Uncle Obed. 

"You mean how do we get along together?" 
asked Harry. 

"Yes." 

"Well, we are not bosom friends. Philip thinks 
I am a poor, working boy, and looks down on me 
accordingly." 

: 'It don't do you a mite of harm to \vork. I had 
to work when I was a boy, and I've done my share 
of work since I got to be a man." 

''I like to work," said Harry. "I only wish I 
had the chance." 

"So there is no love lost between you and 
Philip?" 

"No; he doesn't suit me any better than I suit 
him. He's got too high notions for me." 

"He's like his mother," said Uncle Obed. "I 



54 THE TIN BOX 

reckon she and Philip ain't very glad to see me. 
It's different with the colonel. He's a nice man, 
but he seems to be under his wife's thumb." 

Harry did not reply. It w^s only what he ex- 
pected, from what he knew of Mrs. Ross and her 
son. 

"I hope it won't be unpleasant for you," said he, 
in a tone of sympathy. 

"It's a kind of disappointment," the old man ad- 
mitted. "I was hoping Lucindy would be like her 
mother, and I could have a home with my own 
folks the rest of my life." 

"Poor man," thought Harry. "He's old and 
destitute, and it must be a trial for him to find him- 
self so coldly received." 

"I wish," he said, impulsively, "we were richer." 

"Why?" asked Uncle Obed. 

"Because we'd offer you a home. But, unfortu- 
nately," continued Harry, with a sigh, "we don't 
know how we are to pay our own expenses." 

The old man looked gratified. 

"I wish you were my nephew, instead of Philip," 
he said. "You've got a good mother, I take it." 

"She's one of the best mothers in the world," 
said Harry, earnestly. 

'I might have known it. Such boys as you al- 
ways have good mothers. Supposing I was able to 
pay my share of the expenses, do you think your 
mother would give me a home?" 



THE TIN BOX 55 

"I am sure she would," said Harry, who could 
not help feeling interest in the homely, but good- 
hearted, old man. "But I thought " here he 

hesitated. 

"You thought I was destitute, didn't you?" ask- 
ed Uncle Obed, with a smile. 

"Yes, sir." 

"I'm thankful to Providence that I'm not. I've 
got enough to pay my way for the few years that 
remain to me. My niece might treat me different if 
she knew it, but I'd rather she'd think I was in 
need." 

"Shall I speak to my mother about your com- 
ing?" asked Harry. 

'Yes; but I won't come just yet. I want to see 
how Lucindy'll act. She wants to get rid of me, 
and she'll be saying something soon. Like as not, 
she'll offer to pay my fare back to Illinoy," and the 
shrewd old man, who had hit the truth, laughed. 

'Very well, sir, I'll speak to mother. We've got 
a nice room that we've kept for a spare chamber, 
where I'm sure you'd be comfortable." 

"I don't much care now what Lucindy says or 
does," said the old man, cheerfully. "If Philip 
won't have me for a great-uncle, I'll have to adopt 
you in his place, and I guess I'll make a good ex- 
change." 

"Thank you, sir. I shall try to treat you as a 
nephew ought. Good-evening." 



56 THE TIN BOX 

"That's a good boy/' said Uncle Obed to him- 
self. "I wish he was my nephew. Somehow, that 
stuck-up Philip, with his high-and-mighty airs, 
doesn't seem at all kin to me." 

Harry went home in excellent spirits. It would 
be of advantage to them to have a boarder, as it 
vrould give them a steady, even if small, income. 

'I wonder what he'll be able to pay?" he said to 
himself. ; 'If he pays as much as I used to get 
four dollars a week it'll make us all right, for 
I'm sure of earning as much as two dollars a week, 
even if I don't get a place." 

His mother brightened up, too, when Harry told 
her of the prospect that opened up of making up 
for his lost wages. It was a timely help, and both 
mother and son regarded it as such. 



THE TIN BOX 51 



CHAPTER IX 

NOTICE TO QUIT 

"STRIKE while the iron's hot!" This was the 
motto of Mrs. Ross, especially in a matter of this 
kind. She was firmly resolved to get rid of Uncle 
Obed as soon as she could. 

She had always claimed to be of high family, 
and to have been brought up in the same style in 
which she was now living, and here was a witness 
who could disprove all she had said. 

No one knew better than Uncle Obed that she 
had been very poor in her early days, for it was he 
who, out of his small means, had contributed to 
support her mother and herself. Any day he might 
refer to those years of poverty; and Mrs. Ross felt 
that she should expire of mortification if her ser- 
vants should hear of them. Farewell, then, to her 
aristocratic claims, for she knew well enough that 
they would be ready enough to spread the report, 
which would soon reach the ears of all her acquaint- 
ances. By way of precaution she took an oppor- 



58 THE TIN BOX 

tunity of presenting her version of the story to 
Nancy, who waited on the table. 

"Mr. Wilkins is rather a strange old man,, 
Nancy," she said, affably, as Nancy was clearing off 
the breakfast table the next morning. 

; 'Is he really your uncle, mum ?" asked Nancy. 

Mrs. Ross wished she could deny it, but felt that 
she would be found out in falsehood. 

'Yes, Nancy, I confess that he is. There is a 
black sheep in every family, and poor Uncle Obed 
was the black sheep in ours." 

'You don't say so, mum! He seems harmless 
enough." 

"Oh, yes. There's no harm in him; but he's so 
rustic. Poor grandpa tried to polish him by send- 
ing him to expensive schools, but it was no use. He 
took no interest in books, and wouldn't go to col- 
lege" Uncle Obed would have opened his eyes if 
he had heard this "and so grandpa bought him a 
farm, and set him up in business as a farmer. He 
was rather shiftless, and preferred the company of 
his farm laborers to going into the fashionable so- 
ciety the rest of the family moved in; and so pJ) 
his life he has been nothing but a rough, unrefined 
farmer." 

"What a pity, mum." 

'Yes, it is a pity, but I suppose it was in him. 
Of course, it is very mortifying to me to have him 



THE TIN BOX 59 

come here so different as he is from the rest of us. 
I am sure you can understand that, Nancy." 

"Oh, yes, mum." 

"He won't feel at home among us, and I think I 
shall ask Colonel Ross to pay his fare back to Illi- 
nois, and give him a pension, if he really needs it. 
I dare say he has lost his farm, and is destitute, for 
he never knew how to take care of money." 

"That would be very kind of you and the colonel, 
mum," said Nancy, who didn't believe half her 
mistress was saying, but thought it might be for her 
interest to pretend she did. 

"By the way, Nancy, I think I shall not need any 
more the mantilla you like so well. You can have 
it, if you like." 

"Oh, thank you, mum," exclaimed Nancy, in 
surprise. 

For she had never before received a present from 
her mistress, who was well known to be mean and 
penurious. 

The mantilla was a handsome one, and she 
thanked Mrs. Ross effusively. 

"There, I've managed her," thought Mrs. Ross, 
( 'though at the expense of the valuable mantilla. I 
grudge it to her, but it is best to guard her against 
any of Uncle Obed's stories, at any cost. I must 
get rid of him as soon as I can." 

Colonel Ross wished his wife to postpone speak- 
ing for a week, but this she was unwilling to prom- 



60 THE TIN BOX 

ise. She agreed to let her uncle stay a week, but 
insisted on giving him notice to quit sooner. 

On the morning of the third day she found her 
opportunity. Breakfast was over, and she left 
alone with the old man. 

"Mr. Wilkins," she said, "I want to have a talk 
with you." 

"Certainly, Lucindy, you can talk just as much 
as you please. But what makes you call me Mr. 
Wilkins? When you were a little girl, and came 
over with a message from your mother, it was al- 
ways Uncle Obed." 

"It is so long since I have seen you that I hardly 
feel like speaking so familiarly," said Mrs. Ross. 

"You'll feel better acquainted after a while, Lu- 
cindy." 

"That shows he expects to stay a long time," 
thought Mrs. Ross. 

"Don't you think you made a mistake in leaving 
Illinois?" asked Mrs. Ross, point-blank. 

"Well, perhaps I did," admitted Uncle Obed. 

"Of course you did. You are too old to come to 
a new place where you don't know anybody. Now, 
out there you knew 

"Pretty nigh everybody." 

"Exactly." 

"But out there I hadn't any relations left. After 
my poor Mary died I felt lonesome." 



THE " 

"Still, as you hadn't s 
we are almost the same as 

"I can't forget, Lucindy, ho\v 
mother struggled along, and 
help " 

"We won't recall those old times, 
Ross, impatiently. ; 'I was going t 
wouldn't be happy here. We don't 
were accustomed to do; and, in fact, tt, 
inconvenient for us to have a new inma 
health is delicate, and " 

"You look pretty rugged, Lucindy." 

"Appearances are deceitful," said Mn 
nodding her head solemnly. 'I am very n 
and all excitement is bad for me." 

"I hope I haven't excited you, Lucindy,' 
Uncle Obed. "I thought I was pretty quiet 
to the work, you've got two girls to help 
kitchen." 

"Yes; but there's a certain amount of car 
falls upon me which you can't understand." 

"I hope you won't alter your living for 
cindy. I'm one of your own folks, and I 
mind a picked-up dinner now and then." 

"The ridiculous old man," thought Mrs 
impatiently. "As if I'd alter my style of lr* 
a destitute old man that looks as if he'd 
caped from an almshouse." 




. 



BOX 

i same, company or no 

/ 
.ge for fashionable visitors 

Philadelphia, it is hardly like- 



1 



i't give you any trouble." 
iiiued Mrs. Ross, "it is worrying to 
lave company." 

.ouldn't think you'd invite those fash- 
j -from New York and Philadelphia," 
Gbed, slyly. 

take him!" thought Mrs. Ross; "won't 

nt? I shall have to speak more plainly. 

said she, "I was surprised you should 

upon us without writing, or inquiring 

it would be convenient for us to receive 

gin to understand," said Uncle Obed. 'I 
come here." 

!, you can stay a few days, if you desire it," 
5. Ross, "but you will be much happier in 
home than here." 

ht to be the best judge of that, Lucindy," 
d man, with dignity. 

ps not. People can't always judge best 
Ives." 

' not ; but I am going to try the experi- 
ig here a while." 
eady told you that it will not be con- 



THE TIN BOX 63 

venient for you to stay here. Colonel Ross will 
pay your fare back to Illinois, and that, I am sure, 
is quite as much as he ought to do." 

"Lucindy," said Uncle Obed, "you seem to have 
forgotten the years I freely helped you and your 
poor mother. However, if you dt >'t care to re- 
member them, I won't refer to them. 

Mrs. Ross had the grace to be ashamed, but was 
not moved in her resolution to get rid of her uncle. 

"Of course," she said, "I don't forg :he past. 
We will help pay your board in some .own at a 
distance." 

"Why at a distance?" 

"Because, if you were here, people might think 
it strange you didn't stay with us, and my health 
won't admit that." 

"I'm much obliged for your offer, Lucindy, but I 
prefer to make my own arrangements. I am going 
to stay here." 

'Then we shall not assist you," said Mrs. Ross, 
angrily. 

"I don't wish you to. I can manage to pay my 
board, and I have already selected a boarding 
place." 

"Where do you expect to board?" askeu Mrs. 
Ross, curiously. 

"I'll tell you when it's settled." 

The next day Uncle Obed informed his niece 
that he was to board with Mrs. Gilbert. This was 



64 THE TIN BOX 

unwelcome news, because it would be a help to a 
family she disliked; but Uncle Obed was proof 
against any insinuations she was able to bring 
against Harry and his mother, and the day after he 
transferred himself to the clean and airy chamber 
in Mrs. Gilbert's cottage. 

"This will just suit me," said the old man, look- 
ing about him with a pleased expression. "I like 
this room much better than the one my niece gave 



me.' 



"Our house won't compare with hers, Mr. Wil- 
kins," said the widow. 

"It ain't so fine, but she put me in a little seven- 
by-nine chamber, and I was always used to plenty 
of room. 11 

"I am afraid our living will be too plain for 
you," suggested Mrs. Gilbert, apprehensively. 

"Do I look as if I was used to high living?" 
asked Uncle Obed. "No; whatever's good enough 
for you and Harry is good enough for me. And 
now it's best to agree about terms, so that we may 
know just how we stand." 

This was rather embarrassing to the widow. 
Uncle Obed certainly did not look as if he could 
pay much, yet it would not do to charge too little. 
She would not be able to provide her table. 

"Would four dollars suit you?" she asked, in a 
hesitating way. 

"No, it wouldn't," said the old man. 



THE TIN BOX 65 

"I don't see how I can afford to ask less,'* fal- 
tered Mrs. Gilbert. 

"That isn't the point," he said. "You don't ask 
enough. I will pay you six dollars a week the 
first week in advance." 

"I should never think of asking so much," said 
Mrs. Gilbert, amazed. "Are you sure " 

"That I can afford to pay so much?" asked 
Uncle Obed, who understood her thought. "Yes ; 
I have a little something, though you might not 
think it from my clothes. When my trunk comes 
I left it at a hotel in New York I will dress a 
little better; but I wanted to try an experiment with 
my niece, Mrs. Ross. Here's the money for the 
first week." 

And, drawing out a large wallet, he took there- 
from two bills a five and a one. 

"It will make me feel very easy," said Mrs. Gil- 
bert, gratefully, "even if Harry doesn't get any 
regular work, though I hope he will." 

"I should like to warn you of one thing," said 
Uncle Obed. "Don't let people know how much 
board I pay. If Mrs. Ross chooses to think I am 
very poor, let her. She won't pester me with hypo- 
critical attentions, which I shouldn't value." 

Harry was delighted at his mother's good for- 
tune in obtaining so valuable a boarder. Six dollars 
a week would go a long way in their little house- 
hold. 



66 THE TIN BOX 

It gave him fresh courage in his efforts to obtain 
a place, for he knew that, even if it was deferred, 
his mother would not suffer from the delay. 



THE TIN BOX 67 



CHAPTER X 

PHILIP MEETS HIS MATCH 

THOUGH it would have been possible for the Gil- 
berts to get along now without help from Harry's 
earnings, his desire to obtain employment was quite 
as great as before. 

As he had no place in view, he continued to go to 
the berry field every day, supplying his mother with 
what she needed, and disposing of the rest to Mr. 
Mead. 

The field in which he had at first picked being 
nearly exhausted, he bent his steps in another direc- 
tion, where he learned that there was still a good 
supply. The field belonged to a Mr. Hammond, a 
substantial farmer, who had no objections to the 
berries being picked, but required parties to obtain 
his permission. 

As Mr. Hammond was understood to be very 
well to do, Mrs. Ross and her son condescended to 
associate with him and his family on equal terms. 

On the particular morning when Harry sought 
the field, Philip was crossing the pasture on his 



68 THE TIN BOX 

way to a river, where he kept a rowboat, when he 
espied two children, Tommy and Rose Perkins, 
picking berries. 

They were children of eight and ten, and it oc- 
curred to Philip that he had a fine chance to bully 
them, in the name of Mr. Hammond. 

Striding up to them, with an air of authority, he 
said: 

"Look here, you children, what business have 
you in this field?" 

"It isn't yours, is it?" asked Tommy, indepen- 
dently. 

"It belongs to my friend, Mr. Hammond," said 
Philip. "He don't allow all the loafers in town 
here." 

"Tommy and I are not loafers," said Rose. 

"All the same, you are trespassing on Mr. Ham- 
mond's pasture. Come, clear out." 

"Mr. Hammond gave us leave to come here, and 
I don't see what business it is of yours," said 
Tommy. 

"I don't believe he gave you permission at all, 
and I'll let you know what business it is of mine, 
you little rascal," said Philip, in a bullying tone. 

Luckily for Tommy and Rose, there was a 
friend near at hand, who was not disposed to see 
them abused. Harry Gilbert had reached the bars 
between the berry pasture and the next field in time 



THE TIN BOX 69 

to hear Philip's attempt to bully the young brother 
and sister. 

"Just like Philip," he thought, with a feeling of 
disgust. "He is always trying to bully those 
younger than himself, especially if they are poor." 

Tommy and Rose were the children of a widow, 
no better off than Mrs. Gilbert, and Harry felt a 
greater sympathy for them on that account. 

Meanwhile, Philip, not aware that there was 
help at hand, continued his persecutions. 

"Well, are you going to clear out?" he demand- 
ed, in a threatening tone. 

"No," said Tommy. "Mr. Hammond said we 
might pick berries here, and you have no right to 
touch us." 

"I'll show you whether I have or not," said 
Philip, in his most dominating tone. 

He drew back his foot, and deliberately kicked 
over the children's pails, one after the other. Prob- 
ably there was not more than a pint in either pail, 
as the children had just commenced picking, but it 
was certainly aggravating. 

Rose began to cry, while Tommy, his face turn- 
ing red, said: 

"I wish I was big enough; I'd make you sorry 
for what you have done." 

"I see I shall have to give you a lesson," said 
Philip. "I'll teach you to be impudent to me." 



70 THE TIN BOX 

He advanced toward Tommy in a threatening 
manner, and Harry thought it time to interfere. 

"Don't touch that boy, you contemptible bully!" 
he exclaimed, indignantly, hurrying to the scene of 
conflict. 

"Oh, Harry, make him stop/ 1 exclaimed Tom- 
my, in joyful tones. 

"I will," said Harry, resolutely. 

Philip Ross was very much annoyed by the unex- 
pected arrival of Harry, whom he had never been 
able to intimidate, and would gladly have slunk 
away if pride had not hindered. 

"You'd better take care what you say,*' he re- 
joined, in a surly tone. 

"And you had better take care what you do," 
returned Harry, manfully. 'Why have you been 
interfering with these poor children?" 

"I am not responsible to you for what I do," said 
Philip, angrily. "They are trespassing on this field, 
and I ordered them off." 

"By what right ? You don't own it." 

"My friend, Mr. Hammond, does." 

Here Tommy explained that Mr. Hammond 
had given them permission to pick berries. 

"I don't believe it," said Philip, "and I've no 
doubt you are trespassing, too." 

"Perhaps you'd like to serve me the same way," 
suggested Harry. 



THE TIN BOX 71 

"I'll leave Mr. Hammond to kick you out him- 
self." 

"That is more prudent. Stop! where are you 
going?" for Philip was starting to leave them. 

"I don't like the company I'm in. I'm going 
to leave you to enjoy each other's society." 

"Not yet," said Harry. 

"Can't you spare me?" sneered Philip. 

"Not till you have picked up the berries you 
have upset." 

"Do you mean to insult me?" demanded Philip, 
angrily. 

: 'No; I am only demanding what is reasonable 
and right. You upset the berries, and it is only 
fair you should pick them up." 

"Pick them up yourself!" said Philip. 

Again he started away, but Harry planted him- 
self resolutely in his path. 

'You must pick up those berries or fight me," 
he said. 

"Keep away from me, you beggar!" screamed 
Philip. 

"Once more, will you pick up those berries?" 

"No, I won't!" 

Harry's only answer was to seize Philip round 
the middle, and, despite his struggles, to lay him 
down on the ground. 

41 You'll suffer for this!" said Philip, almost 
screaming with rage. 



72 THE TIN BOX 

'You can go now," said Harry, contemptuously^ 
u and take care how you interfere with Tommy and 
Rose again." 

Philip rose from the ground, angry and humili- 
ated, yet not daring to attack Harry, whom he 
knew to be his superior in strength. 

'You haven't heard the last of this.,'* he said, 
shaking his fist. 

Harry deigned no reply, and Philip, instead of 
keeping on his way to the river v turned and walked 
homeward. 

Harry helped the children pick up their ber- 
ries, and remained with them through the forenoon. 



THE TIN BOX 73; 



CHAPTER XI 

THE TWO CONSPIRATORS 

PHILIP thirsted for revenge upon Harry, but 
it did not seem very clear in what way it was to 
be obtained. The trouble was that Harry was 
always in the right in all the difficulties they had 
had, and was likely to have popular sympathy on 
his side. 

As Philip walked home, fuming with anger, it 
occurred to him to make a formal complaint 
against Harry before a justice of the peace. But 
the examination which would ensue would disclose 
his unjustifiable conduct in the berry field, and he 
reluctantly abandoned the idea. 

While in this state of mind he met a recent ac- 
quaintance, some three years older than himself, 
named James Congreve. 

Congreve was boarding at the village hotel, with 
apparently no business on hand more pressing than 
smoking, fishing and lounging about the village. 

He came from the city of Brooklyn, and had 



74 THE TIN BOX 

been sent to this quiet village to remove him from 
the temptations of the city. 

He had been in several business positions, but 
had given satisfaction in none, and, so far as use- 
fulness was concerned, was perhaps as well off here 
as anywhere else. 

As James Congreve wore good clothes, and had 
a showy gold watch and chain, which indicated 
worldly prosperity, Philip was glad to make his 
acquaintance, for Congreve taught him to smoke 
and play cards for money. 

So when the two met James Congreve asked, 
languidly: 

"What are you up to, Philip?" : 

"Not much,' 1 answered Philip, suddenly. 

"You look out of sorts." 

"Oh, I've just had a fight with a boy in the berry 
pasture." 

"I hope you didn't hurt him much," said Con- 
greve, smiling. 

"No; but I'd like to," replied Philip, spitefully. 

"\Vho is the villain?" 

"Harry Gilbert, a low, impudent upstart." 

"Yes, I know; used to be in the grocery store, 
didn't he?" 

"Yes." 

"What's he done now?" 

"Oh, it's too long a story to tell. He was impu- 



THE TIN BOX 75 

dent to me, that's all. I would like to annoy him 
in some way." 

"Get him into a scrape, eh?" 

"Yes." 

"Perhaps we can think of some way. If you 
haven't anything better to do, come up to my room 
and play cards." 

"I don't mind." 

Soon afterward the two were sitting at a small 
table in Congreve's bedroom at the hotel, playing 
poker. 

This is essentially a gambling game, and for 
that reason it was a special favorite with James 
Congreve. He was much more than a match for 
Philip, whom he had initiated into the mysteries 
of the game. 

"How much do I owe you, Congreve?" asked 
Philip, as they sat down to their unprofitable em- 
ployment. 

"I don't know, exactly; I've got an account some- 
where," answered Congreve, carelessly. 

"It must be as much as ten dollars," said Philip, 
rather uneasily. "Somehow, you always have more 
luck at the cards than I do." 

"Luck will change in time. Besides, I am in 
no hurry for the money." 

"I only wish an allowance of two dollars a week. 
Father will only give me half of it, and mother 



76 THE TIN BOX 

makes up the rest. So it would take five weeks 
to pay you, and leave me without a cent to spend." 

"Probably you won't have to pay it at all. You 
may win it all back to-day." 

Thus encouraged, Philip began to play, but was 
as unlucky as usual. He rose from the table owing 
Congreve five dollars more than when he sat down. 
'Just my luck!" ejaculated Philip, with a long 
face. 'Just look up the account and let me know 
what it all amounts to." 

Congreve made a little calculation, and an- 
nounced, in apparent surprise, that Philip owed 
him twenty-two dollars. 

"It can't be !" ejaculated Philip, in dismay. 

"There's no doubt about it," said Congreve. 
"However, don't trouble yourself about it. I can 
wait. And now for your affair with this Gilbert 
boy. I've got an idea that I may prove service- 
able to you." 

During the next fifteen minutes a wicked plot 
was devised, of which it was intended that Harry 
should be the victim. The particulars must be re- 
served for the next chapter. 



THE TIN BOX 77 



CHAPTER XII 

i 

AN UNEXPECTED INVITATION 

"COME here, will you!" 

Harry Gilbert turned around, for the call was 
evidently addressed to him, and saw, standing on 
the piazza of the hotel, James Congreve. 

"Come here a moment. I want to speak to you," 
said Congreve, taking from his mouth the cigar 
he was smoking. 

Harry was surprised. He had scarcely any ac- 
quaintance with Congreve, whom he knew chiefly 
as a companion of Philip Ross. Hitherto he had 
taken no notice of Harry a circumstance not re- 
gretted by our hero, who had not formed a favor- 
able opinion of the young man. 

"Do you wish to speak to me?" he asked, po- 
litely. 

"Yes," said James, blandly. "May I offer you 
a cigar?" 

"Thank you, I don't smoke," returned Harry, 
with increased surprise at Congreve's friendly 
tone. 



78 THE TIN BOX 

"It's a bad habit; I dare say you are right," said 
Congreve gladly. "I mean to break off soon. But 
what I wanted to ask you was: Do you know your 
way about the Pegan Hill Woods?" 

'Yes; IVe been there often." 

'Then you are just the companion I want. I 
am thinking of exploring them with my gun. I 
suppose I am likely to find some birds?" 

"Oh, yes; it's a good place for a sportsman. 11 

"Suppose you come with me. We can have a 
pleasant afternoon." 

Harry hesitated. He did not wish to be dis- 
obliging, nor did he wish to sacrifice the afternoon. 
As he did not specially fancy Congreve, he did 
not expect any pleasure from his company, though 
the young man seemed disposed to be cordial. This 
Harry explained to himself by Congreve's desire 
to secure his services as a guide, and, therefore, 
did not feel much flattered. 

James Congreve noticed and understood his 
hesitation. 

"Of course," he said, "I do not wish to take up 
your time without compensation. I will pay you 
fifty cents for your services." 

This put a different face on the matter. Fifty 
cents was very good pay for an afternoon's work, 
and Harry at once decided that he could not let 
slip so good an opportunity. 

"If you think my company will be worth that 



THE TIN BOX 79 

to you/ 1 he said, a l am quite willing. How long 
do you want to stay?" 

"I intend to return in time for supper." 

"Then it won't be necessary to go home and 
tell my mother where I am going." 

"Oh, dear, no! You will be back before she 
has time to miss you." 

"When do you want to go?" 

"At once. I will go in and get my gun and be 
with you in a moment." 

"Unexpected things seem to happen to me pretty 
often," thought Harry. "I never expected we 
should have an uncle of Mrs. Ross as a boarder, 
and here is Philip's intimate friend hiring me as a 
guide. Somehow, my destiny seems to be closely 
connected with Philip's, though we are about as 
far from being friends as any two boys can be." 

"Is any one going with you ?" asked Harry when 
Congreve came out of the hotel with his s:un. 

cj < * 

"No one except you." 

"I don't know where Philip is this afternoon," 
said Congreve carelessly. 

Harry rather wondered whether Philip and his 
companion had had a quarreL It would not have 
surprised him very much, for Philip was quite in 
the habit of quarreling with his associates. 

"How far is it to the edge of the woods?" asked 
Congreve. 

"About a mile and a half." 



8o THE TIN BOX 

"Quite a good distance. However, it's early, 
and we shall have time enough." 

Part of their course lay through the fields and 
meadows. 

As they neared the woods, suddenly Congreve 
said, in a tone of well-counterfeited surprise : 

"Why, there is Philip Ross sitting on a rock! 
I wonder what brought him here ? Hello, Philip I" 



THE TIN BOX 81 



CHAPTER XIII 

THREE YOUNG SPORTSMEN, 

PHILIP turned and surveyed the newcomers in 
apparent surprise. 

"Are you out gunning?" he asked. 

"Yes. I have secured a guide, as you see, fear- 
ing I might get lost in the woods. I believe you 
know him?" 

"I have that honor," said Philip, superciliously. 

This was so much in Philip's ordinary style that 
Harry did not dream there was any collusion be- 
tween them, and that Philip was here by appoint- 
ment. 

"You haven't explained how you happen to be 
here," said Congreve. 

"I? Oh, I had a little headache, and I thought 
I would take a walk in the fresh air." 

"Won't you join us?" asked Congreve. 

"I don't know," said Philip, irresolutely. 

Harry, supposing his indecision might spring 
from a dislike to his presence, here spoke up : 



82 THE TIN BOX 

"Perhaps you won't want me any longer, as 



you have met Philip." 

"Oh, yes I do. He may not care to stay with 
me all the afternoon, as he has a headache." 

"Probably I shan't be with you more than half 
an hour," said Philip. "I'll walk a little way into 
the wood." 

"Come along, then." 

So the three passed into the woods together, Con- 
greve in the middle, with Philip on one side and 
Harry on the other. 

Philip and Congreve engaged in conversation, 
the latter apparently forgetting that he had a gun 
on his shoulder. Harry, however, remembered 
that he was guide to a sportsman, and kept on the 
lookout for birds. 

"Hush! There's a partridge," he said, touch- 
ing Congreve's arm and pointing to the bird. 

James Congreve quickly brought his gun to rest 
and fired. He had very little skill, however, and 
the startled bird flew away, in less danger than if 
the gun had been in the hands of Harry. 

"I didn't have time to take aim," said Congreve, 
apologetically. "Can you shoot?" 

"A little," answered Harry, modestly. 

"If I had had the gun the bird wouldn't have 
got away," said Philip, boastfully. 

"Take it, then," said Congreve. 

"All right!" 



THE TIN BOX 83 

So Philip took the gun and began to look out 
for birds. 

He soon had an opportunity to show his skill. 
A bird was seen flying slowly through the air. 

"There's your chance, Phil!" said Congreve, 
quickly. 

Philip raised the gun awkwardly, and it went 
off in quite a different direction from the one con- 
templated. But, as luck would have it, a foolish 
crow got in the way just at the critical moment, 
and received the charge meant for another object. 

'There; do you see that?" exclaimed Philip, 
triumphantly. 

'You don't mean to say you intended to shoot 
that crow?" asked Congreve. 

"Of course I did!" answered Philip shortly, de- 
termined to get the credit of his success. 

Harry could not help smiling. 
'What are you laughing at?" demanded Philip, 
scowling. 

"At the mistake I made," answered Harry, 
good-humoredly. "I thought you were firing at 
the partridge." 

'You see you were mistaken," said Philip, of- 
fensively. 

"I see I was," returned Harry, quietly. 

He thought it was foolish to get angry about 
such a trifle. 

"Go and get the crow," said Philip, arrogantly. 



8 4 THE TIN BOX 

It had fallen among some underbrush not far 

away. 

"Shall I?" asked Harry, turning to Congreve, 
whom he recognized as his employer, and the only 
one entitled to order him about. 

"What do you want it for, Philip?" asked Con- 
greve. "It's only a crow good for nothing." 

"Never mind; I want it," answered Philip. 

In truth, it was the first bird he had ever suc- 
ceeded in shooting, though he would not have been 
willing to acknowledge this, and he wanted to dis- 
play it at home as a trophy of his skill. 

"Then you may get it," said Congreve, who, in 
spite of his dishonorable character, was, in man- 
ners, more of a gentleman than Philip. 

Harry at once plunged into the thicket, and not 
without difficulty succeeded in finding the crow, 
which he brought out and delivered to Philip. The 
latter only consented to carry it on account of the 
pride he felt in his success as a sportsman. 

"Here, take this gun, Gilbert, and try your luck 
next," said Congreve. 

"I suppose he will eclipse us all," Philip re- 
marked, with a sneer. 

"I don't know about that," returned Harry, 
good-naturedly. "I haven't been out many times, 
not having any gun of my own." 

"Look out that you don't shoot either of us," 
said Philip. 

X - f - - r 



THE TIN BOX 85 

"I am not after such game as that," said Harry. 

He took the gun, and began to look attentively 
in different directions, lest any chance should es- 
cape him. At length he espied a partridge. He 
raised his gun quickly, took instant but accurate 
aim, and fired. The bird was seen to flutter an 
instant and then fall. 

"You've got him!" exclaimed Congreve, ex- 
citedly. 

Harry ran in the direction of the bird's fall, and 
returned, flushed with success. Philip's envy was 
aroused, inasmuch as a partridge was a more valu- 
able prize than a crow. 

'You were lucky," he said, with his usual sneer. 
"It was fortunate for you that the bird got in the 
way." 

"Rather unfortunate for the partridge, though !" 
said Harry, coolly. 

"It wouldn't happen once in fifty times," con- 
tinued Philip. 

"This isn't the first partridge I've shot," an- 
swered Harry, quietly. 

"Oh, I don't doubt you're a first-class gunner." 

"I have great doubts on that subject myself," 
said Harry. 

"You've both of you succeeded, while I shall 
have to go home empty-handed," said Congreve, 
who had no particular ambition to shine as a sports- 
man. 



S6 THE TIN BOX 

'You'll have a chance soon to try again," said 
Harry. 

By this time they had penetrated a considerable 
distance into the wood, and Philip grew impatient 
to carry out the plan which, from the first, they 
had had in view. 

'Isn't it about time?" he asked, significantly. 

'Just as you say," replied Congreve, indif- 
ferently. 

As he spoke he drew from his pocket a ball of 
strong cord, and both boys if Congreve can be 
called one looked significantly at our hero. 

"What's coming?" thought Harry, perplexed. 

He found out soon enough. 



u 
u 



THE TIN BOX 87 



CHAPTER XIV 

WHAT HAPPENED TO HARRY IN THE WOOD 

"I HAVE a little matter of business with you, 
Gilbert," said Congreve. 

"Business!" repeated Harry, looking from 
James Congreve, with his cool, deliberate manner, 
to the face of his companion, who was openly ex- 
ultant. "I don't understand you." 

"You'll understand better in five minutes," said 
Philip. 

"I hope so, for I am quite in the dark now." 

'The fact is, Gilbert," commenced Congreve, 
in the cool, deliberate tone habitual to him for 
he seldom allowed himself to get excited u my 
friend Philip, here, feels that you have treated him 
badly " 

"Outrageously!" interrupted Philip. 

'Very well; let us say outrageously." 

''In what way have I treated him outrage- 
ously?" demanded Harry, undauntedly. 

"Plenty of times," answered Philip, excitedly. 
"Didn't you attack me in the berry pasture?" 



88 THE TIN BOX 

'Yes, and you know why. You were abusing 
two young children." 

"It was none of your business," said Philip, 
shortly. 

"It will always be my business," said Harry, 
boldly, "when I see a large bully abusing two un- 
offending children." 

"Quite a modern Don Quixote, upon my word," 
said Congreve, but not in the sneering tone Philip 
was accustomed to adopt. 

He never sneered, and never showed excitement, 
but he was none the less dangerous on that ac- 
count. 

"Don Quixote was a gentleman, though a fool- 
ish one," returned Harry, who understood the al- 
lusion. 

'That is where he had the advantage of you," 
observed Philip. 

"A very neat hit, upon my word, Philip," said 
Congreve. "Really, you are improving." 

Philip was flattered by this compliment, and 
looked as if he had quite overwhelmed Harry with 
his sarcasm. 

"However," continued Congreve, "we had bet- 
ter proceed to business. Philip feels aggrieved, 
and he expects satisfaction." 

"Are we to fight a duel?" thought Harry, who 
did not in the least comprehend what was coming. 

"What sort of satisfaction?" he asked. 



THE TIN BOX 89 

"You'll see I" said Philip, triumphantly. 

Congreve, who was standing beside Harry, 
handed the ball of cord to Philip, saying: 

"I will hold him, while you tie his hands and 
feet." 

"What!" exclaimed Harry, starting. 

"We propose to tie you hand and foot and leave 
you here," said Congreve, coolly. "It will subject 
you to some inconvenience, and you may have to 
remain here all night; but it will teach you not to 
interfere with my friend Philip again." 

"Is that what you invited me to come out here 
for?" asked Harry. 

"Yes." 

"Pretending to need my services as a guide?" 

"My dear fellow, there was no pretense about 
that. We selected this wood as well adapted for 
our purpose, and, as I was not familiar with the 
locality, I thought it best for all reasons to hire 
you to guide me." 

"So I have walked into a trap, and lost my time 
in the bargain," said Harry, bitterly. 

"Oh, no; you haven't lost your time. I agreed 
to pay you fifty cents, didn't I?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, here it is. I generally fulfil my con- 
tracts." 

Congreve drew from his pocket two silver quar- 
ters, and handed them to Harry with a bow. 



90 THE TIN BOX 

"That's right, isn't it?" he asked. 

'Yes,'* said Harry, mentally deciding that James 
Congreve was the queerest fellow he had ever 
met. 

"Goodl You can't complain of any violation 
of contract. Now, will you remain quiet while I 
tie you, or must we use force?" 

'Wait a minute!" said Harry, deciding to try 
the effect of an appeal to Congreve, who appeared 
to have some sense of honor. "I think you don't 
understand what passed between Philip and myself. 
Let me explain." 

'No, thank you. It would only be wasting your 
time," said Congreve, with a languid wave of his 
hand. 'I quite understand that Philip here was 
playing the bully " 

'What! Do you mean to insult me?" asked 
Philip, hastily. 

"Oh, no; I am only stating facts. Philip, then, 
was bullying two children, when you stepped in 
and knocked him down." 

"I deny it!" said Philip, flushing. 

'Then where's the injury you want satisfact: 
for?" asked Congreve. 

"Do you take the part of a bully, then?" asked 
Harry, puzzled. 

'Yes; for the bully happens to be my friend, 
and I stand by my friends, right or wrong. Ac- 
cordingly, I propose to leave you here, tied hand 



THE TIN BOX 91 

and foot, for a few hours, or until you succeed in 
getting loose. It will be soothing to the feelings 
of my friend Philip, and will give you time to 
reflect upon your mistake in attacking the son of a 
rich man." 

"But," urged Harry, "I might have to stay here 
all night!" 

"Quite possible! Fortunately, however, there 
are no wild beasts prowling about in this forest, 
and you won't incur any danger." 

"But my mother will be worried about me." 

"I am sorry for that, but it won't be for long." 

Harry started to run, feeling that he must avoid 
the fate that threatened him, if possible; but Con- 
greve overtook him almost instantly, and, passing 
his lithe, strong arms around him, pinioned him 
so firmly that he could not escape. He was sev- 
eral inches taller than our hero, and, naturally, 
much stronger. 

"Now, Philip," he said. 

Philip advanced to tie Harry, but the latter, 
feeling that resistance was useless, turning to Con- 
greve, said: 

"If I must be tied, you may do it. I won't 
resist." 

"Come, that's sensible," said Congreve, and 
proceeded to tie Harry hand and foot, as he had 
proposed. 

When the task was completed he took him up 



92 THE TIN BOX 

and set him down in such a way that he could lea* 
his back against a tree. 

"That will do/' he said. "If you don't get free 
before, I will come to-morrow morning and release 
you." 

"I would like to give him a licking now!" 
growled Philip, 

u That would be cowardly," said Congreve. 
"Come away and leave him." 

Rather reluctantly, for he wanted to stay and 
triumph over his helpless rival, Philip followed his 
companion out of the wood. 



THE TIN BOX 93 



CHAPTER XV 

PHILIP'S BAD ADVISER 

PHILIP was elated by his triumph over Harry. 
Being cowardly by nature, he felt that it would be 
a terrible thing to stay in the lonely wood all night, 
and he naturally thought that Harry would look 
upon it in the same light. 

He felt that it would pay off all old scores, and 
leave the advantage with him. But there was a 
drop of bitterness mingled with his exultation. 

James Congreve had called him a bully to his 
face, and in the presence of Harry, and this seemed 
to him a personal insult. He was not willing to 
let it pass, and was resolved to give Congreve to 
understand that the offense must not be repeated. 

"Well, Philip," said Congreve, "our plan has 
succeeded." 

"Yes," answered Philip, shortly. 

"What's the matter? Aren't you satisfied yet?" 

"Yes, as far as that goes; but I don't like the 
way you spoke to me." 



94 THE TIN BOX 

"Go ahead! Let me know what it is you com- 
plain of." 

"You called me a bully!" 

'You are one, you know," said Congreve, 
frankly. 

'No, I don't know it; and, what is more, I don't 
like to have any one speak of me in that way!" 
returned Philip, irritably. 

'Very likely not. People don't generally like 
to have their faults alluded to." 
"I tell you I am not a bully !" 

'You are mistaken. You would bully me if I 
were a small boy and not your superior in 
strength." 

"At any rate, if you are my friend, you ought 
not to talk of me in that way," said Philip, think- 
ing it politic to change his tone. 

'You want me to shut my eyes to your real char- 
acter, then?" 

; 'I don't want you to talk of me in an insulting 



manner.' 



'Not at all, my dear fellow. I said you were a 
bully, and so you are. I meant no offense. The 
sons of rich men are sometimes puffed up with the 
idea of their own importance, and your father is 
a rich man, at least for a country place." 

"He is a rich man for any place," said Philip, 
boastfully. 

"I am glad to hear it, especially as it will make 



THE TIN BOX 95 

i 4 -. easier for you to pay me the trifling sum you 



owe me. 7 



'Trifling sum!" ejaculated Philip. 'You said 
it amounted to over twenty-two dollars. 1 ' 

"So it does; but that is a trifling sum for the 
son of a very rich man. Some persons would 
charge you for the little service I have done this 
afternoon, but that I only did at the bidding of 
friendship.' 1 

"It was very kind of you," said Philip, uncom- 
fortably; "but you mustn't think because my father- 
is rich I have plenty of money. The fact is, he 
is very stingy with me, and if it wasn't for my 
mother I would only have a dollar a week." 

"It is very considerate of the old man, to be 
sure. You ought to have five dollars a week." 

"So I ought. If I only had I would be able to 
pay you up in a short time." 

"Why don't you suggest to your paternal rela- 
tive to enlarge the supplies?" suggested Congreve, 
knocking off the ashes from his cigar. 

"I have," answered Philip, "and he always says 
that a dollar a week is enough for a boy of my 
age." 

"Parents are apt to have limited ideas on such 
subjects. That was the case with my father." 

"What did you do?" 

"Do? I borrowed from him." 

"How could you do that? Was he willing?" 



9 6 THE TIN BOX 

"He didn't know it." 

i 

"Didn't know that you borrowed money or 

him ?" 

^ 

"No. You are an only child, are you not?" 

"Yes." ; 

"So am I. You will be sole heir to your fath- 
er's property, won't you ?" 

"Of course," answered Philip, 'with an air of 
consequence. 

"Then, really, the property may be considered 
yours now at least in part." 

"I suppose so." 

"That's the way I look at it. Well, I happened 
to know where my father kept his government 
bonds, and I borrowed one." 

"Wasn't that stealing?" asked Philip. 

"It would have been if the bond had belonged 
to a stranger, but, as it was likely to be mine some 
day, of course, that made it different." 

"What did your father say?" asked Philip, 
anxiously. 

"Oh, he made a fuss; but the bond wasn't regis- 
tered, and he hadn't a memorandum of the num- 
ber, so he couldn't do anything. I sold it through 
a friend, and while the money lasted I was in 
clover." 

"My father has got some government bonds," 
said Philip; "but I shouldn't dare to take one, al- 
though, as you say, they will be mine some day." 



THE TIN BOX 97 

"Suppose your father did find it out which is 
not at all likely you are his son, and you could 
tell him plainly that your small allowance com- 
pelled you to do it." 

"I shouldn't know how to dispose of the bond, 
if I did take one." 

"Oh, I would manage that for you! That is 
the only thing there would be any risk about; but 
you are a friend of mine." 

'Yes, I know you are a good friend," said fool- 
ish Philip, who, it is needless to say, could hardly 
have had a worse enemy than the one who offered 
him such bad advice. 

"So I am, but I don't take any credit for that," 
answered wily Congreve. "People are apt to de- 
ceive themselves about such things, you know, as 
a son's appropriating what really belongs to him; 
but I know the world better than you, and under- 
stand how to look at things." 

"It may be as you say," said Philip, growing 
/icrvous at the idea of robbing his father, "but I 
4on't think I like the plan." 

"Oh, very well; I only suggested it for your 
good," said Congreve, preparing to draw the net 
around his victim. 

"If you have any other way of paying me the 
twenty-three dollars you owe me, it's all the same 
to me." 

"But I thought," said Philip, in alarm, "that 



9 8 THE TIN BOX 

you were in no hurry about it. You said I might 
win it back." 

u So you may, and probably will; but if you don't 
you ought to pay it." 

"I will, sometime." 

"I really should be glad if I could wait till then, 
but, as it happens, I have pressing need of the 
inoney." 

"But if I can't pay it?" 

'Then I shall feel obliged to call on your father, 
and ask him to pay me." 

"You wouldn't do that!" said Philip, panic- 
stricken. 

;< I shall feel obliged to. It is only a trifle, and 
he will probably pay it, giving you a little lecture, 
perhaps, but nothing worse." 

'You don't know him," said Philip, uncomfort- 
ably. "He will be awful mad. He had a cousin 
who was a gambler, and he has often warned me 
against gambling." 

'I don't approve of gambling myself," said Con- 
greve; "but there is a difference between that and 
2 little stake on a game of cards to make it inter- 
esting." 

;< I don't think father would see any difference," 
suggested Philip, who did not himself understand 
what difference there could be. 

It is hardly necessary to say to my young read- 
ers that common sense is the best teacher in such 



THE TIN BOX 99 

matters, and that no difference appears to common 
sense between gambling at cards and gambling in 
any other form. 

"Oh, well, you know best about that. Then it 
would be better that I shouldn't say anything to 
the old man?" 

"No; don't say anything to him about it," said 
Philip, eagerly. 

"I won't that is, if you pay rne the money in 
three days." 

"But how can I do it?" asked Philip, in fresh 
dismay. 

"Put a bond in my hands, then, and I will dis- 
pose of it and give you the balance. You only 
owe me twenty-three dollars, and a fifty-dollar bond 
would leave you a handsome surplus. If it were 
a hundred-dollar bond it would be all the better. 
Think of having seventy-five dollars or more at 
your command." 

The prospect was tantalizing, but Philip still 
felt afraid to appropriate one of his father's bonds. 
If it had been a fear of doing wrong, I should be 
glad to say so, but it was more a fear of conse- 
quences. 

"After all," he said, "perhaps I may win it 
back, and then there won't be any need of raising 
money. You said you would give me the chance." 

"So I will. You can come to my room now, if 
you like, and try your luck." 



ioo THE TIN BOX 

So Philip went, like a fly into the spider's par- 
lor, and the natural result followed. 

When he left the hotel he had increased his debt 
to forty dollars, and the prospect looked darker 
than ever. 

As he walked home, it is doubtful if he did not 
feel more uncomfortable than our unfortunate 
hero, whom we left, bound hand and foot, in Pegan 
Hill Wood. 



THE TIN BOX 101 



CHAPTER XVI 

BOUND HAND AND FOOT 

THOUGH Harry was a courageous boy, his heart 
sank within him when he found himself left alone 
in the wood, bound hand and foot. 

Pegan Hill Woods were of considerable extent. 
In length they extended about three miles, while 
in width they ranged from a mile and a half to 
two rniles. 

Probably the party had penetrated nearly a mile 
into the wood, and the tree against which Harry 
was leaning was not far from the center of the 
wood. The constrained position in which he was 
sitting became, after a while, somewhat painful. 
The cords, too, chafed his flesh. 

Of course, Harry thought of the possibility of 
escape. If he could only unloose the cords he could 
readily find his way home, reaching there before 
anxiety or alarm was excited by his absence. 

He set to work upon his task, but found, to his 
disappointment, that he had been too securely 
bound to make this attempt feasible. 

The cord was tied again and again in so hard 



102 THE TIN BOX 

a knot that, even if he had had the use of both of 
his hands, he would have found it a work of time to 
undo them. But when, in addition, his hands were 
tied, it became well-nigh impossible. 

He worked until he was tired, and rested, feel- 
ing that thus far he had really accomplished 
nothing. 

"Philip is about the meanest boy I know of," 
he thought to himself, bitterly. "I suppose he is 
triumphing over me, as he has a right to do, for 
he has got me into a very awkward scrape." 

This consideration was not likely to make him 
any less uncomfortable, for Harry had his share 
of human nature. From Philip his mind reverted 
to James Congreve. The more he thought of Con- 
greve, the less he could understand him. He was 
certainly a much more gentlemanly boy or, 
rather, young man than Philip, and our hero dis- 
liked him less, though it was Congreve who had 
tied him. 

"He told Philip to his face that he was a bully, 
and as much as said that I had served him right 
in doing what I did in defense of the two children. 
I don't see how he can be a friend of Philip." 

Harry had not much knowledge of the world, 
however, and would have been surprised to hear 
that Congreve was more dangerous and unscrup- 
ulous, and altogether bad, than Philip himself, in 
spite of the latter's unamiable traits. 



THE TIN BOX 103 

After a while Harry made another attempt to 
loosen the cords ; but the second time proved as un- 
successful as the first. 

Considerable time had passed how much he 
did not know but, from the direction in which the 
sun glanced in the wood, he concluded that it was 
as late as six o'clock, and by this time he was almost 
always at home. 

Indeed, supper must now be ready, and his 
mother and their boarder, Uncle Obed, were prob- 
ably ready to sit down to the table, and only wait- 
ing for him. It was certainly very tantalizing to 
be lying there helpless, knowing that his mother 
would soon be anxious and troubled about him. 

"If I could only use my knife," thought Harry. 
"I would make short work of these cords." 

He had a knife in his pocket. If a boy has only 
twenty-five cents in his pocket, he is sure to spend it 
for some kind of a knife, or he must be very dif- 
ferent from the average boy. 

So, of course, Harry was provided with a knife 
a good, strong jackknife but, for all the good 
it was likely to do him, it might as well have been 
at home. His hands being tied, of course, he could 
not get the knife out of his pocket; and, even if 
he had done so, how could he make use of it? 

"I never knew twine was so strong before," 
thought poor Harry, ruefully, after a third unsuc- 
cessful attempt to get free. 



io 4 THE TIN BOX 

He lay a while longer, getting more and more 
hopeless of an early release. By this time his appe- 
tite began to assert itself. He had not eaten a 
very hearty dinner, and naturally felt all the more 
hungry now. 

He began to think wistfully of the good bread 
and butter and slices of cold meat and pie which 
his mother was wont to provide for the evening 
meal, and some twinges of excusable envy were 
felt, as he pictured James Congreve and Philip, 
\vho had brought this trouble upon him, sitting 
down at a well-covered supper table, eating as 
heartily as if they had not left a victim in the 
woods, helpless and hungry. 

'I suppose I shall have to stay here all night," 
thought poor Harry, despondently. 

In the morning he was confident of being re- 
leased. James Congreve had promised that he 
would come and release him, and Harry felt con- 
fident that he would do so. Had it depended upon 
Philip, there would be small chance of it; but it 
was easy to see that Philip and Congreve were not 
alike. Of course, this gave him hope, but it was 
not pleasant to think of a night passed in the dark 
wood; not that Harry was timid or superstitious 
he was neither but it is hard not to be some- 
what affected by gloomy surroundings. 

While Harry was occupied with these reflections, 
suddenly a peculiar sound came to his ears, and, 



THE TIN BOX 105 

looking up, he was startled by the sight of a black- 
snake, at least four feet long, which, with head 
erect, was gazing intently at him. 

Whatever may be the cause of the repulsion that 
exists between the human race and the snake, it is, 
at all events, genuine, and Harry shared it. 

With distended eyes he gazed at this sleek foe 
of humankind, and felt a strong desire to throw 
something at it, or crush it under foot. But, alas ! 
he was able to do neither. 

Suppose it should advance upon him, helpless 
and unable to defend himself, and strike its fangs 
into his flesh, or curl, with slippery fold, about 
him ! What could he do ? The perspiration came 
out upon his brow, and he made a tremendous ef- 
fort to get away. 

Apparently conscious of his helplessness, the 
snake remained quietly looking at him, and began, 
after a pause, to slowly glide toward him. 

Harry uttered a shrill cry of alarm, which, I am 
sure, under the circumstances, was not discredit- 
able to his courage, and his soul was filled with 
horror and repulsion. 

It was a fortunate cry, for it brought help. The 
sound of flying feet was heard, and an instant later 
a boy of about his own age came rushing up. 

"What's the matter?" he asked. 

"Look there!" said Harry, hastily. 

"By Jehosophat!" exclaimed the boy, and, ad- 



io6 THE TIN BOX 

vancing toward the snake, he aimed a blow at his 
crest with a rough, stout stick which he held in his 
hand. 

The blow fell with good effect. The snake had 
not yet seen his new adversary, and was taken un- 
awares. The jagged stick tore his skin, and his 
head dropped forward, maimed and writhing. 

'Follow it up!" cried Harry, in excitement. 
"Kill him!" 

"I'll doat!" said the boy, and he sprang forward 
to renew his attack. 

He found a rock, or, rather, a large stone, close 
at hand, with w r hich he bruised the serpent's head 
and killed him. 

'Ugh, you ugly beast!" he said, in a tone of 
disgust, miscalling his victim. But, then, a coun- 
try boy is hardly expected to be well up in natural 
history. 

'Thank you," said Harry, breathing a sigh of 
relief. 

'Why didn't you kill him yourself?" asked the 
boy. Then, for the first time, noticing in the indis- 
:nct light Harry's condition, he said, in surprise: 
11 What's the matter with you?" 
"You see I'm tied." 
"Who tied you ?" 

'That's a long story. Just untie me, there's a 
good fellow, and I'll tell you." 

The boy whipped out a knife from his pocket 



THE TIN BOX 107 

and quickly cut the cord. Harry sprang up and 
stretched his arms and legs. 

'It seems good to be free once more," he said. 
"But who tied you?" 

'Two boys that had a spite against me. At 
least, one had, and the other was his friend." 
'How long have you been lying there ?" 
"Several hours I can't tell how long." 
'It's a mean trick, anyway." 
"So it is; I should have had to stay here all 
night if you hadn't come along." 

"Or if the snake hadn't swallowed you !" 
Harry shuddered at the mention of the snake. 
"That was the worst of it," he said. 



io8 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XVII. 

WHAT HARRY SAW IN THE WOOD 

"WHAT is your name?" asked Harry. "I don't 
remember seeing you before." 

''I live on the other side of the wood. My name 
is Reuben Richardson." 

"Richardson?" 

'Yes; we only moved here two months since, 
and I haven't had a chance to get acquainted much. 
What is your name ?" 

"Harry Gilbert." 

"I suppose you live in the village?" 

'Yes. It's lucky for me you came along. There 
isn't much traveling through the wood. How did 
you happen to be here?" 

"I was exploring a little. I was on my way 
home when I heard you shout. I guess I must be 
going now. I have to get up early in the morning, 
and so I go to bed early." 

'Well, good-night, Reuben. Come and see me 
some day. Anybody will tell you where I live." 

'Thank you. If you ever come our way, stop 
at the farm and see me." 



THE TIN BOX 109 

u So I will." 

The two boys parted, with friendly good-nights. 

''Reuben seems a nice sort of boy," said Harry 
to himself, as he threaded his way through the 
woods in a homeward direction. "I don't know 
what would have happened to me if he hadn't come 
along." 

The moon was already up, though it was still 
early, and cast a mild radiance through the 
branches of the trees. The effect was fine, but 
Harry had no time for enjoying it, as he was in 
a hurry to get home and relieve his mother's 
anxiety. 

He had gone perhaps a quarter of a mile, when 
he heard voices, indistinct as yet, of men, who 
seemed to be approaching. 

Ordinarily he would have kept right on, without 
fear or suspicion, but it might have been the ex- 
perience through which he had just passed that 
made him more cautious. 

At any rate, he began to look around to see 
where he could best conceal himself till the new- 
comers passed. 

He caught sight of a tree that seemed easy to 
climb, and he swung himself up at once, ascend- 
ing from limb to limb till he was probably twenty- 
five feet above the ground, concealed by the foliage 
and the obscurity of night. 

He had not long to wait. 



no THE TIN BOX j 

Presently there emerged from the thicker re- 
cesses of the wood two men, one of whom carried 
in his hand a tin box of considerable size. 

Harry scrutinized them both, but he only recog- 
nized one. That one was a man named Ralph 
Temple, generally considered a ne'er-do-well and a 
vagabond, who lived in a tumble-down shanty in 
the edge of the wood. 

'This is the place I was thinking of," said 
Temple, halting about twenty feet from the tree 
in which Harry was concealed. 

'It seems a lonely, out-of-the-way place," said 
his companion. 

'Yes; no one is likely to see the box here. No 
one ever comes here. There is a path through the 
wood, which is always used by those who pass 
through it." 

"And this is off from the path?" 
"Yes." 

'Where do you think it best to hide the box?" 
"Under that tree will be a good place; say ten 
feet from it, in an easterly direction." 

' j 

"East and west are all alike to me here; I can't 
tell the difference." 

l l can ; and so could you, with a compass." 

"Shall you know the place again?" 

'Yes; do you notice that mark on the bark of 
the tree ? It was struck by lightning once, but that 
was all the harm done to it." 



THE TIN BOX in 

u Good! That will serve to identify it. But 
why couldn't we have concealed it nearer your 
cabin?" 

'I donV want to fall under suspicion," said 
Temple, shaking his head. 

"Why should you ?" 

Ralph Temple laughed a harsh, unpleasant 
laugh. 

'The good people round here haven't a very 
good opinion of me," he said. 'They would be 
very apt to suspect me, if suspicion came this way. 
No; it's better to hide the box here." 

"I wish we could sell the bonds at once." 

"Nearly all are registered, and probably the old 
man has a record of the rest, so that if we tried 
to sell them we would be brought up with a round 
turn. No; as I told you, the only way is to wait 
till a reward is offered, and then open negotiations 
for their return. Not immediately, you know. We 
will keep them long enough to make the owner feel 
anxious, and willing to get them back at any cost." 

"I guess you're right. We must be prudent. 
If \ve could only get away with the whole sum it 
would make us comfortable for a year or two." 

"How much is there?" 

'Well, there are eight thousand dollars in gov- 
ernment bonds, and five Union Pacific bonds of a 
thousand dollars each. They're safe as govern- 
ments." 



ii2 THE TIN BOX 

"Thirteen thousand dollars!" said Temple, in a 
tone of gratification. 

"Yes, and more, for the bonds are all at prem- 
ium. However, we must lay back for a reward. It 
won't do to negotiate them." 

While this conversation had been going on 
Temple indicated the spot which he thought suit- 
able, and, with a spade which he carried, had com- 
menced excavating a hole sufficiently large for the 
purpose. 

He dug to a depth of about eighteen inches, the 
box being eight inches in height, and carefully de- 
posited it in the cavity. 

Then both replaced a part of the earth, and car- 
ried away the remainder to the distance of a hun- 
dred feet or so. Finally they brought a quantity 
of leaves and covered the spot. 

'There," said Temple, with a look of satisfac- 
tion ; "it's safe enough now. It'll take a smart de- 
tective to find it, I reckon." 

"You're right there, Ralph," said his companion. 
"It would be a bad sort of joke if we couldn't find 
it ourselves," he added, after a pause. 

I can find it, never you fear!" said Temple. 
I know these woods as well as anybody, and shan't 
forget the spot." 

"All the same, I wish I had some of that money 
now. I'm almost dead broke." 



u 
(( 



THE TIN BOX 113 

"So am I ; but I can let you have enough to get 
back to the city." 

"And suppose," said Vernon, with an uneasy 
look, "you should take a fancy to remove that box 
while I am away?" 

"Don't be afraid. Ralph Temple isn't that kind 
of a man. He'll stand by his Dard and treat him 
fair." 

"It would be a rough trick to play on me, 
Ralph," said Vernon, apparently not quite free 
from uneasiness. 

"So it would; but there is no danger. Even if I 
did couldn't you expose the whole thing, and have 
me arrested?" 

"So I could," returned Vernon, more reassured 
by this consideration than by his faith in Temple's 
fair dealing. 

'Well, if you're all ready, we may as well van- 
ish. You can stay with me to-night, and go to the 
city in the morning. Watch the papers, and see 
if there is anything that promises advantage to us." 

"All right." 

The two men moved oft, much to Harry's relief. 
He was in momentary dread of a sneeze, and this 
would betray his whereabouts to Temple and his 
partner. 

What these two desperate men would have done 
to him, had they discovered him, it was not easy 



ii 4 THE TIN BOX 

to guess; but, under the influence of vexation and 
alarm, they might have brought upon him worse 
trouble than any he had yet experienced. 

Such, indeed, was likely, from what he knew 
of Ralph Temple. He was generally considered 
a disreputable character, and the villagers were 
ignorant as to how he made his living. 

From time to time he came to the village store 
provided with money; but where it came from no 
one knew, as he was not known to do anything, ex- 
cept to roam the fields and woods with his gun. 
Sometimes he disappeared for a week or a fort- 
night at a time, but where he went, unless to the 
city, no one knew. 

Harry conjectured, from what he had just seen, 
that Temple was in league with wicked men in the 
city, with whom he was engaged in violations of 
the law, and in this surmise he was correct. 

He understood a little better now Ralph Tem- 
ple's object in selecting as his abode this lonely and 
out-of-the-way place. 

Harry did not venture to descend from his ele- 
vated perch until the two men had ample time to 
get beyond sight and hearing. 

When he touched the ground, he first scanned 
the tree and its vicinity carefully, so as to make 
sure he could find it again, and then hurried home. 



THE TIN BOX 1115 



CHAPTER XVIII 

HARRY'S COMMISSION 

IT may be well imagined that Harry was in a 
thrill of excitement as he walked home. He had 
just witnessed what was undoubtedly an attempt 
to conceal the proceeds of a burglary. He, and he 
alone, outside of the guilty parties, knew where the 
booty was deposited, and he asked himself what 
was his duty under the circumstances. 

Of course he had no sympathy with Temple and 
Vernon. They had made themselves the enemies 
of society, and he was in duty bound to defeat their 
criminal plans, if possible, and restore the prop- 
erty to its legal owner or owners. 

Here a difficulty stared him in the face. He 
didn't know to whom the tin box and its contents 
belonged, for not a \vord had been dropped by the 
two thieves which could inform him. They had 
made up their minds, however, to wait till a reward 
should be offered, and then come forward and 
claim it, or, at any rate, open negotiations through 
others looking to that result. 

Why could not Harry learn, in like manner, who 



n6 THE TIN BOX 

had been robbed, and communicate with them? 
This seemed to him the most sensible course. 

Here, again, there was another difficulty. In the 
little country village he was not in a position to 
see any such notice, for they took no daily paper, 
and, though Mr. Mead did, his inquiry for it would 
excite curiosity and lead to questionings. It seemed 
necessary for him to go to New York. 

"Shall I tell mother, or not?" he asked himself. 

On the whole, he thought it better not to do so. 
So far as he was concerned, his mother was timid, 
and she would be anxious lest he should incur the 
hostility of the two lawless men of whose crime 
he had come into the knowledge. Yet he wanted 
to consult somebody, for he felt that the matter was 
one of no little importance, and that he needed a 
man's counsel. 

"I'll speak to Uncle Obed about it," he said to 
himself. "He isn't used to cities, to be sure, but 
he has had a long life, and must have considerable 
experience. At any rate, he will be better qualified 
than I to know what ought to be done." 

He had scarcely come to this conclusion before 
he reached the cottage. 

His mother, with a troubled expression of coun- 
tenance, was sitting at the table, not sewing or 
mending, as usual, but with her hands clasped in 
her lap, while near her sat Uncle Obed, also look- 
ing sober. 



THE TIN BOX 117 



"I am sure something has happened to Harry," 
she had just been saying. "I never knew him to 
stay out so long without telling me." 

"Boys will be boys," answered the old man, not 
knowing what else to say. "He's gone off on some 
lark with some of his playmates." 

"But he never does that without telling me, Mr. 
Wilkins. He's always so considerate." 

"He'll be coming home safe and sound, depend 
upon it," said Uncle Obed, with a confidence 
greater than he actually felt. 

"Perhaps he has fallen from a tree he was al- 
ways fond of climbing and broken his leg," sug- 
gested Mrs. Gilbert, dolefully. 

"He's too smart for that," said Uncle Obed . 
'What should I do if he never came home?" 
exclaimed the poor woman, with a shudder. 

Mr. Wilkins was hardly prepared to answer this 
question, and, luckily, it was not necessary, for just 
then the latch was lifted and Harry walked in. 

"Didn't I tell you so?" said Uncle Obed, tri- 
umphantly. 

"Oh, Harry, I'm so glad to see you! Where 
have you been so long?" 

"It's lucky you came just as you did," said Mr. 
Wilkins. 'Your mother had made up her mind 
that you had met with an accident." 

"I wanted to come home, but I couldn't," an- 
swered Harry. U I was in the woods." 



8 THE TIN BOX 

"Lost your way?" asked Uncle Obed. 

"Not exactly. Two boys played a trick upon 



me.' 



Of course Harry had to explain what sort of 
a trick it was. Mrs. Gilbert was very indignant, 
and denounced Philip and his confederate in no 
sparing terms. 

"You ought to go and complain to Colonel 
Ross," she said. "Philip ought not to be allowed 
to do such things." 

Harry smiled. He had no idea of following 
this advice. It would have been an acknowledg- 
ment of weakness, and he felt able to defend him- 
self against Philip Ross and his machinations. 

"Mother," he said, "I've got very particular 
reasons for not doing this, and for not even men- 
tioning that I was in the wood. Now, I want you 
to promise me not to say a word about it, for a 
week at least." 

"But if I see Philip," said his mother, "I can't 
keep silent." 

"You must, for my sake, mother. You don't 
know how much depends upon it." 

"I don't understand," said Mrs. Gilbert, thor- 
oughly bewildered. 

"No, I suppose not; but I have a strong reason 
that I can't mention just yet." 

"I hope there's nothing wrong going on," said 
his mother, alarmed. 



THE TIN BOX 119 

"If there is, it isn't anything that I'm to blame 
for. Only there's a secret that I can't tell just yet. 
You'll know it in good time. I want to consult 
Uncle Obed to-night about it, and you won't mind 
if I don't tell you just yet?" 

"Give the boy his way, ma'am," said Mr. Wil- 
kins. "If there is anything very bad about it he 
wouldn't tell me." 

His mother was somewhat reassured, and left 
the two to themselves. Then Harry began and 
told his story. Mr. Wilkins listened with atten- 
tion, and not without surprise. 

"Really, Harry, it's quite an adventure, I call 
it," he said. u Do you know this man Temple?" 

"I know that he's a sort of tramp. I didn't sup- 
pose he was a thief before." 

"You never saw this other man before?" 

"No; never heard of him." 

"They're a pair of rascals, I reckon. Now, what 
have you thought of doing?" 

"Of going to New York to-morrow to find out 
what I can about the burglary, or whatever else it 
was. If I can find out who has been robbed, I'll 
go and tell them about it, and where the bonds 
are hid." 

Uncle Obed nodded approvingly. 

"That's a good idea," he said. 

"What puzzles me," continued Harry, "is how 



120 THE TIN BOX 

to explain to mother why I go to the city. I can't 
tell her, and she'll feel nervous." 

"I can manage that," said Mr. Wilkins. "I'll 
tell her you have gone on business for me." 

"But will it be true?" asked Harry. 

"Yes; I've got some cowpons" that's the way 
the old man pronounced the word "that you can) 
get the money for." 

"Shall I have any difficulty about it, Uncle 
Obed?" 

"No; you can go to a broker, and he'll give you 
the money for it, taking out his commission. How 
much does it cost to go to New York?" 

"The price of an excursion ticket is a dollar." 

The old man took from his pocket a two-dollar 

bill. 

"There," said he; "that'll pay your ticket and 
get you some dinner." 

"But, Uncle Obed, you ought not to pay my 
expenses." 

"Why not? Ain't you going on my business?' 1 

"I'm going principally on my own," said Harry. 

"Well," replied the old man, smiling, "then you 
must take it because I am your uncle." 

"I know I call you so." 

"You seem a good deal more kin to me than 
Philip. He's ashamed of his old uncle, and so is 
his mother; but you are not. 

"No, no, Harry; it's all right. I ain't exactly 



THE TIN BOX 121 

poor, but I'd rather my niece would think so. So 
don't you say anything to them about the cowpons." 

"I'm not likely to, Uncle Obed." 

The old man went up to his room and brought 
down ninety dollars' worth of government coupons, 
which, as gold was then ruling at a dollar and 
twenty, would bring about a hundred and eight dol- 
lars in currency. 

Mrs. Gilbert was much surprised when Harry 
told her that he intended to go to New York the 
next day on business for Uncle Obed; but, of 
course, had no idea that he had still more important 
business of his OWR. 



THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XIX 

i 

SECOND VISIT TO THE WOOD 



THERE was an early train from the neighbor- 
ing village of Crampton to New York. Harry 
got up early, and walked the first part of the way 
through the fields to a point where the footpata 
struck the main road, three-quarters of a mile from 
the village. 

In this way it happened that he was not seen 
by any of his companions, and his day's expedition 
was kept a secret. 

Just after breakfast James Congreve received a 
call at the hotel from Philip. 

"Our friend in the \vood must be hungry by this 
time," said James. 

"Ho, ho!" laughed Philip, in evident enjoy- 
ment. "It's a splendid joke." 

"I fancy he doesn't think so," said Congreve, 
shrugging his shoulders. 

"Of course he doesn't. He must have been 
fully scared, staying there all night." 



THE TIN BOX 123 

"He doesn't strike me as a boy who would easily 
be frightened," 

"At any rate, he must be hungry," said Philip, 
in a tone of satisfaction. "I guess he'll find it 
doesn't pay to insult me." 

'Well, he's had enough of it; we'll go and re- 
lease him." 

"What for?" 

'You don't want him to stay there all day, do 
you?" demanded Congreve. 

"It wouldn't do him any harm," muttered 
Philip. 

'What a mean fellow you are, Philip! You 
ought to be satisfied with keeping him there all 
night." 

"I wish you wouldn't call me names," said 
Philip, pettishly. 

"Don't deserve them, then. Well, are you com- 
ing with me?' 

:< I don't know; it's a good ways,*' said Philip, 
hesitating. 

"Just as you like. I am going. I told the boy 
I would, and I mean to keep my promise." 

And James Congreve stepped off the piazza and 
started. 

"Oh, well, I'll go, too. I want to see how he 
looks," said Philip, and began to laugh. 

'Take care how you laugh at him there, Phil, 
or he may pitch into you." 



124 THE TIN BOX 

4 'You won't let him, will you, James?" said 
Philip, apprehensively. 

"I thought you were a match for him," said 
Congreve, with an amused smile. 

"So I am, but he might take me unawares. 
He'll be so mad, you know." 

"I'll protect you," said Congreve. "Come 
along." 

Both boys would have liked to learn whether 
Harry had been missed at home, and what was 
thought of his disappearance; but there seemed 
to be no one to ask, and, for obvious reasons, they 
did not care to show any curiosity on the subject. 

"I'd like to meet Mr. Wilkins," said Philip. 
"He boards there, you know, and he might say 
something about it." 

"Mr. Wilkins is your uncle, isn't he?" 

"He's a distant relation of ma's," said Philip, 
reluctantly. "We don't know much about him." 

"I suppose he's poor?" suggested Congreve, 
drily. 

"Oh, dear, yes! He was a farmer or something 
ou in Illinois. He probably pays a dollar or two 
a week board at Gilberts'. They're dreadfully 
poor, you know. I shouldn't be surprised if all 
hands were in the poorhouse before the year is 



out.' 



"Your uncle and all?" 

"He isn't my uncle!" said Philip, snappishly. 



THE TIN BOX 125 

"Relative, then. You wouldn't want a relative 
in the poorhouse?" 

"Pa offered to pay his expenses back to Illinois, 
but the old fellow was obstinate and wouldn't go. 
I expect he's hanging round here in hopes of get- 
ting something out of pa and ma ; but it's no use, 
as he'll find out sooner or later." 

"Strange he went to board with the Gilberts, 
isn't it ?" 

"Oh, it's a good enough place for a rusty old 
chap like him. He ain't used to living in any style. 
Ma says he's half crazy." 

By this time they had reached the borders of 
the wood, and soon they came to the place where 
Harry had been left bound. 

"Why, he isn't here !" exclaimed Philip, in sur- 
prise and disappointment. 

"So it appears." 

"How could he have got away?" 

James Congreve, bending over, searched care- 
fully, and at length got some light on the subject. 

"Somebody cut the cords," he said. "Look here 
and here !" and he pointed out fragments of the 
strong cord with which the captive had beeji 
bound. 

"That's so. Do you think he did it himself? 1 ' 
asked Philip, disappointed. 

"No; he was too securely tied. I took care of 
that. Somebody came along and released him." 



126 THE TIN BOX 

'I hope he had to stay all night, at any rate," 
said Philip. 

'That we cannot discover at present. One thing 
is certain he's free." 

"I'm sorry I came," muttered Philip. "I have 
had this long walk for nothing." 

"You haven't had the satisfaction of releasing 
him, I suppose, you mean?" 

"No, I don't. I wanted to see how he looked. 
It's too bad he got away." 

'There's nothing for it but to go back," said 
Congreve. 'You'd better look out for him. He 
may want to pay you off." 

"He'd better not try it," said Philip, but he 
seemed uneasy at the thought. 

On their way back they passed, unconsciously, 
near the place where the tin box was concealed. 

Hovering near the spot was Ralph Temple, un- 
easy for the safety of the buried treasure. 

He eyed the two young fellows with suspicion. 
They had no guns in their hands, and he could not 
understand what object they had in coming io this 
out-of-the-way place so early in the morning. 

'What are you about here?" he demanded, 
roughly. 

Philip was frightened and turned pale; but 
James Congreve only surveyed the man curiously, 
and said: 

'Is that any business of yours, my friend?" 



THE TIN BOX 127 

"You'll find out whether it's any business of 
mine," returned Temple, angrily. 

'That's precisely what I would like to find out," 
said Congreve, coolly. 'You accost us as if you 
were the owner of the wood, which, I take it, you 



are not.' 



"Do you want me to wring your neck, young 
man?" said Temple, with a growl. 

"Oh, don't make him angry, James !" begged 
Philip, nervously, laying his hand on Congreve's 
arm. 

James who certainly was not a coward sur- 
veyed his companion contemptuously. 

"Much obliged to you for your kind offer," said 
he, addressing Temple, "but I must decline it." 

'You've got too long a tongue, young man!" 
said Temple, provoked by the other's coolness. 
"I've a mind to teach you a lesson." 

'When I want one I will let you know," said 
Congreve, changing his tone and manner and re- 
garding the other scornfully. 

"Meanwhile, my man, I advise you not to drink 
so early in the morning. It doesn't improve your 
naturally bad manners." 

Wth a muttered exclamation Ralph Temple 
sprang forward, prepared to handle Congreve 
roughly, as he was quite able to do, being much 
his superior in size and strength, but, with his hand 



128 THE TIN BOX 

nearly touching the shoulder of the young man, re 
coiled, as Congreve drew out a revolver and 
pointed it at him. 

"One step further and I fire !" he said, in a calm, 
collected tone, while Philip stood by, as pale as a 
sheet. 

"Confusion!" exclaimed the ruffian, in mingled 
amazement and dismay. 'Who are you, anyway?" 

"My name is James Congreve, at your service," 
said the owner of that name, bowing. "I regret 
that I haven't a card about me." 

'You're a cool customer!" muttered Temple, 
surveying Congreve curiously. 

"So people tell me. You'll find me at the hotel 
in the village, if you have any further business 
with me." 

Congreve nodded carelessly and left the spot 
Phil, in a very nervous condition, keeping himself 
somewhat in advance. 

"He's a cool chap," muttered the ruffian. "But 
it's clear he knows nothing of our affair. I was a 
fool to make a fuss. It might lead to suspicion." 

"What a dreadful man !" said Philip, as the two 
were walking away. 

"Do you know him?" 

"His name is Ralph Temple. He's a kind of 
tramp." 

"He's an impertinent fellow, at any rate. It's 
well I had my revolver with me." 



THE TIN BOX 229 

They walked back to the village, momentarily 
expecting to see or hear something of Harry Gil- 
bert ; but neither then nor later in the day was their 
curiosity gratified, 



130 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XX 

ON THE WAY TO NEW YORK 

HARRY stepped on board the train without see- 
ing any one whom he knew, and took a seat on the 
right-hand side. Just in front of him was an el- 
derly farmer, with a face well browned by exposure 
to the sun and wind. He had a kindly face, and 
looked sociable. It was not long before he ad- 
dressed our young hero. 

"Going to New York?" he asked. 

"Yes, sir." 

"Are you acquainted there?" 

"No, sir; not much." 

"Nor I. I was thinking you might be able to 
direct me to a place where I could get money for 
some cowpons." 

"Government coupons?" inquired Harry, becom- 
ing interested. 

"Yes. You see, my wife's uncle died not long 
ago, and left Sarah a government bond of a thou- 
sand dollars, drawing six per cent interest. There's 



THE TIN BOX 131 

thirty dollars due the first of this month, and I told 
Sarah that I'd go and collect it for her." 

"I've got some business of that same kind," said 
Harry. "I was told there were brokers' offices in 
Wall Street, where I could collect the money with- 
out any trouble." 

"I'll go with you," said the farmer, in a tone 
of satisfaction. "If he'll buy yours, he'll buy 



mine.' 



"I shall be glad to have your company," said 
Harry, politely. 

It flattered his vanity that a man old enough to 
be his grandfather was disposed to be guided by 
him in a matter of such importance. 

Just then a smooth voice was heard from the 
seat behind. 

"Gentlemen," said a young man, showily dressed 
and with a profusion of rings on his fingers, "ex- 
cuse my interrupting you, but I may be able to save 
you some trouble." 

They naturally waited for an explanation of 
these words. 

"I overheard you saying that you had some cou- 
pons to dispose of." 

"Yes," replied the farmer, eagerly. 

"I am myself a banker and broker, and deal in 
government securities. If the amount is not too 
large, I will buy your coupons and pay for them 
at once." 



132 THE TIN BOX 

'That will be handy," said the farmer. "I've 
got thirty dollars in cowpons." 

"And you, my young friend ?" said the so-called 
broker, addressing Harry. 

"I have rather more than that," said Harry, in 
a reserved tone. 

Somehow, he was suspicious of the plausible 
stranger. 

"I will pay you a higher price than most houses, 
besides saving you all the trouble," said the broker, 
insinuatingly, as he drew out a capacious wallet, 
and, opening it, exhibited a pile of bills. 

The farmer immediately drew out his coupon. 

"Let me see," said the broker; "thirty dollars, 
gold at the present premium comes to thirty-six 
dollars." 

'Thirty-six dollars!" 1 repeated the farmer, com- 
placently. "Sarah'll feel rich when she gets that 
money." 

'Here's your money," said the broker, pro- 
ducing three ten-dollar bills, a five and a one. "The 
bills are new, you perceive." 

The farmer put away the bills in his old wallet, 
and the stranger slipped the coupon carelessly into 
his vest pocket. 

"Now, my young friend, I am ready to attend 
to your matter," he said, turning to Harry. 

''I won't trouble you," said Harry, coldly; "I 
prefer to dispose of the coupons in the city." 



THE TIN BOX 133 

u just as you like; but you would do better to 
deal with me." 

"Why?" asked Harry. 

"In the city they will allow you but a hundred 
and nineteen for gold." 

"How is it you can afford to do better by me:' 
asked Harry, shrewdly. 

"Our house makes a point of dealing liberally 
with their customers," said the broker. 

'What is the name of your firm?" 

"Chase & Atkins," answered the other glibly. 
'I am a relative of Salmon Chase, ex-secretary of 
the treasury, and, since, chief justice of the Su- 
preme Court." 

'You don't say!" ejaculated the farmer. 
"Salmon Chase is a great man." 

"So he is. Thank you, sir, for your appreciation 
of my distinguished relative. Of course, it doesn't 
make me any better to be related to that great man, 
but I am naturally proud of it." 

"Hadn't you better sell your coupons to him?' 1 
asked the farmer, who was quite prepossessed in 
favor of the gentlemanly stranger. 

"No, sir; I was instructed to sell in Wall Street, 
and I prefer to do so." 

"Oh, just as you please," said Mr. Chase. "You 
will lose by it, but that's your affair. Good-morn- 
ing, gentlemen. I have a friend in the next car." 

So saying, he bowed, and left the car. 



134 THE TIN BOX 

'Well, my business was easily done," said the 
farmer. 

'Will you allow me to look at the bills he gave 
you?" asked Harry. 

"Sartain! Why?" and the farmer drew out his 
wallet. 

Harry took one of the bills in his hand and ex- 
amined it carefully, but he was not an expert, and 
could not judge whether it was good or not. 

'Don't you think it's good?" asked the farmer, 
uneasily. 

; 'I presume it is; but I didn't like the looks of 
the man you had dealings with." 

"He is of good family," said the farmer. 

'He says he is," responded Harry, significantly, 
"and I hope it's all right. We'll wait till the con- 
ductor comes along, and ask him about the bills." 

Fifteen minutes elapsed, however, before that 
official made his rounds, and during that time the 
train stopped at two stations. At one of these 
Harry's suspicions were increased by seeing thnt 
Mr. Chase got out. 

At last the conductor appeared, and Harry pass- 
ed him the bill. 

"Is that bill good?" he asked. 

The conductor held it up to the light, and shook 
his head. 

"No," he said; "it's one of a quantity of coun- 



THE TIN BOX 135 

terfeits that has lately made its appearance. Where 
did you get it?" 

"It belongs to me," said the farmer, his honest 
countenance exhibiting much distress. U I took it in 
payment for some cowpons." 

4 Who gave it to you ?" 

An explanation was given. 

"I noticed the man," said the conductor. "He 
is a well-known swindler. Have you got any 
more?" 

The others were exhibited. Out of them all the 
conductor declared that only the one-dollar bill was 
genuine. 

Probably it had not been thought worth while to 
counterfeit a bill of so low a denomination. 

"Oh, what'll Sarah say?" ejaculated the distress- 
ed farmer. 'What a tarnal fool I've been ! She 
wanted me to buy her a nice dress out of it, and 
I've only got a dollar left !" 

"Perhaps the man may be caught," suggested 
Harry. 

"I don't believe it. Simon Jones, you ain't fit to 
go around alone. You're as green as as a goose- 
berry!" 

Harry pitied him, but was unable to offer any 
adequate consolation. 

'Will you give me your name and address?" he 
said. "And, if I can hear anything of your cou- 



136 THE TIN BOX 

pons, or the man that swindled you, I'll write and 
let you know." 

"Will you? I'm obleeged to you," said the far- 
mer, who had formed quite a high idea of our 
hero's sagacity from his declining the trap into 
which he himself had fallen. "My name is Simon 
Jones, of Crabtree Hollow, Connecticut." 

Harry entered it in a little memorandum book 
-which he carried. 

At length the great city was reached, and the 
crowd of passengers dispersed in different direc- 
tions. 

It was over a year since Harry had been in the 
city, and he was not very familiar with it, but he 
had a modest confidence in his ability to get along. 

"Shine yer boots, guv'nor?" asked a ragged 
bootblack. 

'How much?" Harry asked. 
'Seein' it's you, I'll only ask ten cents," returned 
the street boy. 

'Thank you. I blacked my own boots before I 
left home." 

'Do you call that a shine?" said the boy, con- 
temptuously, as his glance rested on Harry's shoes, 
which certainly did not vie in polish with those 
operated upon by city bootblacks. 

"It'll do for me," answered Harry, good- 
naturedly. 



"] 

i 



THE TIN BOX 137 

"Mornin' papers Herald, Times, Tribune, 
World!" called a newsboy. 

"Give me a Herald" said Harry, who suddenly 
bethought himself of the tin box, and was anxious 
to find out whether any allusion was made to the 
theft in the morning papers. 

He opened the paper, and his eyes ran hastily 
over the crowded columns. 



1138; THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXI 

A REWARD OFFERED 

HARRY looked over the news columns in vain 
for an account of the robbery, or some allusion to 
the tin box which he had seen concealed in the 
wood. 

'There may have been something about it in 
yesterday's paper," he said to himself. "I must 
go to the office of publication and buy a copy." 

It occurred to him, however, that there might be 
an advertisement offering a reward for its recov- 
ery, and he began to search, with this object in 
view. 

Presently his eye lighted on the following : 

"Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars Reward. 

"On the fifteenth instant, a Tin Box, containing 
a considerable sum in Five-Twenty Government 
and Union Pacific Bonds, was stolen from the office 
of the subscriber. The above sum will be paid for 
the discovery of the thief, or for information lead- 
ing to the recovery of all, or the larger part, of the 
bonds. JAMES P. WHEELER, 

"No. 265 Broadway, Room 10." 



THE TIN BOX 139 

I do not claim to have given the correct number, 
for obvious reasons. Of course, the address given 
in the advertisement was accurate. 

Naturally, Harry was much pleased at his easy 
success. He had only to go to the office mentioned 
and communicate what he knew, and leave Mr. 
Wheeler to take the necessary steps for the recov- 
ery of the property. 

Should he attend first to that, or to the sale of 
the coupons? On the whole, he decided to go to 
Mr. Wheeler's office first, as the tin box might be 
removed at any time, if the suspicions of Vernon 
or Temple should be excited. 

It was, of course, perfectly easy to find any ad- 
dress on Broadway, and not many minutes elapsed 
before Harry found himself before the door of 
office No. 10. 

Entering for the door was ajar he saw a 
large, handsomely fitted-up office, with a small 
room partitioned off at one corner. 

In this room sat a man of middle age, with a 
keen face and a brisk air, which indicated that he 
was a trained man of business. 

Outside, at a desk, sat a young man, evidently a 
clerk, who was busily engaged in writing. It was 
he who looked up when Harry entered and looked 
hesitatingly about. 

"Well, Johnny, what can I do for you ?" said the 
young man, patronizingly. 



1 40 THE TIN BOX 

"Is Mr. Wheeler in the office?" 

"Yes; but he is busy." 

"He will see me," said Harry, with quiet confi- 
dence. 

'Will he?" asked the young man, surveying our 
hero with some curiosity. "Who do you come 
from?" 

"From no one. I have business of my own with 
Mr. Wheeler." 

"Who is it?" asked an imperative voice. 

"A boy to see you, sir," answered the clerk, re- 
spectfully. 

"Bring him in, then, and don't waste his time 
and your own in unnecessary talk." 

"Waste his time, indeed," muttered the clerk, 
who evidently did not regard Harry's time as par- 
ticularly valuable. 

"Well, young man," said the lawyer for such 
was his business as Harry entered his presence. 
"What is it?" 

"I should like a private interview, sir," said 
Harry, glancing at the clerk, who was hovering 
near. 

"Shut the door, and resume your writing, Rich- 
ard," said Mr. Wheeler. 

Shrugging his shoulders, with a disappointed 
look, Richard obeyed. 

"I came to see you about the advertisement," 
said Harry, coming to the point at once. 



THE TIN BOX 141 

The lawyer started, and eyed Harry keenly. 
Could the boy be one of the thieves, or was he 
merely acting as a go-between ? 

"Do you know anything about the box of 
bonds?" asked Mr. Wheeler, quickly. 

"Yes, sir; I know where it is concealed." 

"Ha, that is important. Do you come from the 
parties that took them?" 

Harry colored, and looked indignant. 

"No, sir," he answered, with emphasis. 

Mr. Wheeler smiled. 

"I was bringing no charge against you," he said. 
"I thought the guilty parties might have employed 
you as their agent their innocent agent. Now, 
tell me how you come to know anything about the 



matter.' 



This Harry proceeded to do. As the story is 
already familiar to the reader, he shall be spared a 
repetition of it. It is needless to say that the law- 
yer listened with earnest attention. 

"This is a curious story," he said, "but I see no 
reason to question its accuracy. I certainly hope it 



is true.' 



"It is true, sir." 

"Of course, I imply no doubt of your word. 
Now, tell me, did you see distinctly the faces of the 
two men who were employed in concealing thp 
box?" 

"Yes, sir." 



" 

' 

" 



142 THE TIN BOX 

"Should you know them again?" 

"I should." 

; 'Did you recognize either?" 
'Yes, sir." 

"Indeed ! r exclaimed the lawyer, who did not 
expect an affirmative answer. "Who was it?" 
'Ralph Temple." 
'How did you know him?" 
'He lives in a poor cabin just on the outskirts of 
the wood." 

"How long has he lived there?" 

"About two years." 

'What is his reputation?" 

'Very poor. No one knows how he makes his 
living, though at times he seems to have plenty of 
money." 

'Is he absent a part of his time?" 

'Yes, sir; he is sometimes away for a month at 
a time." 

"Probably he is in league with some criminals in 
the city, and may have an object in living where he 
does." 

"I thought of that, sir." 

"Did you recognize the other man?" the lawyer 
next asked. 

'No, sir. It was no one I ever saw before; but 
I noticed his face well, and should know him 
again." 

"So far, so good. Can you find or lead others to 



THE TIN BOX 143 

the place in the wood where the box was con- 
cealed?" 

"Yes, sir; but I don't think they will leave it 
there long. Something ought to be done soon." 

"Something shall be done. By the way, have 
you mentioned what you saw to any person?" 

'To only one an old gentleman boarding at 
my mother's house." 

The lawyer looked annoyed. 

"I am sorry for that. It may be all over the vil- 
lage before you get back, and, in that case, your 
information may do no good." 

"Don't be afraid, sir. Obed Wilkins can keep n 



secret.' 



"Obed Wilkins! Does he come from Illinois?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"I know him," said the lawyer, smiling. "In 
fact, he is a client of mine. As you say, he can keep 
a secret. My boy by the way, what is your 
name?" 
, "Harry Gilbert." 

'Very well, Harry, your chance of earning the 
reward offered is very good." 

"I did not come here with any thought of the 
reward." 

"Perhaps not ; but the owner can .very well afford 
to pay it, and I advise you to accept it if your in- 
formation leads to the recovery of the box." 

"Doesn't it belong to you, sir?" 



144 THE TIN BOX 

u Oh, no. It belongs to one of my clients. It 
disappeared from my office two days since. The 
owner is not yet aware of his loss, but I felt author- 
ized to offer the reward. May I count on your 
further help?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Then I shall send you at once with a note to a 
police officer, requesting two detectives to accom- 
pany you back. I shall give them instructions, and 
they will probably go back with you to the coun- 
try." 

"Very well, sir." 

Mr. Wheeler dashed off a few lines, properly- 
addressed them, and handed them to Harry. 

"Use all dispatch," he said. 

"I will," answered our hero, promptly. 

As he left the inner office, the clerk outside re- 
garded him curiously. He was surprised at the 
long interview accorded him, and wondered what 
could be his errand. 

As Harry descended the stairs, he jostled a man 
who was ascending, and naturally was led to look 
at him. Harry came near dropping with sheer 
surprise. The man he recognized at once as Ver- 
non, one of the men whom he had seen in the wood. 



THE TIN BOX 145 



CHAPTER XXII 

BROUGHT TO BAY 

HARRY felt that matters were getting exciting, 
and a crisis seemed imminent. 

"I will hurry as fast as I can," he said. "I sup- 
pose he has come about the tin box, too. I hope he 
will stay till I get back." 

Vernon, little dreaming that he was recognized 
by the office boy as he took him to be who had 
just jostled against him, kept on his way upstairs. 
His appearance was that of a well-dressed man, not 
much over thirty, who might be filling a responsible 
business position in the city. When, therefore, he 
said to the clerk, "Is Mr. Wheeler in?" he received 
a more polite reply than had been accorded to 
Harry fifteen minutes before. 

"Mr. Wheeler?" he asked. 

"Yes," said the lawyer, with his usual scrutiniz- 
ing look. 

"I should like to speak to you in private, sir." 

"Another claimant for the reward," thought the 
lawyer. 



i 4 6 THE TIN BOX 

"Very well," he said. "Have the kindness to 
close the door." 

Vernon did so. 

"Now," said the lawyer, abruptly, desiring to 
get through with his interview before Harry's re- 
turn from his mission. 

"You advertised for the recovery of a tin box of 
valuables?" said Vernon. 

"Yes." 

"I may be able to assist you in the matter," said 
Vernon. 

"Indeed ! Then you know where it is ?" said the 
lawyer, eying him keenly. 

"I didn't say that, did I?" asked Vernon, smil- 
ing craftily. 

"No; but you probably know that is, if your 
information is of any value." 

"That isn't at all necessary," said Vernon, coolly. 
"I may say as much as this, however that I am 
employed by those who do know the whereabouts 
of the box." 

"Then there was more than one connected with 
the robbery?" 

"Yes," said Vernon, hesitating. 

He saw that every word was noted, and afforded 
a basis for inferences. 

"What do your employers authorize you to 
say?" asked the lawyer, sitting back in his chair. 

"That they can lay their hands on the bonds a* 



THE TIN BOX 147 

short notice, and are ready to return them, if it is 
made worth their while." 

"I suppose you have read my advertisement, 
Mr. " 

" Precisely," answered Vernon, not taking the 
hint and announcing his name. 

He might do so soon, but resolved not to be pre- 
cipitate. 

"Then you know what reward we offer." 

"It isn't enough," said Vernon, briefly. 

"Why not? It seems to me that two hundred 
and fifty dollars is a very respectable sum of 
money." 

"I shall charge my clients as much as that for 
my agency," said Vernon, "and they naturally want 
something for their trouble and risk." 

"Do vou know how much the box contains?" 

j 

"Yes; my clients have told me." 

"Do they realize that, if they refuse my offer, 
they will find considerable trouble in negotiating 
the bonds?" 

"Yes; but they can do it. There are parties who 
will advance them much more than the reward, and 
take the risk, holding them till such time as the 
affair is forgotten." 

'What parties?" 

'Do you suppose I will tell you that, sir?" asked 
Vernon, cunningly. 

Mr. Wheeler did not, but he was only filling up 



if 




i 4 8 THE TIN BOX 

the time. He had made up his mind that the man 
before him was something more than the agent of 
the thieves, and he now wished to protract the in- 
terview till Harry should have had time to return 
with the two detectives. 

"No," he replied, "I can hardly expect you to 
answer that question. I should like to ask you, 
however, whether you have had any conversation 
with your clients about the sum they would consider 
sufficient to repay them for their 'trouble'?" 

'Yes, sir; that subject has come up between us." 

"Well?" 

"I think, sir, you will have to multiply the re- 
ward you offer by ten." 

"Whew !" exclaimed the lawyer, who was not at 
all surprised, however. 'This is a large sum." 

"It is only about one-sixth the market value of 
the bonds." 

"I don't think my client would consent to pay so 
large a sum as that." 

'Then your client must be prepared to lose the 
whole amount." 

:t lt appears to me that a thousand dollars would 
be an adequate, not to say a handsome, reward." 

"W r hat would it amount to divided among four 
persons, after paying me my commission?" 

"Then there were four persons engaged in the 
theft?" 



THE TIN BOX 149 

"Better say in the removal of the deposits. It 
sounds better." 

"Call it so, if you like. Doesn't it occur to you 
that it hardly required as many as four persons to 
remove the tin box, weighing with its contents, not 
over two pounds?" 

"I suppose one could have lifted it," said Ver- 
non, smiling. 

"True; but do you know it is my theory that two 
persons were engaged?" 

Vernon started, and scanned his companion's 
face anxiously. Did he know anything? That 
was what he asked himself. 

"You can form any theories you please," he said, 
with a forced smile. "They won't alter facts." 

"You are right, Mr. " 

"You may call me Thompson." 

"Very well, Mr. Thompson." 

By this time a foot was heard upon the stairs. 
The door opened, and Harry Gilbert entered. 

He came forward, not appearing to notice the 
visitor, and placed in Mr. Wheeler's hand a scrap 
of paper, on which he had written in pencil : 

"The man with you is one of the robbers. I can 
identify him. I met him as I was going out. The 
two detectives are in the entry. I thought it best 
not to bring them in till I had a chance to tell you 
this." 



150 THE TIN BOX 

Mr. Wheeler's eyes lighted up as he read this 
scrap, and he looked approvingly at Harry. 

"Quite right," he said. Then, turning to Ver- 
non, he continued: 'I don't think we can come to 
terms. I have reason to doubt whether you can 
carry out your promise and deliver the property." 

'I suppose this is a bluff game, intended to de- 
ceive me," said Vernon, showing symptoms of an- 
ger. ;< I can assure you that it w r ill do you no 
good." 

''I may find out elsewhere the location of the 
box." 

"Impossible ! I, and I alone that is, outside of 
the men who employ me can give you this infor- 
mation. They will follow my advice, whatever it 
is, and I shall advise them not to surrender the box 
until they receive an adequate reward." 

"Such as the sum you name ?" 

"Yes." 

"Wouldn't two thousand dollars tempt you?" 
asked the lawyer. 

'I think not. Still, I will consult them. I might 
advise them to accept that sum.'' 

"My dear sir, I don't want to deceive you. I 
attach very little importance to your information, 
or your power in this matter. In fact, I have a 
theory as to the place where the box is concealed." 

'Indeed, sir," said Vernon, with a sneer. "May 
I ask what is your theory?" 



THE TIN BOX 151 

"Certainly. I think it is concealed near some 
country town, in a secluded spot in a wood." 

Vernon jumped to his feet in dismay. He was 
convinced that his confederate had got the start of 
him and made a bargain with the lawyer, thus 
anticipating his own treachery, for he had promised 
Temple that he would suffer some time to elapse 
before communicating with anyone on the subject. 

'Who has been here?" he asked. 

"One who saw you and your confederate bury 
the box," answered the lawyer, sternly. 

Without a word, Vernon dashed from the office, 
only to be seized by the two detectives, who had 
come provided with handcuffs. 

'This is an infamous conspiracy!" declared Ver- 
non, furiously. "If Ralph Temple has betrayed 



me " 



"Harry," said the lawyer, (t do you recognize 
this man?" 

Vernon stared in surprise at the supposed office 
boy. 

"Yes, sir." 

'Where did you see him last?" 

; 'In Pegan Hill Wood, in the town of Way- 
bridge." 

"What was he doing?" 

"Burying a tin box in a hole which he dug for 
the purpose." 

"Who was with him?" 



152 THE TIN BOX 

U A man named Ralph Temple." 

'What do you say to this, Mr. Thompson?" 
asked the lawyer. 

Vernon turned to Harry. 

'Where were you at the time?" he asked. 

"In a tree just overhead," answered Harry, un- 
dauntedly. 

'I was a fool not to look more carefully about 
me," he said. 'What is your name?" 

"Harry Gilbert." 

'Then, Mr. Harry Gilbert, I owe you a debt 
which, sooner or later, I shall manage to pay." 

"Take him away," said the lawyer to the detec- 
tives, "and then come back to me for instructions." 



THE TIN BOX 153 



CHAPTER XXIII 

FINDING THE BOX 

"My boy," said the lawyer, turning to Harry, 
"you have done yourself credit. A grown man 
could not have shown more judgment." 

'Thank you, sir," said Harry, pleased at the 
compliment. 

"But your work is not yet done. As soon as the 
detectives have returned, you must go back at once 
to Waybridge with them, and lead them to the 
place where the box is concealed." 

'I am ready, sir," replied Harry. "But," he 
added, with a sudden thought of one of his errands, 
"will there be time for me to go to Wall Street 
first?" 

'Why do you want to go to Wall Street?" 

'I have some coupons which I am to sell for Mr. 
Wilkins." 

'To what amount?" 

"Ninety dollars gold." 

"I will myself give you the money for them, as 
that will save time. Should the search for the box 



154 THE TIN BOX 

be successful, I will take upon me to pay you the 
reward as soon as you desire it." 

4< Thank you, sir." 

Harry might have declined the reward, but he 
felt, justly, that he had rendered a valuable service 
to the unknown owner of the bonds, and was en- 
titled to it. 

Presently the detectives came back. 

'Well," said the lawyer. 

"lie is safe under lock and key," promptly an- 
swered one of them. 

"How did he appear?" 

"Sullen and despondent. He vows vengeance 
against this boy." 

"Probably he will not be in a position for some 
yean> to harm him. And now I have some instruc- 
tions to give you." 

H/glf an hour later Harry and the two detectives 
were passengers on a train bound for a town not 
far f/om Waybridge. It was a different railroad, 
however, from the one on which Harry had come. 
The choice was made from a desire to avoid sus- 
picion. 

From a point four miles distant they took a car- 
nage, hired from a stable, which left them on the 
opposite side of the wood from the one by which 
Harry had previously entered. 

Of course, they could not penetrate the wood 
with a vehicle, and the question came up : 



THE TIN BOX 

"Who can be got to look after it?'* 

Just then Harry saw in a field near-by Reuben 
Richardson the boy who had released him from 
his bonds. 

"Reuben!" he called out 

Reuben approached, regarding Harry and his 
companions with surprise. 

"Have you an hour to spare?" asked one of the 
detectives. 

"Yes, sir." 

'Then please look after this team, and I'll see 
that you don't lose your time." 

"All right, sir." 

Then, free from all anxiety, the three made their 
way into the forest. The way seemed blind enough 
to the two detectives, who were, of course, on un- 
familiar ground. 

"Are you sure you can find the place?" asked one 
of them, doubtfully, addressing himself to Harry. 

"Sure," answered Harry, briefly. 

"It seems blind." 

"I know the wood well. I have played here 
from a boy." 

"Where does this Temple live?" asked the sec- 
ond detective. 

"In the edge of the wood." 

"Near here?" 

"No, on the other side of the wood.'* 



156 THE TIN BOX 

"It is to be hoped he has not grown distrustful 
and removed the box." 

"I don't think there is any danger of it, sir. Re- 
member, it is only last night that it was concealed. 
Besides, he wouldn't dare to attempt it in the day- 
time, when he would be liable to be seen." 

"Quite right. You are unusually considerate for 
a boy." 

Harry did not disappoint his companions. He 
led the way to the place where, the night previous, 
he had seen the tin box secreted, and instantly 
pointed out the exact spot where it was concealed. 

The two detectives lost no time in searching for 
it. They had brought no shovel with them, lest, 
being seen, their object might excite suspicion; but, 
by means of sticks which they sharpened into stakes 
with the help of sharp jackknives, they turned up 
the earth, and, in due time, revealed the box. 

'There it is," said Harry, joyfully, for he was 
also helping, and it was his stake that struck it first. 

"So it is," exclaimed the first detective, in a tone 
of satisfaction. 

There was no loss of time in lifting the box from 
its place of concealment. Then it was thought best 
to replace the earth, and carefully to cover the 
place with leaves, so as to hide from the superficial 
observer the fact that it had been disturbed. 

"Our errand is accomplished," said the second 



THE TIN BOX 157 

detective. "Now let us make all haste back to our 
wagon." 

"I will guide you," said Harry. 

"Do so, or there is no knowing when we shall 
r^et back, or whether we shall get back at all. I 
.-.ice lost my way in a wood, and was wandering 
about four good hours, and all within a radius of 
two miles, before I got out. It is difficult to keep 
your direction in a forest, unless you have a com- 
pass." 

So Harry, who had expected it, served as a guide 
on the return, and conducted them safely to the 



wagon. 



Reuben was paid for his service with a dollar 
bill, which he declared he should have considered 
satisfactory for a whole day's labor. 

Harry was about to say good-by to his compan- 
ions, but they advised him to ride back with them 
to a point on the road where he could make his way 
to Waybridge without the trouble of passing 
ihrough the wood, besides having a less distance 
l-o go. 

'What time is it?" he asked. 

'Two o'clock," answered one of the detectives, 
consulting his watch. 

"Only two o'clock!" 

Harry could scarcely believe it, so much had 
happened since he got up in the morning, yet it was 
even so. It had taken very little time to do his 



1 58 THE TIN BOX 

business in the city, as we know, and almost half 
the day still lay before him. 

Harry thought of what he had accomplished 
with pardonable pride and satisfaction. He had 
frustrated the plans of two daring thieves, caused 
the arrest of one of them, and the probable speedy 
arrest of the other, arranged for the restoration to 
the owner of a valuable property, and earned for 
himself the munificent sum of two hundred and 
fifty dollars. 

Nothing particular happened on his homeward 
walk. 

"Got home so soon, Harry?" asked Uncle Obed, 
as our hero entered the little cottage. 

"Yes, sir; and here's the money for your 
coupons." 

"How about that other matter, Harry?" 
"It came out all right. Where's mother?" 
"Gone to call on one of the neighbors." 
"Then I'll tell you about it; but I don't want to 
say a word to mother till the whole thing is 
settled." 



THE TIN BOX 159 



CHAPTER XXIV 

PHILIP IN A TIGHT PLACE 

RALPH TEMPLE was still at his cottage, or, more 
properly, hut, waiting impatiently for Vernon to 
reappear, that he might obtain his share of the con- 
tents of the tin box. 

He had led a lawless life, and more than once 
been engaged in dishonest transactions, but never 
in one of such magnitude as the present. He calcu- 

ed that, even if they surrendered the box in con- 
sideration of a reward, he would not receive less 
than a thousand dollars, and he was planning how 
he would dispose of this sum. 

This was the project which he fixed upon : For 
years he had been desirous of visiting California, 
in the hope that chances of getting rich, honestly or 
dishonestly, might be met with in a State whose 
very name was suggestive of gold. With a thous- 
and dollars he would feel justified in going. More- 
over, there would be an advantage in leaving a part 
of the country where he was an object of suspicion 
to the authorities, and was liable at any time to be 



160 THE TIN BOX 

arrested for complicity in more than one question- 
able transaction. 

In his lonely hut he knew nothing of the develop- 
ments in the last robbery whether any reward had 
been offered as yet. This was necessarily left in the 
hands of Vernon, while he remained to guard the 
hidden treasure. 

A state of suspense is all the harder to bear when 
a man has nothing else to divert his thoughts, and 
this was the case with Temple. 

"What if the box should be discovered?" was 
the thought that haunted him. 

Finally, though he had once before visited the 
hiding-place of the tin box, he decided to go again, 
and started at such a time that he arrived about an 
hour after Harry and the detectives had unearthed 
and removed it. 

Meanwhile, it becomes necessary to state that 
Philip Ross, whose curiosity was excited by the 
continued absence of Harry, made up his mind one 2 
more to visit the wood to see if he could discover 
any traces of his victim. 

"He's hiding in the wood so as to make an ex- 
citement/' thought Philip. "He'll make a great 
fuss about what we did to him." 

In fact, Philip was getting a little anxious about 
the results of his high-handed treatment of Harry. 
He was not sure but Harry might have him ar- 
rested, and this excited his fears. He admitted to 



THE TIN BOX 161 

himself, reluctantly, that tying a boy hand and foot, 
and leaving him all night in the forest, was rather 
more than a joke. 

He called at the hotel for Congreve, but was 
told that he had gone to ride. 

After a little hesitation, he decided to go to the 
wood alone, carrying with him, by way of precau- 
tion, a stout cane which belonged to his father, to 
defend himself with in case Harry should be lying 
in wait and make an attack upon him. 

On his way he had occasion to pass by the local- 
ity of the hidden treasure, though, of course, he 
knew nothing about this. 

Just at the spot he heard a tramping in the fallen 
leaves, and, looking up hastily, saw Ralph Temple 
approaching. 

Now, Temple, as we know, was a man of ques- 
tionable reputation, and, moreover, once already he 
and Congreve had had an angry altercation with' 
him. It is not much wonder, therefore, that 
Philip's heart beat with fear at the prospect of 
meeting this man alone, so far from help. 

He could not get away without attracting atten- 
tion, and, therefore, as the best thing under the 
circumstances, hid himself behind the broad trunk 
of a stately oak tree, and in fear and trembling 
waited for the unwelcome intruder to depart. 

Ralph came along, with a quick, swinging gait. 
He was a tall man, of strong frame, and an unpre- 



1 62 THE TIN BOX 

possessing countenance appropriate enough to his 
character and reputation. 

His first glance was directed toward the spot 
where he had helped bury the box upon which his 
future plans depended. 

There was something that startled him in the 
evident displacement of the leaves, as if there had 
been others there since the morning. 

"Can it have been taken?" he asked himself, 
with a thrill of anxiety. 

He strode forward hurriedly, and, removing the 
leaves, discovered signs of recent disturbance. 
Most suspicious of all, he found one of the stakes, 
the end soiled with dirt, which had been used by 
the detectives. 

With a beating heart and a muttered impreca- 
tion, he began to dig down to ascertain whether his 
apprehensions were justified. 

Philip, peering from behind the tree, was very 
much alarmed by this incomprehensible proceeding. 

What could the man be doing? Was he insane ? 
He blamed his folly in seeking again this dangerous 
neighborhood after the encounter of the morning. 

"Oh, if I were only safe at home/' he mentally 
ejaculated; u or, if Congreve were with me. If he 
discovers me he may kill me." 

He thought of running away, but in the silence 
of the forest his steps would undoubtedly be heard, 
and he would be pursued. So it seemed most pru- 



THE TIN BOX 163 

dent to stay where he was. In fear and trembling 
he continued to watch the dreadful outlaw. 

It was not long before Temple made the unwel- 
come discovery, suspected from the first, that the 
box was gone. He desisted from his work and 
gave vent to such a volley of imprecations that 
Philip trembled as if he had an ague fit. 

Could it be, Temple asked himself, that Vernon 
had proved false to him, and, returning, conveyed 
away the box for his own individual profit? 

"If he has, I'll kill him," he muttered, in a deep, 
growling tone. 

Philip heard him, and his heart beat fast with 
fear. Who did Temple want to kill ? Was it him- 
self or Congreve ? 

"I'd give a thousand dollars, if I had it, to be at 
home," thought the miserable boy. 

As for Temple, he was no less miserable. All 
his hopes and anticipations were dashed. The dis- 
appearance of the tin box, whoever might have re- 
moved it, would render it impossible to carry out 
plans of Californian emigration with which he had 
been solacing himself all the morning. Such a big 
haul as the present might never be made again. 

His first suspicion fell upon his partner, but he 
also thought of the two whom he had met in the 
forenoon in the wood. They had been suspiciously 
near the spot, and might be implicated in the loss. 
It didn't seem probable, but it was possible. 



1 64 THE TIN BOX 

At this inauspicious moment Philip, yielding to a 
tickling in the throat which he couldn't overcome, 
coughed. It was not a loud cough, but Temple 
heard it. 

He instantly started for the quarter from which 
the sound proceeded, and in a few seconds discov- 
ered and dragged Philip by the collar from behind 
the tree. 

"What are you doing here?" he demanded, 
sternly. 

"Nothing," answered Philip, trembling. 

"Ha ! You are one of the boys that I caught 
prowling round here this morning." 

"I have as much right here as you," said Philip, 
plucking up a little courage. 

"Have you? We'll see about that," snarled 
Temple. "Where's the other fellow?" 

"He isn't here." 

"Isn't here? I don't believe it. He's hiding 
somewhere near." 

"Then you can find him," said Philip, sullenly. 

"No matter! I've got you, you rascal!" And 
he shook Philip fiercely. "What villainous work 
have you been up to?" 

"I don't know what you mean," said Philip, his 
teeth chattering. "I am the son of Colonel Ross, 
and he won't allow me to be treated this way." 

"I'd treat him the same way if I caught him 
here," growled Temple, with a lack of reverence 



THE TIN BOX 165 

for the colonel's exalted position, which struck 
Philip with horror. "Now, tell me what you have 
done with the tin box, you young scoundrel !" 

; 'The tin box! 51 ejaculated Philip, in genuine 
amazement. 

'Yes, the tin box. You know well enough what 
I mean." 

"I don't know anything of any tin box; indeed, I 
don't." 

"Do you mean to say you didn't dig it up from 
the place where we put it?" 

"No; indeed I didn't! I don't know anything 
about it. What was in it?" 

Was this ignorance real or affected? Temple 
could not tell. What was certain was that the box 
was gone, and this boy was hovering about the spot. 
It would be folly to let him go. 

"I don't believe you," he said, bluntly. "You 
must come with me." 

And he began to drag Philip off in the direction 
of his hut. 

"Oh, where are you taking me?" asked the 
frightened boy. 

"You'll know soon enough. I'm going to keep 
you till the tin box is restored to me." 

Poor Philip! As he was jerked along by his 
collar, in the stern grasp of the outlaw, he suffered 
a good deal more than Harry had in his recent 
captivity. 



1 66 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXV 

PHILIP BECOMES A PRISONER 

"PLEASE let me go, and I'll give you five dol- 
lars," said poor Philip, as he was dragged along 
the forest path by his captor. 

'Humph!" said Temple, grimly, thinking he 
might as well take the money, though he had no 
intention of releasing Philip. "Have you got five 
dollars with you?" 

"No." 

Then you are trying to fool me," exclaimed 
Temple, with an angry jerk at the boy's collar. 

"No, I'm not," answered Philip, terrified. "IVe 
got two dollars with me, and I'll bring you the rest 
before night. 

"Where will you get it?" 
'From my father." 

"And I suppose you expect me to let you go 
home and get it?" 

"If you please." 

"But I don't please. You must think I'm a fool. 
Just as if you would come back if you had once got 
away!" 



THE TIN BOX 167 

"But I will. I promise it on my word of honor." 

'Your word of honor," repeated Temple, scorn- 
fully. "As if I didn't know what that amounts to." 

Philip would have resented this imputation if he 
had dared, but there was a look of grim resolution 
about Temple's mouth which made him afraid to 
show any resentment. 

"Besides," added Temple, "what do you think I 
care for five dollars? After you have stolen thous- 
ands of dollars from me, you dare to think I will 
let you off for five dollars." 

There was something in this speech which, de- 
spite Philip's terror, attracted his attention. Tem- 
ple spoke of being robbed of thousands of dollars, 
yet .lie was generally considered a poor outlaw. 
How could he have come into possession of so large 



a sum? 

u 



Thousands of dollars!'' 1 repeated Philip, in un- 
disguised amazement. 

<_> 

"Yes; what have you got to say about it?" de- 
manded Temple, sharply. 

'I thought you were poor," Philip couldn't help 
saying. 

Temple paused a moment. He knew that the 
possession of so much money would excite surprise 
in others besides Philip, and he regretted his im- 
prudence in speaking of thousands of dollars. As 
it was done, he must give some kind of an explana- 
tion. 



1 68 THE TIN BOX 

"So I was poor; but a rich cousin in New York 
died lately, and left me a large legacy. Not hav- 
ing any safe to put it in," he added, with a grim 
smile, "I concealed it in the wood, thinking it would 
be safe. When I saw you and that friend of yours 
prowling around this morning, it crossed my mind 
that it was in danger; but I didn't think you were 
thieves." 

'We are not," said Philip. "We know nothing 
about your tin box." 

'That's all very well to say. What were you 
doing in the wood just now?" 

"I only went there for a walk." 

"Of course," said Temple, with a sneer. "It's 
a pleasant place for a walk, and handy to your 
house." 

'I hope to die if I ain't telling the truth!" said 
Philip, desperately. 

'You'll die when your time comes, and it may 
come sooner than you think for," said Temple, tak- 
ing a malicious pleasure in seeing Philip turn pale 
and tremble in his grasp. 

"You wouldn't kill me?" faltered Philip. 

'I don't know what I shall do. If you tell me 
where the box is, I shan't." 

'But I don't know hope to die if I do." 

'Who was that fellow with you?" demanded 
Temple, abruptly. 
"James Congreve." 



THE TIN BOX 169 

"Where does he come from?" 
. "From New York." 

"If you haven't stolen the box, he has. It lies 
between you." 

'James wouldn't steal it. He is a gentleman." 

"So gentlemen don't steal?" sneered Temple. "I 
am not sure about that. I know one thing. I've 
lost the box, and one of you has got it." 

It occurred to Temple that it was more likely to 
be Congreve, who was older and bolder than the 
boy he had captured, but he was not disposed to let 
Philip go, nevertheless. 

Again Philip denied the charge, but this time 
Temple did not answer. 

At length they reached the hut, and entered. 

Now came the critical moment. What was this 
bad man going to do with him? Philip asked him- 
self. 

He was dragged into the hut, and then, for the 
first time, his captor relaxed his grip. 

"Sit down there," he said, pointing to a wooden 
chair, from which the paint had all worn off. 

Philip sat down. 

"Now, if you dare to stir or try to escape I'll kill 
you," said Temple, coolly. 

"What a blood-thirsty ruffian!" Philip thought, 
trembling. 

Temple opened the door of a closet, which was 



i 7 o THE TIN BOX 

filled with a variety of articles, including a small 
supply of kitchen utensils. 

He took out a caseknife, to the horror of poor 
Philip, who concluded he was to be butchered in 
cold blood. Still, he did not dare to leave his seat, 
lest his jailer's threat should be carried into execu- 
tion. He was happily undeceived, however, for 
from the floor of the closet Temple lifted a portion 
of a clothesline, and with some difficulty, for the 
knife was dull, cut off a portion. Then he turned 
to Philip. 

"I can't stay here to stand guard over you, boy," 
he said, "but I don't mean that you shall get away 
in a hurry. I think I have found a way to prevent 
your escaping." 

He approached the boy, and said: 

"Hold out your hands." 

"What are you going to do to me, Mr. Tem- 
ple?" asked Philip, nervously. 

"Tie you," answered his captor, sententiously. 
"What do you suppose ropes are made for?" 

"Please don't tie me," said Philip, in dismay. 'I 
won't run away." 

"No, I don't think you will. Hold out your 
hands." 

There was no help for it. Philip, much against 
his will, held out his hands, and they were tied 
tightly around the wrists, so that the stricture was 
painful. 



THE TIN BOX 171 

"It hurts me," he complained. 

"It would hurt your neck worse/' replied 
Temple. 

Philip understood what he meant, and turned 
pale. But a ray of hope came to him in his despon- 
dency. Even if his hands were tied he might es- 
cape, and he resolved to do so as soon as Temple 
was at a safe distance. 

His hands being tied would not prevent his walk- 
ing or running, and once out of the wood he would 
feel comparatively safe. 

He reckoned without his host, however; or, 
rather, he reckoned without knowing the intentions 
of his captor. 

'There," said Temple, when the boy's hands 
were tiecj, "so far so good! Now for your feet!" 

Hope died once more in Philip's breast. He 
might escape with his hands tied, but with his feet 
tied it was quite another matter. In vain he pro- 
tested against this second indignity. His jailor was 
not to be moved. 

'You may as well spare your breath, boy," he 
said. "I ain't quite a fool. I'm not going to leave 
you free to get away as soon as my back is turned." 

So Philip's feet were tied, too, and he realized 
how utterly helpless he was. 

There, you can amuse yourself now as much as 
you like," said Temple, with a humor that Philip 



i 7 2 THE TIN BOX 

did not by any means appreciate. 'You*!! have a 
nice, easy time, with nothing to do." 

He turned and left the hut, relieving Philip of 
his presence, which was one comfort, but did not 
go very far. 

As my readers will conclude, Philip began to 
work his wrists up and down, vainly endeavoring 
to unloose the rope, but only succeeded in hurting 
himself. Next he tried his feet, but they, also, were 
securely confined. 

It was a righteous retribution for the trick he 
had played on Harry Gilbert. He was being paid 
off in his own coin. Though his conscience was not 
particularly sensitive, it did occur to him that he 
was in precisely the same condition as the boy whom 
he and Congreve had left alone in the dark wood, 
fully expecting that he* would have to remain all 
night. 

But even then he could not be said to feel deep 
regret for his unworthy act. He was sensible of 
the inconvenience to which he was subjected by his 
constrained position, and began to chafe and fret 
under it. 

"I wonder how long he's going to leave me 

here?" thought Philip, though, in truth, he hardly 

knew whether he wanted Temple to return or not. 

'Just as soon as I get away, I'll ask pa to have him 

arrested. I wouldn't mind seeing him hung." 

An hour passed about the longest hour Philip 



THE TIN BOX 173 

had ever known. At length his eager ears dis- 
cerned steps outside the hut. It might be a friend ! 
At any rate, he would call, and perhaps the call 
would bring rescue. 

"Hello, there !" he called out. "Come in ; I need 
help 1" 



i 7 4 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXVI 

PHILIP IS FORCED TO APOLOGIZE 

THERE were two persons outside, one of whom 
was our hero, Harry Gilbert. The other, though 
dressed in citizen's clothes, was an officer, who had 
been sent to arrest Temple, on a charge of being 
implicated with Vernon in the robbery of the tin 
box. 

Harry at once recognized the voice of Philip, 
and it is needless to say that he was filled with gen- 
uine surprise. 

"That must be Philip Ross," he said, in a low 
voice, to the officer. 

"Who is Philip Ross?" 

Harry gave a few words of explanation. He did 
not, however, mention the mean trick which Philip 
had played on him. 

"He is not a friend of Temple?" asked the 
officer. 

"Oh, no! He must have got into some trouble 
with Temple. Please stay here, and let me go in 
and see what is the matter. I have a reason for 
wishing him to think I am alone, just at first." 



THE TIN BOX 175 

'Just as you say," returned the officer. "I take 
it for granted Temple isn't here, or the boy 
wouldn't have called. Suppose the man comes 
back?" 

'Let him come in, and you can follow. Between 
-us, I guess we can make him a prisoner." 

'You have plenty of courage," said the officer. 
"Are you not afraid to have him come in upon 
you?" 

Lile you are near to help me," answered 
Harr -.bin we could pen him up." 

'That's true. Well, go in to your friend." 

"A queer sort of a friend Philip is," thought 
Harry, but he did not object to the title. 

Opening the cabin door, which Temple had 
closed, Harry regarded Philip with amazement. 
He could hardly believe the testimony of his eyes 
when he saw his enemy, tied hand and foot, very 
much as he had been the night before. 

"What's the matter, Philip ?" he asked. "What 
has happened to you?" 

"Can't you see for yourself," demanded Philip, 
querulously. 'I'm tied so tight I can't move." 

"Who did it?" 

"That thief, Temple ! I should like to wring his 
neck?" said Philip, spitefully. 

Though Harry was not a vindictive boy, it did 
strike him as appropriate that Philip should have 
a chance to see for himself how it seemed to be 



i 7 6 THE TIN BOX 

bound. Deferring the gratification of his curiosity, 
he inquired: 

"How do you like it?" 

"How do I like it?" echoed Philip, furiously. 
'Don't ask such absurd questions, but come and 
untie me." 

'Wait a minute," said Harry. "Perhaps you 
have forgotten that this is the way you and Con- 
greve served me only last night. I suppose you 
thought it a good joke. Well, Ralph Temple has 
played the same joke on you." 

"Joke!" repeated Philip. "He'll find out what 
kind of a joke it is when my father has him put in 
jail." 

"Do you think he deserves to be put in jail just 
for that?" 

"Yes, I do." 

'Then it seems to me that you and your friend 
Congreve deserve the same punishment for what 
you did to me." 

'It's entirely different; but stop talking and 
come and untie me." 

"You didn't untie me. You left me to pass the 
night in the forest alone." 

Philip eyed Harry attentively, and it struck him 
that perhaps it would be better to drop his haughty 
and domineering tone and temporize a little, if he 
wanted a rescue. He could afterward treat Harry 
as he pleased. 



THE TIN BOX 177 

"I didn't think you'd make so much of a little 
matter like that," he said. "It was a mistake. I 
didn't mean you to stay all night. Congreve prom- 
ised to go back and untie you. Didn't he do it?" 

'No," answered Harry, dryly. 

'Then he broke his promise. Just untie me, 
that's a good fellow, and I'll make it up to you. 
I've got two dollars in my pocket, and you may 
have them if you'll get me out of this scrape. Be 
quick, for Temple may be coming back, and he may 
kill us both." 

!I I don't want your two dollars, Philip," said 
Harry. 'I am ready to release you without 
that " 

"Quick, then; that's a good fellow." 

''Hear me out. I was going to say, on one con- 
dition." 

'What is it?" asked Philip, impatiently. 

'That you will beg my pardon for the trick you 
played on me," said Harry, quietly. 

'What ! I beg your pardon ?" exclaimed Philip, 
haughtily. 

"That is what I said." 

'Do you think I would demean myself by asking 
r.nybody's pardon?" demanded Philip, his pride 
getting the better of his prudence. 

'That is exactly what I expect, Philip Ross. If 
I had played such a mean trick on any one, I should 
think it no more than right to do just that thing." 



178 THE TIN BOX 

"No," said Philip, stubbornly; "I won't do that, 
but I will give you the two dollars." 

"I don't want your two dollars," returned 
Harry, contemptuously. 

Two dollars was not so large a sum in his eyes 
as it would have been the day previous, for in the 
last twenty-four hours he had earned, and was con- 
fident of receiving, a reward of two hundred and 
fifty dollars. Still, even if this had not been the 
case, he would have disdained to sell his assistance 
to Philip. 

'The money will do you a great deal more good 
than my asking your pardon," argued Philip. 

'No, it won't. I am not very much in need of 
money, but I won't help a boy who has acted to- 
ward me as you have, unless you will apologize." 

"Don't be a fool! Come and help me, and the 
money will be yours." 

'It is no use, Philip ; my mind is made up. Will 
you apologize?" 

"No." 

"Then, good-day! Give my respects to Mr. 
Temple when he returns." 

So saying, Harry turned to leave the cabin, and 
Philip's heart sank in dismay as he saw the only one 
from whom he could hope for help leaving his 
presence. 

"Hold on!" he called out. "I'll give you five 



THE TIN BOX 179 

dollars ! I haven't got it with me, but I can get it 
from my father. I'll hand it to you to-morrow." 

Philip hated to humble his pride, and he would 
rather have paid five dollars, even if it came out of 
his own pocket, than submit to such a humiliation. 

"Good-by, Philip," said Harry, resolutely. 

"Are you really going to leave me? That's 



mean.' 



"You know the condition on which I'll help 
you." 

"I'll give you ten dollars!" exclaimed Philip, 
desperately. 

"Not a cent! I won't take a cent from you! 
Either I will help you or leave you here, but no 
money shall pass between us." 

There was a calm resolution in Harry's tone 
which at last convinced Philip that he was in 
earnest. 

"What do you want rne to say?" he asked, sul- 
lenly. 

"That you are sorry for the mean trick you play- 
ed on me, and ask my pardon." 

"All right. Now untie me." 



"It's the same thing." 
"I don't consider it so." 

"Well, tell me what you want, then," said Philip, 
querulously. 



1 80 THE TIN BOX 

"Repeat after me: 'I am sorry for the mean 
trick I played on you, and I beg your pardon.' 

Philip was perforce obliged to do as Harry re- 
quired, and he repeated the words, though with a 
very bad grace. 

'That will do," said Harry. "Now I am satis- 
fied." 

He felt for his knife, but did not have it with 
him. 

He therefore knelt down, and set to work to 
untie the knots in the rope. 

He succeeded at last, but not without consid- 
erable difficulty and the expenditure of not a little 
time. At last he loosened the last knot, and said: 

"Now you are free." 

Philip jumped to his feet for these were the 
last to be released with an exclamation of satis- 
faction. 

"Thank goodness!" he cried; "now I am free, 
and can leave this miserable hut !" 

He looked up, and his hopefulness was succeeded 
by quick dismay. 

There, in the doorway, scowling at tke two boys, 
was the master of the cabin. 



THE TIN BOX 181 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THE ARREST 

PHILIP'S face changed suddenly, and he uttered 
an exclamation of dismay. He really believed that 
his life was in danger. 

'There he is!" he ejaculated, his eyes nearly 
starting out of his head. 

Harry turned, and his glance, too, fell on the 
menacing face of the outlaw. But his face did not 
reflect the terror so plainly to be seen on Philip's. 
It should be remembered, however for I do not 
wish to give our hero more credit than he really 
deserves for his courage that he knew help was 
near at hand, and Philip didn't. 

Ralph Temple didn't speak at first. Then he 
looked from Philip to Harry, and demanded, sav- 
agely: 

"Who released that boy?" 
; I did," answered Harry, undaunted. 
'How dared you do it!" again demanded Tem- 
ple, in the same tone. 

"I thought he must be uncomfortable." 



u 
1(1 



1 82 THE TIN BOX 

Temple looked at him as if puzzled to account 
for his cool courage. It was evident that here was 
a boy who would not be easily scared. 

'Did you know that I tied him?" asked Temple, 
fiercely. 

"Yes." 

"And yet you dared to untie nim?" 

"Certainly. You had no business to tie him." 

'What! you dare say this to my face?" 

"Why shouldn't I ? What did you tie him for ?" 

"Didn't he tell you?" 

"No." 

"Then I will, though it's none of vour business, 

o * 

He stole my property." 

"Did you do that, Philip?" asked Harry, who 
was not yet aware of Temple's suspicion. 

'No ; I hope to die. I did not !" answered Philip, 
solemnly. 

'What does he say that you stole?' continued 
Harry. 

"He says I stole a tin box, containing some bonds 
or something.'' 

<. * 

"I begin to understand," thought Harry. 
"Philip is suffering for what I have done. I must 
free him, if I can. 

"Was the box in the cabin?" he asked, not con- 
sidering it prudent to betray all that he knew. 

"No; it was buried in the earth, out in the 
woods," said Philip. 



THE TIN BOX 183 

"That's true," said Temple, with an oath. "It 
was all the property I had." 

"It's a queer place to keep articles of value," 
said Harry, looking steadily at Temple. 

"I shall keep my own property where I please," 
said Temple, doggedly. 'You don't suppose I'd 
keep it here in this hut. It wouldn't be safe for 
twenty-four hours." 

"Did you see Philip take it?" continued Harry, 
assuming, unconsciously, the tone of a judge or 
advocate. 

"No; but I saw him prowling round near-by, and 
the earth had been disturbed. As for the tin box, 
that was gone, and he stays here till it is found." 

As he spoke he approached Philip, to tie him 
anew. 

"Oh, please don't tie me again, Mr. Temple !" 
pleaded the terrified boy. "Indeed, I didn't carry 
off your tin box. I didn't know you had any." 

"Perhaps the box dug itself up and walked off," 
said Temple, with withering sarcasm. 'You must 
think I am a fool. Somebody dug it up, and knows 
where it is now." 

"It wasn't me." 

"At any rate, it won't do any harm to tie you up 
until I find out more about it." 

Temple picked up the rope which Harry had 
thrown on the floor, and was about to repeat his 
work, when Philip exclaimed, partly from the in- 



1 84 THE TIN BOX 

stinct of self-preservation, partly to gratify his 
mean spite against Harry: 

; 'I shouldn't wonder if Harry Gilbert carried it 
off himself. He was prowling about the wood yes- 
terday." 

Harry could hardly believe his ears. This boy 
who accused him was the one he had just released 
from his bonds. 

He looked at Philip, his face expressing the con- 
tempt he felt. 

''I suppose this is to pay me for untying you?" 
he said. 

'I can't help it; I am sure you did it," persisted 
Philip, thinking what a fine thing it would be for 
Harry to change places with him. "I am rich, and 
I have no need to steal. You are poor, and, I dare 
say, would like to get hold of Mr. Temple's 
bonds." 

Temple paused a moment, and then said: 

'The boy may be right. I'll tie both of you. 
One of you knows something about it, or I'm mis- 
taken." 

Philip's face fell. He had hoped to get free 
himself. It would be some satisfaction for him to 
see the boy he hated in the same plight, but still he 
would rather go free. 

"Tie him first," he said. 

It occurred to him that while Harry was being 
tied he might slip away. 



THE TIN BOX 185, 

"I know my own business best, youngster," said 
Temple. 

And he made Philip sit down again in the chair 
from which he had been released. 

"Don't you dare leave the cabin, unless you want 
to be brought back," he said to Harry. 'Your turn 
will come next" 

Harry did not answer, but coughed. It was the 
signal agreed upon between him and the officer 
outside. 

Temple was on his knees beside Philip's chair, 
tying the boy, with his back toward the door. He 
listened to hear whether our hero made any at- 
tempt to escape, being prepared to pursue and bring 
him back by force. 

He heard a slight motion, and looked around 
quickly. 

There in the doorway stood a stranger, quietly 
covering him with a revolver. 

Temple jumped to his feet, in surprise and 
.alarm. 

"Who are you?" he demanded. 

"I am an officer of the law, Ralph Temple, and 
I call upon you to surrender," said the stranger, 
coolly. 

"An officer? I don't believe it. Where is your 
uniform?" 

"I had my reasons for not wearing it. Do you 
surrender?" 



1 86 THE TIN BOX 

"Why should I? What do you want of me?" 
asked the outlaw, uneasily. 

'I want you for the theft of a tin box of bonds^ 
taken from an office in New York." 

"I know nothing about it," said Temple, hastily. 

"That is too late ! I have heard you charge that 
boy with stealing it from you. You admitted that 
you had concealed it in the wood." 

"That was my own property. I have been 
robbed of it." 

"You will have a chance to prove that in a court 
of law." 

"I'll do that, if you'll let me alone." 

'I have orders to arrest you." 

"Then you'll have to show that you are a 
stronger man than I !" exclaimed Temple, with an 
oath, and he prepared to dash forward. 

"Stay where you are, or I fire!" said the officer, 
sternly. 

Temple looked in his eyes, and saw that he was 
dealing with a man of resolution. He knew some- 
thing of faces, and he saw that this man would be 
as good as his word. 

"What do you want of me?" he said, sullenly. 
'You must go with me." 

"Lead on, then. I'll follow." 

"I must adopt a little prudential measure first, 
Harry, take these handcuffs." 



THE TIN BOX 187 

Harry stepped forward and received them from 
the officer. 

"Hold out your hands" this was said to Tem- 
ple "and let this boy put on the handcuffs." 

"I'll kill him before I'll allow him to do it!" ex- 
claimed Temple, violently. 

"I don't think you will, or even make the at- 
tempt," said the officer, quietly. "You forget that 
I hold your life in my hands," and he made a slight 
motion with the revolver. 

"You wouldn't dare to shoot?" 

"If you should prove to be mistaken, it would be 
a serious mistake," said the officer, quietly. 

It was his very quietness and freedom from ex- 
citement that daunted Temple. 

"You'll repent this!" he said. "You've got the 
whip hand on me now, but the time will come when 
I'll get even with you." 

"I have been threatened before," said the officer, 
briefly. "Harry, do what I told you." 

Temple sullenly held out his wrists, and Harry 
put on the handcuffs. 

"Now, follow me!" 

They went out of the cabin, Philip following. 
He tried to be social with Harry, but our hero had 
not forgotten his mean attempt to throw suspicion 
upon him, after a service received at his hands, and 
received his advances very coldly. 



THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

MR. CHASE IS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE 

TEMPLE'S manner was sullen as he walked be- 
side Harry and the officer, handcuffed. He over- 
came his sullenness, after a while, so far as to in- 
quire : 

"How came you to suspect me of this robbery?" 

'Your friend Vernon has confessed it," an- 
swered the officer. 'You may as well know, for it 
will do no harm." 

"So he betrayed me?" said Temple, bitterly. 

"He had no choice. Fie was trapped himself." 

"Where is he now?" 

'In prison, awaiting trial." 

Temple looked better satisfied. He had sus- 
pected Vernon of turning State's evidence and be- 
traying him. 

"But how was he found out?" he asked, after a 
pause. 

"The night you hid the tin box in the wood, there 
was some one who saw all that passed." 

"Who was that?" asked Temple, eagerly. 



THE TIN BOX 189 

"You will know in due time." 

"Where are you taking me now?" 

"To the county jail." 

"Where is the tin box?" 

'In the hands of the man from whom you stole 
it, There, I have answered your questions, and 
have no more to say. 1 ' 

"What do you think will be done with me?" 
asked Temple, anxiously. 

The officer shrugged his shoulders. 

"Gentlemen of your profession," he said, "are 
generally well informed on that point. If 'found 
guilty, you will be boarded at the expense of the 
county for a term of years." 

"Curse the luck!" uttered Temple, savagely, and 
then was silent. 

Philip had left them, and was on his way home, 
glad to get out of his predicament, but more in- 
censed than ever against Harry for the mortifica- 
tion he had put upon him in compelling him to beg 
his pardon. 

"I'll get even with him, see if I don't," he mut- 
tered. 

W^hen Harry and the officer had lodged their 
prisoner in jail, the latter said: 

"I nearly forgot to tell you that Mr. Wheeler 
wishes you to call at his office to-morrow." 

"In the morning?" 

"As you please." 



1 90 THE TIN BOX 

"I think I will go up by the morning train," said 
Harry, after a little reflection. 

"Then you will be likely to meet me on the train. 
I shall be a passenger." 

"I will look for you. I shall be glad to have 
company." 

"By the way, that was very creditable work of 
yours, ferreting out the bond robbers." 

'I was lucky, that is all," answered Harry, mod- 
estly. 

'Partly so, but you have showed excellent judg- 
ment throughout, and personal bravery." 

'Don't flatter me, Mr. Pry. You may make me 
conceited." 

"You ought to be one of us." 

'I don't think I should like it," said Harry, 
slowly. i 

''Perhaps not, but you're fitted for it, for all that. 
Well, good-day. I shall see you to-morrow." 

"You are getting to be an important business 
man, Harry," said Uncle Obed, when our hero 
announced that he had a summons to the city next 
day. 

"What is it all about, Harry?" asked his mother, 
rather puzzled. 

"Let the boy explain in his own good time, Mrs. 
Gilbert," said the old man. "I know he isn't in 
any mischief." 

"I may be able to tell you to-morrow evening, 



THE TIN BOX 191 

mother. It will be something that will surprise 
you." 

"I suppose it is all right, Harry, as Mr. Wilkins 
says so." 

"Yes, mother, I can assure you of that." 

In due time Harry boarded the morning train. 
He looked through the cars till he found Mr. Pry, 
the detective, and took a seat beside him. 

It was not long before his attention was called to 
a smooth, plausible voice, proceeding from a per- 
son who sat two seats in advance of the one he 
occupied. 

"My dear sir, if it will be any accommodation to 
you, I will myself buy your bond, and pay you the 
market price." 

There was something in the voice, and in the 
words, that attracted Harry's attention and excited 
his suspicions. 

"Excuse me a moment," he said to the detective, 
and, passing through the aisle, reached a point 
where he could look back at the speaker. 

He knew him at once, not only by his face, but 
by the profusion of rings upon his fingers. It was 
the same man that had cheated the poor farmer by 
giving him counterfeit money in payment for his 
coupons. 

If, however, he had any doubt, it was set at rest 
by what followed. 

"I don't know," said his seat companion, an in- 



192 THE TIN BOX 

dustrious mechanic; "perhaps I'd better wait, and 
sell it in the city." 

"As you please, my friend," said the young man. 
'I only made the proposal thinking I might accom- 
modate you.'' 

"Is that your business buying bonds?" asked 
the mechanic. 

"In the city, yes. I am a member of the well- 
known firm of Chase & Atkins. Of course, you 
have heard of them." 

'Ye-es," answered the mechanic, doubtfully. 

; 'I am Mr. Chase. We do a general banking 
and brokerage business. Let me see, what is the 
denomination of your bond?" 

"Eh?" 

"I mean, of what size? Is it a fifty, or a hun- 
dred?" 

"It's only a fifty, sir. It was a present to my 
wife. Now she wants to use a little money, and so 
she has got me to sell it." 

"We give rather higher prices than most brok- 
ers," said Chase, smoothly. 

"How can you do that?" asked the mechanic, 
who was a man of good common sense. 

"Well, you see, we ship 'em to Europe, and 
make a handsome profit. It would be for your 
advantage to sell to me ; but you must act your own 
will." 

The mechanic began to think more favorably of 



THE TIN BOX 193 

the proposal, and asked one or two more questions. 
Finally he said : 

"Well, I don't know but I might as well. Have 
you got money enough with you?" 

Chase took out a plethoric pocketbook, stuffed 
with bills, and called attention to it, smilingly: 

"We bankers always have to be well provided 
with money. 71 

The mechanic looked respectfully at the owner 
of so much money. 

"I dare say it's more than I could earn in a 
year," he said. 

"I dare say you are right, my friend," said the 
young man. 

"Very well. Count out the money, and the bond 
is yours." 

The exchange was made, and both parties seem- 
ed well satisfied. 

Chase deposited the bond in an inside pocket* 
and then, saying, carelessly, "I'll go into the smok- 
ing car for a few minutes," rose from his seat. 

But in the meantime Harry had returned to his 
own seat, and whispered a few words in the ear ot 
the detective. 

The latter sharply scrutinized the young man 
who called himself Chase, and said, in a low voice : 

"I know him now. He's an old offender. I 
thought there was something familiar in his ap- 
pearance. I'll look after you, my fine fellow." 



I 9 4 THE TIN BOX 

He waited till the exchange had been effected, 
and the young man was on the point of leaving the 
car. 

Then he rose, and, hurrying forward, placed his 
hand on the young man's shoulder. 

"A word with you, sir," he said. 

"Really, sir, I don't remember you." 

"Perhaps not. I remember you. Do me the 
favor to return that bond to the man from whom 
you obtained it." 

"It is mine. I have paid for it." 

"With counterfeit money." 

"Do you mean to insult me?" demanded Chase; 
but there was a sudden pallor on his face and a 
tremor in his voice. 

"That will do, Jimmy Neal. I told you I knew 
you. That is an old trick of yours." 

"Who are you?" asked the detected swindler, in 
a faltering voice. 

"Pry, the detective." 

"Will you let me go if I restore this bond?" 

"No; there is another case I must inquire into 
that of a farmer from whom you bought some 
coupons a day or two since, paying him in the same 
worthless rags. Sit down here," pointing to a 
vacant seat. "You may consider yourself under 



arrest." 



Great was the consternation of the mechanic 
when he learned how nearly he had been swindled, 



THE TIN BOX 195 

and profuse were his thanks to Harry and the 
officer. 

"Be more prudent the next time," said the latter, 
"and don't sell bonds to a stranger in the cars 
again." 

We may as well add that the traveling broker 
was duly tried, and sentenced to a term in State's 
prison, and that enough good money was found on 
him to repay the farmer for the coupons he had 
imprudently parted with. 

Greatly to his satisfaction, Harry was intrusted 
with the office of acquainting Simon Jones with the 
pleasant fact that his money would be restored to 
him. 



ig6 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXIX 



HARRY BECOMES A "BONDHOLDER." 



WHEN Harry entered the office of Mr. Wheeler, 
the lawyer was engaged with a client. He nodded 
pleasantly to our hero, and said : 

"I shall be at leisure very soon. You will find 
the morning paper on that table. " 

When his interview with the client was over, he 
beckoned to Harry to approach. 

"Well," he said, "thanks to your good manage- 
ment, we have triumphantly succeeded. The stolen 
property is recovered, and the thieves are in cus- 
tody." 

"It was not so much good management as good 
luck,' 7 said Harry. 

"Partly both; but, however that may be, the 
owner of the property authorizes me to make a 
substantial acknowledgment for the service you 
have rendered him. Let me see the reward of- 
fered was two hundred and fifty dollars." 

"That's too much, sir." 

'The gentleman who gives it does not think so. 



THE TIN BOX 197 

Indeed, he authorizes me to somewhat exceed it.. 
In this envelope" here the lawyer produced a 
large-size package "you will find two one-hun- 
dred-dollar government bonds and one fifty. The 
value of the three, at present prices, is nearer three 
hundred dollars than two hundred and fifty. I 
need not caution you to take good care of them." 

"Are they for me?" asked Harry, his cheeks 
flushing with pleasure. 

"Yes; they are six per cent, bonds, and will 
bring you fifteen dollars a year in interest not 
quite enough to live upon," the lawyer added, with 
a smile, "but something to add to your income." 

"I can hardly realize that I am worth so much 
money," said Harry, as he took the package and 
put it into his inside coat pocket. 

"Have you a watch?" asked Mr. Wheeler. 

"No, sir," replied Harry, in surprise. 

"I thought not; and I, therefore, ask you to ac- 
cept one as a gift, not from my client, but from 



me.' 



He produced a handsome silver watch, manufac- 
tured at Waltham, with a silver chain attached. 

Now, Harry had long wanted a watch, but the 
prospect of obtaining one before he was of age had 
seemed very remote. At the moment, I think, the 
present of the watch gratified him as much as that 
of the bonds, though the latter were ten times as 
valuable. 



198 THE TIN BOX 

"It is beautiful," he said; "but, Mr. Wheeler, 
why should you give me a present? The bonds 
were not yours." 

'That is true, but they were under my charge, 
and I should have been seriously troubled had they 
not been recovered. Take the watch, my boy, and 
I hope it will please you as much to receive it as it 
does me to give it." 

'Thank you, sir," said Harry, warmly. "It 
seems to me there is no end to my good fortune." 

"Continue to deserve it, my boy, and I think it 
will continue. I must bid you good-morning now, 
as I have another appointment." 

"Good-morning, sir, and thank you." 

"By the way," the lawyer added, "I shall bear 
you in mind, and, should I have any work which I 
think you can do, I will send for you." 

'I shall be glad to serve you in any way, sir." 

So saying, Harry left the office. He was so 
much in a hurry to show his present at home that, 
though it was still early, he decided to take the next 
train, which would bring him home about noon. 

His mother and Mr. Wilkins had just seated 
themselves at the dinner table when Harry entered. 

'What ! home already, Harry?" asked his moth- 
er, in surprise. 

"I judge from your tone, mother, that you 
haven't got enough dinner for me," said Harry, 
gayly. 



THE TIN BOX 199 

"If that's the case, I'll eat a little less," said 
Uncle Obed. "But why didn't you stay longer?" 

"Because 1 got through with my business, and 
thought I might as well come home," answered 
Harry. 

By this time his mother's eyes happened to fall 
on the silver chain displayed across his vest. 

"What is that, Harry?" she asked. 

Harry drew out the watch, with pardonable 
pride. 

"Where did you get it?" asked his mother, in 
amazement. 

"A lawyer in New York gave it to me." 

"But what lawyer do you know, my son ?" asked 
his mother, more and more bewildered. 

"That isn't all, mother. Look at that!" 

Harry drew out the package of bonds, and dis- 
played them to his astonished mother. 

She at once concluded that he had found them. 

"They are not yours, Harry," she said. ;< If you 
found them, you must restore them to the owner." 

"So I will, Mrs. Gilbert. I give these bonds to 
you, and recommend you to take good care of 
them." 

"What does all this mean, Harry? You cannot 
give away what does not belong to you." 

Harry felt that it was time to explain, and he 
did so. It was necessary to begin with the account 
of Philip's treatment of him in the wood. 



200 THE TIN BOX 

Mrs. Gilbert was very indignant, and she spoke 
warmly. 

"It was shameful!" she said. "To leave you 
there alone in the dark wood, tied hand and foot ! 
The boy ought to be served in the same way him- 
self!" 

"Wait till I get through my story, mother,' 1 he 
said, "and perhaps you will find that Philip got 
Into a little trouble of his own." 

So he continued his story, and told, finally, of 
how he found Philip Ross bound, and trembling 
for his life, in the cabin of Ralph Temple. 

"Served him right," said Mrs. Gilbert, satisfac- 
torily. 

"As things have turned out, I can afford to over- 
look his past meanness. He has suffered punish- 
ment, though not at my hands." 

"If I had known that you were mixed up with 
burglars, I should have felt very anxious, Harry." 

"I know it, and that is why I didn't tell you. 
However, all's well that ends well. The tin box is 
found, the robbers are caught, and I have a rich 
mother." 

As he spoke, he put the bonds into his mother's 
hands. 

"But, Harry, they are yours. I cannot accept 
them." 

"Take care of them, at any rate, mother, and 



THE TIN BOX 201 

use the interest. I shall like it better than to keep 
them myself." 

"You are a good boy, Harry," said Uncle Obed. 
"I like to see boys think considerable of their moth- 
ers. And now, if you are both ready for dinner, I 



am. 1 



"Excuse me, Mr. Wilkins. I was so intent upon 
Harry's story that I am afraid the dinner is cold." 

They sat down to dinner, and the meal was a 
very happy one, even if the dishes were somewhat 
cold. Harry's good luck put them all in fine spirits. 

After dinner Harry went out into the village, in 
the direction of the store. 

I suspect he wanted to show his watch, as most 
boys do when for the first time they become the 
proud possessor of one. 

On the way he met Philip Ross and James Con- 
greve. The latter he had not seen since they parted 
in the wood. 

'There's our young captive, Philip," said Con- 
greve. 

"He's got a watch. At any rate, I see a watch 
chain," said Philip, whose curiosity was excited. 

"Hello!" called out Congreve, as they met; 
"where did you get that watch?" 

"I don't see wherein my having a watch should 
concern you; but I do know, after the contemptible 
treatment I received at your hands yesterday, your 
questions deserve no notice from me. But, as mat- 



202 THE TIN BOX 

ters turned out so well, I can afford to swallow my 
indignation." 

"It was rather a mean trick, leaving you bound 
in the wood," said Congreve, candidly. "I wouldn't 
have done it, except to oblige Philip." 

u Has he told you how he liked being tied him- 
self?" 

Congreve looked, in surprise, at Philip. The 
latter had not chosen to say anything about his own 
adventure in Temple's hut. 

When Harry told the story, not omitting to 
mention that he had compelled Philip to beg his 
pardon before he released him, Congreve burst into 
hearty laughter, while Philip stood by, angry and 
ashamed. 

"That's the best joke I ever heard," said Con- 
greve. "I wish I had been there to see." 

"I thought you were my friend," said Philip, in- 
dignantly. 

"I laugh at my friends sometimes," said Con- 
greve. "What a splendid joke!" 

Philip didn't see it in that light, and was so mor- 
tified that he didn't give Congreve an opportunity 
to ask further about the watch, but hurriedly 
moved on. All the remainder of the afternoon he 
passed in a sullen frame of mind. 



THE TIN BOX 203 



CHAPTER XXX 



CONGREVE'S SCHEME 



JAMES CONGREVE was a dangerous companion 
for Philip. He was utterly unscrupulous, but took 
care to keep up a semblance of propriety, in order 
not to terrify the boy whom he was leading into 
mischief. 

They had commenced playing cards for amuse- 
ment at least, that was Congreve's pretext but 
it had led to playing for a stake. 

Occasionally, when the stake was small, Con- 
greve allowed Philip to win ; but, when more than a 
dollar was staked on the game, he generally man- 
aged to win himself. 

Of course, Philip did not know that he was a 
victim, and that his chosen friend, Congreve, was 
a skillful sharper, who had practiced his art on 
Western steamboats, and was sure to get the better 
of him. 

Why had he remained in this country village so 
long ? Surely, it didn't pay him to fleece one victim, 
and that one a boy. 



204 THE TIN BOX 

I can give the explanation. 

He had been leading a fast life for a year back, 
and a physician whom he consulted had recom- 
mended country air and quiet for the summer. 

"Unless you follow my directions, Mr. Con- 
greve," he said, "I won't answer for your life. You 
have been going at too quick a pace altogether." 

James was sensible enough to follow this advice, 
and that is why we find him a guest at the quiet 
village hotel. 

The physician's advice proved to be good. His 
wasted energies were recuperated, his thin cheeks 
filled out and showed a healthy color, his appetite 
improved, and he felt himself again. 

When the first week in September arrived, he 
felt that he was well enough to go back to the city, 
to more congenial scenes. He was heartily tired 
of the country, and anxious to get away. Only one 
thing remained to be done, and that was to collect 
what Philip owed him. 

"I can't wait any longer," he said to himself. 'I 
must compel the boy to pay up. It will liquidate 
my hotel bill and leave me something over. I can't 
let the thing stand any longer." 

Soon after he had come to this conclusion, Philip 
entered his friend's chamber. 

"How are you, Phil?" said Congreve, carelessly. 

"All right!" 

"By the way, I've got some news for you." 



THE TIN BOX 205 

"What is it?" 

: Tm going away." 

"Going away? Where?" 

"Back to the city first. I have an urgent sum- 
mons from my friends there." 

"How soon do you go?" 

'That depends upon you." 

; 'Upon me? I don't understand!" said Philip, 
puzzled. 

'You ought to. As soon as you have paid me 
what you owe me. I need it to enable me to settle 
up at the hotel." 

Philip turned pale. It was just what he had 
worried over many a time this terrible debt, 
which he felt utterly unable to liquidate. 

"How much is it?" he asked, nervously. 

"How much? Really, I haven't reckoned it up 
yet; but I will," said Congreve, carelessly. 

He took out his wallet, and drew out a variety 
of papers, to which Philip's signature was attached. 

Then he sat down at a table, took a pencil from 
his pocket, set the different sums on paper, and 
added them up deliberately. All this was hum- 
bug, for he had added it up before Philip came in, 
and knew to a dollar how much it amounted to. 
Philip stood by, feeling miserably uncomfortable, 
while the reckoning went on. 

"Really," said Congreve, looking up at length, 



206 THE TIN BOX 

in assumed surprise, "I had no idea it amounted to 
so much!" 

"How much does it come to?" questioned his 
wretched dupe. 

"One hundred and thirty-six dollars," was the 
calm response. 

"A hundred and thirty-six dollars!" gasped 
Philip. 

'Yes; surprising, isn't it? Little sums count up, 
you know. However, we've had some fun out of it, 
haven't we?" 

"I don't see where the fun comes in," said Philip, 
bitterly. "Of course, it's fun for you to win so 
much." 

"You won some of the time, Phil. Think how 
many games we have had, and how exciting it was. 
You play a good deal better game than you did." 

"But I have lost a big pile of money." 

"Oh, yes. Experience costs money, you know. 
You'll get it all back, and more, too, some day." 

"How can I, when you are going away?" 
'I don't mean out of me. I suppose my game 
is better than yours. I mean out of somebody else." 

Philip was silent. The hope held out did not 
seem to comfort him much. 

"When will you pay me that money, Phil?" 
asked Congreve, abruptly. 

"When? I'm sure I don't know. I haven't any 
money, you know,' 1 



THE TIN BOX 207 

"That won't do. It isn't satisfactory," said Con- 
greve, assuming a sternness he had never before ex- 
hibited toward his friend. 

"What do you mean?" asked Philip, half fright- 
ened, half offended. 

"I mean that I need the money, and must have 
it." 

"I'd pay it to you if I had it, but I haven't." 

"You must get it." 

"How can I? My father won't give it to me." 

"Listen to me. I am in earnest. I want to ask 
you a question. Suppose you had won, wouldn't 
you have expected me to pay you?" 

"Why, yes, I suppose so." 

"Well, it's a poor rule that doesn't work both 
ways. I tell you, Phil, I need that money. I need 
it to pay my hotel bill." 

"Was that what you depended upon to pay your 
bills?" asked Philip, with awakening suspicion. ''I 
thought you had plenty of money." 

This was what Congreve had represented to his 
dupe, but the question by no means disconcerted 
him. 

"Of course,' 1 he said; "but a man can't always 
command his resources. I have sent in two differ- 
ent directions for money, but they have put me off, 
so I have to fall back on you." 

"I'd like to pay the money, and get it off my 



208 THE TIN BOX 

mind," said Philip, uncomfortably, "but the fact of 
it is I can't." 

"This is a debt of honor. Gentlemen always pay 
their debts of honor. It takes precedence of all 
other claims." 

U I have no other claims. That is all I owe to 
anybody." 

"Well, when can you let me have the money?" 

"I am sure I don't know," returned Philip, sul- 
lenly. U I didn't expect you were going to press 



me so.' 



James Congreve saw that Philip had reached the 
point which he desired. 

"I press you because I have to," he said. 'I 
have already told you how you can settle the claim." 

"How?" asked Philip, uneasily. 

He could guess, for there had been conversation 
on that point before. 

"You know what I mean. Get hold of some of 
your father's government bonds," said Congreve, 
insinuatingly. 

"I don't want to become a thief." 

"Pooh! Isn't he your father, and ain't you an 
only son? Won't it all be yours sometime?" 

"Yes, but " 

"Oh, don't bother with buts! That makes all 
the difference in the world." 

"I couldn't do it without being suspected," ob- 



THE TIN BOX 209 

jected Philip, with whom this was the principal con- 
sideration. 

"Yes, you can. You'll give the bonds to me, and 
I will dispose of them. If you could get hold of 
two hundred-dollar bonds, I would give you the 
balance, after deducting the amount of my debt." 

"But I am sure to be suspected." 

"Unless you throw the suspicion upon some one 
else." 

"How can I?" 

"There's your friend, Harry Gilbert " 

"He isn't my friend." 

"Well, your enemy, then. So much the better. 
You can say you saw him prowling round the house. 
If you could get him arrested, it would be a satis- 
faction, even if he wasn't convicted." 

"That's true. I should like to get even with 
him." 

"So you can. You can throw suspicion on him, 
and get off free yourself. It will be a splendid 
revenge." 

Philip began to think favorably of the scheme, 
arid before he left the hotel had agreed to it. 



210 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE TEMPTER 

PHILIP was far from being a model boy as we 
have seen, he didn't shrink from meanness but it 
was not without reluctance that he assented to 
James Congreve's proposal. He did not feel that 
abhorrence of theft that a better principled boy 
would have done, but the thought of resorting to it 
gave him a sense of humiliation. Besides, the fear 
of detection inspired in him a certain uneasy feel- 
ing. In fact, he retraced his steps, and sought Con- 
greve in his room again. 

'What! back again?" asked James, in surprise. 

"Yes," replied Philip. "I've changed my mind. 
I don't want to do what you proposed to me." 

"Don't want to do it?" repeated Congreve, 
frowning. 'What nonsense is this?" 

"No nonsense at all," retorted Philip, not liking 
his friend's tone. "I don't want to be a thief." 

"You won't be. It's all in the family, you know." 

"What if it is? Father won't take that view 
of it." 



THE TIN BOX 211 

"That won't matter to you." 

"Why not?" 

"Because he won't know you took the bonds. 
You're not going to tell him." 

"He may find out." 

"Look here, Phil. You're the biggest coward I 
ever met !" 

"If you think so, suppose you do it yourself," 
said Philip. "That'll show whether you are a cow- 
ard or not." 

"That's absurd. It wouldn't be in the family 
then. The bonds don't belong to my father. There 
wouldn't be any excuse for me." 

"You want me to do what you are unwilling to 
do." 

"You already explained why. Besides, I've no 
object in taking them. As for you, why they are 
part yours already; and, besides, you need the 
money you can raise out of them to pay your debts." 

"I haven't any debts, except to you." 

"So much the better for you," answered Con- 
greve, coolly. "You won't have any one to pay 
except me." 

* "I wish I'd never made your acquaintance," said 
poor Philip. 

"Very complimentary, upon my word!" replied 
Congreve, with a sneer. "It strikes me that you 
have got as much pleasure out of the acquaintance 
as I." 



212 THE TIN BOX 

'I haven't got you into my debt." 

"It isn't my fault if I am a better player at cards 
than you. However, that's neither here nor there. 
I don't propose to play any more with you. I ought 
not to have let you run up such a score. Just pay 
that off, and I won't trouble you any more." 

"I've told you I can't pay you." 

"Except in one way, and that way is an easy 
enough one. Listen to reason, Phil," he said, drop- 
ping his sneer. "Don't you see it is going to benefit 
you as well as me? You'll have a good deal of 
money left for your own use, after paying me, pro- 
vided you take two hundred-dollar bonds. It will 
be convenient to have fifty or sixty dollars in your 
pocket, eh?' 

'Yes," assented Philip, more cheerfully. 

"Of course it will, and it will be fun to see Harry 
Gilbert hauled up for stealing them. Ho ! ho ! ho !" 

Philip echoed the laughter. This phase of the 
transaction certainly did please him. 

'If it can be brought about," he said, doubtfully. 

"Of course it can. Listen, and I'll tell you how. 
You can tell your father you saw Harry acting sus- 
piciously near the house the evening it is done." 

"But the door would be locked." 
'You can unlock it, and leave it unlocked all 
night. It will be found so in the morning; and, 
even if the bonds are not immediately missed, the 
circumstance will be remembered." 



THE TIN BOX 213 

Philip's mind changed again. The plan looked 
more feasible and attractive as Congreve repre- 
sented it. 

"Well, I don't know but I'll try it," he said. 

"I thought you'd be sensible/ 1 said Congreve, 
inwardly rejoiced. "Now, let me give you one 
piece of advice." 

"What is that?" 

"Strike while the iron's hot. If you want to 
know what that means, never put off till to-morrow 
what you can do to-day." 

"You don't mean I should go right home and do 
it?" said Philip, nervously. 

"No; wait till to-night when everybody is in 
bed. Then steal downstairs and do the job. The 
sooner it's over, the better!" 

"I'll see about it," replied Philip, hesitatingly. 

"He's a little coward," said Congreve to him- 
self; "but I guess I can bring him to it." 



214 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXXII 

PHILIP DOES NOT FEEL HAPPY 

AT supper time Philip seemed so sober and pre- 
occupied that his mother said: 

"What ails you, Philip ?" 

''Nothing. What makes you ask?" 

'I thought you were looking unusually sober." 

'I suppose it is because I have a headache, " an- 
swered the boy. 

It was not a falsehood, for the burden upon his 
mind had actually given him a slight headache. 

'You'd better let me mix you some chamomile 
tea," said Mrs. Ross, with whom this was a specific 
against more than one bodily disability. 

"No, thank you," answered Philip, with an in- 
voluntary grimace; for, in his younger days, when 
it was useless to resist, he had more than once had 
an opportunity of learning how far from agreeable 
chamomile tea was to the taste. "It doesn't ache 
much. It will be better soon." 

'The tea will cure you immediately, my son." 

"I won't take it," said Philip, roughly. 



THE TIN BOX 215 

"Don't speak in that way to your mother, 
Philip," said his father, reprovingly. 

"Do you ever let her give you chamomile tea, 
father?" 

"No," smiled the Colonel, "I don't require it." 

"Nor I; and, if I did, I prefer the headache." 

"I am not sure whether I don't agree with you," 
said his father, smiling again. 

When supper was over, Philip lounged about 
restlessly. Nothing could be done as yet nothing, 
indeed, till his father had retired and was fairly 
asleep and, in the meantime, he had to wait in 
suspense. 

He strolled out to the stable without any definite 
object to take him there. He was in an unquiet, 
irritable frame of mind, which was likely to exhibit 
itself on the smallest provocation. 

A boy of seventeen, Tom Calder by name, was 
employed by Colonel Ross to look after his two 
horses and attend to any errands or light duties 
that might be required about the house. 

Philip, as he entered the stable, saw Tom sitting 
on a kitchen chair, which had been transferred to 
the stable, engaged in reading a weekly paper. 

'What are you doing there, Tom?" he demand- 
ed, in an imperious tone. 

If Philip had asked in a civil tone, Tom would 
have answered him with civility, but the boy's tone 
was offensive, and Tom was too spirited to bear it. 



216 THE TIN BOX 

"What's that to you, Phil?" he retorted. 

"You'll find out what it is!" answered Philip, 
angrily. 

"That's just what I'm wanting to do." 

"And don't you presume to call me Phil, either." 

"Why isn't it your name?" 

"Yes; but it isn't for you to call me by it." 

"What am I to call you, now?" 

"You can call me Master Philip, or Mr. Philip." 

"Ho ! ho ! It's a joke you're playing on me !" 

"No, it isn't. It is your duty to treat me with 
respect. But you haven't answered my question." 

"What is it?" 
'What are you doing there ? r 

"Reading a paper. Can't you see for yourself?" 
'That isn't what my father pays you for. Go 
right to work." 

"Shure, you want me to work day and night! 
That's what Tom Calder won't do for no man 
last of all for a boy like you !" 

'If you ain't careful, my father will send you 
away." 

"If he does, I'll get another place soon," said 
Tom, indifferently. 

"You're an impudent loafer!" 

"The same to yourself," said Tom, indifferently. 

After a little further altercation, Philip walked 
off in dudgeon. It was clear that he couldn't bully 
Tom. 



THE TIN BOX 217 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

STEALING THE BONDS 

CONTRARY to his usual custom, Philip spent the 
evening at home; and, as he must have something 
to occupy him, he spent it in reading. Usually, he 
cared very little for reading, and was prone to 
spend the evening out. 

Mrs. Ross regarded her son with approval, as 
she saw him steadily reading all the evening. 

"I do believe you're getting studious, Phil," she 
said. 

"I'm interested in a story," remarked Phil. 

"How much better it is to spend the evening at 
home reading than to be gadding about?" said his 
mother. 

"Well, you know a boy can't be always reading," 
observed Philip. 

If Mrs. Ross had been a close observer, she 
might have noticed that Philip got over wonder- 
fully few pages. Indeed, he sometimes held the 
book open at the same place for half an hour to- 
gether. The fact was that Philip cared very little 



2i8 THE TIN BOX 

for reading, unless he could get hold of some highh 
sensational story about highwaymen or pirates. H< 
simply used the book as a cover. 

The Colonel, his father, was sitting in a room 
which he called his office, opening out of the family 
sitting-room, and Philip had seated himself so that 
he could look into that room, and watch what his 
father was doing. 

Near his desk, Colonel Ross kept a small, iron- 
bound trunk, which he used as a sort of safe, or a 
repository for valuable papers, and sometimes for 
bonds and securities. It was imprudent, for anyone 
might readily have carried it off; but the Colonel 
didn't think of this, or, at any rate, didn't feel in- 
clined to go to the expense of a safe. Indeed, most 
of his bonds and securities were deposited in the 
strong room of the county bank, and, therefore, his 
imprudence was less. 

Philip's eager attention was roused when he saw 
his father rise from his desk, take up the trunk and 
open it, as it lay on the desk where he placed it. 

"Now, I may find out what he has inside," 
thought Philip. 

Colonel Ross opened it, as I have said, and took 
out several envelopes. Opening one of these, he 
drew therefrom what Philip recognized to be gov- 
ernment bonds, and spread them out before him. 

What was the object of this examination, Philip 
could not divine, nor did he particularly care, 



THE TIN BOX 219 

though he might had he known that his father was 
considering the expediency of selling them, and 
buying another security the stock of a certain 
railroad which would pay larger dividends. His 
main interest was to ascertain whether his father 
had any government bonds, and this question he 
was now able to answer in the affirmative. 

After a brief inspection, Colonel Ross replaced 
in the trunk the securities he had taken from it, and 
locked the trunk. The bunch of keys, one of which 
opened the trunk, he laid on the desk, unconscious- 
ly, probably. 

"I hope he'll forget 'em," said Philip to himself. 
"It'll save me a good bit of trouble." 

It seemed likely that the keys would be for- 
gotten, for Colonel Ross, as though his business 
were ended, took the lamp from his desk, and en- 
tered the sitting-room, where his wife and son were 
seated. 

"I don't know how it is, wife," he said, "but I 
feel sleepy." 

"It isn't your bed hour yet. It is only half-past 
nine." 

"That is true, but I shall go to bed earlier than 
usual to-night." 

"All the better for me," thought Philip. "Now, 
if mother would only go, too !" 

It seemed as if everything was turning out favor- 
ably for his plan, for his mother answered: 



220 THE TIN BOX 

"Well, I think I will accompany you that is, if 
Philip won't feel lonely." 

Philip's heart beat with eager satisfaction. He 
had expected that he would be obliged to go to 
bed, and wait there till his father and mother were 
asleep, then steal downstairs, running the risk of 
detection, light a lamp, and commit the theft. Now 
it looked as if he could do it much more easily. 

He answered, in as indifferent a voice as he 
could assume : 

"I am not at all sleepy. I'll stay up a little 
longer and read." 

Mrs. Ross nodded, in a satisfied way, to her hus- 
band. 

"I do believe Phil's getting fond of reading," 
she said. 

"I hope he is," returned the father. 

"Phil," said his mother, "the servant is out to- 
night. A cousin of hers is sick, and I gave her per- 
mission to stay with her all night. Are you willing 
to close up the house?" 

"Oh, yes," answered Phil, briskly. "I'm glad 
she's away," he thought. "She won't be spying 
round and see what I'm about. Besides, I can leave 
the door open, so that it will be easier to accuse 
Harry Gilbert." 

"Good-night," said his mother. 

"Good-night, mother." 

"Don't stay up too late reading." 



THE TIN BOX 221 

"No, I won't." 

"How many more pages are there, Philip?" 
asked his father. 

"About four hundred," answered Phil, looking 
over to the end. 

"Then I wouldn't advise you to sit up till you've 
finished the book," he said, jocosely. 

"I guess not. I shan't sit up more than half an 
hour." 

So Colonel and Mrs. Ross went upstairs, and the 
coast was clear. 

When he was left alone, and felt that the hour so 
long anticipated had come, Philip's heart beat fast. 

"Come; it's easier than I hoped," he said to him- 
self. "And father left his keys, too, on the desk. 
I hope he won't think of them, and come down- 
stairs after them. That might upset my plans, 
though I've got a lot of old keys in my pocket, and 
one of them might answer. However, there's none 
so good as the real thing." 

Philip had to consider whether he would wait till 
his father and mother were asleep, or act sooner. 
He at length decided, in the words of Shakespeare, 
though he was not familiar with them : 

"If 'twere done with when 'tis done, 
Then, 'twere well it were done quickly." 

The argument was this: If he acted soon, he 
could make use of his father's keys, and that would 



222 THE TIN BOX 

save him trouble. On the other hand, there was 
some risk that his father might think of them, and, 
coming downstairs, surprise him. However, Philip 
didn't think this was likely, and, in any event, he 
resolved to take the risk. He could pretend that 
he had just caught sight of his keys, and was going 
to carry them upstairs for safekeeping. 

Indeed, Philip did not wait more than ten 
minutes. 

"Father must be in bed by this time," he said to 
himself. 

He took the small lamp by which he was read- 
ing, and entered his father's office. 

There lay the keys, and there stood the trunk. 

He took the bunch of keys and selected a small 
one, which he thought likely to fit the trunk. 

It did. 

The lid was lifted, and Philip, with eager hand, 
took the envelope which he knew contained the 
government bonds. It was a bulky envelope, and 
contained probably eight or ten bonds. 

Of course, Philip didn't venture to take all. He 
selected two, of one hundred dollars each, and re- 
placed the others in the envelope, and afterward in 
the trunk. 

He put the bonds in his inside coat pocket, and, 
hastily refastening the trunk, replaced the keys on 
his father's desk. 



THE TIN BOX 223 

He breathed a sigh of relief to think the thing 
,was done, and walked over to the window. 

What was his gratification to see Harry Gilbert 
walking by on the other side of the street. 

"All happens right," he said. "Now, Harry 
can't say he was at home. I'll fix him. I'll say I 
saw him at the window, looking in, and his denial 
won't amount to much, when he admits, as he will, 
that he was near the house." 

He would have felt differently had he seen the 
face of Tom Calder peering in at one of the side 
windows. Tom had spent the evening in the vil- 
lage, and was now on his return to his chamber, on 
the second floor of the stable. His attention was 
attracted by the light in the room, and, as the cur- 
tain was partly raised, he took the liberty of peer- 
ing in, unobserved. 

"By gracious!" he exclaimed, in amazement. 
"Phil is stealing gov'ment bonds from his father. 
He's a bad one, but I didn't think that of him." 

Tom slipped out, resolved to consider at his leis- 
ure what he had better do about imparting his 
secret information. It was well he did, for Phil 
himself almost immediately came to the same 
window. 



224 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

PHILIP GETS RID OF HIS PLUNDER 

"PHILIP," said his mother, at the breakfast table 
the next morning, "the servant tells me she found 
the outside door unlocked this morning. Didn't I 
ask you to lock it before you went to bed?" 

"So you did, mother. I really hope you'll excuse 
me. When I got ready to go to bed, I forgot all 
about it." 

; 'It might have proved serious," remarked his 
father, "for I found this morning that I had left 
my bunch of keys on my desk. I don't see how I 
came to be so negligent." 

'It's lucky no burglar or* dishonest person knew 
of it," said Mrs. Ross. "You might have met with 
a serious loss." 

"So I might, for I had about a thousand dollars' 
worth of government bonds in my trunk, besides 
certificates of various kinds of stock. The latter 
would have done no one any good, though the loss 
would have annoyed me, but the government bonds 
might readily be sold." 

"I shouldn't think you'd keep the trunk down- 



THE TIN BOX 225 

stairs, father," said Philip, who felt easy, as there 
seemed no likelihood of suspicion being fixed upon 
him. 

He resolved so to act as to divert any future 
suspicion. 

"I don't know but it is imprudent," said Colonel 
Ross. 

"Of course it is," said his wife. "You deserve to 
suffer loss." 

"I will take it upstairs hereafter," said her hus- 
band, "especially," he added, jocularly, "if Philip 
is to be trusted to lock the front door." 

Philip smiled, but his smile was not exactly an 
easy one, for he was every minute apprehensive 
that it would occur to his father to open the trunk 
and examine the contents. He did not want this to 
happen till he was out of the way, for it would be 
rather a trial to his nerves to hear the announce- 
ment made of the loss, while he knew that the miss- 
ing bonds were concealed in his inside coat pocket. 

Philip was in a hurry to see Congreve, and get 
rid of his troublesome deposit. He hurried through 
his breakfast, therefore, and rose from the table. 
'You've eaten very little, Phil," said his mother. 

"Oh, I'm not hungry," said Philip, carelessly. 
"I didn't get up early enough to raise an appetite." 

"You got up as early as usual," said his father. 

"Perhaps reading in the evening didn't agree 
with me," replied Philip, smiling. 



226 THE TIN BOX 

"Where are you going?" asked his mother. 

"Just out for a walk." 

"Will you call at the grocery store and tell them 
to send up a barrel of flour?" 

"All right." 

Usually Philip, who was far from obliging natu- 
rally, made a fuss when asked to do an errand, but 
now he spoke very good-humoredly. He was so 
anxious to get out of the house that he was ready to 
promise anything. 

"I really think Philip is improving," said his 
mother, after he had gone out. 

"There's some room for it," remarked his 
father, dryly. 

Philip, as may be supposed, made his way as 
quickly as possible to the hotel. As he came up, he 
saw the one of whom he was in search James 
Congreve standing on the piazza, smoking a 
cigarette. 

"Well?" he said, guessing something from the 
evident excitement of Philip's manner. 

"Let us go up to your room, Congreve," said 
Phil. 

"All right." 

He led the way upstairs to the small room which 
he occupied as a bedroom, and Philip followed him 
in. The latter carefully closed the door. 

"Fve got 'em," he exclaimed, triumphantly. 

"The bonds? You don't say !" 



THE TIN BOX 227 

"As true as you stand there." 

u Let me see them." 

Philip drew the bonds from his pocket, and 
handed them to Congreve. 

The latter said, joyfully: 

"You're a trump, Phil !" 

"Yes, I think I managed pretty well," said Phil, 
complacently. 

"Tell me how you did it." 

So Phil explained. 

"You were in precious luck, I can tell you. I 
had no idea things would turn in your favor so. 
Let me see here are two one-hundreds." 

"Yes; that's what you said." 

"True. Were there more in the trunk?" 

"Yes; I heard father say there were a thousand 
dollars in bonds." 

James Congreve's face was overspread by an 
expression of covetousness. 

"It's a pity you didn't take more," he said. 

"But what was the need of taking more ? These 
will pay my debt to you." 

"Of course. Still, it seemed such a good chance/' 

"You don't think I'm going to set up as a thief, 
do you, Congreve?" asked Philip, in surprise. 

"No, of course not. I didn't mean anything. 
Well, Phil, the sooner these are disposed of the 
better." 

"You are going to attend to that?" 



228 THE TIN BOX 

'Yes. I believe I will take the next train up to 
the city." 

"When will you be back?" 

"To-night. I will bring you the balance of the 
money say, fifty dollars." 

"There ought to be more than that for me." 

"Oh, it will be all right ! Only, you know, I will 
have to sell them below the market price, at som 
place where no questions are asked." 

"I've no doubt you'll do the square thing," said 
Philip, who did not know that this statement of 
Congreve's was only a flimsy pretense to enable him 
to appropriate a larger share of the plunder, as it 
may fairly be called. 

"I'll promise you fifty dollars, whatever the 
bonds bring," said Congreve. 

"Thank you." 

"Now, I must get ready, for the next train leaves 
for the city in half an hour." 

"I'll go along with you to the depot," said 
Philip. 

"No, you'd better not. After the loss is discov- 
ered, it might excite some remark, and possibly sus- 
picion, if it were remembered." 

"Then I'll be going. I've got an errand over at 
the store. Shall I see you to-night?" 

"You'd better not come around till to-morrow 
morning. It may help avert suspicion." 

"Just as you say." 



THE TIN BOX 229 

"A pretty good haul !" said Congreve to himself. 
"I didn't think the little fool would have spunk 
enough to do it, but he has. I may pay him that 
fifty dollars, and then again I may not. I don't 
think I shall care to come back again to this dull 
hole to-night. I shall have to leave my trunk, but 
it isn't worth the sum I owe the landlord, and he is 
welcome to it. With the price of these bonds I can 
start anew cheaper." 

Philip left his friend, without the least suspicion 
that he intended to play him false. He felt very 
comfortable. He had got the bonds out of his 
possession, so that there was no danger of their 
being found on him, and he was to receive, the next 
morning, fifty dollars, a larger sum than he had 
ever possessed at one time in his life. He made up 
his mind that he would put it away in his trunk, and 
use it from time to time as he had occasion for it. 

He went to the grocery store, and left his moth- 
er's order. Then he took an aimless walk, for Con- 
greve was away, and there was no one else he cared 
to be with. 

So he turned to go home. He rather dreaded to 
enter the house, lest his father might have discov- 
ered his loss. In the yard he saw Tom Calder. 
Tom, remembering what he had seen the evening 
before, looked at Philip with a significant grin, but 
said nothing. 

"What are you grinning at?" demanded Philip, 



2 3 o THE TIN BOX 

"Nothing. I feel gay and festive, that is all," 
responded the stable boy. 

"Where's my father?" 

''He went out to ride in the buggy." 

Philip felt relieved. Evidently the loss had not 
been discovered yet. He was glad to have it put off. 

: 'Is there any news?" asked Tom, with another 
grin. 

; 'News ? Why should there be any?" 

"I don't know. I thought you might know of 



some.' 



"You talk like a fool," said Philip, angrily, and 
went into the house. 

'There'll be some news soon, I reckon," said 
Tom to himself, with a grin. "I won't say nothing 
till the time comes. Wonder if Philip'll think I am 
talking like a fool then?' 



THE TIN BOX 231 



CHAPTER XXXV 

THROWING SUSPICION ON HARRY 

DURING the day Colonel Ross had no occasion 
to look into his trunk of securities. Clearly, he had 
no suspicion that he had met with a loss. 

It might strike the reader as curious that Philip 
began to be impatient to have his father make the 
discovery. An impending blow always leads to a 
state of suspense which is by no means agreeable. 
When the blow falls, a certain relief is felt. So 
Philip knew that the discovery would be made 
sooner or later, and he wanted to have the matter 
settled, and clear himself at once from suspicion by 
diverting it to Harry Gilbert. 

In the hope that his father would find out his 
loss, he lingered round the house through the after- 
noon, filling up the time as well as he could. Usual- 
ly, he would have passed at least a part of the time 
with James Congreve, but the latter had gone to 
the city. 

"Don't you feel well, Philip?" asked his mother*, 

"Certainly ! What makes you ask?" 



2j 2 THE TIN BOX 

"You don't generally stay at home all the after- 



noon. 1 



"Oh, well, there isn't anything going on in the 
village." 

'Where is that friend of yours who is staying at 
the hotel?" 

"He w r ent away this morning to the city." 

'Isn't he coming back?" 

"Oh, yes, I suppose so." 

'I suppose you feel lonely without him?" 

"Yes, mother." 

'Have you seen anything of Uncle Obed late- 
ly?" asked Mrs. Ross, making a wry face as she 
pronounced the word admitting the relationship. 

'Yes; I saw him walking with the Gilbert boy 
the other evening." 

'Did you speak to him?" 

'No; I just nodded. I don't care about getting 
intimate with him. I wish he'd leave town." 

"As likely as not, he'll use up all his money, and 
then come on your father for help." 

; 'I hope father won't give him anything, then," 
said Philip. 

; 'I am willing that he should give him enough to 
get him back to Illinois. He ought never to have 
left there. If he thinks we are going to pay his 
board here, all I can say is that he is very much 
mistaken," said Mrs. Ross, pressing her thin lips 
together with emphasis. 



THE TIN BOX 233 

'That's the talk, ma ! I am glad you don't mean 
to be imposed upon. I suppose old Wilkins thinks 
you are soft, and won't see him suffer. You'd bet- 
ter keep a stiff upper lip." 

"He will know me better after a while," said 
Mrs. Ross. 

The afternoon wore away, and supper came. 
Philip partook as usual, and waited afterward in 
the confident expectation that his father would open 
the small trunk. He was not mistaken. 

Upon retiring to his special apartment, Colonel 
Ross took up the trunk, and, producing the key, 
opened it. 

It so happened that he was after some papers, 
and did not immediately take up the envelope con- 
taining the government bonds. Philip was rather 
afraid he wouldn't, and ventured to remind him of 
them by a question. 

"How many government bonds have you in that 
envelope, pa?" he asked. 

"A little over a thousand dollars," answered 
Colonel Ross. 

'Will you let me look at one ? I want to see how 
it looks." 

This question led the colonel to open the enve- 
lope. He took out a bond and handed it to Philip. 

"Are these coupons?" asked Philip, who knew 
perfectly well, but only wanted to fix his father's 
attention. 



234 THE TIN BOX 

'Yes, they are promises to pay interest semi- 
annually. In January and July I cut oil one of 
these little slips, and receive the interest it repre- 
sents in gold." 

'That's very convenient, isn't it?" 

'Yes, for I can get the coupons cashed at any 
bank or broker's office." 

Almost mechanically, he began to draw out the 
bonds and count them. But his air of inattention 
was quickly replaced by a look of surprise and 
anxiety. He counted the bonds over again, more 
deliberately, but each time the number came short 
two. 

'That's strange," he said, in a low tone. 

"What is strange, pa?" 

'Two bonds seem to be missing," said his father, 
in a tone of concern. 

'I've got one, you know, in my hand." 

'Yes, yes. I reckoned that." 

'How large were they? Is it much of a loss?" 

"One hundred dollars apiece, and each worth a 
hundred and fifteen dollars, on account of the pre- 
mium. Do you know anything about them?" and 
Colonel Ross fixed a piercing eye on his son. 

"I, pa? How should I know anything about 
them ? Why, I didn't know exactly how they look- 
ed. When did vou see them all last?" 

mf 

"Last evening. I happened to count them then* 



THE TIN BOX 235 

They must have been taken from the trunk since 
then." 

'Then I am almost sure I know how it hap- 
pened," said Philip, suddenly, as if a light had 
dawned upon him. 

'I should like to have you tell me, then." 

'You remember, pa, you left the keys on the 
desk?" 

'Yes; but there was no one here except you," and 
again the father had suspicion of his son. 

'I hope you don't think I'd do such a thing as 
that?" said Philip, virtuously. "But I am afraid 
it is my fault, for I left the outside door unlocked 
all night. Any one might have come in and stolen 
the bonds." 

'That is true ; but why didn't they take more, or 
all ? You didn't see any one round when you went 
to bed, did you?" 

'Yes, I did," answered Philip, with well-feigned 
eagerness. "Just as I was going to bed, I went into 
the next room, where the trunk is, and, turning to 
look out of the window, I was quite startled to see 
Harry Gilbert's face close to the window. The 
light shining through the doorway was quite strong 
enough for him to see the trunk and keys lying on 
your desk. It's as sure as can be that he took the 
bonds. You see, he could slip in after I went up- 
stairs, and there was nothing to prevent. He might 
have been lurking around when you were examin- 



236 THE TIN BOX 

ing the bonds last night, and saw you place them 
back in the envelope." 

"What is all this about?" asked Mrs. Ross, 
entering the room at this point. 

It was explained to her, and she instantly 
adopted her son's view. 

"Phil's hit the nail on the head, I do believe," 
she said. U I didn't think he was so sharp. Colonel 
Ross, I have no doubt the Gilbert boy took the 
bonds." 

'Then, why didn't he take more?" asked Ross. 
"Oh, he got frightened thought he heard a 
noise, or perhaps he thought it would not be dis- 
covered so quick if he only took two. There are 
reasons enough." 

Philip and Mrs. Ross assumed so confident a 
tone that Colonel Ross, though at first inclined to 
discredit the charge, ended by believing it very 
probable. 

'This thing must be attended to," he said. 
'What are you going to do about it, pa?" 
'I shall go before Justice Slocum, and get a war- 
rant to search Widow Gilbert's house. If I find 
anything, I shall have Harry arrested." 

'Now, you're in a scrape, Harry Gilbert," said 
Philip to himself, exultantly. 

''I guess I'll go along with you, pa," he said, 
aloud, "and see if James Congreve has got back 
from the city." 



THE TIN BOX 237 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

HARRY IS CHARGED WITH THEFT 

PHILIP called at the hotel, and inquired, with 

considerable confidence, if "Mr. Congreve" was in. 

"He has not returned," answered the landlord. 

' 

"Then he won't be back to-night," said Philip, 
feeling considerably disappointed. 

"No; the last train is in." 

"I wonder if he had any trouble in selling the 
bonds, ' : thought Philip; but this thought was one 
to which he didn't think it prudent to give expres- 
sion. 

He v/alked home slowly, while Colonel Ross kept 
on his way to the modest home of the Gilberts. We 
will precede him. 

The little family was gathered in the plain 
sitting-room. There were but three Mrs. Gil- 
bert, Harry and Uncle Obed. 

The old man to begin with the oldest first 
was sitting in a rocking chair, with his hands folded 
in his lap, and an expression of placid contentment 
on his face. He had reached the age when rest is 



2 3 8 THE TIN BOX 

agreeable, and was satisfied to sit through the even- 
ing, now watching Harry or his mother, and now 
occupied with thoughts of earlier days and distant 
scenes. He was thoroughly satisfied with the new 
home he had found, plain and humble though it 
was. Indeed, perhaps, for that very reason, it 
suited him better. 

Mrs. Gilbert was sewing. She had time enough 
to sew for some of her neighbors, and in that way 
earned a moderate sum for herself, though, as the 

/ o ' 

family was now situated, she could have dispensed 
with it. 

Harry was reading a "Life of Benjamin Frank- 
lin," which he had taken from the Sunday school 
library, and was evidently deeply interested in it. 

'What are you reading, Harry?'* asked the old 
man, after a while. 

"Franklin's life, Uncle Obed." 

'You couldn't read anything better. Old Ben 
is a good model for American boys. He was a 
great man." 

"So he was, Uncle Obed; and he began poor, 
too." 

"Sarten, sarten ! Poor boys make the smartest 
men that's my observation." 

"Then I've got one thing in my favor," said 
Harry, smiling. 

"And you will succeed, too; I make no doubt of 
it. You've made a pretty good beginning already." 



THE TIN BOX 239 

"Thank you, Uncle Obed, for your favorable 
opinion. I hope I shall deserve it." 

'You're worth half a dozen boys like Philip 
Ross. I reckon he'll never amount to much." 

"He doesn't think so," said Harry, smiling. 
u He thinks himself a very important character." 

"Like enough! He looks like it. He doesn't 
care to own me as a relation." 

'It would be different if you were rich, Uncle 
Obed." 

"Mebbe so. I think so myself. Thank the 
Lord, I ain't beholden to him or his family for any 
favors. They wanted to send me home to Illinoy. 
I was too unfashionable for them, I expect, but I've 
found a home yes, I've found a good home." 

"I am glad we succeeded in making it comforta- 
ble for you, Mr. Wilkins," said Mrs. Gilbert, look- 
ing up from her sewing. 

'You do, ma'am," said the old man. "I ain't 
been so w r ell taken care of for years as I am now. 
I wish I could do something to show my gratitude." 

'The money you pay us is of great service. It 
makes the largest part of our income. I am only 
afraid you pay too much." 

"No, I don't," said Uncle Obed. "Money isn't 
of much vally, compared with a good home. If I 
ain't as rich as my niece, I can afford to pay fair 
board. When a man's turned seventy, as I have, 



2 4 o THE TIN BOX 

the best money can do for him is to give him a 
happy home." 

Mrs. Gilbert and Harry were pleased to find 
their boarder so contented. The money he paid 
weekly, with unvarying punctuality, made things 
easy for the widow, and relieved her of the anxiety 
which she had constantly felt before his arrival. 

The conversation above recorded was scarcely 
over, when a knock was heard at the front door a 
sharp, peremptory knock as of one who demand- 
ed admittance, rather than requested it. 

All looked up, with some surprise, for it was now 
eight o'clock, and they did not often have evening 
callers. 

:i l will go to the door, mother," said Harry. 
'You need not interrupt your sewing." 

So Harry opened the outer door, and, consider- 
ably to his surprise, saw standing on the step the 
dignified figure of Colonel Ross. 

"Colonel Ross!" he exclaimed, in surprise. 

"I will come in a few minutes," said the Colonel, 
stiffly. 

"Certainly, sir. Excuse my not inviting you." 

"It is very excusable under the circumstances," 
said the Colonel, stiffly. 

"What does he mean?" thought Harry. "I can't 
tell what circumstances he refers to." 

"Mother," said he, opening the door of the 
sitting-room, "here is Colonel Ross." 



THE TIN BOX 241 

"Take a seat, Colonel Ross," said the widow, 
politely. 

Colonel Ross seated himself deliberately in a 
chair near his wife's uncle. 

"Glad to see you, Mr. Ross," said Uncle Obed, 
thinking the visit was meant for him. 'You're very 
kind to look in on an old man." 

"I well, my visit this evening has a different 
object." 

"Oh, come to see Mrs. Gilbert! Well, how's 
Lucinda?' 1 

"Mrs. Rcss is enjoying her usual health," said 
Colonel Ross, ceremoniously. 

"Glad to hear it," said the old man. "She hasn't 
called on me yet, though I'm the only relation she's 
got within a thousand miles." 

"Mrs. Ross is very much occupied," said her 
husband, coldly. "However, you will excuse me if 
I proceed to the object of my visit. I regret to say 
that last evening the trunk in which I keep a part 
of my securities was opened, and two government 
bonds abstracted." 

"You don't say so!" exclaimed Mr. Wilkins, 
really surprised. "When did it happen?" 

"Sometime in the evening or night. The outer 
door w r as left unlocked, through the neglect of my 
son, Philip, who sat up later than his mother or 
myself. Unfortunately, I had myself carelessly 
left my bunch of keys, including the key to this 



2 4 2 THE TIN BOX 

trunk, on my desk, so that the thief found his work 
very easy." 

"You and Philip were both careless. Have you 
got track of the rogue?" 

"I think I have," answered Colonel Ross, in a 
significant tone. 

"I'm glad on't. These fellows ought to be 
caught. I don't have much sympathy for a thief." 

"I am glad to hear you say so," said Colonel 
Ross. 

"You didn't think I had, did you?" asked the old 
man, puzzled. 

"I thought you might have, when you came to 
know who it was I suspect." 

"I don't see as that will make any difference. 
Who is it?" 

"My son, just before retiring, saw a person 
prowling round the house, and looking into the 
window. Doubtless, he saw the bunch of keys, and 
was tempted to enter and steal the bonds." 

"Have you arrested him?" 

"Not yet; but probably I shall before long." 

"Who is it, Colonel Ross?" asked Mrs. Gilbert, 
with interest. 

"Madam," said the Colonel, slowly, "it pains me 
to say that the person seen prowling round my 
house, and looking in at my window, was your son, 
Harry!" 



THE TIN BOX 243 

"Harry!" ejaculated the widow, scarcely think- 
ing she had heard aright. 

"It's ridiculous!" exclaimed Uncle Obed. 

"Colonel Ross," said Harry, rising to his feet, 
and confronting the visitor, with clear eyes and an 
expression of honest indignation, "do you mean to 
say that you suspect me of stealing any of your 
property?" 

'Young man, I advise you not to be impudent or 
brazen-faced. Do you mean to deny that you were 
near my house last evening between half-past nine 
and ten o'clock?" 

"No, I don't. I did pass your house about that 
time." 

;< I am glad you have the sense to own it. You 
may as well confess the rest that you entered 
through the unlocked door, opened my small trunk, 
and took out two government bonds of a hundred 
dollars each." 

'Whoever charges me with that utters a false- 
hood," said Harry, boldly. "I passed your house, 
but I did not enter it, and did not even look in the 
window, and it is news to me that the door was un- 
locked, or the keys on the desk. In fact, I didn't 
know you had a trunk in which you kept your 
bonds." 

"Of course you deny it," said Colonel Ross, "but 
I think it entirely likely that the stolen bonds are at 
this very moment hidden beneath this roof." 



244 THE TIN BOX 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

SEARCHING THE COTTAGE 

"COLONEL Ross, your suspicions are very insult- 
ing and entirely unwarranted," said the Widow 
Gilbert, with a flush on her usually pale cheek. 

"Of course I knew you would not believe any- 
thing against your son, whom you believe to be a 
model," said Colonel Ross, with a sneer. 

"So he is a model!" said the widow, warmly. 

"Then all I can say is that there is a strong rea- 
son to suspect that this model son of yours is a 
thief." 

"I deny it." 

"I notice, however, that you are afraid to have 
the house searched." 

"I have never expressed any unwillingness." 

"Then I understand that you give your consent." 

"I do." 

"Very well. Then allow me to call in a party 
not interested, who will attend to that duty." 

Colonel Ross went to the outer door, and, open- 
ing it, called: 



THE TIN BOX 245 

"Constable, you are wanted!" 

At this summons a tall, stout man Mr. Rogers, 
che village constable came forward, as it seemed, 
rather reluctantly. 

"Constable," said Colonel Ross, "Mrs. Gilbert 
has given her consent to have the house searched 
for the bonds which were abstracted from my trunk 
last evening." 

"Mr. Rogers," said Mrs. Gilbert, who knew the 
constable well, "Colonel Ross has made a cruel and 
unwarranted charge against Harry. I hope you 
don't believe he is a thief." 

"I don't," said the constable, bluntly. "I've 
known your boy ever since he was a baby, and I 
never knew him to do a mean thing." 

"Constable," said Colonel Ross, angrily, "it does 
not become you to screen the guilty or make excuses 
for him." 

''It strikes me you're rather too fast, Colonel 
Ross, in making him out guilty. What proof have 
you of it?" 

"My son's word." 

"Oh!" said the constable, expressively. 

'You have only to do your duty and search the 
house, and I venture to predict that the evidence 
will be forthcoming that will convince even you." 

"Mrs. Gilbert," said the constable, "I hope 
you'll excuse me for obeying the Colonel. I have 
to do it, you know. 



" 



246 THE TIN BOX 

"Do your duty, Mr. Rogers. We are not afraid 
to have the house searched from top to bottom." 

"I don't want to disturb your things, Mrs. Gil- 
bert. Suppose you go round and open everything 



to us.' 



;< If that will be satisfactory to Colonel Ross. I 
want him satisfied." 

"As long as I am present, with a right to exam- 
ine, I shall not object." 

'It seems to me, Colonel Ross," remarked Uncle 
Obed, "you are not treating the boy right." 

"It is immaterial to me what you think, Mr. Wil- 
kins," replied the Colonel, with asperity. 

"Mebbe so," said the old man. ''I calculate it 
won't always be so. The time may come when you 
will care more for my opinion." 

"You flatter yourself unduly, Mr. Wilkins, I 
assure you." 

"Mebbe so," answered the old man, not appear- 
ing at all discomposed by the rude tone of his 
niece's husband. 

"We will begin here, gentlemen," said Mrs. 
Gilbert. 

So saying, she went about from place to place 
down below, opening whatever drawers there were, 
even in the pantry, and revealing nothing that look- 
ed like the bonds. 

"I didn't expect they were downstairs," said the 
Colonel. 



THE TIN BOX 247 

"Then we will go upstairs. You shall not say 
that we have concealed anything or shrunk from 
any investigation." 

"Very well." 

Mrs. Gilbert thereupon led the way upstairs, and 
the search began. Finally, they came to her own 
bureau. The upper drawer was opened, and the 
sharp eyes of the Colonel detected a large envelope. 
It was the one that contained the bonds which had 
been presented to Harry for his service in ferreting 
out the burglars in the wood. 

Singular as it may seem, neither Harry nor his 
mother had thought of them, and the false infer- 
ence that might be drawn from their discovery. It 
was natural, therefore, that each should look 
startled and discomposed. 

"Ha! what have we here?" demanded Colonel 
Ross, clutching the envelope. 

'Those are my property," said Harry, who was 
the first to recover his self-possession. 

"I will take the liberty to examine. Ha ! gov- 
ernment bonds, as I live. Constable, what do you 
say now?" demanded the Colonel, triumphantly. 

The constable, who knew nothing of Harry's 
gift, looked very uncomfortable indeed. Despite 
his belief in Harry's honesty, he was staggered by 
this apparent evidence to the contrary. 

"What is this, Mrs. Gilbert?" he asked. 



248 THE TIN BOX 

'They are bonds belonging to Harry. He speaks 
the truth." 

"A likely story,' 1 exclaimed Colonel Ross. 
''Really, Mrs. Gilbert, your conduct is most extra- 
ordinary. I begin to think you had some knowl- 
edge of your son's act." 

"Colonel Ross, don't you dare to insult my 
mother," said Harry, so fiercely that the Colonel 
retreated a little, under the impression that our 
hero intended to make an insult upon him. 

u Be careful, boy," he warned. 'I've caught you 
red-handed in the commission of a crime that may 
send you to State's prison. You'd better take heed 
what you say!" 

"Mr. Rogers," said Mrs. Gilbert, "that enve- 
lope contains government bonds that belong to my 
son. Ask Colonel Ross how many he lost." 

"Two bonds of a hundred dollars each," an- 
swered the Colonel. "And here they are," he con- 
tinued, producing two bonds of that denomination 
from the envelope. 

"Look again. See if there are no more," said 
Harry. 

The Colonel, evidently surprised, produced a 
fifty. 

"Do you mean to say that you lost that, also?" 
inquired Harry. 

"No," replied the Colonel, evidently puzzled; 
"you must have got that from somewhere else." 



THE TIN BOX 249 

"I got the whole somewhere else," said Harry. 

"It is entirely useless, Harry Gilbert, to attempt 
to impose upon me by any such ridiculous story. 
As to the extra bond, I don't know whre it came 
from. Perhaps your mother had it before. It 
doesn't alter the fact that I have found my stolen 
bonds in your possession." 

"When did you lose your bonds?" asked Uncle 
Obed, who thought it time to "put in his oar," as 
he afterward expressed it. 

"Last evening." 

"You're sure you had 'em up to that time, are 
you?" 

"Yes; I looked them over, and counted them 
early in the evening." 

"Then, all I can say is that the bonds you've got 
in your hands have been in the house several days. 
Harry showed them to me when he first got 'em." 

"Really, Mr. Wilkins, I don't like to doubt the 
word of an old man like you ; but, sir, your state- 
ment is absolutely incredible." 

"It is true," said Mrs. Gilbert. "I, too, assert 
the same thing." 

"Then you are all in a conspiracy," said Colonel 
Ross, in a passion. 

"And you have evidently plotted the ruin of an 
innocent boy," said Mrs. Gilbert, with spirit. 

'You have always pretended to be poor," con- 
tinued Colonel Ross, "and now you expect me to be- 



250 THE TIN BOX 

lieve that your son owns nearly three hundred dol- 
lars' worth of bonds !" 

"I do, for it is true." 

"Where did he get them?" 
'They were given him." 

''Utterly absurd! People don't often give boys 
such presents as that. Constable, I call on you to 
arrest that boy." 

"Where is your warrant, Colonel?" 

"Arrest him on suspicion." 

"I could not do it." 
'Then you mean to connive at his escape?" 

"No; I'll stay here to-night, if you insist upon 



it.' 



'Do so, and I will take the bonds." 
"Lay them down, Colonel Ross; they are my 

property!" said Harry, sternly. 

"You can't be allowed to take 'em, Colonel, till 

you prove that they are yours. One you admit is 

not," said the constable. 

"It doesn't matter much," replied the Colonel, 

discomfited. "They will find their way back to me 

soon. This boy won't take on so high a tone to- 



morrow.' 



THE TIN BOX 251 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 



PHILIP'S SURPRISE 



"WHERE did that other bond come from?" 
thought Colonel Ross, as he wended his way home- 
ward. 'I can't understand it. Perhaps the boy 
took it from some one else. It is just possible that 
his mother may have owned a fifty-dollar bond." 

To do Colonel Ross justice, he really thought 
that the bonds he had discovered were his own, and 
he was convinced, by what his son had told him, 
that Harry had really entered his house on the 
night when the outer door had been left open and 
abstracted them. 

Philip, disappointed at not finding his friend 
Congreve at the hotel, took his way home, and was 
already in the house when his father returned. He 
was naturally curious to hear something of the re- 
sult of his errand. 

'Well, father," he said, eagerly, as the Colonel 
entered the room where he was seated, "what luck 
did you have?" 

"I found the bonds," said his father, briefly. 



252 THE TIN BOX 

Nothing could have astonished Philip more,, 
knowing what he did as to the manner in which 
they had really been disposed of. He looked the 
picture of amazement. 

"Found the bonds !" he ejaculated. 

"Certainly! What is there remarkable about 
that?" 

"And Harry Gilbert really had them?" said 
Philip, not knowing what to think. 

"Of course!" 
'Where were they found?" 

"In the bureau drawer in his mother's room." 

"What can it mean?" thought Philip, in a whirl 
of amazement. "I gave them to Congreve to carry 
to New York, and how in the world could Gilbert 
have got hold of them? There must be some mis- 
take somewhere." 

"What did Harry say when you found the 
bonds?" he asked. 

"He denied that they were mine; said they were 
his." 

"But where could he get them ?" t 

"That is the question. He said they were given 
to him, or some such ridiculous nonsense, and his 
mother actually backed him up in this preposterous 



statement.' 



"I was never so astonished in the whole course 
of my life!" said Philip; and he spoke the honest 
truth. 



THE TIN BOX 253 

'You, my son, are entitled to great credit for 
your vigilance, and you apprising me that the boy 
was prowling about the house on the evening in 
question. I shall make you a present of ten 
dollars." 

u Oh, thank you, father," said Philip, his eyes 
expressing his delight, as his father drew from his 
pocketbook two five-dollar bills and placed them in 
his hand. 

"At any rate, it has turned out pretty lucky for 
me," he thought to himself. "All the same, it is a 
puzzle where those bonds came from. Congreve 
wouldn't go and give them to Harry? No, of 
course not ! Well, the best I can do is to keep 



mum.' 



'There is one circumstance that rather puzzles 
me," said the Colonel, reflectively. 

"What is it, father?" 

'I only miss two hundred-dollar bonds, and I 
found in the boy's possession a fifty-dollar bond in 
addition. That is certainly singular." 

"So it is," said Philip, showing his own surprise. 

"He must have stolen that from some other 
party," continued the Colonel. 

"As like as not," chimed in Philip, glibly. "Have 
you got the bonds with you?" he asked, after a 
pause. "Did you bring them back?" 

"No. Rogers, the constable, said I could no. 
take them till I had proved them to be my prop- 



254 THE TIN BOX 

erty. He is a stupid old countryman, and knows 
nothing about law. He was evidently prejudiced 
in favor of the Gilberts." 

"Weil, what did you do with Harry?" 

"He ought to have been taken to the lockup, but 
the constable didn't want to do it, and I agreed 
that he might stay in the house, under guard of the 
constable, of course, for I apprehended the boy 
might make an effort to run away." 

'Did he seem much frightened?' asked Philip, 
curiously. 

"No; he seemed very indignant at being sus- 
pected. Of course, it was all put on. He was 
actually insolent, and defied me to take the bonds. 
I suppose he thought he could put me off the scent 
by his bravado." 

"What are you going to do to-morrow?" asked 
Philip. 

"I shall have him taken before a magistrate, and 
shall formally charge him with the theft." 

"What did Uncle Obed say?" inquired Philip, 
suddenly. 

"It really is of very little consequence what that 
old man said," returned Colonel Ross, stiffly. "Of 
course, he sided with the Gilberts, and he actually 
had the effrontery to say that the bonds had been in 
the house for several days." 

"He couldn't have given the bonds to Harry, 
could he?" 



^T^T T"*""* T^ >,""" "T~l/~\~t7~ 

THE T. BO A. 255; 

"Of course not. The man is a pauper, or about 
the same as one. Every day I expect he will come 
to me to ask pecuniary assistance." 

'Will you give him any money if he does?" 

"Yes; enough to get him back to Illinois. He 
ought never to have left there." 

Philip went to bed in a state of wonderment, but 
at the same time in a state of satisfaction. Sus- 
picion had been diverted from him, the real culprit, 
and the boy whom he hated more than any other 
was likely to suffer for his misdeeds. 

If he had had a conscience, this thought ought 
to have made him uncomfortable, but it did not. 
He thought, rather, that under cover of this charge 
made against another, he and Congreve would be 
free to use the proceeds of the stolen bonds, and he 
began even to plan in what way he would spend his 
portion. 

Meanwhile, a very different scene took place in 
the cottage of the Gilberts, after the Colonel had 
taken his leave. 

'I hope, Mr. Rogers," said Mrs. Gilbert to the 
constable, "you don't believe my boy guilty of this 
base deed which the colonel charges upon him?" 

"I've always thought highly of Harry, ma'am," 
said the constable, "and I can't think now he'd take 
anything that wasn't his; but it is rather strange 
that them bonds should be found in this house now, 
ain't it?" 



256 THE TIN BOX 

"No, indeed. Is the Colonel the only man in 
town that owns bonds?" 

'I expect not; though, so far as my own ex- 
perience goes, I know I ain't got any. I always 
thought begging your pardon, Mrs. Gilbert 
that you was poor, and now what am I to think?" 
"You needn't think I am rich; but Harry owns 
those bonds, and they are the reward of his own 
good conduct. Would you like to hear how he 
came by them ?" 

'Yes, ma'am, if you don't mind telling me." 
"I don't mind telling you, though I didn't choose 
to tell the Colonel." 

Whereupon, Mrs. Gilbert related the story of 
the tin box secreted in the wood, and how, through 
Harry's prompt action, those who had purloined it 
had been brought to justice. 

'You've got a smart boy, Mrs. Gilbert," said 
the constable, admiringly. "I couldn't have done 
as well myself. There won't be any difficulty in 
clearing Harry now." 

'What would you advise, Mr. Rogers?" 
'Nothing at present; but if we find it necessary 
to-morrow, we can get that lawyer's testimony, 
which will certainly clear Harry of this charge." 



THE TIN BOX 257 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

HOW CONGREVE SUCCEEDED 

PHILIP would not have felt flattered if he had 
been able to read the thoughts of his friend James 
Congreve, when the latter was riding away from 
the village where he had been boarding, toward 
the great city. 

"That's the last I shall ever see of the young 
snob, I hope," he said to himself. 'I've got all I 
can out of him, and now I wash my hands of him. 
I wish him joy of waiting for me to-night. It'll be 
many a long day before he sees me or the balance 
of the bonds." 

James Congreve settled back in his seat, bought 
a paper from the paper boy on the train, and began 
to read in a very comfortable frame of mind. 

From time to time he put his hand on the inside 
pocket in which he had placed the bonds, to make 
sure of their safety, for no one knew better than he 
that there were dishonest persons to be met with 
who were willing to appropriate valuables belong- 
ing to others. 



25 8 THE TIN BOX 

It was some time since he had been so well off as 
he would be when he had converted these bonds 
into money. Indeed, all the summer long he had 
been short of funds, or he would not have spent so 
long a time in a country village, which to him was 
dull and afforded him a small field for his peculiar 
talents. 

Arriving in New York, Congreve took his way 
to Wall Street. Here it was that he expected to get 
rid of the bonds, or, rather, exchange them for 
greenbacks. 

In this street brokers' and bankers' offices 
abound, and all negotiable securities readily find a 
purchaser. He stepped into an office nearly oppo- 
site the opening of New Street, and, approaching 
the counter, said, as he drew out his bonds: 

'What are you paying for government sixes?" 

"Let me see the date," said the clerk. He spread 
open the bonds, and then answered: "One hun- 
dred and fifteen and three-eighths." 

"Very well," replied Congreve. "I will sell 
them." 

The clerk took them and stepped to the desk, to 
make an entry of the purchase. 

'What name?" he asked, turning to Congreve. 

"John Baker," said Congreve, with momentary 
hesitation. 

For obvious reasons, he thought it best not to 



THE TIN BOX 259 

mention his own name, as trouble might possibly 
come from the possession of the bonds. 

"Shall I give you a check?" was the next ques- 
tion. 

"I would prefer the money/' answered Con- 
greve. 

"Go to the cashier's window, and he will attend 
to you. 15 

"Not much trouble about that," thought Con- 
greve, complacently, when he was startled by a 
voice at his elbow. 

"How are you, Congreve?" 

Looking around hastily, he saw a hand extended, 
and recognized a young man who had at one time 
been a fellow-boarder with him in Fourteenth 
Street. It is safe to say that James Congreve 
wished him anywhere else at that most unfortunate 
time. 

"Hush!" said he, in a subdued whisper; "I will 
speak to you outside." 

He hoped the clerk had not heard the name by 
which he had been addressed; but he hoped in vain. 
The latter, pausing in his writing, came to the 
counter and said: 

"Didn't this gentleman call you Congreve?" 

'Yes," admitted Congreve, uneasily. 

'You just gave your name as John Baker." 

"Oh, no ! That is, I didn't say my name was 



260 THE TIN BOX 

John Baker. That is the gentleman for whom I 
am selling the bonds." 

'Then they do not belong to you ?" 

"No." 

"Where does Mr. Baker live ?" 

"In New Haven/' answered Congreve, glibly, 
for he had a ready invention. 

'We do not care to buy," said the clerk, coldly, 
for there was something in Congreve's manner 
which made him suspicious. 

'Really," said Congreve, laughing in a con- 
strained manner, "you appear to be very cautious." 

"We have to be." 

"Shall I tell Mr. Baker it will be necessary for 
him to come to New York in person to dispose of 
his bonds ? He is my uncle, and I simply am doing 
him a favor in disposing of them." 

'Very possibly; but I think we won't purchase 
them." 

"Oh, well! I can carry them elsewhere," said 
Congreve, raging inwardly. 

His acquaintance, whose recognition had inter- 
fered with his plans, followed him to the door, in 
rather a perplexed frame of mind. 

"Where have you been all summer, Congreve?' 
he asked, thinking it best to ignore the scene which 
he had just witnessed. 

"None of your business," answered Congreve, 
sharply. 



THE TIN BOX 261 

'What does this mean?" asked the young man, 
in astonishment. 

"It means, sir, that I do not wish to keep up my 
acquaintance with you. Didn't you know any bet- 
ter than to blurt out my name just now, and so get 
me into trouble?" 

"If you are ashamed to appear under your real 
name, I don't care to know you," answered the 
young man, with spirit. "So, good-morning to you, 
Mr. Congreve, or Mr. Baker, or whatever else you 
call yourself." 

"Good riddance," said Congreve. 

'There's something wrong about that fellow," 
said Tom Norcross to himself, as he looked after 
Congreve, while the latter was crossing the street. 
! 'I don't believe he came by those bonds honestly. 
His manner was certainly very suspicious." 

Congreve entered another banking house, and 
here he had no difficulty in disposing of his bonds. 
He came out with two hundred and thirty dollars 
in his pocket, and feeling less irritable than before. 

"So that's done," he said to himself, "and I am 
well provided with money for the present. Now I 
must make up for lost time, and try to enjoy myself 
a little. I was nearly moped to death in that dull 
country village, with no better company than a 
young snob. Now to see life !" 

First of all, Congreve installed himself at a fash- 
ionable boarding house uptown. Then he pur- 



262 THE TIN BOX 

chased a seat for the evening's performance at 
Wallack's Theater, and then sought out some of 
his old companions in haunts where he knew they 
were likely to be found. He had a few games of 
cards, in which his luck varied. He rose from the 
card table a loser in the sum of twenty-five dollars. 

'That is unlucky," thought Congreve. "How- 
ever, I've got two hundred dollars left. I must be 
more cautious, or my money won't last long." 

Still, he felt in tolerably good spirits when he 
went to the theater, and enjoyed the performance 
about as much as if his pleasures were bought with 
money honestly earned. 

It so happened that the clerk at the first banking 
house who had refused to purchase the bonds sat 
two rows behind him, and easily recognized his cus- 
tomer of the morning. 

'I suspect Mr. Baker, alias Congreve, has dis- 
posed of his bonds," he thought to himself. 'I am 
really curious to know whether he had any right to 
sell them." 

From time to time this thought came back to the 
clerk, till he formed a resolution quietly to follow 
Congreve, after the close of the performance, and 
ascertain where he lived. 

Congreve, seated in front, was not aware of the 
presence of the clerk, or he might have taken meas- 
ures to defeat his design. 

When James Congreve left the theater, he was 



THE TIN BOX 263: 

at first inclined to stop at Delmonico's on the way 
uptown, and indulge in a little refreshment ; but he 
felt somewhat fatigued with his day's travel, and, 
after a moment's indecision, concluded instead to 
return at once to his boarding place. 

"He lives in a nice house," said the clerk to him- 
self. 'Let me notice the number. I may find it 
desirable to know where to find him." 

To anticipate matters a little, word came to New 
York in the afternoon of the next day that two 
bonds, the numbers of which were given, had been 
stolen from Colonel Ross, and search was made for 
the young man who was suspected of having nego- 
tiated them. The clerk, who, previous to returning 
the bonds to Congreve, had taken down the num- 
bers, at once identified them as the ones referred to, 
and gave information to the police. 

'I he result was that just as Congreve was sitting 
down to supper on the evening of the second day, 
he was informed that a man wished to see him at 
the door. On answering the call, he saw before 

O ' 

him a small man, of quiet manner, dressed in a 
sober suit of black. 

'You name is Congreve, I believe?" he said, 
politely, 

'Yes, sir,'' answered James, in a hesitating tone. 
'Then I must trouble you to go with me." 
"I have just sat down to supper." 
"I am really sorry to disturb 3 r ou, but you are- 



264 THE TIN BOX 

charged with selling two stolen bonds in Wall 
Street yesterday." 

'There is some mistake," said Congreve, hur- 
riedly. "Colonel Ross sent rne the bonds by his 
son, with a request that I would sell them for him.' 1 
"Glad to hear it," said the detective, laconically. 
'Then you will be able to clear yourself. Mean- 
while, you must come with me." 

And James Congreve spent the night in a board- 
ing house by no means fashionable. 



THE TIN BOX 265 



CHAPTER XL 

PREPARING TO PROSECUTE 

"I AM going to the bottom of this affair," said 
Colonel Ross, as he sipped his second cup of coffee 
at the breakfast table the next morning. "The 
Gilbert boy must suffer the consequences of his 



crime.' 



'Will he be sent to prison, pa?" inquired Philip. 

; 'It is a State's prison offense, my son," answered 
his father. 

Was it on Harry's account that Philip suddenly 
turned pale and looked nervous? I cannot credit 
him with a sufficient amount of feeling for another. 
He could not help recalling the fact that it was he 
and not Harry who had been guilty of this State's 
prison offense. 

"However, the thing can't possibly be traced to 
me," he reflected, somewhat more comfortable in 
mind. "I don't know as I care whether Harry Gil- 
bert goes to prison or not. He is very proud and 
stuck-up, and it will take down his pride/' 

"I commend your decision," said Mrs. Ross, to 






266 THE TIN BOX 

her husband. "In my opinion, mercy woiui be 
misplaced in such a case as this*, /lie b who is 
degraded enough to steal is likely to continue in his 
criminal course, and the oconer he is punishes the 
better." 

"here wr.s scsnething in this remark, also, that 
m- ae I-.^Tp wince. 

"W'-ic.rs will H&ny GLioert be tried?" asked 
Philip. 

'Before Squire Davis. I directed the constable 
to carry him round there at nine o'clock this morn- 



" 



n 

UT' 



"May I go, too?" 

'Yes; your testimony will be needed to show 
that the boy was prowling around our house on the 
evening in question." 

Very well," answered Philip, with satisfaction. 
I'll go along with you." 

"Do so, my son." 

As it was not yet time to go to the office of the 
justice, Philip stepped out into the yard, where 
Tom Calder, the stable boy, was washing a car- 
riage. 

"I guess I'll tell him the news," thought Philip. 
"Tom," he said, "we've discovered who stole the 
bonds the other night." 

"Have you ?" asked Tom, with a queer smile. 

"Yes. Would you like to know who it is ?" 

"Uncommon." 



THE TIN BOX 267 

"It's Harry Gilbert." 

Tom Calder pursed up his lips in genuine amaze- 
ment, and emitted a shrill whistle. 

"You don't say!" he exclaimed. 

"Yes," said Philip, complacently. "The gover- 
nor had the house searched Widow Gilbert's, of 
course and he found the bonds there." 

'That beats all I ever heard!" 1 ejaculated Tom. 

"Oh, it doesn't surprise me at all!" said Philip, 
carelessly. "I've long suspected Harry Gilbert of 
being dishonest." 

'I don't believe it, for my part," said Tom, man- 
fully standing by a boy who, on more than one 
occasion, had done him a favor. "Harry Gilbert 
is as honest a boy as there is in town." 

'Your opinion isn't of much importance," said 
Philip, in a tone of superiority, "and it won't save 
the Gilbert boy from going to State's prison." 

''Do you mean to say the one who took the bonds 
will have to go to State's prison?" 

'Yes; that's what father says, and he knows a 
good deal about the law." 

"Maybe he'll change his mind," said Tom C:: 1 
der, in a peculiar tone. "When is the trial coming 
off?" 

'This morning, at nine o'clock, at the office of 
Squire Davis." 

Tom nodded his head thoughtfully, but only 
said: 



268 THE TIN BOX 

"Are you going to be there? 11 

"Yes." ! 

"What time is it now?" 

"Quarter past eight." 

"Somebody else will be there," said Tom to him- 
self; and Philip left him and went back into the 
house. 



THE TIN BOX 269 



CHAPTER XLI 

HARRY MANAGES HIS OWN CASE 

TRIAL JUSTICE DAVIS sat in his office. He was 
a man of sixty, with a keen but not unbenevolent 
face, looking all the more sagacious, perhaps, be- 
cause of a pair of gold spectacles which surmounted 
his aose. He had been apprised of the trial at 
which he was expected to preside, and he looked 
surprised and regretful. 

"I can't believe that boy is guilty," he said to 
himself. "I have always looked upon him as one 
of the best boys in town." 

At nine, the principal parties concerned entered 
the office. First, Colonel Ross and Philip walked 
in Philip with an attempt to be at ease, but with 
a perceptibly nervous air, notwithstanding. 

Harry Gilbert entered, walking beside the con- 
stable. Behind him followed his mother and Uncle 
Obed. Mrs. Gilbert looked anxious, though the 
constable assured her that there was no need of it, 
and that Harry would be triumphantly acquitted. 
Harry did not look in the least frightened, but 
seemed much more at ease than Philip. 



270 THE TIN BOX 

A trial before a police justice in a country town 
is much more informal than in a city, and this 
should be remembered by those who read this 
chapter. 

'What charge do you bring against Harry Gil- 
bert, Colonel?" asked the justice. 

'I charge him with entering my house on the 
evening of the nineteenth instant, opening the 
small trunk in which I keep my valuable papers and 
securities, and abstracting therefrom two United 
States Government bonds, of the par value of a 
hundred dollars each." 

'You hear the charge, Harry," said the justice. 
"Are you guilty or not guilty?" 

"Not guilty," answered Harry, in clear, ringing 
accents, surveying the Colonel proudly. 

'You ought to have some one to defend you," 
said the justice. 

''I will defend myself," said Harry, resolutely. 

'Very well. Colonel Ross, I will hear your tes- 
timony." 

The Colonel, being sworn, testified that he had 
missed the bonds on the morning afterward, and 
had been led, by what his son told him, to suspect 
Harry Gilbert. He had gone to the cottage, and 
found the bonds. He was about to rehearse Philip's 
information, but the justice stopped him, and said 
he would hear Philip in person. 



THE TIN BOX 271 

"Have you any question to ask the witness?" 
asked the justice of Harry. 

"Can I reserve my questions?" asked Harry. 
'Yes; if you desire it." 

Philip was next sworn. He testified that, on the 
evening in question, he had seen Harry prowling 
:ound the house, just before going up to bed. 

"How did you happen to sit up so late?" asked 
Harry. 

"That's my affair," replied Philip, haughtily. 

"Answer!" thundered the justice, angrily. "No 
inj*olence here, sir!" 

''I was reading," said Philip, frightened. 

"Did you go into the room where the trunk 
was?" asked Harry, in his capacity as lawyer. 

"Ye-es." 

"Did you open the trunk?" 

"No," answered Philip, nervously. 

'I protest against the prisoner's insolence to my 
son," exclaimed Colonel Ross, angrily. 

'It is a question he has a right to ask," said the 
justice, calmly. 

'Did you see the keys which your father left on 
his desk?" asked Harry. 

"No," answered Philip, ill at ease. 

"I should now like to question Colonel Ross," 
said Harry. 

The Colonel, with a curl of the lip, took the 
stand again. 



272 THE TIN BOX 

"Really," he said, "it looks as if my son and I 
were on trial instead of the prisoner." 

"Colonel Ross, you must be aware that I am 
according Harry no unusual privileges. It is 
as a lawyer his own advocate that he questions 
you." 

"Go on," said the Colonel, haughtily. 

"Colonel Ross," continued Harry, "do you gen- 
erally keep a list of the numbers on your bonds?" 

"Of course!" 

"Can you furnish the numbers of the bonds that 
were taken from you ?" 

'I can give the numbers of the whole ten bonds. 
I don't know which were taken. I have not com- 
pared my list with those that remain." 

"Have you the numbers with you?" 

'Yes, I have them in my notebook." 

"Will you be kind enough to repeat them so that 
the court may take them down?" 

"Certainly! though I don't see what good thai- 
will do." 

"It is of material importance," said the justice, 
nodding approval. 

Colonel Ross drew from his inside coat pocket a 
large wallet, and, opening it, took out a memoran- 
dum, from which he read as follows : 

"The numbers run from 17,810 to 17.817, in- 
clusive." 



THE TIN BOX 273 

"Then the stolen bonds are somewhere between 
those numbers?" said Harry. 

"Of course." 

Harry turned to the constable. 

"Mr. Rogers," he said, "have you the bonds 
which were found at our house?" 

"Yes," answered the constable. 

"Will you hand them to Squire Davis, and ask 
him to read off the numbers?" 

"You will do as Harry requests you," said the 
justice. 

The constable placed the envelope in his hands, 
and Justice Davis, opening it, drew out three 
bonds. 

"I find two one-hundred-dollar bonds," he said, 
"and one fifty-dollar bond." 

"The two hundred-dollar bonds are mine," said 
Colonel Ross. 

"That is, you claim them," said the justice, cau- 
tiously. "I will read the numbers. 

"This one," he proceeded, unfolding one, "is 
numbered 9,867, and the other" after a pause 
"i 1,402. It strikes me, Colonel Ross, that you will 
have to look further for your bonds." 

If such a dignified-looking man as Colonel Ross 
could look foolish, the Colonel looked so at that 
moment. He realized that he had made a ridicu- 
lous exhibition of himself, and he felt mortified to 
think that he had been so careless as not to have 



274 THE TIN BOX 

thought of comparing the numbers of the bonds the 
moment he had discovered them in Harry Gilbert's 
possession. 

"Harry Gilbert is honorably discharged, and thj 
bonds are restored to him," said the justice. 

'Thank you, sir," said Harry, glancing not with- 
out natural exultation, at Colonel Ross and Philip. 

Philip, by the way, looked as uncomfortable as 
his father. 

Here there was an unexpected and startling in- 
terruption. 

"I can tell Colonel Ross all about it!" said a dis- 
tinct voice from near the door. 

"Come forward then and give your informa- 
tion," said the justice. 

This call was answered by Tom Calder, who 
elbowed his way to the front, dressed in his farm 
attire, and in his shirt sleeves. 

Philip's face might have been observed to grow 
pale when he heard Tom's voice, and he looked 
decidedly sick when the boy walked up to give his 
testimony. Unobserved by any one, for all eyes 
were fixed upon Tom, he edged to the door, and 
slipped out, in an agony of apprehension, for he 
foresaw what was coming. 

"Proceed," said the justice. 

'That night when the Colonel missed the bonds," 
began Tom, "I was coming home some time after 
nine, when I happened to look into the window, and 



THE TIN BOX 275 

there 1 saw Phil Ross with his father's little trunk 
open before him. I saw him take out a couple of 
bonds, and slip them into his inside pocket. Then 
he carefully locked the trunk again, laid the keys 
on the desk, and left the room. That's all I saw." 

"It's a falsehood!" ejaculated Colonel Ross, 
furiously. 

"You just ask Phil about it, Colonel," said Tom, 
composedly. 

Colonel Ross looked around for Philip, but no 
Philip was to be seen. 

"I seed him slip out of the door just as Tom was 
beginnin' to talk," said a small urchin. 

Overcome with mortification, and compelled to 
suspect that Tom's story was true, Colonel Ross 
hurried home, where he found Philip. 

Sternly calling him to account, the Colonel ex- 
torted a confession, not only that he had taken the 
bonds, but what had become of them. The result 
was that information was sent to the police of New 
York, and Tames Congreve was arrested. 

/ o 

I may as well finish this part of the story by say- 
ing that Congreve was compelled to give up what 
remained of his ill-gotten gains, but Colonel Ross 
failed to prosecute him, because he could not do so 
without involving his own son also. It was only 
two months, however, before Congreve was de- 
tected in a more serious affair, for which he was 
forced to stand trial, and is even now serving a 



276 THE TIN BOX 

term of imprisonment, received as a penalty for the 
later crime. 

As for Philip, he was so mortified and shamed 
by the exposure of his dishonesty, and his attempt 
to fix the crime upon another, that he asked his 
father to send him to a boarding school at a dis- 
tance, and his request was complied with. 

Tom Calder was immediately discharged by 
Colonel Ross, but within a week he was engaged 
elsewhere at an advanced salary. His new em- 
ployer was Mr. Obed Wilkins,' better known to us 
as Uncle Obed. 

If this statement excites surprise, I must refer 
my readers to the next chapter for an explanation. 



3 HE TIN BOX 27 



CHAPTER XLII 

CONCLUSION 

THE house of Colonel Ross was the finest in the 
village, with one exception. A certain Mr. Car- 
rington, a city merchant, had, five years before, 
built a country villa surpassing it, a little distance 
away on the same street. 

It was provided with handsome grounds, and 
originally cost, everything included, thirty-five 
thousand dollars, exclusive of furniture. 

It was the day after Harry's triumphant acquit- 
tal that Uncle Obed remarked, casually: 

"I hear that Mr. Carrington is anxious to sell his 
estate." 

li l am not surprised," answered Mrs. Gilbert. 
'He bought it chiefly to please a young wife, and 
her sudden death sadly disturbed all his plans." 

''I have made some inquiries," continued Uncle 
Obed, u and find that he is willing to sell every- 
thing, even to the furniture, for fifteen thousand 
dollars." 



278 THE TIN BOX 

"That is a great bargain, for he could scarcely 
have paid less than forty thousand dollars for the 
whole." 

"I have about decided to buy the place," said 
Mr. Wilkins, quietly. 

"What!" exclaimed Mrs. Gilbert and Harry, in 
concert. 

"Since you both think it will be a good bargain, 
I think I will buy it," continued Uncle Obed, his 
eyes twinkling. 

"That's a good joke," said Harry. 

"No joke at all, as you will find." 

"You don't mean to say you can afford to buy 
such a place?" said Harry, in amazement. 

"I consider myself worth seventy-five thousand 
dollars," said Mr. Wilkins. 

Mrs. Gilbert and Harry stared at him in undis- 
guised astonishment. 

"I thought you were a very poor man," said the 
widow. 

"I know you did," said Uncle Obed, laughing. 

"What will Colonel Ross say?" wondered 
Harry. 

"I feel more interested in what my niece will 
say," said the old man. 

"I am afraid they will take you away from us, 
Uncle Obed, when they find out that you are rich." 

"Not against my will, I think," replied the old 
man, with quiet determination. 



THE TIN BOX 279 

"They won't want to send you back to Illinois 



now.' 



"I don't know but they will, when they find I 
won't go with them." 

"Do you think of moving into the new house, 
Mr. Wilkins?" asked Mrs. Gilbert, anxiously. 

"Yes, I think I shall." 

"We shall be sorry to lose you," she said, 
soberly. 

'You are not going to lose me," assured Uncle 
Obed. 'Do you think I am going to live alone? I 
should die of loneliness. No ! You and Harry go 
with me, and I shall take the liberty of paying all 
the expenses of housekeeping." 

"How kind you are, Uncle Obed," said Harry. 

"No, I'm not. I'm a selfish old man, looking out 
for what will make my home happy. And that's 
not all. Mrs. Gilbert, didn't you tell me you had 
a sister a dressmaker in New York in poor 
health." 

'Yes, poor Maria. She is in poor health, but 
cannot afford a vacation." 

'You shall offer her a home with you. There's 
plenty of room in Carrington's house. She will be 
company for all of us, especially when Master 
Harry goes to college." 

'When I go to college !" Harry ejaculated. 

"Certainly ! Wouldn't you like it ?" 



2 So THE TIN BOX 

'Very much; but it would take so many years, 
when I could be earning nothing." 

k l will see that you are provided for, Harry; 
but I don't want you to go away from home at pres- 
ent, if it can be avoided. Isn't there any one in the 
village with whom you can prepare for college?" 

"Mr. Rodman, the minister, is an excellent 
scholar, and I am sure he- would be glad to take a 
pupil." 

'Then go to see him at once. Tell him I don't 
want him to work for nothing. I will pay him well 
for his services, and buy him all the sticks he needs 
to flog you when you require it." 

'That doesn't frighten me," said Harry, smil- 
ing. 

'You w r ill wonder how I became so rich," said 
Mr. Wilkins, after a pause. 'I will tell you. Ten 
years ago I befriended a young man, and furnished 
him the means to go to California. .There he pros- 
pered, and became very rich. A year since he re- 
turned, on a visit, and, to my amazement, insisted 
upon my accepting seventy thousand dollars as a 
free gift. This, added to the little property I 
already had, made me worth rather over seventy- 
five thousand dollars. Recently, feeling lonely, I 
came East, intending, if my relatives here received 
me kindly, to make my home with them, and make 
Philip Ross my heir. You know how my expecta- 
tions were disappointed. It was a grief to me, but 



THE TIN BOX 281 

it is all right now. I look upon you and your 
mother as relatives, and I intend to treat you as 
such, and, in return, I know you will provide me 
with a happy home during my few remaining 
years." 

It is needless to say what hearty assurances 
Uncle Obed received that his happiness would be 
consulted, and secured, so far as Harry and his 
mother were able to effect it. 

The next day Uncle Obed, accompanied by 
Harry, went to the city, and returned the owner of 
the Carrington estate. 

The Gilberts immediately began to make ar- 
rangements for moving into the new house. No 
sooner did Colonel Ross and his family receive a 
hint of what was going on than in amazement Mrs. 
Ross called at the little cottage, where she found 
all in confusion. 

"Is it true, Uncle Obed," asked Mrs. Ross, 
abruptly, "that you are a rich man?" 
, "I believe so, Niece Lucinda," answered the old 
man, meekly. 

"I am so glad," said Mrs. Ross, with suavity. 
"We all rejoice in your good fortune, dear uncle ! 
And now, Uncle Obed, you must come over to our 
house at once. We will set aside the best room for 
you, and we will try to make you happy. This little 
house is not suitable for you." 



282 THE TIN BOX 

"So I thought, and for that reason I have bought 
the Carrington place." 

"So I heard," said Mrs. Ross; "but, of course, 
you won't think of living there alone ? ? 

"No; Mrs. Gilbert and Harry will live with me 
there." 

Mrs. Ross darted a glance of hatred and sus- 
picion at the widow, whom she mentally accused of 
scheming for Uncle Obed's wealth. 

"Better let the place, and come to live with us, 
dear Uncle Obed," she said, sweetly. 

'No, thank you. We'll be good neighbors, 
Niece Lucinda, and I shall be glad to exchange 
calls; but I want a home of my own." 

And to this determination Mr. Wilkins adhered, 
in spite of all his niece could say. 

So Harry and his mother and his aunt took up 
their residence at the fine Carrington house, which 
Uncle Obed took care to support in a befitting 
manner, though not extravagantly. 

He bought a horse and carriage, and engaged 
Tom Calder as a stable boy, as we have already 
hinted. Harry began at once to prepare for col- 
lege, under the care of the minister. 

Five years have passed away. He is now at Yale 
College, but comes home often to see his mother 
and Uncle Obed. He is one of the highest scholars 
in his class, and Uncle Obed is proud of his success. 



THE TIN BOX 283 

He is recognized as the heir of Mr. Wilkins, much 
to the chagrin of Mrs. Lucinda Ross and family. 

Philip is a spendthrift, and is giving his parents 
serious anxiety. He, too, entered college ; but was 
expelled the first year. It is to be hoped he will 
some day turn over a new leaf. 

For Harry I confidently expect a useful and hon- 
orable career, and I am sure that all my young read- 
ers will rejoice at the prosperity which has come to 
the struggling boy. 



THE END 



A. L. Burt's Catalogue of Books for 
Young People by Popular Writers, 
58 Duane Street, New York ^ 

BOOKS FOR BOYS. 

Joe's Luck: A Boy's Adventures in California. By 

HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1. 00. 

The story is chock full of stirring incidents, while the amusing situ 
ations are furnished by Joshua Bickford, from Pumpkin Hollow, and th 
fellow who modestly styles himself the "Rip-tail Roarer, from Pike Co., 
Missouri." Mr. Aljrer never writes a poor book, and "Joe's Luck" is cer- 
tainly one of his best. 

Tom the Bootblack; or, The Eoad to Success. By 

HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00. 

A bright, enterprising lad was Tom the Bootblack. He was not at all 
ashamed of his humble calling, though always on the lookout to better 
himself. The lad started for Cincinnati to look UD his heritage. Mr. 
Grey, th- uncle, did not hesitate to employ a ruffian to kill the lad. The 
plan failed, and Gilbert Grey, once Tom the bootblack, came into a com- 
fortable fortune. This is one of Mr. Alger's best stories. 

Dan the Newsboy. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, 

cloth, illustrated, price $1.00. 

Dan Mordaunt and his mother live in a poor tenement, and the lad is 
pluekily trying to make ends meet by selling papers in the streets of New- 
York. A little heiress of six years is confided to the care of the Mor- 
daunts. The child is kidnapped and Dan tracks the child to the house 
where she is hidden, and rescues her. The wealthy aunt of the little 
heiress is so delighted with Dan's courage and many good qualitiea 
that she adopts him as her heir. 

Tony the Hero: A Brave Boy's Adventure with a 

Tramp. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1. 00. 

Tony, a sturdy bright-eyed boy of fourteen, is under the control of 
Rudolph Rugg, a thorough rascal. After much abuse Tony runs away 
and gets a job as stable boy in a country hotel. Tony is heir to a 
large estate. Rudolph for a consideration hunts up Tony and throws 
him down a deep well. Of course Tony escapes from the fate provided 
for him, and by a brave act, a rich friend secures his rights and Tony 
is prosperous. A very entertaining book. 

The Errand Boy; or, How Phil Brent Won Success. 

By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth illustrated, price $1.00. 

The career of "The Errand Boy" embraces the city adventures of a 
emart country lad. Philip was brought up by a kind-hearted innkeeper 
named Brent. The death of Mrs. Brent paved the way for the hero's 
subsequent troubles. A retired merchant in New York secures him the 
situation of errand boy, and thereafter stands as his friend. 

Tom Temple's Career. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, 

cloth, illustrated, price SI. 00. 

Tom Temple is a bright, self-reliant lad. He leaves Plympton village 
to seek work in New York, whence he undertakes an important mission 
to California. Some of his adventures in the far west are so startling that 
the reader will scarcely close the book until the last page shall have beeu 
reached. The tale is written in Mr. Alger's most fascinating style. 

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the 
publisher, A. L. BUB.T, 52-58 Duaue Straat, New York. 



A. L. BURT'S BOOKS FOE YOUNG PEOPLE. 



Frank Fowler, the Cash Boy. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 

j2mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00. 

Frank Fowler, a poor boy, bravely determines to make a living for 
himself and his foster-sister Grace. Going to New York he obtains a 
situation as cash boy in a dry goods store. He renders a service to a 
.wealthy old gentleman who takes a fancy to the lad, and thereafter 
helps the lad to gain success and fortune. 

Tom Thatcher's Fortune. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 

12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1-00. 

Tom Thatcher is a brave, ambitious, unselfish boy. He supports his 
mother and sister on meagre wages earned as a shoe-pegger in John 
Simpson's factory. Tom is discharged from the factory and starts over- 
land for California. He meets with many adventures. The story is told 
in a way which has made Mr. Alger's name a household word in so many 
homes. 

The Train Boy. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, 

cloth, illustrated, price $1.00. 

Paul Palmer was a wide-awake boy of sixteen who supported his mother 
and sister by selling books and papers on the Chicago and Milwaukee 
Railroad. He detects a young man in the act of picking the pocket of a 
young lady. In a railway accident many passengers are killed, but Paul 
is fortunate enough to assist a Cnicago merchant, who out of gratitude 
takes him into his employ. Paul succeeds with tact and judgment and 
is well started on the road to business prominence. 

Mark Mason's Victory. The Trials and Triumphs of 

a Telegraph Boy. By HORATIO ALGER, JB. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 

$1.00. 

Mark Mason, the telegraph boy, was a sturdy, honest lad, who piuckily 
won his way to success by his honest manly efforts under manj diffi- 
culties. This story will please the very large class of boys who regard 
Mr. Alger as a favorite author. 

A Debt of Honor. The Story of Gerald Lane's Success 

in the Far West. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price 

$1.00. 

The story of Gerald Lane and the account of the many trials and dis- 
appointments which he passed through bef or he attained success, will 
interest all boys who have read the previous stories of this delightful 
author. 

Ben Bruce. Scenes in the Life of a Bowery Newsboy. 

By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price SI -00. 

Ben Bruce was a brave, manly, generous boy. The story of his efforts, 
and many seeming failures and disappointments, and his final success, are 
most interesting to all readers. The tale is written in Mr. Alger's 
most fascinating style. 

The Castaways; or, On the Florida Eeefs. By JAMES 

OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00. 

This tale smacks of the salt sea. From the moment that the Sea 
Queen leaves lower New York bay till the breeze leaves her becalmed off 
the coast of Florida, one can almost hear the whistle of the wind 
tnrough her rigging, the creak of her straining cordage as she heels to 
the leeward. Tee adventures of Ben Clark, the hero of the storv and 
Jake the cook, cannot fail to charm the reader. As a writer for young 
people Mr. Otis is a prime favorite. 

>, . _n-.jT - r .-^-.1-. . L T- ~ 1 -' 

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on rr-^ipt of price by the 
publisher, A. L. BUET, 52-58 Duane Street, New York. 



JAN 1 1 1955 



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