Jack's Ward eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 203 pages of information about Jack's Ward.

“That’s the very thing I’ve come to Philadelphia about,” said Jack, soberly.  “Ida has been carried off, and I’ve come in search of her.”

“Been carried off?  I didn’t know such things ever happened in this country.  What do you mean?”

Jack told the story of Mrs. Hardwick’s arrival with a letter from Ida’s mother, conveying the request that her child might, under the guidance of the messenger, be allowed to pay her a visit.  To this and the subsequent details Abel Harding listened with earnest attention.

“So you have reason to think the child is in Philadelphia?” he said, musingly.

“Yes,” said Jack; “Ida was seen in the cars, coming here, by a boy who knew her in New York.”

“Ida?” repeated the baker.  “Was that her name?”

“Yes; you knew her name, didn’t you?”

“I dare say I have known it, but I have heard so little of your family lately that I had forgotten it.  It is rather a singular circumstance.”

“What is a singular circumstance?”

“I will tell you, Jack.  It may not amount to anything, however.  A few days since a little girl came into my shop to buy a small amount of bread.  I was at once favorably impressed with her appearance.  She was neatly dressed, and had a very honest face.  Having made the purchase she handed me in payment a new dollar bill.  ’I’ll keep that for my little girl,’ thought I at once.  Accordingly, when I went home at night, I just took the dollar out of, the till and gave it to her.  Of course, she was delighted with it, and, like a child, wanted to spend it at once.  So her mother agreed to go out with her the next day.  Well, they selected some knick-knack or other, but when they came to pay for it the dollar proved counterfeit.”


“Yes; bad.  Issued by a gang of counterfeiters.  When they told me of this, I said to myself, ’Can it be that this little girl knew what she was about when she offered me that?’ I couldn’t think it possible, but decided to wait till she came again.”

“Did she come again?”

“Yes; only day before yesterday.  As I expected, she offered me in payment another dollar just like the other.  Before letting her know that I had discovered the imposition I asked her one or two questions with the idea of finding out as much as possible about her.  When I told her the bill was a bad one, she seemed very much surprised.  It might have been all acting, but I didn’t think so then.  I even felt pity for her, and let her go on condition that she would bring me back a good dollar in place of the bad one the next day.  I suppose I was a fool for doing so, but she looked so pretty and innocent that I couldn’t make up my mind to speak or act harshly to her.  But I am afraid that I was deceived, and that she was an artful character after all.”

“Then she didn’t come back with the good money?”

“No; I haven’t seen her since.”

Project Gutenberg
Jack's Ward from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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