In a quiet way word was passed around to the juvenile element of Fairview that there would be “something doing” at the public square directly it was dark. Secretly a notice was posted up that the “Swimmer Company would give a free exhibition of Carlham fireworks.” Several wanted to know who the Swimmer Company were and what Carlham fireworks were like, but no answer could be had to these queries.
At exactly half-past seven that evening there was the flare of a rocket in the public square, followed by the discharge of several Roman candles. Folks came running from all directions, to learn who might be giving the exhibition.
They saw a truly marvelous sight. Four men or boys were there, dressed in fantastic suits and wearing old gloves and big, pointed-top hats. Each had a mask over his face, so that it was utterly impossible to tell who he was.
Boom! bang! sizz! went the fireworks, being set off by all four of the persons at once. Rockets flew high in the sky, leaving a golden train behind them, and Roman candles let out balls of various colors, while on the ground, flower pots spouted forth in great beauty, and pin-wheels whizzed from several trees and hitching-posts.
“This is great!” cried several.
“A bang-up exhibition,” added another. “Never saw a finer display, did you?” put in an old man. “And all free too!” he continued, greatly pleased.
Carl and Ham could not resist the temptation to see what was going on and came running to the square, leaving their box in the barn. They were full of envy, but went through the crowd boasting that their own display would be much better.
At last everything was set off but three large rockets. These were left in charge of one of the masked figures while the other three figures suddenly disappeared in the darkness following a pinwheel flare. The three figures took with them what could be found of the burnt-out Roman candles and other things.
With one grand sizz the three rockets went up into the air simultaneously. The crowd gazed in admiration at the sight. Then as the sky grew dark, they looked out on the square for the last of the masked figures.
It had disappeared.
PREPARING FOR THE GRAND OUTING
Less than quarter of an hour after the celebration at the public square Snap and his three chums met at Whopper’s back gate. They were minus their tall hats and gloves, but still wore a portion of their grotesque outfits.
“Hurry up,” said Whopper, and led the way to a carriage house. Here, with great rapidity, the four youths stripped off the odd suits and donned their regular garments. Then they hid the other things in an out-of-the-way corner.
“Did you place the burnt-out fireworks in the box?” asked Shep, who had been left at the square to set off the three rockets.