FARMER BERNARD COLLECTS HIS BILL
“Come and go along with me, Hugh,” Thad Stevens was saying, some days after the defeat suffered by Scranton High at the hands of the Champs, as he bounced into his chum’s den about four in the afternoon.
“Where to?” demanded the other, looking up with a smile; and then noting the eager expression on Thad’s face he hurriedly added: “But I guess I can get pretty close to the mark without your telling me. You’re meaning to continue your campaign against our friend, Brother Lu—–how about that for a guess, Thad?”
“Just what I’m up to, for a fact,” asserted Thad, with his jaws shutting in an energetic fashion. “You ought to know that I never give over, once I’m worked up like that business got me. Day and night I’ve been trying to plan a way of ridding poor deluded Matilda and her sick husband from that sleek rascal who’s fastened on them for keeps.”
“Well, what’s new in the game, Thad?” continued Hugh, picking up his cap, and in this way proclaiming his intention of joining his chum.
“Several things have happened,” admitted Thad, “though honest to goodness I can’t say that they have advanced the cause a whit. First of all Mom has capitulated, which word means she couldn’t stand the strain any longer, worrying so about Matilda going hungry for lack of sewing to do to earn food for the three of them. So she and some of the other ladies sent out a bundle, and I’ve got another down at the door right now, to carry over to the Hosmer cottage.”
“I must say I honor your mother, Thad, for being so tender-hearted,” said Hugh, warmly.
“Of course you do, Hugh,” sighed the other boy, “but it’s too bad they had to give in before that big eater was starved out, and took to the road again, where he could always make sure of begging a full meal at back doors. Now he’ll just decide to squat down and stick through the summer, yes and winter in the bargain, acting as if he might be almost dying every little while, and then recovering his appetite wonderfully soon again. Oh! it makes me furious, that’s what it does.”
“Well, as you’ve asked me to go along, Thad, I’ll accommodate you; but have you any little scheme on foot today?” continued Hugh, leading the way toward the back door, since he under stood that his chum had left his bundle there before hunting him out.
“I wish I did, Hugh,” replied the other, eagerly, “but try as I may, it seems to me I just can’t think up anything worth while. After that grand scheme of ours fell so flat it took all the wind out of my sails. I’m trusting mostly to luck to have something come up that we can grab hold of, so as to give him a boost.”
They were soon on their way. Thad talked almost incessantly, and begged his companion to try his hardest to conceive some promising plan that might turn out a shade better than the one connected with that imaginary marshal from Texas.