“I’ll say this, Leon,” he finally told the waiting boy; “I’ll keep quiet about this little thing for three days, and then feel free to mention it, if the necessity arises. I’ll make a further bargain with you to this effect; you fight shy of the company of Nick Lang after this, and I’ll hold my tongue as long as I understand that you’ve cut his acquaintance; otherwise, I’ll feel free to speak; and there are lots of people in this town who’ll believe you had some dark motive back of your breaking into this building to-night. Your reputation is against you, Leon, you understand. Another fellow might enter here, and everybody would believe what he said; but you’ve long ago lost the confidence of everybody worth while in Scranton. Is it a bargain, then?”
Leon replied with alacrity; but then that was no sign that he meant to keep his word. He had been caught in a downright lie on many another occasion; so Hugh did not place much reliance on his promise to reform.
“Oh! as to that, Hugh,” said the crafty Leon, “I’ve been figuring on cutting away from Nick for a long time now, and I guess I’ll do it. He’s got me in lots of nasty scrapes, you understand, and then just laughs at me. I’d have given him the shake long since, only he threatened to whip me black and blue if I ever did. But this would be a good chance to try it out. Yes, I’ll promise you to try and break away from Nick; and I hope you’ll keep mum about my coming here to-night. If you don’t mind, Thad, I’d like to have my flashlight now. And I ought to be going back home in the bargain, because dad doesn’t like me to be out nights unless he knows where I’m at.”
Thad chuckled as though he considered this last remark in the light of a joke; for Leon roamed the streets until a late hour every night he chose; but, as there was no need of their staying longer, they passed out of the window, and headed toward their respective homes.
SCRANTON IN GALA ATTIRE
That was, indeed, a busy Friday with the students of Scranton High. Lessons had been tabooed entirely, for what was the use of trying to hold the attention of the scholars upon dry subjects when their thoughts continually roamed afield, and seemed concerned only with what great things were scheduled for the next afternoon? Still, they gathered at school, which was a sort of general headquarters where the various committees appointed could consult, and go forth to the work assigned to their particular charge.
The girls were just as enthusiastic as the boys, and demanded equal representation upon a number of the said committees, especially the ones designed for the welcome and entertainment of the vast crowds expected to be present from neighboring towns and villages.
It was going to be an event long to be remembered in Scranton, and the town dressed in gala attire in honor of the occasion. Flags and banners were being displayed as though a great wave of patriotism had overwhelmed the place. If a stranger had suddenly dropped down on the town just then he must have believed American soldiers were on the fighting line across in France, and that news had been cabled over to the effect that they had met the enemy in their first engagement, and won a decisive victory.