“I took the money and come away. And he run away. And that’s all.”
The town hall was very still. The stillness of it seemed to pierce and hurt.... Then it was broken by a cry, a hoarse cry, wrenched from the soul of a man. “My boy!... My boy!...” Old Elder Newton was on his feet, tottering toward his son, and before his son he sank upon his knees and buried his hard, weathered old face upon Mavin’s knees.
Justice of the Peace Bender cleared his throat.
“This here,” he said, “looks to me to be suthin’ the folks of this town, the friends and neighbors of this here father and son, ought to settle, instid of the law. Maybe it hain’t legal, but I dunno who’s to interfere.... Folks, what ought to be done to this here boy that done a crime and suffered the consequences of it, jest to save his father from another crime the old man never done a-tall?”
Neither Mavin nor his father heard. The old elder was muttering over and over, “My boy that was dead and is alive again....”
Scattergood arose silently and pointed to the door, and the crowd withdrew silently, withdrew to group about the entrance outside and to wait. They were patient. It was an hour before Elder Newton descended, his son on one side and Mattie Strong on the other.... The band, with a volunteer drummer, lifted its joyous voice, and, looking up, the trio faced a banner upon which Scattergood had caused to be painted, “Welcome Home, Mavin Newton.”
Coldriver had taken judicial action and thus voiced its decision.
HE CRACKS AN OBDURATE NUT
Jason Locker, who was Sam Kettleman’s rival in Coldriver’s grocery industry, was a trifle too amenable to modern ideas at times. He took notions, as the folks said. Once he went so far as to say that he could do anything in his store that anybody could do in a big city store and make a success of it. He was so progressive that in the Coldriver parade he occupied a position so advanced that it really seemed like two parades.
Old Man Bogle and Deacon Pettybone and Elder Hooper always discussed Locker when politics were exhausted, and their only point of difference was as to when and exactly how Jason would wind up in bankruptcy. They were agreed that he was a bit touched in his head. He was much given to sales. He installed a perfectly unnecessary cash carrier from the counter to a desk where Mrs. Locker made change. He bought a case of olives, which were viewed and tasted (free) by the village loafers, and pronounced spoiled.... In short, there was no newfangled idea which Jason failed to adopt, and in a matter of twenty years the town grew accustomed to him, and tolerated him, and, as a matter of fact, was rather proud of him as a novel lunatic. However, he prospered.
But when, on a certain Monday morning, a strange and unquestionably pretty girl, dressed not according to Coldriver’s ideas of current fashions, made her appearance in a space cleared in the middle of the store, and there proceeded to make and dispense tiny cups of a new brand of coffee, the village considered that Jason had gone too far.