“Into the fort!” shouted Sid, rushing toward the closet, and, as usual, striving after the first chance to retreat. “Into the fort, my men!”
After him scrambled Charlie and Juggie, the dead “spy” manifesting an unusual energy and scrambling after them, forgetting that his friends were in his rear and not in the closet. The next moment all heard an ominous descent from the second to the first story.
“Massy!” shouted Aunt Stanshy. “Somebody has gone down that fodder-box agin!”
She rushed down stairs, followed by the “British army,” and all the members of the Up-the Ladder Club that could move one leg before the other.
“I know those legs! I guess they will stand it,” said Aunt Stanshy, as she reached the lower floor and caught a glimpse of the fodder-box. It was the British spy, whose stout pedestals were sticking out, and he only needed to be once more seized and dragged forward by Juggie and the other “continentals” to give proof of his vigorous, embalmed condition.
“Sakes, boy!” said Aunt Stanshy. “I thought you were shot, but you manifest an immense amount of vitality for a dead man.”
“I came down rather sudden,” said the governor.
“Yes, and it’s the last time,” exclaimed Aunt Stanshy, “that thing is going to happen. I will go up myself and fix that floor, and do it thoroughly.”
In a few moments her hammer was heard vigorously pounding in the closet and securing the club against future harm.
“We didn’t do all we intended,” said Charlie. “We were going to have a reconciliation, aunty.”
“The British and Americans. We were going to have the President of the United States and Queen Victoria walk arm in arm up and down the floor, and never have war any more.”
In the confusion attendant upon the fall of the “spy,” the programme was not carried out as planned, and the shadows of those two eminent rulers never darkened the floor of the barn chamber.
“May war never happen, just the same!” said Aunt Stanshy.
Amen! so say we all of us.
Aunt Stanshy was reading one day the list of prohibitions posted up against the post in the barn chamber.
“Charlie,” she said “I like what is said here, that no cross words and no bad words must be spoken here; but what does it mean when it says no one but the ‘treasury’ must climb the ladder and go up into the cupola? Does that apply to honorary members? and did you think that I might want to go there?”
Charlie’s mouth opened into a crack from ear to ear. “Why—why, the money is up in the cupola!”
“The money is up there in the cupola? Yes, I knew that; you told me that before. What holds your money?”
“A tin dipper.”
“Well, now, if you don’t look out, somebody will steal your money. You may be assured that honorary members won’t trouble it.”