Walter Harland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 175 pages of information about Walter Harland.
in which to reveal any thing we might know concerning the affair.  A pin might have been heard to fall in the room during those fifteen minutes, and seeing that nothing was to be learned in that way Mr. Oswald rose and stepping from his desk said, “a duty is before me and it must be performed, no matter how unpleasant it may be, but this matter must not rest as it is.  If you are all innocent you need not fear, but I shall certainly take the liberty of searching the pockets of every boy in this room, for, if any boy took that money, he has it now.”  Assisted by Mr. Lawrence he proceeded to search the pockets of each boy, keeping a sharp watch that no one had a chance to make way with the money if he had it in his possession.  The boys were very willing their pockets should be searched, and none more so than I, who was anxious that even a shadow of suspicion should be removed from me.

It happened to be Mr. Oswald himself who examined my pockets, and, uttering an exclamation of surprise, almost of horror, he turned deadly pale, for with his own hand he drew from my vest pocket the missing bill.  Had a bomb-shell burst in the school room the shock would not have been more unexpected than was occasioned by this discovery.  My countenance must have expressed unbounded astonishment and dismay, but certainly not guilt.  With a face of deep sorrow, and a voice tremulous with emotion, Mr. Oswald exclaimed:  “Can it be possible!  Walter Harland, that this is true?  That you whom I would have trusted with uncounted gold have been led to commit this act.  Would that the case admitted even of a doubt, but with my own hand I have taken from your pocket what I know is the money I placed in my desk this morning for, as is my custom, I noticed the number of the bill when I received it.”

What could I do, what could I say, against such proof positive, and yet till my teacher drew the bill from my pocket, I had not the slightest knowledge of it’s being there.  I felt that to declare my ignorance of the matter would be almost useless, and yet, conscious of my own innocence, I could not keep silent.  Looking Mr. Oswald boldly in the face I said, “whether you believe me or not I speak the truth when I tell you I never saw that bill till you took it from my pocket; how it came there I know not, but again I tell you I never took the money from your desk.”  I could say no more, and burst into tears.  Mr. Oswald remained silent for a time, trying, I presume, to decide in his own mind as to his wisest course of action.  Requesting the attention of all, he addressed us, saying.  “You are all aware that I lost this money, and you all know where I found it.  I am sensible that, with most persons, a doubt of Walter’s guilt would not exist for a moment, but I say to you all, that, strong as appearances are against him, I am not entirely convinced that Walter Harland stole that money.  He declares himself innocent; he has been a pupil in this school for some

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Walter Harland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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