“Upward and onward,” murmured Mrs. Stirling, placing a tender, loving hand on Bart’s shoulder.
A second rocket went whizzing up. It raced the other, outdistanced it, seemed bound for the furthest heights, never swerving from a true, straight line.
Then it broke grandly, sending a radiant glow across the clear, serene sky.
“That’s my motto,” said Bart, a touch of intense resolve in his tones—“higher still!”
MRS. HARRINGTON’S TRUNK
“Hey, there! Stirling.”
Bart was busy at his desk in the express office, but turned quickly as he recognized the tones.
Trouble in the shape of Lem Wacker loomed up at the doorway.
“What is it?” asked Bart.
It was a week after the Fourth, and in all that time Bart had not seen anything of the man whom he secretly believed was responsible for the fire at the old express office.
“Who’s the responsible party here?” demanded Lem, making a great ado over consulting a book he carried.
“All right, then—I represent Martin & Company, pickle factory.”
“Oh, you’ve found a job, have you,” spoke Bart, forced to smile at the bombastic business air assumed by his visitor.
“I represent Martin & Company,” came from Wacker, in a solemn, dignified way. “Inspector. We want a rebate on that bill of lading.”
Lem removed a slip from his loose-leaf book and tendered it to Bart.
“What’s the matter with it?” inquired Bart.
“Consignment short,” announced Wacker.
Bart looked him squarely in the eyes. Wacker had made the announcement malignantly. His gaze dropped.
“I’m hired to stop the leaks,” he mumbled, “and if this office is responsible for any of them I’m the man to find it out.”
“Well, in the present instance your claim is sheer folly. I see you note here one hundred and fifty pounds shortage. What is your basis?”
“I weighed them myself.”
Bart consulted his books. Then he turned again to Wacker.
“This consignment was shipped as nine hundred and fifty pounds,” he said. “It weighed that at the start.”
“That’s what the shipping agent says, yes.”
“And you claim eight hundred pounds?”
“It was weighed up here when received—nine hundred and fifty pounds.”
“Come off!” jeered Wacker. “Wasn’t I an express agent once and don’t I know the ropes? What receiving agent ever takes the trouble to re-weigh!”
“My father did—I always do,” announced Bart flatly.
“Even if you did,” persisted Wacker, “what little one-horse agent dares to dispute the big company’s weight at the other end of the line?”
“Oh,” observed Bart smoothly, “you think there is a sort of collusion, do you?”