YOUNG AMERICA AFLOAT
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THE IDEA SUGGESTED.
“There are no such peaches this side of New Jersey; and you can’t get them, for love or money, at the stores. All we have to do is, to fill our pockets, and keep our mouths closed—till the peaches are ripe enough to eat,” said Robert Shuffles, the older and the larger of two boys, who had just climbed over the high fence that surrounded the fine garden of Mr. Lowington.
“What will Baird say if he finds it out?” replied Isaac Monroe, his companion.
“Baird,” the gentleman thus irreverently alluded to, was the principal of the Brockway Academy, of which Shuffles and Monroe were pupils in the boarding department.
“What will he say when he finds out that the King of the Tonga Islands picks his teeth with a pitchfork?” added Shuffles, contemptuously. “I don’t intend that he shall find it out? and he won’t, unless you tell him.”
“Of course, I shall not tell him.”
“Come along, then? it is nearly dark, and no one will see us.”
Shuffles led the way down the gravelled walk, till he came to a brook, on the bank of which stood the peach tree whose rich fruit had tempted the young gentlemen to invade the territory of Mr. Lowington with intent to plunder.
“There they are,” said the chief of the young marauders, as he paused behind a clump of quince bushes, and pointed at the coveted fruit. “There’s no discount on them, and they are worth coming after.”
“Hark!” whispered Monroe. “I heard a noise.”
“What was it?”
“I don’t know. I’m afraid we shall be caught.”
“No danger; no one can see us from the house.”
“But I’m sure there’s some one near. I heard something.”
“Nonsense! It was only a dagger of the mind, such as Baird talks about,” answered Shuffles, as he crawled towards the peach tree. “Come, Monroe, be quick, and fill your pockets.”
This peach tree was a choice variety, in whose cultivation the owner had been making an elaborate experiment. Mr. Lowington had watched it and nursed it with the most assiduous care, and now it bore about a dozen remarkably large and beautiful peaches. They were not quite ripe enough to be gathered, but Shuffles was confident that they would “mellow” in his trunk as well as on the tree. The experiment of the cultivator had been a success, and he had already prepared, with much care and labor, a paper explanatory of the process, which he intended to read before the Pomological Society, exhibiting the fruit as the evidence of the practicability of his method. To Mr. Lowington, therefore, the peaches had a value far beyond their intrinsic worth.