That evening, after dinner, he addressed to his father an impassioned appeal for three dollars and sixty cents, laying such stress of pathos on his principal argument that if he couldn’t have a dress-suit, at least he ought to be given three dollars and sixty cents (the emphasis is William’s) that Mr. Baxter was moved in the direction of consent—but not far enough. “I’d like to let you have it, Willie,” he said, excusing himself for refusal, “but your mother felt she oughtn’t to do it unless you’d say what you wanted it for, and I’m sure she wouldn’t like me to do it. I can’t let you have it unless you get her to say she wants me to.”
Thus advised, the unfortunate made another appeal to his mother the next day, and, having brought about no relaxation of the situation, again petitioned his father, on the following evening. So it went; the torn and driven William turning from parent to parent; and surely, since the world began, the special sum of three dollars and sixty cents has never been so often mentioned in any one house and in the same space of time as it was in the house of the Baxters during Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of that oppressive week.
But on Friday William disappeared after breakfast and did not return to lunch.
CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN
Mrs. Baxter was troubled. During the afternoon she glanced often from the open window of the room where she had gone to sew, but the peaceful neighborhood continued to be peaceful, and no sound of the harassed footsteps of William echoed from the pavement. However, she saw Genesis arrive (in his weekday costume) to do some weeding, and Jane immediately skip forth for mingled purposes of observation and conversation.
“What do they say?” thought Mrs. Baxter, observing that both Jane and Genesis were unusually animated. But for once that perplexity was to be dispersed. After an exciting half-hour Jane came flying to her mother, breathless.
“Mamma,” she cried, “I know where Willie is! Genesis told me, ’cause he saw him, an’ he talked to him while he was doin’ it.”
“Doing what? Where?”
“Mamma, listen! What you think Willie’s doin’? I bet you can’t g—”
“Jane!” Mrs Baxter spoke sharply. “Tell me what Genesis said, at once.”
“Yes’m. Willie’s sittin’ in a lumber-yard that Genesis comes by on his way from over on the avynoo where all the colored people live—an’ he’s countin’ knot-holes in shingles.”
“He is what?”
“Yes’m. Genesis knows all about it, because he was thinkin’ of doin’ it himself, only he says it would be too slow. This is the way it is, mamma. Listen, mamma, because this is just exackly the way it is. Well, this lumber-yard man got into some sort of a fuss because he bought millions an’ millions of shingles, mamma, that had too many knots in, an’ the man don’t