* * * * *
This story first appeared
in the Central Christian Advocate.
The author wishes to acknowledge the courtesy of the editor in
permitting her to republish it in the present volume.
HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE
“Looks like everybody in Bardstown has a wheel but us,” said Todd Walters, wistfully pressing his little freckled nose against the show-window of the bicycle shop, where a fine wheel was on exhibition.
It was the third time that day that Todd had walked five blocks out of his way to look in at that window, and each time Abbot Morgan and Chicky Wiggins were with him. In the two weeks that the new store had been open, the boys never failed to stop by on their way from school, and the more they looked at the wheel displayed so temptingly in the window, the more each boy longed to own it.
None of them had any spending money. Todd might have by and by when school was out, and he began selling fly-paper again, as he had done the summer before; but it was understood in the tumble-down little cottage that Todd called home that every penny thus earned was to be saved toward the purchase of a much needed new suit.
Chicky Wiggins never could hope to buy the wheel, for he was a district messenger boy, and it took all his weekly earnings to pay for his board and lodging and washing and shoe-leather. Chicky had no family to look after him, or help him make one nickel do the work of three.
Abbot Morgan was such a well-dressed boy that one might have supposed that his pockets were always supplied with spending money, but those who knew Abbot’s uncle, the hard, grasping man with whom he lived, knew better. Peter had worked hard for his little fortune, and, while he was willing to provide a comfortable home for his sister’s orphan son, he did not propose that one penny should be spent in foolishness, as he called it. So there was little hope of Abbot ever owning the wheel.
“But I’ll have something to spend as I please this summer,” he said, as they stood looking in through the window. “Uncle said that after I have done Aunt Jane’s chores every morning, I shall have my time to myself this summer. He let me have the two acres back of the house for a garden, and I’ve got it planted with all sorts of vegetables. They are coming on fine, and I’m going to sell them and have all the money myself, after uncle has paid for the seed.”
Many a conversation about the wheel took place in front of that window, and old Judge Parker, who had his law-office next door, soon began to look for the boys’ visit as one of the most interesting happenings of the day. Everybody in Bardstown knew old Judge Parker. He was as queer as he was kind-hearted, which was saying a great deal, as he was the most benevolent old soul that had ever lived in the little town. There was a kindly twinkle in his blue eyes as he laid down his paper and beckoned the boys to come into his office. He had been making inquiries about them for several days, and one of the queerest of his many queer plans was soon unfolded to the wondering boys.