Penrod eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 168 pages of information about Penrod.

“No, you couldn’t.”

“Well, there must be some boy up there that I could——­”

“No, they ain’t!  You better——­”

“I expect not, then,” said Penrod, quickly.

“You better ‘expect not.’  Didn’t I tell you once you’d never get back alive if you ever tried to come up around the Third?  You want me to show you how we do up there, ’bo?”

He began a slow and deadly advance, whereupon Penrod timidly offered a diversion: 

“Say, Rupe, I got a box of rats in our stable under a glass cover, so you can watch ’em jump around when you hammer on the box.  Come on and look at ’em.”

“All right,” said the fat-faced boy, slightly mollified.  “We’ll let Dan kill ’em.”

“No, sir!  I’m goin’ to keep ’em.  They’re kind of pets; I’ve had ’em all summer—­I got names for em, and——­”

“Looky here, ’bo.  Did you hear me say we’ll let ’Dan kill ’em?”

“Yes, but I won’t——­”

What won’t you?” Rupe became sinister immediately.  “It seems to me you’re gettin’ pretty fresh around here.”

“Well, I don’t want——­”

Mr. Collins once more brought into play the dreadful eye-to-eye scowl as practised “up at the Third,” and, sometimes, also by young leading men upon the stage.  Frowning appallingly, and thrusting forward his underlip, he placed his nose almost in contact with the nose of Penrod, whose eyes naturally became crossed.

“Dan kills the rats.  See?” hissed the fat-faced boy, maintaining the horrible juxtaposition.

“Well, all right,” said Penrod, swallowing.  “I don’t want ’em much.”  And when the pose had been relaxed, he stared at his new friend for a moment, almost with reverence.  Then he brightened.

“Come on, Rupe!” he cried enthusiastically, as he climbed the fence.  “We’ll give our dogs a little live meat—­’bo!”

CHAPTER XXII THE IMITATOR

At the dinner-table, that evening, Penrod Surprised his family by remarking, in a voice they had never heard him attempt—­a law-giving voice of intentional gruffness: 

“Any man that’s makin’ a hunderd dollars a month is makin’ good money.”

“What?” asked Mr. Schofield, staring, for the previous conversation had concerned the illness of an infant relative in Council Bluffs.

“Any man that’s makin’ a hunderd dollars a month is makin’ good money.”

“What is he talking about!” Margaret appealed to the invisible.

“Well,” said Penrod, frowning, “that’s what foremen at the ladder works get.”

“How in the world do you know?” asked his mother.

“Well, I know it!  A hunderd dollars a month is good money, I tell you!”

“Well, what of it?” said the father, impatiently.

“Nothin’.  I only said it was good money.”

Mr. Schofield shook his head, dismissing the subject; and here he made a mistake:  he should have followed up his son’s singular contribution to the conversation.  That would have revealed the fact that there was a certain Rupe Collins whose father was a foreman at the ladder works.  All clues are important when a boy makes his first remark in a new key.

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Project Gutenberg
Penrod from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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