Author: St. George Rathborne
Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4941] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on April 2, 2002]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of the project gutenberg EBOOK the house boat boys ***
Produced by Robert Rowe, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
OR DRIFTING DOWN TO THE SUNNY SOUTH
Author of “Canoe mates in Canada”,
“Chums in Dixie” “The
What A letter from A tramp steamer did.
“I say, what’s gone wrong now, Maurice, old fel?”
The speaker, a roughly clad boy of about fifteen or over, caught hold of his companion’s sleeve and looked sympathetically in his face.
The lad whom he called Maurice was better dressed, and he seemed to carry with him a certain air of refinement that was lacking in his friend, who was of a rougher nature. Despite this difference he and Thad Tucker were the closest of chums, sharing each other’s joys and disappointments, small though they might be.
They had met just now at the post-office of a little country town not many miles below Evansville, Indiana, as the afternoon mail was being sorted.
The yellow flood of the great Ohio River could be seen from where they stood, glowing in the early November sunshine.
Upon being greeted with these words Maurice Pemberton shook his head dolefully.
“It’s come, just as I’ve been half expecting it these four months, Thad. The old couple I live with have sold their house and leave for Chicago in a week. That turns me out into the Streets, for you know they’ve given me a home ever since mother, who was a friend of Mrs. Jasper, died; and in return I’ve tried to make good by doing all their gardening and other work between school hours. Now a son has sent for them to come and make their home with him. Pretty tough on a fellow not to know where he’s going to sleep after a single week.”
But Thad was smiling now, as though an idea had flashed into his head that gave him reason for something akin to pleasure.
“Well, I don’t know; if it comes to the worst, Pard Maurice, you’re a dozen times welcome to share my old bunky on the shanty-boat. I’d just love to make another cot like mine, and have you there. Say, wouldn’t it be grand? Of course, though, you’d find it a pretty poor contraption alongside the house you’ve lived in; but if it was a thousand dollar launch still you’d be just as welcome, and you know it,” he said with a heartiness that could not be misunderstood.