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Mr. Jaffrey threw up his hands with a gesture of despair and disappeared. I followed him through the hall, saw him go into his own apartment, and heard the bolt of the door drawn to. Then I returned to the bar-room and sat for an hour or two in the ruddy glow of the fire, brooding over the strange experience of the last fortnight.
On my way to bed I paused at Mr. Jaffrey's door, and, in a lull of the storm, the measured respiration within told me that the old gentleman was sleeping peacefully.
Slumber was coy with me that night. I lay listening to the soughing of the wind and thinking of Mr. Jaffrey's illusion. It had amused me at first with its grotesqueness; but now the poor little phantom was dead. I was conscious that there had been something pathetic in it all along. Shortly after midnight the wind sunk down, coming and going fainter and fainter, floating around the eaves of the tavern with a gentle, murmurous sound, as if it were turning itself into soft wings to bear away the spirit of a little child.
Perhaps nothing that happened during my stay at Bayley's Four Corners took me so completely by surprise as Mr. Jaffrey's radiant countenance the next morning. The morning itself was not fresher or sunnier. His round face literally shone with geniality and happiness. twinkled like diamonds, and the magnetic light of his hair was turned on full. He came into my room while I was packing my valise. He chirped and prattled and carolled, and was sorry I was going away,—but never a word about Andy. However, the boy had probably been dead several
The open waggon that was to carry me to the station stood at the door; Mr. Sewell was placing my case of instruments under the seat, and Mr. Jaffrey had gone up to his room to get me a certain newspaper containing an account of a remarkable shipwreck on the Auckland Islands. I took the opportunity to thank Mr. Sewell for his courtesies to me, and to express my regret at leaving him and Mr. Jaffrey.
“I have become very much attached to Mr. Jaffrey," I said; "he is a most interesting person; but that hypothetical boy of his, that son of Miss Mehetabel's
“Yes, I know !” interrupted Mr. Sewell, testily, “fell off a step-ladder and broke his dratted neck. Eleven year old, wasn't he? Always does, jest at that point. Next week Silas will begin the whole thing over again if he can get anybody to listen to him.”
“I see; our amiable friend is a little queer on that subject.”
Mr. Sewell glanced cautiously over his shoulder, and, tapping himself significantly on the forehead, said in a low voice"Room to let. Unfurnished !”
Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
“SAY, AY, are you a Mason, or a Nodfellow, or anything ?”
asked the bad boy of the grocery man, as he went to the cinnamon bag on the shelf and took out a long stick of cinnamon bark to chew.
“Why, yes, of course I am ; but what set you to thinking of that?” asked the grocery man, as he went to the desk and charged the boy's father with a half-pound of cinnamon.
“Well, do the goats bunt when you nishiate a fresh candidate ?"
“No, of course not. The goats are cheap ones, that have no life, and we muzzle them, and put pillows over their heads, so they can't hurt anybody," says the grocery man, as he winked at a brother Oddfellow who was seated on a sugar barrel, looking mysterious. “But why do you ask ?"
“Oh, nothin', only I wish me and my chum had muzzled our goat with a pillow. Pa would have enjoyed his becoming a member of our lodge better. You see, Pa had been telling us how much good the Masons and Oddfellers did, and said we ought to try and grow up good so we could jine the lodges when we got big ; and I asked Pa if it would do any hurt for us to have a play lodge in my room, and purtend to nishiate, and Pa said it wouldn't do any hurt. He said it would improve our minds and learn us to be men. So my chum and me borried a goat that lives in a livery stable. Say, did you know they keep a goat in a livery stable so the horses won't get sick ? They get used to the smell of the goat, and after that nothing can make them sick but a glue factory. You see my chum and me had to carry the goat up to my room when Ma and Pa was out riding, and he blatted so we had to tie a handkerchief around his nose, and his feet made such a noise on the floor that we put some baby's socks on his hoofs.
“Well, my chum and me practised with that goat until he could bunt the picture of a goat every time. We borried a bock beer sign from a saloon man and hung it on the back of a chair, and the goat would hit it every time. That night Pa wanted to know what we were doing up
in my room, and I told him we were playing lodge, and improving our minds; and Pa said that was right, there was nothing that did boys of our age half so much good as to imitate men, and store by useful nollidge. chum asked Pa if he didn't want to come up and take the grand bumper degree, and Pa laffed and said he didn't care if he did, just to encourage us boys in innocent pastime that was so improving to our intellex. We had shut the goat up in a closet in my room, and he had got over blatting ; so we took off the handkerchief, and he was eating some of my paper collars and skate straps. We