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Newspaper Page Text
THE BROKEN EAR
By George Elmer Cobb.
Rufus Burt was poor, miserably
poor. He had a little ten-acre farm
and a comfortable house on it, but it
was not entirely paid for. Five chil
dren, the oldest one fourteen years
of age, a boy, Robert, pretty well kept
his nose to the grindstone.
With a cheery, industrious wife and
these five rollicking loving branches,
'Why, There's the Rig!'
Rufus could not be unhappy long at
a time. Once in a while Netta, the
mother, lamented that they could not
get the burden of debt off their shoul
ders and enough ahead to give the
children a good education. And she
used to say:
"Why don't Uncle Zed give up his
stony heartedness with all he's got,
and help us a little over the hard
But Uncle Zed Mills, fifty miles
away, had long since ceased recog
nising his relatives, not even allow
ing them to visit him. There had
been a family feud. Poor Netta was
in no way to blame for it, but after a
general row far in the past, Uncle Zed
had closed his heart and doors to
every living relative he had in the
world, saying he intended to leave his
fortune to charity.
They had heard of the miserly old
recluse living in a lonely house all by
himself. Near by was the hut of a
man named Eli Starkey. This per
son the hermit hired to attend to his
daily wants. He had filled that
function for ten years. The last the
Burts heard of their relative, he was
blind and deaf. Several of his rela
tives had tried to break in on his soli
tude, only to be driven away by the
fierce-visaged, implacable Starkey.
"Poorer than ever," announced
Rufus one morning, coming in from
the barn. "It looks as if misfortune
has singled us out particularly."
"What is it, dear?" inquired his
wife in her gently anxious way.
"Horse and wagon gone stolen!"
replied Rufus. "Well, x suppose all I
can do is to try and get a trace of the
Rufus started out There were
guiding hoof marks and wheel tracks
across a field and then along an ob
scure and unfrequented road. Rufus
had gone about five miles when he
started up with new energy.
"Why, there's the rig," he exclaim
Sure enough, faced in the direction
from which he was approaching was
old Dobbin. The animal stood by
the side of the road unhitched from
the vehicle. The .wagon itself was
stuck in a great muddy rut. A boy
about the age of Robert was trying
to pry an imprisoned wheel free with
a fence rail
Rufus viewed the lad curiously as
he approached. He was a ragged but
bright faced youngster. The way he
toiled and perspired at his task rather
pleased Rufus. It Bhowed that he
was not afraid of work. The lad
looked up and suspended his labor as
1 Rufus came up to him.
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