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Newspaper Page Text
can't keep Tom hidden in the house 1
ready to laugh whenever mother gets
fretful," ha said.
"No,"' admitted father ,"but -what
about that old phonograph that we've
all grown tired of We might put it
in the table leg."
. You can't imagine how we all
9 jumped at the suggestion. We have
one of those dining tables with a big
hollow, central stand, made for' keep
ing liquor in. Of course, being a tem
perance family, we don't use liquor.
And the stand had never been used
since the day we bought the table.
"I'll give Tom a quarter to laugh
. into the machine." said father, "and
the next time mother gets fretful I'll
start the machine under the table. I
can get Willis to put on an attach
ment so that the pressure of the knee
will start it."
And now I must come to the de
nouement I was at dinner the follow
ing Sunday, and mother was a little
upset on account of the way things
"To think of that Bohemian horse
radish running all to leaves!" she
said. "What's the use of getting
seeds and roots which won't grow,
Adolphus?" (that's father). "Next
time I do wish you would go to a bet
ter see.ds man."
Father sat perfectly silent, and no
body dared to look at him, but I saw
him reach under the table and knew
that he was opening the stand.
"Beef without horseradish isn't
tasty, to my mind;" sajd mother. "And
that reminds me, the butcher isn't
giving us full weight. For the matter
of that, all the tradesmen round here
think they are privileged to cheat us.
The coal is simply gravel and grits.
If only you'd shake them up, Adol-
phus, Instead of sitting tnere and
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!" laughed
black Tom's voice, and mother al
most jumped out of her chair.
"AdolDhus!' she gasped. "There's
that Tom Woolley! Where is he? If4
sounded in this room!"
"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" chuckled
Mother cast one glance at our
mirth-convulsed faces and got up out
of her chair indignantly. he looked
behind the curtains, in the kitchen,
and in the parlor. All the while Tom
Woolley's voice went on laughing,
and before mother came back father
Bad managed to wind the phonograph
"Adolphus!" said mother, "where is
he? What is the meaning of this out
rage?" "Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho!" roared Tom,
and this time none of us could re
strain himself any longer. We put our
heads down upon the dining table and
flopped feebly, as we tried not to suf
focate. And father was laughing loud
est of all.
"It seems to come from underneath
the table!" gasped mother. ' She
raised the tablecloth, and father
wasn't quick enough. Mother saw his
knee pressing the attachment that
Willis had put on, and inside the table
stand she saw the phonograph.
"This is an outrage, Adolphus!" she
said, addressing father sternly.
"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" roared Tom
Mother looked once more on our
purple faces, and then she flung her
self down in her chair and buried her
face in her hands, and gave way to
Tom stopped when the mechanism
fan down, and then father realized
the awful thing that he had done.
He rose up and went behind mother's
chair, looking like a worm.
"Forgive me, Mary!" he pleaded.
"I'm sorry. It was only a joke, dear."
But mother went on shaking and
wouldn't raise her head. And father
looked appealingly at us children.
"You've got me into this mess, you
scamps!" he shouted. "Mary, forgive
me and I'll throw the blamed old box
into the furnace. It was just a "joke,
Mother raised her face, and the
tears were streaming down her