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Newspaper Page Text
AN OLD SOLDIER ,
By Mary Gertrude Sheridan
'(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
"If I only had a -gun!" sighed old
Rufus Thwaite drearily.
"What would you do with it if you
had, grandfather?" inquired little
Ned was a neighbor's boy and no
relation whatever to his aged com
panion. Everybody in the neighbor
hood called Mr. Thwaite grandfather,
however. They were in fact more
friendly and indulgent than those
who had a right to do so.
"I'd go to war," replied the old
man with vehemence. "I was a sol
dier once in Wales. I belonged to
the English army. Look here," and
the rheumatic patriot sprang to his
feet with unaccustomed agility,
picked up a long stick and went
through dimly remembered tactics
of the past.
It would have been ludicrous if it
was not sad. For ten years his mar
ried granddaughter and her husband
and their family had simply tolerated
their aged relative as a helpless, wit
less old man.
They felt bitter toward him be
cause he had lost several thousand
dollars in securities, which consti
tuted his sole resources and which
they expected to inherit.
One day in the long ago Mr.
Thwaite had gone to the city to see
the sights. He was missing for three
days and then the Allertons received
word that he was in a hospital, hav
ing been run down by a street car.
They had brought him home to
find that he had suffered a broken
arm and almost a total lapse of mem
ory. They could not find his precious
securities. He had not even a list
of what they were. They decided that
he must have taken them to the city
with him and lost them. He could
Then they began to neglect him
They put him in a small, dark bed'
room over the kitchen, made him
take his meals there, and, lonely .and
cold though he might be, never in
vited him into the better part of the
For about a month the old man
had become greatly interested "in" the
war. Every afternoon after school
Ned Rogers brought themorning
newspaper from1 home and he and the
old man would go up to the wretched
room and he would read to him for
an hour, all war news.
"See here, Ned," spoke Mr.
Thwaite just now, "I feel it my' duty
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Polishing Up the Rusted Old Musket
to go back to my old home and offer
my services to the army."
"Why, Mr. Thvwaite," exclaimed
Ned, "you're too old! - Besides, that
stiff arm of your. And how, would
you ever get there?"
"I'd try it anyhow," replied Mr.
Thwaite, a dreamy expression, in his
eyes. "I'm pretty miserable here,
Ned. The folks don't care for me.
Now there was my .other daughter,