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Newspaper Page Text
A LOYAL FRIEND
By Augustus Goodrich Sherwin
(Copyright by W. G. Chapman.)
Worthless, -slandering Neal Barrett
opened a packager-done up in a news
paper and smacked his lips in glow
ing anticipation. Then as the con
tents were revealed his rugged face
broke into a smile.
"A right royal handout!" he gloat
ed. "Chicken and cake and biscuits
all buttered, too. Must have had
a banquet at that house last night."
Neal sat down on a pile of boards
and started in to discuss the tempt
ing viands that lay before him. "In
his grateful mind was a memory of
the pleasant little housewife who had
so sumptuously provided for him.
"It's been hard grubbing for a day
or two," solilioquized Neal, "but this
makes up for it all It's better than
free lunch and without the temp
tation. I don't pick up much work,
but Im in a 'dry' district. That's my
only safety zone and m stick!"
He was a good-natured and a good
looking fellow. v Too good-natured
by far he had been in the past It
had led to his grieving a sweet fond
girL It had ended in her father for
bidding him the house. That was a
good .many miles from Neal's present
town of temporary residence. Neal
vsaw the justice of his dismissal, for
Mr; Parsons was poor and Neal was
spoiling the chances for marriage for
ais daughter Florence.
Neal had lost his position through
3eing too easy-going with a reckless,
lissipated set He left town and
.Florence. Work was not easy to pick
jp and idleness killed his ambition.
He became a wanderer, then a tramp.
He was one now, as a matter of fact.
For a month, however, he had bet
tered in one respect. A drinking bout
had got him m with a criminal crowd
and had he not abandoned them he
would have landed where they did
in the penitentiary. The experience
scared him. He took refuge in a local
option district. He had not tasted
liquor for a month. "With sobriety
had come sane.isaddened thoughts of
the girl he had left behind him. He
had. faithfully sought work, but did
not find it to do. So, handouts had
become his portion.
"Hello!" ejaculated Neal in a sud
den sprightly way.
There had come a rustling in the
bushes behind him and then a big,
handsome collie dog bounded in front
pf him, sniffed toward the outspread
t T f tl il f
He Looked Invitingly at Neal. 1
lunch and then sat up and held out
a paw. .
"Shake, old fellow!" hailed Neal.
"Hungry?) I see you are. All right
Well make it fifty-fifty and ther you
It did Neal good to see the half
famished animal enjoy the toothsome
meal, which he divided evenly with
him. It -was getting on toward dusk.
Neal had tramped a good many miles
that day. He chdse a soft grass plat
just off the road a.nd stretched him