had declared she would marshal her
brave knights errant at her birthday
party to give a definite answer to
their respective pleas.
It was next morning that Lesbia
came hurrying to the field where her
father and Ransom were working, in
a great state of anxiety and excite
ment "Oh, father!" she said, flutteringly,
"the piano has not come. I have just
telephoned over to Lloydville and the
station agent reports no trace of.it
I have so set my heart on having it
for my birthday. Why, half our pro
, gram depends on the piano!"
Ransom was at once interested. He
was aware that an aunt in the east
had shipped Lesbia a piano as a birth
day present Notification of its ship
ment had been received. Delayed on
the route or subject to some other
untraced complication, the instru
ment nad not arrived at Lloydvile.
"If vou can SDare me for the dav "
spoke Ransom, after a thoughtful
glance at Lesbia's troubled face, "I
might drive down to Lloydville and
see if I can't learn something more
"Oh, if you would, Ransom," cried
Lesbia eagerly, and Ransom thrilled
as her pretty hand clasped his arm
Ransom went over to his own little
farm and hitched up the od family
horse to a light democratic wagon,
and was soon on his way to Lloyd
ville It was afternoon when 'Ransom
reached the little station. He knew
the man in charge and soon had the
wires busy. It took two hours' pro
miscuous telegraphing, finally reach
ing as far as the original shipping
point of the piano.
"Well, I declare!" suddenly ex
claimed the station man, as he took
a final message. "I might have.
thought of that before."
"What's that?" inquired Ransom.
"Why, by some error the piano was
shipped to the Lloydville across coun-
jtry, in another countyand on anoth-1
T er line. We've had lots of trouble on
account of the two places having the
"And the piano is at the other
Lloydville?" inquired Ransom.
"Yes, been there in storage for two
days," was the reply.
"How long would it take to get it
here?" asked Ransom.
"Several days, for the two roads
have no connection this side of the
transfer belt line, a hundred miles
Ransom soon made up his mind.
It was thirty miles to "the other
Lloydville." He got the horse a good
feed. Then he started on his long
jaunt He did not pass the farm on
his journey, as it was out of the way
of the regular route. Two-thirds of
the way there was a passably good
turnpike, the residue was crooked
and difficult as an Indian trafl.
Ransom reached "the other Lloyd
ville" shortly before midnight A long
delay had been caused by a wheel
smashing off in a rut. it took two
hours to get a new wheel from a
.A rain had set in and Ransom was
soaked through. A chill wind had
come up. He felt repaid for all his
arduous efforts, however, in fact,
fairly exultant, as he started back
homewards, with the piano well brac
ed and covered with all the old blank
ets and tarpaulines he could bribe the
sleepy station agent to secure.
They told a great story of the en
suing five hours, the Bainbridge
neighbors, for many a day after that
How Ransom's horse had fallen into
a rut, was lamed, turned loose, and,
for tie last five miles of his weary
journey, Ransom, between the shafts
tugged, strained and strove to pull
that heavy load directly into the
Bainbridge barnyard and then
fainted dead away!
It was two weks later that ar first
gleam of normal consciousness re
turned to him. Mrs. Bainbridge, his
anxious nurse, told him of the wast
ing fever that had made life a dead
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