Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
"Say, mister," he spoke out, "-won't
you give me a lift here?" "Well, you're a cool one," ejacu lated Rufus. "Do you happen to know who lam?" "I don't," answered the boy. "I happen to be the owner of that rig." "O-oh!" observed the lad looking embarrassed and troubled. He hung his head and dug the gaping toe of his poor shoe into the earth. Then he looked up bravely. "Mister," he said, "I'm sorry and I'm glad, both. I was on my way to take the rig back to you and I had to face you anyhow, so why not now. Maybe you wouldn't feel hard against me if you knew why I borrowed the rig." " 'Borrowed' is good, rather," quiz zically suggested Rufus. 'Tm going to pay you for the use of the horse and wagon," said the boy quickly and earnestly. For the dam age I've done to it, too. Not in money, for I haven't any, but in work. Yes, sir, TU make it up to you, sure.V "What was you doing with it any way?" inquired Rufus, but the boy shook his head obstinately. "I mustn't tell," he insisted. "No harm, mister, you can count on that. When I'm all square with you may be I'll tell you, but all I want you to think of just now, is how I can work out my debt to you." Rufus studied the lad curiously. He asked him a few questions and learn ed that his name was- Barton Hale. He supposed the bandage covering one ear and the side of his face was occasioned by a toothache and did not press him with inquiries. They got the wagon out of the rut and started for home. "You.go into the kitchen," advised Rufus when they reached the little farm, "and get a meal. You look as if you needed it" "Yes, sir, I do," replied his .guest, humbly and gratefully. He acted like a new being after a hearty lunch pre pared by mother, smiling Mrs. Burt Rufus put him at chopping wood and he did it with a will. Then there waB a field of hay to rake up. The lad seemed actually to enjoy the task Rufus was telling him how his wife had fixed up a cot for him in the at tic and hinted at hiring him perma-? nently, when Robert dashed by on his way to school. "Why, what's the matter?" inquir ed Rufus, as he noticed the lad Btar ing open-eyed after Robert. "Is that your boy?" asked his com panion in a strangely quivering tone. "That's right," was the prompt re ply. "Half of one of his ears is gone, isnft it?" '"Yes had it frozen when he was a little kid." "See here." To the amazement of Rufus the lad removed the bandage about his head. There was the perfect prototype of Robert's distinguishing mark half an ear. "Why why, what does this mean?" demanded the bewildered Rufus. "I didn't know myself till just this moment," replied the lad. "You call ed that boy Robert. It gave me a clew. Listen, sir." Then the lad told a strange, strange story. Two years previously he had lost his father and mother. He was stranded in the world with two little sisters. The careless fling of a scythe had severed his ear. That accounted for the disfigurement. He happened to wander with the little ones near the home of Eli Sar key. That individual immediately took a peculiar interest in him. He offered to give him a home and the little ones as well. Starkey took the lad to see blind deaf old Zed Mills. The latter felt over his head and lo cated the broken ear. That seemed to identify some one to him. Before the family quarrel the old man had taken a great fancy to Robert. Un doubtedly he had asked Starkey to bring Robert Burt to him. Starkey jjgrijgjjgr 8ab.u.