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
What's the use of knocking a fellow
who's trying to make his grub? It
won't do any o' you any harm to own
a book, even if you never read it Say,
Shafer, did you ever try Ann Pea
body in Oak street?"
Billy replied that he hadn't combed
"It's number eighteen, a little cot
tage pretty well back from the street.
She'll be sure to take a book."
A chorus of dissent and laughter
"Say now, Al, what are you giv
ing him?" cried one of the men. "You
know what that prim little old maid
once snaps her mouth or her purse
shut it's sort o' dangerous .to try to
- open 'em."
"Old maid!" sniffed Barkdm. "Why
she can't be a day over 25. I can re
member when she was a kid with her
hair down her back."
"You know," cried the deacon,
"Ann hasn't any moiifiy to spend on
books and it ain't jjfiit fair to go a
v pestering her."
'"Pestering!" exclaimed Billy, "why
I consider I am conferring a great
favor on any one to whom I offer
that valuable book."
"I'll bet you don't sell her one!"
snorted the drug clerk.
"Put up your money!" shouted
Billy. "I bet I do."
"You'll have a run for your
money if yeu do," laughed another.
"Say," inquired Billy, "is it bull
dogs tor rolling, pins?"
"Neither one," answered the dear
con. "It's the way Ann Peabody says
, It was true Ann Peabody wasn't
many days over 25, but the loss of
both parents leaving her with very
little besides the small cottage and
at the age of 15 a baby brother to
'mother,' had seemed to age her be
fore her time. Her youth had been
cut off and dwarfed in the bud. She
had to eke out her small means by
sewing, she could dress only very
plainly, and her pride and sensitive
ness kept her from trying to push her
way into the young society of the
town. Jimmy was now a freckle
faced boy of 12, and an ever-increasing
expense to Ann.
When Billy appeared with the
book he was met with a negative
that would have caused even the
most hardened of book agents to
beat a hasty retreat But Billy es
pied the small brother looking curi
ously at the volume, so he opened at
a picture and smiled: "Here, son, it
won't cost you anything to look."
Jimmy took advantage of the invi
tation, and his highly amusing de
scriptions and breezy talk holding
the boy's attention and incidentally
Ann's, his call was considerably pro
longed. "I'll be along this way tomorrow,"
he said on leaving. "It won't be any
trouble to call and perhaps you will
change your mind.
"No, I shant," said Ann firmly. "It
won't be any use."
But Billy aided and abetted by the
"freckle-faced kid" was the next day
led into the cottage and smilingly
confro'nted its mistress. He did not
at first speak of the book, but ran on,
as only Billy could, about current
happenings. Ann was being enter
tained by a kind of man so new and
delightful to her shut-in life that even
against her wish she let him stay.
I But as he was leaving she let him
I know she had not changed her mind
about the book. He answered he
would call again the next day to see,
and oddly enough, she made no ob-
Billy did not intend to lose his bet
and he turned up promptly at the ap
pointed time. Jimmy also appeared
and importuned his sister for a
"Now, Jimmy," temporized Ann,
"it's almost time for supper and we
are going to have waffles and sirup."
"Um!" cried Jimmy, "I guess I'll
save up until then."
"I would if I were you, son. I
think I'd save up a good deal for waf
fles and sirup."