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If 1 Mt4$?4$M? 1: ii n ill fifll iHltin 1 m i i i h ;i " :1 ";t! P a a a a ' f If f n 3I FllANK M O It T I MM It , Editor and Proprietor AN INDEPENDENT FAMILY NEWSPAPER. i Terms: IN ADVANCIi J One Dollar per Year, Vol. IV. jpt IjUaomfitlb gjimrs. Js Published Weekly, At New lUoomflcld, renn'a. MY 'FRANK MORTIMER. The Missing Bonds. IT WAS a genuine, old fashioned, Now England kitchen, wide, and cool, and airy, with a great woodon clock behind the door, its worn faco embowered in a hazy mist of asparagus boughs, and a floor as whito as if it wcro strewn with lilies a room where tho Bunsliiuo came, interweav ing itself through tho morning-glory vines that hung thoir heart shaped loaves and blue, transparent cups athwart the deep-set windows. And Miss Aguow herself, seated iu tho splint-bottomed rocking-chair, where the hay scented breeze camo in from field and maedow, was no unfitting representative of tho neat, methodical New England house keeper of olden time, in her brown calico dress and stiffly brushed " front curls." Her very occupation savored of tho house wifely element ; she was preparing sunny checked pears for preserving, and as, one by one, tho juicy "quarters" dropped with a clink into tho shining tin pan by her sido Miss Agnew beamed contentedly down on her work, proudly conscious that she was fulfilling tho wholo duty of woman. . Close besido her sat a young girl of seven teen, with limpid, wine-brown eyes, and cheeks as bright as tho piles of pink clouds even now closing in around tho fiery gates of tho September sunset. Apparently she was busied iu removing the cores of. the fruit, but tho, swift, deft motion , of her hands was' merely mechanical; iu reality sho was listening, with a soft, shy smile to tho gay, rambling chat of a tall young man who leaned against the open door-way deliberately solecting tho rosiest and fairest pears for his own private delectation. ." So your worldly wealth troubles you. docs it, Aunt Hetty ?" ho demanded, after a minute or two of silence. " Trouble is.no word for it '." sighed Aunt Iletty, energetically darting tho point of her knife 1 into a plump, scarlet-flecked "Duehcsse'd" Angoulome." "It just drives me distracted, James Mout-clair!" "I wouldn't own United States bonds," remarked James, mischievously. " Would you, littlo Mabel?" Mabel's checks flushed pinker than ever, at this direct address ; the long lashes drop ped over her hazel eyes. " I don't know, James," she answered, softly, " I should like to be rich, liko Miss Agnew." " Well, you needn't, child," said Miss Agnew, shortly. " The Biblo talks about tho "deceitfulness of riches," and I'm sure decoitfulnoss isn't the only drawback. I do declare, I'm sometimes tempted to put it all in tho lire 1" " You had a great deal better put it into my pockets, Aunt Iletty." "You see," went on Miss Agnow, with out heeding her nephew's iareverent inter ruption, " I took 'em down to tho bank to deposit I thought thcro would bo an . end of all care for me and, don't you believe they wouldn't givo me the sign of a receipt ! Of course I wasu't going to leave my bonds there for the benefit of the first do faulting tl;rk that chose to cut and run. So I brought 'em home, and put 'em in a box under the garret floor, between the Cross beams.' And then I thought of the. rats just suppose they should take my bonds for supper ! Gracious 1 you may guess I jump ed out of my bed pretty quick, midnight though it was, when the idea popped into my head.' ' Then I sewed 'era into an old stocking, and put 'em in my linen-chest, and I couldn't rest night nor day, for fear of fire. "Upon my word, Aunt Hetty," said James Montclair, laughing, "thoso bonds will be tho death of youjyut 1" "Then," pursued Aunt Hetty, "I put 'cm under my pillow every night, and I just dreamed dreamed o' burglars and robbers, and men with black crape masks over their faces, and woko up, all in a cold sweat, forty times in tho courso of the night" ("That would mako four times an hour, regularly," said James, iu a notlo voice to Mabel) "sartin sure that tho muz zle of a pistol was close to my head," went on Miss Agnew. " Well, that wouldn't do of course." "I should think not, Aunt Hetty, "grave ly commented Mr. Montclair. "Well, what should I do next, but put 'cm in tho tail pocket of Abijah's old coat that was hangin' back o' the store room door, and, says I to myself, "They're safo Ww ; no burglar will over think of that old dud.' And, don't you believe, that very self-same evenin' I read a long account, iu tho paper, of how a man hid away money in his wife's old flannel skirt, -aid how sho went without knowiu' a tl.ing about it, and sold the flannel in a pilo o' paper rags to a ragman, and who was drivin' through town with a wagon and bells, and that was just tho last they ever heard of their money. So there was an end of tho old coat busi ness." "Well, Aunt Hefty, and what noxt?" asked her amused nephew. " What next ? I've got 'em in an old coffeo-pot now, with a broken spout, hid away in tho onlikclicst spot I could any ways think of." ' " You won't tell us whore ?" "No, I won't," nodded Miss Agnow. " I don't tell nobody my secrets. But I don't feel a bit easy about 'em, they won't stay thcro long, I guess. There, Mabel, we'vo got about enough now just you put 'cm in tho bulcry for to-night. To-morrow Deacon Salisbury's sister's goin' to lend mo her porcelain proservin' kettlo, and if we don't have nice pears next winter, I'm out in my calculations, that's all.' Nono o' your canned trash for mo pound for pound, and a good boil up with plenty of skimmin', is my rule." As the fluttering blue chambry" dress vanished through the portols of tho buttery door, James Montclair looked admiringly after its slendor littlo wearer. " Aunt Hetty !" said ho, . abruptly, "do you know that Mabel Martin is growing very pretty ?" 'James 1" ejaculates Miss Agnow. " Well ? why that horrified tone of voice?" demanded her nephew, half defiant ly. "James, I thought for certain you and Mary Cornell was takin' a fancy to each other 1" "My dear Aunt Hetty, do you give me credit for no tasto at all ?" "To bo suro, Mary Cornell isn't pretty," said Aunt Iletty ; " but a porson soon gets accustomed to a sallow complexion, and eyes that don't look quite straight ; and her hair ain't a real, fiery red, you kuow, but auburn; and' then sho'll have all Squire Cornell's land 1" " Sho'8 welcome to it, for all of mo," ob served the young man, indifferently. "And then, Jamos " "Yes, Aunt Hetty." " Mabol Martin's a nice, handy littlo thing enough, aud I don't deny but that she's what the world calls pretty ; but hor folks are dreadful shiftless, and old Martin drinks terribly, and theydo say that the eldest boy ain't over and above hones l!" "Granted, Aunt Iletty," said Montclair,! with a slight contraction of his dark brows ; "but is Mabol in any way to blame for that?" "No ; but one can't help sottlu' store by family, James, and " "I really don't s'poso we ought to blame her for the bad name her folks have got 1" she thought washing oft the pear stains that oluug to her fingers in a bowl of tart-swat- lingviuogar. "But, after all's come and IVov Uloouifioia, I'm., December G. gone, Obadiah Martin's daughter isn't just tho wifo for our James, with his book learn ing, and his collogo education, and tho mon ey his father '11 leave him 1" Tho old clock behind tho kitchen-door had just struck ten, a solitary cricket chirp ed shrilly under the hearthstone, and tho moonlight lay liko a shivered rain of pearl on tho kitchen-floor. ' Come, child, it is timo to lock up and go to bed," said Miss Agnow, rousing Mabel Martin from arevorio, into which sho hau unconsciously fallen, with her head against tho cool morning-glory leaves. And Mabel obeyed, glad that the moonlight was scarce ly bright enough to disclose tho deep crim son of her checks, and tho smilo that hover ed around hor'lips. "Mabel!" She was sitting in the -semi-luminous gloom by her casement windows, half an hour aftorward, when tho voico roso up to her ears from tho garden below. " Is it you, James?" " Yes. Como down a minute tho moonlight is so delicious hero under tho trees ! It's a shamo not to Qiijoy it 1" Sho was about . to obey his summons, when tho whisper once more sounded close beneath tho window : . "Not yet, Mabel. Wait a few minutes. Aunt Hetty is going hor usual round among tho lilac bushes and quince-trees, in search of burglars, I suppose ; and she would over whelm us with all sorts of unearthly stories about tho evil effects of night-air, and dew and moonlight. Wait 1" Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed away, and Mabel stood by iho window still listen ing, with her littlo scarf around hers bould ers, and tho roses yet glowing softly in her checks. Then there was a rustic in y tho dewy honey-suckles beneath, and James Mont clair called out, in a low touo : '.' The coast is clear at last, little Mablo. Como down." . Tho moonlight shono full oil his face, as sho joined him in tho garden-path, under tho spreading bows of tho old trees. "James," she exclaimed, "whataro you laughing at?" "Was I laughing, .little wild-flower? Nonsense 1 it's all your imagination !" "But, James, youaro shaking all over 1" "Ague and fever, perhaps. It's tho damp night-air, light of my soul ? Como, sit down bore on the old gray stone, and tell mo onco more the sweetest story that you love me, Mabel !" Tho fair head droop ed, the hand trembled on his arm. " I am so unworthy of you, James 1" " Is the star unworthy of the dim human lamp upon which its clear light fall ? Is tho sunshino unworthy of the earth which pines for its sweet influences? Mabel you must not talk so 1 Now, listen to me, Pet and I will eonvinco you that you are wrong from beginning to end, in all this morbid humili ty 1" It was nearly midnight, when James Montclair bade Mabol adieu at the gardon gato, and strode across tho fields to the village, half a mile or so distant. And Mabel, returning up the box-borderod path softly turned the handlo of the door. It was locked t Miss Agnow had evident ly made the tour of the house after Mabol's exit, and, unconscious of hor absence, had locked and bolted tho premises as securely as bolt, chain and bar could do the business. Little Mabel's heart stood still. Her checks paled as she stood there. What was sho to do? What would Miss Agnow say to her, if she know she had . been out " swoothearting" in the moonlight, contrary to all rules and regulations duly enacted and enforced in the spi us tern's little kingdom? Mabel was no Joan of Arc, no . maid of Saragossa she dared not face Miss Agnew, as long as there was any other loophole of escape open to her. , . .. , .-. 1 "I'll just run home to father's,',' she thought, "It's not so far, and I can get back in the morning before Miss Agnew misses me.,' . . ,'.,..'' i .' ' , But, alas I "Laftfnmt propou, tt Ditu dispose," and it was nearly seven next moruing when Mablo Martin, with a scarf tied over her head, camo into tho kitchen, whore, Miss Agnew was frying ham and eggs for breakfast. " Child 1 where were you last night?" severely demanded tho elderly maiden, brandishing her gridiron as a Knight of old might have poised his lance. "What is tho meaning of this unaccustomed absenco?" Mabel hung down her head. "I I went homo last night !" " Went homo ! Four miles all by your solf, after ten o'clock at night?" severely echoed Miss Mchetabcl. "It wasn't so very far, Miss Agnew !" " And how did it happen ? I insist upon knowing all about it, Mabel Mar'.in 1" sternly went on the catcchist. Mabel grew scarlet and whito in a breath. "I went down into the garden, after I had gono to my room." "What for?" " The moonlight was soft and, " " Well 1" - mien i camo oacii, tiio uoor was fastened, and " "Why didn't you knock for me to como down stairs and let. you in?" '. ' "I I didn't wish to disturb you, so I went homo to my father's 1" Alas, poor Mabel ! sho might have known that from ono mustard-seed would rise the I fatal tier of falsehood ; but she had not paused to think that it would have been better to tell Miss Agnow all about James and herself, and tho innocent lovo-glcams that were beginning to brighten her life. Miss Agnew listened with set lips, and a brow which betokened no very favorable state of mind. "Very good," sho said coldly, as Mabel's hesitating voico died into silence. " You may go to your work." . And as soon as Mabel was fairly esconccd iu the buttery skimming pans of lathor wrinkled cream, with hands scarcely as steady as usual, Miss Agnow eclipsed her head in a huge green sun bonnet, stiffened with paste-board, and rushed down tho garden path to a hugo pear-tree, whose gnarled trunk concealed a deep hollow, curving obliquely downward to its roots. Into this hollow sho thrust her arm groping eagerly in tho soft black mold and slippery mess that lined this casket of nature's own fashioning. " I thought it was so ! I foared it was so 1" she muttered to herself," palo and agi tated. "I would rather havo put thciri into tho fire with my own hands, than be compelled to beliovo that Mable Martin was a thief!" For the Government bonds that Miss Agnew had hidden away the night before, were gono ! "Are you sure there's is no mistako, Miss Agnew?" Justice Cornell, a soft-hearted old man, looked kindly down upon tho girl, who was kneeling on the floor with hor face buried iu tho w iudo w curtains, her low voico break ing the ominous silonco with piteous itera tions of sobbing sound. " I am innocent 1 indeed, I am innocent 1" "How can there beany mistake, Mr. Cornell?" demanded tho inexorablo spiu- ster. "I put the papors there after ton o'clock at night. By her own confession she was in tho garden after that time, and, of courso, she must have seen mo conceal them." " A queer place to put Government bonds iu," said the justice wrinkling his eye brows. ' - ' 1 " Bothor the bonds I I wish that they were in the Red Boa, so I do 1" ejaculated Miss Agnew so sharply and suddenly that the fat justice involuntarily started back. " If you'd had. half the trouble with them as I have, you wouldn't wonder at my wanting to hide 'em. However, that's neither here nor there. She's absent all night long, and comes back next day with IV o. 49. a lamo excuse that won't bear tho light of day, and my money is minus. What do you mako of that, sir, Justice Cornell?" Tho old man shook Ids gray head sadly. " You may as well make out a warrant f jr. her arrest, Mr. Justice," said Miss Agnew, resolutely, " also a paper to enablo us to search her father's houso thorongh ly." " I hate to do it tho worst wav." said tho kind old man; "but if I must I must, ana why, hallo 1 she's fainted away 1" bhe had, indeed fallintr on tho floor as palo and motionless as if death itself had kindly como to her relief to cut tho Gordian knot of her perplexities. "I declare 1" said tho justice, whiskinar away sundry suspicious drops with tho corner of his hugo yellow silk pocket hand kerchief, " I feel just as I did tho day I butchered tho child roll's not lmnlt I Tt'a cruel thing tu do, Miss Iletty, justice or no "Til Send (IVfir trt mv hrnflmrr Mrmf clair's for James," said Miss Agnew. "I didn't mmil lift ulmnl1 lw rnivnil un in lir .-w ItllAU Kl t ' H 1V afl'air ; but he's a lawyer, and maybo I'd better consult him. Patrick.'-' to tho stout charioteer, who had driven her over to Jus tice Cornell's "go for Mr. James, iiuraedi- xuiy i ivim ratncK, oueyeu. " I'll TO bail fur Mivs M-ilnl nnvlmnr ho muttered to himself, as ho urged old Dobbin to his highest rate of speed. " I'd as SOOn KUKIlect. n. fcnillt. in crlorv nf lininrr tt thafo, tho Blessed Virgin bo good to mo !" Half an hour could scarcely havo clapsod when lie rixt.nrnivl fliiulmrl n1 dnuh. ...itl. old Dobbin's mouse-colored coat reeking with sweat. " VVllUre is Mr. .Tumps?" P.lrrjirlvilnmnnrl- led his mistress. " Suro Mr. James got a telegraph at day-' break to go on to Boston, where his brother's to sail for Europe in a hurry, unexpected ; and ho left this letter for yez, to be de livered immediate, and tho servants,' bad iuck to 'em cutirely, never thought about it ; and here it is." . V Miss Agnew broko the seal of tho large, official-looking envelope, and from it fell six rustic Government bonds,, with a littlo white note folded around them. "Dear Aust Hetty (it renAY T , "2' " nothinff less than onn of t.lin lnp.furii.sT nun to get for my mail pranks, half a dozen years ago ; but when I saw you stealing through tho garden-walks, and hiding your precious treasures away uko a maguined magpie, I couldn't resist tho temptation of playing burglar, ' positively for one night only,' as the playbills say, and abstracting your bonds just to enjoy your perplexity the next da V. I exneeted fn hrinrr tlmm back myself this forenoon, but circum- stances uecreo otnerwise, ana liore they are. I only wish I could have seen your horrified nice when you missed them. Love to little Mabol, and tell her when I come back it will be to openly proclaim our engagement to the world. Don't scold the child ; it isn't her fault that I fell in lovo with her. No timo to writo more. so. pood-' by for a week. J. M. Miss Airnew burst into tears. Tim ilmm that had not moistened her withered cheeks tor years shone brightly on them now. She threw her arms around Mabel. " My poor child, read this note 1" - ' And Mabel read it. wliiln .T filowly gathered up the bonds that lav on me iiuor, uueny unuoeaea Dy .miss jvieneta bel Agnew. "It is all right : it is?" said the r1,l man chuckling, "Well, I thought all along there must be some mistake. Here are your bonds, Miss Agnew, and I guess we won't say anything more about the search- warrant. It was some time beforn Malml Marfin crathered couraco to tell Miss A the moonlight stroll. James had told her nothing ot tue abstracted bonds, and when the weight of the unexpected accusation ' came upon her, the grief and Bhame wore almost to hard for endurance. But Mis9 Agnew kissed away the sound of the half uttercd words. ' . . 'It's all ritrhfc and natural, nliil.l ' .- said ; "and 1 believe you'll make our James a good wife." I Which was a crcat ennnnuainn fin- Agnow, considering her preconceived opin- The January sunsets were reddening tho western skv when Jamiia nnrl Mal.nl married ; aud up to that time Miss Agnow's i iii i . . " vjuvuinuiuui uouun uau louiui no rest Tor the soles of thoir parchment feet. "Take 'em, James,, for a wedding1 present," said the old lady, on the morning of the eventful day thrusting the envelope into the nephew's hand. "There t now I. ican breathe freely." . J , And that was, the way in which Miss Agnew disposed of her troublesome moneys at last.