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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 03, 1910, Image 3

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THE BOY WHO WAS LEFT BEHIND
ELIZABETH EWING
ROB stood disconsolately. at the foot
of the steep San Francisco city
block. His pale little face was
quivering with disappointment and his
ame leg that haU so little strength in
It bent painfully beneath him.
His eyes wore fixed on a motley pro
cession of boys which, marching In
single fllo. and with fife and drum and
Gallantly waving flag, was already half
way up the broad sunny street.
The fourth of July was approaching
and they were playing soldiers. There
- were ooly half a dozen of them and they
were little fellows, but they made up
for their lack of size and numbers by
a martial spirit and noisy enthusiasm
- that brought the entire block to the
front windows as they passed.
Rob could hear the rub rub dub a
dub of tho drum and the shrill ac
companiment of the fife. He could
even hear the tramp of their sturdy
young feet on the stone sidewalk as
they marched upward.
Fired by their enthusiasm he tried a
few steps farther, but his progress was *
discouraglngly slow and halting. His
lame leg- hurt him so, and it would
bend so perversely under him.
Only a couple of blocks back he, too,
had been "a soldier in that procession,
and he had carried that drum, his
childish heart swelling with pride and
exultation as he beat with might and \
main on Its hollow sides.
Never In. his short life had Rob felt
so proud, so Important Never had his
pale cheeks flushed with such delicious'
happiness as when his sturdy . drum
beats brought his patient little mother,
who did plain sewing for his living and
hers, to the window,' and when she
waved her hand he gave the drum such
a mighty thump as nearly made him
lose his balance.
It had been lever ground then, over
> near, bis house, and 'he had hardly felt
the pain In his leg or the weariness
that was creeping over his frail little
body. Was he not a soldier— he, lame
Robbie— marching In the procession
Just like the rest of the boys, and
making more noise than any of them?
But as they climbed the first hill,
•try as he might, and he bent every
muscloof his small frame to the task,
he could' not help lagging a little.
Something, too, seemed to be the "mat
ter with the drum— it wobbled and did
not seem to beat so loudly as'before.
Finally Roy Turner, the captain, had
taken it away from him arid, relegated
him to the rear, behind Eddie .Jones,
•his churns r-
Whether it was through discourage
ment or sheer Inability to proceed, Rob
did not stop to analyze,' but somehow
\u25a0 he found the space ever widening, be
tween himself and Eddie. In vain he
strained upward, manfully leaning a3
much of the weight of his body as he
could on his one. strong log. by
little he fell hopelessly behind. ,
Now, as he viewed them from the
foot of the hill, there was a lump In
his throat and an anxious look in the
big brown eyes so intently fixed on
their receding numbers.
If he could only have kept up with
the "fellers" ho wouldn't have minded
so much Roy Turner taking the drum -
away from him— lt was heavy for such
a little fellow. He could have carried
a rifle, and a rifle was most as good as
a drum anyway, he reflected, discon
solately. If the captain would only call
a halt, ho was sure he could catch up
with them,
"Hey, fellers!" he called out, desper
ately. But the boys did not hear and
proceeded on their way, every foot
fall increasing the distance between
them.
Eddie Jones, his chum, resplendent
in the attire of a khaki clad Indian,
brought up the roar. He wus march
ing enthusiastically, his gay, feathered
headdress waving defiantly in the .
morning breeze and a rifle over his
shoulder.
As he disappeared over the hill Rob
bie's faint, lingering hope that they
might wait for him departed, and he
sank in a. dejected heap of childish
THE SAN FftANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, JULY 3, 1910.-THE JUNIOR CAtE
misery on the nearest garden step. .
• His arms and head rested on the crisp
green leaves and tender pink blossoms
of a climbing geranium that covered
the low stone garden coping. A sweet
scented bush of heliotrope nodded over
his head and one audacious branch bent
down and actually tickled his ear.
But Robbie did not heed. He did not
cry, but his heart seemed bursting.with
childish grief and disappointment.
He did not blame the "fellers." Oh,
no. Pie felt instinctively that soldiers
must march and march. They couldn't
be expected to wait for little lame boys.
They were»going to have a grand
drill in the vacant lot back of Roy
Turner's house and R.oy had dropped
several hints, more or less vague, that
his mother was going to give them a
"feed." ' '
Now they had gone on their way.
They were far off by this time, and all
that was left of the gay procession
was a lonely little boy huddled face
downward on a garden step, with an
aching leg and eyes that smarted with
the effort to keep back the rising tears.
He was .such a little fellow, and it was
such a bitter, bitter disappointment to
bo left behind. •
•Suddenly there was a clatter of a
luoao jointed wagon on the street, the
cheerful rattle of milk tins, then a
llgure passed besidu him on the way
up the steps.
It was Doolan, the milkman. Rob
and he were old friends; many a ride
he had taken pn the seat of the rattling
milk wagon.
Dooian had seen him limping along
and thumping the drum In the proces
sion v few minutes ago; now he was
lying here, his little lame leg trailing
helplessly under him — a sort of forlorn
remnant of that noisy, cavalcade. The
situation did not need an explanation.
"Th' fellers got away from - ye, ' eh ?
Say, Bub," he said persuasively, "lemme
take you^over there In the cart. .It's
on my way. You/got a rifle or some
thin'?" ' tr.-< ;\u25a0; \u25a0;-. ". \ •"\u25a0\u25a0• \u25a0 • \u25a0\u0084 , \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0' ; ;
But Rob only shook his head and bur
ied hl3 face deeper In the sleeve of his
blouse. He had" been crying, a little.
Not for the world would he let Doolan
think he was a baby— huh, he was 8
{join 1 on 9.
The milkman paused, undecided. Then
a curious thing happened. It sounds
unbelievable, , but it is really true.
Doolan went back to his wagon, and
rummaging- . under the seat, brought
forth a brand new flag— a big one—
twice as large as Georgie Wynn car
ried in the procession, and it had a gay
red and white striped stick with a big
gilt knob on the end.
Then ho tiptoed over to Rob's curled
up form and, laying it gently down be
side him, tiptoed back to his wagon so
softly that Rob did not hear him. and
mounting the seat, rattled rapidly down
the hill. - i*. .
A big, soft heart had Doolan. Per
haps tho remembrance of a little lame
sister he once had had something to
do with it.. • ,
"I kin get another for the kids at
home," he soliloquized; "I guess this 1
one needs it worst."
Robbie heard him go, but did not
even raise his head. He felt bo des
perately lonely, so bitterly disappoint
ed; he might as well stay there as any
where, and he didn't want to speak to
anybody.
A minute later and, there was a clat
ter of sturdy feet on the stone side
walk and a small figure, brave In the
warpaint of un Indian, came flying
down the street. ' o ,
"Say, Rob," ho cried, excitedly,
"hurry up, ther'ra waitln' for yer! The
captain called a halt. He said to hurry
up."
Hut Rob appeared to be In no hurry.
Ho only curled himself up In a more
perverse little heap and Jerked himself
loose from the persuasive hand that
was tugging at his coat sloeve.
Then Eddie understood. He flung
himself bodily on the limp little form
and put his arms around his neck.
"Say, Rob," he said softly, "I wouldn't
n-gone and left ycr, on'y I wus a sol
dier. I couldn't stop lest the captain
said so. Come on, I'll help yer up the
hill. I brung yer a rifle and — where'd
ye get the flag?" he broke off, sud
denly. _ .\u25a0',„;\u25a0 /
A rifle— a flag—
Robbie raised his face Incredulously.
Then his eyes fell on the flag beside
him, all crinkly In Its newness, and its
round gilt knob shining in the sun. He
looked from it to Eddie, then back
/again. \u25a0• , -
"I — I dunno," he stammered., "It ain't
mine."
Then a sudden light dawned, on him.
"Doolan must a-left : it," he said; ex
citedly.- "Ain't; it a beaut?"
He grasped'it with childish eagerness
and" became so absorbed in studying its
beautles}that he forgot his other trou-'
bles for a moment.
"Ain't; it a beaut?" he repeated, ad
miringly. "It's bigger'n George's." '" "\u25a0 .
';•* "HurrjT up,",, Eddie hastily, reminded
him. :. "They're waitin'." /. -> ;.. .•
Rob could' hardly believe it. /Aston
ishment, Joy,.relief .were all struggling'
for.expresslon in ! his face. .
.C Sof he wasn't -left behind, after "all! f
They j were/ waltin' for him! ..Well,' he Y
would' get to the" top of that hill
somehow. . ; >'\u25a0'\u25a0
. He ;grasped v his;- precious flag /and
struggled 5 to .hi s f eet.; ; Eddie shouldered/
the. ; rifle- and put; an arm 1 around 1 him.
1- 1 "You kin ' lean; on me all" you want, 1 ;
he said, encouragingly; T'Tm- awful
strong." ' }.' . : - \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0:';.-'\u25a0" .\u25a0 ; ; i : \u25a0•"-/ "v ; /./;/\u25a0 :",CX ;?
So up the hill they, went, "the -two
boys with arms /'entwined and between \':
them waved the flag •; In the morning,
sunshine. /. .\u25a0; •..',' - j'~ '\u25a0\u25a0 - '•\u25a0-\u25a0-• "V.'-"-> '-
An Infantile Composite
• '.'Well,.; really, I can't say that .1
. think -that : he I looks . just like any, one
' in particular," said the mother ; of Mas
,ter, Georgo ._ Sanderson f Sprigging," aged
'four:weeks,'to;a > caller^who was having
; thejprlvllege : of seeing, George]Sander
son i Sprigglns f or , the , first . time, C ,"I do
I think he has - his * father's .chin,' and \u25a0 his
more is just" like : my father's, /and his
eyes ? remind me of my. sister," Helen's.
The shape of his face is a good deal
like his father's . brother Joe, 'and some- ;
times when ho laugha he reminds me
of my I brother ,Ted. ; \u25a0 , Of ten^; when -he[ is
asleep- 1;; think \ that i hei resembles, my;
uncle | G eorge, and /again , he * has i a way
, of half closing his eyes that; makes" me
thinkjof ; his grandfather; Spriggins.; l
'.think* he is, growing; to j look 'more £ like,
my, side of .the house, excepting 'for; the ;
v pper - part ; of *' his face,/ arid i, that \u25a0 re -
minds meiof •his father's; family.;; Still,';
I 'can't 1 say? that he really^ looks Just
like any one but I ;. unless; it • is '.-.
my \u25a0 sister - Eva's little boy. \u25a0' Strange
how -family : resemblances : crop /out in
mere babies, isn't it?"— Puck./ \u25a0
A Gentle Rebuke-
it" was late in . the year \u25a0 f or;; straw
berries, but Mrs.' Beacon /was}, deter
mined to have eome\ for ' Sunday, din
ner.. Over the •telephone 1: came // the
news that. they were "very. fine, ma'am;
very tine, , indeed."; 1 ; Being, however," a
cautious house keeper, iShev decided: to
look over ,! the.- fruit 1 as-, the
grocer was not always to be trusted. /.
"They don't ' appear very.; good,',' . she
said -some time later, examining care
fully a; basketful. "They Jook"— here
she extracted one and tasted it— -"they
look a little green. I don't know. Just
let me try ono." She took another. .-.'.'l:
guess I'll take one box,' please. You
don't put very many in a box, do you?"
she. lnquired.
"There was," said the grocer respect
fully, "but- there's, been, so many ladies
looking 'em over that" there ain't"— .
"You may give me two boxes," said
Mrs. Beacon.— Youth's Companion.
Rudeness Rebuked
An English squire of the eighteenth
century once entered a private room-in
un .inn clad Just as he had dismounted
from his horse— booted and spurred,
wearing a muddy riding cloak and car
rying his hunting crop In his hand,
ll« mude a great noise and bluster In
his entry, and the intrusion naturally
offended the occupants of, the room— a
nobleman and some ladies,
The nobleman, however, bethought
himself of a neat way of rebuking tho
country boor.
> He rose and made him a very cere
monious bow, saying politely at the
same time: "Sir. let me thank you;
these ladies are vastly obliged to you."
"What! Why?" blurted out the
wquire.
"For not bringing your horse Into
the room as well." ,
The squire withdrew abashed and
henceforth learned to restrain his rustic
lack of manners In public.
3

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