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THE LAZIEST BOY IN BELLEVILLE JAMES M. FELLOM GUSANO is .the Spanish . word for "worm." In the little mining camp of Belleville It meant stocky, good natured 1G year old Guy Fletcher It was a becoming name; A worm of his size could not'. have ' been slower. Sent on' an errand, he would crawl away, carefullr hitching up" his trou sers as he .went. The more Important the errand, the less Gusano cared for haste. "Brick" Dun bar,*", the wag of the town, : was fond of saying: : "If you want to know If that kid is on the move or not, get him on a line' with White' Mountain peak." .^ut Gusano did not mind. He ..was too contented to let anything like ridi-' cule or abuse or a willow switch in terfere with his theory of life. When he did anything, it. was not from choice.. It. was more interesting to see others work. Much of his time he spent' watching; the firemen, sweating over] their tasks before the. boilers of the thundering quartz mill. V By lazily studying them day after day, he found" at . las t, .that he .could^ foretell! their' every move and knew, why it was made. The discovery caused; him .great pleas ure, and for a week he. tried himself out. At the end of that time, he told himself he was a full fledged stoker. "•"Pshaw," he said to, one of the men,' "you fellers got it easy." '-"How's that, Gussie?' "Oh,"""'rye been 'watching you. The Super- ain't got you beaten for snaps If 'you Just had on halfboots and a , s corduroy~ r sult- -and smoked two-bit \u25a0cigars,:- you|d— " / •}S^- ....... ''-\u25a0•:\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0 .'-\u25a0 - "I The ; firemen and engineer laughed. \u25a0 VTell : us what's hard about ; the job/ Gussie,"^ prompted the amalgamator, who had stopped to listen. A ,"It ; ain't \u25a0 hard," sneered ' the boy with a disdainful upward glance at the speaker. 'JWell, .what's easy about it, then?' - Gusano;, flashed an experienced eye over the huge boilers. : The men winked knowingly at one < another. ' "It's as easy as beans," he continued. "All you got to do is tokeep a-looklng at them there clocks,'; pointing to the steam gauges, \ "and when the hand starts to^drop below 120 stick in more wood, and perhaps give her the draft. Then you: got to watch that water glass, arid when she-falls to about an inch of the bottom shoot her with the injector— -turn on that • there "cock and this here one, when she gets too much steam; on board,; she blows off herself. Then you pull the whistle for noon and quitting time. They ain't nothing to it." , , " - - . \u25a0 There was no answer; he had ex pected one— a word of' praise or of ridicule." He cast a furtive glance at his begrimed audience. V One and all were laughing quietly at something or some one behind him. He wheeled. The "boss" of the mill, Superintendent Graves, stood within arm's reach. He was smiling kindly. "So you think- the work is easy, Gussie?" Gussio slowly edged away. ."Come, now," added the man, laying a hand upon the boy's shoulder; ','you're not going because I came?" The other nodded; "\u25a0 "" '. : \u0084 »•-\u25a0•" r \u25a0.;', "You're not afraid of me, are you?" Gusano was not certain of this, so ho made no reply. He contented himself with raking a bed of cinders over witli his. big toe. "How would you like trying It half a day, Gussie? HarpeY, here, has to go to the" doctor's this afternoon to have his sore foot treated. You can take his place if you want to." 'Gusano straightened with a jerk.' 'He did not immediately answer, but his big toe dropped its labors and he looked up into the superintendent's " face to make sure of his ground. "What do you say?" inquired the mill "Orright," he replied, shortly. The man consulted his watch,. "Better get your lunch, then, Gussie. It's 11 o'clock." "Orright," and Ousano, hitching up his trousers, throw a shameless swag ger into his walk as he strode away. Once over a low ridge and out of sight, he broke into a run. He was proud, happy. His head throbbed with thoughts of success and pay checks. He pictured himself carrying a dinner pall, and felt a spiteful gladness over the surprise and envy that his posi tion would- cause his playmates, for whom he hud always been the butt. Arrived at homo he tore into the kitchen and shouted the news to his mother in such breathless, unintelli gible speech that the good woman feared for his health, and nearly de Till- SAN FRANCISCO CALL. SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1910.-THE JUNTOR CALL cided that he should go to bed and have the doctor. For Gusano had sud denly developed Into a very demon of animation. ' ' •, • . \u25a0• y When, he had gulped hla dinner he covered the half a mile back to the mill on a run; , Once there, he stripped idown tchis undershirtand fell to eye ing the boilers, , until Harper, the fire man, finished his lunch. Then the man went over the work of the afternoon with; his substitute. ,-. But Gusano learned no more than he already knew. At r o'clock hhre r pulled tho whistle cord. 'He experienced a great thrill, of pride when the road gang of loung ing Hungarians rose as one man jto resume their work at the signal. Then thei afternoon wore away. When .the superintendent , appeared ' Gusano ; was wheeling in a: supply of wood, For a long time Graves watched the prodigy. The youngster felt him self .trembling under the keen eyes. He knew his efforts; were being searched for defects, knew, that he was blundering shockingly, and felt miser able. • '\u25a0- "Well, Gussie, how do you like the work?" asked Graves, curiously. ..".Orright" - Gussie looked \u25a0 over his shoulder with;' deep concern at the water .glass. , Then he shot a "You knowjhow-it-is" glance at his superior and became suddenly interested in his grimy hand. . "As easy as you thought it would be?" "'Well," said Graves, moving away, "Tom and Bill say you're the best man they ever worked with, and I know they're right. Don't wear yourself out. Gussie." How those words of praise sang In the boy's ears! It was the first time he had worked for day's pay; he wanted to make good, and lie had. And the money he would earn! He grew dizzy with thoughts of gold and reputation, and wild ' fancies kept his mind so occupied that when 6 o'clock arrived the engineer had to call for the whistle. Washing. hlnißelf, Gusano left the mill. On the trail to town he met Harper, the fireman. "Hello, Gussie. I juat saw the super. He told me you tackled the Job like an old hand. . "Oh, I guess I did orright." The man searched his pockets and handed the boy |2." "That suit you, Gussie?" he asked with a smile. "Sure — if it's orright with you. And say. Harper, if you want to lay off gimme a clianco/' "You bet— l'll let you know, Gussie." Two dollars! Gusano could hardly believe it! He had expected not more than $I—here1 — here was a full half day's wages! ; After supper he strode^up the main street There was considerable pride in his step. Everybody who saw him remarked the change and the knowing ones smiled. When he approached the crowd of camp urchins with whom he associated he noted that they treated him with a certain curious awe, that he was pleased to call "respect." Fur ther, they listened to his story with becoming Interest and visible envy. ,: Vl v ain't sure when you'll see .me again," he said, assuming a rakish pose; "I'm kinder busy theseV days. Have to get some togs, now, then -I'm going home to study. Mister Graves told- me lie would give' me a book on engineering. Ho said I didn't have to read over the first part, 'cos I had it down pat. orready.; He said: 'Ina week you oughter know the'whole business, Gussie— then I want you to study min ing.' : I made two dollars today— that ain't so bad." The clink of the money against a dozen eight-penny nails and an assortment of keys in his pocket, impressed his audience. Then, he walked off, swinging from side to side, reckless and pompous, ,< • Entering a store, he purchased a pair of overalls, a red bandana; handkerchief and a pound of dried prunes. , • : "You worked half a shift for Harper today, didn't you Gussie?" asked the storekeeper. » "You bet," replied the boy; with ill concealed boastfulncss. "I heard they need a fireman at the 'Mother Goose' mine in Summit. Why don't'you try for the job?" Gusane's heart leaped. "When did you hear it?" "About an hour ago. One of the men went east. His health is bad." Munching prunes, Gusano took a short cut home. Summit was a small camp five miles away and higher up on the range. If the mill was in need of a man, why could he not 1111 the place? lie was full of the idea and talked, to hla parents until he overruled their objections and gained their consent. The next morning before sunrise, Gusano caught his old, bony Indian pony, swallowed his breakfast and rode off. When ho reached Summit ho waited two hours for the mill/superintendent. "Are you Mr. Brown?" he asked at last of a tall, bearded man. "I hear you're abort a fireman, and I came over from Belleville to see what the Chances is of getting the Job." Brown looked down at the boy In astonishment. Then ho laughed. "Why you're only a boy. You can't do the work, my son." Thin sentiment cut Gusano like a knife; to some extent, it angered liim. "How do you know I can't?" he re torted. : "How do I know? Why, where, on earth did you ever fire a boiler?" i Gusano threw out his chest ever so little. \u25a0':\u25a0\u25a0' .-"I' bin taking x a feller's place at the Belleville mill," he declared stoutly. "I guess I know something about firing.'' "The man was interested; more than that ; he .was amused. He \u25a0 studied Gu sano a few moments before -he spoke, then, as if he had arrived at a satis factory' conclusion, he paid: "If you can get a letter of recom mendation from Superintendent Graves I'll put you to work. That's' fair, isn't it?" Pounding the old, horse in the ribs with his heels until,' much against its will, it, broke into a gallop, he swung off the main road toward the Belle ville mill. The millman, walking over the trail from the town, stopped in an swer to the shrill whistle and, recog nizing the young rider coming across country on a bumping lope, waited for him to approach. "How do, Mister Graves?" said Gu sano, reining in his heaving mount, "I come to get, a recommend from you. I got a job at . tho 'Mother Goose' mill firing if you'll glmme'a letter to Mister Brown." /v,T.yv' '\u25a0'•;' -\u25a0 ±',iCf:^'w 'The -boss frowned and looked thoughtful.' It was .some little time r beforo he spoke. Gusano paled. He had expected sudden, good natured con sent; on the contrary, he was on the verge of being refused. A lump rose in his throat and he fought savagely against the welling tears. He knew he had been too sure; he realized also that his new born.animationwas"" being cruelly stamped out, "Well, I'll tell you, Gussie," finally answered Graves, still scowling at the ground, "the fact is you haven't worked long enough fpr me to recommend you to another man. Besides, my. little boy Jack tells me you aro thinking of studying engineering. Now — What, Guagie, crying? l ' . Gusano's head had sunk upon his bre.-iat and the tears were streaming through his dirty fingers. The man took a step forward and laid his hand caressingly upon the shoulder of the apprentice fireman. "I was just going to say," he added gently, "that I want you to take up en gineering, and thut I would .'rather give you a iob here, when)' you can learn." Three years after Superintendent Brown called up Graves by telephone. "Buy, Graves, got a good man down there? Our compressor's broke down and we're i:p against it." "Yes. I'll Bend you a young fellow you once refused a job." The machinist was Gusano.