xt759z908v6q https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt759z908v6q/data/mets.xml Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows), 1863-1931. 19191904  books b92-237-31299190 English L.C. Page, : Boston : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Quilt that Jack built  : how he won the bicycle / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by Etheldred B. Barry. text Quilt that Jack built  : how he won the bicycle / by Annie Fellows Johnston ; illustrated by Etheldred B. Barry. 1919 2002 true xt759z908v6q section xt759z908v6q 
















TI-IE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT

 




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"HIS SERIOUS LITTLE FACE PUCKERED INTO AN
             ANXIOUS FROWN"



(See fiage 4)



t--



Q) I tt
            11

 



(oo  (Cormaer Series



      THE QUILT

THAT JACK BUILT

HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE



                By
      Annie Fellows Johnston
Author of "The Little Colonel " Srie, I Big lrother,"
"' The Story of Dago," - Joel: A ]Boy of Galilee," etc.



   Illustrated 'y
Etheldred 13. Barry



Boston Al At Iat A
The Page Company
t -4 -4 Publishers

 











         Copyright, 1904
    BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
          (INCORPORATED)

        All ri!qhts reserved










Published October, 1904
Third Impression, March, i9io
Fourth Impression, February, 19ii
Fifth Imnprt-ssion, March, I914
Sixth Irnjmrcssion, July, 19i9



       THE COLONIAL PRESS
C. Hl. STIMON'DS CO., BOSTON, U. S. A.

 


























                 TO
              THE BOY
WHO HAS MADE ALIL lOYJVIDT I)EAR TO ME-
            MY ONLY SON

                3obn

 This page in the original text is blank.

 





















                                        PAGE
"His SERIOUS LITTLE FACE PUCKERED INTO
    AN ANXIOUS FROWVN" (See iage 4) Froniszfiiece
"EVERY ONE WAS MAKING PAT( HWORK " .    6
  DEAR AS IT IS TO MF, IT IS NOT SO DEAR
  AS THE KEEPING OF NiY WORD "'     . I I
"THE FAMII,.AR SQUARES OF FADED PATCH-
   WORK MET HIS EVE"                     19
",EACH BOY LONGED TO OWN IT"             30
",HOEING AWAY IN HIS GARDEN"              38
"' I STOPPED AND READ IT THROUGH TWICE'"  44
' I AND THAT KID JUST STARTED OFF ON FOOT "' 52

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THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT

  HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE

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                  THE
QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



  "JOHNNY makc a quilt! " repeated Rob
Marshall, with a shout of laughter. " I'd as
soon expect to see a wild buffalo knitting
mittens!
   But you're not to speak of it outside the
fallilv, Rob,'' his mother hastene(l to say, " and
you must not tease the little fellow. You older
children have ways of earning pocket-money,
-Rhoda with her painting, and you with
your bent iron work, but Johnny hasn't had
a cent of income all fall. You know when
your father explained what a hard winter this
would be, and said we must economize in every
way possible, Johnny offered to give up the
little amount I allowed him every week for

 

2     THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



chores. He has been doing his work ever
since without pay. Now, he is wild to buy
Todd W\alters' rifle. He can get it for only
three dollars, and I want him to have it if
possible.  le has cheerfully gone without so
many things this fall. He followed me around
the house all morning, begging me to think
of some biav in which hie could earn the money,
until, in desperation, I suggested that he piece
a quilt for me at a cent a block. To my great
surprise, he consented eagerly.  lie usually
scorns anything that looks like girls' work."
  " And mother will have to (1o without the
new bonnet that she had counted on getting
with the turkey money that always comes in
just before Christmas, in order to pay for it,"
said Rhocla to her brother. " I think it's a
shame. She needs it too badly to give it up
for that child's whim."
  A -No, daughter," answered Mrs. Marshall,
gently.  " In a country neighbourhood like
this it matters little whether I wear my clothes
one ylear or seven: and it is not a mere whim
with Johnny. He wvants that rifle more than
he ever wanted anything in his life before.
I think the quilt money would be a good in-

 

THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



vestment. The Work will teach him patience
and neatness, and above all keep hinm quiet
in the evenings. Since your father has been
so worried over his business, he needs all the
relaxation possible at home. He enjoys read-
ing aloutd in the evenings. an(1 Johnny's fidget-
ing annoys him.   A ten-year-ol(l boy is all
wriggle and racket without something to oc-
cupy him.''
  She did not say it aloucl, but, as she cut out
the gay patchwork, she thought, with a warm
glows of heart, of another reason for the invest-
ment.  The quilt would be such a precious
reminder of Jolhnny's l)oyhood some day, when
he had put away childish things. Every stitch
would be dear to her, because of the little
stubby fingers that worked so patiently to set
them, despite the needle pricks and knotted
thread.
  That evening, with every curtain drawn
tight, so that no prying outsider might see
and tell, and ready to run at the first sign of
an approaching visitor, Johnny sat down on
the hearth-rug, tailor fashion, to begin the
quilt. A slateful of calculations had shown
him that, by making five blocks every evening



3

 

4     THE QU1ILT THAT JACK BUILT



and fifteen every Saturday, he could finish by
Christmas. Todd would wait until then for
his money. Three hundred and fifty blocks
wvould give him enough for the rifle, and half
a dollar besides for ammunition.
  " Well, Johnny," said NMr. TMarshall, teas-
ingly, " I suppose your mother signed a con-
tract for this.  ' There's many a slip,' you
knowv. WVhat would you do if the turkeys died
before Christmas, and she couldn't pay you"
  " Huh! No danger of mother's not keeping
her word! ' aniswered Johnny, wvith a confident
fvag of his head. " She said she'd pay me,
not only the day, but the very houir they were
done. Didn't you, motlier
  " Yes, son." was the smiling answer, as she
put the first block into his hands, and the quilt
was begun. Not only the quilt, but a series
of quiet evenings long to be remembered by
the Marshall family. The picture of Johnny
bending over his patchwork, his serious little
face puckered into an anxious frown, as he
tugged at the thread with awkward fingers,
is one of the ways they love best to think of
him. They still laugh heartily over the time
when he rolled under the sofa, work-basket and

 

THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



all, to escape the eyes of a gossipy neighbour,
who had knocked unexpectedly at the side
door, and who stayed so long that he fell
asleep and snored loudly.
  The following Saturday morning, Mrs.
Marshall, going out to the barn for a hatchet,
heard voices on the other side of the partition.
Peeping through a crack, she saw a sight that
confounded her.
  Every boy in the neighbourhood seemed to
be there, and every one wvas making patch-
work. One boy was dangling his feet over the
manger, several were perched on a ladder, and
one was sitting cross-legged oin a huge pump-
kin. Johnny was going around as Grand In-
quisitor from one to another. If a seam was
puckered, he gave the unlucky seamstress what
they called a " hickey," - a tremendous thunmp
on the head with his thumi) and middle finger.
If the stitches were big and uneven, he gave
two hickeys and a pinch, and one boy got half
a dozen, because Johnny said his dirty hands
made the thread gray. 1Irs. Marshall gath-
ered that it was some sort of secret society,
and that they had signed an oath in their own
blood not to tell.



5

 
6     THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



  " Johnny is at the bottom of it," she thought,
laughing as she went back to the house. " He
has set the other boys to sewing in order to



forestall them. SNow they cannot tease him,
should they hear of his private quilt-piecing.'
  Another week \vent by of peaceful, unin-
terrupte(d evenings, and( every night at bedtime
Johnny counted out his tale of finished blocks

 

THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



with a sigh of relief. On the second Saturday
evening he disappeared immediately after sup-
per. It was nearly an hour later when he came
tumbling excitedly into the house.
  " Look, mother! Look, everybody! " he ex-
claimed. " It's all done! Here are the three
hindred an(l fifty blocks all in one pile. Noxv,
I'm ready for my money, mother."
    "W,'hy, Johnny! " gasped Mrs. Marshall, in
astonishment.  " It isn't possible you have
done them all in two short weeks! "
  " Here they are," answered Johnny, smiling
broadly. " Todd got in a hurry for his money,
and I was so everlasting tired of the old patch-
work that I had to think of some plan; so I
farmed out two hundred of the blocks at a
quarter of a cent apiece. I got up a sort of
secret society, and wve sewed after school and
on Saturdays in the barn. The boys are wait-
ing around the corner for their money now.
There's ten of 'em, and I owve each one a nickel.
So give me part of the money in small change,
please. mother.  Todd's there, too. 'cause I
told him that you said you'd pay the very hour
they wvere clone."
  He dropped the bundle in her lap and hopped



7

 
8     THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



up and down, holding one foot in his hand.
" Nov the rifle's mine," he sang. " I can look
the whole world in the face, for I owe not any
man." He was quoting from the memory
exercises at school. His eager face clouded a
little at his mother's ominous silence.  He
shifted uneasily from one foot to another, won-
dering why she (lid not speak. At last she
said, slowly:
  "But I had expected to pay you out of the
turkey money, and I canlt get that before
Christmas. I hadn't an idea you could finish
before then. And, oh, Johnny! " she added,
sadly, " I thought it would be all your own
work. \What (lo I care for a quilt made by
Toni, Dick, and Harry I consented to spend
so much money on it, because I thought it
woul(l give you employment for six or seven
weeks at least, and that we would all set such
store by a quilt that you had made with your
own little fingers, - every stitch of it! "
  Johnny wriggled uncomfortably.  It had
been purely a business arrangement with him.
He could not understand his mother's senti-
ment. There was another disagreeable pause.
Mrs. Marshall gazed into the fire with such

 

THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



a disappointed look in her eyes that Johnny
felt the tears coming into his OwVIn. Then his
father and Rob and Rhoda, seeing the humour
of the situation, began to laugh.
  "Oh, what a joke!" gasped Rhoda finally,
holding her sides.
  " W\ho on I'd like to know," demanded
Johnny, savagely, and threw   himself full
length on the rug.
  " I don't know what to (1o! " he sobbed, his
face buried in his arms, and his feet waving
wildly back and forth above his prostrate body.
"I don't know what to do-oo! The boys are
out there waiting for me around the corner,
expecting me to bring the money right away.
I told them sure I'd bring it - that you prom-
ised - the very hour! I didn't know it made
any difference to you who finished 'em, just
so they was do(le."
  " It Ad as a misunderstanding, Johnny," said
his mother, rising slowly, " but I'll keep my
promise, of course." She wvent up-stairs, and
in a few minutes came back with a five-dollar
gold piece that she had taken out of a little
box of keepsakes. They all knew its history.
  " Oh, mother, not that! " cried Rhoda.



9

 
10    THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



"Not the gold piece that grandfather gave
you because he wvas so proud of your leading
the school a whole year both in scholarship
and deportment! "
  " Yes, he gave it to me on my tenth birth-
day, just a little while before he diedl. It was
the last thing he ever gave me, and I have kept
it for thirty years as one of my most precious
possessions."  She X-as rubbling the little coin
until it shone like newv, with the bit of chamois
skin in which it had been folded. " But dear
as it is to me, it is not so dear as the keeping
of my wor(l. Here. Johanny, take it (lown to
the corner, and ask MIr. Dolkins to change it
for you."
  Mr. Marshall listened wvith a pained con-
traction of the brows. " Couldn't you wait
until the latter part of next week, Abby  " he
asked. " I think I couldl get the money for
you by that time, and I hate to have you part
with the little keepsake you have treasured so
long."
  Mrs. Marshall shook her head. " No, Rob-
ert," she answered, " for that would make
Johnny break his word, too. You know lie
promised the boys, -and we couldn't afford

 

























































"'4 DEAR AS IT IS TO ME, IT IS NOT SO DEAR AS THE
            KEEPING OF MY WORI).'"



az

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THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



that, could we, son We must keep our word
at any cost." She slipped the money into his
hand, kissed him, and bade him hurry home
again; and Johnny, rushing back to his impa-
tient creditors, felt that it was something very
solemn indeed which had just taken place.
  Johnny's little room at the head of the stairs
was heated by the hall stove, so that the door
stood open all day long. \When the newv quilt
was folded across the foot of his bed, it was
the first thing that caught the eye of every one
passing up the stairs.
  Rob made up a verse al)out it. which he sang
so often to tease Johnny that the first note
wvas enough to make the child bristle up for
a fight:

      "This is the patchwork all forlorn,
        Made by the boys in Marshall's barn.
        The dog and the cat and even the rat
        Had a hand in that -
        A hand in the Quilt that Jack built!"

  "You needn't make ftun of it," said Rhoda
one day. " It has held me to my word more
than once. Yesterday, for instance, I would
have broken my promise to poor little Miss



13

 

14    THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



Sara Grimes, to help her entertain her old
ladies, and would have accepted Harry Dill-
ing's invitation, which came later, to go sleigh-
ing.  But that quilt w ould not let me. It
showed me mother as she stood there with her
precious little gold piece, saying, ' We must
keep our word at ally cost! ' After that I
couldn't disappoint poor old Mliss Sara."
  " I know," answered Rob, softly, looking up
from his algebra. " It's served me the same
way. It lies there like the exponent of a higher
pover, - the exponent of mother's standards
and ideals that she expects us to raise our-
selves up to."
  Mr. Marshall made a similar confession one
day, and it seemed that Johnny alone was the
only member of the family who had no senti-
ment in regard to the quilt, except, perhaps,
a feeling of gratitude. It had brought him
the rifle. He snuggled down under it on cold
winter nights, tumbled out from under it on
cold winter mornings and wvent his happy-go-
lucky way, regardless of what it might have
said to him if he had had ears to hear. Then,
when, worn and faded by many washings, it
outgrew its usefulness as he outgrew his boy-

 

THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



hood, one spring morning his mother packed it
carefully away in folds of old linen and lav-
ender.
  It was toward the middle of John Marshall's
freshman year at college. The boy " all wvrig-
gle an(l racket " was a strong, athletic young
fellow now, still with the same propensities of
his restless boyhood. His overtlowing animal
spirits ma(le him a jolly companion. an(l he
found himself popular from the start. There
was no nee(l now for petty economies in the
Marshall homestead. Business had been pros-
perous since that one hard wvinter when Johnny
ma(le patchwork to pay for his gun, and he
found himself now with as liberal an allowance
as any one in his class.
    I'm in for having a royal good time," he
wrote to Rhoda, who was homie-keeper nowv,
for it had been two years since her mother's
death, and Rhoda had (lone her best to fill the
vacant place to them all. " And you needn't
preach to me, Sis." he wrote. " i'm all right,
and I'm not going to get into the trouble which
you cheerfully predict.  I shall not get into
any scrapes that I can't skin out of; but a



I 5

 

16    THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



fellow woul(l be a fool who didn't squeeze as
much fun as possible out of his college life."
  As he xvas finishing this letter, three stu-
dents, who were foremost in all the fun going,
came tumlbling unceremoniously into his room.
" Say, you there, Marshall," cried the first
one, " hustle tup and get ready for a lark to-
night. You know that Sophomore Wilson,
the long-faced fellow the l)oys call Squills
He's rooming in the old Baptist parsonage
away out on the edge of town. It's vacant
now, and they're glad to let him have a room
free for the sake of somebody to guard the
premises. WVe've found that he wdvill be out
to-night, sitting up with a sick frat., so we've
planned to borrow the parsonage in his ab-
sence to give a swell dinner.  Tingley and
Jones will visit several hen-roosts in our behalf,
and wve'll roast the fowvls in the parsonage
stove.  If you'll just set up the champagne,
Jacky, my boy, we'll be ' Yours for ever, little
darling,' and we'll gamble on the green of the
defunct parson's study table ' till morning doth
appear.' "
  He took out a new deck of cards as he spoke,

 

THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



and slapped significantly on his overcoat pocket,
bulging with packages of cigarettes.
  " What if Squills should come back unex-
pectedly" asked Johnny.
  " Oh, that's all arranged. WVe'll toss him up
in a blanket until he hasn't breath enough left
to squeal on us. Suppose you bring along a
blanket, if you have one to spare," suggested
the wild senior, whose notice always flattered
the susceptible freshman.  " In case Squills
does turn tip before schedule time, it would
be a good thing to have one landy.''
    All right, I'll be ready. When do you
start  "
  " At ten o'clock," was the answer. " Ve'll
come by for you," an(l the three conspirators
tramped down the long corridor, shoulder to
shoulder, to the whistled tune of " John
Brown's Body."
  John sat dlown at his table, frowning over
his lessons for the next dav. For nearly an
hour he tried to work, first at his Latin and
then on the theme that he wvas expected to
hand in directly after chapel. But his thoughts
were on the coming lark.
  " Oh, bother! " he exclaimed at last, toss-



I17

 
18    THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



ing the books into a disorderly heap and tear-
ing his theme in two. " Vvhat difference will
it make fifty years from now, if I'm not pre-
pared to-morrowv I guess I'll get that blanket
while I think about it."
  At the beginning of the cold weather, he
had written home for some extra blankets, and
Rhoda had sent a box immediately. It had
been standing in the closet several days, wait-
ing for him to find time to unpack it. A sofa
pillow made of his class colours came tumbling
out as he remove(l the lid, and, wondering
what other extras his sister might have put
in the box, he turned it upside down on the
bed to investigate.  Two fine soft blankets
came first, then an eiderdown comfort, and
then- something wrapped in a square of
time-yellowed linen, and smelling faintly of
lavender.
  " What under the canopy! " he muttered,
beginning to unfold it. " Well, I'll be - jig-
gered! " hie exclaimed. as the familiar squares
of faded patchwork met his eve. " It's that
old quilt I made for mother!  He had for-
gotten its existence. but no\, as he spread
it out full length, smiling at the well-known

 



















































( THE FAMILIAR SQUARES OF FADED PATCHWORK
              MET HIS EYE "

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THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



object, it seemed only yesterday that he had
been at work upon it. Rob's old teasing rhyme
came back to him:

      s This is the patchwork all forlorn,
      Made by the boys in Marshall's barn."

  "It wtas funny," he thought, "the way I
farmed out those two hundred blocks to the
other boys. XVhy, here's a piece of one of
those little striped waists I use(l to wear, and
there's a piece of Rob's checked shirt and
Rhoda's apron.   1 wouldn't have imagined
that I could have recognized themn after all
these years, but they loWok as natural as life.
;\nd this," - his finger wvas resting on a square
of dotted blue calico, - " mother wore this.
My! the times I've hung on to that dress,
following her around the house, bothering her
to stop and cover a ball, or make me a marble
bag, or untangle my fishing-lines. And she
always stopped so patiently."
  He was back in the sunny old kitchen, with
its spicy smell of gingerbread and pies, hot
from the Saturday baking. Outside, the snoxv
clung to the trees, but the wintry sun shining
through the shelf of yellow chrysanthemums



21

 

22    THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



by the window, made dancing summer shad-
ows on the clean white floor. Hle was looking
at the quilt through blurred eyes now. How
many, many nights she had spread it over him
and tucked him snugly in, and softly kissed
his eyelids down, before she carried away the
lamp. It came over him all in a swrift rush,
with a sudden cold sense of desolation, that
she could never do that again! never any
more! The light had been taken away, never
to be brought back.
  Big fellow as he was, he dropped on his
knees by the bed, and buried his face in the
old quilt, wvith a long, quivering sob. He had
been occupied wsith so many things in the new
experiences of his college life that he had not
missed her for the last few months; but the
sight of the o0l (juilt brought her so p)lainly
before him that the longing to have her back
was almost intolerable.
  Several blocks away, a crowd of students
crossing the campus in the moonlight started
a rollicking chorus. It floated blithely up to
him on the wintry night air.
  " The fellows will be here in a minute," he
thought. " What would she say if she knew

 

THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



I promised her that I would never, never touch
a drop of liquor or a deck of cards, and here
I am, getting ready for a night of drinking
and gambling and carousing. But IEve gone
too far to back out now. How they'd hoot
and laugh if they knew!"
  He got up, anld began to fold the quilt, pre-
paratory to putting it back in the box. The
old scenes still kept crowding upon him. He
saw himself lying on the hearth-rug, the night
the boys were waiting for him around the cor-
ner, and he weas crying out, " But you promzised
Wc! You promnised wle! " and there was his
mother with the bit of a gold piece in her hand,
- the precious little keepsake that she had
treasured for thirty years, saying, in answer
to her husband's remonstrance: " No, Robert,
that woul(l make Johnny break his promise,
too, and we couldn't afford that, could we.
son WVe must keep our word at any cost!"
  It stood out fair and fine nov. the memorv
of her unswverving truthfulness. her fidelity to
duty. If the commllonplace deeds of those early
(lays had seemed of little molllent to his child-
ish eyes in passing, he saw them at their full
value now. He recognized the high purpose



23

 

24    THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT



with which she had pieced her little days to-
gether, now that he could look at the whole
beautiful pattern of her finished life. How
sacredly she had always kept her word to him,
the slightest promise always inviolate! Ah,
the little gold coin was the very least of all
her sacrifices.
  He was about to say, " No, they shall not
all be in vain,' when he heard the fellows on
the walk outside. A cold perspiration broke
out on his forehead, as he considered the con-
sequences should he refuse to go with them.
Strong as he was, he had a fear of ridicule.
To be laughed at, to be ostracized by the set
he admired, was more than he could endure.
Like many another brave fellow, fearless in
every respect but one, he was an arrant coward
before that one overpowering fear of being
laughed at.
  He gathered the quilt in his arms, debating
whether he should hide it hastily in the closet,
or come out boldly before them all with its
w hole homely little story. The fellows were
tramping down the hall now. Oh, what should
he dlo' Go or not It meant to break with
them for all time if he refused now.

 

       THE QUILT THAT JACK BUILT        25

  There was an instant more of indecision, as
the footsteps halted at the threshold, but,
when the door burst open, he had squared his
shoulders to meet whatever might come, and
was whispering between his set teeth: "At
any cost, mother! I'll keep my promise at
any cost! "

 This page in the original text is blank.

 















HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE

 


















  This story first appeared in the Central Clhris-
tian Advocate.   The author wishes to acknowl-
edge the courtesy of the editor in permitting her
to reypublish it in the present volume.

 

                  HOW
  HE WON THE BICYCLE



  "LOOKS like everybody in Bardstown has
a wheel but us," said Todd Walters, wistfully
pressing his little freckled nose against the
show-window of the bicycle shop, where a fine
wheel was on exhibition.
  It was the third time that day that Todd
had walked five blocks out of his wav to look
in at that wvindow, and each time Abbot Mlor-
gan and Chicky WN;iggins were wvith him. In
the two weeks that the new store had been
open, the hoys never failed to stop by on their
way from school, and the more they looked at
the wheel displayed so temptingly in the win-
dow, the more each boy longed to own it.
  None of them had any spending money.
                    2Q

 

HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE



Todd might have by and by when school was
out, and he began selling fly-paper again, as
he had done the summer before; but it was



understood in the tumble-down little cottage
that Todd called home that every penny thus
earned was to be saved toward the purchase
of a much needed new suit.
  Chicky Wiggins never could hope to buy



30

 
HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE



the wheel, for he was a district messenger boy,
and it took all his weekly earnings to pay for
his board and lodging and washing and shoe-
leather. Chicky had no family to look after
him, or help him make one nickel do the work
of three.
  Abbot Morgan was such a vell-dressed boy
that one might have supposed that his pockets
were always supplied with spending money,
but those who knew Abbot's uncle, the hard,
grasping man with whoml he lived, knew better.
Peter had worked hard for his little fortune,
and, while he was willing to provide a com-
fortable home for his sister's orphan son, he
did not propose that one penny should be spent
in foolishness. as he called it. So there was
little hope of Abbot ever owning the wheel.
  "But I'll have something to spend as I please
this summer," he said, as they stood looking
in through the window. " Uncle said that
after I have (lone Aunt Jane's chores every
morning, I shall have my time to myself this
summer. He let me have the two acres back
of the house for a garden, and I've got it
planted with all sorts of vegetables. They are
coming on fine, and I'm going to sell them and



3 1

 

HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE



have all the money myself, after uncle has
paid for the seed."
  Many a conversation about the wheel took
place in front of that window, and old Judge
Parker, who had his law-office next door, soon
began to look for the boys' visit as one of the
most interesting happenings of the day. Every-
body in Bardstown knew old Judge Parker.
He was as queer as he wvas kind-hearted, which
was saying a great deal, as he was the most
benevolent old soul that had ever lived in the
little town. There was a kindly twinkle in his
blue eyes as he laid down his paper and beck-
oned the boys to come into his office. He had
been making inquiries about them for several
days, and one of the queerest of his many queer
plans was soon unfolded to the wondering
boys.
  " I've noticed that you seem to admire that
wheel in the window of Stark Brothers a good
deal," he said, "and I'm going to give you
each a chance to win it. I'll offer it as a prize
if you are willing to work for it on my condi-
tions. I've heard that you will each be in
business for yourselves in a small way this
summer, and I'll make this offer. If each of



32

 
HOW HE WON THE BICYCLE



you boys without any help from any one, will
choose a good proverb or text out of the Bible
for a business motto, I'll give the wheel to the
boy who makes the best choice. You can
select any three business men in Bardstown to
be the judges; but the proof of a pudding is
in the eating, you know, so you must apply
that motto to your owvn business faithfully
for two months, and the excellence of the
motto will be judged by the results."
  Tlhe boys looked at the judge in open-
mouthed surprise.  They thought he surely
must be joking, but nothing could be more
serious or dignified than the way in which the
white-haired old gentleman repeated his offer.
So, after awhile, the boys succeeded in naming
three business men to be the judges, who were
satisfactory to all of them. They chose a
grocer, a druggist, and a livery-stable proprie-
tor, who were located on the same street with
Stark Brothers.
  " Ain't it the funniest thing you ever heard
of " said Chicky Wiggins, when they were
once more on the street. " It'll be a long time
to keep a secret, and I'll be achi