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Harper's Young People, August 10, 1880   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S




Tuesday, August 10, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.


[Begun in No. 31 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, June 1.]




"Boys," said Tom, as he was kindling the fire the next morning, "do you know what day it is?"

"Saturday, of course," replied the others.

"You're wrong; it's Sunday."

"It can't be," exclaimed Harry.

"But it is," persisted Tom. "Last night was the sixth night that we've slept out doors, and we started on a Monday."

Tom was right; but it was some time before his companions could convince themselves that it was actually Sunday. When they finally admitted that it was Sunday morning they gave up the idea of proceeding up the canal, and began to discuss what they had better do.

The boat, which had been drawn out of the water the night before, was concealed by a clump of bushes from the canal boatmen. The boys decided to leave it where it was, and to carry the tent and most of their baggage to a grove a quarter of a mile distant, where they could pass a quiet Sunday. The locks were not yet opened, and no canal boats were stirring, and the boys made their way to the grove at once while their movements were unobserved. They were afraid that if they attracted the attention of the boatmen to the clump of bushes, some one would steal the Whitewing while her crew were absent. They had already seen enough of the "canalers" to know that they were a wild and lawless set of men, and they were not anxious to put the temptation of stealing a nice boat in their way.

The grove was a delightful place; and when they had pitched the tent under the shadow of the great oak trees, they were glad of the prospect of a good day's rest. Tom and Harry walked nearly a mile to church in the morning, leaving the Sharpe boys to look after the camp, and they all slept most of the afternoon.

About dusk, as the fire for cooking supper was blazing briskly, Joe returned from a foraging expedition quite out of breath, and with his milk pail half empty. He said that he had met three tramps on the road, which passed through the grove not very far from the camp, and that they had snatched a pie from him that he had bought at a farm house, and had chased him for some distance.

He had been badly frightened, as he frankly admitted; but the other boys thought that it was a good joke on him. They told him that the tramps would track him by the milk that he had spilled, and would probably attack the camp and scalp him. They soon forgot the adventure, however, with the exception of Tom, who, although he said nothing at the time, poured water on the fire as soon as the supper was cooked an act which somewhat astonished the rest. Soon afterward he went into the tent for a few moments, and when he returned he was beginning to advise Joe not to laugh quite so loud, when the crackling of branches was heard in the grove, and three very unpleasant looking men appeared.

It was fast growing dark, but Joe immediately recognized them as the tramps who had stolen his pie. "We've come to supper," said one of them. "Let's see what you've got. Give us the bill of fare, sonny, and look sharp about it."

Tom immediately answered that they had eaten their supper, and that there was nothing left of it but some coffee. "If you want the coffee, take it," said he. "There isn't anything else for you."

"That ain't a perlite way to treat three gen'lemen as come a long ways to call on you," said the tramp. "We'll just have to help ourselves, and we'll begin by looking into your tent. P'r'aps you've got a crust of bread there what'll save a poor starvin' workin' man from dyin' on the spot."

Tom hastily stepped before the tent... Continue reading book >>

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