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Harper's Young People, June 15, 1880   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S




Tuesday, June 15, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.




"Bal loon! balloon! Oh, Charley! where are you, Charley? There's a balloon a comin'."

Charley's big brother Harry came running excitedly down the road, and vaulted the farm yard fence in a state of great excitement. "Oh, Charley, come out quick and see the balloon."

Charley was nowhere to be found. He had wandered off hours before to his favorite rock by the brook to have a "good cry." And this was the reason of it: One day, a short time before, he had been into the town of Wayneburg, not many miles distant, with Harry. Charley didn't often have a chance to go to town, and you may be sure he made the best use of his eyes. The one thing which he remembered above everything else was the big poster board near the market, covered over every inch of it with bright colored pictures of leaping horses, trick mules, flying riders jumping through hoops, comical clowns, and, above all, a big balloon just rising out of the crowd, everybody swinging their hats.

For two weeks Charley had talked of nothing, thought of nothing, dreamed of nothing but the coming show, and so, when his mother promised to take him to see it all, he was the happiest little boy in the county. But, alas! Charley's mother was taken sick just before the circus came, and there was no one else to go with him. Harry was too young and wild to be trusted, she said, and so poor Charley staid at home, and, sitting upon the big gate post, watched the wagon loads of people rattling merrily into town, bound for a day's fun. With swelling heart he wished he was a full grown man. Then he strayed down by the creek, as I have said, to tell his grief to the fishes.

Harry, who had felt almost as badly as Charley, though he scorned to cry about it, kept on shouting until Charley peeped above the orchard wall to see what was wanted. Then he too spied the balloon. It didn't look bigger than his top, away up among the fleecy clouds, but it rapidly grew to the size of a pippin, and then over the hill came two or three galloping horsemen, swinging their hats, and shouting as they rode.

Now the balloon began to descend, and shortly disappeared behind the woods back of the house. Charley didn't know whether to run or stand still, and while he was doubting, the great yellow dome arose into sight again, and this time Charley could see the men in the basket. They were looking down, and calling to the men in the road to take hold of the long drag rope, and pull them down.

This was not hard to do, as a balloon is so prettily balanced when in the air that in a light wind a little boy like Charley could pull it to the earth. It is not so easy when the balloon is going rapidly. I once saw a plucky dog catch hold of the rope with his teeth, and it jerked him along over fences and through a stubble field on his back, and I guess when he let go he had but very little hair left. Well, they pulled the balloon down, and before the men got out several large stones were put into the basket to hold it down, and the rope was tied to a strong post. One of the men was tall and stoop shouldered, with a long sandy beard; they called him "Professor" (a queer title for a balloon man, is it not?). The second man was tall and good looking; he belonged to the circus company. And the third was the artist, whose sketches you see in this paper.

After a little, Charley's mother came to the door, and invited the three strangers into the house, but they preferred to sit on the step; and the Professor took Charley upon his knee, and asked him how he would like to travel in the way they did. How odd! Why, that was the very thing he was wishing for at the moment... Continue reading book >>

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