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   Chapter 2 WHERE IS THE BARREL

The Man Without a Country, and Other Tales By Edward Everett Hale Characters: 2216

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


"Where is the barrel this time, Fausta?" said I, after I had added and subtracted her figures three times, to be sure she had carried her tens and hundreds [pg 205] rightly. For the units, in such accounts, in face of Dr. Franklin, I confess I do not care.

"The barrel," said she, "is in FRANK LESLIE'S OFFICE. Here is the mark!" and she handed me FRANK LESLIE'S NEWSPAPER, with a mark at this announcement:-

$100

for the best Short Tale of from one to two pages of FRANK LESLIE'S ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPER, to be sent in on or before the 1st of November, 1862.

"There is another barrel," she said, "with $5,000 in it, and another with $1,000. But we do not want $5,000 or $1,000. There is a little barrel with $50 in it. But see here, with all this figuring, I cannot make it do. I have stopped the gas now, and I have turned the children's coats,-I wish you would see how well Robert's looks,-and I have had a new tile put in the cook-stove, instead of buying that lovely new 'Banner.' But all will not do. We must go to this barrel."

"And what is to be the hook, darling, this time?" said I.

"I have been thinking of it all day. I hope you will not hate it,-I know you will not like it exactly; but why not write down just the whole story of what it is to be 'Children of the Public'; how we came to live here, you know; how we built the house, and-all about it?"

"How Felix knew Fausta," said I; "and how Fausta first met Felix, perhaps; and when they first [pg 206] kissed each other; and what she said to him when they did so."

"Tell that, if you dare," said Fausta; "but perhaps-the oracle says we must not be proud-perhaps you might tell just a little. You know-really almost everybody is named Carter now; and I do not believe the neighbors will notice,-perhaps they won't read the paper. And if they do notice it, I don't care! There!"

"It will not be so bad as-"

But I never finished the sentence. An imperative gesture closed my lips physically as well as metaphorically, and I was glad to turn the subject enough to sit down to tea with the children. After the bread and butter we agreed what we might and what we might not tell, and then I wrote what the reader is now to see.

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