Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Inspiring Novel > A Son of Courage > CHAPTER XVII THE DREAD DAY DAWNS
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 It was broad daylight when Anson, in response to an angry call from the bottom of the stairway, sat up in bed. Vaguely he realized that in some dire way this glad morning proclaimed a day of doom, but his drowsy senses were still leaping vast chasms of dreamland—striving to slip from the control of saner reasoning and drift away with a happy abandon of dire results to follow. What boy has not had the same experience, even although he knew that a razor-strop, wielded by a vigorous hand, would in all probability accomplish quickly what his drowsy will had failed to accomplish? Anson was just dropping off into the lulling arms of Morpheus when that extra sense, possessed by all boys in a measure and by certain boys in particular, warned him back to wakefulness and a realization of his danger.  
He was out of bed and pulling his braces over his shoulders by the time the heavy footsteps of his mother sounded at the top of the stairs.
"You, Anse!" came Mrs. Wilson's voice. "Have I gotta limber you up with the strap, after all?"
"Comin', Ma," responded Anse, sleepily.
"Well, you'd best come quick, then. You'll be gettin' enough hidin's today—if that new teacher's any good—without me havin' to wear my arm out on you 'fore breakfast."
Anson stood still, fumbling the buttons. So that was it! School! He knew it was some awful catastrophe. Where was Billy? He glanced across at the other bed. Billy was not in it. He went slowly downstairs, washed himself, and went in to breakfast. Billy was not there. His father was just getting up from the table.
"Where's Bill?" Anson asked him.
"Down feedin' his pets, most likely," answered his father as he went out. A moment or two later Billy came in. The boys seated themselves in their places and ate their breakfast in silence.
"Is our dinner up, Ma?" Billy asked, as he pushed back his chair.
Mrs. Wilson nodded. "It is. Two pieces of bread an' butter an' a doughnut an' a tart fer each of you. Is it enough?"
"I guess so," Billy replied indifferently.
Anson eyed him suspiciously, then turned to his mother. "I wish't you'd do our dinners up separate, Ma," he whined.
"Why?" asked Mrs. Wilson, in surprise.
"Well, 'cause Bill hogs it, that's why," complained Anson. "Last time we had tarts I didn't get none. An' it's the same with pie an' cake."
Mrs. Wilson gazed sternly at Billy. "Willium, do you take Anson's tarts and pie?" she asked ominously.
"Yes, ma'am," answered Billy, promptly.
"There now!" exulted Anson, glancing triumphantly at his mother, who sat staring and incredulous at the unabashed offender.
Billy looked gravely down at his accuser, then apprehensively at his judge. As no immediate sentence seemed forthcoming he turned toward the door.
"Stop!" Mrs. Wilson had risen suddenly from her chair and stood pointing an accusing finger at Billy.
"You'll ketch it fer this, an' don't you ferget it," she stormed, "an' if I ever hear of you gobblin' up Anson's share o' the lunch ag'in, you young glutton, you'll go to school fer a month without any lunch a'tall."
Billy turned. "I didn't say I ate Anson's pie an' cake, Ma," he said gently. "I didn't take it 'cause I wanted it."
"Then why did you take it a'tall, I want'a know?"
"I took it 'cause I thought it was bad fer him. You see, Ma, Anse suffers turrible from indigestion," Billy explained. "'Course maybe you don't notice it same as I do, 'cause you don't sleep in the same room with him. But Ma, he groans an' gasps all night—an' he has the most awful dreams—now don't you Anse?" he asked, turning to his brother.
Anson started to whimper. "I do have bad dreams," he confessed miserably, "but pie an' tarts ain't to blame fer it."
"Silence, you!" Mrs. Wilson reached for the dinner-pail and proceeded to extract from it one tart, one doughnut. "I guess maybe your brother's right," she said grimly. "If that's the way you carry on nights we'll hold you off pastry fer a while. Now then, grab that pail and off to school with both o' you!"
Billy was outside first and waiting for Anson at the road gate when he came down the path, dejectedly wiping his eyes and vowing inaudible threats at the agent of his new woe.
"Now, then," said Billy as he came up, "maybe you'll begin to see that it don't pay to blab so danged much."
"It was dirty mean of you," sniffled Anson. "You know how much I like pie an' tarts; an' here I am havin' to lug yourn an' gettin' none fer myself. Fer two cents I'd chuck this dinner-pail in the crick."
"An' fer two cents I'd punch that crooked eye of yourn straight," cried Billy, his temper rising. "You'd best close your mouth while the closin's good, an' if anythin' happens to that pail you're goin' to hear from me."
They passed on in silence until the hardwood grove came in sight. Here Billy paused. "You go on, Anse," he said. "I'm goin' over to the menagerie fer a look over things. An' see here." He grabbed his brother's shoulder and swung him about. "I'm goin' to tell you something an' if you so much as peep it to Ma I'm goin' to pass the word to Ringdo an Croaker that they're free to do what they like to you; see?"
Anson shuddered. "Aw, who's goin' to peep?' he returned.
"All right then. Now listen. This mornin' I tied my Sunday clothes up an' throwed 'em out our winder. Then I got up an' sneaked 'em over to the menagerie. I'm goin' to wear 'em to school. Never you mind why, it's none of your business. When I blow into school this mornin' dressed to kill I don't want you to look too darned surprised, that's all. Now if you'll keep your mouth shut tight about that I promise not to let my witch-coon an' witch-crow eat you while you sleep; an' I'll tell you what else I'll do, I'll give you my tart an' my doughnut. Is it a bargain?"
Anson nodded eagerly.
"All hunky. Now you move along, an' if you happen to meet Fatty Watland, er Maurice, er any other boys, don't you let on a word about this."
"I won't," promised Anson. "Cross my heart, Bill."
Billy ducked into the path through the grove and Anson resumed his reluctant pace toward the Valley School. On the bridge across Levee creek he came up with Elgin Scraff. Elgin was standing with his arms on the bridge rail, looking dejectedly down into the water.
"Hello," Anson accosted. "Goin' to school?"
Elgin lifted his head slowly. "Yep, you?"
Anson nodded and set the dinner-pail down on the bridge.
"Where's Bill?"
"He'll be along soon. Here he comes now; no 'taint neither, it's Fatty Watland. Wonder where he's been up that way?"
Watland came puffing up, his round face red and perspiring. "Gee!" he panted, "I've been all the way to the store. Had to get some sulphur fer Ma. She found a wood-tick that old Sport scratched off him on the floor, an' she swears it's a bed-bug; an' now she's goin' to burn this sulphur in all the rooms."
A grin rippled across his face and grew into a chuckle. "I bet I sleep in the barn fer a week. I sure hate the smell of sulphur."
"Come on," said Elgin, "let's move on down to the sehoolhouse." Side by side the three passed on up the hill and down into ............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved