Beautiful Joe
Chapter 26, Page 2


Please be aware that this book was originally published in 1894 and may contain words, descriptions, or other passages that may be considered offensive today.


"Jacobs is only a young fellow, twenty-three or thereabout, and father says he sobbed like a baby. Then, without looking at him, father gave an account of his afternoon's drive, just as if he was talking to himself. He said that Pacer never to his knowledge had been on that road before, and yet he seemed perfectly familiar with it, and that he stopped and turned already to leave again quickly, instead of going up to the door, and how he looked over his shoulder and started on a run down the lane, the minute father's foot was in the cutter again. In the course of his remarks, father mentioned the fact that on Monday, the evening that the robbery was committed, Jacobs had borrowed Pacer to go to the Junction, but had come in with the horse steaming, and looking as if he had been driven a much longer distance than that. Father said that when he got done, Jacobs had sunk down all in a heap on the stable floor, with his hands over his face. Father left him to have it out with himself, and went to the house.

"The next morning, Jacobs looked just the same as usual, and went about with the other men doing his work, but saying nothing about going West. Late in the afternoon, a farmer going by hailed father, and asked if he'd heard the news.

"Old Miser Jerrold's box had been left on his doorstep some time through the night, and he'd found it in the morning. The money was all there, but the old fellow was so cute that he wouldn't tell any one how much it was. The neighbors had persuaded him to bank it, and he was coming to town the next morning with it, and that night some of them were going to help him mount guard over it. Father told the men at milking time, and he said Jacobs looked as unconscious as possible. However, from that day there was a change in him. He never told father in so many words that he' d resolved to be an honest man, but his actions spoke for him. He had been a kind of sullen, unwilling fellow, but now he turned handy and obliging, and it was a real trial to father to part with him."

Miss Laura was intensely interested in this story. "Where is he now, Cousin Harry?" she asked, eagerly. "What became of him?"

Mr. Harry laughed in such amusement that I stared up at him, and even Fleetfoot turned his head around to see what the joke was. We were going very slowly up a long, steep hill, and in the clear, still air, we could hear every word spoken in the buggy.

"The last part of the story is the best, to my mind," said Mr. Harry, "and as romantic as even a girl could desire. The affair of the stolen box was much talked about along Sudbury way, and Miss Jerrold got to be considered quite a desirable young person among some of the youth near there, though she is a frowsy-headed creature, and not as neat in her personal attire as a young girl should be. Among her suitors was Jacobs. He cut out a blacksmith, and a painter, and several young farmers, and father said he never in his life had such a time to keep a straight face, as when Jacobs came to him this spring, and said he was going to marry old Miser Jerrold's daughter. He wanted to quit father's employ, and he thanked him in a real manly way for the manner in which he had always treated him. Well, Jacobs left, and mother says that father would sit and speculate about him, as to whether he had fallen in love with Eliza Jerrold, or whether he was determined to regain possession of the box, and was going to do it honestly, or whether he was sorry for having frightened the old man into a greater degree of imbecility, and was marrying the girl so that he could take care of him, or whether it was something else, and so on, and so on. He had a dozen theories, and then mother says he would burst out laughing, and say it was one of the cutest tricks that he had ever heard of.

"In the end, Jacobs got married, and father and mother went to the wedding. Father gave the bridegroom a yoke of oxen, and mother gave the bride a lot of household linen, and I believe they're as happy as the day is long. Jacobs makes his wife comb her hair, and he waits on the old man as if he was his son, and he is improving the farm that was going to rack and ruin, and I hear he is going to build a new house."