Beautiful Joe
Chapter 26, Page 3

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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.


CHAPTER XXVI: THE BOX OF MONEY (continued)

"Harry," exclaimed Miss Laura, "can't you take me to see them?"

"Yes, indeed; mother often drives over to take them little things, and we'll go, too, sometime. I'd like to see Jacobs myself, now that he is a decent fellow. Strange to say, though he hadn't the best of character, no one has ever suspected him of the robbery, and he's been cunning enough never to say a word about it. Father says Jacobs is like all the rest of us. There's mixture of good and evil in him, and sometimes one predominates, and sometimes the other. But we must get on and not talk here all day. Get up, Fleetfoot."

"Where did you say we were going?" asked Miss Laura, as we crossed the bridge over the river.

"A little way back here in the woods," he replied. "There's an Englishman on a small clearing that he calls Penhollow. Father loaned him some money three years ago, and he won't pay either interest or principal."

"I think I've heard of him," said Miss Laura "Isn't he the man whom the boys call Lord Chesterfield?"

"The same one. He's a queer specimen of a man. Father has always stood up for him. He has a great liking for the English. He says we ought to be as ready to help an Englishman as an American, for we spring from common stock."

"Oh, not Englishmen only," said Miss Laura, warmly; "Chinamen, and Negroes, and everybody. There ought to be a brotherhood of nations, Harry."

"Yes, Miss Enthusiasm, I suppose there ought to be," and looking up, I could see that Mr. Harry was gazing admiringly into his cousin's face.

"Please tell me some more about the Englishman," said Miss Laura.

"There isn't much to tell. He lives alone, only coming occasionally to the village for supplies, and though he is poorer than poverty, he despises every soul within a ten-mile radius of him, and looks upon us as no better than an order of thrifty, well-trained lower animals."

"Why is that?" asked Miss Laura, in surprise.

"He is a gentleman, Laura, and we are only common people. My father can't hand a lady in and out of a carriage as Lord Chesterfield can, nor can he make so grand a bow, nor does he put on evening dress for a late dinner, and we never go to the opera nor to the theatre, and know nothing of polite society, nor can we tell exactly whom our great-great-grandfather sprang from. I tell you, there is a gulf between us and that Englishman, wider than the one young Curtius leaped into."

Miss Laura was laughing merrily. "How funny that sounds, Harry. So he despises you," and she glanced at her good-looking cousin, and his handsome buggy and well-kept horse, and then burst into another merry peal of laughter.

Mr. Harry laughed, too. "It does seem absurd. Sometimes when I pass him jogging along to town in his rickety old cart, and look at his pale, cruel face, and know that he is a broken-down gambler and man of the world, and yet considers himself infinitely superior to me — a young man in the prime of life, with a good constitution and happy prospects, it makes me turn away to hide a smile."