Beautiful Joe
Chapter 28, Page 3


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.


Mr. Harry spoke to his father the next night when he came home, and asked him if he had found out anything. "Only this," said Mr. Wood. "There's no one answering to Barron's description who has left Riverdale Junction within a twelvemonth. He must have struck some other station. We'll let him go. The Lord looks out for fellows like that."

"We will look out for him if he ever comes back to Riverdale," said Mr. Harry, quietly. All through the village, and in the country it was known what a dastardly trick the Englishman had played, and he would have been roughly handled if he had dared return.

Months passed away, and nothing was heard of him. Late in the autumn, after Miss Laura and I had gone back to Fairport, Mrs. Wood wrote her about the end of the Englishman. Some Riverdale lads were beating about the woods, looking for lost cattle, and in their wanderings came to an old stone quarry that had been disused for years. On one side there was a smooth wall of rock, many feet deep. On the other the ground and rock were broken away, and it was quite easy to get into it. They found that by some means or other, one of their cows had fallen into this deep pit, over the steep side of the quarry. Of course, the poor creature was dead, but the boys, out of curiosity, resolved to go down and look at her. They clambered down, found the cow, and, to their horror and amazement, discovered near-by the skeleton of a man. There was a heavy walking-stick by his side, which they recognized as one that the Englishman had carried.

He was a drinking man, and perhaps he had taken something that he thought would strengthen him for his morning's walk, but which had, on the contrary, bewildered him, and made him lose his way and fall into the quarry. Or he might have started before daybreak, and in the darkness have slipped and fallen down this steep wall of rock. One leg was doubled under him, and if he had not been instantly killed by the fall, he must have been so disabled that he could not move. In that lonely place, he would call for help in vain, so he may have perished by the terrible death of starvation — the death he had thought to mete out to his suffering animals.

Mrs. Wood said that there was never a sermon preached in Riverdale that had the effect that the death of this wicked man had, and it reminded her of a verse in the Bible: "He made a pit and he digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made." Mrs. Wood said that her husband had written about the finding of Mr. Barron's body to his English relatives, and had received a letter from them in which they seemed relieved to hear that he was dead. They thanked Mr. Wood for his plain speaking in telling them of their relative's misdeeds, and said that from all they knew of Mr. Barron's past conduct, his influence would be for evil and not for good, in any place that he choose to live in. They were having their money sent from Boston to Mr. Wood, and they wished him to expend it in the way he thought best fitted to counteract the evil effects of their namesake's doings in Riverdale.

When this money came, it amounted to some hundreds of dollars. Mr. Wood would have nothing to do with it. He handed it over to the Band of Mercy, and they formed what they called the "Barron Fund," which they drew upon when they wanted money for buying and circulating humane literature. Mrs. Wood said that the fund was being added to, and the children were sending all over the State leaflets and little books which preached the gospel of kindness to God's lower creation. A stranger picking one of them up, and seeing the name of the wicked Englishman printed on the title-page, would think that he was a friend and benefactor to the Riverdale people — the very opposite of what he gloried in being.