小说搜索     点击排行榜   最新入库
首页 » 英文短篇小说 » Barry Wynn » CHAPTER VII BARRY STUMBLES
选择底色: 选择字号:【大】【中】【小】
CHAPTER VII BARRY STUMBLES
As Barry Wynn and Joe Hart were walking down Pennsylvania Avenue the following morning, Joe suddenly turned to his friend and exclaimed laughingly:

"Barry, this is the happiest day of all the glad new year!"

Barry looked at Joe blankly.

"Why; what's happened? Have you good news?"

"Bully news."

"What do you mean?"

"Can't you guess?"

"No, I can't."

"Why, you old hayseed, this is pay-day."

Barry's face beamed. Naturally he looked forward with great pleasure to the first money he had ever earned. He voiced his feelings to Joe:

[Pg 88]

"The work here has been so pleasant that I actually lost count of the days. I never dreamt that I'd been in Washington for a month."

"Well," said the practical one, "you'll know all right when you go up to the cashier's office this morning."

The experienced boy led the novice to that part of the Capitol building where the pages received their checks. Barry had to sign the pay-roll and after that swore that he had rendered the service for which he was about to be paid. He was handed a nice, bright, crisp check drawn to the order of Barry Wynn against the Treasurer of the United States. He looked at it with ill-concealed curiosity and then gave a gasp of delight. The check was for sixty-eight dollars. He had worked a little less than a month, but the sight of the voucher for so much money gave him a sense of elation that he had never felt before.

With Joe still acting as mentor, he cashed the check, and on reporting for duty to the Sergeant-at-Arms, was gratified to learn that[Pg 89] he had been given leave of absence for the day. Joe also, by some occult influence, managed to be excused. Barry's first move was to call on Congressman Carlton and to inform him of the amount of money he had received. Mr. Carlton was delighted, but somewhat taken aback when Barry handed him a ten-dollar note.

"What's this for?" he asked, somewhat stiffly.

"It's the money you advanced for my railroad fare to Washington."

The good-natured man burst into a hearty laugh. He clapped his big palm on Barry's shoulder and said jovially:

"Just put that away. You'll have lots of use for it. The money I sent you was a present."

"But, Mr. Carlton," insisted Barry, "mother made me promise that the first money I received should be used to pay you back the ten dollars you sent me for my ticket."

"Nonsense! I don't want it."

[Pg 90]

"But, I must give it to you," persisted Barry. "If I don't my mother will never forgive me."

Mr. Carlton accepted the note somewhat reluctantly.

"By the way," he said, reaching into his pocket, "here's an old wallet that I have no more use for. Now that you have become a man of wealth it may be a convenient thing for holding your money."

Barry took the gift and thanked Mr. Carlton.

"Now, Barry," said the statesman, "I don't want to overburden you with advice, but if I were in your place my first move would be to pay your landlady for the board that is due her, and then give her a week or so in advance. After that lay some money aside for your personal use, and then skedaddle to the postoffice and make out a money order for the balance in favor of your mother. She will appreciate it more than words can tell."

"I'll do it," was the fervent response.

[Pg 91]

"All right. Good-bye, and good luck to you."

As Barry left the Capitol building he came in contact with Joe Hart, who had also cashed his warrant. The two boys proceeded to their boarding house and both of them paid Mrs. Johnson the money that was due her, together with an advance payment towards the coming month.

"Now, what are you going to do?" asked Joe.

"I'm going up stairs and write a letter to my mother," said Barry. "I want to enclose a money order to her and get it off in the mail as soon as possible."

"All right," said Joe. "I'll wait for you, and then we'll go down town together. Or, if you want to," he added, as an after consideration, "you can walk right over to the postoffice building and write your letter there."

Barry adopted the suggestion and the two boys left the house together. As they turned the corner of the Treasury building, the clock in the neighborhood struck the hour of twelve.

[Pg 92]

"Jiminy!" exclaimed Joe, "it's time to eat."

The remark put an idea into Barry's head.

"Joe," he said, "this is pay-day; let's celebrate!"

"Celebrate?" echoed the other.

"Yes. I want you to take dinner with me today."

Joe looked at his friend in silence for a moment, and then something suspiciously like moisture glistened in the corner of each eye.

"Barry," he said, "I'll go you—it's the first time in my life that I ever remember anybody asking me out to dinner."

Barry was determined to do the honors becomingly, so he sought out a first-class restaurant and ordered dinner for two. The linen was white and the dining room splendidly furnished. An orchestra, hidden behind a cluster of palms, enlivened the occasion with the popular songs of the day. The meal was complete; it began with soup and ended with ice[Pg 93] cream. To say that the two boys enjoyed themselves would be putting it very mildly indeed. They felt as though they were in an enchanted fairyland. The fact that Joe's legs were too short to touch the floor, and that he swung them to and fro on the chair did not detract from his dignity in the least, and when the head waiter, who had seated them with all the pomp and ceremony which can only be employed effectively by a head waiter, and addressed them as "gentlemen," their cup of happiness seemed full to overflowing, but the limit had not yet been reached. After the meal was finished and the attendant placed a finger bowl in front of each of the boys, the giggling and the whispering and the mischievous glances that passed between them would have been sufficient to have gladdened the heart of the most confirmed pessimist. But the crowning act of all came when Barry, after having paid the bill, majestically tipped the waiter. From that moment he was a superior being in the eyes of Joe Hart.

[Pg 94]

After leaving the restaurant they resumed their walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. The events of the preceding hour had raised them both in their own estimation. They strolled along very proudly, indeed, and did not feel a bit ashamed when three Justices of the Supreme Court passed them on the street. Senators and members of the lower House of Congress they looked upon as very ordinary beings indeed; in fact, when the President shot by in an automobile on his way to the White House, they regarded it—as it was in fact in Washington—as an incident of everyday life. It was about two o'clock by this time, and they were half way down the avenue when Barry's attention was attracted by a large sign advertising a moving picture show.

"Joe," he said, with proper dignity in his voice and manner, "I want to do this treat right. Let's take in the picture show."

Joe did not require a second invitation. In a few minutes they had paid their dimes and[Pg 95] were ushered into the seats of the little temporary theatre. In the rush of hurrying in, the two boys had become separated, although they managed to obtain places in the same row. A woman with a market basket was on one side of Barry, while a burly fellow, with a red necktie, was on the other. Presently the place was filled and the lights were turned down. The films began to operate upon the canvas. The scene represented an explosion in a coal mine. It was very vivid and very lifelike. There was a flash of lightning and then a low rumbling sound which marked the beginning of the disaster. At the most interesting stage of the performance Barry felt himself being crowded by the man who sat next to him. The fellow acted so roughly that Barry protested.

"Stop pushing me!" he cried.

"Oh, I beg your pardon," was the polite reply, "I didn't intend to annoy you. It was an accident."

The moment that Barry had spoken he was sorry. It was probable, he thought, that the[Pg 96] man had leaned against him unintentionally and he regretted his resentment. He wondered whether he should not apologize. The lights went up in a minute or two, but Barry found, to his surprise, that his neighbor with the red necktie had already departed.

The two boys wended their way out to the street together and were glad to get in a whiff of fresh air. They made their way slowly towards the new postoffice building on Pennsylvania Avenue, and after selecting a convenient desk, Barry began writing his letter to his mother. The work of composition was aided by Joe Hart, who, at intervals, offered many unique and unsolicited suggestions. Finally the missive was completed and Barry exclaimed:

"Now for the money order. I'll go over to the window and buy it."

He reached into his pocket for the wallet in which he had placed his money. His hand slid into vacancy. A look of grief overspread his face.

[Pg 97]

"What's the matter, Barry," cried Joe; "are you sick?"

"No," said Barry, "I'm not sick. The pocketbook's gone!"

The two boys stood looking at each other speechlessly for many moments. Presently Joe spoke:

"Do you think you had it when you went into the moving picture show?"

"I know I had it then."

"Well, the answer's simple—you've been robbed!"

For the time being Barry felt as though the universe had gone to pieces and lay in chaos at his feet, but after awhile he came to his senses, and at the suggestion of his friend, the two of them started to retrace their steps from the postoffice to the moving picture theatre. They had gone about two blocks when Joe Hart suddenly exclaimed:

"Look. What's that in the street?"

Barry followed the glance of his friend and saw a red wallet lying on the asphalt, in front[Pg 98] of a Pennsylvania Avenue store. He ran over and picked it up. It was his own. He opened it and looked into one side of the wallet. It was empty. He turned to the other and looked in, and to his satisfaction, found a solitary ten-dollar bill. He showed it to Joe Hart.

"What do you think of it?" he asked.

"I think the man that stole the wallet took the money out of the one side and thought that that was all there was in it. Then he threw the wallet away to get rid of it."

After that the boys walked back to the postoffice, where Barry bought a postal order for ten dollars. He destroyed the letter which he had written to his mother originally, and began the composition of a second one. It was a slow and painful task.

"I don't know just what to say," he said. "I've told mother that I got sixty-eight dollars for my month's pay and I've explained how I used part of it in paying Mr. Carlton and another part in settling what I owe Mrs. Johnson. I'm sending her the other ten [Pg 99]dollars, but she'll wonder what I've done with the rest. I haven't got the nerve to tell her that I've lost it. What would you do?"

"Don't know," said Joe, aimlessly.

"Maybe it would worry her," said Barry. "I'll just—"

"I say, Barry," interrupted Joe, with his queer expression; "do you know the best way?"

"No."

"Just tell her the truth—tell her exactly what happened."

And Barry did.


欢迎访问英文小说网http://novel.tingroom.com

©英文小说网 2005-2010

有任何问题,请给我们留言,管理员邮箱:tinglishi@gmail.com  站长QQ :点击发送消息和我们联系56065533

鲁ICP备05031204号