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Here,” he directed, turning to Mrs. Holly, “you tell my wife to tell–better yet, you telephone Mollie yourself, please, and tell her to tell the boy we’ve got a letter here for him from his father, and he can have it if he’ll come back.”. “I will, I ghd flat iron will,” called Mrs. Holly, over her shoulder, as she hurried into JUST DAVID 30 the house. In an unbelievably short time she was back, her face beaming. “He’s started, so soon,” she nodded. “He’s crazy with joy, Mollie said. He even left part of his breakfast, he was in such a hurry. So I guess we’ll see him all right.” “Oh, yes, we’ll see him all right,” echoed Simeon Holly grimly. “But that isn’t telling what we’ll do with him when we do see him.” “Oh, well ghd sale , maybe this letter of his will help us out on that,” suggested Higgins soothingly. “Anyhow, even if it doesn’t, I’m not worrying any. I guess some one will want him–a good healthy boy like that.” “Did you find any money on the body?” asked Streeter. “A little change–a few cents. Nothing to count. If the boy’s letter doesn’t tell us where any of their folks are, it’ll be up to the town to bury him all right.” “He had a fiddle, didn’t he? And the boy had one, too. Wouldn’t they bring anything?” Streeter’s round blue eyes gleamed shrewdly. Higgins gave a slow ghd sale online shake of his head. “Maybe–if there was a market for ‘em. But who’d buy ‘em? There ain’t a soul in town plays but Jack Gurnsey; and he’s got one. Besides, he’s sick, and got all he can do to buy bread and butter for him and his sister without taking in more fiddles, I guess. HE wouldn’t buy ‘em.” “Hm–m; maybe not, maybe not,” grunted Streeter. “An’, as you say, he’s the only one that’s got any use for ‘em here; an’ like enough they ain’t worth much, anyway. So I guess ‘t is up to the town all right.” “Yes; but–if yer’ll take it from me,”–interrupted Larson,–”you’ll be wise if ye keep still before the boy. It’s no use ASKIN’ him anythin’. We’ve proved that fast enough. An’ if he once turns ’round an’ begins ter ask YOU questions, yer done for!” “I guess you’re right,” nodded Higgins, with a quizzical smile. “And as long as questioning CAN’T do any good, why, we’ll just keep whist before the boy. Meanwhile I wish the little rascal would hurry up and get here. I want to see the inside of that letter to HIM. I’m relying on that being some help to unsnarl this tangle of telling who they are.” JUST DAVID 31 “Well, he’s started,” reiterated Mrs. Holly, as she turned back into the house; “so I guess he’ll get here if you wait long enough.” “Oh, yes, he’ll get here if we wait long enough,” echoed Simeon Holly again, crustily. The two men in the wagon settled themselves more comfortably in their seats, and Perry Larson, after a half-uneasy, half-apologetic glance at his employer, dropped himself onto the bottom step. Simeon Holly had already sat down stiffly in one of the porch chairs. Simeon Holly never “dropped himself” anywhere. Indeed, according to Perry Larson, if there were a hard way to do a thing, Simeon Holly found it–and did it. The fact that, this morning, he had allowed, and was still allowing, the sacred routine of the day’s work to be thus interrupted, for nothing more important than the expected arrival of a strolling urchin, was something Larson would not have believed had he not seen it. Even now he was conscious once or twice of an involuntary desire to rub his eyes to make sure they were not deceiving him. Impatient as the waiting men were for the arrival of David, they were yet almost surprised, so soon did he appear, running up the driveway. “Oh, where is it, please?” he panted. “They said you had a letter for me from daddy!” “You’re right, sonny; we have. And here it is,” answered Higgins promptly, holding out the folded paper. ghd sale Plainly eager as he was, David did not open the note till he had first carefully set down the case holding his violin; then he devoured it with eager eyes. As he read, the four men watched his face. They saw first the quick tears that had to be blinked away. Then they saw the radiant glow that grew and deepened until the whole boyish face was aflame with the splendor of it. They saw the shining wonder of his ghd hair straightener south africa eyes, too, as he looked up from the letter. “And daddy wrote this to me from the far country?” he breathed. Simeon Holly scowled. Larson choked over a stifled chuckle. William JUST DAVID 32 Streeter stared and shrugged his shoulders; but Higgins flushed a dull red. “No, sonny,” he stammered. “We found it on the–er–I mean, it–er– your father left it in his pocket for you,” finished the man, a little explosively. A swift shadow crossed the boy’s face. “Oh, I hoped I’d heard–” he began. Then suddenly he stopped, his face once more alight. “But it’s ‘most the same as if he wrote it from there, isn’t it? He left it for me, and he told me what to do.” “What’s that, what’s that?” cried Higgins, instantly alert. “DID he tell you what to do? Then, let’s have it, so WE’LL know. You will let us read it, won’t you, boy?” “Why, y–yes,” stammered David, holding it out politely, but with evident reluctance. “Thank you,” nodded Higgins, as he reached for the note. David’s letter was very different from the other one. It was longer, but it did not help much, though it was easily read. In his letter, in spite of the wavering lines, each word was formed with a care that told of a father’s thought for the young eyes that would read it. It was written on two of the notebook’s leaves, and at the end came the single word “Daddy.” David, my boy [read Higgins aloud], in the far country I am waiting for you. Do not grieve, for that will grieve me. I shall not return, but some day you will come to me, your violin at your chin, and the bow drawn across the strings to greet me. See that it tells me of the beautiful world you have left–for it is a beautiful world, David; never forget that. And if sometime you are tempted to think it is not a beautiful world, just remember that you yourself can make it beautiful if you will. You are among new faces, surrounded by things and people that are strange to you. Some of them you will not understand; some of them you may not like. But do not fear, David, and do not plead to go back to the hills. Remember this, my boy,–in your violin lie all the things you long for. You have only to play, and the broad skies of your mountain home will be over you, and the dear friends and comrades of your mountain forests JUST DAVID 33 will be about you. DADDY. “Gorry! that’s worse than the other,” groaned Higgins, when he had finished the note. “There’s actually nothing in it! Wouldn’t you think–if a man wrote anything at such a time–that he’d ‘a’ wrote something that had some sense to it–something that one could get hold of, and find out who the boy is?” There was no answering this. The assembled men could only ghd straighteners grunt and nod in agreement, which, after all, was no real help. JUST DAVID 34 CHAPTER V DISCORDS The dead man found in Farmer Holly’s barn created a decided stir in the village of Hinsdale. The case was a peculiar one for many reasons. First, because of the boy–Hinsdale supposed it knew boys, but it felt inclined to change its mind after seeing this one. Second, because of the circumstances. The boy and his father had entered the town like tramps, yet Higgins, who talked freely of his having given the pair a “lift” on that very evening, did not hesitate to declare that he did not believe them to be ordinary tramps at all. As there had been little found in the dead man’s pockets, save the two notes, and as nobody could be found who wanted the violins, there seemed to be nothing to do but to turn the body over to the town for burial. Nothing was said of this to David; indeed, as little as possible was said to David about anything after that morning when Higgins had given him his father’s letter. At that time the men had made one more effort to “get track of SOMETHING,” as Higgins had despairingly put it. But the boy’s answers to their questions were anything but satisfying, anything but helpful, and were often most disconcerting. The boy was, in fact, regarded by most of the men, cheap ghd straighteners uk after that morning, as being “a little off”; and was hence ghd stockists let severely alone. Who the man was the town authorities certainly did not know, neither could they apparently find out. His name, as written by himself, was unreadable. His notes told nothing; his son could tell little more–of consequence. A report, to be sure, did come from the village, far up the mountain, that such a man and boy had lived in a hut that was almost inaccessible; but even this did not help solve the mystery. JUST DAVID 35 David was left at the Holly farmhouse, though Simeon Holly mentally declared that he should lose no time in looking about for some one to take the boy away. On that first day Higgins, picking up the reins preparatory to driving from the yard, had said, with a nod of his head toward David:– “Well, how about it, Holly? Shall we leave him here till we find somebody that wants him?” “Why, y–yes, I suppose so,” hesitated Simeon Holly, with uncordial accent. But his wife, hovering in the background, hastened forward at once. “Oh, yes; yes, indeed,” she urged. “I’m sure he–he won’t be a mite of trouble, Simeon.” ghd sale shop “Perhaps not,” conceded Simeon Holly darkly. “Neither, it is safe to say, will he be anything else–worth anything.” “That’s it exactly,” spoke up Streeter, from his seat in the wagon. “If I thought he’d be worth his salt, now, I’d take him myself; but–well, look at him this minute,” he finished, with a disdainful shrug. David, on the lowest step, was very evidently not hearing a word of what was being said. With his sensitive face illumined, he was again poring over his father’s letter. Something in the sudden quiet cut through his absorption as the noisy hum of voices had not been able to do, and he raised his head. His eyes were starlike. “I’m so glad father told me what to do,” he breathed. “It’ll be easier now.” Receiving no answer from the somewhat awkwardly silent men, he went on, as if in explanation:– “You know he’s waiting for me–in the far country, I mean. He said he was. And when you’ve got somebody waiting, you don’t mind staying behind yourself for a little while. Besides, I’ve GOT to stay to find out about the beautiful world, you know, so I can tell him, when _I_ go. That’s the way I used to do back home on the mountain, you see,–tell him about JUST DAVID 36 things. Lots of days we ghd straighteners ‘d go to walk; then, when we got home, he’d have me tell him, with my violin, what I’d seen. And now he says I’m to stay here.” “Here!” It was the quick, stern voice of Simeon Holly. “Yes,” nodded David earnestly; “to learn about the beautiful world. Don’t you remember? And he said I was not to want to go back to my mountains; that I would not need to, anyway, because the mountains, and the sky, and the birds and squirrels and brooks are really in my violin, you know. And–” But with an angry frown Simeon Holly stalked away, motioning Larson to follow him; and with a merry glance and a low chuckle Higgins turned his horse about and drove from the yard. A moment later David found himself alone with Mrs. Holly, who was looking at him with wistful, though slightly fearful eyes. “Did you have all the breakfast you wanted?” ghd stockists she asked timidly, resorting, as she had resorted the night before, to the everyday things of her world in the hope that they might make this strange little boy seem less wild, and more nearly human. “Oh, yes, thank you.” David’s eyes had strayed back to the note in his hand. Suddenly he looked up, a new something in his eyes. “What is it to be a–a tramp?” he asked. “Those men said daddy and I were tramps.” “A tramp? Oh–er–why, just a–a tramp,” stammered Mrs. Holly. “But never mind that, David. I–I wouldn’t think any more about it.” “But what is a tramp?” persisted David, a smouldering fire beginning to show in his eyes. “Because if they meant THIEVES–” “No, no, David,” interrupted Mrs. Holly soothingly. “They never meant thieves at all.” “Then, what is it to be a tramp?” “Why, it’s just to–to tramp,” explained Mrs. Holly desperately;–”walk along the road from one town to another, and–and not live in a house at all.” “Oh!” David’s face cleared. “That’s all right, then. I’d love to be a tramp, and so’d father. And we were tramps, sometimes, too, ’cause lots of JUST DAVID 37 times, in the summer, we didn’t stay in the cabin hardly any–just lived out of doors all day and all night. Why, I never knew really what the pine trees were saying till I heard them at night, lying under them. You know what I mean. You’ve heard them, haven’t you?” “At night? Pine trees?” stammered Mrs. Holly helplessly. “Yes. Oh, haven’t you ever heard them at night?” cried the boy, in his voice a very genuine sympathy as for a grievous loss. “Why, then, if you’ve only heard them daytimes, you don’t know a bit what pine trees really are. But I can tell you. Listen! This is what they say,” finished the boy, whipping his violin from its case, and, after a swift testing of the strings, plunging into a weird, haunting little melody. In the doorway, Mrs. Holly, bewildered, yet bewitched, stood motionless, her eyes half-fearfully, half-longingly fixed on David’s glorified face. She was still in the same position when Simeon Holly came around the corner of the house. “Well, Ellen,” he began, with quiet scorn, after a moment’s stern watching of the scene before him, “have you nothing better to do this morning than to listen to ghd mk4 straighteners this minstrel fellow?” “Oh, Simeon! Why, yes, of course. I–I forgot–what I was doing,” faltered Mrs. Holly, flushing guiltily from neck to brow as she turned and hurried into the house. David, on the porch steps, seemed to have heard nothing. He was still playing, his rapt gaze on the distant sky-line, when Simeon Holly turned upon him with disapproving eyes. “See here, boy, can’t you do anything but fiddle?” he demanded. Then, as David still continued to play, he added sharply: “Did n’t you hear me,

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