ould you have said anything about the headache if you had won?” “Look here, Harry Julian, I don’t like the way you talk. If you mean to insult me say so at once.?/wbr>? “I don’t care to insult anyone,” said Harry, coldly. “Since you don’t consider this a fair r
ace I presume Tom will be willing to race you any ti
are in perfect health.” “Yes,” said Tom, ?/dd>xcellent skater, and I shouldn’t be at all surprised if he beat me some time,” he added, generously. Such, however, was not the opinion of the boys. From what they had seen they entertained no doubt as to which was the better skater of the two, and Rupert would have risen in their opinion if he had manfully admitt
ed his defeat. At half-past nine the skating party
broke up, and the young skaters went home. Tom and Harry walked together. “To-morrow ev
ening,” said Tom, “I mean to call on Squir
e Simpson, and ask him about father’s lif
e in California. I shall feel easier when I learn all that is to be known about it.” CHAPTER I
the habit of calling him “squire,” and the title was not unpleasant to him. He sat, in dressing-gown and slippers, in a comfortable sittinred at the door. “There’s a boy at the
door who says he would like to see you, sir.” “Who is it?” asked Mr. Simpson. “It’s Thomas Thatcher, sir.” “What does he want with me?” inquired the rich man, arching his eyebrows in surprise. “I don’t know, sir; he didn’t say.” “Well, let him come in.” A minute later Tom was ushered into the presence of his employer. “Well, Tom, what’s your business?” asked Squire Simpson, curtly. “My mother tells me, Mr. Simpson, that yo
u were with father in California just
before his mysterious disappearance——” 25
“Suppose I were!” interrupted Squire Simpson, brusquely. “I wanted to ask you a few questions about h
im,” said Tom. “Did your mother send you here
?” demanded the rich man, with a frown of displeasure. “No, sir; she does not know that I have
come.” “It is very singular that you should
in a tone of displeasure. “Is it surp
rising that I should wish to know something of my fa

eception. “I told your mother, years ago, all that I had to tell.” “I

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was too young then to take any part in the inquiry. Have you any objection to tell a son something of his father’s last years?” The rich man hesitated a m

oment, and then, with an ill grace, replied: “What is it you wish to know?” “How long did you leave my father before his death?” “How should I know. I don’t know when he died, or whether he died at all.” “How long, then, before you set out for home?” “A few weeks—six weeks, perhaps.” “My father had considerable money at the time you left him, didn’t he?” “Yes.” “Can you tell me how much?” “I don’t see what good it would do you to know—you are not likely to get the money.” 26 “I suppose not, sir; but it was his money that probably tempted the man who wickedly murdered him.” Squire Simpson seemed very ill at ease, as if, instead of being questioned by a boy, he were in the witness-box. “Yes,” said he, “I suppose your father was murdered for his money. How much did he have? Well, prob

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ably five thousand dollars, more or less. I had considerably more, having met with greater luck than he.” “At what place did you leave

father, Squire Simpson?” “It was at a place called Rocky Gulch. I don’t kn

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May 11, 2012

I’ve had it for half an hour.” “When the race was first proposed did you have it     admin     3 Comments

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ow what they call it now.” “Didn’t father say anything about coming home when you left him?” “He hadn’t fixed upon any time. He wanted to increase his pile. I suppose he felt dissatisfied because he hadn’t as much as I. He would have done better to come home with me.” “I wish he had,” said Tom, s







May 11, 2012

?” “Yes.” “Why didn’t you say so?” 23 “I thought it might not interfer     admin     3 Comments

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adly. “Of course, it would have been better for him and for his family, but it can’t be helped now. I wonder you should bring up this old matter now. It can do no possible good. It was the Lord’s will that your father should be taken away, and we must submit to His will. It’s wicked to murmur against the







May 11, 2012

e with me.” “Then I suppose you don’t consider this a fair race?” “Of c     admin     3 Comments

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plans of Providence.” The rich man said all this in a brisk, business-like manner, as if he were quite reconciled to what had happened. “Still,” said Tom, “we can’t help thinking of how27 changed our circumstances would have been if father had come home as you did.” “Yes, yes;







May 11, 2012

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but you haven’t anything to complain of. You live comfortably, don’t you? I give you employment in my shop,” he added, pompously, “out of regard to your father’s memory.” “Yes, sir, you give me employment,” said Tom, slowly. He could not be brought to think this a

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very great favor, since he was only paid what other boys were for the same labor. “How long have you been at work in the shop?” “Three years.” “Then for three years I have put you in a way of earning your living.” “It is rather hard to live on fifty c

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ents a day,” said Tom. “Then, I take it, your errand here is to ask for higher wages?” said Simpson, quickly. “No, sir; the thought never entered my mind when I came here.” “I suppose you wouldn’t accept it if it were offered,” said Simpson, with a slight sneer. “Yes, sir,


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