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Produced by Annie R. McGuire


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Tuesday, March 8, 1881. Copyright, 1881, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per
Year, in Advance.

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[Illustration: "SUGARING OFF." - DRAWN BY W. R. YEAGER.]



"Well, yes, Jerry," remarked Salina Meadows, "old Mr. Wire'll be glad to
have anybody come to see him that knows as much about sugar as you do."

"It's all the hobby he's got," said her brother Phin. "He makes the best
maple sugar in all these parts. Whitest and cleanest. Biggest lot of it,

"I've heard him say," added Rush Potts, "that no man was ever too old to
learn. Glad we could bring you along."

"There isn't much about sugar I don't know," replied Jerry Buntley,
modestly, with a pull at his dog-skin gloves to make them fit tighter.
"You just ought to see a real sugar plantation once."

"I would like to," said Hannah Potts, all the red in her rosy face
coming to the surface to meet the wind that blew in her face from the
direction of old Mr. Wire's great forest on the hill-side.

They were all cuddling down in Elder Meadows's great box sleigh, and
Phin Meadows was putting the sorrel span along the road in a way that
made their bells dance lively enough, for the March thaw had only just
begun, and the sleighing was capital.

Jerry Buntley had told them more about sugar that day than they had ever
heard before. It was a great treat to be invited to a maple-sugaring at
old Mr. Wire's, and Jerry's country cousins were glad of having
something worth while to take with them by way of payment; that is, they
were glad to take Jerry.

He was glad to go, and he talked sugar until every soul in the sleigh
thought he could taste candy, and Phin found himself comparing the color
of his sorrel team to that of the five pounds his mother sent back to
Barnes's grocery store, because, as she said, "She wasn't going to pay
any 'leven cents a pound for building sand."

It was not many minutes before they pulled up in front of old Mr. Wire's
big rambling old farm-house, and there were Jim and Sally Wire coming
out to meet them. Old Mrs. Wire was in the doorway, and she looked
twenty years younger as soon as they had a look at her husband. Mainly
because the difference in their ages was a good deal more than that.

Nobody knew how tall Mr. Wire would have been if he had stood up, but
the oldest old ladies around Lender's Mills village all said he'd had
that stoop in his shoulders ever since they'd known him.

"My mother used to say," said Elder Meadows, "that old Wire's father was
a short, stocky man, and built his log-house to fit himself, and so when
his son got taller'n he was himself, he had to hold his head down,
'specially coming through the door."

There he was now, and the visitors had not been in the house five
minutes before Salina Meadows told how much Jerry Buntley knew about

"His father sells tons of it, and his brother's a clerk in a sugar
store, and his uncle's a book-keeper in a sugar refinery in the city - "

"Ten stories high!" put in Jerry, with a down look of modesty.

" - and he's seen sugar plantations, and molasses factories, and where
they make all sorts of candy."

"You don't say!" exclaimed Mrs. Wire. "I'm glad you fetched him along."

"Wa'al, so'm I," said old Mr. Wire. "No man ain't ever too old to l'arn.
I've only been a-b'ilin' sap for a leetle risin' of fifty year, and I
don't know much. You're jest in time. The sun's lookin' down warm
to-day, and we was jest a-wantin' to set out for the bush."

"It isn't the fur-away bush," said Mrs. Wire; "it's that there patch
nighest the house. The trees ain't been tapped this five year, and
they'll run the best kind."

"There'll be more here by-and-by," said Sally Wire. "Don't take your
things off. We'll have a real good time."

Old Mr. Wire took Jerry Buntley right along with him - under his wing, as
you might say. He asked him questions, too, and nobody could guess how
many times Jerry made him exclaim, "You don't say!" or, "Do tell, now,
is that so?"

The forest had been left standing on all that hill-side for nothing else
in the world but sugar. It was not half an hour before the Wires and
their visitors were crunching over the crust among the trees, or
standing around the great fires that had been built and lit before they
came. Every fire had a great iron kettle on it, and every kettle was
bubbling for dear life, except when a dash of cold sap was ladled into
it from the barrel that stood under the nearest tree.

"It's afternoon now," said Sally Wire. "I do hope the other folks'll get
here before it's too dark. But then we can have a good time at the house
in the evening."

"Boys," said old Mr. Wire, "if you want to help, you jest take them two
auger bits and them spiles, and go and tap a fresh lot of trees over
there to the east'ard. Jim and I'll go round with the buckets."

Wonderfully white and clean were all his buckets and shoulder-yokes, and
his wooden troughs that caught the sap as it dripped into them from the
ends of the wooden spiles he had driven into the trees he had tapped
already. There was plenty of work for him and his son, and so Jerry
Buntley and Phin Meadows and Rush Potts marched away to the east, while
the girls hung around the kettles, and tested the syrup, in every way
they knew how, to see if any of it had boiled long enough.

"We'll have plenty to sugar off with in the house this evening," said
Sally Wire; "but we mustn't let any of it get burned."

Jerry took possession of an auger and a bundle of spiles, and Phin took
the other auger, and Rush Potts said he'd just go along to learn how.

"Catching cold are you, Phineas?" asked Jerry, as he began to work his
auger into a splendidly tall tree, and Phin and Rush both were seized
with a sudden fit of coughing,

"Ugh, ugh, ugh - no - ugh - I guess not. Bore it deep, Jerry. Old man Wire
is particular about that."

"Guess I know how to tap a tree," said Jerry. "The sun shines right on
this one, and the sap'll run well."

"Ugh - ugh - ugh," coughed Rush Potts. "I guess I'll help Phin. He doesn't
know as much as you do."

"I should say not," diffidently replied Jerry; but he had finished his
first tree quite skillfully, and now he went for his second with all the
zeal of a true sportsman.

"Phineas," he shouted, a moment later, "when you come to a maple of this
kind, knock off the outer bark. It bores easier."

"All right," replied Phin, with his mouth half full of his handkerchief.
But he added, in a lower voice: "Rush, stop rolling in the snow. He's
tapping a hickory this time."

"T'other was an elm. Oh, if he isn't fun! What'll old man Wire say to

"Keep still. Get up, can't you? I can't bore a hole worth a cent. Give
me a spile."

Jerry was an enthusiastic sugar-maker, and his rapidity of work was a
credit to him.

"Maple this time," said Phin, at the end of Jerry's next job. "But look
at what he's doing now."

"Beech! There'll be more sugar 'n old Wire'll know what to do with."

"We must pitch in, Rush. I want to be on hand when old Wire comes to see
if his spiles are set right. Maybe it'll kill him."

"I've tapped pretty nearly two trees to their one," said Jerry to
himself, "but I won't boast of it. Here's a remarkably fine tree, right
in the sun. I hope they won't make any mistakes."

With that he started his twist of steel into the yielding wood of one of
the noblest silver-birches in all that forest, and in a wonderfully
short time there was another spile fitted. Whether there would be any
need for Mr. Wire to put a sap trough under the end of that spile was
quite another question.

The crust was thick, and bore very well, so that the girls had no
wading to do in going from one fire to another; and Jim Wire and his
father worked like beavers at emptying the sap troughs, and carrying in
the almost colorless, sweetish-tasting liquid their trees had yielded

"Now, Jim," said Mr. Wire at last, "we'd better take a lot of troughs
and follow them fellers. 'Twon't do to waste any sap."

Phin and Rush saw them coming, and at once stopped work. So did Jerry
Buntley, for he had some suggestions to make about those spiles. It
seemed to him that some of them were bored too small for the quantity of
sap which was expected to run through them.

He and the others came up just as the gray-headed old sugar-maker
stopped in front of Jerry's first tree, and they got there in time to
wink hard at Jim Wire. All three of them stepped around behind Jerry and
Mr. Wire.

"You've sot that there spile in jest about right, Mr. Buntley," said Mr.
Wire, without changing a muscle of his wrinkled face; "but this kind of
maple don't give any sugar at this season of the year. It isn't a winter
maple; it's the kind we call an ellum."

"Ah! Oh yes! Strange I didn't notice."

"Doesn't yield anything but brown sugar - common brown sugar. It's all
right, though. I declar'!"

He was looking at the shell-bark hickory now, and that specimen of
Jerry's work was a hard pull on his politeness.

"Jim," he said, "put a trough under thar. It's a changin' world. Things
isn't what they used to be. Mebbe thar's sugar into hickory nowadays."

"Hickory?" gasped Jerry. "That's a fact. I kind o' didn't look up to see
what it was."

"And ye couldn't ha' told by the bark; of course not. I'd
say - now - there - well - exactly - nobody ain't never too old to l'arn.
Beech, bass-wood, ellum, black walnut, birch - if thar'd been a saxafrax,
he'd ha' gone and tapped it for root-beer."

There was an explosion behind them just then, for the three other boys
gave it up the moment they saw it had been too much for old Mr. Wire.

"Put troughs to all on 'em, Jim," said the latter, solemnly, recovering
himself. "Stop your ignorant, on-mannerly laughin'. Mr. Buntley, jest
you come back to the kittles, and tell me over ag'in what you was
a-sayin' about surrup."

Jerry was beginning to understand the tree joke, but he could not see
why Phin Meadows should roll Rush Potts and Jim Wire over in the snow
the way he did, for he said to himself:

"It's a mistake any man would make. One tree is just like another. I
wonder how Mr. Wire tells them apart? I think I will ask him before we
go to the house."

So he did, and the old man answered him with cast-iron politeness that
he knew his trees, just as he did his dogs, by their bark.

When the day in the sugar bush was over, however, and when, after
supper, the fun in the house began, with a round dozen more of country
boys and girls to keep it up, Jerry heard all sorts of things. The
syrup, carried in and boiled down in the kettles over the kitchen fire,
was cooled, on the snow, and every other way, into "hickory sugar,"
"birch candy," "elm taffy," "beech twist," and all sorts of uncommon
sweetness, and Jerry overheard Mrs. Wire saying to Hannah Potts:

"You don't say! Did he really tap 'em all? He looks as if he might know
suthin', too. Mebbe he was jokin'."

All the rest were, except old Mr. Wire; and when the sorrel span was
brought out to take home the sleigh-load that came from Lender's Mills
village, he said to Jerry Buntley:

"No man ain't never too old to l'arn, and it wasn't knowin' too much
made me stoop-shouldered. Thar's a heap o' sense in what you told me
about that new way of settlin' surrup."

Nevertheless, Jim Wire went around the next morning and took away all
the troughs from under the trees which had not yielded any sap, and put
them where they were likely to do more good.

[Begun in No. 58 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, December 7.]






At last it was possible for Toby to speak of his loss with some degree
of calmness, and then he immediately began to reckon up what he could
have done with the money if he had not lost it.

"Now see here, Toby," said Ben, earnestly, "don't go to doin' anything
of that kind. The money's lost, an' you can't get it back by talkin'; so
the very best thing for you is to stop thinkin' what you could do if you
had it, an' just to look at it as a goner."

"But - " persisted Toby.

"I tell you there's no buts about it," said Ben, rather sharply. "Stop
talkin' about what's gone, an' just go to thinkin' how you'll get more.
Do what you've a mind to the monkey, but don't keep broodin' over what
you can't help."

Toby knew that the advice was good, and he struggled manfully to carry
it into execution, but it was very hard work. At all events, there was
no sleep for his eyes that night, and when, just about daylight, the
train halted to wait a more seasonable hour in which to enter the town,
the thought of what he might have done with his lost money was still in
Toby's mind.

Only once did he speak crossly to the monkey, and that was when he put
him into the cage preparatory to commencing his morning's work. Then he

"You wouldn't had to go into this place many times more if you hadn't
been so wicked; for by to-morrow night we'd been away from this circus,
an' on the way to home an' Uncle Dan'l. Now you've spoiled my chance an'
your own for a good while to come, an' I hope before the day is over
you'll feel as bad about it as I do."

It seemed to Toby as if the monkey understood just what he said to him,
for he sneaked over into one corner, away from the other monkeys, and
sat there, looking very penitent and very dejected.

Then, with a heavy heart, Toby began his day's work.

Hard as had been Toby's lot previous to losing his money, and difficult
as it had been to bear the cruelty of Mr. Job Lord and his precious
partner Mr. Jacobs, it was doubly hard now while this sorrow was fresh
upon him.

Previous to this, when he had been kicked or cursed by one or the other
of the partners, Toby thought exultantly that the time was not very far
distant when he should be beyond the reach of his brutal task-masters,
and that thought had given him strength to bear all that had been put
upon him.

Now the time of his deliverance from this bondage seemed very far off,
and each cruel word or blow caused him the greater sorrow because of the
thought that but for the monkey's wickedness he would have been nearly
free from that which made his life so very miserable.

If he had looked sad and mournful before, he looked doubly so now, as he
went his dreary round of the tent, crying, "Here's your cold lemonade,"
or "Fresh-baked pea-nuts, ten cents a quart," and each day there were
some in the audience who pitied the boy because of the misery which
showed so plainly in his face, and they gave him a few cents more than
his price for what he was selling, or gave him money without buying
anything at all, thereby aiding him to lay up something again toward
making his escape.

Those few belonging to the circus who knew of Toby's intention to escape
tried their best to console him for the loss of his money, and that
kind-hearted couple, the skeleton and his fat wife, tried to force him
to take a portion of their scanty earnings in the place of that which
the monkey had thrown away. But this Toby positively refused to do, and
to the arguments which they advanced as reasons why they should help him
along, he only replied that until he could get the money by his own
exertions he would remain with Messrs. Lord and Jacobs, and get along as
best he could.

Every hour in the day the thought of what might have been if he had not
lost his money so haunted his mind, that, finally he resolved to make
one bold stroke, and tell Mr. Job Lord that he did not want to travel
with the circus any longer.

As yet he had not received the two dollars which had been promised him
for his two weeks' work, and another one was nearly due. If he could get
this money, it might, with what he had saved again, suffice to pay his
railroad fare to Guilford, and if it would not, he resolved to accept
from the skeleton sufficient to make up the amount needed.

He naturally shrank from the task; but the hope that he might possibly
succeed gave him the necessary amount of courage, and when he had gotten
his work done, on the third morning after he had lost his money, and Mr.
Lord appeared to be in an unusually good temper, he resolved to try the

It was just before the dinner hour; trade had been unexceptionally good,
and Mr. Lord had even spoken in a pleasant tone to Toby when he told him
to fill up the lemonade pail with water, so that the stock might not be
disposed of too quickly, and with too little profit.

Toby poured in quite as much water as he thought the already weak
mixture could receive and retain any flavor of lemon, and then, as his
employer motioned him to add more, he mixed another quart in, secretly
wondering what it would taste like.

"When you're mixin' lemonade for circus trade," said Mr. Lord, in such a
benign, fatherly tone, that one would have found it difficult to believe
that he ever spoke harshly, "don't be afraid of water, for there's where
the profit comes in. Always have a piece of lemon-peel floatin' on the
top of every glass, an' it tastes just as good to people as if it cost
twice as much."

Toby could not agree exactly with that opinion, neither did he think it
wise to disagree, more especially since he was going to ask the very
great favor of being discharged; therefore he nodded his head gravely,
and began to stir up what it pleased Mr. Lord to call lemonade, so that
the last addition might be more thoroughly mixed with the others.

Two or three times he attempted to ask the favor which seemed such a
great one, and each time the words stuck in his throat, until it seemed
to him that he should never succeed in getting them out.

Finally, in his despair, he stammered out:

"Don't you think you could find another boy in this town, Mr. Lord?"

Mr. Lord moved around sideways, in order to bring his crooked eye to
bear squarely on Toby, and then there was a long interval of silence,
during which time the boy's color rapidly came and went, and his heart
beat very fast with suspense and fear.

"Well, what if I could?" he said at length. "Do you think that trade is
so good I could afford to keep two boys, when there isn't half work
enough for one?"

Toby stirred the lemonade with renewed activity, as if by this process
he was making both it and his courage stronger, and said, in a low
voice, which Mr. Lord could scarcely hear:

"I didn't think that; but you see I ought to go home, for Uncle Dan'l
will worry about me, an', besides, I don't like a circus very well."

Again there was silence on Mr. Lord's part, and again the crooked eye
glowered down on Toby.

"So," he said - and Toby could see that his anger was rising very
fast - "you don't like a circus very well, an' you begin to think that
your uncle Daniel will worry about you, eh? Well, I want you to
understand that it don't make any difference to me whether you like a
circus or not, and I don't care how much your uncle Daniel worries. You
mean that you want to get away from me, after I've been to all the
trouble and expense of teaching you the business."

Toby bent his head over the pail, and stirred away as if for dear life.

"If you think you're going to get away from here until you've paid me
for all you've eat, an' all the time I've spent on you, you're mistaken,
that's all. You've had an easy time with me - too easy, in fact - and
that's what ails you. Now you just let me hear two words more out of
your head about going away - only two more - an' I'll show you what a
whipping is. I've only been playing with you before when you thought you
was getting a whipping; but you'll find out what it means if I so much
as see a thought in your eyes about goin' away. An' don't you dare to
try to give me the slip in the night, an' run away; for if you do, I'll
follow you, an' have you arrested. Now you mind your eye in the future."

It is impossible to say how much longer Mr. Lord might have continued
this tirade, had not a member of the company - one of the principal
riders - called him one side to speak with him.

Poor Toby was so much confused by the angry words which had followed his
very natural and certainly very reasonable suggestion that he paid no
attention to anything around him, until he heard his own name
mentioned, and then, fearing lest some new misfortune was about to
befall him, he listened intently.

"I'm afraid you couldn't do much of anything with him," he heard Mr.
Lord say. "He's had enough of this kind of life already, so he says, an'
I expect the next thing he does will be to try to run away."

"I'll risk his getting away from you, Job," he heard the other say; "but
of course I've got to take my chances. I'll take him in hand from eleven
to twelve each day - just your slack time of trade - and I'll not only
give you half of what he can earn in the next two years, but I'll pay
you for his time if he gives us the slip before the season is out."

Toby knew that they were speaking of him, but what it all meant he could
not imagine.

"What are you going to do with him first?" Job asked.

"Just put him right into the ring, and teach him what riding is. I tell
you, Job, the boy's smart enough, and before the season's over I'll have
him so that he can do some of the bare-back acts, and perhaps we'll get
some money out of him before we go into winter-quarters."


Toby understood the meaning of their conversation only too well, and he
knew that his lot, which before seemed harder than he could bear, was
about to be intensified through this Mr. Castle, of whom he had
frequently heard, and who was said to be a rival of Mr. Lord's, so far
as brutality went. The two men now walked toward the large tent, and
Toby was left alone with his thoughts and the two or three little boy
customers, who looked at him wonderingly, and envied him because he
belonged to the circus.

During the ride that night he told old Ben what he had heard,
confidently expecting that that friend at least would console him. But
Ben was not the champion which he had expected. The old man who had been
with a circus, "man and boy, nigh to forty years," did not seem to think
it any calamity that he was to be taught to ride.

"That Mr. Castle is a little tough on boys," old Ben said, thoughtfully;
"but it'll be a good thing for you, Toby. Just so long as you stay with
Job Lord, you won't be nothin' more'n a candy boy; but after you know
how to ride, it'll be another thing, an' you can earn a good deal of
money, an' be your own boss."

"But I don't want to stay with the circus," wailed Toby; "I don't want
to learn to ride, an' I do want to get back to Uncle Dan'l."

"That may all be true, an' I don't dispute it," said Ben, "but you see
you didn't stay with your uncle Daniel when you had the chance, an' you
did come with the circus. You've told Job you wanted to leave, an' he'll
be watchin' you all the time to see that you don't give him the slip.
Now, what's the consequence? Why, you can't get away for a while,
anyhow, an' you'd better try to amount to something while you are here.
Perhaps after you've got so you can ride, you may want to stay, an' I'll
see to it that you get all of your wages, except enough to pay Castle
for learnin' of you."

"I sha'n't want to stay," said Toby. "I wouldn't stay if I could ride
all the horses at once, an' was gettin' a hundred dollars a day."

"But you can't ride one horse, an' you hain't gettin' but a dollar a
week, an' still I don't see any chance of your gettin' away yet awhile,"
said Ben, in a matter-of-fact tone, as he devoted his attention again to
his horses, leaving Toby to his own sad reflections, and the positive
conviction that boys who run away from home do not have a good time,
except in stories.

The next forenoon, while Toby was deep in the excitement of selling to a
boy no larger than himself, and with just as red hair, three cents'
worth of pea-nuts and two sticks of candy, and while the boy was trying
to induce him to "throw in" a piece of gum because of the quantity
purchased, Job Lord called him aside, and Toby knew that his troubles
had begun.

"I want you to go in an' see Mr. Castle; he's goin' to show you how to
ride," said Mr. Lord, in as kindly a tone as if he were conferring some

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