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Jack and Jill

15. Saint Lucy
Saturday was a busy and a happy time to Jack, for in the morning Mr. Acton came to
see him, having heard the story overnight, and promised to keep Bob's secret while
giving Jack an acquittal as public as the reprimand had been. Then he asked for the
report which Jack had bravely received the day before and put away without showing to
anybody.
"There is one mistake here which we must rectify," said Mr. Acton, as he crossed out
the low figures under the word "Behavior," and put the much-desired 100 there.
"But I did break the rule, sir," said Jack, though his face glowed with pleasure, for
Mamma was looking on.
"I overlook that as I should your breaking into my house if you saw it was on fire. You
ran to save a friend, and I wish I could tell those fellows why you were there. It would do
them good. I am not going to praise you, John, but I did believe you in spite of
appearances, and I am glad to have for a pupil a boy who loves his neighbor better than
himself."
Then, having shaken hands heartily, Mr. Acton went away, and Jack flew off to have
rejoicings with Jill, who sat up on her sofa, without knowing it, so eager was she to hear
all about the call.
In the afternoon Jack drove his mother to the Captain's, confiding to her on the way
what a hard time he had when he went before, and how nothing but the thought of
cheering Bob kept him up when he slipped and hurt his knee, and his boot sprung a
leak, and the wind came up very cold, and the hill seemed an endless mountain of mud
and snow.
Mrs. Minot had such a gentle way of putting things that she would have won over a
much harder man than the strict old Captain, who heard the story with interest, and was
much pleased with the boys' efforts to keep Bob straight. That young person dodged
away into the barn with Jack, and only appeared at the last minute to shove a bag of
chestnuts into the chaise. But he got a few kind words that did him good, from Mrs.
Minot and the Captain, and from that day felt himself under bonds to behave well if he
would keep their confidence.
"I shall give Jill the nuts; and I wish I had something she wanted very, very much, for I
do think she ought to be rewarded for getting me out of the mess," said Jack, as they'd
rove happily home again.
 
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