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14. Damon And Pythias
Mrs. Bhaer was right; peace was only a temporary lull, a storm was brewing, and
two days after Bess left, a moral earthquake shook Plumfield to its centre.
Tommy's hens were at the bottom of the trouble, for if they had not persisted in
laying so many eggs, he could not have sold them and made such sums. Money
is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without
it any more than we can without potatoes. Tommy certainly could not, for he
spent his income so recklessly, that Mr. Bhaer was obliged to insist on a savings-
bank, and presented him with a private one an imposing tin edifice, with the
name over the door, and a tall chimney, down which the pennies were to go,
there to rattle temptingly till leave was given to open a sort of trap-door in the
The house increased in weight so rapidly, that Tommy soon became satisfied
with his investment, and planned to buy unheard-of treasures with his capital. He
kept account of the sums deposited, and was promised that he might break the
bank as soon as he had five dollars, on condition that he spent the money wisely.
Only one dollar was needed, and the day Mrs. Jo paid him for four dozen eggs,
he was so delighted, that he raced off to the barn to display the bright quarters to
Nat, who was also laying by money for the long-desired violin.
"I wish I had 'em to put with my three dollars, then I'd soon get enough to buy my
fiddle," he said, looking wistfully at the money.
"P'raps I'll lend you some. I haven't decided yet what I'll do with mine," said
Tommy, tossing up his quarters and catching them as they fell.
"Hi! boys! come down to the brook and see what a jolly great snake Dan's got!"
called a voice from behind the barn.
"Come on," said Tommy; and, laying his money inside the old winnowing
machine, away he ran, followed by Nat.
The snake was very interesting, and then a long chase after a lame crow, and its
capture, so absorbed Tommy's mind and time, that he never thought of his
money till he was safely in bed that night.
"Never mind, no one but Nat knows where it is," said the easy-going lad, and fell
asleep untroubled by any anxiety about his property.
Next morning, just as the boys assembled for school, Tommy rushed into the
room breathlessly, demanding,
"I say, who has got my dollar?"
"What are you talking about?" asked Franz.
Tommy explained, and Nat corroborated his statement.
Every one else declared they knew nothing about it, and began to look
suspiciously at Nat, who got more and more alarmed and confused with each
"Somebody must have taken it," said Franz, as Tommy shook his fist at the
whole party, and wrathfully declared that
"By thunder turtles! if I get hold of the thief, I'll give him what he won't forget in a