Gadsby.

26

 

As THIS STORY HAS shown, Youth, if adults will only admit that it has any brains at all, will stand out, today, in a most promising light. Philosophically, Youth is Wisdom in formation, and with many thoughts startling to adult minds; and, industrially, this vast World’s coining stability is now, today, in its bands; growing slowly, as a blossom grows from its bud. If you will furnish him with a thorough schooling, you can plank down your dollar that Youth, starting out from this miraculous day, will not lag nor shirk on that coming day in which old joints, rusty and crackling, must slow down; and, calling for an oil can, you will find that Youth only, is that lubrication which can run Tomorrow’s World. But Youth must not go thinking that all its plans will turn out all right; and young Marian Hopkins found this out. Marian, you know, took part in our airport initiation. But Marian, only a kid at that day, has grown up—or half-way up, anyway, and just graduating from Grammar School; upon which big day a child “knows” as much as any famous savant of antiquity! But, as this story runs in skips and jumps, strict chronological continuity is not a possibility. So, Marian is now half grown up. Now that big airport, as you also know, was just back of Marian’s back yard; and as that yard was much too big for anything that Marian’s Dad could do with it, it was put up for disposal. But nobody would go to look at it; to say nothing of buying it. But Old Bill Simpkins, past antagonist of Gadsby’s Organization of Youth, did go out to look at it; but said, with his customary growl

“Too many aircraft always roaring and zooming. Too far out of town. And you ask too much for it, anyway.

But Marian thought that Branton Hills, as a municipality, should own it; figuring that that airport would grow, and that yard was practically a part of it, anyway. So Marian, going to His Honor, as about anybody in town did, without an instant’s dallying, “told him,” (!) what his Council should do.

“But,” said Gadsby, “what a City Council should do, and what it will do, don’t always match up.

“Can’t I go and talk to it?”

“What! To our Council? No; that is, not as a body. But if you can run across a Councilman out of City Hall you can say what you wish. A Councilman is just an ordinary man, you know.” But a Councilman out of City Hall was a hard man to find; and a child couldn’t go to a man’s mansion to “talk him around.” But, by grand luck, in a month or so, Marian did find, and win, all but Simpkins.

On Council night, Simpkins took up a good, — or I should say, bad — half hour against Branton Hills “buying any old dump or scrap land that is.

What this city put up. Was coming to?” and so on, and so on. And Marian’s back yard wasn’t bought. Now Youth is all right if you rub its fur in a way which suits it; but, man!! hold on to your hat, if you don’t!! And Marian’s fur was all lumpy. Boy! was that kid MAD!!

Now, just by luck, March thirty-first, coming along as days do, you know, found Marian in front of a toy shop window, in which, way down front, was a box of cigars, with a card saying:

“This Brand Will Start His Blood Tingling.” And Marian, as boys say, was “on” in an instant; and bought a cigar. Not a box, not a bunch, but just a cigar. Coming out Marian saw His Honor and Simpkins passing; Simpkins saying:-

“All right. I’ll drop around, tonight.” And was Marian happy? Wait a bit.

That night as Gadsby and Simpkins sat talking in His Honor’s parlor, who would, “just by luck,” (??) walk in, but Marian; saying, oh, so shyly:—

“Just thought I’d drop in to chat with Nancy,” and, on passing a couch, slyly laid that cigar on it. Now Simpkins, in addition to his famous grouch, was a parsimonious old crab; who, though drawing good pay as Councilman, couldn’t pass up anything that cost nothing; and, in gazing around, saw that cigar; and, with a big apologizing yawn, and slinking onto that couch as a cat slinks up on a bird, and, oh, so nonchalantly lighting a match, was soon puffing away and raving about Branton Hills politics. Out in a back parlor sat Marian and Nancy on a big divan, hugging tightly up, arm in arm, and almost suffocating from holding back youthful anticipations, as Simpkins said:—

” and that Hopkins back yard stunt! Ridiculous! Why, his kid was out, trying to find all of our Council to talk it into buying. Bah! And did I block it? I’ll say I did! You don’t find kids today laughing at Councilman Simpkins.”

An actual spasm of giggling in that back parlor had Gadsby looking around, inquiringly.

“No, sir!” Simpkins said. “No kid can fool Coun—”

BANG!!

Gadsby, jumping up saw only a frazzly cigar stump in Old Bill’s mouth, as that palpitating individual was vigorously brushing off falling sparks as His Honor’s rugs got a rain of tobacco scraps! Gadsby was “on” in an instant, noticing Marian and Nancy rolling and tumbling around on that big divan, and doubling up in a giggling fit, way out of control. Finally Simpkins angrily got up, viciously jamming on his tall silk hat; and Marian, fighting that giggling fit, just had to call out:—

“April Fool, Councilman Simpkins!”

(And Mayor Gadsby, on a following Council night, got Marian’s land bill through; many a Councilman holding his hand in front of his grinning mouth, in voting for bright, vitalic Youth.)

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Gadsby

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