Canada 1867
....Third Book of Reading Lessons, McPhail, 1867, by


JOE BENTON lived in the country. Not far from his father's house was a large pond. His cousin Herbert had given him a beautiful boat, elegantly rigged with mast and sails, all ready to be launched. The boat was snugly stowed away in a little cave near the pond. At three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon the boys were to meet and launch the boat. On the morning of that day Joe rose bright and early. It was a lovely morn- ing. Joe was in fine spirits. He chuckled with de- light when he thought of the afternoon. "Glorious!" said he to himself, as he finished dressing. "Now, I have just time to run down to the pond before break- fast, and see that the boat is all right. Then I'll hurry home and learn my lessons for Monday, so as to be ready for the afternoon."

Away he went scampering towards the cave where the boat had been left ready for the launch. As he drew near he saw signs of mischief, and felt uneasy. The big stone before the cave had been rolled away. The moment he looked within he burst into a loud cry. There was the beautiful boat, which his cousin had given him, with its mast broken, its sails all torn to pieces, and a large hole bored in the bottom !

Joe stood for a moment motionless with grief and surprise; then with his face all red with anger he exclaimed, "I know who did it! It was Fritz Brown; but I'll pay him back for this caper--see if I don't!" Then he pushed back the boat into the cave, and, hurrying along the road a little way, he fastened a string across the footpath, a few inches from the ground, and care- fully hid himself among the bushes.

Presently a step was heard, and Joe eagerly peeped out. He expected to see Fritz coming along; but in- stead of Fritz it was his cousin Herbert. He was the last person Joe cared to meet just then, so he un- fastened the string and lay quiet, hoping that he would not observe him. But Herbert's quick eye soon caught sight of him, and Joe had to tell him all that had hap- pened; and he wound up by saying, "But never mind; I mean to make him smart for it!"

"Well, what do you mean to do, Joe ?" asked Herbert.

"Why, you see, Fritz carries a basket of eggs to market every morning, and I mean to trip him over this string, and smash them all!"

Joe knew that this was not a right feeling, and ex- pected to get a sharp lecture from his cousin. But, to his surprise, he only said, in a quiet way, "Well, I think Fritz does deserve some punishment: but the string is an old trick; I can tell you something better than that."

"What ?" cried Joe eagerly.

"How would you like to put a few coals of fire on his head ?"

"What ! burn him ?" asked Joe, doubtfully. His cousin nodded his head, and gave a queer smile. Joe clapped his hands. "Bravo !" said he, "that's just the thing, cousin Herbert. You see, his hair is so thick he would not get burned much before he had time to shake them off; but I would just like to see him jump once. Now tell me how to do it--quick !"

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