"I SAY, Rob—Robert Elmer!" 

But the curly head, shaded by a torn straw hat, did not move. The speaker gave a shrill whistle, and then a round, rosy face appeared above the onion-tops. Soon the body of a boy followed, and with two bounds Robert Elmer was at the fence where Richard Lester was standing. 

"Ain't it awful hot work weeding onions? What do you get?" 

"Hot enough! I get my board and clothes." 

"Pooh! Your father'd have to give you them, anyway. He'd ought to pay you, so you'd have some money for the Fourth. See here!" Dick drew a handful of pennies from his pocket. "Don't your mother ever send you to the store?" 

"Yes, very often." 

"Does she always ask for the change when you get back? You ought to have some pay for working so hard, and if your father don't think so, why, pay yourself. I know a trick or two." This was said with a sly wink. 

"What do you think I am, Dick Lester? You don't catch me lying or stealing. No, siree!" 

"Who said anything about lying or stealing? 

If there was some change, and your mother didn't ask for it, 'twould belong to you. I've got money in that way lots of times. What are you goin' to do on the Fourth?" 

"Nothing. We always have lamb and peas and strawberries for dinner, though." 

"Why not come with us3 Two or three of us fellers are goin' to buy some gunpowder and have 'a jolly time. If you should happen to find a little money before then" — another wink—" why, bring it along." 

Robbie slowly shook his head. 

"Oh, of course it don't make any difference to me. 'Tho't you'd like to. Well, you think about it, and meet us down by the big rock tonight and talk it over. Keep mum, anyway." 

"Robbie! Robbie Elmer!" 

This time it was his mother's voice, and Robert ran to the house, while Dick walked down the road. "I want you to go to the store and get me half a dollar's worth of white sugar and a pound of raisins. Here are five dozen eggs in this pail; they're twelve cents a dozen, and that'll be just enough. Don't fall and break 'em. 

Rob soon reached the store. As the storekeeper counted out the eggs he remarked, " Eggs have gone up six cents within a week, so I owe you thirty cents, young man;" and he handed the boy a bright quarter of, a dollar and a five-cent piece. 

Walking slowly homeward, Robert looked at the shining silver, and as he looked he thought of what Dick had said. "It's a fact, I do work hard," he thought to himself, "and I don't have much money. How I would like to go with those big boys! They don't ask little fellows very often. 

Gunpowder, too! I could ask father to let me go to Uncle Fred's, and he'd never know. What's the use of saying anything about the money?" He put it in his pocket, half resolved to follow Dick's suggestion. "Mother would think 'twas wrong, I s'pose, but there are lots of things worse than that. I don't play truant nor take birds' nests nor swear nor—"He wanted to say " lie nor steal," but conscience whispered those were just the words by which he had called the act he now meditated. "It's mine; I earned it," he said aloud, and then looked around frightened lest he had been overheard. His mind was far from easy, and once more the money was taken out and looked at. How it shone in the sunlight!  How nicely the figures were stamped upon it! "I will keep it," he said. Just then some letters on the five-cent piece he had not noticed before caught his eye. Looking more closely, he read, "In God we trust." 

"Wonder if that's in the Bible?  I'll learn it for Sabbath-school, it's so easy." Then he thought of the verse he had recited the day before: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." He started: "Why, I never thought what that meant before. It means me, and that I mustn't have anything to do with boys that want me to do wrong." He stopped a moment right there in the road as if to gain the strength he needed. "And I won't !" he added resolutely. "They won't see me by the big rock tonight." 

The struggle was over, the victory won. Mrs. Elmer noticed his bright eyes and rosy cheeks, but attributed them to his walk. 

"You've been a good boy, Robbie, and I'm going to let you invite half a dozen boys to spend the afternoon here Tuesday. You may keep the change; you'll want a little money to spend." 

Fourth of July Was ushered in with tin horns and fire-crackers. The morning was spent in rowing on the lake and gathering waterlilies; then in the afternoon came the party, and what a good time those seven boys had running and shouting and playing games! And how they enjoyed the supper of cold chicken, bread and butter, strawberries, tarts, turnovers, frosted cake, and lemonade that had been spread for them under the shade-trees! After supper they all joined in singing "America" and the "Star Spangled Banner," and, having given three rousing cheers for Independence Day, separated. 

In the evening old Charlie was harnessed, and the family rode to the village to see the fireworks. 

As Robbie sat on Uncle Fred's piazza and watched the Roman candles and skyrockets and other fiery things sputter and flash and blaze, he thought he had never before seen anything half so fine. 

"Quite an accident up your way this afternoon," said Uncle Fred as they were leaving. 

"Ah! What was that?" 

"Dick Lester and a couple other young scape-graces got hold of some gunpowder, and they thought 'twould be a grand thing to blow up Widow Munroe's pig-pen; but they were too sneaky to do it themselves, and got little Jimmy Lawton for cat's-paw. He didn't understand how, and when he went to touch the match the powder flashed in his face and burned him badly. The doctor thinks he'll be blind for life." 

The ride home was a very quiet one, and Rob's parents thought he was asleep, but his eyes were open very wide. He was thinking of his narrow escape. Before going to bed he told his mother all about the temptation, and how near he had come to going with Dick Lester: "But I didn't, and this has been the best Fourth of my life." 

Tears were in Mrs. Elmer's eyes as she kissed him: "Your eyesight might not have been destroyed even had you yielded, but your conscience must have suffered. Mother is more than glad that you resisted temptation."


S. S. Advocate.