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Dick Lionheart
by Mary Rowles Jarvis
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"How many?" asked, the policeman with alacrity, as he beckoned to a man in plain clothes opposite.

"Two."

"All right, lead on, and if you're telling a true yarn we'll nab them. If not—well, mind yourself."

But there was unclouded truth in Dick's bright eyes, and the man in blue followed him confidently, his mate bringing up the rear.

Dick led them cautiously till they came close to the locomotive.

Then somebody trod on a piece of loose iron, and there was a slight clinking noise. In affright Whatman darted round the office, to be instantly taken possession of by the second man, while policeman X. ran forward and caught the stranger, who was just emerging from the window with a slim roll of papers in his hand.

"Well caught!" said the man in plain clothes, as he slipped the handcuffs on.

"You young spoil-sport, so this is your doings!" said Whatman vindictively. "I'll have my revenge on you, see if I don't."

The stranger, who looked very pale and cowed, tried to offer a bribe, but the policeman stopped him at once and warned them that anything they said would be used against them at their trial.

Then when Dick had fetched his discarded shoes, and told what he had overheard, the little procession moved out into the street.

"We must wake up that dolt of a watchman and get the place made fast once more."

And after giving his name and address, Dick was glad to go home away from the sight of Whatman's rage.

"I am sorry I had to do it," he told Mrs. Garth over the fire that evening, "but it wouldn't have been right to let them steal, would it?"

"In course not, my boy, you only did your duty; though maybe Whatman would have said you were up to no good if he had found you there alone. It was lucky for you they didn't find you out when you went to give the alarm."

The news of the attempted burglary was soon known among the workmen, and proved a more exciting topic than the result of the football match.

"That's a smart lad," said the manager to Dainton that evening, "and if the firm doesn't do something for him, I will."

"You're right, sir," said Dainton emphatically. "He's smart and plucky too. Whatman's neither more nor less than a brute when he's roused, and this affair proves that he's none too honest. You know he was more than suspected when the brass filings were missed, that time."

"It'll be a fine exposure for Monks, too, if this fellow proves he was only a cat's-paw for them."

"Maybe you could move Dick into my shop, sir? I want to lend the boy a hand, though it strikes me he'll get on whether or no. He's so keen on learning, and would stop up half the night to pore over any old book of mechanics he can get hold of. And the way he has taken hold of drawing, at the night school, in the few weeks he's been there is something wonderful. I only wish my boy had the same gift."

"His uncle was a clever workman," said the manager thoughtfully. "Foolish fellow to take gold fever and go off into the wilds after it when he was doing so well with good British ironwork! I'll speak to Mr. Alfred about Dick, and he'll certainly have some promotion."

The manager did speak, and to good purpose, for Dick was raised to the rank of an apprentice and his indentures were made out and signed by the firm. He did not leave all disagreeable work behind, but he was under Mr. Dainton's oversight now, and Whatman's friends had little chance to torment him. When the Assizes came he had to give evidence against the would-be burglars, and as a result they were both sentenced to hard labour.

Dick would have gladly evaded this unpleasant duty, but he had no choice in the matter.

It was a great trouble to him, for a long while afterwards, and again and again he prayed that Whatman might have a new heart and right spirit and come out to lead a better life.



CHAPTER X.

SUCCESS AT LAST.

The winter passed quickly away and in the spring Paddy came to Ironboro'. He knocked at Mrs. Garth's door one evening, and Dick, who happened to answer the summons, looked at him for a moment in astonishment, he was so completely changed. In a new suit of clothes and with smart collar and tie he looked altogether unlike the slovenly, poorly-clad Paddy of old.

But his smile was the same, and Dick almost fell upon him in his delight, while Pat was in no doubt at all. He recognised his former benefactor at once with that strange power of memory dogs possess in a way that is almost human.

"Ye see, I was bound to come, Lionheart, to see with my own eyes how they were serving you, and to let you know I've gave up the drink for ever an' ever! Twas all through you, and the Almighty's power, and now I belong to Him body and soul, and He kapes me every day."

Dick's joy was almost too great for words. It was splendid to see his friend like this, and to know that he had helped in the great change.

There were no lessons done that evening. Instead they talked, as Mrs. Garth declared, "enough to fill a newspaper."

It happened that she had a room empty, for her other lodger had left a week before, and when she found that Paddy meant to stay if he could find work in Ironboro', she offered him the room, and he was only too glad to have it.

"You can come here, and welcome," she said, "only if my old lodger, the boy's uncle, comes back I shall let him have the chance of it again. He used to say if he didn't get the dollars out foreign he should come back to me, and Dick here is hoping he will."

"We had a letter from him," said Dick, "and he's coming home as soon as he can get luck, he says, but he hasn't found any gold yet."

"It was a pity he went on a sort of wild goose chase, but still it was a good thing you came to look for him, eh lad? Maybe it'll be the making of your fortune!"

"I don't know about that," said Dick eagerly, "but I love to be here. And I've nearly saved up enough to pay you back the debt."

"Pay! Now if you begin to talk like that I'll go back again. I should most likely have been a neer-do-weel all my days, and maybe have died a drunkard, if it hadn't been for you, Dick, and the good words of the Book. Besides, I've got plenty," and he pulled out a handful of silver from one pocket and the little bank book from the other and tapped it merrily. "All saved from the paws and the jaws of the 'Brown Bear,' that squeezes all the comfort out of so many homes in Venley. If only I'd got all the money that have gone out of my pocket that way, I shouldn't need to stoke for a living now. But if God will give me health and work I shan't come to the workhouse yet awhile! That's where the Fowley's are shaping for. Both drinking, and the children left anyhow, and everything going to rack and ruin."

"I should like to see the baby again and little Susy," said Dick, "but I could never go back."

"I should think not! Why, you've nearly doubled since you've had decent living and no nagging."

Next day, with Mr. Dainton's kind help, Paddy got work. Trade was specially good in Ironboro', and his honest face carried its own recommendation. That summer Teddy persuaded Dick to join the boys' cricket club in connection with the Sunday School the Daintons attended. On Sundays he and Paddy always sat together in the game church.

The Sunday's rest and the games in the marshes were a great means of health, after the heat of the Works and the close study of other evenings.

Out in the fresh air with other boys listening to Teddy's fun or Paddy's latest joke his face lost the pinched and anxious look it had worn at Venley.

He grew tall and strong, and as he threw his heart into play as keenly as into work, he soon became an important member of the club's junior eleven.

But though he enjoyed the play as much as anyone he never lost sight of his aim to become a clever engineer, and many a half-hour was stolen from sleep for his books and drawing and models.

Mrs. Garth sometimes said he ate and drank and dreamed engines, his thoughts were so filled with the work done at Lisle and Co.'s.

But the months went by with no other tidings from his uncle, though Dick never forgot to pray for his return.

When his apprenticeship was halfway through he went with Teddy for a long ramble one summer evening.

Beyond the marshes the road skirted a belt of stunted woodland. This was Pat's happy hunting ground, though he never found any rabbits there. Running in and out of the tangled bushes they heard him begin to bark loudly, and then he rushed back to his master in great excitement and tried to hurry them on, and following quickly they left the road and plunged into the undergrowth. And there, under the shelter of a clump of elder, they saw a man, unconscious, on the ground.

He looked like a tramp, his clothes were so old and broken, and his face was deadly pale. Teddy looked scared and suggested going for the police, but Dick had more courage.

He remembered a little stream that ran through the Dingle not far away, and fetching some water in his cap he bathed the man's face.

Presently there was a feeble movement, and then the stranger opened his eyes and looked up at Dick, who was bending anxiously over him. And then he smiled faintly and said, "Good old George, is it you?"

"He thinks he knows you," said Teddy in a hurried whisper.

But Dick had been studying the face on the ground and recalling Paddy's description. And with a half-frightened cry he guessed the truth, and said "Uncle! It is Uncle Richard come back!"

"Are you little Dick?" asked the voice feebly. "I was coming to look for you, but I couldn't get any further. I should have died if the little dog hadn't found me. I heard him bark in my sleep and he saved me. But for that I might have died, unknown to anybody."

And Pat, knowing very well that he had done a good deed, barked again in a perfect chorus of joy.

"Let's take him home," said Teddy eagerly, not to be outdone in goodwill. "He used to play with me and I can remember him now."

But the stranger had sunk back exhausted again and Dick said quickly, "Run back, Teddy, and tell your father, and see if you can find Paddy, and ask them to get a cart or something to carry him home, or, if you will stay here, I will go."

But Teddy preferred action, and went off like an arrow, while Dick raised his uncle's head and made him as comfortable as he could during the waiting time.

Help was soon forthcoming, and in a very short time the wanderer was lying in a comfortable bed at Mr. Dainton's house and fed and tended with affectionate care.

Presently he revived a little and tried to talk. "I've come back poorer than I went, though I did find a streak of gold. But I fell ill and the thieves stole all I had. I just managed to get down to a ship and I worked my passage home, though I felt I was only coming back to die. But I did want to get to the old place again and to see George's boy. He's the very image of what I used to be, and like his father too, only a taller build, I fancy."

"And as good as he is high," said Mrs. Dainton with a smile at her favourite.

But Dick could not laugh just then, his throat had such a lump in it.

The dream he had cherished so long of finding a "very own relation" had come true, but with such pain and disappointment if his uncle had only come back to die! But Mrs. Dainton's faith refused to listen to thoughts of dying, and her husband seconded all her efforts in the sick room.

And Paddy made a splendid nurse and cheerfully sat up at night in turn, and, as the patient began to mend, his bright talk and Irish yarns made him laugh and forget all the hardship and failures of the past.

But most of all the invalid liked to have Dick with him.

"You must take warning by me, lad, and stick to hard work. Don't try to get rich by taking short cuts that lead nowhere."

But as he grew stronger and was able to listen while Dick talked about machinery and showed his own drawings, the older man began to believe that Dick was well on the way to a Klondyke at home.

And when Paddy presently set up a happy home of his own, with Mrs. Garth's youngest daughter at the head of it, Dick and his uncle lived on at the old place together with Pat as an honoured member of the family. And health and strength came back enough to make wage earning possible again.

Step by step Dick advanced in the good opinion of masters and men, and before he was out of his time one of his ideas in valves was patented by the firm and he received a handsome present.

Lionhearted against wrong doing and ready to help in every good cause, he won the respect even of those who disliked him, and at each promotion earned the goodwill of the men. To-day he is manager-in-chief, and there is a rumour that backed by the influence of his old friend, Sir Dale Melville, he will rise to a junior partnership at no distant date. And in every department of the works some evidence of his inventive genius may be found. But he does not forget the struggles and sorrows of the early days when he was only a "'cumbrance," and in his own happy life there is always sympathy for the poor and oppressed. Perhaps nobody will be surprised to hear that he married pretty Nellie Dainton, his first little friend in Ironboro', and in their home beyond the marshes, all sorts of schemes for the help of friendless children are brought to pass.

His own small boys and girls are devoted to their great-uncle Richard, but even better than his tales of Klondyke adventure, they like to hear Paddy tell the story of Dick Lionheart and his dog Pat.

THE END

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