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Seventoes’ Ghost
by [?]

“You needn’t waste any more time talkin’ about it, Benjamin; you can jest take that puppy-dog and carry him off. I don’t care what you do with him; you can carry him back where you got him, or give him away, or swap him off; but jest as sure as you leave him here half an hour longer, I’ll call Jimmy up from the hay-field and have him shoot him. I won’t have a dog round the place, nohow. Couldn’t keep Seventoes a minute; he’s dreadful scart of dogs.”

“Grandsir–“

“Take that puppy-dog and go along, I tell ye. I won’t have any more talk about it.”

Benjamin Wellman, small and slight, sandy-haired and blue-eyed, stood before his grandfather, who sat in his big arm-chair in the east door. Benjamin held in his right hand an old rope, which was attached to a leather strap around a puppy’s neck. The puppy pulled at the rope, keeping it taut all the time. He also yelped shrilly. He did not like to be tied. The puppy was not a pretty one, being yellow and very clumsy; but Benjamin thought him a beauty. He had urged to his grandfather that there would not be a dog to equal him in the neighborhood when he was grown up, but the old man had not been moved.

There were tears in Benjamin’s pretty blue eyes, but his square chin looked squarer. He tried to speak again. “Grandsir–” he began.

“Not another word,” said his grandfather.

Benjamin looked past his grandfather into the kitchen. His mother sat in there stemming currants. He went around to the other door and entered, dragging the puppy after him.

“Mother,” he said, in a low voice, “can’t I keep him?”

His grandfather in the east door looked around suspiciously, but he could hear nothing; he was somewhat deaf.

“No; not if your grandfather don’t want you to,” said his mother; “you know I can’t let you, Benjamin.”

The puppy was whining piteously, and Benjamin seemed to echo it when he spoke. “I don’t see why he don’t want me to. It ain’t as if Caesar was a common puppy. You ask him, mother.”

“No,” returned his mother; “it won’t do any good. You know how much he thinks of Seventoes, and the dog might kill him when he was grown.”

“Wouldn’t care if he did,” muttered Benjamin; “nothing but a cross old stealing cat; don’t begin to be worth what this puppy is.”

“Now, Benjamin, you mustn’t talk any more about it,” said his mother, severely. “Grandsir does too much for you and me for you to make any fuss about a thing like this. Take that puppy and run right along with it, as he tells you to.”

Grandsir’s suspicions suddenly took shape then. “Benjamin, you run right along,” he called out; “don’t stand there teasing your mother about it.”

So Benjamin gathered the puppy up into his arms with a jerk–it was impossible to lead him any distance–and plunged out of the house. He gave two or three little choking sobs as he hurried along. It was a hot day, and he was tired and disappointed and discouraged. He had walked three miles over to the village and back to get that puppy, and now he had to walk a mile more to give it away. He had no doubt whatever as to the disposal of it; he knew Sammy Tucker would give it a hearty welcome, for there was an understanding to that effect. Benjamin had been a little doubtful as to the reception the puppy might have from his grandfather; but when Mr. Dyer, who kept the village grocery store, had offered it to him three weeks before, he had not had the courage to refuse. Sammy Tucker, too, had been in the store, buying three bars of soap for his mother, and he had looked on admiringly and enviously. When Benjamin had mentioned hesitatingly his doubts about his grandfather, Sammy had pricked up his ears.