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The Guardian of the Accolade
by [?]

The train was standing at the station. Some men were pushing trucks along the side. Two or three sleepy passengers got off and wandered away into the night. The conductor stepped to the gravel, swung his lantern and called: “Hello, Frank!” at some one invisible. The bell clanged, the brakes hissed, the conductor drawled: “All aboard!”

Mr. Robert released his hold on the satchel. Uncle Bushrod hugged it to his breast with both arms, as a lover clasps his first beloved.

“Take it back with you, Bushrod,” said Mr. Robert, thrusting his hands into his pockets. “And let the subject drop–now mind! You’ve said quite enough. I’m going to take the train. Tell Mr. William I will be back on Saturday. Good night.”

The banker climbed the steps of the moving train and disappeared in a coach. Uncle Bushrod stood motionless, still embracing the precious satchel. His eyes were closed and his lips were moving in thanks to the Master above for the salvation of the Weymouth honour. He knew Mr. Robert would return when he said he would. The Weymouths never lied. Nor now, thank the Lord! could it be said that they embezzled the money in banks.

Then awake to the necessity for further guardianship of Weymouth trust funds, the old man started for the bank with the redeemed satchel.

* * * * *

Three hours from Weymouthville, in the gray dawn, Mr. Robert alighted from the train at a lonely flag-station. Dimly he could see the figure of a man waiting on the platform, and the shape of a spring-waggon, team and driver. Half a dozen lengthy bamboo fishing-poles projected from the waggon’s rear.

“You’re here, Bob,” said Judge Archinard, Mr. Robert’s old friend and schoolmate. “It’s going to be a royal day for fishing. I thought you said–why, didn’t you bring along the stuff?”

The president of the Weymouth Bank took off his hat and rumpled his gray locks.

“Well, Ben, to tell you the truth, there’s an infernally presumptuous old nigger belonging in my family that broke up the arrangement. He came down to the depot and vetoed the whole proceeding. He means all right, and–well, I reckon he /is/ right. Somehow, he had found out what I had along–though I hid it in the bank vault and sneaked it out at midnight. I reckon he has noticed that I’ve been indulging a little more than a gentleman should, and he laid for me with some reaching arguments.

“I’m going to quit drinking,” Mr. Robert concluded. “I’ve come to the conclusion that a man can’t keep it up and be quite what he’d like to be–‘pure and fearless and without reproach’–that’s the way old Bushrod quoted it.”

“Well, I’ll have to admit,” said the judge, thoughtfully, as they climbed into the waggon, “that the old darkey’s argument can’t conscientiously be overruled.”

“Still,” said Mr. Robert, with a ghost of a sigh, “there was two quarts of the finest old silk-velvet Bourbon in that satchel you ever wet your lips with.”