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Dicky Smiley’s Birthday
by [?]

“Money!” whispered little Lola, looking back at Dicky.

“Yes,” said he, “of course! Give me a dollar and I will give you the dog.”

“But,” answered Lola, “I haven’t a bit of money; I never have any.”

“Neither have”–began Dicky; and then his fingers crept into his trousers pocket and felt the two silver half-dollars that were to buy his tool-box. He had forgotten all about that tool-box for an hour, but how could he–how could he ever give away that precious money which he had been so long in getting together, five cents at a time? He remembered the sharp little saw, the stout hammer, the cunning plane, bright chisel, and shining screw-driver, and his fingers closed round the money tightly; but just then he looked at pretty little Lola, with her sad face, her swollen eyes and the brave red lips she was trying to keep from quivering with tears. That was enough; he quickly drew out the silver dollar, and said to the pound-man:–

“Here’s your dollar–give us the dog!”

The man looked much surprised. Not many little eight-year-old boys have a dollar in their trousers pocket.

“Where did you get it?” he asked.

“I earned every cent of it,” answered poor Dicky with a lump in his throat and a choking voice. “I brought in coal and cut kindlings for most six months before I got enough, and there ain’t another tool-box in the world so good as that one for a dollar–but I want Bruno!”

Then the pound-man showed them a little flight of steps that led up to a square hole in the wall of the pound, and told them to go up and look through it and see if the dog was there. They climbed up and put their two rosy eager faces at the rough little window. “Bruno! Bruno!” called little Lola, and no Bruno came; but every frightened homesick little doggy in that prison poked up his nose, wagged his tail, and started for the voice. It didn’t matter whether they were Fidos, or Carlos, or Rovers, or Pontos; they knew that they were lonesome little dogs, and perhaps somebody had remembered them. Lola’s tender heart ached at the sight of so many fatherless and motherless dogs, and she cried,–

“No, no, you poor darlings! I haven’t come for you; I want my own Bruno.”

“Sing for him, and may be he will come,” said Dicky; and Lola leaned her elbow on the window sill and sang:–

Lit-tle shoes are sold at the gate-way of Heaven,

And to all the tattered lit-tle an-gels are giv-en;

Slum-ber my dar-ling, Slum-ber my dar-ling,

Slum-ber my dar-ling sweet-ly.

Now Bruno was so tired with running from the pound-man, so hungry, so frightened, and so hoarse with barking that he had gone to sleep; but when he heard Lola’s voice singing the song he knew so well, he started up, and out he bounded half awake–the dearest, loveliest little brown dog in the world, with a cunning curly tail sticking up in a round bob behind, two long silky ears that almost touched the ground, and four soft white feet.

Then they were two such glad children, and such a glad little brown dog was Bruno! Why, he kissed Lola’s bare feet and hands and face, and nearly chewed her apron into rags, he was so delighted to see his mistress again. Even the cross pound-man smiled and said he was the prettiest puppy, and the smartest, he had ever had in the pound, and that when he had shut him up the night before he had gone through all his funny tricks in hopes that he would be let out.

Then Dicky and Lola walked back home over the dusty road, Bruno running along beside them, barking at the birds, sniffing at the squirrels, and chasing all the chickens and kittens he met on the way, till at last they reached the street corner, where Lola turned to go to her home, after kissing her new friend and thanking him for being so good and kind to her.