meant to be as steady as Bunker Hill Monument; but here I am again, worse than ever, for last quarter I didnt say anything to father, he was so bothered by the loss of those ships just then, so things have mounted up confoundedly.
What have you done with all your money?
Hanged if I know.
Cant you pay it anyway?
Dont see how, as I havent a cent of my own, and no way of getting it, unless I try gambling.
Oh, mercy, no! Sell your horse, cried Polly, after a minute of deep meditation.
I have! but he didnt bring half I gave for him. I lamed him last winter, and the beggar wont get over it.
And that didnt pay up the debts?
Only about a third of em.
Why, Tom, how much do you owe?
I have dodged figuring it up till yesterday; then things were so desperate, I thought I might as well face the truth, so I overhauled my accounts, and theres the result.
Tom threw a blotted, crumpled paper into Pollys lap, and tramped up and down again, faster than ever. Polly took one look at the total, and clasped her hands, for to her inexperienced eyes it looked appalling.
Tidy little sum, isnt it? asked Tom, who couldnt bear the silence, or the startled, grieved look in Pollys eyes.
Its awful! I dont wonder you dread telling your father.
Id rather be shot. I say, Polly, suppose we break it to him easy! added Tom, after another turn.
How do you mean?
Why suppose Fan, or, better still, you go and sort of pave the way. I cant bear to come down on him with the whole truth at once.
So youd like to have me go and tell him for you? Pollys lip curled a little as she said that, and she gave Tom a look that would have shown him how blue eyes can flash, if he had seen it. But he was at the window, and didnt turn, as he said slowly,
Well, you see, he so fond of you; we all confide in you; and you are so like one of the family, that it seems quite natural. Just tell him Im expelled, you know, and as much more as you like; then Ill come in, and well have it out.
Polly rose and went to the door without a word. In doing so, Tom caught a glimpse of her face, and said hastily,
Dont you think it would be a good plan?
No, I dont.
Why not? Dont you think hed rather have it told him nicely by you, than blurted out as I always do blurt things?
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