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The Young Acrobat of the Great North American Circus, a novel by Horatio Alger

Chapter 37. Kit Comes Home

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One morning James Schuyler Kit's old acquaintance at Smyrna, received a letter from Kit, in which he said: "Our circus season is ended, but I am detained a few days by important business. I will tell you about it when we meet. If you see my uncle tell him that I expect to reach Smyrna somewhere about the twenty-fifth of October."

"I wonder what Kit's important business can be," thought James. "I hope it is something of advantage to him."

James happened to meet Stephen Watson an hour later.

"Mr. Watson," he said, "I had a letter from Kit this morning."


"He says that his circus season is over."

"And he is out of employment," said Watson, his lip curling.

"I suppose so; he expects to reach Smyrna somewhere about the twenty-fifth of the month."

Stephen Watson smiled, but said nothing.

"No doubt he will find it very convenient to stay at home through the winter," he reflected. "Well, he must think I am a fool to take back a boy who has defied my authority."

It was Saturday, and Ralph was home from boarding-school.

"Ralph," said his father, "I bring you good news."

"What is it, pa?"

"Your cousin will be home from the circus towards the last of next week."

"Who told you? Did he write you?"

"He wrote to James Schuyler, who told me."

"I suppose he expects you will give him a home through the winter."

"You may rest easy, Ralph. He won't have his own way with me, I can assure you."

"What shall you do, pa?"

"I shall see Bickford about taking him back. I have occasion to go over there on Monday to have the horse shod, and I can speak to him about it."

Ralph laughed.

"That will bring down his pride," he said. "I suppose he will beg off."

"He will find me firm as a rock. What I decide upon I generally carry through."

"Good for you, pa! I was afraid you would weaken."

"You don't know me, my son. I have been patient and bided my time. Your cousin presumed to set up his will against mine. He has got along thus far because he has made a living by traveling with a circus. Now the circus season is at an end, and he is glad enough to come back to me."

On Monday Stephen Watson rode over to Oakford, and made it in his way to call on Aaron Bickford.

"Have you got a boy, Mr. Bickford?" he asked.

"I had one, but he left me last Saturday. He didn't suit me."

This was the blacksmith's interpretation of it. The truth was the boy became disgusted with the treatment he received and the fare provided at his employer's table, and left him without ceremony.

"How would you like to take back my nephew?"

"Has he come back?" asked the blacksmith, pricking up his ears.

"Not yet; but I expect him back toward the end of next week."

"Has he left the circus?"

"The circus has left him. That is, it has closed for the season. He has sent word to a boy in Smyrna that he will be back in a few days."

"He gave me a great deal of trouble, Mr. Watson."

"Just so, and I thought you might like to get even with him," said Stephen Watson, looking significantly at the blacksmith.

"It would do me good to give him a flogging," said Aaron Bickford.

"I shan't interfere," replied Watson. "The boy has acted badly and he deserves punishment."

"Yes, I'll take him back," said the blacksmith. "I guess he'll stay this time," he added grimly.

"I think he will have to. There won't be any circus to give him employment."

"He is a good strong boy, and he can make a good blacksmith, if he has a mind to."

"You must make him have a mind to," said Stephen Watson.

When the horse was shod he got into the carriage and drove away.

After this interview Mr. Bickford seemed in unusually good spirits, so much so that his wife inquired: "Have you had any good luck, Aaron?"

"What makes you ask?"

"Because you look unusually chipper. I was hopin' somebody had died and left you a fortune."

"Well, not exactly, wife; but I've heard something that makes me feel good."

"What's that?"

"Stephen Watson, of Smyrna, was over here this morning."


"He says that boy Kit is coming home in a few days."

"What if he is?"

"He's goin' to bring him over here, and apprentice him to me again."

"I should think once would be enough, considerin' how he treated you."

"He ain't goin' to serve me so again, you may bet on that. I'm goin' to have my way this time."

"Ain't you afraid he'll run away again?"

"Not much. The circus has shut up, and he'll have to stay with me, or starve. His uncle tells me I can punish him when I think he deserves it."

"I hope you won't be disappointed, Mr. Bickford, but that boy's rather hard to handle."

"I know it, but I'm the one that can handle him."

"You thought so before, the evening we went to the show."

"I know so this time." _

Read next: Chapter 38. Conclusion

Read previous: Chapter 36. Close Of The Circus

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