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Harper's Young People, March 2, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

Bancroft could afterward never tell


After

searching every room in the house, they went to the front door, looking in vain up and down the street. Mr. Bancroft then went to the houses of several neighbors whose little boys had often played with Ned, but none had seen him since school-time.

The parents were now truly frightened, for Ned had never been in the habit of going anywhere without permission; but now they thought he must have strayed away, and some accident befallen him.

"Oh, Edward," said Mrs. Bancroft, the tears falling from her eyes, "what shall we do to find our boy?"

Dreading to alarm her, Mr. Bancroft didn't mention his fears, but with a heavy heart put on his hat, and again went into the street, his wife returning to the library convulsed with sobs.

Where could he go but to the nearest station-house, thought Ned's anxious father, and started thither; but when he reached the corner of the street he turned round again, disliking the idea of going far from the house where it was most natural to see the boy.

"I will go back and examine his playthings. He has always been an orderly child. I can easily tell whether he has used any of them this afternoon."

Once more he entered the door, and went directly to Ned's room. The spelling-book was in its place, but his overcoat and hat were not to be found. The

box of playthings was next examined. It was open, showing Ned had been there, and his little shovel was missing.

Why he immediately went into the yard, Mr. Bancroft could afterward never tell. It must have been a good fairy that led him to the back door, where he stood a few seconds looking out into the darkness, longing for a sight of the little face which always welcomed him home.

It must have been the same fairy that moved him to walk to the back of the yard, where a black spot in the snow attracted his attention. His heart gave a leap: it was Ned's shovel. And what was that faint moaning sound that came to his ears? Was Eva in any distress in the next yard? He listened.

"Papa! oh, papa! I'm here, under the snow!"

"Ned, my boy, where are you?"

"Here, papa, under the snow."

With the same little shovel the father now worked with all his might, cheering his child by the continued sound of his voice, saying, "Papa will take you out in a minute. Be a brave boy. Papa will soon get you."

Mrs. Bancroft, who was waiting in-doors, heard, as she thought, persons talking in the yard, and opened the library window, when her husband called to her: "Send some one here to help me! Be quick; Ned is here under the snow."

Jane overheard, and rushed out with her coal shovel, and began to dig with the strength and energy of a man, and crying, "Me darlint, me darlint, is it here ye are?"


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