1 store-dealer. Best prices given, no reasonable offer refused. N.B.—Families waited upon." * Such was the sign-board that for more than forty years had swung over the entry to that old shed in Preece's Place where Jonas Jasper carried on his business. Everybody knew him, and his shop too; for he was by far the oldest inhabitant, not only of the street, but of the neighbourhood, which comprised all the poorest and lowest part of the town of Helmstone, a well-known and much-frequented watering-place on the south coast.






6of the establishment.There was a small room at one end of the shed, reached by a ladder, and this served as a sleeping-place for the old man. And here, amid these surroundings, had he lived for forty years, managing somehow or other to make a living in a generally honest way.It was a fresh, bright morning in October, and, for a wonder, a ray of sunshine had found its way into the dismal shed, where Jasper, seated against his foremost barrel, was reading a newspaper, when a child's voice aroused him.