The post-office in the middle Georgia village of Hillsborough used to be a queer little place, whatever it is now. It was fitted up in a cellar; and the postmaster, who was an enterprising gentleman from Connecticut, had arranged matters so that those who went after their letters and papers could at the same time get their grocery supplies. Over against the wall on one side was a faded green sofa. It was not an inviting seat, for in some places the springs peeped through, and one of its legs was broken, giving it a suspicious tilt against the wall. But a certain little boy found one corner of the rickety old sofa a very comfortable place, and he used to curl up there nearly every day, reading such stray newspapers as he could lay hands on, and watching the people come and go. To the little boy the stock of goods displayed for sale was as curious in its variety as the people who called day after day for the letters that came or that failed to come. To some dainty persons the mingled odor of cheese, cam-phene, and mackerel would have been disagreeable; but Joe Maxwell—that was the name of the little boy—had a healthy disposition and a strong stomach, and he thought the queer little post-office was one of the pleasantest places in the world. A partition of woodwork and wire netting cut off the post-office and the little stock of groceries from the public at large, but outside of that was an area where a good many people could stand and wait for their letters. In one corner of this area was the rickety green sofa, and round about were chairs and boxes and barrels on which tired people could rest themselves. The Milledgeville papers had a large circulation in the county. They were printed at the capital of the State, and were thought to be very important on that account. They had so many readers in the neighborhood that the postmaster, in order to save time and trouble, used to pile them up on a long shelf outside the wooden partition, where each subscriber could help himself. Joe Maxwell took advantage of this method, and on Tuesdays, when the Milledgeville papers arrived, he could always be found curled up in the corner of the old green sofa reading the Recorder and the Federal Union. What he found in those papers to interest him it would be hard to say. They were full of political essays that were popular in those days, and they had long reports of political conventions and meetings from all parts of the State. They were papers for grown people, and Joe Maxwell was only twelve years old, and small for his age.