HotFreeBooks.com
Herbert Carter's Legacy
by Horatio Alger
Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

"I am not sure whether he would be willing to hire me, however much he wanted a boy."

"Why not?"

"He don't seem to like me, nor does Mr. Banks like me."

"What can they have against you? I thought everybody liked you."

"That's because you are my mother, but the squire doesn't feel maternal so far as I am concerned. I didn't understand it at first, but now I do."

"What is it?"

"You remember the squire tried hard to get you to sell this place."

"That was last year."

"And you wouldn't sell. That is why he is angry with both of us."

"But I don't understand why he should be," said the widow, innocently. "He said he would take it only as a favor to me."

"That was all 'gammon.' Excuse the word, which isn't very elegant, I admit, but it's the right word for all that. The squire wanted the place very much."

"What could he do with it? He couldn't live in it himself."

"Not much. I can imagine the look of disgust James's face would wear at the idea of such a thing. He wanted it for Nahum Brown, who lives in the old house up the road. You know Brown, who is a cousin of Mr. Banks, the superintendent, and he is very anxious to get hold of our house."

"How did you learn all this, Herbert? I never knew it before."

"Tom Banks let it out one day."

"I don't see how the squire can dislike us for wanting to stay in our old home."

"There are a good many things you don't understand—about selfish men —mother. That is why I am afraid it won't be much use to ask the squire for employment."

"You may be mistaken about his feelings, Herbert."

"At any rate, I'll go to him, if I can't find employment anywhere else in the village."

"I wish you would, that is, if you don't think farm work will be too hard for you."

"I'll risk that."

In pursuance of this promise, Herbert, after ascertaining that there was no work to be had anywhere else in the village, called one fine morning at the imposing residence of Squire Leech.

James was in the yard, at work on a kite.

"Have you come to see me?" said James, superciliously.

"No; I wanted to see your father."

"What about?"

Herbert was about to answer "on business," but it occurred to him that it would be better policy to keep on friendly terms with James, and he said: "I am looking for work, and I thought he might have some for me."

"Perhaps so," said James, patronizingly. "Of course, one in your position must work for a living."

"Don't you expect to work?" asked Herbert, in some curiosity.

"Not with my hands, of course," said James. "I may study some genteel profession, such as law."

"I am too poor to be genteel," said Herbert, amused.

"Of course. You will probably be a day laborer."

"I hope to rise to something better in time," said Herbert. "For the present I shall be glad to work by the day, or the month, if your father will engage me."

"I think my father is at home; you can ring and see," said James, who could be kind to one who was willing to acknowledge his inferiority.

Herbert rang the bell, and was ushered into the presence of Squire Leech, who was examining some papers in the back parlor.



CHAPTER XII

POOR AND PROUD

"Good morning, Squire Leech," said Herbert, politely.

"Good morning," said the squire, jumping to the conclusion that the Carters had made up their minds to sell their place. "Do you wish to see me?"

"Yes, sir; I hope I don't interrupt you."

"Go on," said the squire, waving his hand. "I am busy, to be sure, but I can give you a few minutes."

He resolved to take advantage of Mrs. Carter's necessities, and make a smaller offer for the place. In this way he would make her suffer for her former obstinate refusal to entertain his proposition.

His face fell when Herbert said: "I came to ask you if you could give me employment on one of your farms. My mother has been sick, and I feel that I ought to be doing something to earn money."

"Ahem!" said the squire, "I leave all such matters to Mr. Banks. Was that all you wished to say to me?"

"I believe so," said Herbert. "Will there be any use in applying to Mr. Banks?"

"I don't know whether he has got help enough or not. Your mother has been sick, hasn't she?"

"Yes, sir; all winter."

"I heard of it. I suppose you found it expensive, eh?"

"Yes, sir. Neither of us could earn anything."

"You are in debt, then?"

"No, sir. My uncle left us some money last year. That kept us along."

"It's pretty much used up now, I suppose?"

"Not quite."

Herbert was inclined to be surprised at the squire's apparent interest in their affairs, but the motive soon became apparent.

"Well, you have made up your mind to sell the house now, I suppose?" said the squire.

"No, we hadn't thought of it."

"But you'll have to."

"Not if I can get employment," said Herbert. "Our expenses are very small, and we can live on a little."

The great man frowned. "That is all nonsense," he said, impatiently. "It is quite impossible for you to hold on to the house. I am willing to give you cash down three hundred dollars over and above the mortgage for it."

"That isn't as much as you offered last year," said Herbert, shrewdly.

"I believe I did offer three hundred and fifty then."

"Your last offer was fifty dollars more than that."

"It may be so, but I told your mother that it wasn't a standing offer. She must accept it then or not at all." "We don't ask you to purchase," said Herbert, independently. "I had no idea of such a thing when I came here."

"That makes no difference. You will have to sell, of course, and I have made up my mind to offer you three hundred and fifty. If you had taken me up at the time, I would have given you fifty more. You can't expect that now, however."

"We don't expect anything. The house is not for sale."

"Then, why are you taking up my valuable time?" demanded the squire, frowning with displeasure.

"I beg your pardon, sir. I only came in to ask for employment."

"That I might have given you, if you hadn't been so unreasonable."

"I don't think we are unreasonable, Squire Leech. Even if we were willing to sell, we should ask, at least, fourteen hundred dollars for the place."

"Fourteen hundred! Are you crazy? I never heard of such a thing."

"The place, land and all, cost my father fifteen hundred."

"I don't believe it."

"We've got his papers to show that it is so."

"It isn't worth near that now."

"It is certainly worth more than eleven hundred, which is all you offer."

"Look here, Carter," said the squire, "I don't mind telling you that I want the place for one of my men—Brown. That is my only object in making you an offer at all. He is the cousin of Mr. Banks, my superintendent, and I rather think Banks will find you something to do, if you will induce your mother to sell the place." "I can't do that," said Herbert, slowly. "I can't consent to my mother making such a sacrifice. She might as well give you three or four hundred dollars as sell the place so much under price."

"You are a boy, and know nothing about business. You think property must necessarily bring its first cost, though, mind you, I don't admit that yours cost anything like fifteen hundred dollars."

"I am inexperienced," Herbert admitted, "but I am sure it would be foolish to sell for eleven hundred dollars."

"You may have to sell for less."

"How is that?"

"If you are not prepared with the interest when the time comes, I shall foreclose."

"You wouldn't be so hard on us as that, Squire Leech," said Herbert, anxiously.

"I don't call it hard, it is only just and legal. When that time comes, I don't promise to pay as much as I offer to-day."

Herbert looked serious. He saw that the squire meant just what he said; that, in fact, he was lying in wait their need should put them in his power.

"Well," said the squire, triumphantly, "you see how the matter stands now?"

"I do," said Herbert.

"Then you will cease your foolish opposition to what is best for you." "I will speak to my mother about it," said Herbert, rising. "The place is hers, not mine, and she must decide."

"Without your offering any foolish advice, I hope."

"I can't say as to that, Squire Leech. I will bid you good morning."

"Good morning. If you change your mind, call again, and we will see about the employment."

"Well," said James, as Herbert came out, "did you get work?"

"Not yet; your father is not sure whether he will find any for me."

"When I am a man," said James, pompously, "I do say I may be able to throw something in your way."

"Thank you," said Herbert, tempted to smile in spite of his serious thoughts.

"I shall be richer than my father," added James, "his property is increasing every year."

"You have an excellent prospect before you," said Herbert, half enviously.

"That's so. Wouldn't you like to change places with me?"

"I am not sure about that."

"You are not sure about that?" repeated James, incredulously.

"No."

"Why, I am a rich man's son."

"I know that; but I have an excellent mother."

"She has got no money."

"I should not value her more if she were worth a million," said Herbert, warmly.

"Of course," said James; "but that won't save you from being a day laborer."

"It is my great ambition just at present to become a day laborer," said Herbert, smiling.

"Of course, there's a great difference between us. But I say, Carter, can you help me with this kite? There's something wrong about it. It won't fly."

Herbert looked at it critically.

"The trouble is with the frame," he said. "It's too heavy."

"I wish you'd help me about it."

Very good-naturedly our hero set to work, and in the course of twenty minutes or so the difficulty was obviated. The kite would fly.

"You may stay and help me fly it," said James, condescendingly.

"Thank you; I shall be needed at home."

"Oh, I forgot. Your time is valuable. Here, take this."

James, with extraordinary liberality, held out five cents to Herbert.

"What is that for?" asked Herbert, puzzled, and not offering to take the money.

"For your help about the kite."

"Oh, I wouldn't think of charging anything for that," said Herbert, amused.

"Why not? You are poor, and I am rich."

"I know it, but I don't want money for a trifle like that."

"Just as you say," said James, returning the money to his pocket, a little relieved, if the truth must be told, that the coin was not accepted, for he was naturally fond of money.

"Good morning," said Herbert, turning to go. "If the kite gets out of order, you can call upon me any time."

"I wonder why he didn't take the money," thought James. "He may be poor and proud; I've heard of such cases; but of course it would be absurd for a boy in his position to be proud."

Herbert kept on his way with a very serious face. It seemed as if they must lose their home, after all.



CHAPTER XIII

MR. BANKS, THE SUPERINTENDENT

After his interview with Squire Leech, Herbert walked home slowly and thoughtfully. He comprehended now all the danger of the situation. The squire wanted their house, and was mean enough to desire to get it at less than its value, though two or three hundred dollars would have been of little account to him, while to the poor widow whom he wished to defraud it was a great sum.

"How can a rich man be so mean?" exclaimed Herbert, indignantly.

That question has puzzled more than our hero. Is there something in riches that dwarfs the man, and makes him mean and ignoble? In too many instances such appears to be the effect.

"Well, mother," said Herbert, when he returned to the cottage, "I've been to see Squire Leech."

"What success did you meet with?" asked his mother, anxiously.

"He will probably give me employment."

"You see, Herbert, you misjudged him, after all," said the widow, her face brightening.

"Wait and see if I did. There is a condition attached."

"What is that?"

"That you will sell him the cottage."

"Did he mention that?"

"Yes, he offered three hundred dollars over and above the mortgage."

"Why, he offered more than that last year."

"I reminded him of that."

"What did he say?"

"He said he would have given three hundred and fifty if we hadn't been so unreasonable as to refuse then. Now, as you have been sick, he expects he can get the place on his own terms."

"I didn't think Squire Leech would be so ungenerous."

"He hinted, besides, that when the next interest is due, he would foreclose, if the money were not ready." "It won't be ready, I am afraid, Herbert," said his mother, depressed. "What shall we do? I am afraid we shall be forced to sell the place, though it would be hard to leave it."

"There's a month before the interest comes due, mother," said Herbert, with energy. "Something may turn up."

But his mother was not so hopeful as he.

"What can turn up?" she said.

"I may get employment."

"Even if you do, a boy can earn little in the country."

"That is true, mother, but somehow I feel hopeful."

"That is because you are young, Herbert. It is natural for youth to be hopeful."

"Well, mother, isn't it better to be hopeful than despondent?"

"But it won't alter wants."

"Suppose the worst to happen—suppose we do leave the house—we shall have three hundred or three hundred and fifty dollars in cash, to keep us from starving."

"And when that is gone?"

"Before that is gone, I shall be earning good wages somewhere. You see, mother, matters are not as bad as they might be, after all."

In spite of her doubts, Mrs. Carter was cheered by her son's hopeful tone.

"Perhaps you are right," she said. "Since God orders all things, we ought not to be discouraged."

"Now you are sensible, mother. How much money have you got left?"

"Twenty-five dollars."

"Why, that's enough to pay the interest, and a little over."

"But how are we to live for the next month?"

"I ought to earn money enough for that."

"If there were any chance of finding work."

"Well, I will go out again to-morrow."

Herbert spoke with a confidence which he did not feel. Wrayburn was not a large village, and, in general, boys were to be found in families where a boy's work was required. In fact, the only one who seemed likely to have work for a boy was Mr. Banks, the squire's farm superintendent. His son, Tom, might indeed have worked, had he been inclined; but he was naturally indolent, and his father was too indulgent to compel him to work. He was an only child, and bade fair to be spoiled. Though only fifteen, he had already learned to smoke and drink, and the only limit to either was his scanty pocket money.

As Herbert was walking up the street in perplexity, he fell in with Tom, who was smoking a cheap cigar with the air of an old smoker.

"Where are you bound, Herbert?" he asked.

"Nowhere in particular. I wish I knew where to go."

"Come fishing with me."

"I haven't time."

"You said you were not going anywhere in particular."

"Because I don't know where to go."

"Then, why not go with me?"

"I want to find work somewhere."

Tom shrugged his shoulders.

"That's just what I am not anxious to find," he said. "My father keeps thinking every day that I ought to be at work, but I don't see it."

Tom winked here, and looked, or thought he looked, uncommonly sly.

"Then, your father has work for a boy to do," said Herbert, getting interested.

"Oh, yes, it is spring now, and the busy season is beginning. But that sort of work don't suit me. I will never be a farmer. When I get a little older, I should like to go to the city, and enter a store. That would be jolly."

"You might get tired of it."

"No, I wouldn't; I'm sick of this stupid old town, though. There's nothing going on."

"I say, Tom, as you don't want to work, do you think your father would give me a chance?"

"I don't know," said Tom. "I'll speak to him if you want me to."

"I wish you would."

"There'll be one advantage about it. If he hires you, he won't be at me to work all the time. I'll do it. Come along, and I'll speak to him now."

"Thank you, Tom."

"Oh, you needn't thank me. It's for my own sake I'm doing it as much as yours," said Tom, who was at least frank in his selfishness.

They went to the small house occupied, much against his will, by Amos Banks. He was in the field, with one of his men, when Tom and Herbert came up, and, jumping over the stone wall, approached him.

"Well, Tom," said his father, "you have come just in time. I want you to ride the horse to plow." "I can't, father; I don't feel well to- day."

"What's the matter?"

"Oh, I've got a headache."

"Riding will do you good."

"No, it won't," said Tom, confidently; "but if you want a boy to help you, here he is."

Mr. Banks turned to Herbert.

"You are Herbert Carter," he said.

"Yes, sir. I would like very much to get a chance to work."

"You're the widow Carter's son?"

"Yes, sir."

"Has your mother decided to sell her cottage?"

"I don't think she has, Mr. Banks."

"Of course you know that Squire Leech wants to buy it."

"Yes, sir. He told me that he wanted to purchase it for your use."

"Just so," said the superintendent, stopping work: "I've taken a fancy to that house, and so has Mrs. Banks You had better accept the squire's offer."

"That would be too much of a sacrifice, Mr. Banks The squire wants to get the place considerably below its value."

"Very likely you overvalue it."

"Mother is attached to it. She would rather have it than a nicer house. Father built it, and it was here they lived for nearly fifteen years."

"No doubt—no doubt," said Banks, impatiently; "but poor folks can't afford to be sentimental. If it's for your mother's interest to sell, then she'd ought to sell, that's my opinion."

"We may have to sell some time, but as long as we can hold on to the place, we mean to."

"I may as well say," said the superintendent, "that the squire has authorized me to hire you to work, in case your mother consents to sell."

"Is that the condition?"

"Yes."

"Then," said Herbert, turning away, "I am afraid I must give up the chance."

"That's an obstinate boy," said Banks, looking after him; "but he'll come around after a while. The squire says he'll have to, or be turned out for not paying the interest."



CHAPTER XIV

HERBERT'S NEW UNDERTAKING

To be willing to work, and yet to be unable to find an opportunity, was certainly a hardship. Herbert was a boy of active temperament, and, even had he not needed the wages of labor, he would still have felt it necessary to his happiness to do something.

In the course of his walks about the village, he stopped at the house of a carpenter, who bore the rather peculiar name of Jeremiah Crane. Mr. Crane owned about an acre and a half of land, which might have been cultivated, but at the time Herbert called, early in April, there were no indications of this intention. The carpenter was at work in a small shop just beyond the house, and there Herbert found him.

"Well, Herbert," said Mr. Crane, in a friendly manner, "what are you up to nowadays?"

"Nothing profitable, Mr. Crane; I am wandering about in search of work."

"Can't you find any?"

"Not yet."

"Have you been to Squire Leech?"

"Yes."

"I should think he might find something for you to do."

"There is a little difficulty in the way."

"What is that?"

Then Herbert told Mr. Crane about the squire's wish to purchase their cottage, and his vexation because they were not willing to sell.

"Seems to me that's unreasonable in the squire. He acts as if it was your duty to oblige him."

"I don't know but we shall have to come to his terms," said Herbert, rather dejectedly. "We certainly shall if I don't find anything to do."

"I wish I could help you; but, if you were to learn my trade, you wouldn't be worth any wages for nigh a year, and you couldn't afford to work so long without pay."

"No, I couldn't."

"Besides, in a village like this, there isn't more than enough work for one man. Why, there isn't more than one new house built a year. If the squire wants to provide Mr. Banks with a house, why doesn't he build him one? He might just as well as not."

"It would cost him more than to buy our place at the price he offers."

"So it would. Your place must have cost fifteen hundred dollars, land and all."

"So I did, but the squire laughed at the idea. All he offers is eleven hundred."

"Don't you sell at that price. It would be too much of a sacrifice."

"We won't unless we are obliged to."

"I hope you won't be obliged to. A man as rich as Squire Leech ought not to try to get it under price."

"I suppose he wants to make a good bargain, no matter if it is at our expense. I wish you had a farm, Mr. Crane, so you could give me work on it."

"I've got more farm now than I can take care of."

"Don't you have a garden?"

"I've got the land, but no time to work on it. My wife often wishes we had our own vegetables, instead of having to buy, but you see, after working in the shop, or outside, all day, I'm too tired to work on land."

"How much land have you?"

"About an acre that I could cultivate, I suppose."

"Engage me to take care of it. I'll do all the work, and your wife can have her own vegetables."

"Really, I never thought of that," said the carpenter. "I don't know but it might be a good idea. How much pay would you want?"

"I'll tell you," said Herbert, who had a business turn, and who had already matured the plan in his own mind. "If you will pay for plowing, and provide seed, I will do the planting, and gather it when harvest time comes, for one-third of the crop."

"You mean, you will take your pay in vegetables?"

"Yes," said Herbert, promptly. "If there is more than you need, I can sell the surplus. What do you say?"

"It strikes me as a fair offer, Herbert. Just wait a minute, and I'll go and ask my wife what she thinks of it."

Mr. Crane went into the house, leaving Herbert in the shop. He reappeared in five minutes. Herbert, to whom the plan seemed every minute more desirable, awaited his report eagerly.

"My wife is all for your plan," he said. "She says it is the only way she knows of likely to give her the fresh vegetables she wants. Besides, she thinks well of you. So, it's a settled thing, if you say so."

"I do say so," Herbert replied, promptly.

"Now, when will you have it plowed?"

"I shall leave all that to you. I haven't time to make arrangements. You can engage anybody you like to do the plowing, and I will pay the bill."

"Then, as to the seed?"

"There, again, I trust all to you. You can buy what you find to be necessary, and the bill may be sent to me. You may ask Mrs. Crane what vegetables she wants."

"All right," said Herbert.

"Please understand," said the carpenter, "that I will do what I have said, but I don't want to be worried about the details. You are a boy, but I shall trust to your judgment, as you are interested in the result."

"Thank you," said Herbert, rather proud of the confidence reposed in him. "I will do what I can to justify your confidence. I'll go right off and see about the plowing."

"Very well."

Whatever Herbert did was done promptly. He knew of a man named Kimball, a farmer on a small scale, who was accustomed to do work for neighbors, not having enough work of his own to occupy his whole time. He went to see him at once.

"Mr. Kimball," he said, "I want to know if I can engage you to do some plowing for me."

"For you!" repeated the farmer, opening his eyes. "Why, you haven't taken a farm, have you?"

"Not yet," said Herbert, smiling; "but I've agreed to cultivate a little land on shares."

"Sho! you don't say so! What land is it?"

"It's the field behind Mr. Crane's house."

"So he's engaged you, has he? Well, I've often wondered why he didn't cultivate it. Might as well as not."

"It's my idea. I proposed it to him. Now, when can you come?"

"Wait a minute," said the farmer, cautiously; "who's a-going to pay me?"

"Mr. Crane. He told me to engage somebody, and he would pay the bill."

"That's all right, then," said the farmer, in a tone of satisfaction; "Crane's a man that always pays his bills."

"I hope I shall have the same reputation," said Herbert. "I hope you will, but you're only a boy, you know, and I couldn't collect of a minor. That's the law."

"I shouldn't think anybody'd be dishonest enough to bring that as an excuse."

"Plenty would do it, so I have to be careful What time do you want me to do the work for you?"

"As soon as you can."

"Let me see, I guess I can come to-morrow. There ain't anything very pressing for me to do then."

"That's good," said Herbert, with satisfaction. "You'll find me there, and I can ride the horse to plow if you want me to."

"I should like to have you."

"Well, thought Herbert, as he started for home to tell his mother what he had done, "I've made a beginning."

"I suppose you haven't found any work yet, Herbert," said his mother, in a tone of resignation, as he entered the little cottage.

"Yes, I have; though I shall have to wait some time for the pay."

"What is it, Herbert?"

"I'm going to cultivate a garden on shares, mother; so next fall and winter you can have all the vegetables you want."

"How is that, Herbert? Tell me all about it."

When Herbert had detailed the contract he had entered into, he was glad to find that his mother approved of it. She declared that it would be very satisfactory to her to have an abundant stock of vegetables, but she said, doubtfully: "Do you think you know enough of farming to attend to all the work?"

"If I don't I can easily ask some farmer," said Herbert, confidently. "I am not in the least afraid to undertake the job."

He went to bed that night feeling that at last he had obtained something to do.

The reader will perhaps recall the statement in our first chapter that there was a little land connected with the cottage, which was used for the growth of vegetables. This, in fact, supplied nearly all that was required by the widow and her son, and the probability was that Herbert would be able to send to market nearly all his share of vegetables obtained under his new contract, and thus obtain payment in money, of which they were so much in need.



CHAPTER XV

THE CRISIS APPROACHES

Herbert went to work in earnest. It took only part of one day to plow the field which he was to cultivate. He decided, after consultation with Mrs. Crane, to appropriate two-thirds of the land to potatoes, and the remainder to different kinds of vegetables. He was guided partly by the consideration of which would be most marketable.

On the third day, while at work, he heard his name called. It must be explained that Mr. Crane's house and land were on the corner of two streets, so that he was in full sight, while in the field, from the side street. Looking up, he recognized James Leech, who was surveying him with evident curiosity.

"Good morning, James," said Herbert, going on with his work.

"I see you've got a job," said James.

"Yes."

"Has Mr. Crane hired you?"

"Not exactly."

"Then, why are you at work in his field?"

"Because I've agreed to work it on shares."

"How is that?"

"I am to have a third of the crops to pay me for my services."

"What can you do with it?"

"Part of the vegetables we can use at home, and the balance I shall sell."

"I shouldn't think you'd like that arrangement."

"Why not?"

"Because you have so long to wait for your pay."

"That is true, but it's better than not working at all, and I've tried all over the village in vain to get employment."

"Do you think you'll make much out of it?"

"I don't think I shall make my fortune, but I shall make something."

"Don't it tire you to work?" asked James, with some curiosity.

"Of course, if I work all day; but I don't mind that."

"I should."

"You are not used to work."

"I should say not," returned James, with pride. "I never worked in my life." It was a strange thing to be proud of, but there are some who have nothing better to be proud of.

"I like to work," said Herbert.

"You do?"

"Yes, only I like to get something for my labor. You expect to work some time, don't you?" "Not with my hands," said James. "I shall never be reduced to that."

"Do you think it so very bad to work with your hands? Isn't it respectable?"

"Oh, I suppose it's respectable," said James; "but only the lower classes do it."

"Am I one of the lower classes?" asked Herbert, amused.

"Of course you are."

"But suppose I should get rich some day," said Herbert.

"That isn't very likely. You can't get rich raising vegetables."

"No, I don't expect to. Still, I may in some other way. Didn't you ever know any poor boys that got rich?"

"I suppose there have been some," admitted James.

"Haven't you ever heard of Vanderbilt?"

"Of course I have. Father says he's worth forty millions."

"Don't you consider him a gentleman?"

"Of course I do."

"Well, he was a poor boy once, and used to ferry passengers across from Staten Island to New York."

"Did he? I didn't know that."

"Suppose my uncle had left me all his fortune—a hundred thousand dollars—would I have been a gentleman, then?"

"Yes, but it isn't the same as, if you had always been rich."

"I don't agree with your ideas, James. It seems to me something besides money is needed to make a gentleman; still, I hope to get on in the world, and I shouldn't object to being rich, though I don't see any prospect of it just at present."

"No," said James. "You will probably always be poor."

"That's very encouraging," said Herbert, laughing. "How about yourself?"

"Oh, I shall be a rich man like father."

"That's very encouraging for you. I hope when you are a man you'll give me work if I need it."

"I will bear it in mind," said James, with an important air. "Now I must be going." That day, at dinner, James said to his father: "That Carter boy has got a job."

"Has he?" asked the squire, not very well pleased.

"Yes, he's working at Mr. Crane's."

"What is he doing?"

"Working in the garden."

"What wages does Crane pay him?"

"None at all. He says he has agreed to work for the third of the crops."

"Did he say that?" asked the squire, with satisfaction.

"Yes, he told me so this morning."

"You are sure he gets no money?"

"Yes; he is paid wholly in vegetables. He said he couldn't find employment anywhere else in the village, so he had to work that way."

"That boy stands very much in his own light," said the squire.

"How is that, father?"

"I told him Mr. Banks would give him work if he would agree to sell me his cottage."

"He doesn't own it, does he?"

"His mother, of course, I mean. It's the boy that keeps her from selling it."

"Why does he do that?"

"Oh, they've got a silly notion that no other place would seem like home to them, and, besides, they think I don't offer them enough."

"How much do you offer them?"

"Eleven hundred dollars; that is, I have a mortgage on the place for seven hundred and fifty. I offer them three hundred and fifty dollars besides."

"Is that all the money they are worth?"

"Yes; they are very foolish to refuse, for they'll have to come to it some time. In about a week the interest comes due, and I'm very sure they won't be able to meet it."

"Suppose they don't?"

"Then," said the squire, with a satisfied smile, "I shall take possession, and they'll have to sell."

"Herbert says he hopes to be rich some time."

"I dare say," said the squire, laughing heartily. "Everybody does, so far as I know."

"Do you think there is any chance of it?"

"About one in a thousand."

"I shouldn't want the lower classes to get rich," said James, thoughtfully. "They'd think they were our equals."

"Yes, no doubt."

James was not aware that his grandfather had once been a poor mechanic, or rather he ignored it. He chose to consider that he had sprung from a long line of wealthy ancestors. His father heard with pleasure that Herbert was not likely to realize any money at present for his services. Already he felt that the little cottage was as good as his. It was only a week now to the time of paying interest, and he was very sure that Mrs. Carter would be unprepared to meet it.

"In that case," he decided, "I will certainly foreclose. There will be no sense in granting them any further indulgence. It will be for their interest to sell the cottage, and get rid of the burden which the interest imposes. Really, they ought to consider it a favor that I am willing to take it off their hands."

We are very apt to think it is for the interest of others to do what we greatly desire, and I don't suppose the squire was singular in this. I think, however, that there are many who are less selfish and more considerate of others.

Herbert, too, was thinking, and thinking seriously, of the interest that was so soon coming due. In spite of his own and his mother's economy, when the preceding day arrived, all they could raise toward the payment was thirteen dollars, and the sum required was twenty-two dollars and a half.

"Mother," said Herbert, at dinner the day before, "I see only one chance for us, and that is, to borrow the money. If anyone would lend us ten dollars we could pay the interest, and then we should be free from anxiety for six months."

"I am afraid you will find that difficult," said his mother. "The squire is the only rich man in the village, and of course we can't apply to him."

"At any rate, I can but try. Instead of going to work this afternoon, I shall go about and try to borrow the money. If I can't, then I suppose we must give up the house."

Certainly the prospect seemed far from cheerful.



CHAPTER XVI

AN UNEXPECTED OFFER

It was with very little confidence in his ultimate success that Herbert set out on his borrowing expedition. The number of those who could be called capitalists in a small village like Wrayburn was very small, and it happened very remarkably that all of them were short of funds. One man had just bought a yoke of oxen, and so spent all his available cash; another had been shingling his barn; and still another confessed to having money, but it was in the savings bank, and he didn't like to disturb it.

So, at supper time, Herbert came in, depressed and dispirited.

"Well, mother, it's no use," he said, as her anxious look met his.

"I didn't much think you could borrow the money," she answered, trying to look cheerful.

"There's only one thing remains to be done," said Herbert.

"What is that?"

"To try to induce the squire to give us more time."

"I don't think he will do that."

"Nor I. In that case we must come to his terms; but it's a pity to sacrifice the property, mother."

"Yes, Herbert; I shall be sorry to leave the old place," she sighed. "You were born here, and your father was always very much attached to it. But poor folks can't have everything they wish, and it might be worse."

"Yes, it might be worse, and if the squire was not so bent in getting the place into his hands, it might be better."

"I suppose we ought not to blame him for looking out for his own interest."

"Yes, we ought; when it seems that he is ready to injure his poorer neighbors."

Mrs. Carter did not reply. She did not wish further to incense her son against the squire, yet in her heart she could not help agreeing with him.

The next day Herbert did not go to work as usual. He did not feel like it, while matters were in such uncertainty. He knew the squire would be at the cottage a little before twelve o'clock, and he wanted to be with his mother at that time, for he felt that, if the place must be sold, he would be more likely to get good terms for it than his mother, who was of an easy and yielding disposition.

He took a little walk in the course of the forenoon, not with any particular object in view, but in order to pass the time. As he was passing the hotel—for there was a small hotel in the village—he heard his name called. Turning round, he found that it was the landlord who had called him.

"Come here a minute, Herbert," he said.

Herbert obeyed the summons.

"What are you doing nowadays?" he asked.

"I have turned farmer," said our hero.

"Whom are you working for?"

"For myself."

"How is that? I don't understand."

"I am cultivating Mr. Crane's land on shares."

"Does it take up all jour time?"

"No; I would only work part of the day if I had anything else to do."

"I'll tell you what I have been thinking of. There's a young man boarding with me from the city, a Mr. Cameron. He was a college student, but his eyes gave out, and the doctor sent him out of the city to get well. He wants some one to read to him part of the time, and go about with him for company. He is from a rich family—the son of a wealthy manufacturer—and he will be willing to pay a fair price."

"Do you think I would suit him?" asked Herbert, eagerly.

"Yes, I think you would. You are a good scholar, and when I mentioned you to him, he said he would like to see you. He said he would prefer a boy, as he would be more ready to adapt himself to his wishes."

"When can I see Mr. Cameron?" asked our hero.

"Come in now. You will find him in his room. Here, John, show Herbert up to number six."

Herbert was ushered into one of the best rooms the hotel afforded. A young man, of pleasant appearance, was sitting at the window, with a green shade over his eyes. He pushed up this, that he might see Herbert.

"This is Herbert Carter, Mr. Cameron," said John, unceremoniously.

"I am glad to see you, Herbert," said the young man, smiling as he extended his hand. He was secretly pleased with Herbert's open and manly face. "Did the landlord say why I might need your assistance?"

"He said your eyes were affected."

"Yes, they broke down a month since. I am a student of Yale College, in the junior class. I suppose I tasked my eyes too severely. At any rate, they gave out, and I am forbidden to use them at all."

"That must be a great loss to you," said Herbert, with sympathy.

"It is. I am very fond of reading and study, and the time passes very heavily in the absence of my usual employment."

"I don't know what I should do if I could not use my eyes."

"You would find it a great hardship. Now I must tell you why I came here. The doctor told me I should be better off in the country than in the city. He said that the sight of the green grass would be good for me, and the fresh air, in improving my general health, would help my eyes also. I hadn't much choice as to a place, but some one mentioned Wrayburn, and so I came here. But I soon found that, unless I got some pleasant company and some one who could read to me, I should die of weariness. That brings me to my object in asking you to call upon me. How is your time occupied?"

"I have taken an acre of land to cultivate on shares," answered Herbert. "It was because I could find nothing else to do, and must do something."

"Does that keep you pretty busy?"

"It is planting time now, but I could get along with working there half a day."

"And could you place yourself at my disposal the other half?"

"I should be glad to do it," answered Herbert.

"Suppose, then, that you work in the field in the forenoon, and give me every afternoon."

"All right," said Herbert, promptly.

"Now comes another question. What pay would you expect for giving me so much of your time?"

"I shouldn't know what to charge, Mr. Cameron. I leave that matter entirely with you."

"Would you be satisfied with five dollars a week?"

Five dollars a week! Herbert could hardly believe his ears. Why, he would have been well paid if this had been given him for the whole of his time, but for half it seemed munificent.

"I am afraid I can't earn that much," he answered. "I would be willing to take less."

"You don't know how hard I shall make you work" said the young man, smiling. "I insist upon paying you five dollars a week."

"I don't seriously object," said Herbert, smiling; but if you think, after the first week, that it is too much, you can pay me less."

"I see that we are not likely to quarrel on the subject of salary, then. When can you begin?"

"This afternoon, if you wish."

"I do wish it, otherwise the afternoon would pass very slowly to me."

"Then, I will be here at one o'clock."

"Half past one will do."

"I will be on hand. Till then I will bid you good morning, as I shall be wanted at home."

"Very well, Herbert."

Herbert left the room and hurried home, for it was nearly twelve. On the way he stopped at the post office, and found a letter addressed to his mother. He did not recognize the handwriting, nor, such was his hurry, did he notice where it was postmarked. He had no watch, but thought it must be close upon twelve o'clock. So he thrust the letter into his pocket, and continued his way homeward on a half run. He was in time, for, just as he reached the front gate from one direction, the squire reached it from the other.

"Good morning," said the squire, a little stiffly. "Is your mother at home?"

"I presume she is. Won't you come in?"

"I wonder if they've got the money ready," thought the squire, as he followed Herbert into the modest sitting room.



CHAPTER XVII

WHAT THE LETTER CONTAINED

Leaving the squire in the sitting room, Herbert went in quest of his mother.

"Squire Leech is here," he said.

"What shall we say to him?" asked his mother, soberly.

"Wait a minute and I will tell you," said Herbert, his face brightening.

"I've had a stroke of luck, mother. I've been engaged to work afternoons, at five dollars a week."

"Who has engaged to pay you such high wages?" asked Mrs. Carter, astonished.

"A young man staying at the hotel, whose eyes are weak. I am to read to him, and do whatever else he requires. I got the chance through the landlord."

"You are certainly fortunate," said his mother, gratified.

"Now, what I am going to propose to the squire is to wait two or three weeks for the balance of the interest till I can make it up out of my wages."

"If he weren't so anxious to get possession of the place he would; but I am afraid on that account he will refuse But we ought to go in."

Mrs. Carter removed the apron which she had worn about her work, and entered the sitting room, followed by Herbert.

"I hope you will excuse my keeping you waiting, Squire Leech," she said.

"Certainly, ma'am, though I am rather in a hurry."

"I suppose you have come about the interest?"

"It is due to-day, as, of course, you know."

"Yes."

"I suppose you have it ready," said the squire, eyeing her shrewdly.

"I can pay you fifteen dollars of it," said the widow, nervously.

Squire Leech felt exultant, but he only frowned.

"It amounts to twenty-two dollars and a half," he said, sharply.

"I know that, and I shall be able to pay the remainder if you will be kind enough to wait two or three weeks."

Not knowing anything of Herbert's good fortune, Squire Leech utterly disbelieved this. He knew no source from which the widow could get the money.

"It is easy enough to make promises," he said, with a sneer, "but that doesn't satisfy me. I want my money."

Now Herbert felt it time for him to take part in the conversation.

"My mother can keep her promise," he said.

"Can she? Perhaps you will explain where you expect to get the money."

"From my wages," answered Herbert, proudly.

"I wasn't aware that you received any," sneered the squire.

"I have just made an engagement to work for five dollars a week," said our hero, enjoying the squire's look of surprise.

"Indeed! Who pays you that?"

"A gentleman boarding at the hotel has engaged me to read to him as his eyes are weak."

"A fool and his money are soon parted," said Squire Leech. "You may retain the position a week."

"I hope to keep it. I feel sure that I shall."

"I don't," said the squire, emphatically.

"Then are you willing to wait—say two weeks—for the rest of the interest?"

"No, I am not, and you ought to have known I shouldn't be. There is a way of arranging the whole matter."

"By selling the place, you mean?"

"Yes; I mean just that. It is folly for you to think of keeping the property with such a heavy mortgage upon it on which you are unable to pay the interest. I have offered you a fair price for it."

"You offered four hundred dollars less than it cost."

"That is nonsense! It never cost fifteen hundred dollars."

"I have my husband's word for it," said the widow.

"Then, he made some mistake, you may be sure."

"I am sure father was right," said Herbert. "Besides, we have his bills to prove it."

"That's neither here nor there," said Squire Leech, impatiently. "Even if it cost ten thousand dollars, it's only worth eleven hundred now; that is to say, three hundred and fifty dollars over and above the mortgage."

"You are hard upon me, Squire Leech," said Mrs. Carter, despondently.

"You are a woman, ma'am, and women never understand business. I make allowance for you; but your son ought to know better than to encourage you."

"I want my mother to be treated fairly and justly."

"Do you mean to imply that I would treat her otherwise, young man?" demanded the squire, angrily. "I advise you not to make an enemy of me."

Herbert looked sober. The squire might not be right but certainly he had the power to carry his point and that power he was certain to exercise.

"Will you give my mother and myself a little time to consult what is to be done?" he asked.

"Yes," said the squire, feeling that he had carried his point. "I might refuse, of course, but I wish to be easy with you and therefore I will give you till half past twelve. I will be back at that time."

He took his cane and left the house.

His reference to the post office reminded Herbert of the letter he had in his pocket for his mother.

"Here's a letter for you, mother," he said.

"A letter! Who can it be from?"

"It's postmarked at Randolph," said Herbert.

"Perhaps it's from Aunt Nancy," suggested the widow. "I don't know anyone else in Randolph that would be likely to write to me."

She opened the envelope and uttered a cry of surprise as two bills dropped out and fluttered to the floor.

Herbert picked them up eagerly and cried: "Why, mother, they are ten- dollar bills. Twenty dollars in all!"

"Twenty dollars!" repeated Mrs. Carter, in amazement.

"Hurrah! now we can pay the interest!" exclaimed Herbert. "Won't the squire be mad!" and he laughed joyously. "Read the letter aloud, mother."

Mrs. Carter read as follows:

"MY DEAR NIECE: I have thought of you often, and wish we were not so far distant from each other. I should enjoy seeing you and that good son of yours often. I am afraid you have had a hard time getting along. My wants are few and I have more than enough to supply them. I inclose twenty dollars in this letter. I shall not need them, for an old woman like me can live on very little.

"I wish you would write to me sometimes or ask Herbert to. I feel lonely and it would be a great favor to me. If it were not so far, I would ask you and Herbert to come over and spend a day or two with me. Perhaps you can manage to do it some time. Only don't delay too long, for I am getting old and can't expect to live much longer,

"Your affectionate aunt,

"NANCY CARTER."

"How good of Aunt Nancy! If her brother had possessed her kind heart, we should be better off to-day."

"It came just in the nick of time, mother. How lucky!"

"Say, rather, how providential, my son. We owe to the kindness of God. He will not see us want."

"Of course you are right, mother; but the squire won't regard it in the same light. He will be terribly disappointed, for he thinks he has got us in his power."

"I am thankful that this is to be our home for six months more."

"Longer than that, mother. I am earning something now, and I will save up money to pay our next interest."

"Squire Leech is coming back," said Mrs. Carter.

"See how briskly he walks!" said Herbert. "I don't think he'll be so cheerful when he leaves the house."

"I don't think we ought to exult, Herbert."

"I can't help it, mother and I'm not ashamed of it, either. You are carrying benevolence too far."

Here the squire's knock was heard, and Herbert went to admit him.



CHAPTER XVIII

HOW THE SQUIRE WAS CIRCUMVENTED

The squire was in very good spirits. All the way back from the post office he had been congratulating himself on the elegant bargain he was about to make. The widow and her son had been obliged to yield. Squire Leech thought more of Herbert than of his mother, for he was convinced that but for him he could have talked over Mrs. Carter six months before.

"Serves the boy right," he said to himself. "It was preposterous in him to oppose my wishes. He might have known I would advise what was best."

The squire meant what was best for him. He had not given much thought what would be best for Mrs. Carter.

"Some men would take advantage of their situation and reduce their offer" thought the squire, virtuously, "but I won't be hard on them. They shall have the three hundred and fifty dollars."

"Well," said he cheerfully, as Herbert opened the door, "I believe I have given you the time I agreed upon."

"Yes, sir," said Herbert. "Please walk in."

The squire expected to find him sober and depressed, but in spite of himself Herbert could not help looking in good spirits. This puzzled the squire a little, but he said to himself: "Probably they have decided that my offer wasn't so bad a one, after all."

"Well," said the village magnate, "well, Mrs. Carter, now that you have had time to think over my proposal, you have probably seen its advantages."

"I should not be willing to give up the house, sir. My husband built it, and—"

The squire's brow darkened. What a perverse, obstinate woman she was!

"That ain't the question," he exclaimed, pounding his cane on the floor. "There are many things we don't want to do that we've got to do. You stand in your own light, ma'am. I have my rights."

"We don't deny that, sir," said Herbert, who enjoyed the squire's excitement, knowing how it must end.

"I am glad to hear it," said the squire; "but it appears to me you think you and your mother are the only persons to be considered in this matter."

"I think my mother is entitled to some consideration."

"Haven't I considered her? Haven't I offered her a most liberal price for the place?"

"We don't call it liberal."

"Then you are unreasonable. Many men in my position would offer less. Indeed, I don't think I ought to offer more than three hundred dollars."

"We would thank you, Squire Leech, if we could see any favor in offering three or four hundred dollars less than the house is worth."

"We have had enough of this nonsense," said the squire, angrily. "It is not too late to withdraw my offer."

"You had better withdraw it," said Herbert, composedly, "for mother and I have decided to refuse it."

"Refuse it!" gasped the squire. "What do you mean by such outrageous impudence?"

"I don't see how it can be considered impudence. We are not obliged to accept every offer made us."

"You are obliged to accept this," cried Squire Leech, stamping his cane upon the floor again. "You know there is no help for it."

"How do you make that out, sir?" inquired our hero.

"You can't pay the interest."

"I beg your pardon, sir; we are ready to pay."

"I mean the whole of the interest."

"So do I."

"It must be paid at once."

"It shall be paid at once, Squire Leech. Please make out a receipt."

Squire Leech was never more astonished in his life. He was not convinced till Herbert produced what he could distinguish as two ten- dollar bills and one five.

"There will be two dollars and a half change," said Herbert in a business-like manner.

"What did you mean by telling me you could not pay the interest when I was here at twelve o'clock?"

"We could not, then, or thought we could not."

"Then how can you pay me now?"

"We received some money in a letter this morning. The letter had not been opened when you were here, so we didn't know we could meet your claims."

Squire Leech was very angry. He felt that he had been defeated, and that triumph had slipped over to the other side. But he resolved to make one more attempt.

"I have the right to refuse this money," he said. "It comes too late. It should have been paid at twelve."

"I beg your pardon. Squire Leech; you yourself gave us time to consult what to do." "Because," said the squire, unguardedly, "I thought you could not pay the interest."

Herbert could not help smiling.

"We have nothing to do with what you thought."

The squire frowned and bit his lips with vexation. He tried to think of some way of getting over the difficulty but none presented itself. As he dashed off the signature and took the money, he said, angrily: "The time will come when I will have this place. Your convenient letters won't always come just in the nick of time." "I hope to be prepared for you next time, without having to depend on that."

Still, the squire lingered. The fact was, that, though very angry, he was anxious to know from whom Mrs. Carter had received this opportune help.

"Who sent you this letter?" he asked.

"I don't think we need to tell you that," said Herbert.

"I have no objection to tell," said Mrs. Carter. "It was my aunt, Nancy Carter, of Randolph, who so kindly remembered us."

"I wish she'd kept back her letter a day or two," thought the squire.

"Is she rich?" he asked, abruptly.

"No; she has a very modest income left by her brother; but her wants are few, and she thought we might need help. She has a good heart."

"Well, ma'am, as my business is over, I will leave you," said the squire, sulkily. "As for that boy of yours," pointing his finger at Herbert, "I advise you to teach him better manners. He won't gain anything by his impertinence. If he had acted differently I would have given him employment, or got my superintendent to do so."

"I should have been unable to accept it. Squire Leech," said Herbert. "I have made an engagement already."

The squire had forgotten this, and it was mortifying to expect that his patronage was of no importance to the boy whom he detested.

"Good morning!" he said abruptly and left the room

"I am afraid, Herbert, you treated the squire disrespectfully," said Mrs. Carter.

"I don't think so, mother, unless to oppose his wishes is to be disrespectful."

"He spoke as if he thought you did."

"I know that, but he wouldn't if he hadn't been unreasonable. But I've got to go to the hotel in fifteen minutes. Just give me a bite, for I'm awful hungry."

So the day which Herbert had so much dreaded in advance was marked by two pieces of good luck.



CHAPTER XIX

HERBERT BECOMES A PROFESSOR

When Herbert reached the hotel he went up at once to Mr. Cameron's room.

"I believe I am a little late," he said, apologetically; "but I was detained at home by a matter of business."

"You are young to have your time occupied by matters of business," said the young man, smiling.

"Yes, if my father were alive it would not devolve upon me, but my mother generally consults with me."

"I hope your business was arranged satisfactorily."

"Yes, but it came near turning out otherwise. I would like to tell you about it."

"Do so," said Mr. Cameron, kindly. "I shall be interested in whatever affects you."

Herbert gave an account of Squire Leech's attempts to get possession of their cottage.

"But for that letter of Aunt Nancy's," he concluded, "we should have been obliged to part with our house."

"For the paltry sum of twenty-two dollars and a half?"

"It wasn't paltry to us."

"No, to be sure. Why didn't you tell me this morning? I would have lent you the money."

"You would?" exclaimed Herbert.

"With pleasure."

"Thank you, Mr. Cameron," said our hero; "but I shouldn't have dared to ask such a favor of a stranger."

"I must tell you that this Squire Leech has probably taken advantage of your ignorance of business. I don't know exactly how the law is in this State, but I presume that, so far from the squire being authorized to take immediate possession of your place, he would be obliged to give legal notice of sale, on foreclosure of mortgage, by advertisement in some weekly paper. This would allow of sale at auction to the highest bidder."

"I didn't know that; I supposed the squire could order us out immediately and take possession."

"Squire Leech certainly knew better than that, but he evidently wanted to frighten your mother into selling to him at a sacrifice."

"That was mean," said Herbert, indignantly, "and he a rich man, too."

"I quite agree with you," said Mr. Cameron. "If you have any further difficulty with this grasping capitalist, come to me and I will give you the best advice I can."

"I will, Mr. Cameron, and thank you for your advice. You have relieved my mind. I will tell mother what you say. What would you like to have me read first?"

"We will put off the reading for a short time. I want to ask you a few more questions about yourself, not out of curiosity, but because I may, if I understand your circumstances, some time have it in my power to serve you."

"Thank you, sir. I shall be very glad to tell you anything. I was afraid you would not feel interested."

"You are my private secretary now and that insures my interest. How long since did your father die?"

"A little over a year."

"What was his business?"

"When he was a young man he was employed in a manufactory near Providence, but the confinement injured his health and he learned the carpenter's trade."

"I shouldn't think there would be much for a carpenter to do in a small village like this."

"My father managed to make a comfortable living but that was all. At the time he died, he considered that our house was mortgaged for only half its value, but Squire Leech thinks otherwise."

"Squire Leech wants to get possession of your place. So that was all your father was able to leave you?"

"No, not quite all; there was something else which father seemed to think was worth something, but I am afraid it will never do us any good."

"What is that?" asked Mr. Cameron.

"He was at work in his leisure for the last two years of his life on an invention."

"An invention! Of what nature?"

"You know I told you he was employed in a cotton manufactory when a young man. This made him familiar with spinning and weaving. He thought he could make an improvement in some of the machinery used and he worked out his idea in a wooden model."

"Have you the model?" asked Cameron, with interest.

"Yes, sir, and also a written paper describing the invention. A few days before he died father called me to his bedside and told me that he wanted me some day to show his invention to a manufacturer and get his opinion of it. He said that he hoped some time it would be a source of profit to mother and myself."

"Have you ever done as he advised?" asked Cameron.

"I have never had opportunity. There is no manufacturing town near here and I cannot afford to travel."

"I am myself the son of a cotton manufacturer," said Cameron, "and, though I have never been employed in the business, I have from my boyhood been accustomed to visit my father's factory. My opinion may be worth something, therefore. If you are willing to show me your father's model—"

"I shall be very much obliged to you if you will look at it," said Herbert. "I have been afraid that father exaggerated its value and that it might have defects which would prevent its being adopted anywhere."

"I will give you my opinion when I have seen it. And now suppose we set to work. Here is a treatise on logic. You may begin and read it very slowly, pausing at the end of every paragraph till I tell you to go on."

Herbert began to read as he had been requested. For the first two or three times he took very little interest in his subject and thought it very dry. In fact, it was not all he began to re-read the earlier portions that he could comprehend much of it.

"Now," said Cameron, after he had read half an hour, "I have something else for you to do. You are not only my reader, but I must make you my teacher, too."

Herbert laughed, saying: "I think you'll have to get somebody that knows more than I, then; I wouldn't venture to teach a college student."

"I mean that you shall hear my lessons. I want you to imagine yourself a college professor and ask me questions on what you have just read."

"Do you think I can?"

"You may bungle a little at first, but you'll improve. If you do well, when I get through with you I will try to get you a professor's chair at some college."

"I should like that, if professors get well paid."

"They generally get more than five dollars a week; but that is all that I can afford to pay at present." "I'm only an apprentice," said Herbert smiling, "and am quite satisfied."

Herbert began to question Cameron on what he had been reading. He did not find it altogether easy, partly from want of practice, partly because the subject was one he knew nothing about. But whenever blunders were made Cameron laughed good-naturedly and the young professor joined in the merriment.

"We'll take political economy next," said the student. "You won't find that so dry as logic."

Though political economy is generally studied in the junior or senior year at college, its principles, if familiarly illustrated, are not beyond the comprehension of a boy of fifteen. He found himself reading with interest, and when he came to act the role of professor he acquitted himself more creditably than with logic.

"I think," said Cameron, "I shall recommend you for the chair of political economy."

"I like it much better," said Herbert.

"So do I. Still, logic is important in its way. Tomorrow I must try you on Latin." "I am afraid it won't be much use," said our hero. "I have studied it a little two winters when we had a college student keeping our winter school."

"If you know as much as that you will answer my purpose better than I anticipated. Now we'll take a walk. You shall show me the houses of Wrayburn."

"The houses of Wrayburn are four in number," said Herbert; "the two churches, the town hall, and Squire Leech's house."

"There's another walk which I prefer; I mean to Prospect Pond. Suppose we walk over to it."

"I shall be glad to," said Herbert.

"You are a very accommodating professor. You let me off from study when I feel lazy."



CHAPTER XX

PROSPECT POND

It was a beautiful afternoon and Herbert was satisfied to lay books aside and walk over to Prospect Pond.

This pond was about a mile from the village and probably about a mile and a half in circuit. At the farther end was a small hill crowned with forest trees.

"That would be a fine situation for a house."

"Yes," said Herbert, "but it would be hard to get at."

"Oh, of course a road would have to be built connecting with the highway. Perhaps you will build a house there when you are a rich man."

"Then I shall have to wait a few years," said Herbert.

"You wouldn't be the first poor boy that has grown rich. My own father is rich now, but when he was of your age he was only a poor 'bobbin boy' working at scanty pay in the factory of which he is now owner."

"I should like to be rich for my mother's sake," said Herbert.

"With money one can do a great deal of good, though not all rich men choose to apply their riches worthily. How smooth the water is to-day! Isn't there a boat somewhere that we can use?"

"There's one a few rods from here, but it belongs to James Leech."

"Would it do to take it, do you think?"

"It might do for you but not for me."

"Why not for you?"

"James and I are not very good friends."

"Why not?"

"He looks down upon me because I am poor."

"So he is inclined to put on airs on account of his father's money?"

"I should say he is."

"Let us go and see the boat at any rate."

Herbert led the way through a meadow to a clump of trees, where a small rowboat floated upon the water.

"Does Leech often go out in it?"

"Two or three times a week."

"It is just about large enough for two, though it would easily accommodate one more."

"Yes."

"If I thought your friend would not be round I should be tempted to try it for half an hour."

"I think you might venture."

"Jump in, then, and we'll push out."

Herbert shook his head.

"If the boat belonged to anyone but James Leech I would go; but I don't like him well enough to take any liberty with anything of his."

"Perhaps you are right. Would you mind sitting down and waiting for me twenty minutes or half an hour?"

"Oh, no; it will be pleasant."

"Then here goes."

Cameron jumped into the boat, pushed off and began to row in a style that showed he was accustomed to the exercise. The pond was so small that it was not easy for him to get out of sight.

Herbert sat down, not without a secret longing to be in the boat also; but he did not care to place himself under any obligations to James.

Suddenly he heard a hasty step behind him. Looking up, he saw the owner of the boat close at hand.

James Leech looked for his boat and saw that it was gone. Then his gaze fell upon our hero.

"What have you done with my boat, Carter?" he demanded, peremptorily.

"What makes you ask such a question, Leech?" answered Herbert.

"Why do you call me Leech?" said James, angrily.

"For the same reason you call me Carter, I suppose."

"There's a great difference between us," said James.

"That's true," assented Herbert.

"And you ought to treat me with proper respect."

"I treat you with all the respect you deserve."

"You haven't answered my question," said James.

"What question?"

"Where is my boat?"

"Out on the pond. Look and you will see it."

James looked where Herbert pointed.

"Who is that in that boat?" he demanded, angrily.

"Mr. Cameron."

"Who's he?"

"A boarder at the hotel."

"Is it the young man from Yale College? My father was speaking of him this morning," said James, moderating his tone very considerably.

"Yes."

"Then I don't mind. My father says he is very rich. I suppose I shall be introduced to him soon," said James, complacently.

"If you will wait a few minutes till he comes ashore I will introduce you," said Herbert.

"You! What do you know of him?" sneered James.

"I passed the afternoon with him," said Herbert.

"He must be hard up for company," said James.

"Look here, James Leech," said Herbert his eyes flashing; "I've had enough of that kind of talk. I don't intend to submit to your impudence. When you speak to me keep a civil tongue in your head."

"I never heard such impudence. What do you mean by addressing me in that style?"

"What do I mean? I mean to warn you to be civil."

"Look here, Carter! I'll tell my father and he'll turn you out of house and home," exclaimed James, furiously.

"He hasn't the power, fortunately."

"Hasn't he got a mortgage on your place?"

"Yes; but the interest was paid to-day and no more will be due for six months."

"Where did you get the money to pay the interest?"

"That is no business of yours. It is enough for you to know that it is paid and that your father has no more control over us than we have over him."

James was disappointed. He had expected that the interest would not be paid and that Mrs. Carter and Herbert would be at his father's mercy. It was certainly surprising that they had raised the money.

"Are you waiting here for Mr. Cameron?" asked James.

"Yes."

"I don't think you need to."

"As you don't even know him, I don't think your opinions as to his wishes of much importance."

"I wouldn't thrust myself on him, if I were you."

"Thank you, I don't intend to."

"I suppose you fell in with him by accident. He probably don't know who you are."

"Oh, yes, he does. He knows all about me. I am going to spend to- morrow afternoon with him also," said Herbert, delighting to mystify his companion.

"He won't care to have you call much longer. My aunt has written to my father about him and he will invite Mr. Cameron to call."

"I have no objection but I don't think it will make any difference as I am Mr. Cameron's private secretary." "Private secretary! What do you do?"

"I read to him, as his eyes are poor, and I suppose I shall write for him when he needs it."

"What does he pay you?"

"I don't know as that concerns you particularly. Still, I don't mind telling you. He pays me five dollars a week."

"That's a good deal more than you're worth."

"I think so myself, especially as I only spend the afternoon with him."

James was quite annoyed to find that the boy he disliked was prospering so well. He was about to make another unpleasant remark when Herbert suddenly exclaimed:

"He's turned the boat. Doesn't he row beautifully?"

The same thought sprang up in the minds of both boys: "I wish I could row like that."



CHAPTER XXI

ROWING

The little boat touched its moorings.

"Mr. Cameron," said Herbert, "allow me to introduce to you the owner of the boat, Mr. James Leech."

"Mr. Leech," said Cameron, "I have to apologize for taking your boat without leave. I hope I haven't kept you waiting for it."

If the young collegian had not been the son of a wealthy man, whose social position was higher than his own, James would not so readily have accepted the apology. As it was, he said, graciously: "Oh it's no matter. I'm glad you took the boat. How beautifully you row!"

"Thank you for the compliment. Last year I belonged to the Sophomore crew at Yale."

"I wish I could row as well as you."

"It is a matter of practice. If I can give you any hints I shall be glad to do so."

"Thank you," said James, eagerly. "Would you have time this afternoon?"

"Yes, I have an hour to spare. If you and my friend Herbert will get into the boat and row out a little way, I shall get an idea of your style of rowing."

"I would rather row out alone," said James, haughtily, with a disparaging look at Herbert.

"Unfortunately that won't do as well. You must learn to row with one oar first."

"Then suppose you get into the boat with me."

"That won't do as well. I am much heavier than you. Now you and Herbert are about the same weight."

"Very well, then," said James, and turning to Herbert, he said, ungraciously: "Will you row with me?"

"If you desire it," said Herbert.

"Get in, then."

When they returned Cameron made some criticisms Upon their rowing. They started out again but Herbert profited better by the instructions he had received and the young collegian said so when they returned.

James was far from liking this and when Cameron asked him if he would try another row he answered: "No, I am tired of it."

"If you get tired so soon, I am afraid you will have to strengthen your arms by gymnastic exercises."

"Oh, I am not tired. I don't feel like rowing."

"Then suppose we walk back to the village. Does your way lie with ours?"

"Nearly all the way," said James.

He enjoyed the idea of walking with the collegian, but it was rather a drawback that Herbert was to share that pleasure with him. Still he could not very well suggest that Herbert should leave them.

"Have you seen my father's house?" asked James.

"Perhaps, without knowing whose it was."

"You couldn't help knowing it. It is the best in the village," said James, pompously.

Cameron looked at him curiously.

"If he comes to Yale," he thought, "and puts on these airs, he'll be taken down without ceremony."

"Oh, indeed!" he said aloud, dryly.

"Are you going to stay here long?" asked James.

"I can't say how long. I am here for my health."

"You must come and see us. My father will be very glad to see you. My aunt has written us about you."

"Indeed! May I ask your aunt's name?"

"Her name is Davenport—Mrs. John Davenport. She lives in New Haven."

"Oh, yes, I have met her."

Cameron smiled to himself. The lady referred to was not unlike her brother and nephew, being pompous and presuming—one, indeed, whom he secretly disliked.

"She wants me to prepare for Yale," said James.

"Of course we Yale men are biased, but we think no student can do better than to come to Yale."

"My father wants me to be a professional man—a lawyer."

"A good profession. Do you think you should like it?"

"Yes," said James, complacently. "It's a very genteel profession. Besides, most of our public men are lawyers. I might stand a chance to get into public life."

"Should you like it?"

"Yes, I should like to be a member of Congress. My father has a good deal of influence and I am his only son, so I should have a very good chance; don't you think so?"

"It would seem so," said Cameron, with a quiet smile. "I think you had better come to Yale. You would be improved in many ways."

He referred to the possibility of James having some of the self- conceit taken out of him; but then the squire's son interpreted the remark as a compliment. "Have you ever thought of going to college, Herbert?" asked Cameron, turning to our hero.

"I always thought I should like to go," answered Herbert, "but I never thought there was any chance of it."

James laughed scornfully.

"No, I should think not," he said.

"Why?" asked Cameron, meaning to draw him out.

"He's too poor," said James.

"You, I suppose, have no trouble in that way?"

"My father is the richest man in Wrayburn."

"That is lucky for you," said the collegian.

"I shouldn't like to be as poor as Carter."

"It isn't pleasant or convenient to be poor," said Herbert, quietly. "I don't mean always to be poor."

"You probably will be," said James. "Poor boys don't always stay poor."

"There isn't much chance for you to rise."

"I don't know why," said Herbert.

"Then it seems, Herbert," said Cameron, smiling, "there is not much chance of my welcoming you at Yale."

"I wish there was."

"So you will have to be content with serving as my professor here."

James did not understand this allusion, but privately wondered how Cameron could talk so intimately with a boy in Herbert's low social position.

"I turn off here," he said. "That is our house."

"Is it?" said Cameron, indifferently.

"Your friend seems to have a very vain idea of his high position," said Cameron, when James was out of hearing.

"And a very low idea of mine," added Herbert.

"Does that disturb you?"

"A little. He carries it so far as to be annoying."

"Circumstances may change with you both."

"I hope they may with me," said Herbert. "I don't want James to come down in the world, but I hope to rise."

The next day Cameron was honored by a special call from Squire Leech, who left an invitation for the young collegian to take tea with him the following afternoon. This invitation Cameron accepted.



CHAPTER XXII

ANDREW TEMPLE

About half-past four o'clock one afternoon a tall, dark-complexioned man, wearing a white hat, inscribed his name in the register of the Wrayburn hotel.

"Can you tell here Mr. Leech lives?" he inquired of the landlord.

"He lives about a quarter of a mile from here. I can send some one with you to show you the house."

Just then Herbert came downstairs from Mr. Cameron.

"Herbert," said the landlord, "here is a gentleman wants to go to Squire Leech's. Would you mind showing him the way?"

"I will do so with pleasure," said our hero, politely. "Are you ready to go now, sir?"

"Yes," said the stranger. "Landlord, please assign me a room and have my bag carried up."

"All right, sir."

"Now, my lad, I am ready. It isn't far, is it?"

"About five minutes' walk—that is all, sir."

"I never was in Wrayburn—much going on here?"

"Not much, sir. It is a quiet town."

"Mr. Leech—Squire Leech, I think you call him—was an old schoolmate of mine. We went to the Brandon Academy together. I suppose he is rich, eh?"

"He is the richest man in Wrayburn."

"I am glad to hear it," said the other, in a tone of satisfaction. "What do you think he is worth?"

"Some say a hundred thousand dollars."

"Very good!" commented Andrew Temple, for this was his name in the hotel register—"for the country, I mean. In the city that wouldn't make a rich man."

"Wouldn't it?" asked Herbert, who had supposed a man worth a hundred thousand dollars rich anywhere.

"No, to be sure not. It costs a great deal more to live. Why, I myself am worth something like that; but in New York nobody regards me as rich."

"I should feel rich with ten thousand," said Herbert.

"That would about pay my expenses for a year."

"Squire Leech doesn't spend anywhere near that. I don't believe it costs him two thousand dollars a year."

"Very likely. There's a great deal of difference between the country and the city."

"Is it easy to make money in the city?" asked Herbert.

"Yes, if a man is sharp and has some money to start with. Do you think of going there?"

"I am afraid it would be of no use. I have no money to start with, and I am afraid I am not smart."

"Wait and I may give you a lift. Here's my card."

"Thank you, sir," said Herbert, as he read: "Andrew Temple, No.— Nassau Street, Room 12."

"That's my office; I speculate in stocks."

"Is that a good business?"

"Capital, if you know the ropes. If you ever come to the city, call at my office."

"Thank you, sir. Here is Squire Leech's house."

"I am much obliged to you. Allow me to compensate you for your trouble"; and Mr. Temple thrust his thumb and forefinger into his vest pocket.

"Oh, no, sir, I don't want pay," said Herbert, hurriedly.

Mr. Temple had made the offer as a matter of form and was relieved to find it declined. He said "good-night" graciously and advanced to the front door.

"Is Squire Leech at home?" he inquired of the servant.

"Yes, sir; I believe so. Won't you walk in?"

"Thank you. Please hand your master that card."

Squire Leech did not recall Mr. Temple's name, and greeted him distantly. Not so Mr. Temple. He rose, and shook the squire's passive hand energetically.

"Why, Leech, it seems like old times seeing you again."

"You have the advantage of me," said the squire.

"You don't mean to say you've forgotten Temple—Andrew Temple? Why, we were at the Brandon Academy together."

"I suppose I ought to remember you."

"To be sure you ought. We were very good friends in the old days."

One reason of the squire's distant manner was that Mr. Temple, though a rich man according to his own account, had a somewhat seedy look. The squire was afraid he intended to ask for help on the score of old friendship. It was with a hesitating voice, therefore, that he asked:

"How has the world treated you?"

"I am not rich, to be sure. Probably I am not worth more than a hundred thousand dollars, at the outside; but before five years roll over my head, I see my way clear to half a million."

Squire Leech's manner changed instantaneously.

"I am glad to see you," he said, cordially. "How long have you been in town?"

"Only just arrived. I inquired my way here as soon as I heard that you were living here."

"Are you at the hotel?"

"Yes. I left my luggage there."

"You must come and stop with me. We will talk over old times."

"Thank you; it would be much pleasanter for me, of course. In fact, I came to Wrayburn on account of your being here. I happened to be in the neighborhood, and I said 'I must see Leech at any rate.' So here I am. Fortune has smiled on you, I hope?"

"Yes," said the squire, "I am comfortable."

"The boy that guided me here said that you were the richest man in Wrayburn."

"I believe I am," said the squire, complacently. "I am worth somewhere about the same as you."

"That's fair; it is more for you than for me. It costs me ten thousand dollars a year to live in the city."

"Does it?" inquired Leech.

"I've sometimes thought of going to the country, where my expenses would be much less; but, after all, you can make much more money in the city."

"You think there are opportunities of making money rapidly there?" asked his companion.

"No doubt of it."

"I should like to talk with you on that subject after supper. Now, I will go and tell Mrs. Leech you are here. We will send for your carpetbag after supper."

Squire Leech was a covetous man. He had a passion for money-making and he had availed himself of all the opportunities which the country afforded. He had about as much property as his friend. He began to think he had been plodding along in a very slow, unsatisfactory manner. He would make careful inquiries and perhaps Temple would put him in the way of doubling his money. Upon the whole, therefore, he was very glad to see Mr. Temple, and introduced him to his wife and son as an old schoolmate with whom he had once been very intimate.



CHAPTER XXIII

TEMPLE THE TEMPTER

"This is my son, James, Mr. Temple," said the squire, as the young gentleman came in to supper a little late.

"Indeed! How old are you, James?"

James took in at a glance the visitor's appearance, which did not give the impression of prosperity, and answered, with haughty condescension: "I am almost sixteen."

"I congratulate you, Mr. Leech," said Temple. "I am not blessed with a son. I would gladly give twenty thousand dollars could I have a son of your boy's age."

James pricked up his ears. Temple spoke as if he had the twenty thousand dollars to give. He must be a man of property and so entitled to respect.

"What are you going to do with your boy?"

"I have not decided. Perhaps he may go to college."

"I think I shall be a lawyer," said James.

"A good profession. Some of our New York lawyers make great incomes."

"Do you live in New York?" asked James.

"Yes; that is my residence. You must establish yourself in the city when you are ready to practice."

"That is just what I want to do; I don't want to bury myself in a one- horse country town like this."

"And be a one-horse lawyer," suggested Temple, laughing. "Quite right, my young friend. In the city alone you will find a broad field of action."

"That's just the way I think," said James.

"I needn't say I would do all in my power to push you, and I flatter myself I have some influence."

"You are very kind, Mr. Temple," said Mrs. Leech; "but I hoped that James could still continue to live with us."

"You can't expect me to live at home all my life," said James, impatiently.

"Perhaps your husband may be persuaded himself to remove to the city," said Temple. "I really think he stands in his own light in staying in a small place like this."

"Just so," said James, who would have liked nothing better than to live in New York. "There is no society here. I have no boys to associate with in my own position. Why won't you move to New York, father?"

"That requires consideration," said Squire Leech.

"I should like to talk with you on that subject after supper," said Temple. "Mrs. Leech, may I ask for another cup of tea?"

When supper was over Squire Leech led the way into the sitting room, and his guest followed. The vista of future wealth which his visitor had opened to him had not been without its effect and he began to make inquiries.

"I suppose," he said, "there are ways of investing money to good advantage in New York?"

"Most certainly—many ways."

"Real estate?"

"That may do, but it is too slow for me. I owned a house uptown. I sold for thirty thousand dollars. In six weeks I made twenty thousand more out of it."

"Is it possible?" ejaculated the squire. "Twenty thousand, did you say?"

"To be sure. Of course that was extra good luck. You can't expect to do as well often, but there are always ways of turning over capital."

"May I ask in what way you made this large sum?"

"To be sure. I speculated in Erie. It is all the time fluctuating. I became convinced that it was on the rise. I went in and the event justified my action."

Temple spoke quietly, as if it were no great matter, after all. His host was very much impressed, and felt like a man who has discovered a gold mine. He had succeeded in saving up about two thousand dollars a year for some years; but what was that to twenty thousand dollars made in six weeks? Still, prudence led him to suggest: "But isn't there danger of losing heavily?"

"Not if you are acquainted with the stock market. It is the ignoramuses that get bit."

"I know very little of the stock market myself," confessed Squire Leech. "I own some bank stocks."

"No money to be made in bank stocks."

"They pay good dividends."

"No doubt; but there is little or no variation in value. It's fluctuation that gives a man a chance."

"I should be as likely to lose as gain, knowing as little as I do of the market."

"True; but I should be happy to place my knowledge at your disposal. As an old friend and schoolmate I naturally feel interested in your prosperity."

"You are very kind," said the squire; "but wouldn't it be too much trouble?"

"Not at all. In fact, it's my business, and wouldn't inconvenience me in the least. By the way, how is your property invested?" asked Temple, carelessly.

"Mostly in real estate."

"It must pay you very little."

"That is true. After deducting taxes and repairs, there is very little left."

"So I supposed. It would pay you to mortgage your property, or sell it, and use the money in Wall Street."

"I have about twenty thousand dollars in bank stock."

"That could readily be sold."

"What investments would you suggest?"

"I couldn't tell you on the moment; but I think favorably of a mining stock lately put on the market. I have private advices that it is likely to develop extraordinary richness and the stock may even treble in three months."

"Where is the mine?" asked the squire, eagerly.

"Out in Nevada. A friend of mine has just returned from there and he has given me strictly confidential information in regard to it. He has so much faith in it that he has bought fifteen thousand dollars' worth of shares."

"Could I get any?" asked Squire Leech.

"I think you could if you go to work quietly. If you went into the market openly, they would suspect something and raise the price on you."

"Yes, I see. Do you think that is better than Erie?"

"At present, nothing is to be made in Erie. It is likely to go down before it goes up. The time may come when you can buy to advantage but not now."

"I have a great mind to go up to the city with you, and investigate the matter," said the squire.

"Do so, by all means. I shall be delighted, and will cheerfully render you all the assistance in my power. But, my friend, let me give you one piece of advice."

"What is that?"

"Say as little as possible to your wife on the subject. Women don't understand business. They are frightened at risks and don't understand speculation."

"I think you are correct," said his host. "Men must judge for themselves. It is a weak man who would be guided by his wife."

"So I say. Why, my wife happened to learn that I had gone into Erie on the occasion I mentioned. She remonstrated in great alarm; but when I announced that I had cleared twenty thousand dollars, she had no more to say."

The next day they went to New York together and within a week the squire had bought largely in the Nevada mine. He subscribed to a financial paper, and was fully embarked on the dangerous sea of speculation.



CHAPTER XXIV

JAMES IS SNUBBED

In accordance with the invitation, Cameron walked to supper with Squire Leech. His social position as the son of a rich manufacturer insured him a cordial welcome and great attention from the whole family.

"You must find our village very dull, Mr. Cameron," said his host.

"Oh, no, sir; I think I shall enjoy it very well."

"We have very little good society, I am sorry to say."

"That's so, father," broke in James. "I wish you would move to the city."

"That may come some day," said his father, thinking of Mr. Temple and his operations.

"How do you occupy your time, Mr. Cameron?" asked Mrs. Leech.

"I walk about in the forenoon. In the afternoon I am occupied with my professor," answered the young man.

"Your professor!" repeated the lady, in surprise. "Is one of your college professors staying here?"

"No; they are too busy to leave New Haven. I refer to my young reader, Herbert Carter."

"Herbert Carter!" repeated James, scornfully.

"Yes," said Cameron, ignoring the scorn; "he reads my lessons to me and then questions me upon them. That is why I call him my professor."

"I should hardly think you would find him competent," said the squire.

"He don't know much," said James, contemptuously.

"On the contrary, I find him very intelligent. He reads clearly and distinctly, and I congratulate myself on obtaining so satisfactory an assistant."

Squire Leech shrugged his shoulders and had too much wisdom to continue detracting from Herbert's merits, seeing that his guest seemed determined to think well of him. Not so James.

"He is from a low family," he said, spitefully.

"Low?" interrogated Cameron, significantly.

"His mother is very poor."

"That's a very different thing," observed Cameron.

"Mrs. Carter is a very respectable person," said the squire, condescendingly. "Indeed, I have offered to relieve her by taking her house at a high valuation; but, under a mistaken idea of her own interest, she refuses to sell."

"But you'll get it finally, father," asked James.

"I shall probably have to take it in the end, as I have a mortgage on it for nearly its value."

Cameron looked down upon his plate and said nothing.

"My son will be happy to accompany you about the neighborhood, Mr. Cameron," said Squire Leech.

"I can go round with you 'most any time," said James.

"Thank you both. You are very kind," said Cameron, politely, but without expressing any pleasure.

"I think I may send James to Yale," observed his host, "I have a high idea of your college, Mr. Cameron."

"Thank you. I think your son could hardly fail of deriving benefit from a residence at Yale."

"James is my only child and I intend him to enjoy the greatest educational advantages. I should like to have him become a professional man."

"I should like to be a lawyer; that's a very gentlemanly profession," said James.

"You might rise to be a judge," said Cameron, with a smile.

"Very likely," said James, in a matter-of-course way, that amused the young man exceedingly.

"What an odious young cub!" he said to himself, as he wended his way back to the hotel at ten o'clock. "I never met such a combination of pride and self-conceit."

James thought Cameron had taken a fancy to him.

"He must get awfully tired of that low-bred Herbert Carter," he said to himself. "I guess I'll go round tomorrow morning and take a walk with him."

He met Cameron on the steps of the hotel.

"I thought I'd come and walk with you," he said.

"Very well," said Cameron. "Do you know the way to Mr. Crane's?"

"The carpenter's?"

"Yes."

"There's nothing to see there," said James.

"I beg your pardon. I want to see Herbert at his work."

"Oh, well, I'll show you the way," said James.

Herbert was hard at work when the two came up.

"How are you, professor?" asked Cameron.

"Very well, Mr. Cameron. How are you, James?"

"I'm well enough," answered James, who always found it hard to be decently civil to our hero. "Don't you get tired working?"

"I haven't worked long enough this morning for that. I dare say I shall be tired before noon."

"Then your other work will begin," said Cameron.

"That kind of work will be a rest to me, it's so different."

"If you had an extra hoe I would help you a little. It would be as good as exercise in the gymnasium."

"Perhaps I could borrow two and so employ both of you," remarked Herbert, with a glance at James, who was sprucely dressed and wore a flower in his buttonhole.

"None for me, thank you," said James, with a look of disgust. "I don't intend to become a laborer."

"You'll have to labor if you study law," said Cameron.

"That's genteel; besides I don't call it labor. Shall we go on, Mr. Cameron?"

"Not just yet. I want to watch Herbert a little longer."

So he lingered, much to the dissatisfaction of James.

"Won't you go out rowing?" he asked, when they were walking away.

"I have no objection," said Cameron; and they spent an hour on the pond.

"Do you think I can get into the crew if I go to Yale?" asked James, complacently.

"I should say not, unless you improve in rowing."

"Don't I row well?"

"There is considerable room for improvement. However, you have time enough for that."

They were cruising near the shore when a boy of ten came down to the bank and called out to them.

"James," he said, "will you let me go across in the boat with you?"

"Why should I?" demanded James, not very amicably, for the boy belonged to what he termed the lower classes.

"Do let me," urged the boy. "I left mother very sick and went for the doctor. She was all alone and I want to get back as soon as I can."

By the road the boy would have to walk about a mile and a quarter, while he could be rowed across the pond in six or seven minutes.

"I can't take anybody and everybody in my boat," said James, disagreeably. "Go ahead and walk."

"How can you refuse the boy, when he wants to get home to his sick mother?" said Cameron, indignantly. "Jump in, my boy, and we'll take you over."

"I don't know about that," said James, sullenly.

"Look here!" said Cameron, shortly. "Refuse this boy and I shall get out of the boat immediately and refuse hereafter to be seen in your company."

James was disagreeably surprised.

"Jump in, my boy," said Cameron, kindly.

"Thank you, sir," said the boy, gratefully. James was not a little mortified at the snubbing he had received, but he did not venture to expostulate.

Cameron was fond of boating, but did not care to be indebted to James for the loan of his boat.

"I'll have a boat sent on to me," he secretly determined, "and when I leave Wrayburn I'll give it to Herbert."



CHAPTER XXV

THE NEW BOAT

Herbert worked steadily every forenoon on his farm. Cameron then proposed that they should take the forenoon for their studies and walk out or exercise in some other way in the afternoon.

One afternoon Cameron said: "Let us take a walk to Prospect Pond; I think I should enjoy a little rowing."

"I will accompany you with pleasure, Mr. Cameron," said Herbert, "but don't ask me to go out in the boat with you."

Previous Part     1  2  3     Next Part
Home - Random Browse