Part 4 out of 5
think me a snob, and done with it."
"But I don't," said Harry, smiling.
"Then don't make any more ridiculous objections. Don't you think
they are ridiculous, Mr. Ferguson?"
"They wouldn't be in some places," said Ferguson, "but here I think
they are out of place. I feel sure you are right, and that you value
Harry more than the clothes he wears."
"Well, Harry, do you surrender at discretion?" said Oscar. "You see
Ferguson is on my side."
"I suppose I shall have to," said Harry, "as long as you are not
ashamed of me."
"None of that, Harry."
"The first sensible words you've spoken this morning."
"I want to tell you how much I appreciate your kindness, Oscar," said
"Why shouldn't I be kind to my friend?"
"Even if he was once a printer's devil."
"Very true. It is a great objection, but still I will overlook it.
By the way, there is one inducement I didn't mention."
"What is that?"
"We may very likely see Fitz in the city. He is studying at home
now, I hear. Who knows but he may get up a great party in your
"Do you think it likely?" asked Harry, smiling.
"It might not happen to occur to him, I admit. Still, if we made him
a ceremonious call--"
"I am afraid he might send word that he was not at home."
"That would be a loss to him, no doubt. However, we will leave time
to settle that question. Be sure to be on hand in time for the
"All right, Oscar."
Harry had all the love of new scenes natural to a boy of sixteen. He
had heard so much of Boston that he felt a strong curiosity to see
it. Besides, was not that the city where the "Weekly Standard" was
printed, the paper in which he had already appeared as an author? In
connection with this, I must here divulge a secret of Harry's. He
was ambitious not only to contribute to the literary papers, but to
be paid for his contributions. He judged that essays were not very
marketable, and he had therefore in his leisure moments written a
humorous sketch, entitled "The Tin Pedler's Daughter." I shall not
give any idea of the plot here; I will only say that it was really
humorous, and did not betray as much of the novice as might have been
expected. Harry had copied it out in his best hand, and resolved to
carry it to Boston, and offer it in person to the editor of the
"Standard" with an effort, if accepted, to obtain compensation for it.
THE VINCENTS AT HOME.
When Harry rather bashfully imparted to Oscar his plans respecting
the manuscript, the latter entered enthusiastically into them, and at
once requested the privilege of reading the story. Harry awaited his
judgment with some anxiety.
"Why, Harry, this is capital," said Oscar, looking up from the
"Do you really think so, Oscar?"
"If I didn't think so, I wouldn't say so."
"I thought you might say so out of friendship."
"I don't say it is the best I ever read, mind you, but I have read a
good many that are worse. I think you managed the _denouement_
(you're a French scholar, so I'll venture on the word) admirably."
"I only hope the editor of the 'Standard' will think so."
"If he doesn't, there are other papers in Boston; the 'Argus' for
"I'll try the 'Standard' first, because I have already written for
"All right. Don't you want me to go to the office with you?"
"I wish you would. I shall be bashful."
"I am not troubled that way. Besides, my father's name is well
known, and I'll take care to mention it. Sometimes influence goes
farther than merit, you know."
"I should like to increase my income by writing for the city papers.
Even if I only made fifty dollars a year, it would all be clear gain."
Harry's desire was natural. He had no idea how many shared it.
Every editor of a successful weekly could give information on this
subject. Certainly there is no dearth of aspiring young
writers--Scotts and Shakspeares in embryo--in our country, and if all
that were written for publication succeeded in getting into print,
the world would scarcely contain the books and papers which would
pour in uncounted thousands from the groaning press.
When the two boys arrived in Boston they took a carriage to Oscar's
house. It was situated on Beacon Street, not far from the Common,--a
handsome brick house with a swell front, such as they used to build
in Boston. No one of the family was in, and Oscar and Harry went up
at once to the room of the former, which they were to share together.
It was luxuriously furnished, so Harry thought, but then our hero had
been always accustomed to the plainness of a country home.
"Now, old fellow, make yourself at home," said Oscar. "You can get
yourself up for dinner. There's water and towels, and a brush."
"I don't expect to look very magnificent," said Harry. "You must
tell your mother I am from the country."
"I would make you an offer if I dared," said Oscar.
"I am always open to a good offer."
"It's this: I'm one size larger than you, and my last year's suits
are in that wardrobe. If any will fit you, they are yours."
"Thank you, Oscar," said Harry; "I'll accept your offer to-morrow."
"Why not to-day?"
"You may not understand me, but when I first appear before your
family, I don't want to wear false colors."
"I understand," said Oscar, with instinctive delicacy.
An hour later, the bell rang for dinner.
Harry went down, and was introduced to his friend's mother and
sister. The former was a true lady, refined and kindly, and her
smile made our hero feel quite at home.
"I am glad to meet you, Mr. Walton," she said. "Oscar has spoken of
With Oscar's sister Maud--a beautiful girl two years younger than
himself--Harry felt a little more bashful; but the young lady soon
entered into an animated conversation with him.
"Do you often come to Boston, Mr. Walton?" she asked.
"This is my first visit," said Harry.
"Then I dare say Oscar will play all sorts of tricks upon you. We
had a cousin visit us from the country, and the poor fellow had a
"Yes," said Oscar, laughing, "I used to leave him at a street corner,
and dodge into a doorway. It was amusing to see his perplexity when
he looked about, and couldn't find me."
"Shall you try that on me?" asked Harry.
"Then I'll be prepared."
"You might tie him with a rope, Mr. Walton," said Maud, "and keep
"I will, if Oscar consents."
"I will see about it. But here is my father. Father, this is my
friend, Harry Walton."
"I am glad to see you, Mr. Walton," said Mr. Vincent. "Then you
belong to my profession?"
"I hope to, some time, sir; but I am only a printer as yet."
"You are yet to rise from the ranks. I know all about that. I was
once a compositor."
Harry looked at the editor with great respect. He was stout,
squarely built, with a massive head and a thoughtful expression. His
appearance was up to Harry's anticipations. He felt that he would be
prouder to be Mr. Vincent than any man in Boston, He could hardly
believe that this man, who controlled so influential an organ, and
was so honored in the community, was once a printer boy like himself.
"What paper are you connected with?" asked Mr. Vincent.
"The 'Centreville Gazette.'"
"I have seen it. It is quite a respectable paper."
"But how different," thought Harry, "from a great city daily!"
"Let us go out to dinner," said Mr. Vincent, consulting his watch.
"I have an engagement immediately afterward."
At table Harry sat between Maud and Oscar. If at first he felt a
little bashful, the feeling soon wore away. The dinner hour passed
very pleasantly. Mr. Vincent chatted very agreeably about men and
things. There is no one better qualified to shine in this kind of
conversation than the editor of a city daily, who is compelled to be
exceptionally well informed. Harry listened with such interest that
he almost forgot to eat, till Oscar charged him with want of appetite.
"I must leave in haste," said Mr. Vincent, when dinner was over.
"Oscar, I take it for granted that you will take care of your friend."
"Certainly, father. I shall look upon myself as his guardian,
adviser and friend."
"You are not very well fitted to be a mentor, Oscar," said Maud.
"Why not, young lady?"
"You need a guardian yourself. You are young and frivolous."
"And you, I suppose, are old and judicious."
"Thank you. I will own to the last, and the first will come in time."
"Isn't it singular, Harry, that my sister should have so much
conceit, whereas I am remarkably modest?"
"I never discovered it, Oscar," said Harry, smiling.
"That is right, Mr. Walton," said Maud. "I see you are on my side.
Look after my brother, Mr. Walton. He needs an experienced friend."
"I am afraid I don't answer the description, Miss Maud."
"I don't doubt you will prove competent. I wish you a pleasant walk."
"My sister's a jolly girl, don't you think so?" asked Oscar, as Maud
left the room.
"That isn't exactly what I should say of her, but I can describe her
as even more attractive than her brother."
"You couldn't pay her a higher compliment. But come; we'll take a
walk on the Common."
They were soon on the Common, dear to every Bostonian, and sauntered
along the walks, under the pleasant shade of the stately elms.
"Look there," said Oscar, suddenly; "isn't that Fitz Fletcher?"
"Yes," said Harry, "but he doesn't see us."
"We'll join him. How are you, Fitz?"
"Glad to see you, Oscar," said Fletcher, extending a gloved band,
while in the other he tossed a light cane. "When did you arrive?"
"Only this morning; but you don't see Harry Walton."
Fletcher arched his brows in surprise, and said coldly, "Indeed, I
was not aware Mr. Walton was in the city."
"He is visiting me," said Oscar.
Fletcher looked surprised. He knew the Vincents stood high socially,
and it seemed extraordinary that they should receive a printer's
devil as a guest.
"Have you given up the printing business?" he asked superciliously.
"No; I only have a little vacation from it."
"Ah, indeed! It's a very dirty business. I would as soon be a
"Each to his taste, Fitz," said Oscar. "If you have a taste for
chimneys, I hope your father won't interfere."
"I haven't a taste for such a low business," said Fletcher,
haughtily. "I should like it as well as being a printer's devil
"Would you? At any rate, if you take it up, you'll be sure to be
Fletcher did not laugh at the joke. He never could see any wit in
jokes directed at himself.
"How long are you going to stay at that beastly school?" he asked.
"I am not staying at any beastly school."
"I mean the Academy."
"Till I am ready for college. Where are you studying?"
"I recite to a private tutor."
"Well, we shall meet at 'Harvard' if we are lucky enough to get in."
Fletcher rather hoped Oscar would invite him to call at his house,
for he liked to visit a family of high social position; but he waited
"What a fool Oscar makes of himself about that country clod-hopper!"
thought the stylish young man, as he walked away. "The idea of
associating with a printer's devil! I hope I know what is due to
THE OFFICE OF THE "STANDARD."
On the day after Thanksgiving, Harry brought out from his carpet-bag
his manuscript story, and started with Oscar for the office of the
"Weekly Standard." He bought the last copy of the paper, and thus
ascertained the location of the office.
Oscar turned the last page, and ran through a sketch of about the
same length as Harry's.
"Yours is fully as good as this, Harry," he said.
"The editor may not think so."
"Then he ought to."
"This story is by one of his regular contributors, Kenella Kent."
"You'll have to take a name yourself,--a _nom de plume_, I mean."
"I have written so far over the name of Franklin."
"That will do very well for essays, but is not appropriate for
"Suppose you suggest a name, Oscar."
"How will 'Fitz Fletcher' do?"
"Mr. Fletcher would not permit me to take such a liberty."
"And you wouldn't want to take it."
"Let me see. I suppose I must task my invention, then. How will Old
"People would think you wrote the story."
"A fair hit. Hold on, I've got just the name. Frank Lynn."
"I thought you objected to that name."
"You don't understand me. I mean two names, not one. Frank Lynn!
Don't you see?"
"Yes, it's a good plan. I'll adopt it."
"Who knows but you may make the name illustrious, Harry?"
"If I do, I'll dedicate my first boot to Oscar Vincent."
"Shake hands on that. I accept the dedication with mingled feelings
of gratitude and pleasure."
"Better wait till you get it," said Harry, laughing. "Don't count
your chickens before they're hatched."
"The first egg is laid, and that's something. But here we are at the
It was a building containing a large number of offices. The names of
the respective occupants were printed on slips of black tin at the
entrance. From this, Harry found that the office of the "Weekly
Standard" was located at No. 6.
"My heart begins to beat, Oscar," said Harry, naturally excited in
anticipation of an interview with one who could open the gates of
authorship to him.
"Does it?" asked Oscar. "Mine has been beating for a number of
"You are too matter-of-fact for me, Oscar. If it was your own story,
you might feel differently."
"Shall I pass it off as my own, and make the negotiation?"
Harry was half tempted to say yes, but it occurred to him that this
might prove an embarrassment in the future, and he declined the
They climbed rather a dark, and not very elegant staircase, and found
themselves before No. 6.
Harry knocked, or was about to do so, when a young lady with long
ringlets, and a roll of manuscript in her hand, who had followed them
upstairs advanced confidently, and, opening the door, went in. The
two boys followed, thinking the ceremony of knocking needless.
They found themselves in a large room, one corner of which was
partitioned off for the editor's sanctum. A middle-aged man was
directing papers in the larger room, while piles of papers were
ranged on shelves at the sides of the apartment.
The two boys hesitated to advance, but the young lady in ringlets
went on, and entered the office through the open door.
"We'll wait till she is through," said Harry.
It was easy to hear the conversation that passed between the young
lady and the editor, whom they could not see.
"Good-morning, Mr. Houghton," she said.
"Good-morning. Take a seat, please," said the editor, pleasantly.
"Are you one of our contributors?"
"No, sir, not yet," answered the young lady, "but I would become so."
"We are not engaging any new contributors at present, but still if
you have brought anything for examination you may leave it."
"I am not wholly unknown to fame," said the young lady, with an air
of consequence. "You have probably heard of Prunella Prune."
"Possibly, but I don't at present recall it. We editors meet with so
many names, you know. What is the character of your articles?"
"I am a poetess, sir, and I also write stories."
"Poetry is a drug in the market. We have twice as much offered us as
we can accept. Still we are always glad to welcome really
"I trust my humble efforts will please you," said Prunella. "I have
here some lines to a nightingale, which have been very much praised
in our village. Shall I read them?"
"If you wish," said the editor, by no means cheerfully.
Miss Prune raised her voice, and commenced:--
"O star-eyed Nightingale,
How nobly thou dost sail
Through the air!
No other bird can compare
With the tuneful song
Which to thee doth belong.
I sit and hear thee sing,
While with tireless wing
Thou dost fly.
And it makes me feel so sad,
It makes me feel so bad,
I know not why,
And I heave so many sighs,
O warbler of the skies!"
"Is there much more?" asked the editor.
"That is the first verse. There are fifteen more," said Prunella.
"Then I think I shall not have time at present to hear you read it
all. You may leave it, and I will look it over at my leisure."
"If it suits you," said Prunella, "how much will it be worth?"
"I don't understand."
"How much would you be willing to pay for it?"
"Oh, we never pay for poems," said Mr. Houghton.
"Why not?" asked Miss Prune, evidently disappointed.
"Our contributors are kind enough to send them gratuitously."
"Is that fostering American talent?" demanded Prunella, indignantly.
"American poetical talent doesn't require fostering, judging from the
loads of poems which are sent in to us."
"You pay for stories, I presume?"
"Yes, we pay for good, popular stories."
"I have one here," said Prunella, untying her manuscript, "which I
should like to read to you."
"You may read the first paragraph, if you please. I haven't time to
hear more. What is the title?"
"'The Bandit's Bride.' This is the way it opens:--
"'The night was tempestuous. Lightnings flashed in the cerulean sky,
and the deep-voiced thunder rolled from one end of the firmament to
the other. It was a landscape in Spain. From a rocky defile gayly
pranced forth a masked cavalier, Roderigo di Lima, a famous bandit
"'"Ha! ha!" he laughed in demoniac glee, "the night is well fitted to
my purpose. Ere it passes, Isabella Gomez shall be mine."'"
"I think that will do," said Mr. Houghton, hastily. "I am afraid
that style won't suit our readers."
"Why not?" demanded Prunella, sharply. "I can assure you, sir, that
it has been praised by _excellent_ judges in our village."
"It is too exciting for our readers. You had better carry it to 'The
"Do they pay well for contributions?"
"I really can't say. How much do you expect?"
"This story will make about five columns. I think twenty-five
dollars will be about right."
"I am afraid you will be disappointed. We can't afford to pay such
prices, and the 'Corsair' has a smaller circulation than our paper."
"How much do you pay?"
"Two dollars a column."
"I expected more," said Prunella, "but I will write for you at that
"Send us something suited to our paper, and we will pay for it at
"I will write you a story to-morrow. Good-morning, sir."
"Good-morning, Miss Prune."
The young lady with ringlets sailed out of the editor's room, and
Oscar, nudging Harry, said, "Now it is our turn. Come along. Follow
me, and don't be frightened."
The editor of the "Standard" looked with some surprise at the two
boys. As editor, he was not accustomed to receive such young
visitors. He was courteous, however, and said, pleasantly:--
"What can I do for you, young gentlemen?"
"Are you the editor of the 'Standard'?" asked Harry, diffidently.
"I am. Do you wish to subscribe?"
"I have already written something for your paper," Harry continued.
"Indeed!" said the editor. "Was it poetry or prose?"
Harry felt flattered by the question. To be mistaken for a poet he
felt to be very complimentary. If he had known how much trash weekly
found its way to the "Standard" office, under the guise of poetry, he
would have felt less flattered.
"I have written some essays over the name of 'Franklin,'" he hastened
"Ah, yes, I remember, and very sensible essays too. You are young to
"Yes, sir; I hope to improve as I grow older."
By this time Oscar felt impelled to speak for his friend. It seemed
to him that Harry was too modest.
"My friend is assistant editor of a New Hampshire paper,--'The
Centreville Gazette,'" he announced.
"Indeed!" said the editor, looking surprised. "He is certainly young
for an editor."
"My friend is not quite right," said Harry, hastily. "I am one of
the compositors on that paper."
"But you write editorial paragraphs," said Oscar.
"Yes, unimportant ones."
"And are you, too, an editor?" asked the editor of the "Standard,"
addressing Oscar with a smile.
"Not exactly," said Oscar; "but I am an editor's son. Perhaps you
are acquainted with my father,--John Vincent of this city."
"Are you his son?" said the editor, respectfully. "I know your
father slightly. He is one of our ablest journalists."
"Thank you, sir."
"I am very glad to receive a visit from you, and should be glad to
print anything from your pen."
"I am not sure about that," said Oscar, smiling. "If I have a talent
for writing, it hasn't developed itself yet. But my friend here
takes to it as naturally as a duck takes to water."
"Have you brought me another essay, Mr. 'Franklin'?" asked the
editor, turning to Harry. "I address you by your _nom de plume_, not
knowing your real name."
"Permit me to introduce my friend, Harry Walton," said Oscar.
"Harry, where is your story?"
"I have brought you in a story," said Harry, blushing. "It is my
first attempt, and may not suit you, but I shall be glad if you will
take the trouble to examine it."
"With pleasure," said the editor. "Is it long?"
"About two columns. It is of a humorous character."
The editor reached out his hand, and, taking the manuscript, unrolled
it. He read the first few lines, and they seemed to strike his
"If you will amuse yourselves for a few minutes, I will read it at
once," he said. "I don't often do it, but I will break over my
custom this time."
"Thank you, sir," said Harry.
"There are some of my exchanges," said the editor, pointing to a pile
on the floor. "You may find something to interest you in some of
They picked up some papers, and began to read. But Harry could not
help thinking of the verdict that was to be pronounced on his
manuscript. Upon that a great deal hinged. If he could feel that he
was able to produce anything that would command compensation, however
small, it would make him proud and happy. He tried, as he gazed
furtively over his paper at the editor's face, to anticipate his
decision, but the latter was too much accustomed to reading
manuscript to show the impression made upon him.
Fifteen minutes passed, and he looked up.
"Well, Mr. Walton," he said, "your first attempt is a success."
Harry's face brightened.
"May I ask if the plot is original?"
"It is so far as I know, sir. I don't think I ever read anything
"Of course there are some faults in the construction, and the
dialogue might be amended here and there. But it is very creditable,
and I will use it in the 'Standard' if you desire it."
"I do, sir."
"And how much are you willing to pay for it?" Oscar struck in.
The editor hesitated.
"It is not our custom to pay novices just at first," he said. "If
Mr. Walton keeps on writing, he would soon command compensation."
Harry would not have dared to press the matter, but Oscar was not so
diffident. Indeed, it is easier to be bold in a friend's cause than
"Don't you think it is worth being paid for, if it is worth
printing?" he persisted.
"Upon that principle, we should feel obliged to pay for poetry," said
"Oh," said Oscar, "poets don't need money. They live on flowers and
The editor smiled.
"You think prose-writers require something more substantial?"
"I will tell you how the matter stands," said the editor. "Mr.
Walton is a beginner. He has his reputation to make. When it is
made he will be worth a fair price to me, or any of my brother
"I see," said Oscar; "but his story must be worth something. It will
fill up two columns. If you didn't print it, you would have to pay
somebody for writing these two columns."
"You have some reason in what you say. Still our ordinary rule is
based on justice. A distinction should be made between new
contributors and old favorites."
"Yes, sir. Pay the first smaller sums."
If the speaker had not been John Vincent's son, it would have been
doubtful if his reasoning would have prevailed. As it was, the
"I may break over my rule in the case of your friend," said the
editor; "but he must be satisfied with a very small sum for the
"Anything will satisfy me, sir," said Harry, eagerly.
"Your story will fill two columns. I commonly pay two dollars a
column for such articles, if by practised writers. I will give you
"Thank you, sir. I accept it," said Harry, promptly.
"In a year or so I may see my way clear to paying you more, Mr.
Walton; but you must consider that I give you the opportunity of
winning popularity, and regard this as part of your compensation, at
"I am quite satisfied, sir," said Harry, his heart fluttering with
joy and triumph. "May I write you some more sketches?"
"I shall be happy to receive and examine them; but you must not be
disappointed if from time to time I reject your manuscripts."
"No, sir; I will take it as a hint that they need improving."
"I will revise my friend's stories, sir," said Oscar, humorously,
"and give him such hints as my knowledge of the world may suggest."
"No doubt such suggestions from so mature a friend will materially
benefit them," said the editor, smiling.
He opened his pocket-book, and, drawing out a two-dollar bill, handed
it to Harry.
"I shall hope to pay you often," he said, "for similar contributions."
"Thank you, sir," said Harry.
Feeling that their business was at an end, the boys withdrew. As
they reached the foot of the stairs, Oscar took off his cap, and
"Mr. Lynn, I congratulate you," he said.
"I can't tell you how glad I feel, Oscar," said Harry, his face
"Let me suggest that you owe me a commission for impressing upon the
editor the propriety of paying you."
"How much do you ask?"
"An ice-cream will be satisfactory."
"Come round to Copeland's then. We'll celebrate your success in a
MRS. CLINTON'S PARTY.
When Oscar and Harry reached home they were met by Maud, who
flourished in her hand what appeared to be a note.
"What is it, Maud?" asked Oscar. "A love-letter for me?"
"Don't flatter yourself, Oscar. No girl would be so foolish as to
write you a love-letter. It is an invitation to a party on Saturday
"At Mrs. Clinton's."
"I think I will decline," said Oscar. "I wouldn't like to leave
"Oh, he is included too. Mrs. Clinton heard of his being here, and
expressly included him in the invitation."
"That alters the case. You'll go, Harry, won't you?"
"I am afraid I shouldn't know how to behave at a fashionable party,"
"Oh, you've only got to make me your model," said Oscar, "and you'll
be all right."
"Did you ever see such conceit, Mr. Walton?" said Maud.
"It reminds me of Fletcher," said Harry.
"Fitz Fletcher? By the way, he will probably be there. His family
are acquainted with the Clintons."
"Yes, he is invited," said Maud.
"Good! Then there's promise of fun," said Oscar. "You'll see Fitz
with his best company manners on."
"I am afraid he won't enjoy meeting me there," said Harry.
"I don't see why," said Maud.
"Shall I tell, Harry?"
"To begin with, Fletcher regards himself as infinitely superior to
Walton here, because his father is rich, and Walton's poor. Again,
Harry is a printer, and works for a living, which Fitz considers
degrading. Besides all this, Harry was elected President of our
Debating Society,--an office which Fitz wanted."
"I hope" said Maud, "that Mr. Fletcher's dislike does not affect your
peace of mind, Mr. Walton."
"Not materially," said Harry, laughing.
"By the way, Maud," said Oscar, "did I ever tell you how Fletcher's
pride was mortified at school by our discovering his relationship to
"No, tell me about it."
The story, already familiar to the reader, was graphically told by
Oscar, and served to amuse his sister.
"He deserved the mortification," she said. "I shall remember it if
he shows any of his arrogance at the party."
"Fletcher rather admires Maud," said Oscar, after his sister had gone
out of the room; "but the favor isn't reciprocated. If he undertakes
to say anything to her against you, she will take him down, depend
Saturday evening came, and Harry, with Oscar and his sister, started
for the party. Our hero, having confessed his inability to dance,
had been diligently instructed in the Lancers by Oscar, so that he
felt some confidence in being able to get through without any serious
"Of course you must dance, Harry," he said. "You don't want to be a
"I may have to be," said Harry. "I shall know none of the young
ladies except your sister."
"Maud will dance the first Lancers with you, and I will get you a
partner for the second."
"You may dispose of me as you like, Oscar."
"Wisely said. Don't forget that I am your Mentor."
When they entered the brilliantly lighted parlors, they were already
half full. Oscar introduced his friend to Mrs. Clinton.
"I am glad to see you here, Mr. Walton," said the hostess,
graciously. "Oscar, I depend upon you to introduce your friend to
some of the young ladies."
"You forget my diffidence, Mrs. Clinton."
"I didn't know you were troubled in that way.'"
"See how I am misjudged. I am painfully bashful."
"You hide it well," said the hostess, with a smile.
"Escort my sister to a seat, Harry," said Oscar. "By the way, you
two will dance in the first Lancers."
"If Miss Maud will accept so awkward a partner," said Harry.
"Oh, yes, Mr. Walton. I'll give you a hint if you are going wrong."
Five minutes later Fletcher touched Oscar on the shoulder.
"Oscar, where is your sister?" he asked.
"There," said Oscar, pointing her out.
Fletcher, who was rather near-sighted, did not at first notice that
Harry Walton was sitting beside the young lady.
He advanced, and made a magnificent bow, on which he rather prided
"Good-evening, Miss Vincent," he said.
"Good-evening, Mr. Fletcher."
"I am very glad you have favored the party with your presence."
"Thank you, Mr. Fletcher. Don't turn my head with your compliments."
"May I hope you will favor me with your hand in the first Lancers?"
"I am sorry, Mr. Fletcher, but I am engaged to Mr. Walton. I believe
you are acquainted with him."
Fletcher for the first time observed our hero, and his face wore a
look of mingled annoyance and scorn.
"I have met the gentleman," he said, haughtily.
"Mr. Fletcher and I have met frequently," said Harry, pleasantly.
"I didn't expect to meet you _here_," said Fletcher with marked
"Probably not," said Harry. "My invitation is due to my being a
friend of Oscar's."
"I was not aware that you danced," said Fletcher who was rather
curious on the subject.
"Where did you learn--in the printing office?"
"No, in the city."
Fletcher thought he had wasted time enough on our hero, and turned
again to Maud.
"May I have the pleasure of your hand in the second dance?" he asked.
"I will put you down for that, if you desire it."
It so happened that when Harry and Maud took the floor, they found
Fletcher their _vis-a-vis_. Perhaps it was this that made Harry more
emulous to get through without making any blunders. At any rate, he
succeeded, and no one in the set suspected that it was his first
appearance in public as a dancer.
Fletcher was puzzled. He had hoped that Harry would make himself
ridiculous, and throw the set into confusion. But the dance passed
off smoothly, and in due time Fletcher led out Maud. If he had known
his own interest, he would have kept silent about Harry, but he had
"I was rather surprised to see Walton here," he began.
"Didn't you know he was in the city?
"Yes, I met him with Oscar."
"Then why were you surprised?"
"Because his social position does not entitle him to appear in such a
company. When I first knew him, he was only a printer's apprentice."
Fletcher wanted to say printer's devil, but did not venture to do so
in presence of a young lady.
"He will rise higher than that."
"I dare say," said Fletcher, with a sneer, "he will rise in time to
be a journeyman with a salary of fifteen dollars a week."
"If I am not mistaken in Mr. Walton, he will rise much higher than
that. Many of our prominent men have sprung from beginnings like
"It must be rather a trial to him to come here. His father is a
day-laborer, I believe, and of course he has never been accustomed to
any refinement or polish."
"I don't detect the absence of either," said Maud, quietly.
"Do you believe in throwing down all social distinctions, and meeting
the sons of laborers on equal terms?"
"As to that," said Maud, meeting her partner's glance, "I am rather
democratic. I could even meet the son of a tin-pedler on equal
terms, provided he were a gentleman."
The blood rushed to Fletcher's cheeks.
"A tin-pedler!" he ejaculated.
"Yes! Suppose you were the son, or relation, of a tin-pedler, why
should I consider that? It would make you neither better nor worse."
"I have no connection with tin-pedlers," said Fletcher, hastily.
"Who told you I had?"
"I only made a supposition, Mr. Fletcher."
But Fletcher thought otherwise. He was sure that Maud had heard of
his mortification at school, and it disturbed him not a little, for,
in spite of her assurance, he felt that she believed the story, and
it annoyed him so much that he did not venture to make any other
reference to Harry.
"Poor Fitz!" said Oscar, when on their way home Maud gave an account
of their conversation, "I am afraid he will murder the tin-pedler
some time, to get rid of such an odious relationship."
TWO LETTERS FROM THE WEST.
The vacation was over all too soon, yet, brief as it was, Harry
looked back upon it with great satisfaction. He had been kindly
received in the family of a man who stood high in the profession
which he was ambitious to enter; he had gratified his curiosity to
see the chief city of New England; and, by no means least, he had
secured a position as paid contributor for the "Standard."
"I suppose you will be writing another story soon," said Oscar.
"Yes," said Harry, "I have got the plan of one already."
"If you should write more than you can get into the 'Standard,' you
had better send something to the 'Weekly Argus.'"
"I will; but I will wait till the 'Standard' prints my first sketch,
so that I can refer to that in writing to the 'Argus.'"
"Perhaps you are right. There's one advantage to not presenting
yourself. They won't know you're only a boy."
"Unless they judge so from my style."
"I don't think they would infer it from that. By the way, Harry,
suppose my father could find an opening for you as a reporter on his
paper,--would you be willing to accept it?"
"I am not sure whether it would be best for me," said Harry, slowly,
"even if I were qualified."
"There is more chance to rise on a city paper."
"I don't know. If I stay here I may before many years control a
paper of my own. Then, if I want to go into politics, there would be
more chance in the country than in the city."
"Would you like to go into politics?"
"I am rather too young to decide about that; but if I could be of
service in that way, I don't see why I should not desire it."
"Well, Harry, I think you are going the right way to work."
"I hope so. I don't want to be promoted till I am fit for it. I am
going to work hard for the next two or three years."
"I wish I were as industrious as you are, Harry."
"And I wish I knew as much as you do, Oscar."
"Say no more, or we shall be forming a Mutual Admiration Society,"
said Oscar, laughing.
Harry received a cordial welcome back to the printing office. Mr.
Anderson asked him many questions about Mr. Vincent; and our hero
felt that his employer regarded him with increased consideration, on
account of his acquaintance with the great city editor. This
consideration was still farther increased when Mr. Anderson learned
our hero's engagement by the "Weekly Standard."
Three weeks later, the "Standard" published Harry's sketch, and
accepted another, at the same price. Before this latter was printed,
Harry wrote a third sketch, which he called "Phineas Popkin's
Engagement." This he inclosed to the "Weekly Argus," with a letter
in which he referred to his engagement by the "Standard." In reply he
received the following letter:--
"BOSTON, Jan., 18--,
"MR. FRANK LYNN,--Dear Sir: We enclose three dollars for your
sketch,--'Phineas Popkin's Engagement.' We shall be glad to receive
other sketches, of similar character and length, and, if accepted, we
will pay the same price therefor.
"I. B. FITCH & Co."
This was highly satisfactory to Harry. He was now an accepted
contributor to two weekly papers, and the addition to his income
would be likely to reach a hundred dollars a year. All this he would
be able to lay up, and as much or more from his salary on the
"Gazette." He felt on the high road to success. Seeing that his
young compositor was meeting with success and appreciation abroad,
Mr. Anderson called upon him more frequently to write paragraphs for
the "Gazette." Though this work was gratuitous, Harry willingly
undertook it. He felt that in this way he was preparing himself for
the career to which he steadily looked forward. Present
compensation, he justly reasoned, was of small importance, compared
with the chance of improvement. In this view, Ferguson, who proved
to be a very judicious friend, fully concurred. Indeed Harry and he
became more intimate than before, if that were possible, and they
felt that Clapp's departure was by no means to be regretted. They
were remarking this one day, when Mr. Anderson, who had been
examining his mail, looked up suddenly, and said, "What do you think,
Mr. Ferguson? I've got a letter from Clapp."
"A letter from Clapp? Where is he?" inquired Ferguson, with interest.
"This letter is dated at St. Louis. He doesn't appear to be doing
"I thought he was going to California."
"So he represented. But here is the letter." Ferguson took it, and,
after reading, handed it to Harry.
It ran thus:--
"ST. LOUIS, April 4, 18--.
"JOTHAM ANDERSON, ESQ.,--Dear Sir: Perhaps you will be surprised to
hear from me, but I feel as if I would like to hear from Centreville,
where I worked so long. The man that induced me and Harrison to come
out here left us in the lurch three days after we reached St. Louis.
He said he was going on to San Francisco, and he had only money
enough to pay his own expenses. As Luke and I were not provided with
money, we had a pretty hard time at first, and had to pawn some of
our clothes, or we should have starved. Finally I got a job in the
'Democrat' office, and a week after, Luke got something to do, though
it didn't pay very well. So we scratched along as well as we could.
Part of the time since we have been out of work, and we haven't found
'coming West' all that it was cracked up to be.
"Are Ferguson and Harry Walton still working for you? I should like
to come back to the 'Gazette' office, and take my old place; but I
haven't got five dollars ahead to pay my travelling expenses. If you
will send me out thirty dollars, I will come right on, and work it
out after I come back. Hoping for an early reply, I am,
"Are you going to send out the money, Mr. Anderson?" asked Ferguson.
"Not I. Now that Walton has got well learnt, I don't need another
workman. I shall respectfully decline his offer."
Both Harry and Ferguson were glad to hear this, for they felt that
Clapp's presence would be far from making the office more agreeable.
"Here's a letter for you, Walton, also post-marked St. Louis," said
Mr. Anderson, just afterward.
Harry took it with surprise, and opened it at once.
"It's from Luke Harrison," he said, looking at the signature.
"Does he want you to send him thirty dollars?" asked Ferguson.
"Listen and I will read the letter."
"DEAR HARRY," it commenced, "you will perhaps think it strange that I
have written to you; but we used to be good friends. I write to tell
you that I don't like this place. I haven't got along well, and I
want to get back. Now I am going to ask of you a favor. Will you
lend me thirty or forty dollars, to pay my fare home? I will pay you
back in a month or two months sure, after I get to work. I will also
pay you the few dollars which I borrowed some time ago. I ought to
have done it before, but I was thoughtless, and I kept putting it
off. Now, Harry, I know you have the money, and you can lend it to
me just as well as not, and I'll be sure to pay it back before you
need it. Just get a post-office order, and send it to Luke Harrison,
17 R---- Street, St. Louis, and I'll be sure to get it. Give my
respects to Mr. Anderson, and also to Mr. Ferguson.
"There is a chance for a first-class investment, Harry," said
"Do you want to join me in it?"
"No, I would rather pay the money to have 'your friend' keep away."
"I don't want to be unkind or disobliging," said Harry, "but I don't
feel like giving Luke this money. I know he would never pay me back."
"Say no, then."
"I will. Luke will be mad, but I can't help it."
So both Mr. Anderson and Harry wrote declining to lend. The latter,
in return, received a letter from Luke, denouncing him as a "mean,
miserly hunks;" but even this did not cause him to regret his
ONE STEP UPWARD.
In real life the incidents that call for notice do not occur daily.
Months and years pass, sometimes, where the course of life is quiet
and uneventful. So it was with Harry Walton. He went to his daily
work with unfailing regularity, devoted a large part of his leisure
to reading and study, or writing sketches for the Boston papers, and
found himself growing steadily wiser and better informed. His
account in the savings-bank grew slowly, but steadily; and on his
nineteenth birthday, when we propose to look in upon him again, he
was worth five hundred dollars.
Some of my readers who are favored by fortune may regard this as a
small sum. It is small in itself, but it was not small for a youth
in Harry's position to have saved from his small earnings. But of
greater value than the sum itself was the habit of self-denial and
saving which our hero had formed. He had started in the right way,
and made a beginning which was likely to lead to prosperity in the
end. It had not been altogether easy to save this sum. Harry's
income had always been small, and he might, without incurring the
charge of excessive extravagance, have spent the whole. He had
denied himself on many occasions, where most boys of his age would
have yielded to the temptation of spending money for pleasure or
personal gratification; but he had been rewarded by the thought that
he was getting on in the world.
"This is my birthday, Mr. Ferguson," he said, as he entered the
printing-office on that particular morning.
"Is it?" asked Ferguson, looking up from his case with interest.
"How venerable are you, may I ask?"
"I don't feel very venerable as yet," said Harry, with a smile. "I
"You were sixteen when you entered the office."
"As printer's devil--yes."
"You have learned the business pretty thoroughly. You are as good a
workman as I now, though I am fifteen years older."
"You are too modest, Mr. Ferguson."
"No, it is quite true. You are as rapid and accurate as I am, and
you ought to receive as high pay."
"That will come in time. You know I make something by writing for
"That's extra work. How much did you make in that way last year?"
"I can tell you, because I figured it up last night. It was one
hundred and twenty-five dollars, and I put every cent into the
"That is quite an addition to your income."
"I shall make more this year. I am to receive two dollars a column,
hereafter, for my sketches."
"I congratulate you, Harry,--the more heartily, because I think you
deserve it. Your recent sketches show quite an improvement over
those you wrote a year ago."
"Do you really think so?" said Harry, with evident pleasure.
"I have no hesitation in saying so. You write with greater ease than
formerly, and your style is less that of a novice."
"So I have hoped and thought; but of course I was prejudiced in my
"You may rely upon it. Indeed, your increased pay is proof of it.
Did you ask it?"
"The increase? No, the editor of the 'Standard' wrote me voluntarily
that he considered my contributions worth the additional amount."
"That must be very pleasant. I tell you what, Harry, I've a great
mind to set up opposition to you in the story line."
"Do so," said Harry, smiling.
"I would if I had the slightest particle of imagination; but the fact
is, I'm too practical and matter-of-fact. Besides, I never had any
talent for writing of any kind. Some time I may become publisher of
a village paper like this; but farther than that I don't aspire."
"We are to be partners in that, you know, Ferguson."
"That may be, for a time; but you will rise higher than that, Harry."
"I am afraid you overrate me."
"No; I have observed you closely in the time we have been together,
and I have long felt that you are destined to rise from the ranks in
which I am content to remain. Haven't you ever felt so, yourself,
Harry's cheek flushed, and his eye lighted up.
"I won't deny that I have such thoughts sometimes," he said; "but it
may end in that."
"It often does end in that; but it is only where ambition is not
accompanied by faithful work. Now you are always at work. You are
doing what you can to help fortune, and the end will be that fortune
will help you."
"I hope so, at any rate," said Harry, thoughtfully. "I should like
to fill an honorable position, and do some work by which I might be
known in after years."
"Why not? The boys and young men of to-day are hereafter to fill the
highest positions in the community and State. Why may not the lot
fall to you?"
"I will try, at any rate, to qualify myself. Then if
responsibilities come, I will try to discharge them."
The conversation was here interrupted by the entrance of Mr.
Anderson, the editor of the "Gazette." He was not as well or strong
as when we first made his acquaintance. Then he seemed robust
enough, but now he was thinner, and moved with slower gait. It was
not easy to say what had undermined his strength, for he had had no
severe fit of sickness; but certainly he was in appearance several
years older than when Harry entered the office.
"How do you feel this morning, Mr. Anderson?" asked Ferguson.
"I feel weak and languid, and indisposed to exertion of any kind."
"You need some change."
"That is precisely what I have thought myself. The doctor advises
change of scene, and this very morning I had a letter from a brother
in Wisconsin, asking me to come out and visit him."
"I have no doubt it would do you good."
"So it would. But how can I go? I can't take the paper with me,"
said Mr. Andersen, rather despondently.
"No; but you can leave Harry to edit it in your absence."
"Mr. Ferguson!" exclaimed Harry, startled by the proposition.
"Harry as editor!" repeated Mr. Anderson.
"Yes; why not? He is a practised writer. For more than two years he
has written for two Boston papers."
"But he is so young. How old are you, Harry?" asked the editor.
"Nineteen to-day, sir."
"Nineteen. That's very young for an editor."
"Very true; but, after all, it isn't so much the age as the
qualifications, is it, Mr. Anderson?"
"True," said the editor, meditatively. "Harry, do you think you
could edit the paper for two or three months?"
"I think I could," said Harry, with modest confidence. His heart
beat high at the thought of the important position which was likely
to be opened to him; and plans of what he would do to make the paper
interesting already began to be formed in his mind.
"It never occurred to me before, but I really think you could," said
the editor, "and that would remove every obstacle to my going. By
the way, Harry, you would have to find a new boarding-place, for Mrs.
Anderson would accompany me, and we should shut up the house."
"Perhaps Ferguson would take me in?" said Harry.
"I should be glad to do so; but I don't know that my humble fare
would be good enough for an editor."
Harry smiled. "I won't put on airs," he said, "till my commission is
"I am afraid that I can't offer high pay for your services in that
capacity," said Mr. Anderson.
"I shall charge nothing, sir," said Harry, "but thank you for the
opportunity of entering, if only for a short time, a profession to
which it is my ambition to belong."
After a brief consultation with his wife, Mr. Anderson appointed
Harry editor pro tem., and began to make arrangements for his
journey. Harry's weekly wages were raised to fifteen dollars, out of
which he waa to pay Ferguson four dollars a week for board.
So our hero found himself, at nineteen, the editor of an old
established paper, which, though published in a country village, was
not without its share of influence in the county and State.
THE YOUNG EDITOR.
The next number of the Centreville "Gazette" contained the following
notice from the pen of Mr. Anderson:--
"For the first time since our connection with the 'Gazette,' we
purpose taking a brief respite from our duties. The state of our
health renders a vacation desirable, and an opportune invitation from
a brother at the West has been accepted. Our absence may extend to
two or three months. In the interim we have committed the editorial
management to Mr. Harry Walton, who has been connected with the
paper, in a different capacity, for nearly three years. Though Mr.
Walton is a very young man, he has already acquired a reputation, as
contributor to papers of high standing in Boston, and we feel assured
that our subscribers will have no reason to complain of the temporary
change in the editorship."
"The old man has given you quite a handsome notice, Harry," said
"I hope I shall deserve it," said Harry; "but I begin now to realize
that I am young to assume such responsible duties. It would have
seemed more appropriate for you to undertake them."
"I can't write well enough, Harry. I like to read, but I can't
produce. In regard to the business management I feel competent to
"I shall certainly be guided by your advice, Ferguson."
As it may interest the reader, we will raise the curtain and show our
young hero in the capacity of editor. The time is ten days after Mr.
Anderson's absence. Harry was accustomed to do his work as
compositor in the forenoon and the early part of the afternoon. From
three to five he occupied the editorial chair, read letters, wrote
paragraphs, and saw visitors. He had just seated himself, when a man
entered the office and looked about him inquisitively.
"I would like to see the editor," he said.
"I am the editor," said Harry, with dignity.
The visitor looked surprised.
"You are the youngest-looking editor I have met," he said. "Have you
filled the office long?"
"Not long," said Harry. "Can I do anything for you?"
"Yes, sir, you can. First let me introduce myself. I am Dr.
"Will you be seated, Dr. Peabody?"
"You have probably heard of me before," said the visitor.
"I can't say that I have."
"I am surprised at that," said the doctor, rather disgusted to find
himself unknown. "You must have heard of Peabody's Unfailing
"I am afraid I have not."
"You are young," said Dr. Peabody, compassionately; "that accounts
for it. Peabody's Panacea, let me tell you, sir, is the great remedy
of the age. It has effected more cures, relieved more pain, soothed
more aching bosoms, and done more good, than any other medicine in
"It must be a satisfaction to you to have conferred such a blessing
on mankind," said Harry, inclined to laugh at the doctor's
"It is. I consider myself one of the benefactors of mankind; but,
sir, the medicine has not yet been fully introduced. There are
thousands, who groan on beds of pain, who are ignorant that for the
small sum of fifty cents they could be restored to health and
"That's a pity."
"It is a pity, Mr. ----"
"Mr. Walton,--I have called, sir, to ask you to co-operate with me in
making it known to the world, so far as your influence extends."
"Is your medicine a liquid?"
"No, sir; it is in the form of pills, twenty-four in a box. Let me
The doctor opened a wooden box, and displayed a collection of very
unwholesome-looking brown pills.
"Try one, sir; it won't do you any harm."
"Thank you; I would rather not. I don't like pills. What will they
"What won't they cure? I've got a list of fifty-nine diseases in my
circular, all of which are relieved by Peabody's Panacea. They may
cure more; in fact, I've been told of a consumptive patient who was
considerably relieved by a single box. You won't try one?"
"I would rather not."
"Well, here is my circular, containing accounts of remarkable cures
performed. Permit me to present you a box."
"Thank you," said Harry, dubiously.
"You'll probably be sick before long," said the doctor, cheerfully,
"and then the pills will come handy."
"Doctor," said Ferguson, gravely, "I find my hair getting thin on top
of the head. Do you think the panacea would restore it?"
"Yes," said the doctor, unexpectedly. "I had a case, in Portsmouth,
of a gentleman whose head was as smooth as a billiard-ball. He took
the pills for another complaint, and was surprised, in the course of
three weeks, to find young hair sprouting all over the bald spot.
Can't I sell you half-a-dozen boxes? You may have half a dozen for
two dollars and a half."
Ferguson, who of course had been in jest, found it hard to forbear
laughing, especially when Harry joined the doctor in urging him to
"Not to-day," he answered. "I can try Mr. Walton's box, and if it
helps me I can order some more."
"You may not be able to get it, then," said the doctor, persuasively.
"I may not be in Centreville."
"If the panacea is well known, I can surely get it without
"Not so cheap as I will sell it."
"I won't take any to-day," said Ferguson, decisively.
"You haven't told me what I can do for you," said Harry, who found
the doctor's call rather long.
"I would like you to insert my circular to your paper. It won't take
more than two columns."
"We shall be happy to insert it at regular advertising rates."
"I thought," said Dr. Peabody, disappointed, "that you might do it
gratuitously, as I had given you a box."
"We don't do business on such terms," said Harry. "I think I had
better return the box."
"No, keep it," said the doctor. "You will be willing to notice it,
Harry rapidly penned this paragraph, and read it aloud:--
"Dr. Theophilus Peabody has left with us a box of his Unfailing
Panacea, which he claims will cure a large variety of diseases."
"Couldn't you give a list of the diseases?" insinuated the doctor.
"There are fifty-nine, you said?"
"Then I am afraid we must decline."
Harry resumed his writing, and the doctor took his leave, looking far
"Here, Ferguson," said Harry, after the visitor had retired, "take
the pills, and much good may they do you. Better take one now for
the growth of your hair."
It was fortunate that Dr. Peabody did not hear the merriment that
followed, or he would have given up the editorial staff of the
Centreville "Gazette" as maliciously disposed to underrate his
"Who wouldn't be an editor?" said Harry.
"I notice," said Ferguson, "that pill-tenders and blacking
manufacturers are most liberal to the editorial profession. I only
wish jewellers and piano manufacturers were as free with their
manufactures. I would like a good gold watch, and I shall soon want
a piano for my daughter."
"You may depend upon it, Ferguson, when such gifts come in, that I
shall claim them as editorial perquisites."
"We won't quarrel about them till they come, Harry."
Our hero here opened a bulky communication.
"What is that?" asked Ferguson.
"An essay on 'The Immortality of the Soul,'--covers fifteen pages
foolscap. What shall I do with it?"
"Publish it in a supplement with Dr. Peabody's circular."
"I am not sure but the circular would be more interesting reading."
"From whom does the essay come?"
"It is signed 'L. S.'"
"Then it is by Lemuel Snodgrass, a retired schoolteacher, who fancies
himself a great writer."
"He'll be offended if I don't print it, won't he?"
"I'll tell you how to get over that. Say, in an editorial paragraph,
'We have received a thoughtful essay from 'L. S.', on 'The
Immortality of the Soul.' We regret that its length precludes our
publishing it in the 'Gazette.' We would suggest to the author to
print it in a pamphlet.' That suggestion will be regarded as
complimentary, and we may get the job of printing it."
"I see you are shrewd, Ferguson. I will follow your advice."
AN UNEXPECTED PROPOSAL.
During his temporary editorship, Harry did not feel at liberty to
make any decided changes in the character or arrangement of the
paper; but he was ambitious to improve it, as far as he was able, in
its different departments. Mr. Anderson had become rather indolent
in the collection of local news, merely publishing such items as were
voluntarily contributed. Harry, after his day's work was over, made
a little tour of the village, gathering any news that he thought
would be of interest to the public. Moreover he made arrangements to
obtain news of a similar nature from neighboring villages, and the
result was, that in the course of a month he made the "Gazette" much
"Really, the 'Gazette' gives a good deal more news than it used to,"
was a common remark.
It was probably in consequence of this improvement that new
subscriptions began to come in, not from Centreville alone, but from
towns in the neighborhood. This gratified and encouraged Harry, who
now felt that he was on the right tack.
There was another department to which he devoted considerable
attention. This was a condensed summary of news from all parts of
the world, giving the preference and the largest space, of course, to
American news. He aimed to supply those who did not take a daily
paper with a brief record of events, such as they would not be
likely, otherwise, to hear of. Of course all this work added to his
labors as compositor; and his occasional sketches for Boston papers
absorbed a large share of his time. Indeed, he had very little left
at his disposal for rest and recreation.
"I am afraid you are working too hard, Harry," said Ferguson. "You
are doing Mr. Anderson's work better than he ever did it, and your
"I enjoy it," said Harry. "I work hard I know, but I feel paid by
the satisfaction of finding that my labors are appreciated."
"When Mr. Anderson gets back, he will find it necessary to employ you
as assistant editor, for it won't do to let the paper get back to its
"I will accept," said Harry, "if he makes the offer. I feel more and
more that I must be an editor."
"You are certainly showing yourself competent for the position."
"I have only made a beginning," said our hero, modestly. "In time I
think I could make a satisfactory paper."
One day, about two months after Mr. Anderson's departure, Ferguson
and Harry were surprised, and not altogether agreeably, by the
entrance of John Clapp and Luke Harrison. They looked far from
prosperous. In fact, both of them were decidedly seedy. Going West
had not effected an improvement in their fortunes.
"Is that you, Clapp?" asked Ferguson. "Where did you come from?"
"From St. Louis."
"Then you didn't feel inclined to stay there?"
"Not I. It's a beastly place. I came near starving."
Clapp would have found any place beastly where a fair day's work was
required for fair wages, and my young readers in St. Louis,
therefore, need not heed his disparaging remarks.
"How was it with you, Luke?" asked Harry. "Do you like the West no
better than Clapp?"
"You don't catch me out there again," said Luke. "It isn't what it's
cracked up to be. We had the hardest work in getting money enough to
get us back."
As Luke did not mention the kind of hard work by which the money was
obtained, I may state here that an evening's luck at the faro table
had supplied them with money enough to pay the fare to Boston by
railway; otherwise another year might have found them still in St.
"Hard work doesn't suit your constitution, does it?" said Ferguson,
"I can work as well as anybody," said Luke; "but I haven't had the
luck of some people."
"You were lucky enough to have your fare paid to the West for you."
"Yes, and when we got there, the rascal left us to shift for
ourselves. That aint much luck."
"I've always had to shift for myself, and always expect to," was the
"Oh, you're a model!" sneered Clapp. "You always were as sober and
steady as a deacon. I wonder they didn't make you one."
"And Walton there is one of the same sort," said Luke. "I say,
Harry, it was real mean in you not to send me the money I wrote for.
You hadn't it, had you?"
"Yes," said Harry, firmly; "but I worked hard for it, and I didn't
feel like giving it away."
"Who asked you to give it away? I only wanted to borrow it."
"That's the same thing--with you. You were not likely to repay it
"Do you mean to insult me?" blustered Luke.
"No, I never insult anybody. I only tell the truth. You know, Luke
Harrison, whether I have reason for what I say."
"I wouldn't leave a friend to suffer when I had plenty of money in my
pocket," said Luke, with an injured air. "If you had been a
different sort of fellow I would have asked you for five dollars to
keep me along till I can get work. I've come back with empty
"I'll lend you five dollars if you need it," said Harry, who judged
from Luke's appearance that he told the truth.
"Will you?" said Luke, brightening up. "That's a good fellow. I'll
pay you just as soon as I can."
Harry did not place much reliance on this assurance; but he felt that
he could afford the loss of five dollars, if loss it should prove,
and it might prevent Luke's obtaining the money in a more
"Where's Mr. Anderson?" asked Clapp, looking round the office.
"He's been in Michigan for a couple of months."
"You don't say so! Why, who runs the paper?"
"Ferguson and I," said Harry.
"I mean who edits it?"
"Harry does that," said his fellow-workman.
"Whew!" ejaculated Clapp, in surprise. "Why, but two years ago you
was only a printer's devil!"
"He's risen from the ranks," said Ferguson, "and I can say with truth
that the 'Gazette' has never been better than since it has been under
"How much does old Anderson pay you for taking his place?" asked
Luke, who was quite as much surprised as Clapp.
"I don't ask anything extra. He pays me fifteen dollars a week as
"You're doing well," said Luke, enviously. "Got a big pile of money
laid up, haven't you?"
"I have something in the bank."
"Harry writes stories for the Boston papers, also," said Ferguson.
"He makes a hundred or two that way."
"Some folks are born to luck," said Clapp, discontentedly. "Here am
I, six or eight years older, out of a place, and without a cent to
fall back upon. I wish I was one of your lucky ones."
"You might have had a few hundred dollars, at any rate," said
Ferguson, "if you hadn't chosen to spend all your money when you were
earning good wages."
"A man must have a little enjoyment. We can't drudge all the time."
"It's better to do that than to be where you are now."
But Clapp was not to be convinced that he was himself to blame for
his present disagreeable position. He laid the blame on fortune,
like thousands of others. He could not see that Harry's good luck
was the legitimate consequence of industry and frugality.
After a while the two left the office. They decided to seek their
old boarding-house, and remain there for a week, waiting for
something to turn up.
The next day Harry received the following letter from Mr. Anderson:--
"DEAR WALTON: My brother urges me to settle permanently at the West.
I am offered a partnership in a paper in this vicinity, and my health
has much improved here. The West seems the place for me. My only
embarrassment is the paper. If I could dispose of the 'Gazette' for
two thousand dollars cash, I could see my way clear to remove. Why
can't you and Ferguson buy it? The numbers which you have sent me
show that you are quite capable of filling the post of editor; and
you and Ferguson can do the mechanical part. I think it will be a
good chance for you. Write me at once whether there us any
likelihood of your purchasing.
Harry's face flushed eagerly as he read this letter, Nothing would
suit him better than to make this arrangement, if only he could
provide the purchase money. But this was likely to present a
A FRIEND IN NEED.
Harry at once showed Ferguson the letter he had received.
"What are you going to do about it?" asked his friend.
"I should like to buy the paper, but I don't see how I can. Mr.
Anderson wants two thousand dollars cash."
"How much have you got?"
"Only five hundred."
"I have seven hundred and fifty," said Ferguson, thoughtfully.
Harry's face brightened.
"Why can't we go into partnership?" he asked.
"That is what we spoke of once," said Ferguson, "and it would suit me
perfectly; but there is a difficulty. Your money and mine added
together will not be enough."
"Perhaps Mr. Anderson would take a mortgage on the establishment for
"I don't think so. He says expressly that he wants cash."
Harry looked disturbed.
"Do you think any one would lend us the money on the same terms?" he
asked, after a while.
"Squire Trevor is the only man in the village likely to have money to
lend. There he is in the street now. Run down, Harry, and ask him
to step in a minute."
Our hero seized his hat, and did as requested. He returned
immediately, followed by Squire Trevor, a stout, puffy little man,
reputed shrewd and a capitalist.
"Excuse our calling you in, Squire Trevor," said Ferguson, "but we
want to consult you on a matter of business. Harry, just show the
squire Mr. Anderson's letter."
The squire read it deliberately.
"Do you want my advice?" he said, looking up from the perusal. "Buy
the paper. It is worth what Anderson asks for it."
"So I think, but there is a difficulty. Harry and I can only raise
twelve hundred dollars or so between us."
"Give a note for the balance. You'll be able to pay it off in two
years, if you prosper."
"I am afraid that won't do. Mr. Anderson wants cash. Can't you lend
us the money, Squire Trevor?" continued Ferguson, bluntly.
The village capitalist shook his head.
"If you had asked me last week I could have obliged you," he said;
"but I was in Boston day before yesterday, and bought some railway
stock which is likely to enhance in value. That leaves me short."
"Then you couldn't manage it?" said Ferguson, soberly.
"Not at present," said the squire, decidedly.
"Then we must write to Mr. Anderson, offering what we have, and a
mortgage to secure the rest."
"That will be your best course."
"He may agree to our terms," said Harry, hopefully, after their
visitor had left the office.
"We will hope so, at all events."
A letter was at once despatched, and in a week the answer was
"I am sorry," Mr. Anderson wrote, "to decline your proposals, but, I
have immediate need of the whole sum which I ask for the paper. If I
cannot obtain it, I shall come back to Centreville, though I would
prefer to remain here."
Upon the receipt of this letter, Ferguson gave up his work for the
forenoon, and made a tour of the Village, calling upon all who he
thought were likely to have money to lend. He had small expectation
of success, but felt that he ought to try everywhere before giving up
so good a chance.
While he was absent, Harry had a welcome visitor. It was no other
than Professor Henderson, the magician, in whose employ he had spent
three months some years before, as related in "Bound to Rise."
"Take a seat, professor," said Harry, cordially. "I am delighted to
"How you have grown, Harry!" said the professor. "Why, I should
hardly have known you!"
"We haven't met since I left you to enter this office."
"No; it is nearly three years. How do you like the business?"