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   Chapter 1 THE TELEGRAM.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7987

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03

"A telegram for you, Andy!" said Arthur Bacon, as he entered the room of

Andy Grant in Penhurst Academy.

"A telegram!" repeated Andy, in vague alarm, for the word suggested something urgent-probably bad news of some kind.

He tore open the envelope and read the few words of the message:

"Come home at once. Something has happened.


"What can it be?" thought Andy, perplexed. "At any rate, mother is well, for she sent the telegram."

"What is it?" asked Arthur.

"I don't know. You can read the telegram for yourself."

"Must you go home?" asked Arthur, in a tone of regret.

"Yes. When is there a train?"

"At three this afternoon."

"I will take it. I must go and see Dr. Crabb."

"But won't you come back again?"

"I don't know. I am all in the dark. I think something must have happened to my father."

Dr. Crabb was at his desk in his library-it was Saturday afternoon, and school was not in session-when Andy knocked at the door.

"Come in!" said the doctor, in a deep voice.

Andy opened the door and entered. Dr. Crabb smiled, for Andy was his favorite pupil.

"Come in, Grant!" he said. "What can I do for you?"

"Give me permission to go home. I have just had a telegram. I will show it to you."

The doctor was a man of fifty-five, with a high forehead and an intellectual face. He wore glasses, and had done so for ten years. They gave him the appearance of a learned scholar, as he was.

"Dear me!" he said. "How unfortunate! Only two weeks to the end of the term, and you are our primus!"

"I am very sorry, sir; but perhaps I may be able to come back."

"Do so, by all means, if you can. There is hardly a pupil I could not better spare."

"Thank you, sir," said Andy gratefully. "There is a train at three o'clock. I would like to take it."

"By all means. And let me hear from you, even if you can't come back."

"I will certainly write, doctor. Thank you for all your kindness."

Penhurst Academy was an endowed school. On account of the endowments, the annual rate to boarding scholars was very reasonable-only three hundred dollars, including everything.

The academy had a fine reputation, which it owed in large part to the high character and gifts of Dr. Crabb, who had been the principal for twenty-five years. He had connected himself with the school soon after he left Dartmouth, and had been identified with it for the greater part of his active life.

Andy had been a pupil for over two years, and was an excellent Latin and

Greek scholar. In a few months he would be ready for college.

Dr. Crabb was anxious to have him go to Dartmouth, his own alma mater, being convinced that he would do him credit and make a brilliant record for scholarship. Indeed, it was settled that he would go, his parents being ready to be guided by the doctor's advice.

From Penhurst to Arden, where Andy's parents lived, was fifty miles.

Starting at three o'clock, the train reached Arden station at five.

As Andy stepped on the platform he saw Roland Hunter, the son of a neighbor.

"How are you, Andy?" said Roland, with a cheerful greeting. "How do you happen to be coming home? Is it vacation?"

"No; I was summoned home by a telegram. Is-are they all well at home?"

"Yes, so far as I know."

Andy breathed a sigh of relief.

"I am glad of that," he said. "I was afraid some one in the family might be sick."

"I don't think so. I would have heard, living so near."

"Father is well, then?"

"Come to think of it, I heard he had a bad headache."

"At any rate, it isn't anything serious. Are you going home? If you are,

I'll walk along with you."

"We can do better than that; I've got uncle's buggy on the other side of the depot. I'll take you, bag and baggage."

"Thank you, Roland. My bag is rather heavy, and as it is a mile to the house, I shall be glad to accept your offer."

"Bundle in, then," said Roland, merrily. "I don't know but I ought to charge you a

quarter. That's the regular fare by stage."

"All right! charge it if you like," rejoined Andy, smiling. "Are your folks all well?"

"Oh, yes, especially Lily. You and she are great friends, I believe."

"Oh, yes," answered Andy, with a smile.

"She thinks a good deal more of you than she does of me."

"Girls don't generally appreciate their brothers, I believe. If I had a sister, I presume she would like you better than me."

Roland dropped Andy at his father's gate.

It may be said here that Mr. Grant owned a farm of fifty acres, that yielded him a comfortable living when supplemented by the interest on three thousand dollars invested in government bonds. On the farm was a house of moderate size which had always been a pleasant home to Andy and his little brother Robert, generally called Robbie.

Andy opened the gate and walked up to the front door, valise in hand.

The house and everything about it seemed just as it did when he left at the beginning of the school term. But Andy looked at them with different eyes.

Then he had been in good spirits, eager to return to his school work.

Now something had happened, he did not yet know what.

Mrs. Grant was in the back part of the house, and Andy was in the sitting room before she was fully aware of his presence. Then she came in from the kitchen, where she was preparing supper.

Her face seemed careworn, but there was a smile upon it as she greeted her son.

"Then you got my telegram?" she said. "I didn't think you would be here so soon."

"I started at once, mother, for I felt anxious. What has happened? Are you all well?"

"Yes, thank God, we are in fair health, but we have met with misfortune."

"What is it?"

"Nathan Lawrence, cashier of the bank in Benton, has disappeared with twenty thousand dollars of the bank's money."

"What has that to do with father? He hasn't much money in that bank."

"Your father is on Mr. Lawrence's bond to the amount of six thousand dollars."

"I see," answered Andy, gravely, "How much will he lose?"

"The whole of it."

This, then, was what had happened. To a man in moderate circumstances, it must needs be a heavy blow.

"I suppose it will make a great difference?" said Andy, inquiringly.

"You can judge. Your father's property consists of this farm and three thousand dollars in government bonds. It will be necessary to sacrifice the bonds and place a mortgage of three thousand dollars on the farm."

"How much is the farm worth?"

"Not over six thousand dollars."

"Then father's property is nearly all swept away."

"Yes," said his mother, sadly. "Hereafter he will receive no help from outside interest, and will, besides, have to pay interest on a mortgage of three thousand dollars, at six per cent."

"One hundred and eighty dollars."


"Altogether, then, it will diminish our income by rather more than three hundred dollars."

"Yes, Andy."

"That is about what my education has been costing father," said Andy, in a low voice.

He began to see how this misfortune was going to affect him.

"I am afraid," faltered Mrs. Grant, "that you will have to leave school."

"Of course I must," said Andy, speaking with a cheerfulness which he did not feel. "And in place of going to college I must see how I can help father bear this burden."

"It will be very hard upon you, Andy," said his mother, in a tone of sympathy.

"I shall be sorry, of course, mother; but there are plenty of boys who don't go to college. I shall be no worse off than they."

"I am glad you bear the disappointment so well, Andy. It is of you your father and I have thought chiefly since the blow fell upon us."

"Who will advance father the money on mortgage, mother?"

"Squire Carter has expressed a willingness to do so. He will be here this evening to talk it over."

"I am sorry for that, mother. He is a hard man. If there is a chance to take advantage of father, he won't hesitate to do it."

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