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   Chapter 3 ANDY LEAVES THE ACADEMY.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 8093

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


"You need to raise three thousand dollars, I believe, Neighbor Grant?" began the squire.

"Yes, squire."

"Three thousand dollars is a good deal of money."

"I realize that," said Mr. Grant, sadly.

"I was about to say it is a good deal to raise on the security of the farm."

"The farm cost me six thousand dollars."

"It would fetch only five thousand now. It wouldn't fetch that at a forced sale."

"But for my losses, I wouldn't consider an offer of less than six thousand."

"Of course, you are attached to it, and that gives it a fancy value in your eyes."

"It is good land and productive. Then, it is well situated, and the buildings are good."

"Well, tolerable," said the squire, cautiously. "However, that's neither here nor there. You want three thousand dollars, and I have agreed to let you have it. I will take a mortgage for two years, the interest being, as usual, six per cent."

"Two years?" repeated Farmer Grant, uneasily.

"Yes. I am not sure that I can spare the money longer than two years. I give you that time to pay it off."

"But it will be impossible for me to pay it off in two years. In fact, it will take all my income to live and pay the interest."

"Of course that isn't my lookout."

"Do you mean that you will foreclose in two years?"

"Not necessarily. I may not need the money so soon. Besides, you may find some one else to take it off my hands."

"Can't you say five years, squire?" pleaded the farmer.

Squire Carter shook his head.

"No; you can take it or leave it. I am not at all anxious to take the mortgage, and if my terms are not agreeable, we will consider the negotiations at an end."

"I won't make any difficulty, squire; I accept your terms."

"That is sensible. I can't, for my part, see how five years would have been more favorable to you than two."

"My son Andrew is sixteen. By the time he is twenty-one he might help me."

"There's not much chance of that-unless he marries a fortune," said the squire, jocosely. "I suppose you will keep him at home to help you on the farm?"

"We haven't talked the matter over yet. I will consult his wishes as far as I can. He can't earn much money on the farm. What are you going to do with your son?"

"Conrad will probably be a merchant, or a banker," said the squire, pompously.

"With your means you can select any path in life for him."

"True; as my son he will have a great advantage. Well, as our business is arranged, I will leave you. If you will call at Lawyer Tower's office to-morrow at noon the papers can be drawn up, and I will give you a check for the money."

"Thank you, squire. I will meet the appointment."

"If you don't want Andrew to work on the farm I will turn over his case in my mind and see if I can get him a position."

"Thank you. I should be glad to have him well started in some business where he can raise himself."

As the term of the academy was so nearly completed, Andy went back with his father's permission, to remain till vacation. He sought an interview at once with Dr. Crabb, the principal, and informed him of the necessity he was under of leaving the institution.

"I am really sorry, Andrew," said the doctor. "You are one of my best pupils. I am not sure but the best. There is scarcely one that I would not sooner lose. I shall be willing to take you for half price-that is, for one hundred and fifty dollars-till you are ready for college."

"Thank you, Dr. Crabb," replied Andy, gratefully. "You are very kind, but even that sum my father, in his changed circumstances, would be unable to pay. Besides, it would be quite out of my power to go to college even if I were prepared."

"It is a thousand pities," said the principal, with concern. "If you must leave, you must. I am not sure but I should be willing to take you gratuitously."

"Thank you; but I feel that I ought to go to work at once to help my father. It is not enough that I free him from expense."

"No doubt you are right. I respect you for your determinatio

n. You need not hesitate to apply to me at any time in the future if you see any way in which I can be of service to you."

"I think it will help me if you will give me a letter of recommendation, which I can show to any one from whom I seek employment."

"I will give you such a letter with great pleasure;" and the doctor, sitting down at his desk, wrote a first-class recommendation of his favorite pupil.

There was general regret in the academy when it was learned that Andy must leave them. One little boy of twelve-Dudley Cameron, a special favorite of Andy-came to him to ask if there was no way by which he could manage to stay.

"No, Dudley! I am too poor," said Andy.

"If I write to papa and ask him to send you a thousand dollars, will you stay?" asked the little boy, earnestly.

"No, Dudley; you mustn't do anything of the kind. Even if your father liked me as well as you do, and would give me the money, I could not take it. I must go to work to help my father."

"You will write to me sometimes, Andy?"

"Yes; I will be sure to do that."

The little fellow's warm-hearted offer, and the expressions of sympathy and regret on the part of his schoolmates, cheered Andy. It was pleasant to think that he would be missed.

On the closing day he received the first prize for scholarship from the hands of Dr. Crabb.

"You will take my best wishes with you, Andy," said the venerable principal. "Let me hear from you when you have made any business arrangement."

The farewells were said, and Andy set out on his return home.

He was leaving the old life behind him. A new one lay before him, but what it was to be he could not foresee.

He reached Arden in due course and set out to walk home. He had barely started when he heard his name called.

Looking around, he saw Conrad Carter, the squire's only son, on his bicycle.

"So you've come home from the academy?" said Conrad, curiously.

"Yes," answered Andy, briefly.

He never could bring himself to like Conrad, who made himself offensive and unpopular by his airs of superiority. Indeed, there was no boy in Arden so thoroughly disliked as Conrad.

"You'll have a pretty long vacation," went on Conrad, with a significant laugh.

"Yes, I suppose so."

"Oh, well, it's the best thing for you. I thought it foolish when your father sent you off to the academy. If the Arden grammar school is good enough for me it is good enough for you."

"There is nothing to prevent your going to the academy."

"I know that. My father could afford it, even if it cost a good deal more. You wanted to go to college, didn't you?"

"Yes."

"It was very foolish for a poor boy like you."

"Of course your age and experience make your opinion of value," said

Andy, with a sarcasm which he did not care to conceal.

"I advise you not to be too independent," returned Conrad, displeased.

"Are you going to work on the farm?"

"I may till I get a situation."

"I'll speak to father. He might take you for an errand boy."

"I don't think that place would suit me."

"Why not?"

"I want to go into some mercantile establishment and learn business."

"That's what I am going to do when I get through school. Of course there is no hurry in my case."

"I suppose not."

"I suppose you know that my father has taken a mortgage on your father's farm?"

"Yes, I know that."

"If your father can't pay the mortgage when it is due, father will have to take the farm."

Andy made no answer, but thought Conrad more disagreeable than ever. By way of changing the conversation, he said:

"That's a new bicycle, isn't it?"

"Yes; I got tired of the old one. This is a very expensive one.

Wouldn't you like to own a bicycle?"

"Yes."

"Of course, you never will."

"Then I must be content without one."

"Well, I must leave you. I'll come around soon and see you ride a horse to plow."

As Conrad sped away on his wheel, Andy said to himself:

"I shouldn't like to be rich if it made me as disagreeable as Conrad."

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