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   Chapter 9 CONRAD'S SCHEME.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7974

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


When Andy told Mr. Gale the story of his adventures on the trip to

Benton, he received cordial congratulations on his courage.

"You have shown a great deal of pluck, Andy," he said. "The next time you have occasion to go over to the bank for me I will accompany you. Now, if you are not too tired, I want you to go down to the pond. I have something to show you."

They walked side by side till they reached the pond.

Andy's curiosity was not specially excited. He talked with Mr. Gale on different topics, and had hardly time to consider what it was he was to see. But when he reached the boathouse he saw floating at the small pier an elegant rowboat, built of cedar, and much handsomer than either Conrad's or Valentine's.

"Oh, what a beauty!" he exclaimed.

"Yes," said Mr. Gale, quietly; "you will have quite the best boat on the pond."

"I?" exclaimed Andy, in surprise.

"Yes, for the boat is yours."

"But I don't understand," stammered Andy.

"It is plain enough," said Walter Gale, with a pleasant smile. "The boat is yours. I give it to you."

"How can I thank you?" exclaimed Andy, grasping his friend's hand. "I can't believe that this beautiful boat is mine."

"You will realize it after a while. Let me tell you how I got it. It was built for a rich young man in New York, one of the Four Hundred, I believe, but as he received an unexpected invitation to go abroad for two years, he authorized the builder to sell it for him at a considerable reduction from the price he paid. So it happens that I was able to secure it for you. Now let us go out for a row. It will be the trial trip."

Fifteen minutes later Conrad got into his boat and started out. It was not long before his eyes were attracted to the new boat.

He could see at once, for he was a judge, that it was far more elegant and costly than his own, and he was seized by a pang of envy. His own boat seemed to him quite inferior, though but a short time before he had regarded it with pride.

He was curious to see the craft and pulled up to it.

"That is a fine boat you have there, Mr. Gale," he said.

"So I think," returned the young man. "I feel quite satisfied with it"

"When did it come down?"

"I only received it this morning."

"How much did it cost?" asked Conrad, who was not troubled by bashfulness.

"A small fortune," answered Walter Gale, with a smile. "I am afraid I must decline to give the exact figures."

"I asked because I may ask my father to buy me one like it."

Conrad was perfectly well aware that such a request would be promptly denied. Squire Carter was not disposed to be extravagant, and he had even hesitated for some time before incurring the outlay required for Conrad's present boat.

The new boat was so elegant, so graceful, and so thoroughly finished in every part, that Conrad could not help coveting it. He was not very much to be blamed, for it was one that would captivate the fancy of any boy who was fond of the water.

"I should like to try the boat some time, Mr. Gale," he said.

"If the owner is willing, I am," returned the young man.

"The owner? Why, doesn't it belong to you?" asked Conrad, in surprise.

"No; it belongs to Andy."

"That boat belong to Andy Grant?" exclaimed Conrad, with an incredulous frown.

"Yes; I have given it to him. You will have to ask his permission."

"I shall be glad to have you try it," said Andy, pleasantly.

"Thank you, but I don't think I care for it," replied Conrad, coldly.

He felt a pang of mortification to think that the farmer's son should have a boat so much superior to his own.

"If you change your mind, let me know," said Andy.

"Conrad is jealous," remarked Walter Gale. "He doesn't like to have you own a boat that is superior to his."

"I think you are right, Mr. Gale. If the case were reversed I would not mind."

"Because you are not disposed to be envious or jealous."

When Conrad returned home there was a cloud upon

his brow. It was easy for any one to see that he was in bad humor.

"What is the matter, Conrad?" asked his father. "You look as if you had lost your best friend."

"I hate Andy Grant," exploded Conrad, his eyes flashing with anger.

"Why, what has Andy done now? You haven't had a fight, have you?"

"No; I wouldn't demean myself by fighting with him."

"What is it, then?"

"He is always doing something to annoy me."

"I am still in the dark."

"He has got a new boat, far handsomer than mine. I shouldn't wonder if it cost twice as much."

Squire Conrad was surprised.

"Where did he get it?" he inquired.

"It was a present from Mr. Gale, the young man at the hotel."

"He must like young Grant very much?"

"It is ridiculous that a poor boy should own such a boat."

"I don't see how we can help it," said the squire, philosophically.

He did not take the superiority of Andy's boat so much to heart as his son.

"I'll tell you how you can make it right, father."

"How?"

"By buying me a boat as good or better than the new one."

"Why should I buy you another boat? The one you have is only six months old, and it cost me a pretty penny, I assure you."

"That may be, but I shall not feel any more satisfaction in it, now that

Andy has a better one."

"All this is foolish, my son."

"Then you won't buy me a new boat?"

"Most certainly I won't," said the squire, firmly.

Conrad's countenance fell, but another idea came to him.

"Suppose Andy is willing to exchange with me for something to boot?"

"You say the boat is a fine one?"

"Elegant."

"You may offer him ten dollars."

"Won't you say fifteen, father? I assure you it is worth much more than that difference."

"You can offer him ten dollars, and see what he has to say to it."

Conrad managed to see Andy the next day, and made him the offer.

"Do you think I would part with Mr. Gale's gift?" said Andy, indignantly.

"He wouldn't care; and ten dollars is a good deal of money," said

Conrad, insinuatingly.

"If you offered me fifty dollars I would say the same. I am not particularly in want of money."

"I suppose you say that because you are earning three dollars a week."

"Who told you how much Mr. Gale paid me?" asked Andy, smiling.

"Then he does get three dollars a week," reflected Conrad.

He redoubled his entreaties, but Andy refused firmly.

Half an hour later Conrad met on the street a shabby figure with whom we are already acquainted. It was the tramp who figured in an encounter with Andy when on his way to Benton.

"Young gentleman," said the tramp, with a whine, "you look rich and generous. Can't you spare a poor man a trifle?"

"You look as if you drank," replied Conrad, with brutal frankness. "Your nose is red."

"That's owing to a skin disease. I have belonged to the Temperance

Society for five years."

"Humph! you don't look like it. Why don't you work?"

"Because I can find nothing to do."

Here a contemptible suggestion offered itself to Conrad.

"If you will do something for me, and keep mum, I'll give you two dollars."

"I'll do it if it isn't too hard."

"Then I'll tell you what it is. There's a boat on the pond that belongs to an enemy of mine. He is always crowing over me. Now, if you'll manage this evening to set it on fire, I'll give you two dollars."

"How shall I set it on fire? With a match?"

"No; I'll supply you with some shavings, a few pieces of board, and some pitch. There won't be any trouble about it."

"Who owns the boat?"

Conrad described Andy.

"That's the boy who-but never mind! I'll do it."

Once convinced that in this way he could get revenge on the boy who had humiliated and got the best of him, the tramp was only too willing to help Conrad in his scheme.

When Conrad went home at nine o'clock, after supplying the tramp with combustibles, he said to himself:

"There won't be much left of Andy's boat in the morning."

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