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   Chapter 28 ANDY'S VISIT HOME.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7461

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03

When Andy stepped on the station platform at Arden, he looked about him to see if any of his friends were in sight.

To his great satisfaction he saw Valentine Burns, who had come to escort an aunt to the cars.

"Where did you drop from, Andy?" he asked, in surprise.

"From the city. I am going to stop over Sunday."

"Good! I am delighted to see you."

"And I to see you. You are my dearest friend-except Conrad."

Valentine smiled.

"Of course no one is so near to me as he. Well, what's the news?"

"The only news I know of comes from Conrad. I hope it isn't true."

"What did he say?"

"That your father couldn't pay the interest on the mortgage held by his father, and was going to be turned out, though the squire might take your two best cows and call it even."

"He seems to be a good friend of the family, doesn't he?" remarked Andy, quietly.

"It isn't true, is it?"

"It is true that father hasn't money enough to pay the interest."

"What will happen, then?"

"You forget that he has a rich son," said Andy, with a smile.

"Can you help him out?"

"That is what I am here for."

"I am very glad to hear it," said Valentine, with an air of relief. "Even if I didn't like your family, I wouldn't like to see Conrad triumph over you."

"Come around this evening, Val. We shall have plenty to talk about."

"I will."

When Andy entered the farmhouse he received a warm welcome from his mother, and a cordial grasp of the hand from his father, who was less demonstrative. But there was an air of grave anxiety on the faces of both.

"I am glad to see you, Andy," said Sterling Grant, "but I wish you had come under more cheerful circumstances. We are in a good deal of trouble."

"I have come to get you out of it."

"Can you?" asked the farmer, in surprise.

"Yes. How much have you got toward the interest?"

"Only twenty dollars."

"And the whole sum is-"

"Ninety dollars."

"I can give you the seventy dollars you require."

"Where did you get the money? Have you borrowed it?"

"No. It belongs to me. I will explain later. Now I am hungry, and while mother is looking for some lunch for me we will talk about other matters."

"I am very much relieved, Andy. I will go and tell the squire I shall be able to meet the interest."

"Don't do it, father. We will leave him to suppose it will not be paid, and see what course he intends to pursue. Don't breathe a word to undeceive him."

"I will do as you say, Andy, though I don't know your object. Do you still like your place in New York?"

"Yes; I am learning the business fast, and have good hopes for the future. Mr. Crawford is an excellent man, and takes an interest in me."

"That is good. After all, things are brightening. When I got up this morning I felt about discouraged."

"I telegraphed you not to worry, father."

Meanwhile Mrs. Grant was preparing an appetizing lunch for her son. She knew just what he liked. When it was placed on the table, he did full justice to it.

"It tastes better than anything I get in the city, mother," he said.

"I didn't suppose our plain table would compare with city meals."

"They're not in it with you," said Andy. "I am only afraid I shall make myself sick by overeating."

Mrs. Grant was greatly pleased that Andy had not lost his taste for home fare.

"How you have grown, Andy!" she said. "And you are looking so well, too!

Do you have to work very hard?"

"Hard work agrees with me, mother. No; I don't hurt myself."

"I wish I could be here when the squire comes for the interest," Andy said, later.

"He will call this evening. You will see him," said Sterling Grant.

"Then I shall be sure to stay at home."


anwhile, at the house of Squire Carter, there was a conference between father and son.

Conrad had a new and bright idea. He had always coveted Andy's boat, which, as we know, was much better than his own had been. It occurred to him that here would be a good opportunity to get it for a trifle.

"Pa," he said, "will you do me a favor?"

"What is it?" asked his father, suspiciously.

"You know I haven't got a boat now. Won't you let Mr. Grant pay part of the interest in Andy's boat?"

"What do I want with the boat?" asked the squire, impatiently.

"Pa, you can make a great bargain. I hear that it cost seventy-five dollars. You can allow the farmer twenty dollars, and sell it for forty dollars cash."

"I don't know about that."

But the squire's tone was less decided. He liked a bargain, and he knew that there was some reason in what Conrad said.

"Mr. Grant might not feel at liberty to sell his son's boat," he argued.

"Andy would let him. He thinks a good deal of his family."

"I'll think of it; but I intended to propose taking two of his cows."

"That you can do next time. Probably he won't have the interest six months from now."

"I'll see about it."

"There is one other thing; you would have a better chance to sell the boat for a profit than the cows."

"Well, Conrad, I will think of it, as I said. I am going around to

Farmer Grant's this evening, and I will broach the subject."

Later in the day Conrad met Jimmy Morris.

"Have you heard the news, Conrad?" asked Jimmy.

"What is it?"

"Andy Grant is in Arden. He arrived from the city this morning."

"I am glad to hear it."

"Why? Are you and Andy such great friends?"

"It isn't on account of friendship; it's on account of business."

"What business?"

"I can't tell you, but you will very likely hear soon."

Conrad hoped to meet Andy and broach the subject of buying the boat. He decided from his knowledge of the farmer's son that, much as he valued his boat, he would be willing to sacrifice it for the sake of his father. In this thought he paid an unconscious tribute to Andy, for in similar circumstances he would have been incapable of anything so unselfish.

About half-past seven, Andy, looking out of the window, saw the stately and dignified figure of Squire Carter coming up the front path.

"The squire is coming, father," he said. "I want you to look sober, just as if you were unprepared to pay the interest."

Squire Carter had already been informed by Conrad that Andy was in the village. He showed no surprise, therefore, when he saw him.

He had also been down to the river and taken a look at Andy's boat. He could see that it was a very handsome one, and doubtless worth as much as Conrad reported.

"So you have come home, Andrew?" he said.

"Yes, Squire Carter."

"You haven't lost your place, have you?"

"No, sir. I have come home on a visit."

"Ahem! You arrived at an unfortunate time for your father. He has had bad luck. Things seem to have gone against him."

"So I heard, sir."

"If you had been at home to help him on the farm, things would have been different, maybe."

"I hope to help him by staying in the city."

"That isn't very likely. I don't approve, for my part, of boys leaving home to work."

"I think I shall succeed in the end, sir."

"Ahem! I have no doubt you think so, but boys like you haven't much judgment. I suppose you know that interest is due on the mortgage for the first six months, and that your father can't meet it."

"I have heard so, Squire Carter."

"As a friend of your father I have a plan to propose that may make things easy for him. I am glad to see you, for a part of my business is with you."

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