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Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7949

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03

Andy was surprised by the squire's words. He could not conjecture what business Squire Carter could have with him.

"First," said the squire, "may I ask, Mr. Grant, whether you can pay the interest on the mortgage which I hold when it comes due?"

"I have only twenty-five dollars at my command now, Squire Carter.

Perhaps something may turn up between now and next Tuesday."

"That is extremely likely," said the squire, in a tone of sarcasm.

"Have you anything to propose? Are you willing to wait a month?"

"No, sir; I am not. It will be extreme folly on my part. Do you expect to come into a fortune within thirty days?"

"No, sir."

"So I presume. However, I have a plan to propose. I did intend to say that I would allow you fifty dollars for your two best cows. But even that would not pay the deficit. I believe your son owns a boat."

"I do," said Andy, looking up. He began to understand the squire's plan.

"I am willing to allow twenty dollars for it, as my son has taken a fancy to it, and his own boat was destroyed through the malice of a tramp. This, with fifty dollars for your two cows, would pay the interest all but twenty dollars, which you say you are able to pay in cash."

"Squire Carter, my cows are of a choice breed, and are worth fifty dollars each."

"They would not fetch that sum. Indeed, twenty-five dollars each is all that you would have any chance of getting. If you doubt it, you may try to get an offer elsewhere."

"What should I do without the cows? I depend on the butter and milk I obtain from them for a good part of my cash income."

"That is your lookout," said the squire, shrugging his shoulders.

"You don't appear to have much consideration for me."

"Business is business, Mr. Grant. You owe me ninety dollars. If you can't pay me in one form, you must in another."

"I would like to say a word, Squire Carter," said Andy. "The boat for which you offer twenty dollars cost Mr. Gate seventy-five."

"I don't believe it."

"I have his word for it."

"Very likely, but it wouldn't be the first case where a man overstated the price of his purchase."

"Mr. Gale would not deceive me in that way."

"Have it as you like. The boat is second-hand now, and worth far less than when it was new," persisted the squire.

"There is considerable difference between twenty dollars and seventy-five."

"Well, I might stretch a point and call it twenty-five, as Conrad is desirous of having the boat. In that case there would be five dollars coming to you, which you would doubtless find very handy."

"I think I shall have to decline your offer, Squire Carter."

"And leave your poor father in trouble? I thought better of you."

Squire Carter was surprised to find that both Andy and his father were cool, and apparently not suffering anxiety. He had thought they would be sad, and would resort to entreaties.

"Does it strike you, Squire Carter, that you are trying to drive a very hard bargain with my father and myself? You offer a very low sum for the cows and for my boat."

"If you can get more anywhere else, you are quite at liberty to do so," said the squire, in a tone of indifference.

He felt that father and son were in his power, and that he would have his own way in the end.

"I don't think we shall sell at all," said Andy, calmly.

"What!" ejaculated the squire. "Not sell at all? Do you think I will allow the interest to remain unpaid?"

"The interest will be paid."

"How? Where will you get the money?"

"I will supply my father with what he needs."

"You talk like a fool!" said the squire, sharply. "Do you think I will allow myself to be humbugged by a boy?"

"No, sir; but you can rely upon what I say."

"Have you borrowed the money from Mr. Gale?"

"I have not seen Mr. Gale for several months. He does not know of my father's pecuniary trouble. If he did, I think he would come to his and my assistance. As to the boat, I value it

not only on account of its intrinsic worth, but because he gave it to me. Conrad cannot have it."

Squire Carter was much irritated. Besides, he did not believe that Andy would really be able to furnish his father with the help he needed.

"I am not easily deceived, Andrew Grant," he said. "It is useless for me to remain here any longer. I will only say that if the interest is not paid on Tuesday next, your father must take the consequences."

"He is ready to pay it now-before it is due-if you will give him a receipt."

"Wh-what!" ejaculated the squire, in amazement.

"I mean what I say. Father, will you give the squire writing materials and ask him to make out a receipt?"

"Is this-straight? Are you really able to pay the interest now?"

"Yes, sir. You need have no fear on that score. When my father wrote me about his difficulty I procured the money, and I have it here."

Half incredulous, Squire Carter made out the receipt, and a roll of bills was handed to him. He counted them carefully, and put them in his wallet.

"The money is correct," he said, stiffly. "I am glad you are able to pay it."

"Thanks to Andy here," said his father, with a grateful look at his son.

"All is well so far, but if your son has borrowed the money it will have to be repaid."

"I didn't borrow it, Squire Carter."

"Do you mean to say that you have been able to save it up out of your boy's wages?"

"I received it from my employer for special services."

Squire Carter left the house not altogether satisfied. He had received his interest, but he had hoped to profit by the farmer's needs, and get what would have been of considerably greater value than the money. In this he had been disappointed.

"But six months hence interest will be due again," he reflected, by way of consolation. "This time the Grants were lucky, but won't be so all the time. Besides, when the mortgage falls due it will take more help than the boy can give to settle it."

When the squire reached home, he found Conrad waiting to see him.

"Well, pa," he said, "am I going to have the boat?"

"No," answered his father, shortly.

"Why not? You said you would get it for me."

"They wouldn't sell."

"Then how will they pay the interest?"

"It is paid already."

Conrad opened his eyes wide with amazement.

"Where did the money come from?"

"The boy advanced it to his father."

"You must be joking, pa. Where could Andy get ninety dollars?"

"He only had to supply seventy. As to where it came from I can't tell.

You had better ask him."

"So I will. It's a shame I can't have the boat."

"He wants too much for it."

"How much does he want?"

"I don't know. If he will let you have it for thirty dollars, you can buy it."

"Thank you, pa. It's the same as mine. A boy like Andy can't afford to refuse thirty dollars."

"I don't know. He seems a mighty independent sort of boy."

Conrad lost no time in trying to purchase the boat of Andy, but of course without success.

"I would rather keep it myself," was the reply.

"But you can't use it."

"Not at present, perhaps, but I may be able to some time. Besides, Mr. Gale gave it to me, and I shouldn't be willing to part with it. At any rate, I wouldn't sell for thirty dollars."

"Never mind, Conrad," said his father. "When the next interest is payable, Andrew will probably be glad to accept your offer."

Andy enjoyed the short visit home. He managed to see the boys with whom he was most intimate, and promised to look out for positions in the city for two of them. At home his presence was a source of comfort and joy to his mother. It gladdened him to see the bright look on her face, which had been grave and anxious when he arrived.

On Monday, morning he set out for New York on an early train, feeling that his visit had been in every way a success. Several boys were at the station to see him off, but among them he did not perceive Conrad Carter.

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