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   Chapter 34 SETH JOHNSON'S GIFT.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7865

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


It was four weeks before Seth Johnson became convalescent. His system was run down, and he was in a very critical state when found by Andy. Careful nursing saved him.

When able to get out, he accompanied Andy to show him his lots. The plot was about as large as Mr. Crawford's, but was a little further from the center of the town. It would make about twenty-five lots of the average size.

"How much will you take for the entire plot?" asked Andy.

"I don't want to sell the whole," said Johnson.

"I thought you meant to leave Tacoma for good?"

"So I do, but I propose to give one-fifth of the land to a friend."

"Then let me know how much you will take for the remaining four-fifths."

"Will five thousand dollars be too much?"

"I will buy it at that figure," said Andy, promptly.

"You don't ask me to whom I intend to give the fifth which I reserve?"

"It is probably no one whom I know."

"On the contrary, it is one whom you know well-it is yourself."

Andy looked his amazement.

"But how have I deserved such a gift?" he asked.

"You have saved my life. If you had not found and befriended me, I should not have been living at this moment. 'All that a man hath will he give in exchange for his life,' the Bible says. I don't give all, but I give merely one-fifth of my land. I have ten thousand dollars, besides, in San Francisco."

"I am deeply grateful to you, Mr. Johnson. I am a poor boy, and this unexpected gift will help me to carry out some plans for the benefit of my father, who is in an embarrassed condition."

"I advise you not to sell the land till you can sell at an advanced price."

"I shall not do so. When the Northern Pacific is completed I am sure lots will be much higher."

"To be sure. You are young and can wait. I am old, and I have no particular desire to make money. I have enough to see me through."

When Andy started for New York he had the company of Seth Johnson. It was agreed that the final arrangements for the transfer of the lots should take place in Mr. Crawford's office.

They reached the city without adventure, and Andy, with his new friend, reported at his employer's.

"I hope you are satisfied with what I have done, Mr. Crawford," said

Andy.

"Thoroughly so. You have made a good purchase. I shall pay you five hundred dollars as an acknowledgment of the service you have rendered me."

"But, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Johnson has already given me five lots."

"True; but this is his gift, not mine. You must not be afraid of becoming too rich. You will need all your money."

"Yes, sir, but not for myself. I can now relieve my father's anxiety."

"Do you intend to tell him the amount of your good fortune?"

"I will only tell him of your gift."

On the basis of the sum which Mr. Crawford paid for the other four-fifths, Andy's share of Mr. Johnson's land amounted to twelve hundred and fifty dollars. But when, three months later, active operations for the extension and completion of the railroad commenced, it could easily have been sold for double.

But Andy was too sagacious to sell. In a year his father's mortgage would be payable, and he wanted to be prepared for that.

Meanwhile Andy devoted himself with energy to mastering the details of the real estate business. Perhaps because he now himself owned real estate, he became very much interested in it. He was not able often to visit Arden, but he never let a week pass without writing a letter home.

It was usually addressed to his mother, as his father was more accustomed to guiding the plow than the pen. He also heard occasionally from his boy friends. No letters were more welcome than those of Valentine Burns. About three months before the mortgage became due he received the following from Valentine:

"DEAR ANDY: I wish I could see you oftener, but I know you are busy, and getting on. That is a great satisfaction to me. Your last lette

r informing me that you had been raised to fifteen dollars a week gave me much pleasure. I wanted to tell Conrad, only you didn't wish to have me. He is getting prouder and more disagreeable every day. He really seems to have a great spite against you, though I cannot understand why.

"I met him the other day, and he inquired after you. 'He hasn't been to Arden lately,' he said.

"'No,' I answered, 'he is too busy.'

"'Probably he can't afford the railway fare,' said Conrad.

"'I think he is getting good pay,' I said.

"'I know better. He isn't getting over six dollars at most,' said

Conrad.

"'Did he tell you so?' I asked.

"'No, but I heard on good authority,' he replied.

"'I wish I were getting that,' I said.

"'You wouldn't want to live on it,' he rejoined.

"'Well, perhaps not,' I admitted.

"'He won't long have a home to come back to,' said Conrad, after a pause.

"'Why not?' I inquired.

"'My father holds a mortgage on his father's farm, and it will fall due in three months,' he answered.

"'Surely he won't foreclose?'

"'Surely he will,' returned Conrad. 'Old Grant will have to leave the farm and go to the poorhouse, or, at any rate, to some small place like the Sam Martin house. It contains four rooms, and is good enough for a bankrupt.'

"This made me uneasy. I hope, Andy, you will find some friend who will be able and willing to advance money to pay the mortgage when it falls due. I hear Squire Carter is treating with a city man to buy the place. He evidently feels sure that it will come into his possession."

When Andy read this portion of the letter he smiled.

"I suspect Conrad and his father will be disappointed," he said to himself. "The city man will have to look elsewhere for an investment."

One day Andy had a pleasant surprise. Just in front of him on Broadway he saw a figure that looked familiar.

The tall, bent form, and long white hair he recognized at once as belonging to Dr. Crabb, the principal of Penhurst Academy.

He pressed forward.

"Dr. Crabb!" he exclaimed. "It is long since we have met. I hope you are well."

Dr. Crabb surveyed him with a puzzled look; Andy had grown so much that he could not place him.

"I suppose you are one of my old pupils," he said, "but I shall have to ask your name."

"Don't you remember Andy Grant?"

"Bless my soul! is it possible? Why, you have grown much taller and larger."

"Yes, sir; I don't want to stand still."

"And what are you doing now?"

"I am in business in this city."

"That is well, but it is a great pity you could not have remained at school."

"I thought so myself at the time I left, but I'm quite reconciled to the change now."

"Doubtless you are doing your duty, wherever you are. In what business are you engaged?"

"I am in a real estate office."

"I hope you are making fine wages?"

"I receive fifteen dollars a week."

"Bless my soul! Why, that is all I pay my head assistant. You must be giving great satisfaction. And how is your father?"

"He is pretty well, sir; but his loss of property has worn upon him."

"Naturally. Did I not understand that he had to mortgage his farm."

"Yes, sir."

"I hope there is no danger of foreclosure?"

"There might be, sir; but when the danger comes I shall be able to help him."

"I am not much of a capitalist, Andy. I understand Latin and Greek better than I do investments, but if a loan of a few hundred dollars will help him I shall be willing to let him have it."

"Thank you very much, Dr. Crabb, but my employer, Mr. Crawford, will give me all the help I need."

"I am truly pleased to hear it. I wish you were able to return to the academy. You were our primus, and I did not like to spare you. You might in time have succeeded me."

"I hope it will be a long time before you require a successor, doctor. I shall confine my ambitions to succeeding in my business."

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