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- Bound to Rise - 3/40 -


"Well, I'll go and see what can be done."

Squire Green was the rich man of the town. He had inherited from his father, just as he came of age, a farm of a hundred and fifty acres, and a few hundred dollars.

The land was not good, and far from productive; but he had scrimped and saved and pinched and denied himself, spending almost nothing, till the little money which the farm annually yielded him had accumulated to a considerable sum. Then, too, as there were no banks near at t hand to accommodate borrowers, the squire used to lend money to his poorer neighbors. He took care not to exact more than six per cent. openly, but it was generally understood that the borrower must pay a bonus besides to secure a loan, which, added to the legal interest, gave him a very handsome consideration for the use of his spare funds. So his money rapidly increased, doubling every five or six years through his shrewd mode of management, and every year he grew more economical. His wife had died ten years before. She had worked hard for very poor pay, for the squire's table was proverbially meager, and her bills for dress, judging from her appearance, must have been uncommonly small.

The squire had one son, now in the neighborhood of thirty, but he had not been at home for several years. As soon as he attained his majority he left the homestead, and set out to seek his fortune elsewhere. He vowed he wouldn't any longer submit to the penurious ways of .the squire. So the old man was left alone, but he did not feel the solitude. He had his gold, and that was company enough. A time was coming when the two must part company, for when death should come he must leave the gold behind; but he did not like to think of that, putting away the idea as men will unpleasant subjects. This was the man to whom Hiram Walton applied for help in his misfortune.

"Is the squire at home?" he asked, at the back door. In that household the front door was never used. There was a parlor, but it had not been opened since Mrs. Green's funeral.

"He's out to the barn," said Hannah Green, a niece of the old man, who acted as maid of all work.

"I'll go out there."

The barn was a few rods northeast of the house, and thither Mr. Walton directed his steps.

Entering, he found the old man engaged in some light work.

"Good morning, Squire Green."

"Good morning, Mr. Walton," returned the squire.

He was a small man, with a thin figure, and a face deep seamed with wrinkles, more so than might have been expected in a man of his age, for he was only just turned of sixty; but hard work, poor and scanty food and sharp calculation, were responsible for them.

"How are you gettin' on?" asked the squire.

This was rather a favorite question of his, it being so much the custom for his neighbors to apply to him when in difficulties, so that their misfortune he had come to regard as his harvests. .

"I've met with a loss," answered Hiram Walton.

"You don't say so," returned the squire, with instant attention. "What's happened?"

"My cow is dead."

"When did she die?"

"This morning."

"What was the matter?"

"I don't know. I didn't notice but that she was welt enough last night; but this morning when I went out to the barn, she was lying down breathing heavily."

"What did you do?"

"I called in Elihu Perkins, and we worked over her for three hours; but it wasn't of any use; she died half an hour ago."

"I hope it isn't any disease that's catchin'," said the squire in alarm, thinking of his ten. "It would be a bad job if it should get among mine."

"It's a bad job for me, squire. I hadn't but one cow, and she's gone."

"Just so, just so. I s'pose you'll buy another."

"Yes, I must have a cow. My children live on bread and milk mostly. Then there's the butter and cheese, that I trade off at the store for groceries."

"Just so, just so. Come into the house, neighbor Walton."

The squire guessed his visitor's business in advance, and wanted to take time to talk it over. He would first find out how great his neighbor's necessity was, and then he accommodated him, would charge him accordingly.

CHAPTER III

HIRAM'S MOTTO

There was a little room just off the kitchen, where the squire had an old-fashioned desk. Here it was that he transacted his business, and in the desk he kept his papers. It was into this room that he introduced Mr. Walton.

"Set down, set down, neighbor Walton," he said. "We'll talk this thing over. So you've got to have a cow?"

"Yes, I must have one."

The squire fixed his eyes cunningly on his intended victim, and said, "Goin' to buy one in town?"

"I don't know of any that's for sale."

"How much do you calc'late to pay?"

"I suppose I'll have to pay thirty dollars."

Squire Green shook his head.

"More'n that, neighbor Walton. You can't get a decent cow for thirty dollars. I hain't got one that isn't wuth more, though I've got ten in my barn."

"Thirty dollars is all I can afford to pay, squire."

"Take my advice, and get a good cow while you're about it. It don't pay to get a poor one."

"I'm a poor man, squire. I must take what I can get."

"I ain't sure but I've got a cow that will suit you, a red with white spots. She's a fust-rate milker."

"How old is she?"

"She's turned of five."

"How much do you ask for her?"

"Are you going to pay cash down?" asked the squire, half shutting his eyes, and looking into the face of his visitor.

"I can't do that. I'm very short of money."

"So am I," chimed in the squire. He had two hundred dollars in his desk at that moment waiting for profitable investment; but then he didn't call it exactly a lie to misrepresent for a purpose. "So am I. Money's tight, neighbor."

"Money's always tight with me, squire," returned Hiram Walton, with a sigh.

"Was you a-meanin' to pay anything down?" inquired the squire.

"I don't see how I can."

"That alters the case, you know. I might as well keep the cow, as to sell her without the money down."

"I am willing to pay interest on the money."

"Of course that's fair. Wall, neighbor, what do you say to goin' out to see the cow?"

"Is she in the barn?"

"No, she's in the pastur'. 'Tain't fur."

"I'll go along with you."

They made their way by a short cut across a cornfield to the pasture--a large ten-acre lot, covered with a scanty vegetation. The squire's cows could not be said to live in clover.

"That's the critter," he said, pointing out one of the cows which was grazing near by. "Ain't she a beauty?"

"She looks pretty well," said Mr. Walton, dubiously, by no means sure that she would equal his lost cow.

"She's one of the best I've got. I wouldn't sell ef it wasn't to


Bound to Rise - 3/40

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