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- Bound to Rise - 4/40 -
oblige. I ain't at all partic'lar, but I suppose you've got to hev a cow."
"What do you ask for her, squire?"
"She's wuth all of forty dollars," answered the squire, who knew perfectly well that a fair price would be about thirty. But then his neighbor must have a cow, and had no money to pay, and so was at his mercy.
"That seems high," said Hiram.
"She's wuth every cent of it; but I ain't nowise partic'lar about sellin' her."
"Couldn't you say thirty-seven?"
"I couldn't take a dollar less. I'd rather keep her. Maybe I'd take thirty-eight, cash down."
Hiram Walton shook his head.
"I have no cash," he said. "I must buy on credit."
"Wall, then, there's a bargain for you. I'll let you have her for forty dollars, giving you six months to pay it, at reg'lar interest, six per cent. Of course I expect a little bonus for the accommodation."
"I hope you'll be easy with me--I'm a poor man, squire."
"Of course, neighbor; I'm always easy."
"That isn't your reputation," thought Hiram; but he knew that this was a thought to which he must not give expression.
"All I want is a fair price for my time and trouble. We'll say three dollars extra for the accommodation--three dollars down."
Hiram Walton felt that it was a hard bargain the squire was driving with him, but there seemed no help for it.
He must submit to the imposition, or do without a cow. There was no one else to whom he could look for help on any terms. As to the three dollars, his whole available cash amounted to but four dollars, and it was for three quarters of this sum that the squire called. But the sacrifice must be made.
"Well, Squire Green, if that is your lowest price, I suppose I must come to it," he answered, at last.
"You can't do no better," said the squire, with alacrity.
"If so be as you've made up your mind, we'll make out the papers."
"Come back to the house. When do you want to take the cow?"
"I'll drive her along now, if you are willing."
"Why, you see," said the squire, hesitating, while a mean thought entered his, mind, "she's been feedin' in my pastur' all the mornin', and I calc'late I'm entitled to the next milkin', you'd better come 'round to-night, just after milkin', and then you can take her."
"I didn't think he was quite so mean," passed through Hiram Walton's mind, and his lip curved slightly in scorn, but he knew that this feeling must be concealed.
"Just as you say," he answered. "I'll come round tonight, or send Harry."
"How old is Harry now?"
"He's got to be quite a sizable lad--ought to earn concid'able. Is he industrious?"
"Yes, Harry is a good worker--always ready to lend a hand."
"That's good. Does he go to school?"
"Yes, he's been going to school all the term."
"Seems to me he's old enough to give up larnin' altogether. Don't he know how to read and write and cipher?"
"Yes, he's about the best scholar in school."
"Then, neighbor Walton, take my advice and don't send him any more. You need him at home, and he knows enough to get along in the world."
"I want him to learn as much as he can. I'd like to send him to school till he is sixteen."
"He's had as much schoolin' now as ever I had," said the squire, "and I've got along pooty well. I've been seleckman, and school committy, and filled about every town office, and I never wanted no more schoolin'. My father took me away from school when I was thirteen."
"It wouldn't hurt you if you knew a little more," thought Hiram, who remembered very well the squire's deficiencies when serving on the town school committee.
"I believe in learning," he said. "My father used to say, 'Live and learn.' That's a good motto, to my thinking."
"It may be carried too far. When a boy's got to be of the age of your boy, he'd ought to be thinking of workin.' His time is too valuable to spend in the schoolroom."
"I can't agree with you, squire. I think no time is better spent than the time that's spent in learning. I wish I could afford to send my boy to college."
"It would cost a mint of money; and wouldn't pay. Better put him to some good business."
That was the way he treated his own son, and for this and other reasons, as soon as he arrived at man's estate, he left home, which had never had any pleasant associations with him. His father wanted to convert him into a money-making machine--a mere drudge, working him hard, and denying him, as long as he could, even the common recreations of boyhood--for the squire had an idea that the time devoted in play was foolishly spent, inasmuch as it brought him in no pecuniary return. He was willfully blind to the faults and defects of his system, and their utter failure in the case of his own son, and would, if could, have all the boys in town brought up after severely practical method. But, fortunately for Harry, Mr. Walton had very different notions. He was compelled to keep his son home the greater part of the summer, but it was against his desire.
"No wonder he's a poor man," thought the squire, after his visitor returned home. "He ain't got no practical idees. Live and learn! that's all nonsense. His boy looks strong and able to work, and it's foolish sendin' him school any longer. That wa'n't my way, and see where I am," he concluded, with complacent remembrance of bonds and mortgages and money out at interest. "That was a pooty good cow trade," he concluded. "I didn't calc' late for to get more'n thirty-five dollars for the critter; but then neighbor Walton had to have a cow, and had to pay my price."
Now for Hiram Walton's reflections.
"I'm a poor man," he said to himself, as he walked slowly homeward, "but I wouldn't be as mean as Tom Green for all the money he's worth. He's made a hard bargain with me, but there was no help for it."
A SUM IN ARITHMETIC
Harry kept on his way to school, and arrived just the bell rang. Many of my readers have seen a country schoolhouse, and will not be surprised to learn that the one in which our hero obtained his education was far from stately or ornamental, architecturally speaking. It was a one-story structure, about thirty feet square, showing traces of having been painted once, but standing greatly in need of another coat. Within were sixty desks, ranged in pairs, with aisles running between them. On one side sat the girls, on the other the boys. These were of all ages from five to sixteen. The boys' desks had suffered bad usage, having been whittled and hacked, and marked with the initials of the temporary occupants, with scarcely an exception. I never knew a Yankee boy who was not the possessor of a knife of some kind, nor one who could resist the temptation of using it for such unlawful purposes. Even our hero shared the common weakness, and his desk was distinguished from the rest by "H. W." rudely carved in a conspicuous place.
The teacher of the school for the present session was Nathan Burbank, a country teacher of good repute, who usually taught six months in a year, and devoted the balance of the year to surveying land, whenever he could get employment in that line, and the cultivation of half a dozen acres of land, which kept him in vegetables, and enabled him to keep a cow. Altogether he succeeded in making a fair living, though his entire income would seem very small to many of my readers. He was not deeply learned, but his education was sufficient to meet the limited requirements of a country school.
This was the summer term, and it is the usual custom in New England that the summer schools should be taught by females. But in this particular school the experiment had been tried, and didn't work. It was found that the scholars were too unruly to be kept in subjection by a woman, and the school committee had therefore engaged Mr. Burbank, though, by so doing, the school term was shortened, as he asked fifty per cent. higher wages than a female teacher would have done. However, it was better to have a short school than an unruly school, and so the district acquiesced.
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