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- Do and Dare - 40/40 -


"With you?"

"Yes, you don't suppose I would remain here alone?"

"If you feel well enough, Mr. Melville, there is nothing I should like better."

"I do feel well enough. If I find any unfavorable symptoms coming back, I can travel again, but I am anxious to get away from this place, where I have come so near losing my life at the hands of the outlaws."

There was little need of delay. Their preparations were soon made. There was an embarrassment about the cottage, but that was soon removed.

"I'll buy it of you, Mr. Melville," said Jack Holden.

"I can't sell it to you, Mr. Holden."

"I will give you a fair price."

"You don't understand me," said George Melville, smiling. "I will not sell it, because I prefer to give it."

"Thank you, Mr Melville, but you know I am not exactly a poor man. The sale of the mine---"

"Jack," said Melville, with emotion, "would you have me forget that it is to you and Herbert that I owe my rescue from a violent and ignominious death?"

"I want no pay for that, Mr. Melville."

"No, I am sure you don't. But you will accept the cabin, not as pay, but as a mark of my esteem."

Upon that ground Jack accepted the cottage with pleasure. Herbert tried to tempt him to make a visit to the East, but he was already in treaty for another mine, and would not go.

The two stayed a day in Chicago on their way to Boston.

"I wonder if Eben is still here?" thought Herbert.

He soon had his question answered. In passing through a suburban portion of the great city, he saw a young man sawing wood in front of a mean dwelling, while a stout negro was standing near, with his hands in his pockets, surveying the job. He was the proprietor of a colored restaurant, and Eben was working for him.

Alas, for Eben! The once spruce dry-goods clerk was now a miserable-looking tramp, so far as outward appearances went. His clothes were not only ragged, but soiled, and the spruce city acquaintances whom he once knew would have passed him without recognition.

"Eben!"

Eben turned swiftly as he heard his name called, and a flush of shame overspread his face.

"Is it you, Herbert?" he asked, faintly.

"Yes, Eben. You don't seem very prosperous."

"I never thought I should sink so low," answered Eben, mournfully, "as to saw wood for a colored man."

"What are you talkin' about?" interrupted his boss, angrily. "Ain't I as good as a worfless white man that begged a meal of vittles of me, coz he was starvin'? You jest shut up your mouf, and go to work."

Eben sadly resumed his labor. Herbert pitied him, in spite of his folly and wickedness.

"Eben, do you owe this man anything?" he added.

"Yes, he does. He owes me for his dinner. Don't you go to interfere!" returned the colored man.

"How much was your dinner worth?" asked Herbert, putting his hand into his pocket.

"It was wuf a quarter."

"There is your money! Now, Eben, come with me."

"I've been very unfortunate," wailed Eben.

"Would you like to go back to Wayneboro?" asked Herbert.

"Yes, anywhere," answered Eben, eagerly. "I can't make a livin' here. I have almost starved sometimes."

"Eben, I'll make a bargain with you. If I will take you home, will you turn over a new leaf, and try to lead a regular and industrious life?"

"Yes, I'll do it," answered Eben.

"Then I'll take you with me to-morrow."

"I shouldn't like my old friends to see me in these rags," said Eben, glancing with shame at his tattered clothes.

"They shall not. Come with me, and I will rig you out anew."

"You're a good fellow, Herbert," said Eben, gratefully. "I'm sorry for the way I treated you."

"Then it's all right," said Herbert. Herbert kept his promise. He took Eben to a barber shop, where there were also baths, having previously purchased him a complete outfit, and Eben emerged looking once more like the spruce dry-goods salesman of yore.

. . . . . . .

One day not long afterwards Mrs. Carr was sitting in her little sitting room, sewing. She had plenty of leisure for this work now, for Mr. Graham had undertaken to attend to the post-office duties himself. It was natural that she should think of her absent boy, from whom she had not heard for a long time.

"When shall I see him again?" she thought, wearily.

There was a knock at the outer door.

She rose to open it, but, before she could reach it, it flew open, and her boy, taller and handsomer than ever, was in her arms.

"Oh, Herbert!"

It was all she could say, but the tone was full of joy.

"How I have missed you!"

"We will be together now, mother."

"I hope so, Herbert. Perhaps you can find something to do in Wayneboro, and even if it doesn't pay as well--"

"Mother," interrupted Herbert, laughing, "is that the way to speak to a rich boy like me?"

"Rich?"

"Yes, mother, I bring home twelve thousand dollars."

Mrs. Carr could not believe it at first, but Herbert told his story, and she gave joyful credence at last.

Eben did not receive as warm a welcome, but finally his father was propitiated, and agreed to give his son employment in his own store. He's there yet. His hard experience in the West has subdued his pride, and he has really "turned over a new leaf," as he promised Herbert. His father will probably next year give him a quarter interest in the firm, and the firm's name will be

"EBENEZER GRAHAM & SON."

Herbert and his mother have moved to Boston. Our hero is learning business in the counting room of Mr. Compton. They live in a pleasant house at the South End, and Mr. Melville, restored to a very fair measure of health, is boarding, or, rather, has his home with them. He is devoting his time to literary pursuits, and I am told that he is the author of a brilliant paper in a recent number of the North American Review. Herbert finds some time for study, and, under the guidance of his friend and former employer, he has already become a very creditable scholar in French, German and English literature. He enjoys his present prosperity all the better for the hardships through which he passed before reaching it.

THE END


Do and Dare - 40/40

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