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- Do and Dare - 5/40 -


"What's Mrs. Carr going to do?"

"She's got her pension," said Ebenezer, shortly.

"Eight dollars a month, isn't it?"

"Yes."

"That ain't much to support a family."

"She'll have to do something else, then, I suppose."

"There isn't much to do in Wayneboro."

"That isn't my lookout. She can take in sewing, or washing," suggested Ebenezer, who did not trouble himself much about the care of his neighbors. "Besides there's Herbert--he can earn something."

"But I'm to take his place."

"Oh well, I ain't under any obligations to provide them a livin'. I've got enough to take care of myself and my family."

"You'd better have let her keep the post office," said Eben. He was not less selfish than his father, but then his own interests were not concerned. He would not have scrupled, in his father's case, to do precisely the same.

"It's lucky I've got a little extra income," said Ebenezer, bitterly; "now I've got your bills to pay."

"I suppose I shall have to accept your offer, father," said Eben, "for the present; but I hope you'll think better of my California plan after a while. Why, there's a fellow I know went out there last year, went up to the mines, and now he's worth five thousand dollars!"

"Then he must be a very different sort of a person from you," retorted his father, sagaciously. "You would never succeed there, if you can't in Boston."

"I've never had a chance to try," grumbled Eben.

There was sound sense in what his father said. Failure at home is very likely to be followed by failure away from home. There have been cases that seemed to disprove my assertion, but in such cases failure has only been changed into success by earnest work. I say to my young readers, therefore, never give up a certainty at home to tempt the chances of success in a distant State, unless you are prepared for disappointment.

When the engagement had been made with Eben, Mr. Graham called Herbert to his presence.

"Herbert," said he, "I won't need you after Saturday night. My son is going into the store, and will do all I require. You can tell him how to prepare the mails, et cetery."

"Very well, sir," answered Herbert. It was not wholly a surprise, but it was a disappointment, for he did not know how he could make three dollars a week in any other way, unless he left Wayneboro.

CHAPTER V.

EBEN'S SCHEME.

Saturday night came, and with it the end of Herbert's engagement in the post office.

He pocketed the three dollars which his employer grudgingly gave him, and set out on his way home.

"Wait a minute, Herbert," said Eben. "I'll walk with you."

Herbert didn't care much for Eben's company but he was too polite to say so. He waited therefore, till Eben appeared with hat and cane.

"I'm sorry to cut you out of your place, Herbert," said the young man.

"Thank you," answered Herbert.

"It isn't my fault, for I don't want to go into the store," proceeded Eben. "A fellow that's stood behind the counter in a city store is fit for something better, but it's the old man's fault."

Herbert made no comment, and Eben proceeded:

"Yes," said he, "it's the old man's fault. He's awfully stingy, you know that yourself."

Herbert did know it, but thought it would not be in good taste to say so.

"I suppose Wayneboro is rather dull for you after living in the city," he remarked.

"I should say so. This village is a dull hole, and yet father expects me to stay here cooped up in a little country store. I won't stay here long, you may be sure of that."

"Where will you go?"

"I don't know yet. I want to go to California, but I can't unless the old man comes down with the requisite amount of tin. You'll soon have your situation back again. I won't stand in your way."

"I'm not very particular about going back," said Herbert, "but I must find something to do."

"Just so!" said Eben. "The place will do well enough for a boy like you, but I am a young man, and entitled to look higher. By the way, I've got something in view that may bring me in five thousand dollars within a month."

Herbert stared at his companion in surprise, not knowing any short cut to wealth.

"Do you mean it?" he asked, incredulously.

"Yes," said Eben.

"I suppose you don't care to tell what it is?"

"Oh, I don't mind--it's a lottery."

"Oh!" said Herbert, in a tone of disappointment.

"Yes," answered Eben. "You may think lotteries are a fraud and all that, but I know a man in Boston who drew last month a prize of fifteen thousand dollars. The ticket only cost him a dollar. What do you say to that?"

"Such cases can't be very common," said Herbert, who had a good share of common sense.

"Not so uncommon as you think," returned Eben, nodding. "I don't mean to say that many draw prizes as large as that, but there are other prizes of five thousand dollars, and one thousand, and so on. It would be very comfortable to draw a prize of even five hundred, wouldn't it now?"

Herbert admitted that it would.

"I'd send for a ticket by Monday morning's mail," continued Eben, "if I wasn't so hard up. The old man's mad because I ran into debt, and he won't give me a cent. Will you do me a favor?"

"What is it?" asked Herbert, cautiously.

"Lend me two dollars. You've got it, I know, because you were paid off to-night. I would send for two tickets, and agree to give you quarter of what I draw. Isn't that fair?"

"It may be," said Herbert, "but I haven't any money to lend."

"You have three dollars in your pocket at this moment."

"Yes, but it isn't mine. I must hand it to mother."

"And give up the chance of winning a prize. I'll promise to give you half of whatever I draw, besides paying back the money."

"Thank you, but I can't spare the money."

"You are getting as miserly as the old man," said Eben, with a forced laugh.

"Eben," said Herbert, seriously, "you don't seem to understand our position. Mother has lost the post office, and has but eight dollars a month income. I've earned three dollars this week, but next week I may earn nothing. You see, I can't afford to spend money for lottery tickets."

"Suppose by your caution you lose five hundred dollars. Nothing risk, nothing gain!"

"I have no money to risk," said Herbert, firmly.

"Oh, well, do as you please!" said Eben, evidently disappointed. "I thought I'd make you the offer, because I should like to see you win a big prize."

"Thank you for your friendly intention," said Herbert, "but I am afraid there are a good many more blanks than prizes. If there were not, it wouldn't pay the lottery men to carry on the business."

This was common sense, and I cannot forbear at this point to press it upon the attention of my young reader. Of all schemes of gaining wealth, about the most foolish is spending money for lottery


Do and Dare - 5/40

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