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- Helping Himself - 41/41 -


"It's ridikilus," was Deacon Gridley's comment. "I work harder than the minister, and I never had to go to Europe. It's just because it's fashionable."

"Mr. Thornton is looking pale and haggard," said Mrs. Gridley.

"What if he is? He ought to work outdoors like me. Then he'd know what work was. Ac-cordin' to my notion, ministers have a pooty easy time."

Mr. Tudor was of the same opinion.

"It's all nonsense, deacon," he said. "Father wanted me to be a minister, and I'd have had a good deal easier time if I had followed his advice."

"You wouldn't have had so much money, Mr. Tudor," said Miss Lucretia Spring, who heard this remark.

"Mebbe not; but what I've got I've worked for."

"For my part, although I am not near as rich as you are, I'd give twenty dollars toward sending the minister abroad," said kindly Miss Spring.

"I wouldn't give a cent," said Mr. Tudor, with emphasis.

"Nor I," said Deacon Gridley. "I don't believe in humorin' the clergy."

Saturday came, and the minister was worse. It seemed doubtful if he would be able to officiate the next day. No wonder he became dispirited.

Just before supper the stage drove up to the door, and Grant jumped out.

"I am afraid he has been discharged," said Mr. Thornton, nervously.

"He does not look like it," said Mrs. Thornton, noticing Grant's beaming countenance.

"What is the matter with father?" asked Grant, stopping short as he entered.

"He is not feeling very well, Grant. He has got run down."

"What does the doctor say?"

"He says your father ought to take a three-months trip to Europe."

"Which, of course, is impossible," said Mr. Thornton, smiling faintly.

"Not if your brother would open his heart, and lend you the money."

"He would not do it."

"And we won't ask him," said Grant, quickly, "but you shall go, all the same, father."

"My son, it would cost five hundred dollars."

"And for twice as much, mother, could go with you; you would need her to take care of you. Besides she needs a change, too."

"It is a pleasant plan, Grant; but we must not think of it."

"That's where I don't agree with you. You and mother shall go as soon as you like, and I will pay the expenses."

"Is the boy crazy?" said the minister.

"I'll answer that for myself, father. I have five thousand dollars in the Bowery Savings Bank, in New York, and I don't think I can spend a part of it better than in giving you and mother a European trip."

Then the explanation came, and with some difficulty the minister was made to understand that the dream of his life was to be realized, and that he and his wife were really going to Europe.

"Well, well! who'd have thought it?" ejaculated Deacon Gridley. "That boy of the minister's must be plaguey smart. I never thought he'd be so successful. All the same, it seems to me a mighty poor investment to spend a thousand dollars on racin' to Europe. That money would buy quite a sizable farm."

Others, however, less narrow in their notions, heartily approved of the European trip. When three months later the minister came home, he looked like a new man. His eye was bright, his face bronzed and healthy, his step elastic, and he looked half a dozen years younger.

"This all comes of having a good son," he said, smiling, in reply to congratulations, "a son who, in helping himself, has been alive to help others."

Half a dozen years have passed. Grant Thornton is now a young man, and junior partner of Mr. Reynolds. He has turned his money to good account, and is counted rich for one of his age. He has renewed his acquaintance with Miss Carrie Clifton, whom he met for the first time as a summer boarder in Colebrook, and from their intimacy it wouldn't be surprising if Grant should some day become the wealthy jeweler's son-in-law.

Uncle Godfrey has become reconciled to Grant's following his own course. It is easy to become reconciled to success.

Willis Ford is confined in a penitentiary in a Western State, having been convicted of forgery, and there is small chance of his amendment. He has stripped his stepmother of her last penny, and she is compelled to live on the charity of a relative, who accords her a grudging welcome, and treats her with scant consideration. The bitterest drop in her cup of humiliation is the prosperity of Grant Thornton, toward whom she feels a fierce and vindictive hatred. As she has sown, so she reaps. Malice and uncharitableness seldom bring forth welcome fruit.

THE END


Helping Himself - 41/41

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