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- Herbert Carter's Legacy - 1/39 -


HERBERT CARTER'S LEGACY

OR

THE INVENTOR'S SON

BY

HORATIO ALGER, JR.

AUTHOR OF "Strong and Steady," "Strive and Succeed," "Try and Trust," "Bound To Rise," Etc.

NEW YORK

BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY

Horatio Alger, Jr., an author who lived among and for boys and himself remained a boy in heart and association till death, was born at Revere, Mass., January 13, 1834. He was the son of a clergyman; was graduated at Harvard College in 1852, and at its Divinity School in 1860; and was pastor of the Unitarian Church at Brewster, Mass., in 1862-66.

In the latter year he settled in New York and began drawing public attention to the condition and needs of street boys. He mingled with them, gained their confidence, showed a personal concern in their affairs, and stimulated them to honest and useful living. With his first story he won the hearts of all red-blooded boys everywhere, and of the seventy or more that followed over a million copies were sold during the author's lifetime.

In his later life he was in appearance a short, stout, bald-headed man, with cordial manners and whimsical views of things that amused all who met him. He died at Natick, Mass., July 18, 1899.

Mr. Alger's stories are as popular now as when first published, because they treat of real live boys who were always up and about-- just like the boys found everywhere to-day. They are pure in tone and inspiring in influence, and many reforms in the juvenile life of New York may be traced to them. Among the best known are:

Strong and Steady; Strive and Succeed; Try and Trust; Bound to Rise; Risen from the Ranks; Herbert Carter's Legacy; Brave and Bold; Jack's Ward; Shifting for Himself; Wait and Hope; Paul the Peddler; Phil the Fiddler; Slow and Sure; Julius the Street Boy; Tom the Bootblack; Struggling Upward; Facing the World; The Cash Boy; Making His Way; Tony the Tramp; Joe's Luck; Do and Dare; Only an Irish Boy; Sink or Swim; A Cousin's Conspiracy; Andy Gordon; Bob Burton; Harry Vane; Hector's Inheritance; Mark Mason's Triumph; Sam's Chance; The Telegraph Boy; The Young Adventurer; The Young Outlaw; The Young Salesman, and Luke Walton.

[Illustration: It is practical. I will pay one thousand dollars a year for ten years for a half interest in the invention.]

CHAPTER I

MRS. CARTER RECEIVES A LETTER

"Is that the latest style?" inquired James Leech, with a sneer, pointing to a patch on the knee of Herbert Carter's pants.

Herbert's face flushed. He was not ashamed of the patch, for he knew that his mother's poverty made it a necessity. But he felt that it was mean and dishonorable in James Leech, whose father was one of the rich men of Wrayburn, to taunt him with what he could not help. Some boys might have slunk away abashed, but Herbert had pluck and stood his ground.

"It is my style," he answered, firmly, looking James boldly in the face.

"I admire your taste, then," returned James, with a smooth sneer.

"Then, you had better imitate it," retorted Herbert.

"Thank you," said James, in the same insulting tone. "Would you lend me your pants for a pattern? Excuse me, though; perhaps you have no other pair."

"For shame, James!" exclaimed one or two boys who had listened to the colloquy, stirred to indignation by this heartless insult on the part of James Leech to a boy who was deservedly a favorite with them all.

Herbert's fist involuntarily doubled, and James, though he did not know it, ran a narrow chance of getting a good whipping. But our young hero controlled himself, not without some difficulty, and said: "I have one other pair, and these are at your service whenever you require them."

Then turning to the other boys, he said, in a changed tone: "Who's in for a game of ball?"

"I," said one, promptly.

"And I," said another.

Herbert walked away, accompanied by the other boys, leaving James Leech alone.

James looked after him with a scowl. He was sharp enough to see that Herbert, in spite of his patched pants, was a better scholar and a greater favorite than himself. He had intended to humiliate him on the present occasion, but he was forced to acknowledge that he had come off second best from the encounter. He walked moodily away, and took what comfort he could in the thought that he was far superior to a boy who owned but two pairs of pants, and one of them patched. He was foolish enough to feel that a boy or man derived importance from the extent of his wardrobe; and exulted in the personal possession of eight pairs of pants.

This scene occurred at recess. After school was over, Herbert walked home. He was a little thoughtful. There was no disgrace in a patch, as he was sensible enough to be aware. Still, he would have a little preferred not to wear one. That was only natural. In that point, I suppose, my readers will fully agree with him. But he knew very well that his mother, who had been left a widow, had hard work enough to get along as it was, and he had no idea of troubling her on the subject. Besides, he had a better suit for Sundays, neat though plain, and he felt that he ought not to be disturbed by James Leech's insolence.

So thinking, he neared the small house which he called home. It was a small cottage, with something less than an acre of land attached, enough upon which to raise a few vegetables. It belonged to his mother, nominally, but was mortgaged for half its value to Squire Leech, the father of James. The amount of the mortgage, precisely, was seven hundred and fifty dollars. It had cost his father fifteen hundred. When he built it, obtaining half this sum on mortgage, he hoped to pay it up by degrees; but it turned out that, from sickness and other causes, this proved impossible. When, five months before, he had died suddenly, the house, which was all he left, was subject to this incumbrance. Upon this, interest was payable semi-annually at the rate of six per cent. Forty-five dollars a year is not a large sum, but it seemed very large to Mrs. Carter, when added to their necessary expenses for food, clothing and fuel. How it was to be paid she did not exactly see. The same problem had perplexed Herbert, who, like a good son as he was, shared his mother's cares and tried to lighten them. But in a small village like Wrayburn there are not many ways of getting money, at any rate for a boy. There were no manufactories, as in some large villages, and money was a scarce commodity.

Herbert had, however, one source of income. Half a dozen families, living at some distance from the post office, employed him to bring any letters or papers that might come for them, and for this service he received a regular tariff of two cents for each letter, and one cent for each paper. He was not likely to grow rich on this income, but he felt that, though small, it was welcome.

According to custom, Herbert called at the post office on his way home. He found a letter for Deacon Crossleigh, one for Mr. Duncan, two for Dr. Waffit, and papers for each of the two former.

"Ten cents!" he thought with satisfaction. "Well, that is better than nothing, though it won't buy me a new pair of pants."

He was about to leave the office, when the postmaster called after him: "Wait a minute, Herbert; I believe there's a letter for your mother."

Herbert returned, and received a letter bearing the following superscription: "Mrs. Almira Carter, Wrayburn, New York."

"I hope it isn't bad news," said the postmaster. "I see it's edged with black."

"I can't make out where it's from," said Herbert, scanning the postmark critically.

"Nor I," said the postmaster, rubbing his glasses, and taking another look. "The postmark is very indistinct."

"There's an n and a p," said Herbert, after a little examination. "I think it must be Randolph."

"Randolph? So it is, I declare. Have you got any friends or relatives living there?"

"Yes, my mother's Uncle Herbert, for whom I was named, lives there."

"Then he must be dead."

"What makes you think so?"

"The envelope is edged with black. You had better carry it home before


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