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- Walter Sherwood's Probation - 5/38 -


"Yes."

"Perhaps your guardian may object to sending it."

"Oh, no! He's a nice old fellow, Doctor Mack is. He is very indulgent."

"What name did you mention?

"Doctor Mack. Ezekiel Mack."

"Indeed! Why, we had a gentleman stopping at the hotel last night of that name."

"What!" ejaculated Walter, in astonishment. "Do you mean to tell me that Doctor Mack--my guardian--was at the hotel last night? It can't be. He would have called on me."

"It may not have been the same man. Now I come to think of it, he didn't put himself down on the book Doctor Mack. He just put himself down E. Mack. He seemed a plain sort of man."

"Where did he register from?" asked Walter eagerly.

"From Albany."

"Is he at the hotel now?"

"He went away by the morning train."

"Then it couldn't have been he," said Walter, in a tone of relief. "He doesn't live in Albany. Besides, he would have called on me. No, it must have been some other Mack."

"Perhaps you wouldn't have liked to have him catch you at a gay supper, Mr. Sherwood?" said the landlord shrewdly.

"Well, no, I'd a little rather receive him in my room, with a book open before me."

"He might object to pay out money for such doings."

"He won't know anything about it. Just leave your bill, Mr. Daniels, and as soon as I get the check I'll call round and pay it."

"There's another bill, too, a livery bill. I brought that along, too."

"How much is it?" asked Walter anxiously.

"Eighteen dollars."

"I didn't think it was as much as that!"

"Bills mount up faster than you young gentlemen think for. I suppose, however, you can afford to pay it?"

"Oh, yes!" said Walter carelessly.

"Your uncle may think it rather steep, eh?"

"I wrote him that I had some extra expenses this time."

"Then I suppose you can't do anything for me this morning?"

"No, Daniels; just leave both bills, and I feel quite sure that I can pay you in a day or two. I suppose you can change a check?"

"I'll manage to."

The landlord retired, leaving the bills behind him.

"Do you know, Sherwood," said his chum gravely "I think you are foolishly extravagant."

"Well, perhaps I am."

"You are spending three times as much as I am."

"I'll do better next term. I wish my guardian would hurry along that check."

Two days later a letter came for Walter in the familiar handwriting of Doctor Mack. He tore it open hastily, and as he read it he turned pale and sank into a chair.

"What's the matter?" asked Gates.

"Matter enough!" answered Walter, in a hollow voice. "My money is lost, and I've got to leave college!"

CHAPTER V

WALTER TAKES MATTERS PHILOSOPHICALLY

Walter's announcement, recorded at the close of the preceding chapter, fell like a thunderbolt on his room-mate.

"You have lost your money?" repeated Gates, in a tone of incredulity. "You don't mean it!"

"Read that letter, Gates," said Walter, pushing it over to his chum.

The letter was, of course, from Doctor Mack, and ran thus:

"DEAR WALTER: Your letter asking for an extra check for one hundred dollars came to hand three or four days since. I have delayed answering for two reasons. I am satisfied that you are spending more money than is necessary, and, moreover, I have shrunk from communicating to you some unpleasant intelligence. Upon me have devolved the investment and management of your property, and while I have tried to be cautious, there have been losses which I regret. In one case three-fourths of an investment has been lost. Of course, you didn't know this, or you would have been less free in your expenditures.

"I am not prepared to tell you how you stand. I think it will be prudent for you to leave college at the end of this term, and for a year to seek some employment. During that time I will do what I can to settle matters on a better footing, and perhaps at the end of that time you will be able to return to your studies. You are so young--I think you must be younger than the majority of your classmates--that you can afford to lose the time.

"I send you a check for sixty dollars in place of a hundred. I wish you to have your regular term bills sent to me, and I will forward checks in payment. I will see that you leave Euclid owing no man anything. When you come home for the vacation we can consult as to the future. I hope you will not be much depressed or cast down by the news I send. Your money is not all lost, and I may be able, in the course of twelve months, to recover in a large measure what has been sunk.

"Your affectionate guardian, EZEKIEL MACK."

"A regular sockdolager, isn't it, Gates?" said Walter.

"I don't see that it's so bad," answered Gates slowly. "Your money isn't all lost."

"But I must leave college."

"True; but, as your guardian says, you are young, and if you come back at the end of a year you will still be a year younger than I for your standing. Of course, I am sorry to have you go."

"I am sure of that, Gates."

"Is the prospect of working for a year so unpleasant to you, Walter?"

"No, I can't say it is," said Walter, brightening up, "not if I can choose my employment. I shouldn't like to go behind the counter in a grocery store, or--"

"Black boots for a living?"

"Well, hardly," said Walter, laughing.

"Probably your guardian will consult your preferences."

"I wish I could arrange to travel. I should like to see something of the world."

"Why not? You might get an agency of some kind. One college vacation-- last summer--I traveled about as book agent."

"How did you like it?"

"Not very much. I met with a good many rebuffs, and was occasionally looked upon with suspicion, as I could see. Still, I made a living, and brought back thirty dollars to start me on my new term."

"Just what my supper cost the other evening."

"Yes; I didn't think it wise to spend the money in the same way."

"You have cheered me up, Gates. I really believe I shall like to spend a year in some kind of business."

"Write your guardian to that effect. He may be blaming himself for his agency in your misfortune, and a cheerful letter from you will brighten him up."

"All right! I will."

Walter sat down and dashed off the following note:

"DEAR GUARDIAN: Your letter just received. I won't pretend that I am not sorry for the loss of my money, but I am sure that you acted for the best. Don't trouble yourself too much about the matter. Perhaps it will all come out right in a year or so. In the meantime I think I shall find it not unpleasant to work for a year if you will let me select the kind of business I am to follow.

"I will make the money you sent me do for the present, and will send you my term bills as you desire. You can depend upon my settling up as


Walter Sherwood's Probation - 5/38

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