Bound to Rise/Chapter XVIII
Harry learned rapidly. At the end of four weeks he had completed the Latin grammar, or that part of it which his teacher, thought necessary for a beginner to be familiar with, and commenced translating the easy sentences in "Andrews' Latin Reader."
"You are getting on famously, Harry," said his teacher. "I never had a scholar who advanced so."
"I wish I knew as much as you."
"Don't give me too much credit. When I compare myself with our professors, I feel dissatisfied."
"But you know so much more than I do," said Harry.
"I ought to; I am seven years older."
"What are you going to study, Mr. Morgan?"
"I intend to study law."
"I should like to be an editor," said Harry; "but I don't see much prospect of it."
"An editor must know a good deal."
"There are some who don't," said Leonard Morgan, with a smile. "However, you would like to do credit to the profession and it is certainly in these modern days a very important profession."
"How can I prepare myself?"
"By doing your best to acquire a good education; not only by study but by reading extensively. An editor should be a man of large information. Have you ever practiced writing compositions?"
"A little; not much."
"If you get time to write anything, and will submit it to me, I will point out such faults as I may notice."
"I should like to do that," said Harry, promptly.
"What subject shall I take?"
"You may choose your own subject. Don't be too ambitious but select something upon which you have some ideas of your own."
"Suppose I take my motto? 'Live and learn.'"
"Do so, by all means. That is a subject upon which you may fairly be said to have some ideas of your own."
In due time Harry presented a composition on this subject. The thoughts were good, but, as might be expected, the expression was somewhat crude, and of course the teacher found errors to correct and suggestions to make. These Harry eagerly welcomed and voluntarily proposed to rewrite the composition. The result was a very much improved draft. He sent a copy home and received in reply a letter from his father, expressing surprise and gratification at the excellence of his essay.
"I am glad, Harry," the letter concluded, "that you have formed just views of the importance of learning. I have never ceased to regret that my own opportunities for education were so limited and that my time has been so much absorbed by the effort to make a living, that I have been able to do so little toward supplying my deficiencies. Even in a pecuniary way an education will open to you a more prosperous career, and lead, I hope, to competence, instead of the narrow poverty which has been my lot. I will not complain of my own want of success, if I can see my children prosper."
But while intent upon cultivating his mind, Harry had not lost sight of the great object which had sent him from home to seek employment among strangers. He had undertaken to meet the note which his father had given Squire Green in payment for the cow. By the first of December he had saved up thirty-three dollars toward this object. By the middle of January the note would come due.
Of course he had not saved so much without the strictest economy, and by denying himself pleasures which were entirely proper. For instance, he was waited upon by Luke Harrison on the first day of December, and asked to join in a grand sleighing excursion to a town ten miles distant, where it was proposed to take supper, and, after a social time, return late in the evening.
"I would like to go," said Harry, who was strongly, tempted, for he was by no means averse to pleasure; "but I am afraid I cannot. How much will it cost?"
"Three dollars apiece. That pays for the supper too."
Harry shook his head. It was for rum a week's wages. If he were not trying to save money for his father, he might have ventured to incur this expense, but he felt that under present circumstances it would not be best.
"I can't go," said Harry.
"Oh, come along," urged Luke. "Don't make such a mope of yourself. You'll be sure to enjoy it."
"I know I should; but I can't afford it."
"I never knew a feller that thought so much of money as you," sneered Luke.
"I suppose it looks so," said Harry; "but it isn't true."
"Everybody says you are a miser."
"I have good reasons for not going."
"If you would come, it would make the expense lighter for the rest of us and you would have a jolly time."
This conversation took place as they were walking home from the store in the evening. Harry pulled out his handkerchief suddenly from his pocket and with it came his pocketbook, containing all his savings. He didn't hear if fall; but Luke did, and the latter, moreover, suspected what it was. He did not call Harry's attention to it, but, falling back, said: "I've got to go back to the store. I forgot something. Good night!"
"Good night!" said Harry, unsuspiciously.
Luke stooped swiftly while our hero's back was turned, and picked up the pocketbook. He slipped it into his own pocket, and, instead of going back to the store, went to his own room, locked the door, and then eagerly pulled out the pocketbook and counted the contents.
"Thirty-three dollars! What a miser that fellow is! It serves him right to lose his money."