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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesChester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 9. New Plans For Chester
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Chester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 9. New Plans For Chester Post by :tuamigo Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :2288

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Chester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 9. New Plans For Chester

CHAPTER IX. NEW PLANS FOR CHESTER

Two days later Chester found another letter from Mr. Conrad at the post office. In it were two bills--a ten and a five.

Mr. Conrad wrote:

"I have disposed of your two sketches to the same paper. The publisher offered me fifteen dollars for the two, and I thought it best to accept. Have you ever thought of coming to New York to live? You would be more favorably placed for disposing of your sketches, and would find more subjects in a large city than in a small village. The fear is that, if you continue to live in Wyncombe, you will exhaust your invention.

"There is one objection, the precarious nature of the business. You might sometimes go a month, perhaps, without selling a sketch, and meanwhile your expenses would go on. I think, however, that I have found a way of obviating this objection. I have a friend--Mr. Bushnell--who is in the real estate business, and he will take you into his office on my recommendation. He will pay you five dollars a week if he finds you satisfactory. This will afford you a steady income, which you can supplement by your art work. If you decide to accept my suggestion come to New York next Saturday, and you can stay with me over Sunday, and go to work on Monday morning.

"Your sincere friend,

"HERBERT CONRAD."


Chester read this letter in a tumult of excitement. The great city had always had a fascination for him, and he had hoped, without much expectation of the hope being realized, that he might one day find employment there. Now the opportunity had come, but could he accept it? The question arose, How would his mother get along in his absence? She would be almost entirely without income. Could he send her enough from the city to help her along?

He went to his mother and showed her the letter.

"Fifteen dollars!" she exclaimed. "Why, that is fine, Chester. I shall begin to be proud of you. Indeed, I am proud of you now."

"I can hardly realize it myself, mother. I won't get too much elated, for it may not last. What do you think of Mr. Conrad's proposal?"

"To go to New York?"

"Yes."

Mrs. Rand's countenance fell.

"I don't see how I can spare you, Chester," she said, soberly.

"If there were any chance of making a living in Wyncombe, it would be different."

"You might go back to Mr. Tripp's store."

"After he had charged me with stealing? No, mother, I will never serve Silas Tripp again."

"There might be some other chance."

"But there isn't, mother. By the way, I heard at the post office that the shoe manufactory will open again in three weeks."

"That's good news. I shall have some more binding to do."

"And I can send you something every week from New York."

"But I will be so lonely, Chester, with no one else in the house."

"That is true, mother."

"But I won't let that stand in the way. You may have prospects in New York. You have none here."

"And, as Mr. Conrad says, I am likely to run out of subjects for sketches."

"I think I shall have to give my consent, then."

"Thank you, mother," said Chester, joyfully. "I will do what I can to pay you for the sacrifice you are making."

Just then the doorbell rang.

"It is Mr. Gardener, the lawyer," said Chester, looking from the window.

A moment later he admitted the lawyer.

"Well, Chester," said Mr. Gardener, pleasantly, "have you disposed of your lots in Tacoma yet?"

"No, Mr. Gardener. In fact, I had almost forgotten about them."

"Sometime they may prove valuable."

"I wish it might be soon."

"I fancy you will have to wait a few years. By the time you are twenty-one you may come into a competence."

"I won't think of it till then."

"That's right. Work as if you had nothing to look forward to."

"You don't want to take me into your office and make a lawyer of me, Mr. Gardener, do you?"

"Law in Wyncombe does not offer any inducements. If I depended on my law business, I should fare poorly, but thanks to a frugal and industrious father, I have a fair income outside of my earnings. Mrs. Rand, my visit this morning is to you. How would you like to take a boarder?"

Chester and his mother looked surprised.

"Who is it, Mr. Gardener?"

"I have a cousin, a lady of forty, who thinks of settling down in Wyncombe. She thinks country air will be more favorable to her health than the city."

"Probably she is used to better accommodations than she would find here."

"My cousin will be satisfied with a modest home."

"We have but two chambers, mine and Chester's."

"But you know, mother, I am going to New York to work."

"That's true; your room will be vacant."

Mr. Gardener looked surprised.

"Isn't this something new," he asked, "about you going to New York, I mean?"

"Yes, sir; that letter from Mr. Conrad will explain all."

Mr. Gardener read the letter attentively.

"I think the plan a good one," he said. "You will find that you will work better in a great city. Then, if my cousin comes, your mother will not be so lonesome."

"It is the very thing," said Chester, enthusiastically.

"What is your cousin's name, Mr. Gardener?" asked the widow.

"Miss Jane Dolby. She is a spinster, and at her age there is not much chance of her changing her condition. Shall I write her that you will receive her?"

"Yes; I shall be glad to do so."

"And, as Miss Dolby is a business woman, she will expect me to tell her your terms."

"Will four dollars a week be too much?" asked Mrs. Rand, in a tone of hesitation.

"Four dollars, my dear madam!"

"Do you consider it too much? I am afraid I could not afford to say less."

"I consider it too little. My cousin is a woman of means. I will tell her your terms are eight dollars a week including washing."

"But will she be willing to pay so much?"

"She pays twelve dollars a week in the city, and could afford to pay more. She is not mean, but is always willing to pay a good price."

"I can manage very comfortably on that sum," said Mrs. Rand, brightening up. "I hope I shall be able to make your cousin comfortable."

"I am sure of it. Miss Dolby is a very sociable lady, and if you are willing to hear her talk she will be content."

"She will keep me from feeling lonesome."

When Mr. Gardener left the house, Chester said: "All things seem to be working in aid of my plans, mother, I feel much more comfortable now that you will have company."

"Besides, Chester, you will not need to send me any money. The money Miss Dolby pays me will be sufficient to defray the expenses of the table, and I shall still have some time for binding shoes."

"Then I hope I may be able to save some money."

During the afternoon Chester went to the store to buy groceries. Mr. Tripp himself filled the order. He seemed disposed to be friendly.

"Your money holds out well, Chester," he said, as he made change for a two-dollar bill.

"Yes, Mr. Tripp."

"I can't understand it, for my part. Your mother must be a good manager."

"Yes, Mr. Tripp, she is."

"You'd orter come back to work for me, Chester."

"But you have got a boy already."

"The Wood boy ain't worth shucks. He ain't got no push, and he's allus forgettin' his errands. If you'll come next Monday I'll pay you two dollars and a half a week. That's pooty good for these times."

"I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Tripp, but I am going to work somewhere else."

"Where?" asked Silas, in great surprise.

"In New York," answered Chester, proudly.

"You don't say! How'd you get it?"

"Mr. Conrad, an artist, a friend of the minister, got it for me."

"Is your mother willin' to have you go?"

"She will miss me, but she thinks it will be for my advantage."

"How's she goin' to live? It will take all you can earn to pay your own way in a big city. In fact, I don't believe you can do it."

"I'll try, Mr. Tripp."

Chester did not care to mention the new boarder that was expected, as he thought it probable that Mr. Tripp, who always looked out for his own interests, would try to induce Miss Dolby to board with him. As Mr. Tripp had the reputation of keeping a very poor table, he had never succeeded in retaining a boarder over four weeks.

Chester found that his clothing needed replenishing, and ventured to spend five dollars for small articles, such as handkerchiefs, socks, etc. Saturday morning he walked to the depot with a small gripsack in his hand and bought a ticket for New York.

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