CHAPTER I. HARRY WALTON.
"I am sorry to part with you, Harry," said Professor Henderson. "You have been a very satisfactory and efficient assistant, and I shall miss you."
"Thank you, sir," said Harry. "I have tried to be faithful to your interests."
"You have been so," said the Professor emphatically. "I have had perfect confidence in you, and this has relieved me of a great deal of anxiety. It would have been very easy for one in your position to cheat me out of a considerable sum of money."
"It was no credit to me to resist such a temptation as that," saidHarry.
"I am glad to hear you say so, but it shows your inexperience nevertheless. Money is the great tempter nowadays. Consider how many defalcations and breaches of trust we read of daily in confidential positions, and we are forced to conclude that honesty is a rarer virtue than we like to think it. I have every reason to believe that my assistant last winter purloined, at the least, a hundred dollars, but I was unable to prove it, and submitted to the loss. It may be the same next winter. Can't I induce you to change your resolution, and remain in my employ? I will advance your pay."
"Thank you, Professor Henderson," said Harry gratefully. "I appreciate your offer, even if I do not accept it. But I have made up mind to learn the printing business."
"You are to enter the office of the 'Centreville Gazette,' I believe."
"How much pay will you get?"
"I shall receive my board the first month, and for the next six months have agreed to take two dollars a week and board."
"That won't pay your expenses."
"It must," said Harry, firmly.
"You have laid up some money while with me, haven't you!"
"Yes, sir; I have fifty dollars in my pocket-book, besides having given eighty dollars at home."
"That is doing well, but you won't be able to lay up anything for the next year."
"Perhaps not in money, but I shall be gaining the knowledge of a good trade."
"And you like that better than remaining with me, and learning my business?"
"Well, perhaps you are right. I don't fancy being a magician myself; but I am too old to change. I like moving round, and I make a good living for my family. Besides I contribute to the innocent amusement of the public, and earn my money fairly."
"I agree with you, sir," said Harry. "I think yours is a useful employment, but it would not suit everybody. Ever since I read the life of Benjamin Franklin, I have wanted to learn to be a printer."
"It is an excellent business, no doubt, and if you have made up your mind I will not dissuade you. When you have a paper of your own, you can give your old friend, Professor Henderson, an occasional puff."
"I shall be glad to do that," said Harry, smiling, "but I shall have to wait some time first."
"How old are you now?"
"Then you may qualify yourself for an editor in five or six years. I advise you to try it at any rate. The editor in America is a man of influence."
"I do look forward to it," said Harry, seriously. "I should not be satisfied to remain a journeyman all my life, nor even the half of it."
"I sympathize with your ambition, Harry," said the Professor, earnestly, "and I wish you the best success....