“I want to try it, too; but I’ve got to buy the papers first, you know, and I haven’t got any money. So, if you’ll lend me fifty cents, I’ll try it this afternoon.”
“You think you can sell them, Jack?”
“I know I can. I’m as smart as Tom Blake, any day.”
“Pride goes before a fall!” remarked Rachel, by way of a damper. “Disappointment is the common lot.”
“That’s just the way all the time,” said Jack, provoked.
“I’ve lived longer than you,” began Aunt Rachel.
“Yes, a mighty lot longer,” interrupted Jack. “I don’t deny that.”
“Now you’re sneerin’ at me on account of my age, Jack. Martha, how can you allow such things?”
“Be respectful, Jack.”
“Then tell Aunt Rachel not to aggravate me so. Will you let me have the fifty cents, mother?”
“Yes, Jack. I think your plan is worth trying.”
She took out half a dollar from her pocketbook and handed it to Jack.
“All right, mother. I’ll see what I can do with it.”
Jack went out, and Rachel looked more gloomy than ever.
“You’ll never see that money again, you may depend on’t, Martha,” she said.
“Why not, Rachel?”
“Because Jack’ll spend it for candy, or in some other foolish way.”
“You are unjust, Rachel. Jack is not that kind of boy.”
“I’d ought to know him. I’ve had chances enough.”
“You never knew him to do anything dishonest.”
“I suppose he’s a model boy?”
“No, he isn’t. He’s got faults enough, I admit; but he wouldn’t spend for his own pleasure money given him for buying papers.”
“If he buys the papers, I don’t believe he can sell them, so the money’s wasted anyway,” said Rachel, trying another tack.
“We will wait and see,” said Mrs. Harding.
She saw that Rachel was in one of her unreasonable moods, and that it was of no use to continue the discussion.
MRS. HARDING TAKES A BOARDER
Jack started for the newspaper offices and bought a supply of papers.
“I don’t see why I can’t sell papers as well as other boys,” he said to himself. “I’m going to try, at any rate.”
He thought it prudent, however, not to buy too large stock at first. He might sell them all, but then again he might get “stuck” on a part, and this might take away all his profits.
Jack, however, was destined to find that in the newspaper business, as well as in others, there was no lack of competition. He took his place just below the Astor House, and began to cry his papers. This aroused the ire of a rival newsboy a few feet away.
“Get away from here!” he exclaimed, scowling at Jack.
“What for?” said Jack.
“This is my stand.”
“Keep it, then. This is mine,” retorted Jack, composedly.