“Well, Sam began to aspire, an’ nothing would do for Lizzie but the Smythe school at Hardcastle at seven hundred dollars a year. So they rigged her up splendid, an’ away she went. Prom that day she set the pace for this community. Dan had to keep up with Lizzie, and so his father, Bill Pettigrew, sent him to Harvard. Other girls started in the race, an’ the first we knew there was a big field in this maiden handicap.
“Well, Sam had been aspirin’ for about three months, when he began to perspire. The extras up at Hardcastle had exceeded his expectations. He was goin’ a hot pace to keep up with Lizzie, an’ it looked as if his morals was meltin’ away.
“I was in the northern part o’ the county one day, an’ saw some wonderful, big, red, tasty apples.
“‘What ye doin’ with yer apples?’ says I to the grower.
“’I’ve sent the most of ’em to Samuel Henshaw, o’ Pointview, an’ he’s sold ’em on commission,’ says he.
“’What do ye get for ’em ?’ I asked.
“‘Two dollars an’ ten cents a barrel,’ says he.
“The next time I went into Sam’s store there were the same red apples that came out o’ that orchard in the northern part o’ the county.
“‘How much are these apples?’ I says.
“‘Seven dollars a barrel,’ says Sam.
[Illustration: Seven dollars a barrel.]
“‘How is it that you get seven dollars a barrel an’ only return two dollars an’ ten cents to the grower?’ I says.
“Sam stuttered an’ changed color. I’d been his lawyer for years, an’ I always talked plain to Sam.
“‘Wal, the fact is,’ says he, with a laugh an’ a wink, ’I sold these apples to my clerk.’
“‘Sam, ye’re wastin’ yer talents,’ I says. ’Go into the railroad business.’
“Sam was kind o’ shamefaced.
“’It costs so much to live I have to make a decent profit somewhere,’ says he. ’If you had a daughter to educate, you’d know the reason.’
“I bought a bill o’ goods, an’ noticed that ham an’ butter were up two cents a pound, an’ flour four cents a sack, an’ other things in proportion. I didn’t say a word, but I see that Sam proposed to tax the community for the education o’ that Lizzie girl. Folks began to complain, but the tax on each wasn’t heavy, an’ a good many people owed Sam an’ wasn’t in shape to quit him. Then Sam had the best store in the village, an’ everybody was kind o’ proud of it. So we stood this assessment o’ Sam’s, an’ by a general tax paid for the education o’ Lizzie. She made friends, an’ sailed around in automobiles, an’ spent a part o’ the Christmas holidays with the daughter o’ Mr. Beverly Gottrich on Fifth Avenue, an’ young Beverly Gottrich brought her home in his big red runabout. Oh, that was a great day in Pointview!—that red-runabout day of our history when the pitcher was broken at the fountain and they that looked out of the windows trembled.
“Dan Pettigrew was home from Harvard for the holidays, an’ he an’ Lizzie met at a church party. They held their heads very high, an’ seemed to despise each other an’ everybody else. Word went around that it was all off between ’em. It seems that they had riz—not risen, but riz—far above each other.