It was not long, however, before a new thought struck him. He went straight to his parents’ bookstore, where he found his mother alone, Mr. Prescott being out on business.
To his mother Dick quickly related his new good fortune. Mrs. Prescott’s face and words both expressed her pleasure.
“At first, mother, I didn’t think of anything but pocket money,” Dick admitted. “Then my head got to work a bit. It has struck me that if I can make a little money each week by writing for ‘The Blade,’ I can pay you at least a bit of the money that you and Dad have to spend to keep me going.”
“I am glad you thought of that,” replied Mrs. Prescott, patting her boy’s hand. “But we shan’t look to you to do anything of the sort. Your father and I are not rich, but we have managed all along to keep you going, and I think we can do it for a while longer. Whatever money you can earn, Richard, must be your own. We shall take none of it. But I trust you will learn how to handle your own money wisely. That is one of the most valuable lessons to be learned in life.”
To his chums, when he saw them later in the afternoon, Dick said nothing of Mr. Pollock’s request. The young soph thought it better to wait a while, and see how he got along at amateur reporting before he let anyone else into the secret.
But late that afternoon Dick ran into a matter of interest and took it to “The Blade” office.
“That’s all right,” nodded Mr. Pollock, after looking over Dick’s “copy.” “Glad to see you have started in, my boy. Now, I won’t pay you for this on the nail. Wait until Saturday morning, cutting all that you have printed out of the ‘The Blade.’ Paste all the items together, end on end, and bring them to me. That is what reporters call a ‘space string.’ Bring your ‘string’ to me every Saturday afternoon. We’ll measure it up with you and settle.”
Dick hurried away, content. He even found that evening that he could study with more interest, now that he found he had a financial place in life.
In the morning Gridley read and laughed over Dick’s item about the High School hoax. But there was one man who saw it at his breakfast table, and who went into a white heat of rage at once. That man was Abner Cantwell, the principal.
He was still at white heat when he started for the High School; though, warned by prudence, he tried to keep his temper down. Nevertheless, there was fire in Mr. Cantwell’s eyes when he rang the bell to bring the student body to attention to begin the morning’s work.
MR. CANTWELL THINKS TWICE—–OR OFTENER