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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about Eben Holden, a tale of the north country.

‘In trouble,’ said I.

‘Same thing,’ he answered, lighting his pipe.  ’Love is trouble with a bit of sugar in it — the sweetest trouble a man can have.  What’s the matter?’

‘It’s a great secret,’ I said, ‘I have never told it.  I am in love.’

‘Knew it,’ he said, puffing at his pipe and smiling in a kindly way.  ‘Now let’s put in the trouble.’

‘She does not love me,’ I answered.

‘Glad of it,’ he remarked.  ‘I’ve got a secret t, tell you.’

‘What’s that?’ I enquired.

‘Wouldn’t tell anybody else for the world, my boy,’ he said, ’it’s between you an’ me.’

‘Between you an’ me,’ I repeated.

‘Well,’ he said, you’re a fool.’

‘That’s no secret,’ I answered much embarrassed.

‘Yes it is,’ he insisted, ‘you’re smart enough an’ ye can have most anything in this world if ye take the right road.  Ye’ve grown t’ be a great big strapping fellow but you’re only — sixteen?’

‘That’s all,’ I said mournfully.

’Ye’re as big a fool to go falling in love as I’d be.  Ye’re too young an’ I’m too old.  I say to you, wait.  Ye’ve got to go t’ college.’

‘College!’ I exclaimed, incredulously.

‘Yes! an’ thet’s another secret,’ said he.  I tol’ David Brower what I thought o’ your writing thet essay on bugs in pertickier — an’ I tol’ ‘im what people were sayin’ o’ your work in school.’

‘What d’ he say?’ I asked.

‘Said Hope had tol’ him all about it — that she was as proud o’ you as she was uv her curls, an’ I believe it.  “Well,” says I, “y’ oughter sen’ that boy t’ college.”  “Goin’ to,” says he.  “He’ll go t’ the ’Cademy this fall if he wants to.  Then he can go t’ college soon’s he’s ready.”  Threw up my hat an’ shouted I was that glad.’

As he spoke the old man’s face kindled with enthusiasm.  In me he had one who understood him, who saw truth in his thought, music in his verse, a noble simplicity in his soul.  I took his hand in mine and thanked him heartily.  Then we rose and came away together.

‘Remember,’ he said, as we parted at the corner, ’there’s a way laid out fer you.  In God’s time it will lead to every good thing you desire.  Don’t jump over the fence.  Don’t try t’ pass any milestun ’fore ye’ve come to it.  Don’t mope.  Keep yer head cool with philosophy, yer feet warm with travel an’ don’t worry bout yer heart.  It won’t turn t’ stun if ye do keep it awhile.  Allwus hev enough of it about ye t’ do business with.  Goodbye!’

Chapter 15

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