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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.

‘How much is it worth?’ I enquired.

He whistled a moment as he surveyed it carefully.

‘’Bout one cent,’ he answered seriously.

I handed him the money and sat down awhile to watch him as he went on with his work.  It was the cheapest amusement I have yet enjoyed.  Indeed Sol Rollin became a dissipation, a subtle and seductive habit that grew upon me and on one pretext or another I went every Saturday to the shop if I had not gone home.

‘What ye goin’ t’ be?’

He stopped his saw, and looked at me, waiting for my answer.

At last the time had come when I must declare myself and I did.

‘A journalist,’ I replied.

‘What’s that?’ he enquired curiously.

‘An editor,’ I said.

‘A printer man?’

‘A printer man.’

‘Huh!’ said he.  ‘Mebbe I’ll give ye a job.  Sairey tol’ me I’d orter t’ ’ave some cards printed.  I’ll want good plain print:  Solomon Rollin, Cappenter ‘n J’iner, Hillsborough, Ny — soun’s putty good don’t it.’

‘Beautiful,’ I answered.

’I’ll git a big lot on ’em,’ he said.  ’I’ll want one for Sister Susan ’at’s out in Minnesoty — no, I guess I’ll send ’er tew, so she can give one away — an’ one fer my brother, Eliphalet, an’ one apiece fer my three cousins over ‘n Vermont, an’ one fer my Aunt Mirandy.  Le’s see-tew an’ one is three an’ three is six an’ one is seven.  Then I’ll git a few struck off fer the folks here — guess they’ll thank I’m gittin’ up ‘n the world.’

He shook and snickered with anticipation of the glory of it.  Pure vanity inspired him in the matter and it had in it no vulgar consideration of business policy.  He whistled a lively tune as he bent to his work again.

‘Yer sister says ye’re a splendid scholar!’ said he.  ’Hear’n ‘er braggin’ ‘bout ye t’other night; she thinks a good deal o’ her brother, I can tell ye.  Guess I know what she’s gain’ t’ give ye Crissmus.’

‘What’s that?’ I asked, with a curiosity more youthful than becoming.

‘Don’t ye never let on,’ said he.

‘Never,’ said I.

’Hear’n ’em tell,’ he said,’ ‘twas a gol’ lockup, with ‘er pictur’ in it’

‘Oh, a locket!’ I exclaimed.

‘That’s it,’ he replied, ‘an’ pure gol’, too.’

I turned to go.

‘Hope she’ll grow up a savin’ woman,’ he remarked. ’’Fraid she won’t never be very good t’ worlt.’

‘Why not?’ I enquired.

‘Han’s are too little an’ white,’ he answered.

‘She won’t have to,’ I said.

He cackled uproariously for a moment, then grew serious.

‘Her father’s rich,’ he said, ‘the richest man o’ Faraway, an I guess she won’t never hev anything t’ dew but set’n sing an’ play the melodium.’

‘She can do as she likes,’ I said.

He stood a moment looking down as if meditating on the delights he had pictured.

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