“What did you say?” asked Uncle Job, evidently amused.
“I said yes, and that each piece was twice as big as she gave.”
“I’m afraid that was rather forward, Ben. Did she say anything to that?”
“She said I must be very greedy, and that boys always ate more’n was good for ’em. No, Uncle Job, I don’t care to work for Deacon Pitkin.”
“Have you formed any plans, Ben? You don’t want to go on a farm, and you don’t want to go into a shoeshop, and that’s about all you can find to do in Hampton.”
“I don’t mean to stay in Hampton,” said Ben quietly.
“Don’t mean to stay in Hampton!” exclaimed Uncle Joe, amazed.
“No, uncle. There’s a good many places besides Hampton in the world.”
“So there is, Ben,” answered Uncle Job, with a disregard of grammar more excusable than his nephew’s, for he had never had any special educational advantages,-"so there is, but you don’t know anybody in them other places.”
“It won’t take me long to get acquainted,” returned Ben, not at all disturbed by this consideration.
“Where do you want to go?”
“I want to go to California.”
“Gracious sakes! Want to go to California!” gasped Job. “What put that idee into your head?”
“A good many people are going there, and there’s a chance to get rich quick out among the gold-mines.”
“But you’re only a boy.”
“I’m a pretty large boy, Uncle Job,” said Ben complacently, “and I’m pretty strong.”
“So you be, Ben, but it takes more than strength.”
“What more, Uncle Job?”
“It takes judgment.”
“Can’t a boy have judgment?”
“Waal, he may have some, but you don’t often find an old head on young shoulders.”
“I know all that, uncle, but I can work if I am a boy.”
“I know you’re willin’ to work, Ben, but it’ll cost a sight of money to get out to Californy to start with.”
“I know that. It will take two hundred dollars.”
“And that’s more’n half of all you’ve got. It seems to me temptin’ Providence to spend such a sight of money for the chance of earning some on t’other side of the world, when you can get a livin’ here and put all your money in the bank.”
“In five years it would only amount to five hundred dollars, and if I go to California, I expect to be worth a good deal more than that before two years are past.”
“I’m afraid you’ve got large idees, Ben.”
“You won’t interfere with my going, Uncle Job?” asked Ben anxiously.
“I won’t actooly interfere, but I’ll do all I can to have you give it up.”
“But if my mind is set upon it, you’ll let me go, won’t you, uncle?”
“I suppose I must,” said Job Stanton. “A wilful lad must have his way. But you mustn’t blame me if things turn out unlucky.”
“No, I shall only blame myself.”
“There’s one promise you must make me,” said his uncle.