Dick Hamilton's Fortune/5

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"Where are you going to-day, Dick?" asked Mr. Hamilton after breakfast one morning.

"I thought of taking a run in my car. I've bought that property I was telling you about. I think it will be a good investment, and it only took five hundred dollars to secure it. I talked to the agent, and he said I was sure to be able to sell it for a thousand at the end of the year."

"Humph! Well—er—of course, you can't believe all that a real-estate agent says, Dick."

"No, of course. I'm making allowances for that, and I figure that it ought to be worth at least eight hundred a year from now. That will clear me three hundred."

"Well, you can do as you like about it. By the way, I had a visit at the bank yesterday from an agent for a motor boat concern. He said you had ordered a boat from them, and he wanted to know if it was all right."

"I did, dad. I've always wanted one. I hope you told him it was all right."

"I told him to see you about it. I have no objection to you purchasing one of the craft. Only be careful when you go out on the lake. There are sudden storms on it, and you might be in danger."

"I'll be careful, dad. I guess I'll just run over to the motor boat place in my car and see if the boat is ready to deliver. They had to order one from the factory for me."

As Dick was riding through the town at an easy pace he passed a rather dilapidated looking house, in front of which stood a youth, at the sight of whom Dick called:

"Hello, Henry! Want a ride?"

"Thanks, Dick," was Henry Darby's answer. "But I can't go."

"Why not?" asked the millionaire's son, as he brought his runabout to a stop.

"Well, I'm engaged in a little business deal, and I'm so bothered over it that I wouldn't enjoy a ride. Besides, I have to go see a man."

"What's the business about, Henry? That same old iron?"

"That's it."

"But what are you bothered about?"

"Well, the truth is I have a chance to get hold of a lot of scrap at a very low figure. But the trouble is I must pay cash for it. I looked at it the other day, and told the man I'd take it. I figured then on having the money. Now I find I haven't got it."

"Did you lose it?"

"No," and Henry spoke hesitatingly. "But you see my father had an idea he could make some money by becoming agent for a new kind of soap. He borrowed my cash and sent for a big supply; but when he got it no one would buy it. So he has it on hand, and my money is gone. Of course what I have is my father's until I'm of age, but—"

Henry stopped. In spite of the selfish and lazy character of his parent he was not going to utter any complaint against him.

"How much money do you need to buy this iron?" asked Dick, a sudden resolve coming into his mind.

"It will take fifty dollars; but it might just as well be five hundred as far as I'm concerned. I could get it together in about a month, but it's out of the question now. I'm just on my way to tell the man I can't take the iron. It's too bad, as it's a bargain, and I could easily make considerable on the deal."

While Henry was speaking Dick had drawn a little red book from his pocket, and was busily writing in it with a fountain pen. He tore out a slip of paper and handed it to his friend.

"There, Henry," he said, "if you take that to the Hamilton National Bank they'll give you cash for it."

"But what is it—I don't understand—a check for fifty dollars!" exclaimed the other youth.

"That's what it is," replied Dick smiling. "It's a present from me, Henry."

"A present! I'm sorry, but I can't take it, Dick. I'm very much obliged to you, but it wouldn't be business, you know. I don't want anything I don't earn."

"But I have lots more," insisted Dick. "In fact, I'd never miss that sum."

"I can't help it. I couldn't take it, though I thank you very much," and Henry handed back the little slip.

"Wait!" exclaimed Dick. "Will you take it as a loan, Henry?"

"A loan?"

"Yes; to be paid back—whenever you get good and ready. Do take it—as a loan."

"A loan," repeated Henry in a low tone. "Well, I might do that. But if you're in any hurry for the money you'd better not let me take it. I don't know when I can pay it back."

"That's all right. Keep it as long as you like."

"But there's another objection," said Henry, who appeared to be very conscientious about it. "You have no security for it."

"I don't need any from you, Henry."

"But it wouldn't be right to take it without security. Wait, I'll tell you what I'll do."

He hurried back into his house, to return in a few minutes with a folded paper which he handed to Dick.

"What is this?"

"That," said Henry proudly, "is my personal note for fifty dollars, payable in one month, with interest at six per cent., as security for this loan. You can have it discounted at the bank," he added with a laugh; "that is if you can get your father, or somebody with some money, to indorse it. Anyhow, it's my note. The first one I ever gave. Now you needn't worry about your money, Dick."

"I'm not worrying about it. In fact, I've got a deal of my own on hand that I expect to make some profit on. Besides, I'm going to buy a new motor boat, and I've got to go see about it. Will you come along?"

"No, indeed. I'm going to buy that old iron now," and as Dick started up his auto, Henry hurried into the house for his hat to go and complete his business transaction.

Dick rode on for about a mile, when he saw coming toward him a man in a carriage. The man held up his hand as he approached, indicating that he wanted the automobilist to stop.

"I wonder what's the matter?" thought Dick. "I can't be going so fast that I'm in danger of scaring his horse. Why, it's Mr. Bruce," as he recognized the real-estate agent of whom he had purchased the land he had been looking at with Guy and Simon one day.

"How are you?" asked Mr. Bruce. "I was just coming over to see you, Mr. Hamilton;" for he had been quite respectful to Dick since he learned of his wealth.

"To see me? What about?"

"About that land deal. In fact, I have bad news for you."

"Bad news?"

"Yes, I have just learned that they are going to put a fertilizer factory up on the property adjoining that which you bought, and yours will be valueless to sell for building lots. No one will want to live next to a fertilizer factory."

"Then it means—" faltered Dick.

"It means that your investment hasn't turned out well," went on the agent. "In fact, your land is worth less than half what you paid for it."