Dick Hamilton's Fortune/9
A CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN
Dick and his friends went home in the big automobile a few days later, having crowded into their stay as much sight-seeing as was possible. Dick had just finished telling his father, the evening of his arrival, of his various adventures, including the one with the swindler, when the servant announced:
"Some one to see you. Master Dick."
"Who is it?"
"Ah, there's a young man who will make his mark some day!" exclaimed Mr. Hamilton. "If his father was only like him Henry would have more chances."
"That's right," admitted Dick. "I wonder what he wants?"
"Well, I'll leave you together," said Dick's father, as he left the library, and a little later Henry was ushered in by the servant.
"Hello, Henry!" exclaimed Dick.
"Same to you and more of it," was Henry's greeting. "I've come to see if you don't want a particularly fine line of gold bricks," he went on with a laugh, for he had read in the papers of the attempted bond swindle.
"You'll have to see my secretary," spoke Dick, joining in the spirit of the talk. "He buys all my gold bricks. But, to change the subject, how's the old iron business?"
"Pretty good. In fact, I came to see you about it, if you're not too busy," and Henry tried to look as though he had come to discuss the investment of millions.
"No, I guess I can spare you a few minutes. What is it?"
"I came to take up my note and pay it off," went on the young iron merchant, drawing a roll of much-crumpled bills from his pocket. "Want to save interest, you know. I managed to sell that iron I bought, and I made a profit on it. So I'll pay that fifty-dollar note now."
"Well, you certainly know how to make money," spoke Dick admiringly. "I'll have to take lessons from you. But say, Henry, I'm in no hurry for that money. If you can use it, why, just keep it."
"No—no," went on Henry, with rather a sorrowful air, Dick thought. "I'd better pay you while I have it. I might not be able to get it together again. You take it," and he shoved the bills over toward Dick with an air of desparation.
"But, I don't need it," persisted Dick. "You might just as well keep it a while, Henry."
"Do you mean that?" asked Henry earnestly.
"Then I will," and Henry appeared much relieved.
"In fact, if you want more I'll lend it to you," continued the millionaire's son.
"Are you in earnest?"
"Of course I am. Why?"
"Well, to tell you the truth I hated to pay back that fifty dollars. I mean I still had a use for it. In fact, if I had a little more I could branch out—I'm a sort of a little tree now—like one of those saplings they set out. I need branches."
"Tell me about it," suggested Dick.
"Well, if I had two hundred dollars more I could buy out the business of Moses Cohen, who deals in old metal. He's getting too feeble to carry it on, and I heard it was for sale. I made some inquiries and I found I can get it for about five hundred dollars."
"But you said two hundred and fifty was all you needed."
"So it is. I'm only going to pay half cash, and give a mortgage for the balance. That's the safest way. So I was in hopes you wouldn't take that fifty. I might induce him to take this on account and wait a while for the two hundred."
"He needn't wait at all," interrupted Dick. "I'll let you have two hundred more, with pleasure," and he drew out his check book with a little flourish.
"I can't give you any security but my note," said Henry. "Even that wouldn't be good in law, as I am not of age. But it shows I mean to pay you back."
"Of course it does."
"I'll get my father to give you his, also," went on the young lad of business. "Though I guess it isn't worth much more than mine," and he sighed a little, for Henry was aware of his father's failing.
"Yours is all I want," said Dick. "Tear up this old note and make out one for two hundred and fifty dollars. Then you can buy out Cohen's business."
Henry tore up the fifty-dollar promissory note Dick handed him and soon had made out another for the larger amount.
"There's the check," went on Dick, handing it over.
"I'll get dad to draw up some kind of a paper giving you a share in the business," continued Henry. "He heard about me going to buy out old Cohen, and he wants me to incorporate and make him one of the officers. I guess that's what he's best fitted for," and once more Henry smiled rather sadly.
"Well, I wish you good luck," returned Dick as he shook hands with Henry. "I'm going to put through some business deals myself soon, as for certain reasons, I've got to make a good investment," and he thought of his failure in the land scheme, while a vision of his Uncle Ezra came to him like the memory of a bad dream.
It was several days after this that Dick met Frank Bender on the street. Frank was attired in his "Sunday clothes" and seemed in a hurry.
"Where you going?" asked Dick.
"Where is it?"
"Over to Parkertown. They have some good acrobats in it, and I want to get a few points."
"I wonder why a circus never comes here," mused Dick, half to himself. "It's quite a trip to Parkertown."
"This place is too small," replied Frank. "They have to have a big crowd to make it pay. A circus will never come here."
"No, I s'pose not," answered Dick. "Well, I wish I was going, but I've got to go down to dad's bank. I've got a little business on hand."
"So long," called Frank. "I must hurry to catch the train."
"I wish they'd have a circus here some time," continued Dick, as he walked along. "Hamilton Corners is too quiet. It needs stirring up."
Just then he caught sight of a curious procession. It was composed of a number of boys and girls, mostly little tots, walking along the street, two by two, led by three matronly ladies.
"The orphan asylum out for an airing," commented Dick. "Poor little kids! Poor little kids!"
There was a county orphan asylum in Hamilton Corners, and it was usually well filled with small unfortunates. Twice a week they were taken for a walk by some of the matrons in charge.
"Poor little kids!" repeated Dick. "I'll bet they never saw a circus in their lives. And they're not likely to. A circus will never come here. The place is too small. No, they'll never see a circus—unless—"
He came to a sudden stop in his musings. Then a light broke over his face.
"By Jimminy Crickets! I'll do it!" he exclaimed, so loudly that several persons in the street turned to look at him. "I'll do it! That's what I will!"
He looked at his watch.
"I've just got time to catch the train to Parkertown if I hustle," he added as he set off on a run.