had been heard from him; there could be little or no doubt that he was dead.
One day Hiram came into Squire Hall’s office with a letter in his hand. It was the time of the old French war, and flour and corn meal were fetching fabulous prices in the British West Indies. The letter Hiram brought with him was from a Philadelphia merchant, Josiah Shippin, with whom he had had some dealings. Mr. Shippin proposed that Hiram should join him in sending a “venture” of flour and corn meal to Kingston, Jamaica. Hiram had slept upon the letter overnight and now he brought it to the old Squire. Squire Hall read the letter, shaking his head the while. “Too much risk, Hiram!” said he. “Mr Shippin wouldn’t have asked you to go into this venture if he could have got anybody else to do so. My advice is that you let it alone. I reckon you’ve come to me for advice?” Hiram shook his head. “Ye haven’t? What have ye come for, then?”
“Seven hundred pounds,” said Hiram.
“Seven hundred pounds!” said Squire Hall. “I haven’t got seven hundred pounds to lend you, Hiram.”
“Five hundred been left to Levi—I got hundred—raise hundred more on mortgage,” said Hiram.
“Tut, tut, Hiram,” said Squire Hall, “that’ll never do in the world. Suppose Levi West should come back again, what then? I’m responsible for that money. If you wanted to borrow it now for any reasonable venture, you should have it and welcome, but for such a wildcat scheme—”
“Levi never come back,” said Hiram—“nine years gone Levi’s dead.”
“Mebby he is,” said Squire Hall, “but we don’t know that.”
“I’ll give bond for security,” said Hiram.
Squire Hall thought for a while in silence. “Very well, Hiram,” said he by and by, “if you’ll do that. Your father left the money, and I don’t see that it’s right for me to stay his son from using it.