CHAPTER XXXIX. CONCLUSION.
Nowhere did Gilbert receive heartier congratulations on the change in his fortunes than from Mr. Vivian and his family. Fred only was disturbed.
“I suppose you won't be willing to teach me any more, now you are rich, Gilbert,” he said.
“I don't think it will make any difference, Fred,” said Gilbert; “but I must consult your father about my plans.”
“What are your own views and wishes, Gilbert?” asked the merchant.
“I want to get a better education,” said Gilbert. “I should like to carry out my original plan, and go to college. After I graduate I may devote myself to business; but a good education won't interfere with that.”
350“I approve your plan,” said Mr. Vivian. “Of course you will resign your place at the broker's.”
“Then I shall submit a plan for your future. We all like you, and you can be of use to Fred. Orge and live with us. You can complete your preparation for college at some first-class school in the city, and enter next summer, if you like.”
“I hope you will come, Gilbert,” said Laura.
It might have been her voice which decided Gilbert to accept. At any rate, he did accept gratefully; and in less than a week he was installed at Mr. Vivian's as a member of the family.
Mr. Sands was sorry to lose his services, but acknowledged that it was better for him to give up his place. The day after his retirement he was sitting in Madison Park, when John, who had once caused him to lose his place, espied him. John had not yet succeeded in securing a place, nor had Mr. Moore, the book-keeper.
“What brings you here at this time in the day?” asked John, in surprise.
351“I am a gentleman of leisure,” answered Gilbert.
“Have you left Mr. Sands?” asked John, eagerly.
“Been bounced, eh?” asked John, radiantly.
Gilbert smiled. He understood John's feelings.
“No,” he answered. “I left of my own accord.”
“You haven't got another place?”
“Then it's too thin, your leaving of your own accord.”
“It does look so, I admit,” said Gilbert, good-humoredly. “But it is true, nevertheless.”
“Why did you leave, then? You haven't had a fortune left you?”
“You've hit it, John. I no longer need my pay. I have become rich, and shall go on preparing for college.”
“Is that really so?”
“It is quite true.”
“Some folks are lucky,” said John, enviously. “I aint one of that kind. I wish I could get your old place.”
352“I am afraid Mr. Sands wouldn't take you back. I wish he would, and that you would do so well that he would keep you.”
“That will do to say; but you wouldn't help me back.”
“Yes, I would, and will. I will go down to the office now, and ask Mr. Sands to take you back.”
“You will, after the mean way I have treated you?” exclaimed John, in surprise.
“I don't bear any malice, John,” said Gilbert. “Here, take my hand, and look upon me as a friend. If I can't get you back into my old place, I'll try elsewhere. Orge, let us take the cars down-town, and I'll see what I can do for you.”
“What a good fellow you are, Gilbert!” said John, much moved. “I am ashamed of trying to injure you.”
“You didn't know me, then. But, John, will you try to give satisfaction, if you are taken back?”
“Yes, I will,” said John, earnestly.
Half an hour later they entered the broker's office. No boy had been engaged as yet. Mr. Sands did not 353at first regard John's application with favor; though, as he understood the duties of the place, he could, if he pleased, do better than a new boy. Finally, the broker agreed to take him on trial.
“Remember, John,” he said, “you owe your place to Gilbert's intercession. But for that I wouldn't take you back.”
“I know it, sir. I hope you won't be sorry.”
Here it may be said that John turned over a new leaf, and succeeded in this last trial in giving satisfaction. His cousin, Simon Moore, called him mean-spirited for going back; but John felt that he must look out for his own interests now, and did not regard his objection.
In his prosperity Gilbert did not forget Mr. Talbot and his little daughter. While he continued sick our hero allowed him a weekly sum sufficient to support father and daughter comfortably; and on his recovery he found him employment, and a more comfortable lodging. Little Emma was no longer obliged to go into the streets to sell bouquets, but was put at a good day-school. From time to time 354Gilbert called upon them, and was rejoiced to see the improved looks and happier faces of Emma and her father.
In the first chapter of this story the reader will recall John Munford, a school-friend of Gilbert, the son of a carpenter, who, on account of his father's poverty, was obliged to leave school, and go to work. Gilbert, in becoming rich, did not forget his early friend. One day John received a letter from Gilbert, in which, after speaking of his change of fortune, he wrote:
“Now, John, I have a large income,much more than I can use,and I want to do what good I can with it. I know you want to keep at school, but cannot, on account of your father's circumstances. I have a proposal to make to you. Give up work, and go back to Dr. Burton's school. I will allow you three hundred dollars a year till you are ready to go to college. Then you shall come to Yale, and room with me. I will provide for you in college. After you graduate, your education will command a position that will make you independent. Let me know at 355once if you accept, or rather write me that you do accept.”
What could John do, but to accept this generous offer with deep gratitude to his old school-fellow? Need it be said that Gilbert fulfilled his promise to the letter. Last year the two friends graduated, both taking high rank; and John is now principal of a High School in a Massachusetts town. Gilbert has decided to lead a business life, and has entered Mr. Vivian's establishment. He will be junior partner at the end of three years. He may form another partnership with a member of Mr. Vivian's family. I cannot say positively, but I think it quite probable.
Mr. Briggs is no longer Gilbert's guardian. Our hero is of age, and has assumed the charge of his own property. He is always sure of a cordial welcome from Mrs. Briggs now, and Randolph cultivates his intimacy; but Gilbert does not find him congenial. He is inclined to be dissipated, and, I am afraid, will not turn out well. But his mother upholds him on all occasions; and her ill-judged indulgence is partly the cause of her son's lack of promise.
356Gilbert sometimes visits the old boarding-house. Mr. Ingalls is prospering. Alphonso Jones now boasts of his intimacy with Gilbert. It is rumored that he has offered himself to Mrs. Kinney, a young widow, already mentioned, and been rejected. His heart is not broken, however; and he is now a suitor for the hand of Miss Brintnall, the strong-minded school-teacher. She is “high-toned” in one sense, at least, as he will probably find after marriage.
The next volume of this series will be
Work and Hope;
Ben Bradford's Motto.