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Chapter 22


About half-past four o'clock one afternoon a tall, dark-complexioned man, wearing a white hat, inscribed his name in the register of the Wrayburn hotel.

"Can you tell here Mr. Leech lives?" he inquired of the landlord.

"He lives about a quarter of a mile from here. I can send some one with you to show you the house."

Just then Herbert came downstairs from Mr. Cameron.

"Herbert," said the landlord, "here is a gentleman wants to go to
Squire Leech's. Would you mind showing him the way?"

"I will do so with pleasure," said our hero, politely. "Are you ready to go now, sir?"

"Yes," said the stranger. "Landlord, please assign me a room and have my bag carried up."

"All right, sir."

"Now, my lad, I am ready. It isn't far, is it?"

"About five minutes' walk—that is all, sir."

"I never was in Wrayburn—much going on here?"

"Not much, sir. It is a quiet town."

"Mr. Leech—Squire Leech, I think you call him—was an old schoolmate of mine. We went to the Brandon Academy together. I suppose he is rich, eh?"

"He is the richest man in Wrayburn."

"I am glad to hear it," said the other, in a tone of satisfaction.
"What do you think he is worth?"

"Some say a hundred thousand dollars."

"Very good!" commented Andrew Temple, for this was his name in the hotel register—"for the country, I mean. In the city that wouldn't make a rich man."

"Wouldn't it?" asked Herbert, who had supposed a man worth a hundred thousand dollars rich anywhere.

"No, to be sure not. It costs a great deal more to live. Why, I myself am worth something like that; but in New York nobody regards me as rich."

"I should feel rich with ten thousand," said Herbert.

"That would about pay my expenses for a year."

"Squire Leech doesn't spend anywhere near that. I don't believe it costs him two thousand dollars a year."

"Very likely. There's a great deal of difference between the country and the city."

"Is it easy to make money in the city?" asked Herbert.

"Yes, if a man is sharp and has some money to start with. Do you think of going there?"

"I am afraid it would be of no use. I have no money to start with, and
I am afraid I am not smart."

"Wait and I may give you a lift. Here's my card."

"Thank you, sir," said Herbert, as he read: "Andrew Temple, No.—
Nassau Street, Room 12."

"That's my office; I speculate in stocks."

"Is that a good business?"

"Capital, if you know the ropes. If you ever come to the city, call at my office."

"Thank you, sir. Here is Squire Leech's house."

"I am much obliged to you. Allow me to compensate you for your trouble"; and Mr. Temple thrust his thumb and forefinger into his vest pocket.

"Oh, no, sir, I don't want pay," said Herbert, hurriedly.

Mr. Temple had made the offer as a matter of form and was relieved to find it declined. He said "good-night" graciously and advanced to the front door.

"Is Squire Leech at home?" he inquired of the servant.

"Yes, sir; I believe so. Won't you walk in?"

"Thank you. Please hand your master that card."

Squire Leech did not recall Mr. Temple's name, and greeted him distantly. Not so Mr. Temple. He rose, and shook the squire's passive hand energetically.

"Why, Leech, it seems like old times seeing you again."

"You have the advantage of me," said the squire.

"You don't mean to say you've forgotten Temple—Andrew Temple? Why, we were at the Brandon Academy together."

"I suppose I ought to remember you."

"To be sure you ought. We were very good friends in the old days."

One reason of the squire's distant manner was that Mr. Temple, though a rich man according to his own account, had a somewhat seedy look. The squire was afraid he intended to ask for help on the score of old friendship. It was with a hesitating voice, therefore, that he asked:

"How has the world treated you?"

"I am not rich, to be sure. Probably I am not worth more than a hundred thousand dollars, at the outside; but before five years roll over my head, I see my way clear to half a million."

Squire Leech's manner changed instantaneously.

"I am glad to see you," he said, cordially. "How long have you been in town?"

"Only just arrived. I inquired my way here as soon as I heard that you were living here."

"Are you at the hotel?"

"Yes. I left my luggage there."

"You must come and stop with me. We will talk over old times."

"Thank you; it would be much pleasanter for me, of course. In fact, I came to Wrayburn on account of your being here. I happened to be in the neighborhood, and I said 'I must see Leech at any rate.' So here I am. Fortune has smiled on you, I hope?"

"Yes," said the squire, "I am comfortable."

"The boy that guided me here said that you were the richest man in

"I believe I am," said the squire, complacently. "I am worth somewhere about the same as you."

"That's fair; it is more for you than for me. It costs me ten thousand dollars a year to live in the city."

"Does it?" inquired Leech.

"I've sometimes thought of going to the country, where my expenses would be much less; but, after all, you can make much more money in the city."

"You think there are opportunities of making money rapidly there?" asked his companion.

"No doubt of it."

"I should like to talk with you on that subject after supper. Now, I will go and tell Mrs. Leech you are here. We will send for your carpetbag after supper."

Squire Leech was a covetous man. He had a passion for money-making and he had availed himself of all the opportunities which the country afforded. He had about as much property as his friend. He began to think he had been plodding along in a very slow, unsatisfactory manner. He would make careful inquiries and perhaps Temple would put him in the way of doubling his money. Upon the whole, therefore, he was very glad to see Mr. Temple, and introduced him to his wife and son as an old schoolmate with whom he had once been very intimate.

Horatio Alger