Bound to Rise

by Horatio Alger

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Chapter XV. "By Express"

"There's a model for you," said the tailor to Maurice Tudor. "He won't pay his bills."

"How did you come to trust him in the first place?"

"I didn't know him then as well as I do now. I make it a practice to accommodate my customers by trusting them for a month or two, if they want it. But Luke Harrison isn't one to be trusted."

"I should say not."

"If young Walton wants to get an overcoat on credit, I shan't object. I judge something by looks, and I am sure he is honest."

"Well, good night, Mr. Merrill. You'll have my coat done soon?"

"Yes, Mr. Tudor. It shall be ready for you to-morrow."

Maurice Tudor left the tailor's shop, revolving a new idea which had just entered his mind. Now he remembered that he had at home and excellent overcoat which he had worn the previous winter, but which was now too small for him. He had no younger brother to wear it, nor in his circumstances was such economy necessary. As well as he could judge by observing Harry's figure, it would be an excellent fit for him. Why should he not give it to him?

The opportunity came. On his way home he overtook our hero, plunged in thought. In fact, he was still occupied with the problem of the needed overcoat.

"Good evening, Harry," said young Tudor.

"Good evening, Mr. Tudor," answered Harry. "Are you going back to the city soon?"

"In the course of a week or two. Mr. Leavitt's son is in a store in Boston, is he not?"

"Yes. I have taken his place in the shop."

"By the way, I saw you in Merrill's this evening."

"Yes; I was pricing an overcoat."

"I bought this one in Boston just before I came away. I have a very good one left from last winter but it is too small for me. It is of no use to me. If I thought you would accept it, I would offer it to you."

Harry's heart gave a joyful bound.

"Accept it!" he repeated. "Indeed I will and thank you for your great kindness."

"Then I will write home at once to have it sent to me. I also have a suit which I have outgrown; if you wouldn't be too proud to take it."

"I am not so foolish. It will be a great favor."

"I thought you would take it right," said Maurice, well pleased. "I will also send for the suit. I will get my mother to forward them by express."

"They will be as good as money to me," said Harry; "and that is not very plenty with me."

"Will you tell me something of your circumstances? Perhaps I may have it in my power to help you."

Harry, assured of his friendly interest, did not hesitate to give him a full account of his plans in life, and especially of his desire to relieve his father of the burden of poverty. His straightforward narrative made a very favorable impression upon Maurice, who could not help reflecting: "How far superior this boy is to Luke Harrison and his tribe!"

"Thank you for telling me all this," he said. "It was not from mere curiosity that I asked."

"I am sure of that," said Harry. "Thanks to your generosity, I shall present a much more respectable appearance, besides being made more comfortable."

Three days later a large bundle was brought by the village expressman to Mr. Leavitt's door.

"A bundle for you, Walton," said the expressman, seeing Harry in the yard.

"What is there to pay?" he asked.

"Nothing. It was prepaid in the city?"

Harry took it up to his room and opened it eagerly. First came the promised overcoat. It was of very handsome French cloth, with a velvet collar, and rich silk facings, far higher in cost than any Mr. Merrill would have made for him. It fitted as if it had been made for him. Next came, not one, but two complete suits embracing coat, vest and pants. One of pepper-and-salt cloth, the other a dark blue. These, also, so similar was he in figure to Maurice, fitted him equally well. The clothes which he brought with from form Granton were not only of coarse material but were far from stylish in cut, whereas these garments had been made by a fashionable Boston tailor and set off his figure to much greater advantage.

"I wonder what Luke Harrison will say?" said our hero to himself, smiling, as he thought of the surprise of Luke at witnessing his transformation.

"I've a great mind to keep these on to-night," he said.

"Perhaps I shall meet Luke. He won't have anything more to say about my going without an overcoat."

After supper Harry, arrayed in his best suit and wearing the overcoat, walked down tot he center of the village.

Luke was standing on the piazza of the tavern.

"Luke, see how Walton is dressed up!" exclaimed Frank Heath, who was the first to see our hero.

"Dressed up!" repeated Luke, who was rather shortsighted. "That would be a good joke."

"He's got a splendid overcoat," continued Frank.

"Where'd he get it? Merrill hasn't been making him one."

"It's none of Merrill's work. It's too stylish for him."

By this time Harry had come within Luke's range of vision. The latter surveyed him with astonishment and it must be confessed, with disappointment; for he had been fond of sneering at Harry's clothes, and now the latter was far better dressed than himself.

"Where did you get that coat, Walton?" asked Luke, the instant Harry came up.

"Honestly," said Harry, shortly.

"Have you got anything else new?"

Harry opened his coat and displayed the suit.

"Well, you are coming out, Walton, that's a fact," said Frank Heath. "That's a splendid suit."

"I thought you couldn't afford to buy a coat," said Luke.

"You see I've got one," answered Harry.

"How much did it cost?"

"That's a secret."

Here he left Luke and Frank.

"Well, Luke, what do you say to that?" said Frank Heath.

Luke said nothing. He was astonished and unhappy. He had a fondness for dress and spent a good share of his earnings upon it, paying where he must, and getting credit besides where he could. But he had never had so stylish a suit as this and it depressed him.

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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.