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Risen from the Ranks by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Part 5 out of 5

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"Very much indeed."

"Are you doing well?"

"I receive fifteen dollars a week."

"That is good. What are your prospects for the future?"

"They would be excellent if I had a little more capital."

"I don't see how you need capital, as a journeyman printer."

"I have a chance to buy out the paper."

"But who would edit it?"

"I would."

"You!" said the magician, rather incredulously.

"I have been the editor for the last two months."

"You--a boy!"

"I am nineteen, professor."

"I shouldn't have dreamed of editing a paper at nineteen; or, indeed,
as old as I am now."

Harry laughed.

"You are too modest, professor. Let me show you our last two issues."

The professor took out his glasses, and sat down, not without
considerable curiosity, to read a paper edited by one who only three
years before had been his assistant.

"Did you write this article?" he asked, after a pause, pointing to
the leader in the last issue of the "Gazette."

"Yes, sir."

"Then, by Jove, you can write. Why, it's worthy of a man of twice
your age!"

"Thank you, professor," said Harry, gratified.

"Where did you learn to write?"

Harry gave his old employer some account of his literary experiences,
mentioning his connection with the two Boston weekly papers.

"You ought to be an editor," said the professor. "If you can do as
much at nineteen, you have a bright future before you."

"That depends a little on circumstances. If I only could buy this
paper, I would try to win reputation as well as money."

"What is your difficulty?"

"The want of money."

"How much do you need?"

"Eight hundred dollars."

"Is that all the price such a paper commands?"

"No. The price is two thousand dollars; but Ferguson and I can raise
twelve hundred between us."

"Do you consider it good property?"

"Mr. Anderson made a comfortable living out of it, besides paying for
office work. We should have this advantage, that we should be our
own compositors."

"That would give you considerable to do, if you were editor also."

"I shouldn't mind," said Harry, "if I only had a paper of my own. I
think I should be willing to work night and day."

"What are your chances of raising the sum you need?"

"Very small. Ferguson has gone out at this moment to see if he can
find any one willing to lend; but we don't expect success."

"Why don't you apply to me?" asked the professor.

"I didn't know if you had the money to spare."

"I might conjure up some. Presto!--change!--you know. We professors
of magic can find money anywhere."

"But you need some to work with. I have been behind the scenes,"
said Harry, smiling.

"But you don't know all my secrets, for all that. In sober earnest,
I haven't been practising magic these twenty-five years for nothing.
I can lend you the money you want, and I will."

Harry seized his hand, and shook it with delight.

"How can I express my gratitude?" he said.

"By sending me your paper gratis, and paying me seven per cent.
interest on my money."

"Agreed. Anything more?"

"Yes. I am to give an exhibition in the village to-morrow night.
You must give me a good puff."

"With the greatest pleasure. I'll write it now."

"Before it takes place? I see you are following the example of some
of the city dailies."

"And I'll print you some handbills for nothing."

"Good. When do you want the money? Will next week do?"

"Yes. Mr. Anderson won't expect the money before."

Here Ferguson entered the efface. Harry made a signal of silence to
the professor, whom he introduced. Then he said:--

"Well, Ferguson, what luck?"

"None at all," answered his fellow-compositor, evidently dispirited.
"Nobody seems to have any money. We shall have to give up our plan."

"I don't mean to give it up."

"Then perhaps you'll tell me where to find the money."

"I will."

"You don't mean to say--" began Ferguson, eagerly.

"Yes, I do. I mean to say that the money is found."


"Prof. Henderson has agreed to let us have it."

"Is that true?" said Ferguson, bewildered.

"I believe so," said the professor, smiling. "Harry has juggled the
money out of me,--you know he used to be in the business,--and you
can make your bargain as soon as you like."

It is hardly necessary to say that Prof. Henderson got an excellent
notice in the next number of the Centreville "Gazette;" and it is my
opinion that he deserved it.



In two weeks all the business arrangements were completed, and
Ferguson and Harry became joint proprietors of the "Centreville
Gazette," the latter being sole editor. The change was received with
favor in the village, as Harry had, as editor pro tem. for two
months, shown his competence for the position. It gave him
prominence also in town, and, though only nineteen, he already was
classed with the minister, the doctor and the lawyer. It helped him
also with the weekly papers to which he contributed in Boston, and
his pay was once more raised, while his sketches were more frequently
printed. Now this was all very pleasant, but it was not long before
our hero found himself overburdened with work.

"What is the matter Harry? You look pale," said Ferguson, one

"I have a bad headache, and am feeling out of sorts."

"I don't wonder at it. You are working too hard."

"I don't know about that."

"I do. You do nearly as much as I, as a compositor. Then you do all
the editorial work, besides writing sketches for the Boston papers."

"How can I get along with less? The paper must be edited, and I
shouldn't like giving up writing for the Boston papers."

"I'll tell you what to do. Take a boy and train him up as a printer.
After a while he will relieve you almost wholly, while, by the time
he commands good wages, we shall be able to pay them."

"It is a good idea, Ferguson. Do you know of any boy that wants to
learn printing?"

"Haven't you got a younger brother?"

"The very thing," said Harry, briskly. "Father wrote to me last week
that he should like to get something for ----."

"Better write and offer him a place in the office."

"I will."

The letter was written at once. An immediate answer was received, of
a favorable nature. The boy was glad to leave home, and the father
was pleased to have him under the charge of his older brother.

After he had become editor, and part proprietor of the "Gazette,"
Harry wrote to Oscar Vincent to announce his promotion. Though Oscar
had been in college now nearly two years, and they seldom met, the
two were as warm friends as ever, and from time to time exchanged

This was Oscar's reply:--


"DEAR MR. EDITOR: I suppose that's the proper way to address you now.
I congratulate you with all my heart on your brilliant success and
rapid advancement. Here you are at nineteen, while I am only a
rattle-brained sophomore. I don't mind being called that, by the
way, for at least it credits me with the possession of brains. Not
that I am doing so very badly. I am probably in the first third of
the class, and that implies respectable scholarship here.

"But you--I can hardly realize that you, whom I knew only two or
three years since as a printer's apprentice (I won't use Fletcher's
word), have lifted yourself to the responsible position of sole
editor. Truly you have risen from the ranks!

"Speaking of Fletcher, by the way, you know he is my classmate. He
occupies an honorable position somewhere near the foot of the class,
where he is likely to stay, unless he receives from the faculty leave
of absence for an unlimited period. I met him yesterday, swinging
his little cane, and looking as dandified as he used to.

"'Hallo! Fletcher,' said I, 'I've just got a letter from a friend of

"'Who is it?' he asked.

"'Harry Walton.'

"'He never was a friend of mine,' said Fitz, turning up his
delicately chiselled nose,--'the beggarly printer's devil!'

"I hope you won't feel sensitive about the manner in which Fitz spoke
of you.

"'You've made two mistakes,' said I. 'He's neither a beggar nor a
printer's devil.'

"'He used to be,' retorted Fitz.

"'The last, not the first. You'll be glad to hear that he's getting
on well.'

"'Has he had his wages raised twenty-five cents a week?' sneered Fitz.

"'He has lost his place,' said I.

"Fletcher actually looked happy, but I dashed his happiness by
adding, 'but he's got a better one.'

"'What's that?' he snarled.

"'He has bought out the paper of Mr. Anderson, and is now sole editor
and part proprietor.'

"'A boy like him buy a paper, without a cent of money and no

"'You are mistaken. He had several hundred dollars, and as a writer
he is considerably ahead of either of us.'

"'He'll run the paper into the ground,' said Fitz, prophetically.

"'If he does, it'll only be to give it firmer root.'

"'You are crazy about that country lout,' said Fitz. 'It isn't much
to edit a little village paper like that, after all.'

"So you see what your friend Fitz thinks about it. As you may be in
danger of having your vanity fed by compliments from other sources, I
thought I would offset them by the candid opinion of a disinterested
and impartial scholar like Fitz.

"I told my father of the step you have taken. 'Oscar,' said he,
'that boy is going to succeed. He shows the right spirit. I would
have given him a place on my paper, but very likely he does better to
stay where he is.'

"Perhaps you noticed the handsome notice he gave you in his paper
yesterday. I really think he has a higher opinion of your talents
than of mine; which, of course, shows singular lack of
discrimination. However, you're my friend, and I won't make a fuss
about it.

"I am cramming for the summer examinations and hot work I find it, I
can tell you. This summer I am going to Niagara, and shall return by
way of the St. Lawrence and Montreal, seeing the Thousand Islands,
the rapids, and so on. I may send you a letter or two for the
'Gazette,' if you will give me a puff in your editorial columns."

These letters were actually written, and, being very lively and
readable, Harry felt quite justified in referring to them in a
complimentary way. Fletcher's depreciation of him troubled him very

"It will make me neither worse nor better," he reflected. "The time
will come, I hope, when I shall have risen high enough to be wholly
indifferent to such ill-natured sneers."

His brother arrived in due time, and was set to work as Harry himself
had been three years before. He was not as smart as Harry, nor was
he ever likely to rise as high; but he worked satisfactorily, and
made good progress, so that in six months he was able to relieve
Harry of half his labors as compositor. This, enabled him to give
more time to his editorial duties. Both boarded at Ferguson's, where
they had a comfortable home and good, plain fare.

Meanwhile, Harry was acknowledged by all to have improved the paper,
and the most satisfactory evidence of the popular approval of his
efforts came in an increased subscription list, and this, of course,
made the paper more profitable. At the end of twelve months, the two
partners had paid off the money borrowed from Professor Henderson,
and owned the paper without incumbrance.

"A pretty good year's work, Harry," said Ferguson, cheerfully.

"Yes," said Harry; "but we'll do still better next year."



I have thus traced in detail the steps by which Harry Walton ascended
from the condition of a poor farmer's son to the influential position
of editor of a weekly newspaper. I call to mind now, however, that
he is no longer a boy, and his future career will be of less interest
to my young readers. Yet I hope they may be interested to hear,
though not in detail, by what successive steps he rose still higher
in position and influence.

Harry was approaching his twenty-first birthday when he was waited
upon by a deputation of citizens from a neighboring town, inviting
him to deliver a Fourth of July oration. He was at first disposed,
out of modesty, to decline; but, on consultation with Ferguson,
decided to accept and do his best. He was ambitious to produce a
good impression, and his experience in the Debating Society gave him
a moderate degree of confidence and self-reliance. When the time
came he fully satisfied public expectation. I do not say that his
oration was a model of eloquence, for that could not have been
expected of one whose advantages had been limited, and one for whom I
have never claimed extraordinary genius. But it certainly was well
written and well delivered, and very creditable to the young orator.
The favor with which it was received may have had something to do in
influencing the people of Centreville to nominate and elect him, to
the New Hampshire Legislature a few months later.

He entered that body, the youngest member in it. But his long
connection with a Debating Society, and the experience he had gained
in parliamentary proceedings, enabled him at once to become a useful
working Member. He was successively re-elected for several years,
during which he showed such practical ability that he obtained a
State reputation. At twenty-eight he received a nomination for
Congress, and was elected by a close vote. During all this time he
remained in charge of the Centreville "Gazette," but of course had
long relinquished the task of a compositor into his brother's hands.
He had no foolish ideas about this work being beneath him; but he
felt that he could employ his time more profitably in other ways.
Under his judicious management, the "Gazette" attained a circulation
and influence that it had never before reached. The income derived
from it was double that which it yielded in the days of his
predecessor; and both he and Ferguson were enabled to lay by a few
hundred dollars every year. But Harry had never sought wealth. He
was content with a comfortable support and a competence. He liked
influence and the popular respect, and he was gratified by the
important trusts which he received. He was ambitious, but it was a
creditable and honorable ambition. He sought to promote the public
welfare, and advance the public interests, both as a speaker and as a
writer; and though sometimes misrepresented, the people on the whole
did him justice.

A few weeks after he had taken his seat in Congress, a young man was
ushered into his private room. Looking up, he saw a man of about his
own age, dressed with some attempt at style, but on the whole wearing
a look of faded gentility.

"Mr. Walton," said the visitor, with some hesitation.

"That is my name. Won't you take a seat?"

The visitor sat down, but appeared ill at ease. He nervously fumbled
at his hat, and did not speak.

"Can I do anything for you?" asked Harry, at length.

"I see you don't know me," said the stranger.

"I can't say I recall your features; but then I see a great many

"I went to school at the Prescott Academy, when you were in the
office of the Centreville 'Gazette.'"

Harry looked more closely, and exclaimed, in astonished recognition,
"Fitzgerald Fletcher!"

"Yes," said the other, flushing with mortification, "I am Fitzgerald

"I am glad to see you," said Harry, cordially, forgetting the old
antagonism that had existed between them.

He rose and offered his hand, which Fletcher took with an air of
relief, for he had felt uncertain of his reception.

"You have prospered wonderfully," said Fletcher, with a shade of envy.

"Yes," said Harry, smiling. "I was a printer's devil when you knew
me; but I never meant to stay in that position. I have risen from
the ranks."

"I haven't," said Fletcher, bitterly.

"Have you been unfortunate? Tell me about it, if you don't mind,"
said Harry, sympathetically.

"My father failed three years ago," said Fletcher, "and I found
myself adrift with nothing to do, and no money to fall back upon. I
have drifted about since then; but now I am out of employment. I
came to you to-day to see if you will exert your influence to get me
a government clerkship, even of the lowest class. You may rest
assured, Mr. Walton, that I need it."

Was this the proud Fitzgerald Fletcher, suing, for the means of
supporting himself, to one whom, as a boy, he had despised and looked
down upon? Surely, the world is full of strange changes and
mutations of fortune. Here was a chance for Harry to triumph over
his old enemy; but he never thought of doing it. Instead, he was
filled with sympathy for one who, unlike himself, had gone down in
the social scale, and he cordially promised to see what he could do
for Fletcher, and that without delay.

On inquiry, he found that Fletcher was qualified to discharge the
duties of a clerk, and secured his appointment to a clerkship in the
Treasury Department, on a salary of twelve hundred dollars a year.
It was an income which Fletcher would once have regarded as wholly
insufficient for his needs; but adversity had made him humble, and he
thankfully accepted it. He holds the position still, discharging the
duties satisfactorily. He is glad to claim the Hon. Harry Walton
among his acquaintances, and never sneers at him now as a "printer's

Oscar Vincent spent several years abroad, after graduation, acting as
foreign correspondent of his father's paper. He is now his father's
junior partner, and is not only respected for his ability, but a
general favorite in society, on account of his sunny disposition and
cordial good nature. He keeps up his intimacy with Harry Walton.
Indeed, there is good reason for this, since Harry, four years since,
married his sister Maud, and the two friends are brothers-in-law.

Harry's parents are still living, no longer weighed down by poverty,
as when we first made their acquaintance. The legacy which came so
opportunely improved their condition, and provided them with comforts
to which they had long been strangers. But their chief satisfaction
comes from Harry's unlooked-for success in life. Their past life of
poverty and privation is all forgotten in their gratitude for this
great happiness.

The next and concluding volume of this series will be


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