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though scarcely a month had passed away since Albert returned to school with his purse well replenished, he was rather mournfully counting over its diminished contents. It was with difficulty that he could make himself believe that only three shillings and sixpence remained of all the stock he had brought with him ; and many were the upbraidings which we may suppose he cast upon himself, when he reflected on the way in which the bulk of it had been spent. There was Mrs. Watson's cake shop, so much ; subscription for new cricket bats and stumps, so much; apples, cherries, etc., etc., from blind Dick, so much; a pocket knife, (the fourth he had bought that year,) so much; and (of all things in the world) a snuff box, so much. These were a few of the items which Albert cast up in his mind; and though he could not make the amount of his remembered spendings agree exactly with that of his deficiency, it was near enough to prove that the contents of his purse had not been taken away by any one besides himself.
Perhaps it may be thought that three shillings and sixpence might have served for spending-money through the remaining four months of the half year. It certainly would have done for most schoolboys; but not for Albert. Setting aside the consideration that he was, in general, a very spendthrift, he had just at this time decided, to his own satisfaction, that he must have a new flute. True, he had a flute; but, in his opinion, it was a very old one, having already lasted him two years : besides, it was a yellow one, and he could not bear yellow flutes. If he continued to learn music at all—of which, by the way, he was not very fond-he must have the nice ebony flute which was then to be sold at the broker's shop-a great bargain-only five shillings. But, alas! three and sixpence would not stretch to five shillings, let the bargain be ever so great. “I will try Sam Brown," thought he, suddenly recovering from his per. plexity ; and accordingly he ran in search of the boyish usurer.
“ Perhaps I have, and perhaps I have not,” said Sam, with all the cunning of an experienced money-lender, in reply to Albert's anxious inquiry whether he had a few shillings to spare.
“Oh-but I know you have !” continued Albert, in an insinuating tone. “ Who ever knew you to be without money ?”
“There is a rule in the school against lending and borrowing,” replied Sam, very coolly, and pretended to walk away.
“ Nonsense!” retorted Albert, catching his schoolfellow's arm, and detaining him; “nobody need be the wiser. Come, now, will you lend me five shillings ?"
“ No !” replied the young usurer, bluntly. But we need not detail the long conversation which followed. After many a mortifying repulse, and much adroit higgling, the acute money-lender agreed to intrust half-a-crown to the needy borrower, on condition of its being repaid in a month, with an additional sixpence for the accommodation. And thus the bargain was closed ; and Albert ran off in triumph to secure his treasure of a flute.
Time seems to fly doubly fast to impoverished money-borrowers, whether old or young; and so Albert discovered to his sorrow. It was a most unwelcome surprise to him when he was one day beckoned by Sam Brown to a corner of the