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play-ground, and requested to pay back the half-crown, with the interest agreed upon. “Why, you lent it to me for a month !” exclaimed Albert.
" And that was a month ago, this very day,” replied the inexorable Sam Brown, with an unmoved countenance ; “ I made a memorandum of it at the time; did not
“Not I!” said Albert; “I had something else to think about.”
“You ought to have done it,” returned Sam, with great gravity ; " but I dare say you have got the money all right, so it does not signify. See, here is the date in my pocket-book.”
Albert mechanically took the pocketbook in his band, and seemed to be looking at the entry which his creditor had made with so much coolness and method. But in fact, his mind was very differently
occupied. He knew well enough, and too well, that one solitary sixpence was the whole amount of his capital; and he was racking his brains for some way of escape from the importunity of his schoolfellow. So long did he hold the unlucky pocket-book in his hand, so attentively did he appear to peruse the two or three brief lines which marked the transaction, and so patiently, and yet so watchfully, did Sam Brown await the result, that we may leave them for a minute while thus employed, and venture upon a short digression.
Poor Albert, like many other needy persons who are very anxious to borrow money, was by no means certain, when he did borrow it, that he should have the means of repaying it. Considering this—to say nothing of the strict rule against moneyborrowing—it would have been only wise
and honest in him to have resisted the temptation, and denied himself the gratification on which he had set his mind. But this uncertainty did not, at the time, give him any uneasiness. He wanted the flute, and the flute he must have ; so he trusted to a number of chances which might turn up, to enable him to repay the loan. Perhaps some of his friends would come to see him, as they sometimes did, and never without leaving a sterling memorial of the visit behind them. Perhaps a parcel from home might arrive before the month was expired ; and perhaps, in that parcel, there would be a little packet of cash slipped into one corner, as had once occurred to him. Or, at all events, if neither of these things happened, he could write home, and ask for money to purchase the flute, and, no doubt, his request would be attended to. Enough, the coveted flute was secured; and for many days afterwards, nothing was to be heard from Albert but praises of his new purchase, and the noise he made with it, until the whole school looked upon the unfortunate instrument and its master as utter nuisances and disturbers of their quiet. But this did not last long: by the time the month had expired, the flute was thrown aside, and poor Albert had again and again called himself a blockhead for spending his money, his borrowed money, upon it. We need not say that neither of the chances occurred which the boy had too rashly calculated on; and now he found, to his great astonishment, that the term of his credit had expired. We return to the corner of the play ground.