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Martin Eden 34







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Books:

Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




she was moulding it, and her intentions were good. Besides, it was pleasant to be with him. He did not repel her. That first repulsion had been really a fear of her undiscovered self, and the fear had gone to sleep. Though she did not know it, she had a feeling in him of proprietary right. Also, he had a tonic effect upon her. She was studying hard at the university, and it seemed to strengthen her to emerge from the dusty books and have the fresh sea-breeze of his personality blow upon her. Strength! Strength was what she needed, and he gave it to her in generous measure. To come into the same room with him, or to meet him at the door, was to take heart of life. And when he had gone, she would return to her books with a keener zest and fresh store of energy. She knew her Browning, but it had never sunk into her that it was an awkward thing to play with souls. As her interest in Martin increased, the remodelling of his life became a passion with her. "There is Mr. Butler," she said one afternoon, when grammar and arithmetic and poetry had been put aside. "He had comparatively no advantages at first. His father had been a bank cashier, but he lingered for years, dying of consumption in Arizona, so that when he was dead, Mr. Butler, Charles Butler he was called, found himself alone in the world. His father had come from Australia, you know, and so he had no relatives in California. He went to work in a printing-office,--I have heard him tell of it many times,--and he got three dollars a week, at first. His income to-day is at least thirty thousand a year. How did he do it? He was honest, and faithful, and industrious, and economical. He denied himself the enjoyments that most boys indulge in. He made it a point to save so much every week, no matter what he had to do without in order to save it. Of course, he was soon earning more than three dollars a week, and as his wages increased he saved more and more. "He worked in the daytime, and at night he went to night school. He had his eyes fixed always on the future. Later on he went to night high school. When he was only seventeen, he was earning excellent wages at setting type, but he was ambitious. He wanted a career, not a livelihood, and he was content to make immediate sacrifices for his ultimate again. He decided upon the law, and he entered fathers office as an office boy--think of that!--and got only four dollars a week. But he had learned how to be economical, and out of that four dollars he went on saving money." She paused for breath, and to note how Martin was receiving it. His face was lighted up with interest in the youthful struggles of Mr. Butler; but there was a frown upon his face as well. "Id say they was pretty hard lines for a young fellow," he remarked. "Four dollars a week! How could he live on it? You can bet he didnt have any frills. Why, I pay five dollars a week for board now, an theres nothin excitin about it, you can lay to that. He must have lived like a dog. The food he ate--" "He cooked for himself," she interrupted, "on a little kerosene stove." "The food he ate must have been worse than what a sailor gets on the worst-feedin deep-water ships, than which there aint much that can be possibly worse." "But think of him now!" she cried enthusiastically. "Think of what his income affords him. His early denials are paid for a thousand-fold." Martin looked at her sharply. "Theres one thing Ill bet you," he said, "and it is that Mr. Butler is nothin gay-hearted now in his fat days. He fed himself like that for years an years, on a boys stomach, an I bet his stomachs none too good now for it." Her eyes dropped before his searching gaze. "Ill bet hes got dyspepsia right now!" Martin challenged. "Yes, he has," she confessed; "but--" "An I bet," Martin dashed on, "that hes solemn an serious as an old owl, an doesnt care a

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