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Joe's Luck Always Wide Awake   By: (1832-1899)

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First Page:

JOE'S LUCK

OR

ALWAYS WIDE AWAKE

BY

HORATIO ALGER, JR.

AUTHOR OF

"TONY THE TRAMP," "SLOW AND SURE," "THE CASH BOY," "MAKING HIS WAY," "JACK'S WARD," "DO AND DARE," "FACING THE WORLD," "STRONG AND STEADY," "STRIVE AND SUCCEED," ETC.

NEW YORK

THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY

1913

JOE'S LUCK

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCES JOE

"Come here, you Joe, and be quick about it!"

The boy addressed, a stout boy of fifteen, with an honest, sun browned face, looked calmly at the speaker.

"What's wanted?" he asked.

"Brush me off, and don't be all day about it!" said Oscar Norton impatiently.

Joe's blue eyes flashed indignantly at the tone of the other.

"You can brush yourself off," he answered independently.

"What do you mean by your impudence?" demanded Oscar angrily. "Have you turned lazy all at once?"

"No," said Joe firmly, "but I don't choose to be ordered round by you."

"What's up, I wonder? Ain't you our servant?"

"I am not your servant, though your father is my employer."

"Then you are bound to obey me his son."

"I don't see it."

"Then you'd better, if you know what's best for yourself. Are you going to brush me off?"

"No."

"Look out! I can get my father to turn you off."

"You may try if you want to."

Oscar, much incensed, went to his father to report Joe's insubordination. While he is absent, a few words of explanation will enlighten the reader as to Joe's history and present position.

Joe Mason was alone in the world. A year previous he had lost his father, his only remaining parent, and when the father's affairs were settled and funeral expenses paid there was found to be just five dollars left, which was expended for clothing for Joe.

In this emergency Major Norton, a farmer and capitalist, offered to provide Joe with board and clothes and three months' schooling in the year in return for his services. As nothing else offered, Joe accepted, but would not bind himself for any length of time. He was free to go whenever he pleased.

Now there were two disagreeable things in Joe's new place. The first was the parsimony of Major Norton, who was noted for his stingy disposition, and the second was the overbearing manners of Oscar, who lost no opportunity to humiliate Joe and tyrannize over him so far as Joe's independent spirit would allow. It happened, therefore, that Joe was compelled to work hard, while the promised clothing was of the cheapest and shabbiest description. He was compelled to go to school in patched shoes and a ragged suit, which hurt his pride as he compared himself with Oscar, who was carefully and even handsomely dressed. Parsimonious as his father was, he was anxious that his only boy should appear to advantage.

On the very day on which our story begins Oscar had insulted Joe in a way which excited our hero's bitter indignation.

This is the way it happened:

Joe, who was a general favorite on account of his good looks and gentlemanly manners, and in spite of his shabby attire, was walking home with Annie Raymond, the daughter of the village physician, when Oscar came up.

He was himself secretly an admirer of the young lady, but had never received the least encouragement from her. It made him angry to see his father's drudge walking on equal terms with his own favorite, and his coarse nature prompted him to insult his enemy.

"Miss Raymond," he said, lifting his hat mockingly, "I congratulate you on the beau you have picked up."

Annie Raymond fully appreciated his meanness, and answered calmly:

"I accept your congratulations, Mr. Norton."

This answer made Oscar angry and led him to go further than he otherwise would.

"You must be hard up for an escort, when you accept such a ragamuffin as Joe Mason."

Joe flushed with anger.

"Oscar Norton, do you mean to insult Miss Raymond or me," he demanded.

"So you are on your high horse!" said Oscar sneeringly.

"Will you answer my question?"

"Yes, I will. I certainly don't mean to insult Miss Raymond, but I wonder at her taste in choosing my father's hired boy to walk with... Continue reading book >>




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