30 août 2012

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Lakeside was a pleasant little town of five or six thousand inhabitants,
and a rather pretty one, too, as towns go in the Far West. fortune
It had church accommodations for thirty-five thousand, which is
the way of the Far West and the South, where everybody is religious,
and where each of the Protestant sects is represented and has a plant
of its own. Rank was unknown in Lakeside--unconfessed, anyway;
everybody knew everybody and his dog, and a sociable friendliness
was the prevailing atmosphere.
Saladin Foster was book-keeper in the principal store, and the only
high-salaried man of his profession in Lakeside. He was thirty-five
years old, now; he had served that store for fourteen years;
he had begun in his marriage-week at four hundred dollars a year,
and had climbed steadily up, a hundred dollars a year, for four years;
from that time forth his wage had remained eight hundred--a handsome
figure indeed, and everybody conceded that he was worth it.
His wife, Electra, was a capable helpmeet, although--like himself--
a dreamer of dreams and a private dabbler in romance. The first thing
she did, after her marriage--child as she was, aged only nineteen--
was to buy an acre of ground on the edge of the town, and pay
down the cash for it--twenty-five dollars, all her fortune.
Saladin had less, by fifteen. She instituted a vegetable garden there,
got it farmed on shares by the nearest neighbor, and made it pay
her a hundred per cent. a year. Out of Saladins first years wage
she put thirty dollars in the savings-bank, sixty out of his second,
a hundred out of his third, a hundred and fifty out of his fourth.
His wage went to eight hundred a year, then, and meantime two children
had arrived and increased the expenses, but she banked two hundred
a year from the salary, nevertheless, thenceforth. When she had been
married seven years she built and furnished a pretty and comfortable
two-thousand-dollar house in the midst of her garden-acre, paid
half of the money down and moved her family in. Seven years later
she was out of debt and had several hundred dollars out earning
its living.

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