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Honest Abe

The Young Storekeeper

One day a woman came into the store and purchased sundry articles. They footed up two dollars and six and a quarter cents, or the young clerk thought they did. We do not hear nowadays of six and a quarter cents, but it was a coin borrowed from the Spanish currency, and was well known in my own boyhood.

The bill was paid, and the woman was entirely satisfied. But the young storekeeper, not feeling quite sure as to the accuracy of his calculation, added up the items once more. To his dismay, he found that the sum total should have been but two dollars.

"I've made her pay six and a quarter cents too much, " said Abe, disturbed. It was a trifle, and many clerks would have dismissed it as such. But Abe was too conscientious to that.

"The money must be paid back," he decided. This would have been easy enough had the woman lived "just round the corner," but as the young man knew, she lived between two and three miles away.

This, however, did not alter the matter. It was night, but he closed and locked the store, and walked to the residence of his customer. Arrived there, he explained the matter, paid over the six and a quarter cents, and returned satisfied. If I were a capitalist, I would be willing to lend money to such a young man without security.

Retold by Horatio Alger

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