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Bob Hazard, Dam Builder

Carl Brandt

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
“So you would rather be an engineer than a lawyer, Bob? Is that what you want to tell me?” “Yes, sir,—an engineer rather than anything else!” The speakers were sitting on a bench in the park which surrounds the old Virginia State House in Richmond. Father and son they were certainly—the likeness was unmistakable. The man hesitated a moment before going on with the conversation. When he spoke it was seemingly from a new angle. “How old are you now, Bob? Seventeen, isn’t it? Yes, yes, of course. And in a week or two you will have finished with Crossways for good?” “Mr. Moseley says I am ready for my college exams, Dad. Tells me that he can’t take me along any further.” “And instead of taking the examinations for Harvard and then going fishing with me, you want to go out West and work on an engineering corps all summer. After that, what?” “If you’ll let me, I want to go to Rensselaer and study civil engineering. I’ll have had some practice then and the theory will come easier.” “I see. But, my son, do you realize that if you follow your desire to be an engineer there will never be the firm of Robert Hazard and Son? That the practice I have built up will not pass on to you as I have so often planned? We would have made a great team, my boy, and it’s rather hard to give up the idea so suddenly. But I see that you must do as you wish.” This way of taking it was rather disconcerting to Bob Hazard. He had hoped his father would be a little angry, perhaps, at the news of his decision. And if he had, Bob could have stuck to his determination with more heart, for he would have felt he had been treated a little unjustly. But his father’s acceptance of the situation left him without any defense. Besides, the note of disappointment which was so evident, convinced him that from his father’s standpoint he was ungrateful for the love and care he had received. “No, no, Dad!” Bob cried. “We won’t give up the idea! I—didn’t know you felt that way about it. The engineering can go. I’ll write Whiskers and tell him I’m not coming. Of course we’ll have the firm of Hazard and Son and we’ll make rival lawyers sit up and take notice!” The older Hazard looked at his son with gleaming eyes. What stuff the lad was made of! An immense pride filled him that this boy could be so unselfish and destroy his own carefully laid plans for the future with such a brave attempt at sincerity. “Thank you, Bob,” he said slowly. “But I can’t let you give up your ambition for mine. You would not be happy, nor after a time would I, for I realize that your desire to be an engineer is not just a whim. You could not be a good lawyer unless your heart were in it, and I don’t want a son of mine to be anything but a good lawyer, if he’s one at all. I’d far rather have you a good engineer than an almost good lawyer. You will have to try out your plan. If it works, well and good; if it doesn’t, you can still try something else. You are old enough to decide for yourself, my son.” “You are a good Dad!” cried Bob, putting an arm around the older man’s shoulders and hugging him unashamedly. “Whiskers—that is, Steve Whitney—wrote and told me to report to him as soon as I could. Then I have your permission to go West just as soon as school closes?” “Yes,” was the quick answer, although the speaker had hoped that the boy would suggest spending a week or two with him before he left for the West. But Bob’s next words cheered him a lot.