Andy Gordon: Plot Summary

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Andy Gordon: Plot Summary

Andy Gordon, New York: Street and Smith, 1905.

          The hero, Andy is the son of a poor widow, who works as a janitor at the local school to earn his education. Andy is an excellent student, which earns him the enmity of fop Herbert Ross, the rich and spoiled son of a wealthy lawyer.
          The first episode occurs in the schoolhouse; Andy is sweeping before class begins. Herbert enters and spitefully kicks Andy's pile of dust. Henry then attacks Andy, who in defending himself soundly beats Henry before their teacher, Dr. Euclid, breaks up the fight. Euclid sides with Andy; Henry goes to his father, a trustee of the school, and persuades him to go to Euclid to order Andy's dismissal. Though Mr. Ross falsely accuses Andy of initiating the fight, Euclid refuses to fire Andy. Mr. Ross returns home unsatisfied and desirous of his own vengeance.
Andy Gordon cover image is borrowed from the Dime Novels Collection of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Rochester          The second episode introduces miser Joshua Starr, an old moneylender who had indebted Andy's father before he died. He goes to Mr. Ross claiming that the loan that Mr. Gordon had taken had never been repaid, despite Mrs. Gordon's protestations to the contrary. Starr asks Ross to confirm his story and allow him to take some of the Gordons' furniture in partial repayment. Ross, seeing an opportunity for revenge, agrees. Unfortunately for both accusers, the same day a package arrives in the mail that Andy opens. Inside is his father's wallet, sent by an old war friend. The wallet contains the receipt to his father's transaction with Starr, and proves that Starr is lying. Andy persuades his mother to delay presenting the receipt until both Starr and Ross are proven greedy liars. As a result, Starr returns home empty-handed, Ross humiliated (although he bills Starr for his services).
          In the third episode, the Peabody girls, two wealthy and elderly maiden sisters, who live outside of town alone, employ Andy as a night watchman. After banking business that day, they had received an unexpected five hundred dollars, and must keep the cash in their farmhouse until the next morning. Fearing burglary, they go to Mrs. Gordon to request her son's help. In discussing the situation, they are overheard by an eavesdropping tramp, a villain named Mike Hogan. Hearing about the money, he commits himself to stealing it. That night, Andy watches the trunk containing the money as Mike Hogan attempts to enter through a window. Lacking any weapon, Andy gets boiling water from the Peabody girls and splashes it in Hogan's face after he breaks through the window. Hogan retreats, but swears vengeance.
          The next episode details Andy's solo coach ride to a nearby town to deposit the money. Along the way, a lone traveler offers Andy one dollar for a ride to the town; Andy agrees, though insists on only taking fifty cents. The traveler turns out to be a highwayman, who pulls a gun on Andy and demands the five hundred dollars. Andy, while wondering how the highwayman came on such information, agrees to throw the wallet containing the money on the ground, so as not to be a part of the theft. He also asks the highwayman to send a letter absolving Andy of any guilt in the event. The highwayman agrees, but when he jumps down and reaches the wallet as Andy rides away, he finds it only contains brown paper, designed to look like money. He then enters the woods to meet with Mike Hogan, who gave him Andy's description in return for a part of the money. They swear to wait for Andy to return so they can punish him for his tricks. When Andy reaches the town and describes his journey, a detective from the city overhears. He tells Andy that he will ride the return trip with him, disguised as a woman to lure both Hogan and the highwayman out of hiding and arrest them. The detective's plan works: although the highwayman escapes, Mike Hogan is arrested and taken to jail.
          The fifth and final episode begins with Andy's mother receiving a letter from her Uncle Simon in Cato. He has been set upon by his widower ex-son-in-law and new wife, who are berating him to make them sole heirs of his $15,000 dollar estate. He begs Andy to come to help him escape to Andy's town. Andy agrees, taking the name Henry Miller, the name of a young man mentioned in the paper for saving the life of a drowning boy. On his passage out of town, Andy rescues Herbert Ross, who is drowing in the river. He accepts no reward, but feel justified in his adoption of the heroic name. Andy is hired on by Jeremiah, the son-in-law, at pitiful wages. While there, he discovers that Jeremiah's wife is the sister to Bill, the highwayman. Though Jeremiah, his wife, and Bill discover Andy's identity and conspire to have him falsely accused as a thief while hiding their own crime of forging a will, Andy's forthright nature reveals the truth of the matter. Simon changes his will to make Andy the sole heir when he comes of age, Bill is arrested, and Jeremiah and his wife humiliated. Simon returns to Hamilton with Andy; once there, he insists on buying them a new home, directly across the street from the Rosses's. Meanwhile, Andy's good deed to the Peabody girls is not forgotten. Some years later, the narrator mentions in conclusion, the Misses Peabody left Andy their entire estate. Thus, Andy becomes a young man of some considerable wealth, and his uncle lives on. The narrator concludes that both Andy and Herbert went on to Yale; Andy is at the top of the class with plans to become a lawyer, while Herbert struggles at the bottom.