Saturday, October 13, 2007


CAST UPON THE BREAKERS by Horatio Alger, Jr.

GUARDIAN."Well, good by, Rodney! I leave school tomorrow. I am going tolearn a
trade.""I am sorry to part with you, David. Couldn't you stay another term?""No: my uncle
says I must be earning my living, and I have achance to learn the carpenter's trade.""Where
are you going?""To Duffield, some twenty miles away. I wish I were inyour shoes. You
have no money cares, and can go on quietlyand complete your education.""I don't know
how I am situated, David. I only know that myguardian pays my expenses at this boarding
school.""Yes, you are a star boarder, and have the nicest room inthe institution. I am only a
poor day scholar. Still I feelthankful that I have been allowed to remain as long as I have.
Who is your guardian?""A Mr. Benjamin Fielding, of New York.""Is he a business man?""I
believe so.""Do you know how much you will inherit when you come of age?"asked David,
after a short pause."I haven't an idea.""It seems to me your guardian ought to have told
you.""I scarcely know my guardian. Five years ago I spent a week athis home. I don't
remember much about it except that he livesin a handsome house, and has plenty of
servants. Since then, asyou know, I have passed most of my time here, except that in
thesummer I was allowed to board at the Catkills or any countryplace I might select,""Yes,
and I remember one year you took me with you and paid allmy expenses. I shall never
forget your kindness, and how muchI enjoyed that summer."Rodney Ropes smiled, and his
smile made his usually grave facelook very attractive."My dear David," he said, "it was all
selfishness on my part. I knew I should enjoy myself much better with a companion.""You
may call that selfishness, Rodney, but it is a kind ofselfishness that makes me your devoted
friend. How long do youthink you shall remain at school?""I don't know. My guardian has
never told me his plans for me. I wish he would.""I shall miss you, Rodney, but we will
correspond, won't we?""Surely. You know I shall always feel interested in you andyour
welfare."David was a plain boy of humble parentage, and would probably bea hard
working mechanic. In fact he was looking for nothing better.But Rodney Ropes looked to
be of genteel blood, and had the airof one who had been brought up a gentleman. But
different asthey were in social position the two boys had always beendevoted friends.The
boarding school of which Rodney was, as his friend expressedhimself, a star pupil, was
situated about fifty miles from thecity of New York. It was under the charge of Dr.
Sampson, atall, thin man of fair scholarship, keenly alive to his owninterest, who showed
partiality for his richer pupils, andwhenever he had occasion to censure bore most heavily
upon boyslike David Hull, who was poor.Rodney occupied alone the finest room in the
school. There wasa great contrast between his comfortable quarters and theextremely
plain dormitories occupied by less favored pupils.In the case of some boys the favoritism
of the teacher wouldhave led them to put on airs, and made them unpopular with theirschool
fellows. But Rodney had too noble a nature to beinfluenced by such considerations. He
enjoyed his comfortableroom, but treated his school fellows with a frank cordialitythat made
him a general favorite.After David left his room Rodney sat down to prepare a lesson
inCicero, when he was interrupted by the entrance through the halfopen door of a younger
boy."Rodney," he said, "the doctor would like to see you in his office.""Very well, Brauner, I
will go down at once."He put aside his book and went down to the office of Dr. Sampsonon
the first floor.The doctor was sitting at his desk. He turned slightly asRodney entered."Take
a seat, Ropes," he said curtly.His tone was so different from his usual cordiality that
Rodneywas somewhat surprised."Am I in disgrace?" he asked himself. "Dr. Sampson
doesn't seemas friendly as usual."After a brief interval Dr. Sampson wheeled round in his
office chair."I have a letter for you from your guardian, Ropes," he said. "Here it is. Do me
the favor to read it here."With some wonder Rodney took the letter and read as
follows:DEAR RODNEY--I have bad news to communicate. As you know, I wasleft by
your father in charge of you and your fortune. I havenever told you the amount, but I will
say now that it was aboutfifty thousand dollars. Until two years since I kept it intactbut then
began a series of reverses in which my own fortune wasswallowed up. In the hope of
relieving myself I regret to saythat I was tempted to use your money. That went also, and
nowof the whole sum there remains but enough to pay the balance ofyour school bills,
leaving you penniless. How much I regretthis I cannot tell you. I shall leave New York at
once. I donot care at present to say where I shall go, but I shall try tomake good the loss,
and eventually restore to you your lost fortune. I may be successful or I may not. I shall do
my best and I hopein time to have better news to communicate.One thing I am glad to say.
I have a casket containing yourmother's jewels. These are intact. I shall send you the
casketby express, knowing that you will wish to keep them out ofregard for your mother's
memory. In case you are reduced to thenecessity of pawning or selling them, I am sure that
yourmother, could she be consulted, would advise you to do so. This would be better than
to have you suffer from want.There is nothing further for me to write except to repeat
myregret, and renew my promise to make up your lost fortune if Ishall ever to able to do
so. Your Guardian, BENJAMIN
FIELDING.Rodney read this like one dazed. In an instant he was reducedfrom the position
of a favorite of fortune to a needy boy, withhis living to make.He could not help recalling
what had passed between his friendDavid and himself earlier in the day. Now he was as
poor asDavid--poorer, in fact for David had a chance to learn a tradethat would yield him a
living, while he was utterly withoutresources, except in having an unusually good
education."Well," said Dr. Sampson, "have you read your letter?""Yes, sir.""Your guardian
wrote to me also. This is his letter," and heplaced the brief epistle in Rodney's hands.DR.
SAMPSON--I have written my ward, Rodney Ropes, an importantletter which he will show
you. The news which it contains willmake it necessary for him to leave school. I inclose a
checkfor one hundred and twenty five dollars. Keep whatever is dueyou, and give him the
balance. BENJAMIN FIELDING."I have read the letter, but I don't
know what it means," saidDr. Sampson. "Can you throw any light upon it?""Here is my
letter, doctor. You can read it for yourself."Dr. Sampson's face changed as he read
Rodney's letter. It changedand hardened, and his expression became quite different from
thatto which Rodney had been accustomed."This is a bad business, Ropes," said the
doctor in a hard tone.He had always said Rodney before."Yes, sir.""That was a handsome
fortune which your father left you.""Yes, sir. I never knew before how much it amounted
to.""You only learn when you have lost it. Mr. Fielding has treatedyou shamefully.""Yes, sir,
I suppose he has, but he says he will try to make itup to me in the future.""Pish! that is all
humbug. Even if he is favored by fortuneyou will never get back a cent.""I think I shall,
sir.""You are young. You do not know the iniquities of business men. I do.""I prefer to hope
for the best.""Just as you please.""Have you anything more to say to me?""Only that I will
figure up your account and see how muchmoney is to come to you out of the check your
guardian has sent. You can stay here till Monday; then you will find it best tomake new
arrangements.""Very well, sir."Rodney left the room, realizing that Dr. Sampson's feelings
hadbeen changed by his pupil's reverse of fortune.It was the way of the world, but it was
not a pleasant way, andRodney felt depressed.CHAPTER II.THE CASKET OF
JEWELS.It was not till the latter part of the afternoon that thecasket arrived. Rodney was
occupied with a recitation,and it was only in the evening that he got an opportunityto open it.
There was a pearl necklace, very handsome,a pair of bracelets, two gold chains, some
minor articlesof jewelry and a gold ring.A locket attracted Rodney's notice, and he opened it.
It contained the pictures of his father and mother.His father he could barely remember, his
mother died before hewas old enough to have her image impressed upon his memory.
He examined the locket and his heart was saddened. He felt howdifferent his life would
have been had his parents lived.He had never before realized the sorrow of being alone
inthe world. Misfortune had come upon him, and so far as he knewhe had not a friend.
Even Dr. Sampson, who had been paid so muchmoney on his account, and who had
always professed so greatfriendship for him, had turned cold.As he was standing with the
locket in his hand there was a knockat the door."Come in!" he called out.The door opened
and a stout, coarse looking boy, dressed in anexpensive manner, entered."Good evening,
John," said Rodney, but not cordially.Next to himself, John Bundy, who was the son of a
wealthy saloonkeeper in the city of New York, had been a favorite with Dr. Sampson.If
there was anything Dr. Sampson bowed down to and respected itwas wealth, and Mr.
Bundy, senior, was reputed to be worth aconsiderable fortune.In Rodney's mood John
Bundy was about the last person whom hewanted to see."Ha!" said John, espying the
open casket, "where did you get allthat jewelry?""It contains my mother's jewels," said
Rodney gravely."You never showed it to me before.""I never had it before. It came to me
by express this afternoon.""It must be worth a good pile of money," said John, his
eyesgleaming with cupidity."I suppose it is.""Have you any idea what it is worth?""I have
no thought about it.""What are you going to do with it? It won't be of use to you,especially
the diamond earrings," he added, with a coarse laugh."No," answered Rodney shortly."My
eyes, wouldn't my mother like to own all this jewelry. She's fond of ornament, but pa won't
buy them for her."Rodney did not answer."I say, Ropes, I mustn't forget my errand. Will
you do me a favor?""What is it?""Lend me five dollars till the first of next month. My
allowance comes due then. Now I haven't but a quarter left.""What makes you apply to
me, Bundy?""Because you always have money. I don't suppose you are worthas much
as my father, but you have more money for yourself thanI have.""I have had, perhaps, but I
haven't now.""Why, what's up? What has happened?""I have lost my fortune."John
whistled. This was his way of expressing amazement."Why, what have you been doing?
How could you lose your fortune?""My guardian has lost it for me. That amount to the same
thing.""When did you hear that?""This morning.""Is that true? Are you really a poor
boy?""Yes."John Bundy was astonished, but on the whole he was not saddened. In the
estimation of the school Rodney had always ranked higherthan he, and been looked upon
as the star pupil in point of wealth.Now that he was dethroned John himself would take his
place. This would be gratifying, though just at present, and till thebeginning of the next
month, he would be distressed for ready money."Well, that's a stunner!" he said. "How do
you feel about it? Shall you stay in school?""No; I can't afford it. I must get to work.""Isn't
there anything left--not a cent?""There may be a few dollars.""And then," said Bundy with a
sudden thought, "there is thiscasket of jewelry. You can sell it for a good deal of money.""I
don't mean to sell it.""Then you're a fool; that's all I've got to say.""I don't suppose you will
understand my feeling in the matter,but these articles belonged to my mother. They are all
Ihave to remind me of her. I do not mean to sell them unlessit is absolutely necessary.""I
would sell them quicker'n a wink," said Bundy. "What's thegood of keeping them?""We
won't discuss the matter," said Rodney coldly."Do you mind my telling the other boys
about your losing your money?""No; it will be known tomorrow at any rate; there is
noadvantage in concealing it."A heavy step was heard outside. It stopped before the
door."I must be getting," said Bundy, "or I'll get into trouble."It was against the rule at the
school for boys to make callsupon each other in the evening unless permission were
given.John Bundy opened the door suddenly, and to his dismay foundhimself facing the
rigid figure of Dr. Sampson, the principal."How do you happen to be here, Bundy?" asked
the doctor sternly."Please, sir, I was sympathizing with Ropes on his losing hismoney," said
Bundy with ready wit."Very well! I will excuse you this time.""I'm awful sorry for you,
Ropes," said Bundy effusively."Thank you," responded Rodney."You can go now," said
the principal. "I have a little businesswith Master Ropes.""All right, sir. Good night.""Good
night.""Won't you sit down, Dr. Sampson?" said Rodney politely, and hetook the casket
from the chair."Yes, I wish to have five minutes' conversation with you. So these are the
jewels, are they?""Yes, sir.""They seem to be quite valuable," went on the doctor, liftingthe
pearl necklace and poising it in his fingers. "It will bewell for you to have them appraised by
a jeweler.""It would, sir, if I wished to sell them, but I mean to keepthem as they are.""I
would hardly advise it. You will need the money. Probably you do not know how near
penniless you are.""No, sir; I don't know.""Your guardian, as you are aware, sent me a check
for onehundred and twenty five dollars. I have figured up how much ofthis sum is due to
me, and I find it to be one hundred andthirteen dollars and thirty seven cents.""Yes, sir," said
Rodney indifferently."This leaves for you only eleven dollars and sixty three cents. You
follow me, do you not?""Yes, sir.""Have you any money saved up from your
allowance?""A few dollars only, sir.""Ahem! that is a pity. You will need all you can raise.
But of course you did not anticipate what has occurred?""No, sir.""I will throw off the thirty
seven cents," said the principalmagnanimously, "and give you back twelve dollars.""I would
rather pay you the whole amount of your bill,"said Rodney."Ahem! Well perhaps that
would be more business-like. So youdon't wish to part with any of the jewelry,
Ropes?""No, sir.""I thought, perhaps, by way of helping you, I would take theearrings, and
perhaps the necklace, off your hands and presentthem to Mrs. Sampson."Rodney
shuddered with aversion at the idea of these preciousarticles, which had once belonged to
his mother, beingtransferred to the stout and coarse featured consort of theprincipal."I think I
would rather keep them," he replied."Oh well, just as you please," said Dr. Sampson with a
shade ofdisappointment for he had no idea of paying more than half whatthe articles were
worth. "If the time comes when you wish todispose of them let me know."Rodney
nodded, but did not answer in words."Of course, Ropes," went on the doctor in a
perfunctory way, "Iam very sorry for you. I shall miss you, and, if I could affordit, I would tell
you to stay without charge. But I am a poor man.""Yes," said Rodney hastily, "I
understand. I thank you for yourwords but would not under any circumstances accept such a
favorat your hands.""I am afraid you are proud, Ropes. Pride is--ahem--a wrong
feeling.""Perhaps so, Dr. Sampson, but I wish to earn my own livingwithout being indebted
to any one.""Perhaps you are right, Ropes. I dare say I should feelso myself. When do
you propose leaving us?""Some time tomorrow, sir.""I shall feel sad to have you go. You
have been here so longthat you seem to me like a son. But we must submit to
thedispensations of Providence--" and Dr. Sampson blew a vigorousblast upon his red silk
handkerchief. "I will give you thebalance due in the morning.""Very well, sir."Rodney was
glad to be left alone. He had no faith in Dr.Sampson's sympathy. The doctor had the
reputation of beingworth from thirty to forty thousand dollars, and his assumptionof being a
poor man Rodney knew to be a sham.He went to bed early, for tomorrow was to be the
beginning of anew life for him.CHAPTER III.A STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE.When it
was generally known in the school that Rodney was toleave because he had lost his
property much sympathy was feltand expressed for him.Though he had received more
than ordinary attention from theprincipal on account of his pecuniary position and
expectations,this had not impaired his popularity. He never put on any airsand was on as
cordial relations with the poorest student as withthe richest."I'm awfully sorry you're going,
Rodney," said more than one. "Is it really true that you have lost your property?""Yes, it is
true.""Do you feel bad about it?""I feel sorry, but not discouraged.""I say, Rodney," said
Ernest Rayner, in a low voice, callingRodney aside, "are you very short of money?""I
haven't much left, Ernest.""Because I received five dollars last week as a birthday present. I
haven't spent any of it. You can have it as well as not."Rodney was much moved. "My
dear Ernest," he said, putting hisarm caressingly around the neck of the smaller boy, "you
area true friend. I won't forget your generous offer, thoughI don't need to accept it.""But are
you sure you have money enough?" asked Ernest."Yes, I have enough for the present.
By the time I need more Ishall have earned it."There was one boy, already introduced,
John Bundy, who did notshare in the general feeling of sympathy for Rodney. This
wasJohn Bundy.He felt that Rodney's departure would leave him the star pupiland give
him the chief social position in school. As toscholarship he was not ambitious to stand high
in that."I say, Ropes," he said complacently, "I'm to have your roomafter you're gone.""I
congratulate you," returned Rodney. "It is an excellent room.""Yes, I s'pose it'll make you
feel bad. Where are you going?""I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have done.""Oh
yes, I guess there's no doubt of that. I'm going to get pato send me some nice pictures to
hang on the wall. When youcome back here on a visit you'll see how nice it looks.""I think it
will be a good while before I come here on a visit.""Yes. I s'pose it'll make you feel bad.
Where are you going?""To the City of New York.""You'll have to live in a small hall
bedroom there.""Why will I?""Because you are poor, and it costs a good deal of money to
livein New York. It'll be a great come down.""It will indeed, but if I can earn enough to
support me in plainstyle I won't complain. I suppose you'll call and see me whenyou come
to New York?""Perhaps so, if you don't live in a tenement house. Pa objectsto my going
to tenement houses. There's no knowing what diseasethere may be in them.""It is well to
be prudent" said Rodney, smiling.It did not trouble him much to think he was not likely
toreceive a call from his quondan schoolmate."Here is the balance of your money, Ropes,"
said Dr. Sampson,drawing a small roll of bills from his pocket, later in the day. "I am quite
willing to give you the odd thirty seven cents.""Thank you, doctor, but I shan't need it.""You
are poorly provided. Now I would pay you a good sum forsome of your mother's jewelry,
as I told you last evening.""Thank you," said Rodney hastily, "but I don't care to sellat
present.""Let me know when you are ready to dispose of the necklace."Here the depot
carriage appeared in the street outside andRodney with his gripsack in one hand and the
precious casketin the other, climbed to a seat beside the driver.His trunk he left behind,
promising to send for it when he hadfound a new boarding place.There was a chorus of
good byes. Rodney waved his handkerchiefin general farewell, and the carriage started for
the depot."Be you goin' for good?" asked Joel, the driver, who knew Rodneywell and felt
friendly to him."Yes, Joel.""It's kind of sudden, isn't it?""Yes.""What makes you go?""Bad
news, Joel.""Be any of your folks dead?""It is not death. I haven't any `folks.' I'm alone in
the world.It's because I've lost my property and am too poor to remainin school.""That's too
bad," said the driver in a tone of sympathy. "Whereare you goin'?""To the city.""Are you
goin' to work?""Yes, I shall have to.""If you was a little older you might get a chance to drive
astreet car, but I s'pose you're too young.""Yes, I don't think they would take me.""I've
thought sometimes I should like such a chance myself,"said Joel. "I've got tired of the
country. I should liketo live in the city where there's theaters, and shows, andsuch like. Do
you know what the drivers on street cars get?""No, I never heard.""I wish you'd find out and
let me know. You can send the letterto Joel Phipps, Groveton. Then find out if it's easy to
getsuch a chance.""I will. I shall be glad to oblige you.""You always was obligin', Rodney.
I've asked Jack Bundy to doit--you know his folks live in the city--but he never would. He's
a mighty disagreeable boy. He never liked you.""Didn't he?""No, I surmise he was jealous
of you. He used to say you put onso many airs it made him sick.""I don't think any of the
other boys would say that.""No, but they could say it of him. Do you think his father is
rich?""I have always heard that he was.""I hope he's better about paying his debt than Jack.
I lent himtwenty five cents a year ago and I never could get it back."The distance from the
school to the station was a mile. Joel fetched the carriage round with a sweep and then
jumped off,opened the door, and then helped the passengers to disembark, ifthat word is
allowable."How soon does the train start, Joel?" asked Rodney."In about five
minutes.""Then I had better purchase my ticket without delay.""Don't forget to ask about
horse car drivers!""No, I won't. I should like to have you come to New York. I know no one
there, and I should feel glad to see afamiliar face."The train came up in time, and Rodney
was one of half a dozenpassengers who entered the cars.He obtained a place next to a
stout man dressed in a pepper andsalt suit."Is this seat engaged?" asked Rodney."Yes--to
you," and his fellow passenger laughed.Rodney laughed too, for he saw that the remark
was meant tobe jocose.He put his gripsack on the floor at his feet, but held thecasket in his
lap. He did not like to run any risk with that."Are you a drummer?" asked the stout man, with
a glance atthe casket."No, sir.""I thought you might be, and that THAT might containyour
samples.""No, sir. That is private property."He had thought of telling what it contained, but
checked himself. He knew nothing of his companion, and was not sure how far itmight be
safe to trust a stranger."I used to be a drummer myself--in the jewelry line--"continued his
companion, "and I carried a box just like that.""Ah, indeed! Then you are not in that business
now?""No, I got tired of it. I deal in quite a differentarticle now.""Indeed?""Suburban
lot.""You don't happen to have any of them with you?"The stout man roared with laughter,
giving Rodney the impressionthat he had said a very witty thing."That's a good one," he
remarked, "the best I've heard for along time. No, I haven't any of the lots with me, but I've
gota circular. Just cast your eye over that," and he drew a largeand showy prospectus from
his pocket."If you should be looking for a good investment," he continued,"you can't do any
better than buy a lot at Morton Park. It isonly eighteen miles from the city and is rapidly
building up. You can buy lot on easy installments, and I will myself pick oneout for you that
is almost sure to double in value in a year or two.""Thank you," said Rodney, "but I shall
have to invest my money,if I get any, in a different way.""As what for instance?""In board
and lodging.""Good. That is even more necessary than real estate.""How long have you
been in the business, sir?""About six months.""And how does it pay?""Very well, if you
know how to talk.""I should think you might do well, then.""Thank you. I appreciate the
compliment. What business are yougoing into, that is, if you are going to the city?""I am
going to the city, but I have no idea yet what I shall do.""Perhaps you may like to become
an agent for our lots. I shallbe ready to employ you as sub agent if you feel
disposed.""Thank you, sir. If you will give me your card, I may callupon you."The short man
drew from his card case a business card. It borethe name ADIN WOODS.
ROYAL BUILDING. NASSAU ST. Morton Park Lots."Come to see me at any
time," he said, "and we will talk thematter over."Here the train boy came along and Rodney
bought a copy of Puck,while the agent resumed the perusal of a copy of a magazine. For
an hour the cars ran smoothly. Then there was a suddenshock causing all the passengers to
start to their feet."We're off the track!" shouted an excitable person in frontof Rodney.The
instinct of self preservation is perhaps stronger thanany other. Rodney and his seat mate
both jumped to their feetand hurried to the door of the car, not knowing what was instore for
them.But fortunately the train had not been going rapidly. It wasapproaching a station and
was "slowing up." So, though it hadreally run off the track, there was not likely to be any
injuryto the passengers."We are safe," said Adin Woods. "The only harm done is the
delay. I hope that won't be long. Suppose we go back to our seat."They returned to the
seat which they had jointly occupied.Then Rodney made an alarming discovery. "My
casket!" heexclaimed. "Where is it?""What did you do with it?""Left it on the seat.""It may
have fallen to the floor."Rodney searched for it in feverish excitement, but his searchwas
THIEF."Were the contents of the casket valuable?" asked the land agent."Yes; it contained
my mother's jewels, all the more valuablebecause she is dead," replied Rodney."Were
they of much intrinsic worth?""They must be worth several hundred dollars at least.""Then
they must be found," said Adin Woods energetically. "They have evidently been taken by
some passenger duringthe five minutes we were away from our seat.""Were you inquiring
about the casket?" asked a lady sitting opposite."Yes, madam. Can you give any
information about it?""Just after you left your seat the man that sat behind you roseand
reaching over for it went to the rear end of the car and got out,""I wish you had stopped him,
madam.""He was so cool about it that I thought he might be a friend ofthe young
gentleman.""I didn't know him. He must have been a thief.""What was his appearance,
madam?" asked the lot agent."He was a thin, dark complexioned man, with side whiskers
cominghalf way down his cheeks.""And you say he got out of the rear end of the car?""Yes,
sir.""He won't get on the train again," said the agent turning to Rodney. "He thinks the casket
valuable enough to pay him for theinterruption of his journey.""What shall I do then?" asked
Rodney, feeling helpless and at aloss which way to turn."Follow him," said the agent briefly.
"He will probably stopover in the village a day and resume his joumey tomorrow.""Even if I
found him I am afraid I shouldn't know how to dealwith him.""Then I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll
stop over with you andhelp you make it hot for him. I've had a spite against thievesever
since I had a valuable overcoat stolen in one of my journeys.""I shall feel very much obliged
to you, Mr. Woods, but won't itinterfere with your business?""Not materially. If we succeed
in overhauling the rascal Ishall feel sufficiently repaid for the small interruption. But come on,
we can't afford to linger here while he iscarrying off the plunder.""I don't know how I can
repay you, Mr. Woods," said Rodney gratefully."You can buy a lot of me when you get
rich enough.""I will certainly do so, though I am afraid it will be a longtime first.""You don't
know what good fortune may be in store for you. Did you notice, madam, in which direction
the thief went?""Yes, I was looking out of the window. He went over the road tothe
left.""That leads to the village. You will see, Mr. Ropes, that I wasright about his
plans.""Don't call me Mr. Ropes. Call me Rodney.""I will. It don't seem natural to dub a
boy Mr. Now, Rodney,follow me."The two passengers set out on the road that led to the
village. They could see the latter easily, for it was not more than amile away."He will be
surprised to think we have `struck his trail' soquick," said the agent."Where shall we go
first?""To the hotel if there is one.""The village seems small.""Yes, there are only a few
hundred inhabitant probably. It isnot a place where a traveler would be likely to interrupt
hisjourney unless he had a special object in doing so, like ourdishonest friend. However, I
think we shall be able to balk hislittle game."Ten minutes' walk brought them to the village.
Looking aboutthey saw a small hotel just across the way from a neat white chapel."Follow
me," said the agent.They went into the public room in which there was a small office.The
book of arrivals was open, and Adin Woods went forward andexamined it. Silently he
pointed to a name evidently justwritten, for the ink was scarcely dry. This was the name:
LouisWheeler, Philadelphia."This may or may not be his real name," said Mr. Woods in
alow voice."Do you wish to register, gentlemen?" asked the clerk."We will take dinner, and if
we decide to stay will register later. By the way, I recognize this name, but it may not be
theman I suppose.""Yes, the gentleman just registered.""Would you mind describing
him?""He was a tall, dark man as near as I can remember.""And he carried a small casket in
his hand?""Yes, and a gripsack.""Oh yes," said the agent his face lighting up with
satisfaction. "It is the man I mean--where is he now?""In his room.""Did he say how long he
intended to stay?""No, sir. He said nothing about his plans.""Did he seem specially careful
about the casket?""Yes, sir. He carried that in his hands, but let the servantcarry up the
gripsack.""My friend," said the agent in an impressive tone, "I am goingto surprise you."The
country clerk looked all curiosity."Is it about Mr. Wheeler?" he asked."Yes, the man is a thief.
He stole the casket, which containsvaluable jewelry, from my young friend here. We are
here todemand a return of the property or to arrest him. Is there apoliceman within call?""I
can summon a constable.""Do so, but don't breathe a word of what I have told you."The
clerk called a boy in from the street and gave himinstructions in a low voice. He went at
once on his errand, andin ten minutes a stout broad shouldered man made his
appearance."This gentleman sent for you, Mr. Barlow," said the clerk."What can I do for
you?" asked the constable."Help me to recover stolen property.""That I will do with
pleasure if you will tell me what you wantme to do."Adin Woods held a brief conference
with the constable,then he led the way up stairs, followed immediately by Rodney,while
the constable kept a little behind."His room is No. 9," said the bell boy.The agent paused
before the door of No. 9, and knocked."Come in!" said a voice.The agent opened the door,
and entered, accompanied by Rodney. A glance showed that the occupant answered the
description givenby the lady in the car.Louis Wheeler changed color, for he recognized
both the agentand Rodney."What is your business?" he asked in a tone which he tried
tomake indifferent."That" answered Woods, pointing to the jewel casket on the bureau.It
looked to him as if Wheeler, if that was his name, had beentrying to open it."I don't
understand.""Then I will try to make things clear to you. You have,doubtless by accident"
he emphasized the last word, "taken fromthe car a casket belonging to my young friend
here.""You are mistaken, sir," said Wheeler with brazen hardihood. "That casket belongs to
me.""Indeed. What does it contain?""I fail to see how that is any of your business,"
returnedWheeler, determined, if possible, to bluff off his visitors."I admire your cheek, sir. I
really do. But I am too old atraveler to be taken in by such tricks. I propose to havethat
casket.""Well, sir, you are the most impudent thief and burglar I ever met. You break into a
gentleman's room, and undertake to carryoff his private property. Unless you go out at
once, I willhave you arrested.""That you can do very readily, for I have an officer within
call."Louis Wheeler changed color. He began to see that the situationwas getting
serious."There is a great mistake here," he said."I agree with you."The agent went to the
door, and called "Constable Barlow."The constable promptly presented himself."Do you
want me, sir?" he asked."That depends on this gentleman here. If he will peacefullyrestore
to my young friend here yonder jewel casket I am willingto let him go. Otherwise--" and he
glanced at Wheeler significantly."Perhaps I have made a mistake," admitted the thief. "I had
acasket exactly like this. Possibly I have taken the wrong one.""I have the key to the casket
here," said Rodney, "and I cantell you without opening it what it contains.""What did yours
contain?" asked the agent."Jewelry," answered Wheeler shortly."What articles?""Never
mind. I am inclined to think this casket belongs to the boy.""Rodney, you can take it and Mr.
Wheeler will probably find hiswhere he left it."No objection was made, and the discomfited
thief was left a preyto mortification and disappointment.Rodney handed a dollar to the
constable which that worthyofficial received with thanks, and he and the agent resumedtheir
journey by an afternoon train. They saw nothing further ofLouis Wheeler who sent for dinner
to be served in his room.CHAPTER V.A YOUNG FINANCIAL WRECK."You have
been very fortunate in recovering your jewels,"said the agent."I owe it to you," replied
Rodney gratefully."Well, perhaps so. If I have rendered you a service I amvery glad.""And
I am very glad to have found so good a friend. I hope youwill let me pay for your ticket to
New York.""It won't be necessary. The interruption of our journey won'tinvalidate the ticket
we have."An hour later they reached New York."What are your plans, Rodney?" asked
Adin Woods, who by thistime had become quite intimate with his young companion."I shall
call on my guardian, and perhaps he may give me someadvice as to what I do. Where
would you advise me to go--toa hotel?""No; it will be too expensive. I know of a plain
boarding houseon West Fourteenth Street where you can be accommodated withlodging
and two meals--breakfast and supper, or dinner as wecall it here--for a dollar a day.""I shall
be glad to go there, for the present, at least. I haven't much money, and must find
something to do assoon as possible.""We will both go there, and if you don't object we will
take aroom together. That will give us a larger apartment. Mrs. Marcyis an old acquaintance
of mine, and will give you a welcome."Rodney was glad to accept his companion's
proposal. They proceeded at once to the boarding house, and fortunatelyfound a good
room vacant on the third floor. Mr. Woods wentout in the evening to make a call, but
Rodney was glad to goto bed at nine o'clock.The next morning after breakfast Rodney
consulted his companionas to what he should do with the casket."Do you want to raise
money on it?" asked the agent."No; I shall not do this unless I am obliged to.""Have you
any idea as to the value of the jewels?""No.""Then I will take you first to a jeweler in Maiden
Lane, afriend of mine, who will appraise them. Afterwards I advise youto deposit the
casket at a storage warehouse, or get Tiffany tokeep it for you.""I will do as you
suggest."Maiden Lane is a street largely devoted to jewelers, wholesaleand retail. Rodney
followed Mr. Woods into a store about midwaybetween Broadway and Nassau Street. A
pleasant looking man ofmiddle age greeted the agent cordially."What can I do for you?" he
asked. "Do you wish to buy adiamond ring for the future Mrs. Woods?""Not much. I would
like to have you appraise some jewelrybelonging to my young friend here."The casket was
opened, and the jeweler examined thecontents admiringly."This is choice jewelry," he said.
"Does your friend wishto sell?""Not at present," answered Rodney."When you do give me
a call. I will treat you fairly. You wishme to appraise these articles?""Yes, sir, if you will.""It
will take me perhaps fifteen minutes."The jeweler retired to the back part of the store with
the casket.In about a quarter of an hour he returned."Of course I can't give exact figures," he
said, "but I valuethe jewelry at about twelve hundred dollars."Rodney looked surprised."I
didn't think it so valuable," he said."I don't mean that you could sell it for so much, but if
youwish to dispose of it I will venture to give you eleven hundred.""Thank you. If I decide
to sell I will certainly come to you.""Now," said the agent, "I advise you on the whole to
store thecasket with Tiffany.""Shall I have to pay storage in advance?" asked Rodney
anxiously."I think not. The value of the jewels will be a sufficientguarantee that storage will
be paid."Rodney accompanied Adin Woods to the great jewelry store on thecorner of
Fifteenth Street and Union Square, and soon transactedhis business."Now, you won't have
any anxiety as to the safety of the casket,"said the agent. "Your friend of the train will find it
difficultto get hold of the jewels. Now I shall have to leave you,as I have some business to
attend to. We will meet at supper."Rodney decided to call at the office of his late
guardian,Benjamin Fielding. It was in the lower part of the city.On his way down town he
purchased a copy of a morning paper. Almost the first article he glanced at proved to be of
especialinterest to him. It was headed SKIPPED TO CANADARumors have
been rife for some time affecting the busines standingof Mr. Benjamin Fielding, the well
known commission merchant. Yesterday it was discovered that he had left the city,but
where he has gone is unknown. It is believed that heis very deeply involved, and seeing
no way out of hisembarrassment has skipped to Canada, or perhaps taken passageto
Europe. Probably his creditors will appoint a committee tolook into his affairs and report
what can be done.LATER--An open letter has been found in Mr. Fielding's
desk,addressed to his creditors. It expresses regret for theirlosses, and promises, if his life
is spared, and fortune favorshim, to do all in his power to make them good. No one doubts
Mr.Fielding's integrity, and regrets are expressed that he did notremain in the city and help
unravel the tangle in which hisaffairs are involved. He is a man of ability, and as he isstill in
the prime of life, it may be that he will be able toredeem his promises and pay his debts in
full, if sufficient timeis given him."I can get no help or advice from Mr. Fielding," thought
Rodney. "I am thrown upon my own resources, and must fight the battle oflife as well as I
can alone."He got out in front of the Astor House. As he left the car hesoiled his shoes with
the mud so characteristic of New York streets."Shine your boots?" asked a young Arab,
glancing with a businesseye at Rodney's spattered shoes.Rodney accepted his offer, not
so much because he thought theblacking would last, as for the opportunity of
questioningthe free and independent young citizen who was doing, what hehoped to do,
that is, making a living for himself."Is business good with you?" asked Rodney. "It ought to
be withthe street in this condition.""Yes; me and de Street Commissioner is in league
together. He makes business good for me.""And do you pay him a commission?" asked
Rodney smiling."I can't tell no official secrets. It might be bad for me.""You are an original
genius.""Am I? I hope you ain't callin' me names.""Oh no. I am only paying you a
compliment. What is your name?""Mike Flynn.""Were do you live, Mike?""At the Lodge.""I
suppose you mean at the Newsboys' `Lodge?'""Yes.""How much do you have to pay
there?""Six cents for lodgin', and six cents for supper and breakfast.""That is, six cents for
each.""Yes; you ain't comin' to live there, are you?" asked Mike."I don't know--I may have
to.""You're jokin'.""What makes you think I am joking?""Because you're a swell. Look at
them clo'es!""I have a good suit of clothes, to be sure, but I haven'tmuch money. You are
better off than I am.""How's that?" asked Mike incredulously."You've got work to do, and I
am earning nothing.""If you've got money enough to buy a box and brush, you can goin
with me.""I don't think I should like it, Mike. It would spoil my clothes,and I am afraid I
wouldn't have money enough to buy others.""I keep my dress suit at home--the one I wear
to parties.""Haven't you got any father or mother, Mike? How does it happenthat you are
living in New York alone?""My farder is dead, and me mudder, she married a man wot
ain'tno good. He'd bate me till I couldn't stand it. So I just run away.""Where does your
mother live?""In Albany.""Some time when you earn money enough you can ask her to
comehere and live with you.""They don't take women at the Lodge.""No, I suppose not,"
said Rodney, smiling."Besides she's got two little girls by her new husband, and
shewouldn't want to leave them."By this time the shine was completed, and Rodney paid
Mike."If I ever come to the Lodge, I'll ask for you," he said."Where do you live now?""I'm
just staying at a place on Fourteenth Street, but I can'tafford to stay there long, for they
charge a dollar a day.""Geewholliker, that would bust me, and make me a financial wreckas
the papers say.""How did you lose your fortune and get reduced to blackingboots?" asked
Rodney jocosely."I got scooped out of it in Wall Street," answered Mike. "Jay Gould
cleaned me out.""And I suppose now he has added your fortune to his.""You've hit it
boss.""Well, good day, Mike, I'll see you again some day----""All right! I'm in my office all
de mornin'."CHAPTER VI.AN IMPUDENT ADVENTURER.While Rodney was talking
with Mike Flynn he was an object ofattention to a man who stood near the corner of Barclay
Street,and was ostensibly looking in at the window of the drug store. As Rodney turned
away he recognized him at once as hisenterprising fellow traveler who had taken
possession of thecasket of jewels.He did not care to keep up an acquaintance with him, and
startedto cross the street. But the other came forward smiling, andwith a nod said: "I
believe you are the young man I metyesterday in the cars and afterwards at
Kentville?""Yes, sir.""I just wanted to tell you that I had got back my jewel box, theone for
which I mistook yours.""Indeed!" said Rodney, who did not believe a word the fellow
said."Quite an amusing mistake, I made.""It might have proved serious to me.""Very true,
as I shouldn't have known where to find you torestore your property.""I don't think that
would have troubled you much,"thought Rodney. "Where did you find your box?" he
asked."In the car. That is, the conductor picked it up and left it atthe depot for me. Where
are you staying here in the city? At the Astor House?""No, I have found a boarding house
on West Fourteenth Street.""If it is a good place, I should like to go there. What isthe
number?""I can't recall it, though I could find it," answered Rodneywith reserve, for he had no
wish to have his railroadacquaintance in the house."Is the gentleman who was traveling with
you there also?""Yes, sir.""He is a very pleasant gentleman, though he misjudged me. Ha,
ha! my friends will be very much amused when I tell themthat I was taken for a thief. Why, I
venture to say that mybox is more valuable than yours.""Very likely," said Rodney coldly.
"Good morning.""Good morning. I hope we may meet again."Rodney nodded, but he
could not in sincerity echo the wish.He was now confronted by a serious problem. He had
less thanten dollars in his pocketbook, and this would soon be swallowedup by the
necessary expenses of life in a large city. Whatwould he do when that was gone?It was
clear that he must go to work as soon as possible. If his guardian had remained in the city,
probably through hisinfluence a situation might have been secured. Now nothing wasto be
looked for in that quarter.He bought a morning paper and looked over the Want Column.
He found two places within a short distance of the Astor House,and called at each. One
was in a railroad office."My boy," said the manager, a pleasant looking man, "the placewas
taken hours since. You don't seem to get up very early inthe morning.""I could get up at
any hour that was necessary," repliedRodney, "but I have only just made up my mind to
applyfor a position.""You won't meet with any luck today. It is too late. Get upbright and
early tomorrow morning, buy a paper, and make earlyapplication for any place that strikes
you as desirable.""Thank you, sir. I am sure your advice is good.""If you had been the first
to call here, I should have taken you. I like your appearance better than that of the boy I
have selected.""Thank you, sir.""This boy may not prove satisfactory. Call in six days,
justbefore his week expires, and if there is likely to be a vacancyI will let you know.""Thank
you, sir. You are very kind.""I always sympathize with boys. I have two boys of my
own."This conversation quite encouraged Rodney. It seemed to promisesuccess in the
future. If he had probably impressed one man,he might be equally fortunate with another.It
was about half past twelve when he passed through Nassau Street.All at once his arm was
grasped, and a cheery voice said, "Whereare you going, Rodney?""Mr. Woods!" he
exclaimed, with pleased recognition."Yes, it's your old friend Woods.""You are not the only
railroad friend I have met this morning.""Who was the other?""The gentleman who obligingly
took care of my jewel box for ashort time.""You don't mean to say you have met him?
Where did you comeacross him?""In front of the Astor House, almost two hours since.""Did
you speak to him?""He spoke to me. You will be glad to hear that he has recoveredhis
own casket of jewels."Adin Woods smiled."He must think you are easily imposed upon,"
he said,"to believe any such story. Anything more?""He said his friends would be very
much surprised to hear thathe had been suspected of theft.""So he wanted to clear himself
with you?""Yes; he asked where I was staying.""I hope you didn't tell him.""I only said I was
at a boarding house on West FourteenthStreet, but didn't mention the number.""He thinks
you have the casket with you, and that he may getpossession of it. It is well that you stored
it at Tiffany's.""I think so. Now I have no anxiety about it. Do you think hewill find out where
we live?""Probably, as you gave him a clew. But, Rodney, it is aboutlunch time, and I
confess I have an appetite. Come and lunchwith me.""But I am afraid, Mr. Woods, I shall
not be able to returnthe compliment.""There is no occasion for it. I feel in good humor
thismorning. I have sold one lot, and have hopes of disposingof another. The one lot pays
me a commission of twenty dollars.""I wish I could make twenty dollars in a
week.""Sometimes I only sell one lot in a week. It isn't like aregular business. It is
precarious. Still, take the yearthrough and I make a pretty good income. Come in here.
We canget a good lunch here," and he led the way into a modestrestaurant, not far from the
site of the old post office, whichwill be remembered by those whose residence in New
York datesback twenty years or more."Now we will have a nice lunch," said the agent. "I
hope youcan do justice to it.""I generally can," responded Rodney, smiling. "I am
seldomtroubled with a poor appetite.""Ditto for me. Now what have you been doing this
morning?""Looking for a place.""With what success?""Pretty good if I had only been
earlier."Rodney told the story of his application to the manager of therailroad office."You will
know better next time. I think you'll succeed. I did. When I came to New York at the age of
twenty two I had onlyfifty dollars. That small sum had to last me twelve weeks. You can
judge that I didn't live on the fat of the land duringthat time. I couldn't often eat at
Delmonico's. Even BeefsteakJohn's would have been too expensive for me. However,
those olddays are over."The next day and the two following Rodney went about the
citymaking application for positions, but every place seemed full.On the third day Mr.
Woods said, "I shall have to leave you fora week or more, Rodney.""Where are you
going?""To Philadelphia. There's a man there who is a capitalist andlikes land investments.
I am going to visit him, and hope tosell him several lots. He once lived in this city, so he
won'tobject to New York investments.""I hope you will succeed, Mr. Woods. I think if you
are goingaway I had better give up the room, and find cheaper accommodations. I am
getting near the end of my money.""You are right. It is best to be prudent."That evening
Rodney found a room which he could rent for twodollars a week. He estimated that by
economy he could get alongfor fifty cents a day for his eating, and that would be adecided
saving.He was just leaving the house the next morning, gripsack inhand, when on the steps
he met Louis Wheeler, his acquaintanceof the train."Where are you going?" asked
Wheeler."I am leaving this house. I have hired a room elsewhere."Wheeler's countenance
fell, and he looked dismayed."Why, I have just taken a room here for a week," he said."You
will find it a good place.""But--I wouldn't have come here if I hadn't thought I shouldhave
company.""I ought to feel complimented."Rodney was convinced that Wheeler had come
in the hopes ofstealing the casket of jewels a second time, and he felt amusedat the fellow's
discomfiture."You haven't got your jewel box with you?""No, I can take that another
time.""Then it's still in the house," thought Wheeler with satisfaction. "It won't be my fault if I
don't get it in my hands. Well, goodmorning," he said. "Come around and call on
week Rodney had spent all his money, with the exceptionof about fifty cents. He had
made every effort to obtain aplace, but without success.Boys born and bred in New York
have within my observation triedfor months to secure a position in vain, so it is not
surprisingthat Rodney who was a stranger proved equally unsuccessful.Though naturally
hopeful Rodney became despondent."There seems to be no place for me," he said to
himself. "When I was at boarding school I had no idea how difficultit is for a boy to earn a
living."He had one resource. He could withdraw the box of jewels fromTiffany's, and sell
some article that it contained. But this hehad a great objection to doing. One thing was
evident however,he must do something.His friend, the lot agent, was out of town, and he
hardly knewwhom to advise with. At last Mike Flynn, the friendlybootblack, whose
acquaintance he had made in front of the AstorHouse, occurred to him.Mike, humble as he
was, was better off than himself. Moreoverhe was a New York boy, and knew more about
"hustling" thanRodney did. So he sought out Mike in his "office.""Good morning, Mike," said
Rodney, as the bootblack was brushingoff a customer."Oh, its you, Rodney," said Mike
smiling with evident pleasure. "How you're gettin' on?""Not at all.""That's bad. Can I help
you? Just say the word, and I'll drawa check for you on the Park Bank.""Is that where you
keep your money?""It's one of my banks. You don't think I'd put all myspondulics in one
bank, do you?""I won't trouble you to draw a check this morning. I only wantto ask some
advice.""I've got plenty of that.""I haven't been able to get anything to do, and I have
onlyfifty cents left. I can't go on like that.""That's so.""I've got to give up my room on
Fourteenth Street. I can't payfor it any longer. Do you think I could get in at the
Lodge?""Yes. I'll introduce you to Mr. O'Connor.""When shall I meet you?""At five o'clock.
We'll be in time for supper.""All right."At five o'clock Mike accompanied Rodney to the large
Newsboys'Lodging House on New Chambers Street. Mr. O'Connor, the popularand
efficient superintendent, now dead, looked in surprise atMike's companion. He was a stout
man with a kindly face, andRodney felt that he would prove to be a friend."Mr. O'Connor,
let me introduce me friend, Mr. Rodney Ropes,"said Mike."Could you give me a lodging?"
asked Rodney in an embarrassed tone."Yes; but I am surprised to see a boy of your
appearance here.""I am surprised to be here myself," admitted Rodney.The
superintendent fixed upon him a shrewd, but kindly glance."Have you run away from
home?" he asked."No, sir. It is my home that has run away from me.""Have you
parents?""No, sir.""Do you come from the country?""Yes, sir.""Where have you been
living?""At a boarding school a few hours from New York.""Why did you leave
it?""Because my guardian sent me word that he had lost my fortune,and could no longer
pay my bills.""You have been unfortunate truly. What do you propose to do now?""Earn
my living if I can. I have been in the city for about twoweeks, and have applied at a good
many places but in vain.""Then you were right in coming here. Supper is ready,
andalthough it is not what you are used to, it will satisfy hunger. Mike, you can take Rodney
with you."Within five minutes Rodney was standing at a long table with abowl of coffee and
a segment of bread before him. It wouldn'thave been attractive to one brought up to good
living, as wasthe case with him, but he was hungry.He had eaten nothing since morning
except an apple which he hadbought at a street stand for a penny, and his stomach
urgentlycraved a fresh supply of food.Mike stood next to him. The young bootblack, who
was used tonothing better, ate his portion with zest, and glanced askanceat Rodney to see
how he relished his supper. He was surprisedto see that his more aristocratic companion
seemed to enjoy itquite as much as himself."I didn't think you'd like it" he said."Anything
tastes good when you're hungry, Mike.""That's so.""And I haven't eaten anything except an
apple, since morning.""Is dat so? Why didn't you tell me? I'd have stood treat at deBoss
Tweed eatin' house.""I had money, but I didn't dare to spend it. I was afraid ofhaving
nothing left."When Rodney had eaten his supper he felt that he could haveeaten more, but
the craving was satisfied and he felt relieved.He looked around him with some curiosity, for
he had never beenin such a motley gathering before. There were perhaps onehundred
and fifty boys recruited from the street, to about allof whom except himself the term street
Arab might be applied.The majority of them had the shrewd and good humored Celtic
face. Many of them were fun loving and even mischievous, but scarcelyany were really
bad.Naturally Rodney, with his good clothes, attracted attention. The boys felt that he was
not one of them, and they had asuspicion that he felt above them."Get on to de dude!"
remarked one boy, who was loosely attiredin a ragged shirt and tattered trousers."He
means me, Mike," said Rodney with a smile."I say, Patsy Glenn, what do you mean by
callin' me friendRodney a dude?" demanded Mike angrily."Coz he's got a dandy suit
on.""What if he has? Wouldn't you wear one like it if you could!""You bet!""Then just let him
alone! He's just got back from deinauguration.""Where'd you pick him up, Mike?""Never
mind! He's one of us. How much money have you got inyour pocket Rodney?""Thirty two
cents.""He can't put on no frills wid dat money.""That's so. I take it all back," and Patsy
offered a begrimed handto Rodney, which the latter shook heartily with a pleasant
smile.That turned the tide in favor of Rodney, the boys gatheredaround him and he told his
story in a few words."I used to be rich, boys," he said, "but my guardian spent allmy
money, and now I am as poor as any of you.""You'd ought to have had me for your
guardian, Rodney,"observed Mike."I wish you had. You wouldn't have lost my money for
me.""True for you! I say so, boys, if we can find Rodney'sguardian, what'll we do to
him?""Give him de grand bounce," suggested Patsy."Drop him out of a high winder," said
another."What's his name?""I don't care to tell you, boys. He's written me a letter,saying he
will try to pay me back some day. I think he will. He isn't a bad man, but he has been
unlucky."Mike, at the request of Mr. O'Connor, showed Rodney a locker inwhich he could
store such articles of clothing as he had with him. After that he felt more at home, and as if he
were staying at ahotel though an humble one.At eight o'clock some of the boys had already
gone to bed, butMike and Rodney were among those who remained up. Rodney
noticedwith what kindness yet fairness the superintendent managed hisunruly flock. Unruly
they might have been with a different man,but he had no trouble in keeping them within
bounds.It was at this time that two strangers were announced, one a NewYork merchant
named Goodnow, the other a tall, slender man withsandy whiskers of the mutton chop
pattern."Good evening, Mr. Goodnow," said the superintendent, whorecognized the
merchant as a friend of the society."Good evening, Mr. O'Connor. I have brought my friend
andcorrespondent Mr. Mulgrave, of London, to see some of youryoung Arabs.""I shall be
glad to give him all the opportunity he desires."The Englishman looked curiously at the
faces of the boys who inturn were examining him with equal interest."They are not unlike our
boys of a similar grade, but seemsharper and more intelligent" he said. "But surely,"
pointingto Rodney, "that boy is not one of the--Arabs. Why, he lookslike a young
gentleman.""He is a new comer. He only appeared tonight.""He must have a history. May
I speak with him?""By all means. Rodney, this gentleman would like to talk with
you."Rodney came forward with the ease of a boy who was accustomed togood society,
and said: "I shall be very happy to speak with him."CHAPTER VIII.RODNEY FINDS A
PLACE."Surely," said the Englishman, "you were not brought up in the street?""Oh, no,"
answered Rodney, "I was more fortunate.""Then how does it happen that I find you here--
among the needyboys of the city?""Because I am needy, too.""But you were not always
poor?""No; I inherited a moderate fortune from my father. It wasonly within a short time that
I learned from my guardian thatit was lost. I left the boarding school where I was
beingeducated, and came to the city to try to make a living.""But surely your guardian would
try to provide for you?""He is no longer in the city.""Who was he?" asked Otis
Goodnow."Mr. Benjamin Fielding.""Is it possible? Why, I lost three thousand dollars by
him. He has treated you shamefully.""It was not intentional, I am sure," said Rodney. "He
was probably drawn into using my money by thehope of retrieving himself. He wrote me
that he hopedat some time to make restitution.""You speak of him generously, my lad,"
said Mr. Mulgrave. "Yet he has brought you to absolute poverty.""Yes, sir, and I won't
pretend that it is not a hard trialto me, but if I can get a chance to earn my own living,I will not
complain.""Goodnow, a word with you," said the Englishman, and he drewhis friend aside.
"Can't you make room for this boy inyour establishment?"Otis Goodnow hesitated. "At
present there is no vacancy," he said."Make room for him, and draw upon me for his wages
for the firstsix months.""I will do so, but before the end of that time I am sure he willjustify my
paying him out of my own pocket."There was a little further conference, and then the
twogentlemen came up to where Rodney was standing with Mr. O'Connor."My boy," said
Mr. Mulgrave, "my friend here will give you aplace at five dollars a week. Will that satisfy
you?"Rodney's face flushed with pleasure."It will make me very happy," he said."Come
round to my warehouse--here is my business card--tomorrowmorning," said the merchant.
"Ask to see me.""At what time shall I call, sir?""At half past nine o'clock. That is for the first
morning. When you get to work you will have to be there at eight.""There will be no trouble
about that, sir.""Now it is my turn," said the Englishman. "Here are fivedollars to keep you till
your first week's wages come due. I dare say you will find them useful.""Thank you very
much, sir. I was almost out of money."After the two gentlemen left the Lodging House
Rodney looked atthe card and found that his new place of employment was situatedon
Reade Street not far from Broadway."It's you that's in luck, Rodney," said his friend Mike.
"Who'd think that a gentleman would come to the LodgingHouse to give you a
place?""Yes, I am in luck, Mike, and now I'm going to make you a proposal.""What is
it?""Why can't we take a room together? It will be better thanliving here.""Sure you wouldn't
room with a poor boy like me?""Why shouldn't I? You are a good friend, and I should
likeyour company. Besides I mean to help you get an education. I suppose you're not a
first class scholar, Mike?""About fourth class, I guess, Rodney.""Then you shall study with
me. Then when you know a little moreyou may get a chance to get out of your present
business, andget into a store.""That will be bully!" said Mike with pleasure."Now we'd
better go to bed; I must be up bright and earlyin the morning. We'll engage a room before
I go to work."There was no difficulty about rising early. It is one of therules of the Lodging
House for the boys to rise at six o'clock,and after a frugal breakfast of coffee and rolls they
areexpected to go out to their business whatever it may be. Mike and Rodney dispensed
with the regulation breakfast andwent out to a restaurant on Park Row where they fared
better."Now where shall we go for a room?" asked Rodney."There's a feller I know has a
good room on Bleecker Street,"said Mike."How far is that?""A little more'n a mile.""All right!
Let us go and see."Bleecker Street once stood in better repute than at present. It is said
that A. T. Stewart once made his home there. Now itis given over to shops and cheap
lodging houses.Finally the boys found a room decently fumished, about ten feetsquare, of
which the rental was two dollars and a half per week. Mike succeeded in beating down the
lodging house keeper to twodollars, and at that figure they engaged it."When will you
come?" asked Mrs. McCarty."Right off," said Mike."I'll need a little time to put it in
order.""Me and my partner will be at our business till six o'clock,"returned Mike."You can
send in your trunks during the day if you like.""My trunk is at the Windsor Hotel," said Mike.
"I've lent it toa friend for a few days."Mrs. McCarty looked at Mike with a puzzled
expression. She wasone of those women who are slow to comprehend a joke, and
shecould not quite make it seem natural that her new lodger, whowas in rather neglige
costume, should be a guest at afashionable hotel."I will leave my valise," said Rodney,
"and will send formy trunk. It is in the country."Mike looked at him, not feeling quite certain
whether he was inearnest, but Rodney was perfectly serious."You're better off than me,"
said Mike, when they reached the street. "If I had a trunk I wouldn't have anything to put into
it.""I'll see if I can't rig you out, Mike. I've got a good manyclothes, bought when I was rich.
You and I are about thesame size. I'll give you a suit of clothes to wear on Sundays.""Will
you?" exclaimed Mike, his face showing pleasure. "I'd like to see how I look in good clo'es.
I never woreany yet. It wouldn't do no good in my business.""You won't want to wear
them when at work. But wouldn't youlike to change your business?""Yes.""Have you ever
tried?""What'd be the use of tryin'? They'd know I was a bootblack inthese clo'es.""When
you wear a better suit you can go round and try your luck.""I'd like to," said Mike wistfully. "I
don't want you to tellat the store that you room with a bootblack.""It isn't that I think of, Mike.
I want you to do better. I'm going to make a man of you.""I hope you are. Sometimes I've
thought I'd have to be abootblack always. When do you think you'll get the clo'es?""I shall
write to the principal of the boarding school at once,asking him to forward my trunk by
express. I want to economizea little this week, and shall have to pay the express
charges.""I'll pay up my part of the rent, Rodney, a quarter a day."Rodney had advanced
the whole sum, as Mike was not in funds."If you can't pay a dollar a week I will pay a little
morethan half.""There ain't no need. I'll pay my half and be glad to have anice room.""I've
got three or four pictures at the school, and some books. I'll send for them later on, and we'll
fix up the room.""Will you? We'll have a reg'lar bang up place. I tell youthat'll be better
than livin' at the Lodge.""Still that seems a very neat place. It is lucky for poor boysthat they
can get lodging so cheap.""But it isn't like havin' a room of your own, Rodney. I say,when
we're all fixed I'll ask some of me friends to come in someevenin' and take a look at us.
They'll be s'prised.""Certainly, Mike. I shall be glad to see any of your friends."It may
seem strange that Rodney, carefully as he had beenbrought up, should have made a
companion of Mike, but herecognized in the warm hearted Irish boy, illiterate as he
was,sterling qualities, and he felt desirous of helping to educate him. He knew that he could
always depend on his devoted friendship,and looked forward with pleasure to their more
intimate companionship.After selecting their room and making arrangements to
takepossession of it, the boys went down town. Rodney stepped intothe reading room at
the Astor House and wrote the followingletter to Dr. Sampson:DR. PLINY
SAMPSON:DEAR SIR--Will you be kind enough to send my trunk by express toNo.
312 Bleecker Street? I have taken a room there, and thatwill be my home for the present.
I have obtained a position ina wholesale house on Reade Street, and hope I may give
satisfaction. Will you remember me with best wishes to all the boys? I don'texpect to
have so easy or pleasant a time as I had at school,but I hope to get on, and some time--
perhaps in the summer--tomake you a short visit. Yours truly,
nine Rodney paused in front of a largefive story building on Reade Street occupied by
Otis Goodnow.He entered and found the first floor occupied by quite a largenumber of
clerks and salesmen, and well filled with goods."Well, young fellow, what can I do for you?"
asked a dapperlooking clerk."I would like to see Mr. Goodnow.""He's reading his letters.
He won't see you."Rodney was provoked."Do you decide who is to see him?" he
asked."You're impudent, young feller.""Am I? Perhaps you will allow Mr. Goodnow to see
me, as long ashe told me to call here this morning.""That's a different thing," returned the
other in a different tone. "If you're sure about that you can go to the office in the backpart of
the room."Rodney followed directions and found himself at the entrance ofa room which had
been partitioned off for the use of the head ofthe firm.Mr. Goodnow was seated at a desk
with his back to him, and wasemployed in opening letters. Without turning round he
said,"Sit down and I will attend to you in a few minutes."Rodney seated himself on a chair
near the door. In about tenminutes Mr. Goodnow turned around."Who is it?" he
asked."Perhaps you remember telling me to call at half past nine. You saw me at the
Newsboys' Lodging House.""Ah, yes, I remember. I promised my friend Mulgrave that
Iwould give you a place. What can you do? Are you a good writer?""Shall I give you a
specimen of my handwriting?""Yes; sit down at that desk."It was a desk adjoining his
own.Rodney seated himself and wrote in a firm, clear, neat hand:"I will endeavor to give
satisfaction, if you are kind enough togive me a place in your establishment."Then he
passed over the paper to the merchant."Ah, very good!" said Mr. Goodnow approvingly.
"You won't beexpected to do any writing yet but I like to take into my storethose who are
qualified for promotion."He rang a little bell on his desk.A boy about two years older than
Rodney answered the summons."Send Mr. James here," said the merchant.Mr. James, a
sandy complexioned man, partially bald,made his appearance."Mr. James," said the
merchant, "I have taken this boy into my employ. I don't know if one is needed, but it is at
the request of a friend. You can send him on errands, or employ him in any other
way.""Very well, sir. I can find something for him to do today atany rate, as young Johnson
hasn't shown up.""Very well. Whats your name, my lad?""Rodney Ropes.""Make a note
of his name, Mr. James, and enter it in the books. You may go with Mr. James, and put
yourself at his disposal."Rodney followed the subordinate, who was the head of one of
thedepartments, to the second floor. Here Mr. James had a desk."Wait a minute," he said,
"and I will give you a memorandum ofplaces to call at."In five minutes a memorandum
containing a list of three placeswas given to Rodney, with brief instructions as to what he
wasto do at each. They were places not far away, and fortunatelyRodney had a general
idea as to where they were.In his search for positions he had made a study of the lowerpart
of the city which now stood him in good stead.As he walked towards the door he attracted
the attention of theyoung clerk with whom he had just spoken."Well, did you see Mr.
Goodnow?" asked the young man, strokinga sickly looking mustache."Yes.""Has he taken
you into the firm?""Not yet, but he has given me a place."The clerk whistled."So you are
one of us?" he said."Yes," answered Rodney with a smile."Then you ought to know the
rules of the house.""You can tell me later on, but now I am going out on an errand."In about
an hour Rodney returned. He had been detained at twoof the places where he called."Do
you remember what I said?" asked the young clerk as he passed."Yes.""The first rule of the
establishment is for a new hand to treatME on his first day.""That's pretty good for you,"
said Rodney, laughing; "I shallhave to wait till my pay is raised."About the middle of the
afternoon, as Rodney was helping tounpack a crate of goods, the older boy whom he had
already seenin the office below, walked up to him and said, "Is your name
Ropes?""Yes.""You are wanted in Mr. Goodnow's office."Rodney went down stairs,
feeling a little nervous. Had he donewrong, and was he to be reprimanded?He could think
of nothing deserving censure. So far as he knewhe had attended faithfully to all the duties
required of him.As he entered the office, he saw that Mr. Goodnow had a visitor,whose face
looked familiar to him. He recalled it immediatelyas the face of the English gentleman who
had visited the LodgingHouse the day previous with his employer."So I find you at work?"
he said, offering his hand with a smile."Yes, sir," answered Rodney gratefully, "thanks to
you.""How do you think you will like it?""Very much, sir. It is so much better than going
around thestreet with nothing to do.""I hope you will try to give satisfaction to my friend, Mr.
Goodnow.""I shall try to do so, sir.""You mustn't expect to rise to be head salesman in a
year. Festina lente, as the Latin poet has it.""I shall be satisfied with hastening slowly,
sir.""What! you understand Latin?""Pretty well, sir.""Upon my word, I didn't expect to find a
boy in the Newsboys' Lodging House with classical attainments. Perhaps youknow
something of Greek also!" he said doubtfully.In reply Rodney repeated the first line of the
Iliad."Astonishing!" exclaimed Mr. Mulgrave, putting up his eyeglass,and surveying
Rodney as if he were a curious specimen. "You don't happen to know anything of Sanscrit,
do you?""No, sir; I confess my ignorance.""I apprehend you won't require it in my friend
Goodnow's establishment.""If I do, I will learn it," said Rodney, rather enjoying the joke."If I
write a book about America, I shall certainly put in aparagraph about a learned office boy. I
think you are entitledto something for your knowledge of Greek and Latin--say fivedollars
apiece," and Mr. Mulgrave drew from his pocket two goldpieces and handed them to
Rodney."Thank you very much, sir," said Rodney. "I shall find thismoney very useful, as I
have taken a room, and am settingup housekeeping.""Then you have left the Lodging
House?""Yes, sir; I only spent one night there.""You are right. It is no doubt a great
blessing to the needystreet boys, but you belong to a different class.""It is very fortunate I
went there last evening, or I should nothave met you and Mr. Goodnow.""I am glad to have
been the means of doing you a service," saidthe Englishman kindly, shaking hands with
Rodney, who bowed andwent back to his work."I am not sure but you are taking too much
notice of that boy,Mulgrave," said the merchant."No fear! He is not a common boy. You
won't regret employing him.""I hope not."Then they talked of other matters, for Mr.
Mulgrave was to starton his return to England the following day.At five o'clock Rodney's
day was over, and he went back toBleecker Street. He found Mike already there, working
hard toget his hands clean, soiled as they were by the stains of blacking."Did you have a
good day, Mike?" asked Rodney."Yes; I made a dollar and ten cents. Here's a quarter
towardsthe rent.""All right! I see you are prompt in money matters.""I try to be. Do you
know, Rodney, I worked better for feelin'that I had a room of my own to go to after I got
through. I hope I'll soon be able to get into a different business.""I hope so, too."Two days
later Rodney's trunk arrived. In the evening he opened it. He took out a dark mixed suit
about half worn, and said,"Try that on, Mike."Mike did so. It fitted as if it were made for
him."You can have it, Mike," said Rodney."You don't mean it?" exclaimed Mike,
delighted."Yes, I do. I have plenty of others."Rodney supplemented his gift by a present
of underclothing, andon the following Sunday the two boys went to Central Park in
theafternoon, Mike so transformed that some of his street friendspassed him without
recognition, much to Mike's delight.CHAPTER X.MIKE PUTS ON A UNIFORM.A
wonderful change came over Mike Flynn. Until he met Rodney heseemed quite destitute
of ambition. The ragged and dirty suitwhich he wore as bootblack were the best he had.
His face andhands generally bore the marks of his business, and as long ashe made
enough to buy three meals a day, two taken at theLodging House, with something over for
lodging, and anoccasional visit to a cheap theater, he was satisfied.He was fifteen, and had
never given a thought to what he woulddo when he was older. But after meeting Rodney,
and especiallyafter taking a room with him, he looked at life with different eyes. He began to
understand that his business, though honorablebecause honest, was not a desirable one.
He felt, too,that he ought to change it out of regard for Rodney, whowas now his close
companion."If I had ten dollars ahead," he said one day, "I'd give upblackin' boots.""What
else would you do?""I'd be a telegraph boy. That's more respectable than blackin'boots,
and it 'ould be cleaner.""That is true. Do you need money to join?""I would get paid once in
two weeks, and I'd have to live tillI got my first salary.""I guess I can see you through,
Mike.""No; you need all your money, Rodney. I'll wait and see if Ican't save it myself."This,
however, would have taken a long time, if Mike had notbeen favored by circumstances. He
was standing near the ladies'entrance to the Astor House one day, when casting his
eyesdownward he espied a neat pocketbook of Russia leather. He picked it up, and from
the feeling judged that it mustbe well filled.Now I must admit that it did occur to Mike that he
could divertto his own use the contents without detection, as no one had seenhim pick it up.
But Mike was by instinct an honest boy, and hedecided that this would not be right. He
thrust it into hispocket, however, as he had no objection to receiving a reward ifone was
offered.While he was standing near the entrance, a tall lady, dressedin brown silk and
wearing glasses, walked up from the directionof Broadway. She began to peer about like
one who was lookingfor something."I guess its hers," thought Mike."Are you looking for
anything, ma'am?" he asked.She turned and glanced at Mike."I think I must have dropped
my pocketbook," she said. "I hadit in my hand when I left the hotel, but I had something on
mymind and I think I must have dropped it without noticing. Won't you help me look for it,
for I am short sighted?""Is this it?" asked Mike, producing the pocketbook."Oh yes!"
exclaimed the lady joyfully. "Where did you find it?""Just here," answered Mike, indicating a
place on the sidewalk."I suppose there is a good deal of money in it?" said Mike,
withpardonable curiosity."Then you didn't open it?""No, ma'am, I didn't have a chance. I just
found it.""There may be forty or fifty dollars, but it isn't on thataccount I should have regretted
losing it. It contained areceipt for a thousand dollars which I am to use in a law suit. That is
very important for it will defeat a dishonest claim formoney that I have already paid.""Then
I'm glad I found it.""You are an honest boy. You seem to be a poor boy also.""That's true,
ma'am. If I was rich I wouldn't black bootsfor a livin'.""Dear me, you are one of the young
street Arabs I've read about,"and the lady looked curiously at Mike through her glasses."I
expect I am.""And I suppose you haven't much money.""My bank account is very low,
ma'am.""I've read a book about a boy named `Ragged Dick.' I think hewas a bootblack,
too. Do you know him?""He's my cousin, ma'am," answered Mike promptly.It will be
observed that I don't represent Mike as possessed ofall the virtues."Dear me, how
interesting. I bought the book for my little nephew. Now I can tell him I have seen `Ragged
Dick's' cousin. Where isDick now?""He's reformed, ma'am.""Reformed?""Yes, from blackin'
boots. He's in better business now.""If I should give you some of the money in this
pocketbook, youwouldn't spend it on drinking and gambling, would you?""No, ma'am. I'd
reform like my cousin, Ragged Dick.""You look like a good truthful boy. Here are ten dollars
for you.""Oh, thank you, ma'am! you're a gentleman," said Mike overjoyed. "No, I don't
mean that but I hope you'll soon get a handsome husband.""My young friend, I don't care
to marry, though I appreciateyour good wishes. I am an old maid from principle. I am
anofficer of the Female Suffrage Association.""Is it a good payin' office, ma'am?" asked
Mike, visibly impressed."No, but it is a position of responsibility. Please tell meyour name
that I may make a note of it.""My name is Michael Flynn.""I see. You are of Celtic
extraction.""I don't know, ma'am. I never heard that I was. It isn'tanything bad, is it?""Not at
all. I have some Celtic blood in my own veins. If youever come to Boston you can inquire
for Miss Pauline Peabody.""Thank you, ma'am," said Mike, who thought the lady rather
a"queer lot.""Now I must call upon my lawyer, and leave the receipt which Icame so near
losing.""Well, I'm in luck," thought Mike. "I'll go home and dress up,and apply for a position
as telegraph boy."When Rodney came home at supper time he found Mike, dressed inhis
Sunday suit."What's up now, Mike?" he asked. "Have you retired from business?""Yes,
from the bootblack business. Tomorrow I shall be atelegraph boy.""That is good. You
haven't saved up ten dollars, have you?""I saved up two, and a lady gave me ten dollars
for findin'her pocketbook.""That's fine, Mike."There chanced to be a special demand for
telegraph boys at thattime, and Mike, who was a sharp lad, on passing the
necessaryexamination, was at once set to work.He was immensely fond of his blue uniform
when he first put iton, and felt that he had risen in the social scale. True, hisearnings did not
average as much, but he was content withsmaller pay, since the duties were more
agreeable.In the evenings under Rodney's instruction he devoted an hourand sometimes
two to the task of making up the deficiencies inhis early education. These were extensive,
but Mike wasnaturally a smart boy, and after a while began to improve rapidly.So three
months passed. Rodney stood well in with Mr. Goodnow,and was promoted to stock
clerk. The discipline which he hadrevived as a student stood him in good stead, and
enabled him tomake more rapid advancement than some who had been longer in
theemploy of the firm. In particular he was promoted over the headof Jasper Redwood, a
boy two years older than himself, who wasthe nephew of an old employee who had been
for fifteen years inthe house.Jasper's jealousy was aroused, and he conceived a great
dislikefor Rodney, of which Rodney was only partially aware.For this dislike there was really
no cause. Rodney stood in hisway only because Jasper neglected his duties, and failed
toinspire confidence. He was a boy who liked to spend money andfound his salary
insufficient, though he lived with his uncleand paid but two dollars a week for his
board."Uncle James," he said one day, "when do you think I willget a raise?""You might get
one now if it were not for the new boy.""You mean Ropes.""Yes, he has just been
promoted to a place which I hoped to getfor you.""It is mean," grumbled Jasper. "I have
been here longer than he.""True, but he seems to be Mr. Goodnow's pet. It was an
unluckyday for you when he got a place in the establishment.""Did you ask Mr. Goodnow
to promote me?""Yes, but he said he had decided to give Archer's place to Ropes."Archer
was a young clerk who was obliged, on accountof pulmonary weakness, to leave New
York and go toSouthern California."How much does Ropes get now?""Seven dollars a
week.""And I only get five, and I am two years older. They ought tohave more regard for
you, Uncle James, or I, as your nephew,would get promoted.""I will see what we can do
about it.""I wish Ropes would get into some scrape and get discharged."It was a new idea,
but Jasper dwelt upon it, and out of it grewtrouble for Rodney.CHAPTER XI.MISSING
GOODS.James Redwood was summoned one morning to the counting room ofhis
employer."Mr. Redwood," said the merchant "I have reason to think thatone of my clerks is
dishonest.""Who, sir?""That is what I want you to find out.""What reason have you for
suspecting any one?""Some ladies' cloaks and some dress patterns are missing.""Are you
sure they were not sold?""Yes: the record of sales has been examined, and they arenot
included.""That is strange, Mr. Goodnow" said Redwood thoughtfully. "I hope I am not
under suspicion.""Oh, not at all.""The losses seem to have taken place in my
department.""True, but that doesn't involve you.""What do you want me to do?""Watch
those under you. Let nothing in your manner, however,suggest that you are suspicious. I
don't want you to put anyone on his guard.""All right, sir. I will be guided by your
instructions. Have you any idea how long this has been going on?""Only a few weeks."Mr.
Redwood turned to go back to his room, but Mr. Goodnowcalled him back."I needn't
suggest to you," he said, "that you keep thisto yourself. Don't let any clerk into the
secret.""Very well, sir."James Redwood, however, did not keep his promise. After
supperhe called back Jasper as he was about putting on his hat to goout, and said,
"Jasper, I wish to speak with you for five minutes.""Won't it do tomorrow morning? I have
an engagement.""Put it off, then. This is a matter of importance.""Very well, sir," and Jasper,
albeit reluctantly, laid down hishat and sat down."Jasper," said his uncle, "there's a thief in our
establishment."Jasper started, and his sallow complexion turned yellower than usual."What
do you mean, uncle?" he asked nervously."What I say. Some articles are missing that
have not been sold.""Such as what?""Ladies' cloaks and dress patterns.""Who told you?"
asked Jasper in a low tone."Mr. Goodnow.""What the boss?""Certainly.""How should he
know?""I didn't inquire, and if I had he probably wouldn't have told me. The main thing is that
he does know.""He may not be sure.""He is not a man to speak unless he feels pretty
sure.""I don't see how any one could steal the articles withoutbeing detected.""It seems
they are detected.""Did--did Mr. Goodnow mention any names?""No. He wants to watch
and find out the thief. I wish you tohelp me, though I am acting against instructions. Mr.
Goodnowasked me to take no one into my confidence. You will see,therefore, that it will be
necessary for you to say nothing.""I won't breathe a word," said Jasper, who seemed to
feel moreat ease."Now that I have told you so much, can you suggest any personwho
would be likely to commit the theft?"Jasper remained silent for a moment, then with a smile
ofmalicious satisfaction said, "Yes, I can suggest a person.""Who is it?""The new boy,
Rodney Ropes."James Redwood shook his head."I can't believe that it is he. I am not in
love with the youngfellow, who seems to stand in the way of your advancement but
heseems straight enough, and I don't think it at all likely thathe should be the guilty
person.""Yes, Uncle James, he SEEMS straight but you know that stillwaters run
deep.""Have you seen anything that would indicate guilt on his part?""I have noticed this,
that, he is very well dressed for a boy ofhis small salary, and seems always to have money
to spend.""That will count for something. Still he might have someoutide means. Have you
noticed anything else?"Jasper hesitated."I noticed one evening when he left the store that
he had asizable parcel under his arm.""And you think it might have contained some article
stolen fromthe stock?""That's just what I think now. Nothing of the kind occurred tome at that
time, for I didn't know any articles were missing.""That seems important. When was it that
you noticed this?""One day last week," answered Jasper hesitatingly."Can you remember
the day?""No.""Couldn't you fix it some way?""No. You see, I didn't attach any particular
importance to itat the time, and probably it would not have occurred to meagain, but for
your mentioning that articles were missing.""There may be something in what you say," said
hisuncle thoughtfully. "I will take special notice of youngRopes after this.""So will I.""Don't let
him observe that he is watched. It would defeat ourchances of detecting the thief.""I'll be
careful. Do you want to say anything more, uncle?""No. By the way, where were you
going this evening?""I was going to meet a friend, and perhaps go to the theater. You
couldn't lend me a dollar, could you, Uncle James?""Yes, I could, but you are not quite able
to pay for yourown pleasures. It costs all my salary to live, and its goingto be worse next
year, for I shall have to pay a higher rent.""When I have my pay raised, I can get along
better.""If Ropes loses his place, you will probably step into it.""Then I hope he'll go, and
that soon."When Jasper passed through the front door and stood on thesidewalk, he
breathed a sigh of relief."So, they are on to us," he said to himself. "But how was itfound
out? That's what I'd like to know. I have been verycareful. I must see Carton at once."A
short walk took him to a billiard room not far from Broadway. A young man of twenty five,
with a slight mustache, and a thin,dark face, was selecting a cue."Ah, Jasper!" he said.
"Come at last. Let us have a game of pool.""Not just yet. Come outide. I want to speak
to you."Jasper looked serious, and Philip Carton, observing it, made noremonstrance, but
taking his hat, followed him out."Well, what is it?" he asked."Something serious. It is
discovered at the store that goodsare missing.""You don't mean it? Are we
suspected?""No one is suspected--yet.""But how do you know?""My uncle spoke to me
about it this evening--just after supper.""He doesn't think you are in it.""No.""How did he find
out?""Through the boss. Goodnow spoke to him about it today.""But how should
Goodnow know anything about it?""That no one can tell but himself. He asked Uncle
James to watchthe clerks, and see if he could fasten the theft on any of them.""That is
pleasant for us. It is well we are informed so that wecan be on our guard. I am afraid our
game is up.""For the present at any rate we must suspend operations. Now, have you
some money for me?""Well, a little.""A little? Why there are two cloaks and a silk dress
pattern tobe accounted for.""True, but I have to be very careful. I have to submit to a
bigdiscount for the parties I sell to undoubtedly suspect that thearticles are stolen.""Wouldn't
it be better to pawn them?""It would be more dangerous. Besides you know how
liberalpawnbrokers are. I'll tell you what would be better. If I hada sufficient number of
articles to warrant it, I could take themon to Boston or Philadelphia, and there would be less
riskselling them there.""That is true. I wish we had thought of that before. Now weshall have
to give up the business for a time. How much moneyhave you got for me?""Seven
dollars.""Seven dollars!" exclaimed Jasper in disgust. "Why, thatis ridiculous. The articles
must have been worth at retaila hundred dollars.""Perhaps so, but I only got fourteen for
them. If you think youcan do any better you may sell them yourself next time.""I thought I
should assuredly get fifteen dollars out of it,"said Jasper, looking deeply disappointed. "I
had a use for themoney too.""Very likely. So had I.""Well, I suppose I must make it do.
Listen and I will tell youhow I think I can turn this thing to my advantage.""Go
who stands between me and promotion," continuedJasper, speaking in a low tone."The
boy you mentioned the other day?""Yes, Rodney Ropes. Mr. Goodnow got him from I
don't knowwhere, and has taken a ridiculous fancy to him. He has been putover my head
and his pay raised, though I have been in the storelonger than he. My idea is to connect
him with the thefts andget him discharged.""Do you mean that we are to make him a
confederate?""No," answered Jasper impatiently. "He would be just the fellowto peach
and get us all into trouble.""Then what do you mean?""To direct suspicion towards him. We
won't do it immediately,but within a week or two. It would do me good to have himturned
out of the store."Jasper proceeded to explain his idea more fully, and his
companionpronounced it very clever.Meanwhile Rodney, not suspecting the conspiracy to
deprive himof his place and his good name, worked zealously, encouraged byhis
promotion, and resolved to make a place for himself whichshould insure him a permanent
connection with the firm.Ten days passed, and Mr. Redwood again received a summons
fromthe office.Entering, he found Mr. Goodnow with a letter in his hand."Well, Mr.
Redwood," he began, "have you got any clew to theparty who has stolen our
goods?""No, sir.""Has any thing been taken since I spoke with you on the subject?""Not
that I am aware of.""Has any one of the clerks attracted your attention bysuspicious
conduct?""No, sir," answered Redwood, puzzled."Humph! Cast your eye over this
letter."James Redwood took the letter, which was written in a fine hand,and read as
follow:MR. GOODNOW:DEAR SIR,--I don't know whether you are aware that articles
havebeen taken from your stock, say, ladies' cloaks and silk dresspatterns, and disposed of
outside. I will not tell you how ithas come to my knowledge, for I do not want to get any
one's illwill, but I will say, to begin with, that they were taken by oneof your employees, and
the one, perhaps, that you would leastsuspect, for I am told that he is a favorite of yours. I
may aswell say that it is Rodney Ropes. I live near him, and lastevening I saw him carry a
bundle to his room when he went backfrom the store. I think if you would send round today
whenhe is out, you would find in his room one or more of thestolen articles. I don't want to
get him into trouble, butI don't like to see you robbed, and so I tell you what I know.
A FRIEND.Mr. Redwood read this letter attentively, arching his brows,perhaps to indicate
his surprise. Then he read it again carefully."What do you think of it?" asked the merchant."I
don't know," answered Redwood slowly."Have you ever seen anything suspicious in the
conduct of young Ropes?""I can't say I have. On the contrary, he seems to be a
verydiligent and industrious clerk.""But about his honesty.""I fancied him the soul of
honesty.""So did I, but of course we are liable to be deceived. It wouldn'tbe the first case
where seeming honesty has been a coverfor flagrant dishonesty.""What do you wish me to
do, Mr. Goodnow? Shall I send Ropes downto you?""No; it would only give him a
chance, if guilty, to cover uphis dishonesty.""I am ready to follow your instructions.""Do you
know where he lodges?""Yes, sir.""Then I will ask you to go around there, and by some
means gainadmission to his room. If he has any of our goods secreted takepossession of
them and report to me.""Very well, sir." Half an hour later Mrs. McCarty, Rodney'slandlady,
in response to a ring admitted Mr. James Redwood."Does a young man named Ropes
lodge here?" he asked."Yes, sir.""I come from the house where he is employed. He
hasinadvertently left in his room a parcel belonging to us, and Ishould be glad if you would
allow me to go up to his room andtake it.""You see, sir," said Mrs. McCarty in a tone of
hesitation,"while you look like a perfect gentleman, I don't know you, andI am not sure
whether, in justice to Mr. Ropes, I ought to admityou to his room.""You are quite right my
good lady; I am sure. It is just whatI should wish my own landlady to do. I will therefore ask
youto go up to the room with me to see that all is right.""That seems all right, sir. In that case
I don't object. Follow me, if you please."As they entered Rodney's room Mr. Redwood
looked abouthim inquisitively. One article at once fixed his attention. It was a parcel
wrapped in brown paper lying on the bed."This is the parcel, I think," he said. "If you will
allow meI will open it, to make sure."Mrs. McCarty looked undecided, but as she said
nothing inopposition Mr. Redwood unfastened the strings and unrolledthe bundle. His
eyes lighted up with satisfaction as hedisclosed the contents--a lady's cloak.Mrs. McCarty
looked surprised."Why, it's a lady's cloak," she said, "and a very handsome one. What
would Mr. Ropes want of such a thing as that?""Perhaps he intended to make you a
present of it.""No, he can't afford to make such present.""The explanation is simple. It
belongs to the store. Perhaps Mr. Ropes left it here inadvertently.""But he hasn't been
here since morning.""He has a pass key to the front door?""Yes, sir.""Then he may have
been here. Would you object to my taking it?""Yes, sir, you see I don't know you.""Your
objection is a proper one. Then I will trouble you totake a look at the cloak, so that you
would know it again.""Certainly, sir. I shall remember it!""That is all, Mrs. ----?""McCarty,
sir.""Mrs. McCarty, I won't take up any more of your time," and Mr.Redwood started to go
down stairs."Who shall I tell Mr. Ropes called to see him.""You needn't say. I will mention
the matter to him myself. I am employed in the same store.""All right sir. Where is the
store? I never thought to askMr. Ropes.""Reade Street, near Broadway. You know
where Reade Street is?""Yes, sir. My husband used to work in Chambers Street. That
isthe first street south.""Precisely. Well, I can't stay longer, so I will leave,apologizing for
having taken up so much of your time.""Oh, it's of no consequence, sir.""He is a perfect
gentleman," she said to herself, as Mr. Redwoodclosed the front door, and went out on the
street. "I wonderwhether he's a widower."Being a widow this was quite a natural thought for
Mrs. McCartyto indulge in, particularly as Mr. Redwood looked to be asubstantial man with
a snug income.Mr. Redwood went back to the store, and went at once to the office."Well,
Redwood," said Mr. Goodnow, "did you learn anything?""Yes, sir.""Go on.""I went to the
lodging of young Ropes, and was admitted to his room.""Well?""And there, wrapped in a
brown paper, I found one of our missingcloaks lying on his bed.""Is it possible?""I am afraid
he is not what we supposed him to be, Mr. Goodnow.""It looks like it. I am surprised and
sorry. Do you think hetook the other articles that are missing?""Of course I can't say, sir, but
it is fair to presume that he did.""I am exceedingly sorry. I don't mind saying, Redwood,
that Itook an especial interest in that boy. I have already told youthe circumstances of my
meeting him, and the fancy taken to himby my friend Mulgrave.""Yes, sir, I have heard you
say that.""I don't think I am easily taken in, and that boy impressed meas thoroughly honest.
But of course I don't pretend to beinfallible and it appears that I have been mistaken in
him."The merchant looked troubled, for he had come to feel a sincereregard for Rodney.
He confessed to himself that he would ratherhave found any of the other clerks
dishonest."You may send Ropes to me," he said, "Mr. Redwood, and you willplease
come with him. We will investigate this matter at once.""Very well, sir."CHAPTER
XIII.CHARGED WITH THEFT.Rodney entered Mr. Goodnow's office without a suspicion
of theserious accusation which had been made against him. The firsthint that there was
anything wrong came to him when he saw thestern look in the merchants eyes."Perhaps,"
said Mr. Goodnow, as he leaned back in his chair andfixed his gaze on the young clerk,
"you may have an idea why Ihave sent for you.""No, sir," answered Rodney, looking
puzzled."You can't think of any reason I may have for wishing to see you?""No, sir," and
Rodney returned Mr. Goodnow's gaze with honestunfaltering eyes."Possibly you are not
aware that within a few weeks somearticles have been missed from our stock.""I have not
heard of it. What kind of articles?""The boy is more artful than I thought!" soliloquized the
merchant."All the articles missed," he proceeded, "have been from theroom in charge of Mr.
Redwood, the room in which you, amongothers, are employed."Something in Mr.
Goodnow's tone gave Rodney the hint of the truth. If he had been guilty he would have
flushed and showedsigns of confusion. As it was, he only wished to learn thetruth and he in
turn became the questioner."Is it supposed," he asked, "that any one in your employ
isresponsible for these thefts?""It is.""Is any one in particular suspected?""Yes.""Will you
tell me who, that is if you think I ought to know?""Certainly you ought to know, for it is you
who are suspected."Then Rodney became indignant."I can only deny the charge in the
most emphatic terms," he said. "If any one has brought such a charge against me, it is a
lie.""You can say that to Mr. Redwood, for it is he who accuses you.""What does this mean,
Mr. Redwood?" demanded Rodney quickly. "What have you seen in me that leads you to
accuse me of theft.""To tell the truth, Ropes, you are about the last clerk in myroom whom I
would have suspected. But early this morning thisletter was received," and he placed in
Rodney's hands the lettergiven in a preceding chapter.Rodney read it through and handed
it back scornfully."I should like to see the person who wrote this letter,"he said. "It is a base
lie from beginning to end.""I thought it might be when Mr. Goodnow showed it to me,"
saidRedwood in an even tone, "but Mr. Goodnow and I agreed that itwould be well to
investigate. Therefore I went to your room.""When, sir?""This morning.""Then it is all right,
for I am sure you found nothing.""On the contrary, Ropes, I found that the statement made
in theletter was true. On your bed was a bundle containing one of thecloaks taken from our
stock."Rodney's face was the picture of amazement."Is this true?" he said."It certainly is. I
hope you don't doubt my word.""Did you bring it back with you?""No; your worthy landlady
was not quite sure whether I was whatI represented, and I left the parcel there. However I
opened itin her presence so that she can testify what I found.""This is very strange," said
Rodney, looking at his accuser withpuzzled eyes. "I know nothing whatever of the cloak
and can'timagine how it got into my room.""Perhaps it walked there," said Mr. Goodnow
satirically.Rodney colored, for he understood that his employer did notbelieve him."May I
go to my room," he asked, "and bring back the bundle with me?"Observing that Mr.
Goodnow hesitated he added, "You can sendSome one with me to see that I don't spirit
away the parcel,and come back with it.""On these conditions you may go. Redwood, send
some one with Ropes."Rodney followed the chief of his department back to the cloakroom,
and the latter, after a moments thought, summoned Jasper."Jasper," he said, "Ropes is
going to his room to get a parcelwhich belongs to the store. You may go with him."There
was a flash of satisfaction in Jasper's eyes as heanswered with seeming indifference, "All
right! I will go. I shall be glad to have a walk."As the two boys passed out of the store,
Jasper asked,"What does it mean, Ropes?""I don't know myself. I only know that there is
said to be aparcel containing a cloak in my room. This cloak came from thestore, and I am
suspected of having stolen it.""Whew! that's a serious matter. Of course it is all a
mistake?""Yes, it is all a mistake.""But how could it get to your room unless you carried it
there?"Rodney gave Jasper a sharp look."Some one must have taken it there," he
said."How on earth did Uncle James find out?""An anonymous letter was sent to Mr.
Goodnow charging mewith theft. Did you hear that articles have been missedfor some time
from the stock?""Never heard a word of it" said Jasper with ready falsehood."It seems the
articles are missing from our room, and some onein the room is suspected of being the
thief.""Good gracious! I hope no one will suspect me," said Jasper inpretended alarm."It
seems I am suspected. I hope no other innocent person willhave a like
misfortune."Presently they reached Rodney's lodgings. Mrs. McCarty wascoming up the
basement stairs as they entered."La, Mr. Ropes!" she said, "what brings you here in the
middleof the day?""I hear there is a parcel in my room.""Yes; it contains such a lovely cloak.
The gentleman from yourstore who called a little while ago thought you might have meantit
as a present for me.""I am afraid it will be some time before I can afford to makesuch
present. Do you know if any one called and left the cloak here?""No; I didn't let in no one at
the door.""Was the parcel there when you made the bed?""Well, no, it wasn't. That is
curious.""It shows that the parcel has been left here since. Now Icertainly couldn't have left it,
for I have been at work allthe morning. Come up stairs, Jasper."The two boys went up the
stairs, and, entering Rodney's room,found the parcel, still on the bed.Rodney opened it
and identified the cloak as exactly like thosewhich they carried in stock.He examined the
paper in which it was inclosed, but it seemed todiffer from the wrapping paper used at the
store. He calledJasper's attention to this."I have nothing to say," remarked Jasper,
shrugging his shoulders. "I don't understand the matter at all. I suppose you areexpected
to carry the cloak back to the store.""Yes, that is the only thing to do.""I say, Ropes, it looks
pretty bad for you."Jasper said this, but Rodney observed that his words were
notaccompanied by any expressions of sympathy, or any words thatindicated his disbelief
of Rodney's guilt."Do you think I took this cloak from the store?" he demanded,facing round
upon Jasper."Really, I don't know. It looks bad, finding it in your room.""I needn't ask any
further. I can see what you think.""You wouldn't have me tell a lie, would you, Ropes? Of
coursesuch things have been done before, and your salary is small.""You insult me by your
words," said Rodney, flaming up."Then I had better not speak, but you asked me, you
know.""Yes, I did. Things may look against me, but I amabsolutely innocent.""If you can
make Mr. Goodnow think so," said Jasper withprovoking coolness, "it will be all right.
Perhaps he willforgive you.""I don't want his forgiveness. I want him to think me
honest.""Well, I hope you are, I am sure, but it won't do any good ourdiscussing it, and it
doesn't make any difference what I thinkany way."By this time they had reached the
store.CHAPTER XIV.RODNEY IS DISCHARGED.Rodney reported his return to Mr.
Redwood, and in his companywent down stairs to the office, with the package under his
arm."Well?" said Mr. Goodnow inquiringly."This is the package, sir.""And it was found in
your room?""Yes, sir, I found it on my bed.""Can't you account for it being there?" asked
themerchant searchingly."No, sir.""You must admit that its presence in your room looks bad
for you.""I admit it sir; but I had nothing to do with it being there.""Have you any theory to
account for it?""Only this, that some one must have carried it to my room andplaced it where
it was found.""Did you question your landlady as to whether she had admittedany one
during the morning?""Yes, sir. She had not.""This is very unfavorable to you.""In what way,
sir?""It makes it probable that you carried in the parcel yourself.""That I deny," said Rodney
boldly."I expected you to deny it" said the merchant coldly. "If thiscloak were the only one
that had been taken I would dropthe matter. But this is by no means the case. Mr.
Redwood,can you give any idea of the extent to which we have been robbed?""So far as
I can estimate we have lost a dozen cloaks and abouthalf a dozen dress patterns.""This is a
serious loss, Ropes," said Mr. Goodnow. "I shouldthink it would foot up several hundred
dollars. If you canthrow any light upon the thefts, or give me information by whichI can get
back the goods even at considerable expense, I will beas considerate with you as I
can.""Mr. Goodnow," returned Rodney hotly, "I know no more about thematter than you do.
I hope you will investigate, and if you canprove that I took any of the missing articles I want
no consideration. I shall expect you to have me arrested, and, if convicted,
punished.""These are brave words, Ropes," said Mr. Goodnow coldly, "butthey are only
words. The parcel found in your room affordsstrong ground for suspicion that you are
responsible for atleast a part of the thefts. Under the circumstances there isonly one thing
for me to do, and that is to discharge you.""Very well, sir.""You may go to the cashier and
he will pay you to the end of theweek, but your connection with the store will end at once.""I
don't care to be paid to the end of the week, sir. If youwill give me an order for payment up
to tonight, that willbe sufficient.""It shall be as you say."Mr. Goodnow wrote a few words on
a slip of paper and handed itto Rodney."I will leave my address, sir, and if I change it I will
notify you. If you should hear anything as to the real robber I willask you as a favor to
communicate with me.""Mr. Redwood, you have heard the request of Ropes, I will lookto
you to comply with it.""Very well, sir."The merchant turned back to his letters, and Rodney
left theoffice, with what feelings of sorrow and humiliation may be imagined."I am sorry for
this occurrence, Ropes," said Mr. Redwood, witha touch of sympathy in his voice."Do you
believe me guilty, Mr. Redwood?""I cannot do otherwise. I hope you are innocent, and, if
so,that the really guilty party will be discovered sooner or later.""Thank you, sir."When they
entered the room in which Rodney had been employedJasper came up, his face alive with
curiosity."Well," he said, "how did you come out?""I am discharged," said Rodney
bitterly."Well, you couldn't complain of that. Things looked pretty darkfor you.""If I had
committed the theft, I would not complain. Indeed, Iwould submit to punishment without a
murmur. But it is hard tosuffer while innocent.""Uncle James," said Jasper, "if Ropes is
going will you ask Mr.Goodnow to put me in his place?"Even Mr. Redwood was disgusted
by this untimely request."It would be more becoming," he said sharply, "if you wouldwait till
Ropes was fairly out of the store before applyingfor his position.""I want to be in time. I
don't want any one to get ahead of me."James Redwood did not deign a reply."I am sorry
you leave us under such circumstances, Ropes,"he said. "The time may come when you
will be able to establishyour innocence, and in that case Mr. Goodnow will probably
takeyou back again."Rodney did not answer, but with his order went to the cashier'sdesk
and received the four dollars due him. Then, with a heavyheart, he left the store where it
had been such a satisfactionto him to work.On Broadway he met his room mate, Mike
Flynn, in the uniform ofa telegraph boy."Where are you goin', Rodney?" asked Mike. "You
ain't let offso early, are you?""I am let off for good and all, Mike.""What's that?""I am
discharged.""What for?" asked Mike in amazement."I will tell you when you get home
tonight."Rodney went back to his room, and lay down sad and despondent. Some hours
later Mike came in, and was told the story. The warmhearted telegraph boy was very
angry."That boss of yours must be a stupid donkey," he said."I don't know. The parcel was
found in my room.""Anybody'd know to look at you that you wouldn't steal.""Some thieves
look very innocent. The only way to clear me isto find out who left the bundle at the
house.""Doesn't Mrs. McCarty know anything about it?""No; I asked her.""Some one might
have got into the house without her knowinganything about it. The lock is a very common
one. There areplenty of keys that will open it.""If we could find some one that saw a person
with a bundle go upthe steps, that would give us a clew.""That's so. We'll ask."But for
several days no one could be found who had seen anysuch person.Meanwhile Rodney
was at a loss what to do. He was cut off fromapplying for another place, for no one would
engage him if hewere refused a recommendation from his late employer. Yet hemust
obtain some employment for he could not live on nothing."Do you think, Mike," he asked
doubtfully, "that I could makeanything selling papers?""Such business isn't for you,"
answered the telegraph boy."But it is one of the few things open to me. I can become
anewsboy without recommendations. Even your business would beclosed to me if it were
known that I was suspected of theft.""Thats so," said Mike, scratching his head in
perplexity."Then would you recommend my becoming a newsboy?""I don't know. You
couldn't make more'n fifty or sixty cent a day.""That will be better than nothing.""And I can
pay the rent, or most of it, as I'll be doin' betterthan you.""We will wait and see how much I
make."So Rodney swallowed his pride, and procuring a supply ofafternoon papers set
about selling them. He knew that it was anhonest business, and there was no disgrace in
following it.But one day he was subjected to keen mortification. Jasper Redwood and a
friend--it was Philip Carton, hisconfederate--were walking along Broadway, and their
glancesfell on Rodney."I say, Jasper," said the elder of the two, "isn't that the boywho was
in the same store with you?"Jasper looked, and his eyes lighted up with malicious
satisfaction."Oho!" he said. "Well, this is rich!""Give me a paper, boy," he said, pretending
not to recognizeRodney at first. "Why, it's Ropes.""Yes," answered Rodney, his cheek
flushing. "You see what I amreduced to. What paper will you buy?""The Mail and
Express.""Here it is.""Can't you get another place?" asked Jasper curiously."I might if I
could get a recommendation, but probably Mr.Goodnow wouldn't give me one.""No, I
guess not.""So I must take what I can get.""Do you make much selling papers?""Very
little.""You can't make as much as you did in the store?""Not much more than half as
much.""Do you live in the same place?""Yes, for the present.""Oh, by the way, Ropes,
I've got your old place," said Jasperin exultation."I thought you would get it," answered
Rodney, not without a pang."Come into the store some day, Ropes. It will seem like old
times.""I shall not enter the store till I am able to clear myself ofthe charge made against
me.""Then probably you will stay away a long time.""I am afraid so.""Well, ta, ta! Come
along, Philip."As Rodney followed with his eye the figure of his complacentsuccessor he felt
that his fate was indeed a hard one.CHAPTER XV.A RICH FIND.As Jasper and his
companion moved away, Carton said, "I'm sorryfor that poor duffer, Jasper.""Why should
you be sorry?" asked Jasper, frowning."Because he has lost a good place and good
prospects, and all forno fault of his own.""You are getting sentimental, Philip," sneered
Jasper."No, but I am showing a little humanity. He has lost all thisthrough you----""Through
us, you mean.""Well, through us. We have made him the scapegoat for our sins.""Oh well,
he is making a living.""A pretty poor one. I don't think you would like to be reducedto selling
papers.""His case and mine are different.""I begin to think also that we have made a mistake
in gettinghim discharged so soon.""We can't take anything more.""Why not?""Because
there will be no one to lay the blame upon. He is outof the store.""That is true. I didn't think
of that. But I invited him tocome around and call. If he should, and something else
shouldbe missing it would be laid to him.""I don't believe he will call. I am terribly hard up,
and oursource of income has failed us. Haven't you got a dollar or twoto spare?""No,"
answered Jasper coldly. "I only get seven dollars a week.""But you have nearly all that.
You only have to hand in twodollars a week to your uncle.""Look here, Philip Carton, I hope
you don't expect to liveoff me. I have all I can do to take care of myself."Carton looked at
Jasper in anger and mortification."I begin to understand how good a friend you are," he
said."I am not fool enough to pinch myself to keep you," saidJasper bluntly. "You are a
man of twenty five and I amonly a boy. You ought to be able to take care of yourself.""Just
give me a dollar, or lend it Jasper, and I will risk itat play. I may rise from the table with a
hundred. If I doI will pay you handsomely for the loan.""I couldn't do it, Mr. Carton. I have
only two dollars in mypocket, and I have none to spare.""Humph! what is that?"Philip
Carton's eyes were fixed upon the sidewalk. There was aflimsy piece of paper fluttering
about impelled by the wind. He stooped and picked it up."It is a five dollar bill," he
exclaimed in exultation. "My luck has come back."Jasper changed his tone at once. Now
Philip was the better offof the two."That is luck!" he said. "Shall we go into Delmonico's,
andhave an ice?""If it is at your expense, yes.""That wouldn't be fair. You have more
money than I.""Yes, and I mean to keep it myself. You have set me the example.""Come,
Philip, you are not angry at my refusing you a loan?""No; I think you were sensible. I shall
follow your example.I will bid you good night. I seem to be in luck, and will trymy fortune at
the gaming table.""I will go with you.""No; I would prefer to go alone.""That fellow is
unreasonable," muttered Jasper, as he strode off,discontented. "Did he expect I would
divide my salary with him?"Philip Carton, after he parted company with Jasper, walked
backto where Rodney was still selling papers."Give me a paper," he said."Which will you
have?""I am not particular. Give me the first that comes handy. Ah, the Evening Sun will
do."He took the paper and put a quarter into Rodney's hand.As he was walking away
Rodney called out, "Stop, here'syour change,""Never mind," said Philip with a wave of the
hand."Thank you," said Rodney gratefully, for twenty five cents wasno trifle to him at this
time."That ought to bring me luck," soliloquized Philip Carton as hewalked on. "It isn't often I
do a good deed. It was all themoney I had besides the five dollar bill, and I am sure the
newsboy will make better use of it than I would.""That was the young man that was walking
with Jasper,"reflected Rodney. "Well, he is certainly a better fellowthan he. Thanks to this
quarter, I shall have made eightycents today, and still have half a dozen papers. That is
encouraging."Several days passed that could not be considered lucky. Rodney's average
profits were only about fifty cent a day,and that was barely sufficient to buy his meals. It left
himnothing to put towards paying room rent.He began to consider whether he would not
be compelled to pawnsome article from his wardrobe, for he was well supplied
withclothing, when he had a stroke of luck.On Fifteenth Street, by the side of Tiffany's great
jewelrystore, he picked up a square box neatly done up in thin paper. Opening it, he was
dazzled by the gleam of diamonds.The contents were a diamond necklace and pin, which,
even toRodney's inexperienced eyes, seemed to be of great value."Some one must
have dropped them in coming from the jewelrystore," he reflected. "Who can it be?"He
had not far to seek. There was a card inside on whichwas engraved: MRS.
ELIZA HARVEY,with an address on Fifth Avenue.Passing through to Fifth Avenue
Rodney began to scan the numberson the nearest houses. He judged that Mrs. Harvey
must liveconsiderably farther up the Avenue, in the direction of Central Park."I will go there
at once," Rodney decided. "No doubt Mrs.Harvey is very much distressed by her loss. I
shall carry hergood news."The house he found to be between Fortieth and Fiftieth Street.
Ascending the steps he rang the bell. The door was opened by aman servant."Does Mrs.
Harvey live here?" asked Rodney."What do you want with her, young man?" demanded
the servant ina tone of importance."That I will tell her.""What's your name?""I can give you
my name, but she won't recognize it.""Then you don't know her.""No.""If it's money you
want, she don't give to beggars.""You are impudent" said Rodney hotly. "If you don't give
mymessage you will get into trouble."The servant opened his eyes. He seemed
somewhat impressed byRodney's confident tone."Mrs. Harvey doesn't live here," he
said."Is she in the house?""Well, yes, she's visiting here.""Then why do you waste your
time?" said Rodney impatiently. He forgot for the time that he was no longer being
educated at anexpensive boarding school, and spoke in the tone he would haveused
before his circumstances had changed."I'll go and ask if she'll see you," said the flunky
unwillingly.Five minutes later a pleasant looking woman of middle agedescended the
staircase."Are you the boy that wished to see me?" she asked."Yes, if you are Mrs.
Harvey.""I am. But come in! Thomas, why didn't you invite this younggentleman into the
parlor?"Thomas opened his eyes wide. So the boy whom he had treated socavalierly
was a young gentleman.He privately put down Mrs. Harvey in his own mind as
eccentric."Excuse me, ma'am," he said. "I didn't know as he was parlor company.""Well, he
is," said Mrs. Harvey with a cordial smile that wonRodney's heart."Follow me!" said the
lady.Rodney followed her into a handsome apartment and at a signalseated himself on a
sofa."Now," she said, "I am ready to listen to your message.""Have you lost anything?"
asked Rodney abruptly."Oh, have you found it?" exclaimed Mrs. Harvey, clasping her
hands."That depends on what you have lost," answered Rodney, who feltthat it was
necessary to be cautious."Certainly, you are quite right. I have lost a box containingjewelry
bought this morning at Tiffany's.""What were the articles?""A diamond necklace and pin.
They are intended as a presentfor my daughter who is to be married. Tell me quick have
youfound them?""Is this the box?" asked Rodney."Oh yes, yes! How delightful to recover
it. I thought I shouldnever see it again. Where did you find it?""On Fifteenth Street beside
Tiffany's store.""And you brought it directly to me?""Yes, madam.""Have you any idea of
the value of the articles?""Perhaps they may be worth five hundred dollars.""They are worth
over a thousand. Are you poor?""Yes, madam. I am trying to make a living by selling
papers,but find it hard work.""But you don't look like a newsboy.""Till a short time since I
thought myself moderately rich.""That is strange. Tell me your story."CHAPTER XVI.A
SURPRISING TURN OF FORTUNE.Rodney told his story frankly. Mrs. Harvey was
very sympatheticby nature, and she listened with the deepest interest, andlatterly with
indignation when Rodney spoke of his dismissalfrom Mr. Goodnow's store."You have
been treated shamefully," she said warmly."I think Mr. Goodnow really believes me guilty,"
rejoined Rodney."A dishonest boy would hardly have returned a valuable box of
jewelry.""Still Mr. Goodnow didn't know that I would do it.""I see you are disposed to
apologize for your late employer.""I do not forget that he treated me kindly till this last
occurrence.""Your consideration does you credit. So you have really beenreduced to earn
your living as a newsboy?""Yes, madam.""I must think what I can do for you. I might give
you money,but when that was gone you would be no better off.""I would much rather have
help in getting a place."Mrs. Harvey leaned her head on her hand and looked
thoughtful."You are right" she said. "Let me think."Rodney waited, hoping that the lady
would be able to think ofsomething to his advantage.Finally she spoke."I think you said you
understood Latin and Greek?""I have studied both languages and French also. I should
havebeen ready to enter college next summer.""Then perhaps I shall be able to do
something for you. I livein Philadelphia, but I have a brother living in West FiftyEighth
Street. He has one little boy, Arthur, now nine yearsof age. Arthur is quite precocious, but
his health is delicate,and my brother has thought of getting a private instructor for him. Do
you like young children?""Very much. I always wished that I had a little brother.""Then I think
you would suit my brother better as a tutor forArthur than a young man. Being a boy
yourself, you would be notonly tutor but companion.""I should like such a position very
much.""Then wait here a moment, and I will write you a letter of introduction."She went up
stairs, but soon returned.She put a small perfumed billet into Rodney's hands. It
wasdirected to John Sargent with an address on West Fifty Eighth Street."Call this
evening," she said, "about half past seven o'clock. My brother will be through dinner, and
will not have gone out atthat hour.""Thank you," said Rodney gratefully."Here is another
envelope which you can open at your leisure. I cannot part from you without thanking you
once more forreturning my jewelry.""You have thanked me in a very practical way, Mrs.
Harvey.""I hope my letter may lead to pleasant results for you. If youever come to
Philadelphia call upon me at No. 1492 Walnut Street.""Thank you."As Rodney left the
house he felt that his ill fortune hadturned, and that a new prospect was opened up before
him. He stepped into the Windsor Hotel, and opened the envelope lastgiven him. It
contained five five dollar bills.To one of them was pinned a scrap of paper containing
thesewords: "I hope this money will be useful to you. It is lessthan the reward I should
have offered for the recovery ofthe jewels."Under the circumstances Rodney felt that he
need not scruple touse the money. He knew that he had rendered Mrs. Harvey a
greatservice, and that she could well afford to pay him the sum whichthe envelopes
contained.He began to be sensible that he was hungry, not having eaten forsome time.
He went into a restaurant on Sixth Avenue, andordered a sirloin steak. It was some time
since he had indulgedin anything beyond a common steak, and he greatly enjoyed themore
luxurious meal. He didn't go back to selling papers, forhe felt that it would hardly be
consistent with the position ofa classical teacher--the post for which he was about to
apply.Half past seven found him at the door of Mr. John Sargent. The house was of brown
stone, high stoop, and four storiesin height. It was such a house as only a rich man could
occupy.He was ushered into the parlor and presently Mr. Sargent came infrom the dining
room."Are you Mr. Ropes?" he asked, looking at Rodney's card.It is not usual for
newsboys to carry cards, but Rodney had someleft over from his more prosperous
days."Yes, sir. I bring you a note of introduction from Mrs. Harvey.""Ah yes, my sister. Let
me see it."The note was of some length. That is, it covered three pages ofnote paper. Mr.
Sargent read it attentively."My sister recommends you as tutor for my little son, Arthur,"he
said, as he folded up the letter."Yes, sir; she suggested that I might perhaps suit you in that
capacity.""She also says that you found and restored to her a valuable boxof jewelry which
she was careless enough to drop near Tiffany's.""Yes, sir.""I have a good deal of
confidence in my sister's good judgment. She evidently regards you very favorably.""I am
glad of that sir,""Will you tell me something of your qualifications? Arthur isabout to
commence Latin. He is not old enough for Greek.""I could teach either, sir.""And of course
you are well up in English branches?""I think I am.""My sister hints that you are poor, and
obliged to earn yourown living. How, then, have you been able to secure so goodan
education?""I have only been poor for a short time. My father left mefifty thousand dollars,
but it was lost by my guardian.""Who was your guardian?""Mr. Benjamin Fielding.""I knew
him well. I don't think he was an unprincipled man, buthe was certainly imprudent, and was
led into acts that werereprehensible. Did he lose all your money for you?""Yes, sir.""What
did you do?""Left the boarding school where I was being educated, and cameto this
city.""Did you obtain any employment?""Yes, sir; I have been employed for a short time
by OtisGoodnow, a merchant of Reade Street.""And why did you leave?""Because Mr.
Goodnow missed some articles from his stock, and Iwas charged with taking them."Rodney
was fearful of the effect of his frank confession uponMr. Sargent, but the latter soon
reassured him."Your honesty in restoring my sister's jewelry is sufficientproof that the charge
was unfounded. I shall not let itinfluence me.""Thank you, sir.""Now as to the position of
teacher, though very young, I don'tsee why you should not fill it satisfactorily. I will call
Arthur."He went to the door and called "Arthur."A delicate looking boy with a sweet,
intelligent face, camerunning into the room."Do you want me, papa?""Yes, Arthur. I have a
new friend for you. Will you shakehands with him?"Arthur, who was not a shy boy, went up
at once to Rodney andoffered his hand."I am glad to see you," he said.Rodney smiled. He
was quite taken with the young boy."What's your name?" the latter asked."Rodney
Ropes.""Are you going to stay and make us a visit?"Mr. Sargent answered this
question."Would you like to have Rodney stay?" he asked."Oh yes.""How would you like
to have him give you lessons in Latin andother studies?""I should like it. I am sure he
wouldn't be cross. Are you ateacher, Rodney?""I will be your teacher if you are willing to
have me.""Yes, I should like it. And will you go to walk with me inCentral
Park?""Yes.""Then, papa, you may as well engage him. I was afraid you wouldget a
tiresome old man for my teacher.""That settles it, Rodney," said Mr. Sargent, smiling. "Now,
Arthur, run out and I will speak further with Rodneyabout you.""All right, papa.""As Arthur
seems to like you, I will give you a trial. As hesuggested, I should like to have you become
his companion aswell as teacher. You will come here at nine o'clock in themorning, and stay
till four, taking lunch with your pupil. About the compensation, will you tell me what will
besatisfactory to you?""I prefer to leave that to you, sir.""Then we will say fifteen dollars a
week--today is Thursday. Will you present yourself here next Monday morning?""Yes,
sir.""If you would like an advance of salary, you need only say so.""Thank you, sir, but I am
fairly provided with money for the present.""Then nothing more need be said. As I am to
meet a gentleman atthe Union League Club tonight, I will bid you good evening,
andexpect to see you on Monday."Rodney rose and Mr. Sargent accompanied him to the
door, shakinghands with him courteously by way of farewell.Rodney emerged into the
street in a state of joyous excitement. Twenty five dollars in his pocket, and fifteen dollars a
week! He could hardly credit his good fortune.CHAPTER XVII.JASPER'S
PERPLEXITY.Mike Flynn was overjoyed to hear of Rodney's good fortune."Fifteen dollars
a week!" he repeated. "Why you will be rich.""Not exactly that, Mike, but it will make me
comfortable. By the way, as I have so much more than you, it will onlybe fair for me to pay
the whole rent.""No, Rodney, you mustn't do that.""I shall insist upon it, Mike. You would
do the same in my place.""Yes I would.""So you can't object to my doing it.""You are very
kind to me, Rodney," said Mike, who had the warmheart of his race. "It isn't every boy
brought up like you whowould be willing to room with a bootblack.""But you are not a
bootblack now. You are a telegraph boy.""There are plenty that mind me when I blacked
boots down in frontof the Astor House.""You are just as good a boy for all that. How much
did you makelast week?""Four dollars salary, and a dollar and a half in extra tips.""Hereafter
you must save your rent money for clothes. We musthave you looking
respectable.""Won't you adopt me, Rodney?" asked Mike with a laughing face."That's a
good idea. Perhaps I will. In that case you mustobey all my orders. In the first place, what
are you most inwant in the way of clothing?""I haven't got but two shirts.""That is hardly
enough for a gentleman of your social position. Anything else.""I'm short on collars and
socks.""Then we'll go out shopping. I'll buy you a supply of each.""But you haven't begun
to work yet.""No, but Mrs. Harvey made me a present of twenty five dollars. We'll go to
some of the big stores on Sixth Avenue where we canget furnishing goods
cheap."Rodney carried out his purpose, and at the cost of four dollarssupplied his room
mate with all he needed for the present."See what it is to be rich, Mike," he said. "It seems
odd forme to be buying clothes for my adopted son.""You're in luck, Rodney, and so am I.
I hope some time I can doyou a favor.""Perhaps you can, Mike. If I should get sick, you
might take myplace as tutor.""You must know an awful lot, Rodney," said Mike, regarding
hiscompanion with new respect."Thank you for the compliment, Mike. I hope Mr. Sargent
willhave the same opinion."The next day it is needless to say that Rodney did not
resumethe business of newsboy. He was very glad to give it up. He dressed with unusual
care and took a walk down town.As he passed Reade Street by chance Jasper was
coming aroundthe corner. His face lighted up first with pleasure at seeingRodney, for it
gratified his mean nature to triumph over theboy whom he had ousted from his position,
and next withsurprise at his unusually neat and well dressed appearance. Rodney looked
far from needing help. He might readily have beentaken for a boy of aristocratic
lineage."Hallo!" said Jasper, surveying Rodney curiously."How are you this morning,
Jasper?" returned Rodney quietly."Why ain't you selling papers?""I don't like the
business.""But you've got to make a living.""Quite true.""Are you going to black
boots?""Why should I? Is it a desirable business?""How should I know?" asked Jasper,
coloring."I didn't know but you might have had some experience at it. I haven't.""Do you
mean to insult me?" demanded Jasper hotly."I never insult anybody. I will only say that
you are as likelyto take up the business as I.""I've got a place.""How do you know but I
have?""Because you were selling papers yesterday and are walking thestreet today.""That
is true. But I have a place engaged for all that. I shall go to work on Monday."Jasper
pricked up his ears."Where is it?" he asked."I don't care to tell at present.""Is it true? Have
you got a place?""Yes.""I don't see how you could. Mr. Goodnow wouldn't give youa
recommendation.""There is no reason why he should not.""What, after your taking cloaks
and dress patterns from the store?""I did nothing of the kind. Sooner or later Mr. Goodnow
will findout his mistake. Probably the real thief is still in his employ."Jasper turned pale and
regarded Rodney searchingly, but there wasnothing in his manner or expression to indicate
that his remarkhad been personal. He thought it best to turn the conversation."How much
pay do you get--four dollars?""More than that.""You don't get as much as you did at our
store?""Yes; I get more."Now it was Jasper's turn to show surprise. He did not
knowwhether to believe Rodney or not, but there was something in hisface which
commanded belief."How much do you get?" he asked."You would not believe me if I told
you.""Try me," returned Jasper, whose curiosity was aroused."I am to get fifteen dollars a
week."Jasper would not have looked more surprised if Rodney hadinformed him that he
was to become a Cabinet minister."You're joking!" he ejaculated."Not at all.""How could you
have the face to ask such a price. Did you passyourself off as an experienced
salesman?""No.""I don't understand it at all, that is, if you are tellingthe truth.""I have told you
the truth, Jasper. I have no object indeceiving you. The salary was fixed by my
employer.""Who did you say it was?""I didn't say."Jasper's cunning scheme was defeated.
He felt disturbed to hearof Rodney's good fortune, but he had a shot in reserve."I don't
think you will keep your place long," he said in amalicious tone."Why not?""Your employer
will hear under what circumstances you left ourstore, and then of course he will discharge
you.""You will be sorry for that won't you?" asked Rodney pointedly."Why of course I don't
want you to have bad luck.""Thank you. You are very considerate.""Suppose you lose
your place, shall you go back to selling papers?""I hope to find something better to
do.""Where are you going now?""To get some lunch.""So am I. Suppose we go
together.""Very well, providing you will lunch with me.""I don't want to impose upon
you.""You won't. We may not meet again for some time, and we shallhave this meal to
remind us of each other."They went to a well known restaurant on Park Row. Rodney
ordereda liberal dinner for himself, and Jasper followed his examplenothing loath. He was
always ready to dine at the expense ofothers, but even as he ate he could not help
wondering at thestrange chance that had made him the guest of a boy who wasselling
papers the day before.He had nearly finished eating when a disturbing thought occurredto
him. Suppose Rodney didn't have money enough to settle thebill, and threw it upon
him.When Rodney took the checks and walked up to the cashier's deskhe followed him with
some anxiety. But his companion quietlytook out a five dollar bill, from his pocket and
tendered it tothe cashier. The latter gave him back the right change and thetwo boys went
out into the street."You seem to have plenty of money," said Jasper."There are very few
who would admit having that," smiled Rodney."I don't see why you sold papers if you
have five dollar billsin your pocket.""I don't want to be idle.""May I tell my uncle and Mr.
Goodnow that you have got a place?""If you like.""Well, good by, I must be hurrying back
to the store."Rodney smiled. He rather enjoyed Jasper's surprise and
time in acquainting his uncle with Rodney'sextraordinary good fortune. James Redwood
was surprised, butnot all together incredulous."I don't understand it" he said, "but Ropes
appears to be a boyof truth. Perhaps he may have exaggerated the amount of his
salary.""I hardly think so, uncle. He gave me a tip top dinner down onPark Row.""He may
have been in funds from selling the articles taken fromthe store.""That's so!" assented
Jasper, who had the best possible reasonfor knowing that it was not so."I wish the boy
well," said his uncle. "He always treated merespectfully, and I never had anything against
him except theloss of stock, and it is not certain that he is the thief.""I guess there isn't any
doubt about that.""Yet, believing him to be a thief, you did not hesitate toaccept a dinner
from him.""I didn't want to hurt his feelings," replied Jasper,rather sheepishly."Do you know
what sort of a place he has got, or with what house?""No; he wouldn't tell me.""He thought
perhaps you would inform the new firm of thecircumstances under which he left us. I don't
blame him,but I am surprised that he should have been engaged withouta
recommendation.""Shall you tell Mr. Goodnow?""Not unless he asks about Ropes. I don't
want to interfere withthe boy in any way."In the store, as has already been stated, Jasper
succeeded toRodney's place, and in consequence his pay was raised to sevendollars a
week. Still it was not equal to what it had been whenhe was receiving additional money
from the sale of the articlesstolen by Philip Carton and himself.The way in which they had
operated was this: Philip would comein and buy a cloak or a dress pattern from Jasper,
and the youngsalesman would pack up two or three instead of one. There wasa drawback
to the profit in those cases, as Carton would beobliged to sell both at a reduced price. Still
they had made aconsiderable sum from these transactions, though not nearly asmuch as
Mr. Goodnow had lost.After the discovery of the theft and the discharge of Rodney,the two
confederates felt that it would be imprudent to do anymore in that line. This suspension
entailed heavier loss onCarton than on Jasper. The latter had a fixed income and a homeat
his uncle's house, while Philip had no regular income, thoughhe occasionally secured a little
temporary employment.In the meantime Rodney had commenced his tutorship. His
youngpupil became very fond of him, and being a studious boy, maderapid progress in
his lessons.Mr. Sargent felt that his experiment, rash as it might beconsidered, vindicated
his wisdom by its success. At the end ofa month he voluntarily raised Rodney's salary to
twenty dollarsa week."I am afraid you are overpaying me, Mr. Sargent," said
Rodney."That's my lookout. Good service is worth a good salary, and Iam perfectly
satisfied with you.""Thank you, sir. I prize that even more than the higher salary."Only a
portion of Rodney's time was spent in teaching. In theafternoon he and his charge went on
little excursions, generallyto Central Park.One holiday, about four months after the
commencement ofRodney's engagement, he was walking in the Park when he fell inwith
Jasper. Jasper's attention was at once drawn to the littleboy, whose dress and general
appearance indicated that hebelonged to a wealthy family. This excited Jasper's
curiosity."How are you, Rodney?" said Jasper adroitly. "It is a goodwhile since I met
you.""Yes.""Who is the little boy with you?""His name is Arthur Sargent."Rodney gave this
information unwillingly, for he saw that hissecret was likely to be discovered."How do you
do, Arthur?" asked Jasper, with unwonted affability,for he did not care for children."Pretty
well," answered Arthur politely."Have you known Rodney long?""Why, he is my teacher,"
answered Arthur in some surprise.Jasper's eyes gleamed with sudden intelligence. So this
wasRodney's secret, and this was the position for which he was sowell paid.Rodney bit his
lip in vexation, but made no remark."Does he ever punish you for not getting your
lessons?" askedJasper without much tact."Of course not" answered Arthur
indignantly."Arthur always does get his lessons," said Rodney. "I supposeyou have a
holiday from work today, Jasper.""Yes; I am glad to get away now and then.""I must bid
you good morning now.""Won't you let me call on you? Where do you live, Arthur?"The
boy gave the number of his house.Jasper asked Arthur, thinking rightly that he would be
morelikely to get an answer from him than from Rodney. He walkedaway triumphantly,
feeling that he had made a discovery thatmight prove of advantage to him."Is that a friend of
yours, Rodney?" asked little Arthur."I have known him for some time.""I don't like him very
much.""Why?" asked Rodney with some curiosity."I don't know," answered the little boy
slowly. "I can'tlike everybody.""Quite true, Arthur. Jasper is not a special friend of mine,and
I am not particular about your liking him. I hope you like me.""You know I do, Rodney," and
he gave Rodney's hand an assuring pressure.Ten minutes after he left Rodney, Jasper fell
in with Carton. The intimacy between them had perceptibly fallen off. It hadgrown out of
business considerations.Now that it was no longer safe to abstract articles fromthe store,
Jasper felt that he had no more use for hislate confederate. When they met he treated him
withmarked coldness.On this particular day Carton was looking quite shabby. In fact,his
best suit was in pawn, and he had fallen back on onehalf worn and soiled."Hello!" exclaimed
Jasper, and was about to pass on with a cool nod."Stop!" said Philip, looking offended."I
am in a hurry," returned Jasper. "I can't stop today.""You are in a hurry, and on a
holiday?""Yes; I am to meet a friend near the lake.""I'll go along with you."Jasper had to
submit though with an ill grace."Wouldn't another day do?""No; the fact is, Jasper, I am in
trouble,""You usually are," sneered Jasper."That is so. I have been out of luck lately.""I am
sorry, but I can't help it as I see.""How much money do you think I have in my pocket?""I
don't know, I am sure. I am not good at guessing conundrums.""Just ten cents.""That isn't
much," said Jasper, indifferently."Let me have a dollar, thats a good fellow!""You seem to
think I am made of money," said Jasper sharply. "I haven't got much more myself.""Then
you might have. You get a good salary.""Only seven dollars.""You are able to keep most
of it for yourself.""Suppose I am? You seem to know a good deal of my affairs.""Haven't
you any pity for an old friend?""Yes, I'll give you all the pity you want, but when it comes
tomoney it's a different matter. Here you are, a man of twentysix, ten years older than me,
and yet you expect me to helpsupport you.""You didn't use to talk to me like that.""Well, I
do now. You didn't use to try to get money out of me.""Look here, Jasper! I am poor, but
I don't want you to talk tome as you are doing.""Indeed!" sneered Jasper."And I won't have
it," said Carton firmly. "Listen to me, andI will propose a plan that will help us both.""What is
it?""You can easily secrete articles, if you are cautious, withoutattracting notice, and I will
dispose of them and share themoney with you."Jasper shook his head."I wouldn't dare to
do it" he said. "Somebody might spy on me.""Not if you are careful.""If it were found out I
would be bounced like Ropes.""What is he doing? Have you seen him lately?""He is
getting on finely. He is earning fifteen dollars a week.""You don't mean it?""Yes I do.""What
firm is he working for?""For none at all. He is tutor to a young kid.""I didn't know he was
scholar enough.""Oh yes, he knows Greek and Latin and a lot of other stuff.""Who is the
boy?""I don't feel at liberty to tell. I don't think he would careto have you know.""I'll tell you
what you can do. Borrow five dollars of him for me.""I don't know about that. If I were to
borrow it would be for myself.""You can do as you please. If you don't do something for
me Iwill write to Mr. Goodnow that you are the thief who stole thecloaks and dress
patterns.""You wouldn't do that?" exclaimed Jasper in consternation."Wouldn't I? I am
desperate enough to do anything."After a little further conference Jasper agreed to do what
wasasked of him. He did not dare to refuse.CHAPTER XIX.JASPER'S
REVENGERodney was considerably surprised one evening to receive a callfrom Jasper
in his room. He was alone, as Mike had beendetailed about a week ago for night duty.
The room looked moreattractive than formerly. Rodney had bought a writing desk,which
stood in the corner, and had put up three pictures, which,though cheap, were
attractive."Good evening, Jasper," he said. "It is quite friendly of youto call.""I hadn't
anything else on hand this evening, and thought Iwould come round see how you were
getting along.""Take a seat and make yourself at home.""Do you object to cigarettes?"
asked Jasper, producing one froma case in his pocket."I object to smoking them myself,
but I don't want to dictate tomy friends.""You look quite comfortable here," continued Jasper
in apatronizing tone."We try to be comfortable, though our room is not luxurious.""Who do
you mean by `we'? Have you a room mate?""Yes. Mike Flynn rooms with me.""Who is
he--a newsboy?""No. He is a telegraph boy.""You don't seem to very particular," said
Jasper, shrugginghis shoulders."I am very particular.""Yet you room with an Irish telegraph
boy.""He is a nice boy of good habit, and a devoted friend. What could I want more?""Oh,
well, you have a right to consult your own taste.""You have a nice home, no doubt.""I live
with my uncle. Yes, he has a good house, but I am notso independent as if I had a room
outide.""How are things going on at the store?""About the same as usual. Why don't you
come in some day?""For two reasons; I am occupied during the day, and I don't wantto go
where I am considered a thief.""I wish I was getting your income. It is hard to get along
onseven dollars a week.""Still you have a nice home, and I suppose you have most of
yoursalary to yourself.""Yes, but there isn't much margin in seven dollars. My uncleexpects
me to buy my own clothes. You were lucky to get out ofthe store. Old Goodnow ought to
give me ten dollars.""Don't let him hear you speak of him as OLD Goodnow, Jasper.""Oh,
I'm smart enough for that. I mean to keep on the rightside of the old chap. What sort of a
man are you working for?""Mr. Sargent is a fine man.""He isn't mean certainly. I should like
to be in your shoes.""If I hear of any similar position shall I mention your name?"asked
Rodney, smiling."No; I could not take care of a kid. I hate them.""Still Arthur is a nice
boy.""You are welcome to him. What do you have to teach?""He is studying Latin and
French, besides English branches.""I know about as much of Latin and French as a cow. I
couldn'tbe a teacher. I say, Rodney," and Jasper cleared his throat,"I want you to do me a
favor.""What is it?""I want you to lend me ten dollars."Rodney was not mean, but he knew
very well that a loan to Jasperwould be a permanent one. Had Jasper been his friend
even thisconsideration would not have inspired a refusal, but he knewvery well that Jasper
had not a particle of regard for him."I don't think I can oblige you, Jasper," he said."Why not?
You get fifteen dollars a week.""My expenses are considerable. Besides I am helping
Mike, whosesalary is very small. I pay the whole of the rent and I havepaid for some
clothes for him.""You are spending your money very foolishly," said Jasper
frowning."Would I spend it any less foolishly if I should lend you ten dollars?""There is
some difference between Mike Flynn and me. I am a gentleman.""So is Mike.""A queer
sort of gentleman! He is only a poor telegraph boy.""Still he is a gentleman.""I should think
you might have money enough for both of us.""I might but I want to save something from
my salary. I don'tknow how long I shall be earning as much. I might lose my place.""So
you might.""And I could hardly expect to get another where the pay would beas good.""I
would pay you on installment--a dollar a week," urged Jasper."I don't see how you could,
as you say your pay is too small foryou now.""Oh, well, I could manage.""I am afraid I can't
oblige you, Jasper," said Rodney in adecided tone."I didn't think you were so miserly,"
answered Jasper in vexation."You may call it so, if you like. You must remember that I
amnot situated like you. You have your uncle to fall back upon incase you lose your
position, but I have no one. I have tohustle for myself.""Oh, you needn't make any more
excuses. I suppose ten dollarsis rather a large sum to lend. Can you lend me five?""I am
sorry, but I must refuse you."Jasper rose from the chair on which he had been sitting."Then I
may as well go," he said. "I am disappointed in you, Ropes. I thought you were a good,
whole souled fellow, and not a miser.""You must think of me as you please, Jasper. I feel
that I havea right to regulate my own affairs.""All I have to say is this, if you lose your place
as you may verysoon, don't come round to the store and expect to be taken back.""I won't"
answered Rodney, smiling. "I wouldn't go back at anyrate unless the charge of theft was
withdrawn.""That will never be!""Let it be so, as long as I am innocent."Jasper left the room
abruptly, not even having the politeness tobid Rodney good evening.Rodney felt that he
was quite justified in refusing to lendJasper money. Had he been in need he would have
obliged him,though he had no reason to look upon him as a friend.No one who knew
Rodney could regard him as mean or miserly. Could he have read Jasper's thoughts as he
left the house hewould have felt even less regret at disappointing him.About two days
afterward when Rodney went up to meet his pupil,Mr. Sargent handed him a letter."Here is
something that concerns you, Rodney," he said. "It doesn't appear to be from a friend of
yours."With some curiosity Rodney took the letter and read it.It ran thus:Mr. JOHN
SARGENT:DEAR SIR--I think it my duty to write and tell you somethingabout your son's
tutor--something that will surprise and shock you. Before he entered your house he was
employed by a firm onReade Street. He was quite a favorite with his employer, Mr.Otis
Goodnow, who promoted him in a short time. All at once itwas found that articles were
missing from the stock. Of courseit was evident that some one of the clerks was dishonest.
A watch was set, and finally it was found that Rodney Ropes hadtaken the articles, and one-
-a lady's cloak--was found in hisroom by a detective. He was discharged at once without
arecommendation.For a time he lived by selling papers, but at last he managedto get into
your house. I am sure you won't regard him asfit to educate your little son, though I have no
doubt he isa good scholar. But his character is bad--I don't think he oughtto have concealed
this from you out of friendship for you, andbecause I think it is my duty, I take the liberty of
writing. If you doubt this I will refer to Mr. Goodnow, or Mr. JamesRedwood, who had
charge of the room in which Ropes was employed. Yours very respectually,
A FRIEND."You knew all this before, Mr. Sargent" said Rodney, as hehanded back the
letter."Yes. Have you any idea who wrote it?""I feel quite sure that it was a boy about two
years older thanmyself, Jasper Redwood.""Is he related to the man of the same name
whom he mentions?""Yes, he is his nephew.""Has he any particular reason for disliking you,
Rodney?""Yes, sir. He came round to my room Wednesday evening, andasked me to
lend him ten dollars.""I presume you refused.""Yes, sir. He is not in need. He succeeded
to my place, and hehas a home at the house of his uncle.""He appears to be a very mean
boy. Anonymous letters are alwayscowardly, and generally malicious. This seems to be
noexception to the general rule.""I hope it won't affect your feelings towards me, Mr.
Sargent.""Don't trouble yourself about that Rodney. I am not so easilyprejudiced against
one of whom I have a good opinion.""I suppose this is Jasper's revenge," thought
Rodney.CHAPTER XX.RODNEY LOSES HIS PUPIL.Jasper had little doubt that his
letter would lead to Rodney'sloss of position. It was certainly a mean thing to plotanother's
downfall, but Jasper was quite capable of it. Had hesecured the loan he asked he would
have been willing to leaveRodney alone, but it would only have been the first of a seriesof
similar applications.It was several days before Jasper had an opportunity of
learningwhether his malicious plan had succeeded or not. On Sundayforenoon he met
Rodney on Fifth Avenue just as the churchservices were over. He crossed the street and
accosted the boyhe had tried to injure."Good morning, Ropes," he said, examining
Rodney's facecuriously to see whether it indicated trouble of any kind."Good morning!"
responded Rodney coolly."How are you getting along in your place?""Very well, thank
you.""Shall I find you at your pupil's house if I call there some afternoon?""Yes, unless I am
out walking with Arthur.""I wonder whether he's bluffing," thought Jasper. "I daresayhe
wouldn't tell me if he had been discharged. He takes itpretty coolly.""How long do you think
your engagement will last?" he asked."I don't know. I never had a talk with Mr. Sargent on
that point.""Do you still give satisfaction?"Rodney penetrated Jasper's motives for asking
all these questions,and was amused."I presume if I fail to satisfy Mr. Sargent he will tell me
so.""It would be a nice thing if you could stay there three or four years.""Yes: but I don't
anticipate it. When Arthur get a little olderhe will be sent to school.""What will you do
then?""I haven't got so far as that.""I can't get anything out of him," said Jasper to himself. "I
shouldn't be a bit surprised if he were already discharged."They had now reached Madison
Square, and Jasper left Rodney.The latter looked after him with a smile."I think I have
puzzled Jasper," he said to himself. "He wasanxious to know how his scheme had worked.
He will have to waita little longer.""If Mr. Sargent keeps Ropes after my letter he must be a
fool,"Jasper decided. "I wonder if Ropes handles the mail. He mighthave suppressed the
letter."But Rodney was not familiar with his handwriting, and would haveno reason to
suspect that the particular letter containedanything likely to injure him in the eyes of Mr.
Sargent.Later in his walk Jasper met Philip Carton. His former friendwas sitting on a bench
in Madison Square. He called out toJasper as he passed."Come here, Jasper, I want to
talk with you."Jasper looked at him in a manner far from friendly."I am in a hurry," he
said."What hurry can you be in? Come and sit down here. I MUSTspeak to you."Jasper
did not like his tone, but it impressed him, and he didnot dare to refuse.He seated himself
beside Philip, but looked at him askance. Carton was undeniably shabby. He had the look
of a man who wasgoing down hill and that rapidly."I shall be late for dinner," grumbled
Jasper."I wish I had any dinner to look forward to," said Carton. "Do you see this money?"
and he produced a nickel fromhis pocket."What is there remarkable about it?""It is the last
money I have. It won't buy me a dinner.""I am sorry, but it is none of my business," said
Jasper coolly. "You are old enough to attend to your own affairs.""And I once thought you
were my friend," murmured Philip bitterly."Yes, we were friends in a way.""Now you are up
and I am down-- Jasper, I want a dollar.""I dare say you do. Plenty want that.""I want it from
you.""I can't spare it.""You can spare it better than you can spare your situation.""What do
you mean by that?" asked Jasper, growing nervous."I'll tell you what I mean. How long do
you think you wouldstay in the store if Mr. Goodnow knew that you were concerned inthe
theft from which he has suffered?""Was I the only one?""No; I am equally guilty.""I am glad
you acknowledge it. You see you had better keepquiet for your own sake.""If I keep quiet I
shall starve.""Do you want to go to prison?""I shouldn't mind so much if you went along,
too.""Are you crazy, Philip Carton?""No, I am not, but I am beinning to get sensible. If I go
toprison I shall at least have enough to eat, and now I haven't.""What do you mean by all
this foolish talk?""I mean that if you won't give me any money I will go to thestore and tell
Mr. Goodnow something that will surprise him."Jasper was getting thoroughly
frightened."Come, Philip." he said, "listen to reason. You know how poorI am.""No doubt.
I know you have a good home and enough to eat.""I only get seven dollars a week.""And I
get nothing.""I have already been trying to help you. I went to Ropes theother day, and
asked him to lend me five dollars. I meant itfor you.""Did he give it to you?""He wouldn't
give me a cent. He is mean and miserly!""I don't know. He knows very well that you are no
friend ofhis, though he doesn't know how much harm you have done him.""He's rolling in
money. However, I've put a spoke in his wheel,I hope.""How?""I wrote an anonymous
letter to Mr. Sargent telling him thatRopes was discharged from the store on suspicion of
theft.""You are a precious scamp, Jasper.""What do you mean?""You are not content with
getting Ropes discharged for somethingwhich you yourself did----""And you too.""And I
too. I accept the amendment. Not content with that, youtry to get him discharged from his
present position.""Then he might have lent me the money," said Jasper sullenly."It wouldn't
have been a loan. It would have been a gift. But no matter about that. I want a dollar.""I
can't give it to you.""Then I shall call at the store tomorrow morning and tell Mr.Goodnow
about the stolen goods."Finding that Carton was in earnest Jasper finally, but with
greatreluctance, drew out a dollar and handed it to his companion."There, I hope that will
satisfy you," he said spitefully."It will--for the present.""I wish he'd get run over or
something," thought Jasper. "He seemsto expect me to support him, and that on seven
dollars a week."Fortunately for Jasper, Philip Carton obtained employment thenext day
which lasted for some time, and as he was paid tendollars a week he was not under the
necessity of troubling hisold confederate for loans.Now and then Jasper and Rodney met,
but there were no cordialrelations between them. Jasper could not forgive Rodney
forrefusing to lend him money, and Rodney was not likely to forgetthe anonymous letter by
which Jasper had tried to injure him.So three months passed. One day Mr. Sargent arrived
at homebefore it was time for Rodney to leave."I am glad to see you, Rodney," said his
employer. "I have somenews for you which I am afraid will not be entirely satisfactoryto
you.""What is it, sir?""For the last three years I have been wishing to go to Europewith my
wife and Arthur. The plan has been delayed, because Icould not make satisfactory
business arrangements. Now, however,that difficulty has been overcome, and I propose
to sail inabout two weeks.""I hope you'll enjoy your trip, sir.""Thank you. Of course it will
terminate, for a time at leastyour engagement to teach Arthur.""I shall be sorry for that, sir,
but I am not selfish enough towant you to stay at home on that account.""I thought you
would feel that way. I wish I could procure youanother position before I go, but that is
uncertain. I shall,however, pay you a month's salary in advance in lieu of a notice.""That is
very liberal, sir.""I think it only just. I have been very well pleased with yourattention to
Arthur, and I know he has profited by yourinstructions as well as enjoyed your
companionship. I hope youhave been able to save something.""Yes, sir, I have
something in the Union Dime Savings Bank.""That's well. You will remain with me one
week longer, but thelast week Arthur will need for preparations."Two weeks later Rodney
stood on the pier and watched the statelyEtruria steam out into the river. Arthur and his
father were ondeck, and the little boy waved his handkerchief to his tutor aslong as he could
see him.Rodney turned away sadly."I have lost a good situation," he soliloquized. "When
shall Iget another?"CHAPTER XXI.CONTINUED ILL LUCK.Rodney set himself to work
searching for a new situation. But wherever he called he found Some one ahead of him. At
lengthhe saw an advertisement for an entry clerk in a wholesale house inChurch Street. He
applied and had the good fortune to pleasethe superintendent."Where have you worked
before?" he asked."At Otis Goodnow's, on Reade Street.""How much were you paid
there?""Seven dollars a week.""Very well, we will start you on that salary, and see if
youearn it."Rodney was surprised and relieved to find that he was not askedfor a
recommendation from Mr. Goodnow, knowing that he could notobtain one. He went to
work on a Monday morning, and found hisduties congenial and satisfactory.Seven dollars a
week was small, compared with what he hadreceived as a tutor, but he had about two
hundred and fiftydollars in the Union Dime Savings Bank and drew three dollarsfrom this
fund every week in order that he might still assistMike, whose earnings were small.One of
his new acquaintances in the store was James Hicks, a boyabout a year older than
himself."Didn't you use to work at Otis Goodnow's?" asked James one daywhen they
were going to lunch."Yes.""I know a boy employed there. He is older than either of
us.""Who is it?""Jasper Redwood. Of course you know him.""Yes," answered Rodney
with a presentiment of evil.He felt that it would be dangerous to have Jasper know of
hispresent position, but did not venture to give a hint of thisto James.His fears were not
groundless. Only the day after James metJasper on the street."Anything new?" asked
Jasper."Yes; we've got one of your old friends in our store.""Who is it?""Rodney
Ropes."Jasper stopped short, and whistled. He was excessivelysurprised, as he
supposed Rodney still to be ArthurSargent's tutor."You don't mean it?" he ejaculated."Why
not? Is there anything so strange about it?""Yes. Did Ropes bring a recommendation from
Mr. Goodnow?""I suppose so. I don't know.""If he did, it's forged.""Why should it
be?""Goodnow wouldn't give him a recommendation.""Why wouldn't he?""Because he
discharged Ropes. Do you want to know why?""Yes.""For stealing articles from the
store."It was the turn of James Hicks to be surprised."I can't believe it," he said."Its true.
Just mention the matter to Ropes, and you'll see hewon't deny it.""I think there must be
some mistake about it. Rodney doesn'tlook like a fellow that would steal.""Oh, you can't tell
from appearances--Rogues are always plausible.""Still mistakes are sometimes made. I'd
trust Rodney Ropessooner than any boy I know.""You don't know him as well as I
do.""You don't like him?" said James shrewdly."No I don't. I can't like a thief.""You talk as if
you had a grudge against him.""Nothing but his being a thief. Well, what are you going to
doabout it?""About what?""What I have just told you.""I don't feel that I have any call to do
anything.""You ought to tell your employer.""I am no telltale," said James scornfully."Then
you will let him stay in the store, knowing him to be a thief?""I don't know him to be a thief. If
he steals anything it willprobably be found out."Jasper urged James to give information
about Rodney, but hesteadily refused."I leave others to do such dirty work," he said, "and I
don'tthink any better of you, let me tell you, for your eagerness toturn the boy out of his
position.""You are a queer boy.""Think so if you like," retorted Hicks. "I might give
myopinion of you."At this point Jasper thought it best to let the conversation drop. He was
much pleased to learn that Rodney had lost hisfine position as tutor, and was now in a place
from which hemight more easily be ousted.As he could not prevail upon James Hicks to
betray Rodney hedecided to write an anonymous letter to the firm that employed him.The
result was that the next afternoon Rodney was summoned tothe office."Sit down Ropes,"
said the superintendent. "For what store didyou work before you came into our
house?""Otis Goodnow's.""Under what circumstances did you leave?""I was accused of
theft.""You did not mention this matter when you applied for asituation here.""No, sir. I
ought perhaps to have done so, but I presumed inthat case you would not have given me
a place.""You are right he would not.""Nor would I have applied had the charge been a true
one. Articles were certainly missing from Mr. Goodnow's stock,but in accusing me they did
me a great injustice.""How long since you left Mr. Goodnow's?""Four months.""What have
you been doing since?""I was acting as tutor to the son of Mr. Sargent, of West FiftyEighth
Street.""A well known citizen. Then you are a scholar?""Yes, sir, I am nearly prepared for
college.""Of course he did not know you were suspected of dishonesty.""On the contrary
he did know it. I told him, and later hereceived an anonymous letter, notifying him of the
fact.""We also have received an anonymous letter. Here it is. Do yourecognize the hand
writing?""Yes," answered Rodney after examining the letter. "It waswritten by Jasper
Redwood.""Who is he?""A boy employed by Mr. Goodnow. For some reason he
seems tohave a spite against me.""I admit that it is pretty small business to write an
anonymousletter calculated to injure another. Still we shall have totake notice of this.""Yes,
sir, I suppose so.""I shall have to bring it to the notice of the firm. What theymay do I don't
know. If the matter was to be decided by me Iwould let you stay.""Thank you, sir," said
Rodney gratefully."But I am not Mr. Hall. You can go now and I will see you again."Rodney
left the office fully persuaded that his engagement wouldspeedily terminate. He was right;
the next day he was sent for again."I am sorry to tell you, Ropes," said the superintendent
kindly"that Mr. Hall insists upon your being discharged. He is anervous man and rather
suspicious. I spoke in your favor but Icould not turn him.""At any rate I am grateful to you for
your friendly effort."The superintendent hesitated a moment, and then said: "Willthis
discharge seriously embarrass you? Are you short of money?""No, sir. I was very liberally
paid by Mr. Sargent, and Isaved money. I have enough in the savings bank to last
meseveral months, should I be idle so long.""I am glad of it. I hope you will remember, my
boy, that thisis none of my doing. I would gladly retain you. I will say onething more,
should Jasper Redwood ever apply for a situationhere, his name will not be
considered."So Rodney found himself again without a position. It seemedhard in view of
his innocence, but he had confidence to believethat something would turn up for him as
before. At any rate hehad enough money to live on for some time.When Mike Flynn
learned the circumstances of his discharge hewas very angry."I'd like to meet Jasper
Redwood," he said, his eyes flashing. "If I didn't give him a laying out then my name isn't
Mike Flynn.""I think he will get his desert some time, Mickey, without anyhelp from you or
me.""Should hope he will. And what'll you do now, Rodney?""I don't know. Sometimes I
think it would be well to go to someother city, Boston or Philadelphia, where Jasper can't
get onmy track.""Should hope you won't do it. I can't get along widout you.""I will stay here
for a few weeks, Mike, and see if anythingturns up.""I might get you in as a telegraph
boy.""That wouldn't suit me. It doesn't pay enough."Rodney began to hunt for a situation
again, but four weekspassed and brought him no success. One afternoon about fouro'clock
he was walking up Broadway when, feeling tired, he steppedinto the Continental Hotel at
the corner of Twentieth Street.He took a seat at some distance back from the door, and in
adesultory way began to look about him. All at once he startedin surprise, for in a man
sitting in one of the front row ofchairs he recognized Louis Wheeler, the railroad thief who
hadstolen his box of jewelry.Wheeler was conversing with a man with a large
flappingsombrero, and whose dress and general appearance indicated thathe was a
Westerner.Rodney left his seat and going forward sat down in the chairbehind Wheeler.
He suspected that the Western man was in dangerof being victimized.CHAPTER XXII.AN
OLD ACQUAINTANCE TURNS UP.In his new position Rodney could easily hear the
conversationwhich took place between the Western man and his oldrailroad acquaintance."I
am quite a man of leisure," said Wheeler, "and it will giveme great pleasure to go about with
you and show you our city.""You are very obliging.""Oh, don't mention it. I shall really be
glad to have mytime occupied. You see I am a man of means--my father leftme a fortune--
and so I am not engaged in any business.""You are in luck. I was brought up on a farm in
Vermont, andhad to borrow money to take me to Montana four years ago.""I hope you
prospered in your new home?""I did. I picked up twenty five thousand dollars at the
mines,and doubled it by investment in lots in Helena.""Very neat, indeed. I inherited a
fortune from my father--ahundred and twenty five thousand dollars--but I never made acent
myself. I don't know whether I am smart enough.""Come out to Montana and I'll put you in
a way of making some money.""Really, now, that suggestion strikes me favorably. I
believeI will follow your advice. When shall you return to yourWestern home?""In about a
fortnight I think.""You must go to the theater tonight. There is a good play on atthe Madison
Square.""I don't mind. When can I get ticket?""I'll go and secure some. It is only a few
blocks away.""Do so. How much are the tickets?""A dollar and a half or two dollars
each.""Here are five dollars, if it won't trouble you too much.""My dear friend, I meant to pay
for the tickets. However,I will pay next time. If you will remain here I will be backin twenty
minutes."Louis Wheeler left the hotel with the five dollars tucked awayin his vest pocket.He
had no sooner disappeared than Rodney went forward andoccupied his seat."Excuse me,
sir," he said to the miner, "but do you know much ofthe man who has just left you?""I only
met him here. He seems a good natured fellow. What of him?""He said he was a man of
independent means.""Isn't he?""He is a thief and an adventurer."The miner was instantly on
the alert."How do you know this?" he asked."Because he stole a box of jewelry from me in
the cars somemonths ago.""Did you get it again?""Yes; he left the train, but I followed him
up and reclaimedthe jewelry.""Was it of much value?""They were family jewels, and were
worth over a thousand dollars.""Do you think he wants to bunco me?""I have no doubt of
it.""I have given him money to buy theater tickets. Do you think hewill come back?""Yes.
He wouldn't be satisfied with that small sum.""Tell me about your adventure with him.""I will
do it later. The theater is so near that he might comeback and surprise us together. I think
he would recognize me.""Do you advise me to go to the theater?""Yes, but be on your
guard.""Where can I see you again?""Are you staying at this hotel?""Yes. Here is my
card."Rodney read this name on the card: JEFFERSON PETTRIGREW."I wish
you were going to the theater with us.""It wouldn't do. Mr. Wheeler would remember
me.""Then come round and breakfast with me tomorrow--at eighto'clock, sharp.""I will, sir.
Now I will take a back seat, and leave you toreceive your friend.""Don't call him my friend.
He seems to be a mean scoundrel.""Don't let him suspect anything from your manner.""I
won't. I want to see him expose his plans." Five minutesafterwards Louis Wheeler entered
the hotel."I've got the tickets," he said, "but I had to buy them of aspeculator, and they cost
me more than I expected.""How much?""Two and a half apiece. So there is no change
coming back to you.""Never mind! As long as you had enough money to pay for them itis
all right."As a matter of fact Wheeler bought the tickets at the box officeat one dollar and fifty
cent each, which left him a profit oftwo dollars. When he saw how easily the Western man
took it heregretted not having represented that the tickets cost threedollars each.However,
he decided that there would be other ways of plunderinghis new acquaintance. He took his
seat again next to the miner."It is not very late," he said. "Would you like a run out toCentral
Park or to Grant's Tomb?""Not today. I feel rather tired. By the way, you did notmention
your name.""I haven't a card with me, but my name is Louis Wheeler.""Where do you live,
Mr. Wheeler?""I am staying with an aunt on Fifth Avenue, but I think oftaking board at the
Windsor Hotel. It is a very high tonedhouse, and quite a number of my friends board
there.""Is it an expensive hotel?""Oh, yes, but my income is large and----""I understand.
Now, Mr. Wheeler, I must excuse myself, as Ifeel tired. Come at half past seven and we
can start for thetheater together.""Very well."Wheeler rose reluctantly, for he had intended to
secure a dinnerfrom his new acquaintance, but he was wise enough to take the hint.After he
left the room Rodney again joined Mr. Pettigrew."He didn't give me back any change," said
the Western man. "He said he bought the tickets of a speculator at two dollars and ahalf
each.""Then he made two dollars out of you.""I suppose that is the beginning. Well, that
doesn't worry me. But I should like to know how he expects to get more money outof me.
I don't understand the ways of this gentry.""Nor I very well. If you are on your guard I think
you won't bein any danger.""I will remember what you say. You seem young to act as
adviserto a man like me. Are you in business?""At present I am out of work, but I have
money enough to last methree months.""Are you, like my new acquaintance, possessed of
independent means?""Not now, but I was six months ago.""How did you lose your
money?""I did not lose it. My guardian lost it for me.""What is your name?""Rodney
Ropes.""You've had some pretty bad luck. Come up to my room and tellme about it.""I
shall be glad to do so, sir."Mr. Pettigrew called for his key and led the way up to a
plainroom on the third floor."Come in," he said. "The room is small, but I guess it willhold us
both. Now go ahead with your story."In a short time Rodney had told his story in full to his
newacquaintance, encouraged to do so by his sympathetic manner. Mr. Pettigrew was
quite indignant, when told of Jasper's meanand treacherous conduct."That boy Jasper is a
snake in the grass," he said. "I'd liketo give him a good thrashing.""There isn't any love lost
between us, Mr. Pettigrew, but Ithink it will turn out right in the end. Still I find it hardto get a
place in New York with him circulating stories about me.""Then why do you stay in New
York?""I have thought it might be better to go to Philadelphia or Boston.""I can tell you of a
better place than either.""What is that?""Montana.""Do you really think it would be wise for
me to go there?""Think? I haven't a doubt about it.""I have money enough to get there, but
not much more. I shouldsoon have to find work, or I might get stranded.""Come back with
me, and I'll see you through. I'll make abargain with you. Go round with me here, and I'll
pay your fareout to Montana.""If you are really in earnest I will do so, and thank you forthe
offer.""Jefferson Pettigrew means what he says. I'll see you through, Rodney.""But I may
be interfering with your other friend, Louis Wheeler.""I shall soon be through with him. You
needn't worry yourselfabout that."Mr. Pettigrew insisted upon Rodney's taking supper with
him. Fifteen minutes after Rodney left him Mr. Wheeler madehis appearance.CHAPTER
XXIII.MR. WHEELER HAS A SET BACK.Louis Wheeler had not seen Rodney in the
hotel office, andprobably would not have recognized him if he had, as Rodney wasquite
differently dressed from the time of their first meeting. He had no reason to suppose,
therefore, that Mr. Pettigrew hadbeen enlightened as to his real character.It was therefore
with his usual confidence that he accosted hisacquaintance from Montana after supper."It is
time to go to the theater, Mr. Pettigrew," he said.Jefferson Pettigrew scanned his new
acquaintance with interest. He had never before met a man of his type and he looked upon
himas a curiosity.He was shrewd, however, and did not propose to let Wheeler knowthat
he understood his character. He resolved for the presentto play the part of the bluff and
unsuspecting country visitor."You are very kind, Mr. Wheeler," he said, "to take so
muchtrouble for a stranger.""My dear sir," said Wheeler effusively, "I wouldn't do it formany
persons, but I have taken a fancy to you.""You don't mean so?" said Pettigrew, appearing
pleased?"Yes, I do, on my honor.""But I don't see why you should. You are a polished
citygentleman and I am an ignorant miner from Montana."Louis Wheeler looked complacent
when he was referred to as apolished city gentleman."You do yourself injustice, my dear
Pettigrew," he said in apatronizing manner. "You do indeed. You may not be polished,but
you are certainly smart, as you have shown by accumulatinga fortune.""But I am not as rich
as you.""Perhaps not, but if I should lose my money, I could not makeanother fortune, while
I am sure you could. Don't you think itwould be a good plan for us to start a business
together in New York?""Would you really be willing to go into business with me?"Jefferson
Pettigrew asked this question with so much apparentsincerity that Wheeler was completely
deceived."I've got him dead!" he soliloquized complacently.He hooked his arm
affectionately in the Montana miner's andsaid, "My dear friend, I have never met a man with
whom I wouldrather be associated in business than with you. How muchcapital could you
contribute?""I will think it over, Mr. Wheeler. By the way what business doyou propose
that we shall go into?""I will think it over and report to you."By this time they had reached the
theater. The play soon commenced. Mr. Pettigrew enjoyed it highly, for he had not had
much opportunityat the West of attending a high class theatrical performance.When the play
ended, Louis Wheeler said, "Suppose we go toDelmonico's and have a little
refreshment.""Very well."They adjourned to the well known restaurant, and Mr.
Pettigrewordered an ice and some cakes, but his companion madea hearty supper. When
the bill came, Louis Wheeler let it lieon the table, but Mr. Pettigrew did not appear to see
it."I wonder if he expects me to pay for it," Wheeler askedhimself anxiously."Thank you for
this pleasant little supper," saidPettigrew mischievously. "Delmonico's is certainlya fine
place."Wheeler changed color. He glanced at the check. It was for twodollars and seventy
five cents, and this represented a larger sumthan he possessed.He took the check and led
the way to the cashier's desk. Then he examined his pockets."By Jove," he said, "I left my
wallet in my other coat. May Iborrow five dollars till tomorrow?"Jefferson Pettigrew eyed
him shrewdly. "Never mind," he said,"I will pay the check.""I am very much ashamed of
having put you to this expense.""If that is all you have to be ashamed of Mr. Wheeler,"
said theminer pointedly, "you can rest easy.""What do you mean?" stammered
Wheeler."Wait till we get into the street, and I will tell you."They went out at the Broadway
entrance, and then Mr. Pettigrewturned to his new acquaintance."I think I will bid you good
night and good by at the same time,Mr. Wheeler," he said."My dear sir, I hoped you won't
misjudge me on account of myunfortunately leaving my money at home.""I only wish to tell
you that I have not been taken in by yourplausible statement, Mr. Wheeler, if that is really
your name. Before we started for the theater I had gauged you and takenyour
measure.""Sir, I hope you don't mean to insult me!" blustered Wheeler."Not at all. You
have been mistaken in me, but I am notmistaken in you. I judge you to be a gentlemanly
adventurer,ready to take advantage of any who have money and are foolishenough to be
gulled by your tricks. You are welcome to theprofit you made out of the theater tickets, also
to the littlesupper to which you have done so much justice. I must requestyou, now,
however, to devote yourself to some one else, as I donot care to meet you again."Louis
Wheeler slunk away, deciding that he had made a greatmistake in setting down his Montana
acquaintance as an easy victim."I didn't think he'd get on to my little game so quick,"
hereflected. "He's sharper than he looks,"Rodney took breakfast with Mr. Pettigrew the
next morning. When breakfast was over, the Montana man said:"I'm going to make a
proposal to you, Rodney. How much pay didyou get at your last place?""Seven dollars a
week.""I'll pay you that and give you your meals. In return I wantyou to keep me company
and go about with me.""I shall not be apt to refuse such an offer as that, Mr.Pettigrew, but
are you sure you prefer me to Mr. Wheeler?"laughed Rodney."Wheeler be--blessed!"
returned the miner."How long are you going to stay in New York?""About two weeks.
Then I shall go back to Montana and take youwith me.""Thank you. There is nothing I should
like better."Two days later, as the two were walking along Broadway, they metMr.
Wheeler. The latter instantly recognized his friend fromMontana, and scrutinized closely his
young companion.Rodney's face looked strangely familiar to him, but somehow hecould
not recollect when or under what circumstances he had met him. He did not, however, like to
give up his intended victim,but had the effrontery to address the man from Montana."I hope
you are well, Mr. Pettigrew.""Thank you, I am very well.""I hope you are enjoying yourself.
I should be glad to show youthe sights. Have you been to Grants Tomb?""Not yet.""I
should like to take you there.""Thank you, but I have a competent guide.""Won't you
introduce me to the young gentleman?""I don't require any introduction to you, Mr.
Wheeler," said Rodney."Where have I met you before?" asked Wheeler abruptly."In the
cars. I had a box of jewelry with me," answeredRodney significantly.Louis Wheeler
changed color. Now he remembered Rodney, and hewas satisfied that he owed to him
the coolness with which theWestern man had treated him."I remember you had," he said
spitefully, "but I don't know howyou came by it.""It isn't necessary that you should know. I
remember I hadconsiderable difficulty in getting it out of your hands.""Mr. Pettigrew," said
Wheeler angrily, "I feel interested inyou, and I want to warn you against the boy who is with
you. He is a dangerous companion.""I dare say you are right," said Pettigrew in a quizzical
tone. "I shall look after him sharply, and I thank you for your kindand considerate warning. I
don't care to take up any more ofyour valuable time. Rodney, let us be going.""It must
have been the kid that exposed me," muttered Wheeler,as he watched the two go down
the street. "I will get even withhim some time. That man would have been good for a
thousanddollars to me if I had not been interfered with.""You have been warned against
me, Mr. Pettigrew,"said Rodney, laughing. "Mr. Wheeler has really been veryunkind in
interfering with my plans.""I shan't borrow any trouble, or lie awake nights thinking aboutit,
Rodney. I don't care to see or think of that rascal again."The week passed, and the
arrangement between Mr. Pettigrew andRodney continued to their mutual satisfaction. One
morning,when Rodney came to the Continental as usual, his new friend said: "I received a
letter last evening from my old home in Vermont.""I hope it contained good news.""On the
contrary it contained bad news. My parents are dead, butI have an old uncle and aunt
living. When I left Burton he wascomfortably fixed, with a small farm of his own, and
twothousand dollars in bank. Now I hear that he is in trouble. He has lost money, and a
knavish neighbor has threatened toforeclose a mortgage on the farm and turn out the old
people todie or go to the poorhouse.""Is the mortgage a large one?""It is much less than
the value of the farm, but ready money isscarce in the town, and that old Sheldon calculates
upon. Now I think of going to Burton to look up the matter.""You must save your uncle, if
you can, Mr. Pettigrew.""I can and I will. I shall start for Boston this afternoon bythe Fall
River boat and I want you to go with me.""I should enjoy the journey, Mr. Pettigrew.""Then
it is settled. Go home and pack your gripsack. You maybe gone three or four
days."CHAPTER XXIV.A CHANGE OF SCENE."Now," said Mr. Pettigrew, when they
were sitting side by sideon the upper deck of the Puritan, the magnificent steamer on theFall
River line. "I want you to consent to a little plan thatwill mystify my old friends and
neighbors.""What is it, Mr. Pettigrew?""I have never written home about my good fortune;
so far as theyknow I am no better off than when I went away.""I don't think I could have
concealed my success.""It may seem strange, but I'll explain--I want to learn who aremy
friends and who are not. I am afraid I wasn't very highlythought of when I left Burton. I was
considered rather shiftless."I was always in for a good time, and never saved a cent.
Everybody predicted that I would fail, and I expect most wantedme to fail. There were two
or three, including my uncle, auntand the friend who lent me money, who wished me well."I
mustn't forget to mention the old minister who baptized mewhen I was an infant. The good
old man has been preachingthirty or forty years on a salary of four hundred dollars, andhas
had to run a small farm to make both ends meet. He believedin me and gave me good
advice. Outside of these I don'tremember any one who felt an interest in Jefferson
Pettigrew.""You will have the satisfaction of letting them see that theydid not do you
justice.""Yes, but I may not tell them--that is none except my true friends. If I did, they
would hover round me and want to borrow money,or get me to take them out West with
me. So I have hitupon a plan. I shall want to use money, but I will pretend itis
yours."Rodney opened his eyes in surprise."I will pass you off as a rich friend from New
York, who feelsan interest in me and is willing to help me."Rodney smiled."I don't know if I
can look the character," he said."Oh yes you can. You are nicely dressed, while I am hardly
anybetter dressed than when I left Burton.""I have wondered why you didn't buy some
new clothes when youwere able to afford it.""You see we Western miners don't care much
for style, perhapsnot enough. Still I probably shall buy a suit or two, but nottill I have made
my visit home. I want to see how people willreceive me, when they think I haven't got
much money. I shallown up to about five hundred dollars, but that isn't enough todazzle
people even in a small country village.""I am wiling to help you in any way you wish, Mr.
Pettigrew.""Then I think we shall get some amusement out of it. I shallrepresent you as
worth about a hundred thousand dollars.""I wish I were.""Very likely you will be some time if
you go out to Montana with me.""How large a place is Burton?""It has not quite a thousand
inhabitants. It is set among thehills, and has but one rich man, Lemuel Sheldon, who is
worthperhaps fifty thousand dollars, but put on the airs of a millionaire.""You are as rich as
he, then.""Yes, and shall soon be richer. However, I don't want him toknow it. It is he who
holds the mortgage on my uncle's farm.""Do you know how large the mortgage is?""It is
twelve hundred dollars. I shall borrow the money of youto pay it.""I understand," said
Rodney, smiling."I shall enjoy the way the old man will look down upon me verymuch as a
millionaire looks down upon a town pauper.""How will he look upon me?""He will be very
polite to you, for he will think you richerthan himself.""On the whole, we are going to act a
comedy, Mr. Pettigrew. What is the name of the man who lent you money to go to
Montana?""A young carpenter, Frank Dobson. He lent me a hundred dollars,which was
about all the money he had saved up.""He was a true friend.""You are right. He was.
Everybody told Frank that he wouldnever see his money again, but he did. As soon as I
could gettogether enough to repay him I sent it on, though I remember itleft me with less
than ten dollars in my pocket."I couldn't bear to think that Frank would lose anything by me.
You see we were chums at school and always stood by each other. He is married and has
two children.""While you are an old bachelor.""Yes; I ain't in a hurry to travel in double
harness. I'll waittill I am ready to leave Montana, with money enough to livehandsomely at
home.""You have got enough now.""But I may as well get more. I am only thirty years old,
and Ican afford to work a few years longer.""I wish I could be sure of being worth fifty
thousand dollarswhen I am your age.""You have been worth that, you tell me.""Yes, but I
should value more money that I had made myself."Above five o'clock on Monday
afternoon Mr. Pettigrew and Rodneyreached Burton. It was a small village about four miles
fromthe nearest railway station. An old fashioned Concord stageconnected Burton with the
railway. The driver was on theplatform looking out for passengers when Jefferson
Pettigrewstepped out of the car."How are you, Hector?" said the miner, in an off hand
way."Why, bless my soul if it isn't Jeff!" exclaimed the driver, whohad been an old
schoolmate of Mr. Pettigrew's."I reckon it is," said the miner, his face lighting up with
thesatisfaction he felt at seeing a home face."Why, you ain't changed a mite, Jeff. You look
just as you didwhen you went away. How long have you been gone?""Four years!""Made
a fortune? But you don't look like it. That's the samesuit you wore when you went away,
isn't it?"Mr. Pettigrew laughed."Well no, it isn't the same, but it's one of the same kind.""I
thought maybe you'd come home in a dress suit.""It isn't so easy to make a fortune,
Hector.""But you have made something, ain't you?""Oh, yes, when I went away I hadn't a
cent except whatI borrowed. Now I've got five hundred dollars.""That ain't much.""No, but
it's better than nothing. How much more have yougot, Hector?""Well, you see I married
last year. I haven't had a chance tolay by.""So you see I did as well as if I had stayed at
home.""Are you going to stay home now?""For a little while. I may go back to Montana
after a bit.""Is it a good place to make money?""I made five hundred dollars.""Thats only a
little more than a hundred dollars a year.Frank Dobson has saved as much as that and he's
stayed righthere in Burton.""I'm glad of that," said Pettigrew heartily. "Frank is arousing good
fellow. If it hadn't been for him I couldn't havegone to Montana.""It doesn't seem to have
done you much good, as I can see.""Oh, well, I am satisfied. Let me introduce my friend,
Mr.Rodney Ropes of New York.""Glad to meet you," said Hector with a jerk of the
head."Rodney, won't you sit inside? I want to sit outide with Hector.""All right, Mr.
Pettigrew.""Who is that boy?" asked Hector with characteristic Yankeecuriosity, as he
seized the lines and started the horses."A rich young fellow from New York. I got
acquainted withhim there.""Rich is he?" Jefferson Pettigrew nodded."How rich do you
think?""Shouldn't wonder if he might be worth a hundred thousand.""You don't say! Why,
he beat Squire Sheldon.""Oh, yes, Squire Sheldon wouldn't be considered rich in New
York.""How did he get his money?""His father left him a fortune.""Is that so? I wish my
father had left me a fortune.""He did, didn't he?""Yes, he did! When his estate was settled I
got seventy fivedollars, if you call that a fortune. But I say, what brings theboy to
Burton?""His friendship for me, I expect. Besides he may invest in a place.""There's the
old Morse place for sale. Do you think he'd buy that?""It wouldn't be nice enough for him. I
don't know any placethat would be good enough except the squire's.""The squire wouldn't
sell.""Oh, well, I don't know as Rodney would care to locate in Burton.""You're in luck to get
such a friend. Say, do you think hewould lend you a hundred dollars if you were hard up?""I
know he would. By the way, Hector, is there any news? How is my uncle?""I think the old
man is worrying on account of his mortgage.""Who holds it?""The squire. They do say he is
goin' to foreclose. That'll bebad for the old man. It'll nigh about break his heart I
expect.""Can't uncle raise the money to pay him?""Who is there round here who has got
any money except the squire?""That's so.""Where are you goin' to stop, Jeff?""I guess I'll
stop at the tavern tonight, but I'll go over andcall on uncle this evening."CHAPTER
XXV.JEFFERSON PETTIGREW'S HOME.News spreads fast in a country village.
Scarcely an hour hadpassed when it was generally known that Jefferson Pettigrew
hadcome home from Montana with a few hundred dollars in money,bringing with him a rich
boy who could buy out all Burton. At least that is the way the report ran.When the two new
arrivals had finished supper and come out onthe hotel veranda there were a dozen of
Jefferson Pettigrew'sfriends ready to welcome him."How are you, Jefferson, old boy?"
said one and another."Pretty well, thank you. It seems good to be home.""I hear you've
brought back some money.""Yes, a few hundred dollars.""That's better than nothing. I
reckon you'll stay home now.""I can't afford it, boys.""Are ye goin' back to Montany?""Yes.
I know the country, and I can make a middlin' goodlivin' there.""I say, is that boy thats with
you as rich as they say?""I don't know what they say.""They say he's worth a million.""Oh
no, not so much as that. He's pretty well fixed.""Hasn't he got a father livin'?""No, it's his
father that left the money.""How did you happen to get in with him?""Oh, we met
promiscuous. He took a sort of fancy to me, andthat's the way of it.""Do you expect to
keep him with you?""He talks of goin' back to Montana with me. I'll be sort ofguardian to
him.""You're in luck, Jeff.""Yes, I'm in luck to have pleasant company. Maybe we'll
jointogether and buy a mine.""Would you mind introducin' him?""Not at all," and thus
Rodney became acquainted with quite anumber of the Burton young men. He was
amused to see with whatdeference they treated him, but preserved a sober face
andtreated all cordially, so that he made a favorable impression onthose he met.Among
those who made it in their way to call on the twotravelers was Lemuel Sheldon, the rich man
of the village."How do you do, Jefferson?" he said condescendingly."Very well, sir.""You
have been quite a traveler.""Yes, sir; I have been to the far West.""And met with some
success, I am told.""Yes, sir; I raised money enough to get home.""I hear you brought
home a few hundred dollars.""Yes, sir.""Oh, well," said the squire patronizingly, "that's good
beginning.""It must seem very little to a rich man like you, squire.""Oh, no!" said the squire
patronizingly. "You are a young man. I shouldn't wonder if by the time you get as old as I
am youmight be worth five thousand dollars.""I hope so," answered Mr. Pettigrew
demurely."By the way, you have brought a young man with you, I am told.""Yes.""I should
like to make his acquaintance. He is rich, is he not?""I wish I was as rich.""You don't say so!
About how much do you estimate he is worth?""I don't think it amounts to quite as much as
a quarter ofa million. Still, you know it is not always easy to tellhow much a person is
worth.""He is certainly a VERY fortunate young man," said the squire,impressed. "What is
his name?""Rodney Ropes.""The name sounds aristocratic. I shall be glad to know
him.""Rodney," said Mr. Pettigrew. "I want to introduce you toSquire Sheldon, our richest
and most prominent citizen.""I am glad to meet you, Squire Sheldon," said Rodney,
offeringhis hand."I quite reciprocate the feeling, Mr. Ropes, but Mr. Pettigrewshould not call
me a rich man. I am worth something, to be sure.""I should say you were, squire," said
Jefferson. "Rodney, he isas rich as you are.""Oh no," returned the squire, modestly, "not as
rich as that. Indeed, I hardly know how much I am worth. As Mr. Pettigrew veryjustly
observed it is not easy to gauge a man's possessions. But there is one difference
between us. You, Mr. Ropes, I take it,are not over eighteen.""Only sixteen, sir.""And yet
you are wealthy. I am rising fifty. When you come tomy age you will be worth much
more.""Perhaps I may have lost all I now possess," said Rodney. "Within a year I have lost
fifty thousand dollars.""You don't say so.""Yes; it was through a man who had charge of my
property. I think now I shall manage my money matters myself.""Doubtless you are right.
That was certainly a heavy loss. I shouldn't like to lose so much. I suppose, however, you
hadsomething left?""Oh yes," answered Rodney in an indifferent tone."He must be rich to
make so little account of fifty thousanddollars," thought the squire."How long do you
propose to stay in town, Mr. Pettigrew?" he asked."I can't tell, sir, but I don't think I can
spare more thanthree or four days.""May I hope that you and Mr. Ropes will take supper
with metomorrow evening?""Say the next day and we'll come. Tomorrow I must go to my
uncle's.""Oh very well!"Squire Sheldon privately resolved to pump Rodney as to
theinvestment of his property. He was curious to learn first howmuch the boy was worth,
for if there was anything that thesquire worshiped it was wealth. He was glad to find that
Mr.Pettigrew had only brought home five hundred dollars, as it wasnot enough to lift the
mortgage on his uncle's farm.After they were left alone Jefferson Pettigrew turned to
Rodneyand said, "Do you mind my leaving you a short time and callingat my uncle's?""Not
at all, Mr. Pettigrew. I can pass my time very well."Jefferson Pettigrew directed his steps to
an old fashionedfarmhouse about half a mile from the village. In the rearthe roof sloped
down so that the eaves were only five feetfrom the ground. The house was large though
the rooms werefew in number.In the sitting room sat an old man and his wife, who
wasnearly as old. It was not a picture of cheerful old age, foreach looked sad. The sadness
of old age is pathetic for thereis an absence of hope, and courage, such as younger people
areapt to feel even when they are weighed down by trouble.Cyrus Hooper was seventy
one, his wife two years younger. During the greater part of their lives they had been well to
do,if not prosperous, but now their money was gone, and there wasa mortgage on the old
home which they could not pay."I don't know whats goin' to become of us, Nancy," said
Cyrus Hooper. "We'll have to leave the old home, and when the farm's beensold there
won't be much left over and above the mortgagewhich Louis Sheldon holds.""Don't you
think the squire will give you a little more time, Cyrus?""No; I saw him yesterday, and he's
sot on buyin' in the farmfor himself. He reckons it won't fetch more'n eighteenhundred
dollars.""Thats only six hundred over the mortgage.""It isn't that Nancy. There's about a
hundred dollarsdue in interest. We won't get more'n five hundred dollars.""Surely, Cyrus,
the farm is worth three thousand dollars.""So it is, Nancy, but that won't do us any good, as
long as noone wants it more'n the squire.""I wish Jefferson were at home.""What good
would it do? I surmise he hasn't made any money. He never did have much enterprise,
that boy.""He was allus a good boy, Cyrus.""That's so, Nancy, but he didn't seem cut out
for makin' money. Still it would do me good to see him. Maybe we might have ahome
together, and manage to live."Just then a neighbor entered."Have you heard the news?"
she asked."No; what is it?""Your nephew Jefferson Pettigrew has got back.""You don't
mean so. There, Jefferson, that's one comfort.""And they say he has brought home five
hundred dollars.""That's more'n I thought he'd bring. Where is he?""Over at the tavern.
He's brought a young man with him,leastways a boy, that's got a lot of money.""The
boy?""Yes; he's from New York, and is a friend of Jefferson's.""Well, I'm glad he's back.
Why didn't he come here?""It's likely he would if the boy wasn't with him.""Perhaps he
heard of my misfortune.""I hope it'll all come right, Mr. Hooper. My, if there ain'tJefferson
comin' to see you now. I see him through the winder. I guess I'll be goin'. You'll want to
see him alone."CHAPTER XXVI.THE BOY CAPITALIST."How are you, Uncle Cyrus?"
said Jefferson Pettigrew heartily,as he clasped his uncle's toil worn hand. "And Aunt Nancy,
too! It pays me for coming all the way from Montana just to see you.""I'm glad to see you,
Jefferson," said his uncle. "It seems along time since you went away. I hope you've
prospered.""Well, uncle, I've brought myself back well and hearty, and I'vegot a few
hundred dollars.""I'm glad to hear it, Jefferson. You're better off than whenyou went
away.""Yes, uncle. I couldn't be much worse off. Then I hadn't acent that I could call my
own. But how are you and Aunt Nancy?""We're gettin' old, Jefferson, and misfortune has
come to us.Squire Sheldon has got a mortgage on the farm and it's likelywe'll be turned out.
You've come just in time to see it.""Is it so bad as that, Uncle Cyrus? Why, when I went
away youwere prosperous.""Yes, Jefferson, I owned the farm clear, and I had money in
thebank, but now the money's gone and there's a twelve hundreddollar mortgage on the
old place," and the old man sighed."But how did it come about uncle? You and Aunt Nancy
haven'tlived extravagantly, have you? Aunt Nancy, you haven't run upa big bill at the
milliner's and dressmaker's?""You was always for jokin', Jefferson," said the old lady,smiling
faintly; "but that is not the way our losses came.""How then?""You see I indorsed notes for
Sam Sherman over at Canton, and hefailed, and I had to pay. then I bought some wild cat
minin'stock on Sam's recommendation, and that went down to nothin'. So between the two I
lost about three thousand dollars. I've been a fool, Jefferson, and it would have been
money in mypocket if I'd had a guardeen.""So you mortgaged the place to Squire
Sheldon, uncle?""Yes; I had to. I was obliged to meet my notes.""But surely the squire will
extend the mortgage.""No, he won't. I've asked him. He says he must call in themoney,
and so the old place will have to be sold, and Nancy andI must turn out in our old
age."Again the old man sighed, and tears came into Nancy Hooper's eyes."There'll be
something left, won't there, Uncle Cyrus?""Yes, the place should bring six hundred dollars
over and abovethe mortgage. That's little enough, for it's worth three thousand.""So it is,
Uncle Cyrus. But what can you do with sixhundred dollars? It won't support you and Aunt
Nancy?""I thought mebbe, Jefferson, I could hire a small house and youcould board with
us, so that we could still have a home together.""I'll think it over, uncle, if there is no other
way. But areyou sure Squire Sheldon won't give you more time?""No, Jefferson. I
surmise he wants the place himself. There's talk of a railroad from Sherborn, and that'll
raisethe price of land right around here. It'll probably go rightthrough the farm just south of
the three acre lot.""I see, Uncle Cyrus. You ought to have the benefit of the risein
value.""Yes, Jefferson, it would probably rise enough to pay off themortgage, but its no
use thinkin' of it. The old farm has gotto go.""I don't know about that, Uncle Cyrus.""Why,
Jefferson, you haven't money enough to lift the mortgage!"said the old man, with faint
hope."If I haven't I may get it for you. Tell me just how much moneyis required.""Thirteen
hundred dollars, includin' interest.""Perhaps you have heard that I have a boy with me--a
boy fromNew York, named Rodney Ropes. He has money, and perhaps I mightget him
to advance the sum you want.""Oh, Jefferson, if you only could!" exclaimed Aunt
Nancy,clasping her thin hands. "It would make us very happy.""I'll see Rodney tonight and
come over tomorrow morning and tellyou what he says. On account of the railroad I shall tell
himthat it is a good investment. I suppose you will be willing tomortgage the farm to him for
the same money that he pays to liftthe present mortgage?""Yes, Jefferson, I'll be willin' and
glad. It'll lift a greatburden from my shoulders. I've been worryin' at the sorrow I'vebrought
upon poor Nancy, for she had nothing to do with myfoolish actions. I was old enough to
know better, Jefferson,and I'm ashamed of what I did.""Well, Uncle Cyrus, I'll do what I can
for you. Now let usforget all about your troubles and talk over the village news. You know
I've been away for four years, and I haven't had anystiddy correspondence, so a good
deal must have happened that Idon't know anything about. I hear Frank Dobson has
prospered?""Yes, Frank's pretty forehanded. He's got a good economicalwife, and
they've laid away five or six hundred dollars in thesavings bank.""I am glad of it. Frank is a
good fellow. If it hadn't beenfor him I couldn't have gone to Montana. When he lent me
themoney everybody said he'd lose it, but I was bound to pay it ifI had to live on one meal
a day. He was the only man in townwho believed in me at that time.""You was a littless
shif'less, Jefferson. You can't blame people. I wasn't quite sure myself how you'd get
along.""No doubt you are right, Uncle Cyrus. It did me good toleave town. I didn't drink,
but I had no ambition. When aman goes to a new country it's apt to make a new man of
him. That was the case with me.""Are you goin' back again, Jefferson?""Yes, uncle. I'm
going to stay round here long enough to fix upyour affairs and get you out of your trouble.
Then I'll go backto the West. I have a little mining interest there and I canmake more money
there than I can here.""If you can get me out of my trouble, Jefferson, I'll neverforget it.
Nancy and I have been so worried that we couldn'tsleep nights, but now I'm beginnin' to be
a little more cheerful."Jefferson Pettigrew spent another hour at his uncle's house, andthen
went back to the tavern, where he found Rodney waiting for him. He explained briefly the
part he wished his boy friend totake in his plan for relieving his uncle."I shall be receiving
credit to which I am not entitled," saidRodney. "Still, if it will oblige you I am willing to play
thepart of the boy capitalist."The next morning after breakfast the two friends walked over
tothe house of Cyrus Hooper. Aunt Nancy came to the door and gavethem a cordial
welcome."Cyrus is over at the barn, Jefferson," she said. "I'll ringthe bell and he'll come
in.""No, Aunt Nancy, I'll go out and let him know I am here."Presently Cyrus Hooper came
in, accompanied by Jefferson."Uncle Cyrus," said the miner, "let me introduce you to
myfriend Rodney Ropes, of New York.""I'm glad to see you," said Cyrus heartily. "I'm
glad to seeany friend of Jefferson's,""Thank you, sir. I am pleased to meet you.""Jefferson
says you are goin' to Montany with him.""I hope to do so. I am sure I shall enjoy myself in
his company.""How far is Montany, Jefferson?""It is over two thousand miles away, Uncle
Cyrus.""It must be almost at the end of the world. I don't see how youcan feel at home so
far away from Vermont."Jefferson smiled."I can content myself wherever I can make a good
living,"he said. "Wouldn't you like to go out and make me a visit?""No, Jefferson, I should
feel that it was temptin' Providence togo so far at my age.""You never were very far from
Burton, Uncle Cyrus?""I went to Montpelier once," answered the old man with evident
pride. "It is a nice sizable place. I stopped at the tavern, and had agood time."It was the
only journey the old man had ever made, and he wouldnever forget it."Uncle Cyrus," said
Jefferson, "this is the young man who Ithought might advance you money on a new
mortgage. Suppose weinvite him to go over the farm, and take a look at it so as tosee
what he thinks of the investment.""Sartain, Jefferson, sartain! I do hope Mr. Ropes you'll
lookfavorable on the investment. It is Jefferson's idea, but itwould be doin' me a great
favor.""Mr. Pettigrew will explain the advantages of the farm as we goalong," said
Rodney.So they walked from field to field, Jefferson expatiating to hisyoung friend upon
the merits of the investment, Rodney askingquestions now and then to carry out his part of
the shrewd andcareful boy capitalist.When they had made a tour of the farm Jefferson said:
"Well,Rodney, what do you think of the investment?""I am satisfied with it," answered
Rodney. "Mr. Hooper, I willadvance you the money on the conditions mentioned by my
friend,Mr. Pettigrew."Tears of joy came into the eyes of Cyrus Hooper and his worn
faceshowed relief."I am very grateful, young man," he said. "I will see that youdon't regret
your kindness.""When will Squire Sheldon be over to settle matters, UncleCyrus?" asked
Jefferson."He is comin' this afternoon at two o'clock.""Then Rodney and I will be over to
PLOT.On the morning of the same day Squire Sheldon sat in his studywhen the servant
came in and brought a card."It's a gentleman thats come to see you, sir," she said.Lemuel
Sheldon's eye brightened when he saw the name, for it wasthat of a railroad man who was
interested in the proposed roadfrom Sherborn."I am glad to see you, Mr. Caldwell," he
said cordially,rising to receive his guest. "What is the prospect as regardsthe railroad?""I
look upon it as a certainty," answered Enoch Caldwell, agrave, portly man of fifty."And it is
sure to pass through our town?""Yes, I look upon that as definitely decided.""The next
question is as to the route it will take," wenton the squire. "Upon that point I should like to
offera few suggestions.""I shall be glad to receive them. In fact, I may say that myreport will
probably be accepted, and I shall be glad toconsult you.""Thank you. I appreciate the
compliment you pay me, and, thoughI say it, I don't think you could find any one more
thoroughlyconversant with the lay of the land and the most advisable routeto follow. If you
will put on your hat we will go out togetherand I will give you my views.""I shall be glad to
do so."The two gentlemen took a leisurely walk through the village,going by Cyrus
Hooper's house on the way."In my view," said the squire, "the road should go
directlythrough this farm a little to the north of the house."The squire proceeded to explain
his reasons for the routehe recommended."To whom does the farm belong?" asked
Caldwell, with a shrewdglance at the squire."To an old man named Cyrus Hooper.""Ahem!
Perhaps he would be opposed to the road passing so nearhis house.""I apprehend that
he will not have to be consulted," said thesquire with a crafty smile."Why not?""Because I
hold a mortgage on the farm which I propose toforeclose this afternoon.""I see. So that you
will be considerably benefited by the road.""Yes, to a moderate extent.""But if a different
course should be selected, how then?""If the road goes through the farm I would be willing
to give aquarter of the damages awarded to me to--you understand?""I think I do. After all it
seems the most natural route.""I think there can be no doubt on that point. Of course
thecorporation will be willing to pay a reasonable sum for land taken.""I think I can promise
that, as I shall have an important voicein the matter.""I see you are a thorough business
man," said the squire. "I hold that it is always best to pursue a liberal policy.""Quite so. You
have no doubt of obtaining the farm?""Not the slightest.""But suppose the present owner
meets the mortgage?""He can't. He is a poor man, and he has no moneyed friends. I
confess I was a little afraid that a nephew of his just returnedfrom Montana might be able to
help him, but I learn that he hasonly brought home five hundred dollars while the
mortgage,including interest, calls for thirteen hundred.""Then you appear to be safe. When
did you say the matter wouldbe settled?""This afternoon at two o'clock. You had better
stay over andtake supper with me. I shall be prepared to talk with you atthat time.""Very
well."From a window of the farmhouse Cyrus Hooper saw Squire Sheldonand his guest
walking by the farm, and noticed the interestwhich they seemed to feel in it. But for the
assurance which hehad received of help to pay the mortgage he would have
feltdespondent, for he guessed the subject of their conversation. As it was, he felt an
excusable satisfaction in the certaindefeat of the squire's hopes of gain."It seems that the
more a man has the more he wants, Jefferson,"he said to his nephew. "The squire is a rich
man--the richestman in Burton--but he wants to take from me the little propertythat I
have.""It's the way of the world, Uncle Cyrus. In this case the squireis safe to be
disappointed, thanks to my young friend, Rodney.""Its lucky for me, Jefferson, that you
came home just the timeyou did. If you had come a week later it would have been too
late.""Then you don't think the squire would have relented?""I know he wouldn't. I went over
a short time since and had atalk with him on the subject. I found he was sot on gettin'
thefarm into his own hands.""If he were willing to pay a fair value it wouldn't be so bad.""He
wasn't. He wanted to get it as cheap as he could.""I wonder," said Jefferson Pettigrew
reflectively, "whether Ishall be as hard and selfish if ever I get rich.""I don't believe you will,
Jefferson. I don't believe you will. It doesn't run in the blood.""I hope not Uncle Cyrus.
How long have you known the squire?""Forty years, Jefferson. He is about ten years
younger than I am. I was a young man when he was a boy.""And you attend the same
church?""Yes.""And still he is willing to take advantage of you and reduce youto poverty. I
don't see much religion in that.""When a man's interest is concerned religion has to stand to
oneside with some people."It was in a pleasant frame of mind that Squire Sheldon left
hishouse and walked over to the farmhouse which he hoped to own. He had decided to
offer eighteen hundred dollars for the farm,which would be five hundred over and above the
face of themortgage with the interest added.This of itelf would give him an excellent profit,
but heexpected also, as we know, to drive a stiff bargain with the newrailroad company, for
such land as they would require to use."Stay here till I come back, Mr. Caldwell," he said. "I
apprehend it won't take me long to get through my business."Squire Sheldon knocked at
the door of the farmhouse, which wasopened to him by Nancy Hooper."Walk in, squire,"
she said."Is your husband at home, Mrs. Hooper?""Yes; he is waiting for you."Mrs.
Hooper led the way into the sitting room, where her husbandwas sitting in a rocking
chair."Good afternoon, Mr. Hooper," said the squire. "I hope I seeyou well.""As well as I
expect to be. I'm gettin' to be an old man.""We must all grow old," said the squire
vaguely."And sometimes a man's latter years are his most sorrowful years.""That means
that he can't pay the mortgage," thought Squire Sheldon."Well, ahem! Yes, it does
sometimes happen so," he said aloud."Still if a man's friends stand by him, that brings him
some comfort.""I suppose you know what I've come about, Mr. Hooper," said thesquire,
anxious to bring his business to a conclusion."I suppose it's about the mortgage.""Yes, its
about the mortgage.""Will you be willing to extend it another year?""I thought," said the
squire, frowning, "I had given you tounderstand that I cannot do this. You owe me a large
sum inaccrued interest.""But if I make shift to pay this?""I should say the same. It may as
well come first as last. You can't hold the place, and there is no chance of your beingbetter
off by waiting.""I understand that the new railroad might go through my farm. That would put
me on my feet.""There is no certainty that the road will ever be built. Even if it were, it would
not be likely to cross your farm.""I see, Squire Sheldon, you are bound to have the
place.""There is no need to put it that way, Mr. Hooper. I lent youmoney on mortgage.
You can't pay the mortgage, and of courseI foreclose. However, I will buy the farm and
allow you eighteenhundred dollars for it. That will give you five hundred dollarsover and
above the money you owe me.""The farm is worth three thousand dollars.""Nonsense, Mr.
Hooper. Still if you get an offer of that sumTODAY I will advise you to sell.""I certainly
won't take eighteen hundred.""You won't? Then I shall foreclose, and you may have to take
less.""Then there is only one thing to do.""As you say, there is only one thing to do.""And
that is, to pay off the mortgage and clear the farm.""You can't do it!" exclaimed the squire
uneasily.Cyrus Hooper's only answer was to call "Jefferson."Jefferson Pettigrew entered
the room, followed by Rodney."What does this mean?" asked the squire."It means, Squire
Sheldon," said Mr. Pettigrew, "that you won'tturn my uncle out of his farm this time. My
young friend,Rodney Ropes, has advanced Uncle Cyrus money enough to pay offthe
mortgage.""I won't take a check," said the squire hastily."You would have to if we insisted
upon it, but I have the moneyhere in bills. Give me a release and surrender the
mortgage,and you shall have your money."It was with a crestfallen look that Squire Sheldon
left thefarmhouse, though his pockets were full of money."It's all up," he said to his friend
Caldwell in a hollow voice. "They have paid the mortgage."After all the railway did cross the
farm, and Uncle Cyrus waspaid two thousand dollars for the right of way, much to
thedisappointment of his disinterested friend Lemuel Sheldon, whofelt that this sum ought
to have gone into his own pocket.CHAPTER XXVIII.A MINISTER'S GOOD
FORTUNE."I have another call to make, Rodney," said Mr. Pettigrew, asthey were on their
way back to the hotel, "and I want you to gowith me.""I shall be glad to accompany you
anywhere, Mr. Pettigrew.""You remember I told you of the old minister whose church
Iattended as a boy. He has never received but four hundreddollars a year, yet he has
managed to rear a family, but hasbeen obliged to use the strictest economy.""Yes, I
remember.""I am going to call on him, and I shall take the opportunity tomake him a
handsome present. It will surprise him, and I thinkit will be the first present of any size that
he has received inhis pastorate of over forty years."There he lives!" continued Jefferson,
pointing out a verymodest cottage on the left hand side of the road.It needed painting
badly, but it looked quite as well as theminister who came to the door in a ragged dressing
gown. He wasvenerable looking, for his hair was quite white, though he wasonly sixty five
years old. But worldly cares which had comeupon him from the difficulty of getting along on
his scantysalary had whitened his hair and deepened the wrinkles on hiskindly face."I am
glad to see you, Jefferson," he said, his face lighting upwith pleasure. "I heard you were in
town and I hoped youwouldn't fail to call upon me.""I was sure to call, for you were always a
good friend to me aswell as many others.""I always looked upon you as one of my boys,
Jefferson. I hearthat you have been doing well.""Yes, Mr. Canfield. I have done better
than I have let people know.""Have you been to see your uncle? Poor man, he is in
trouble.""He is no longer in trouble. The mortgage is paid off, and asfar as Squire Sheldon
is concerned he is independent.""Indeed, that is good news," said the old minister
withbeaming face. "You must surely have done well if you couldfurnish money enough to
clear the farm. It was over a thousanddollars, wasn't it?""Yes, thirteen hundred. My young
friend, Rodney Ropes, andmyself managed it between us.""I am glad to see you, Mr.
Ropes. Come in both of you. Mrs. Canfield will be glad to welcome you."They followed
him into the sitting room, the floor of which wascovered by an old and faded carpet. The
furniture was of theplainest description. But it looked pleasant and homelike, andthe papers
and books that were scattered about made it moreattractive to a visitor than many showy
city drawing rooms."And how are all your children, Mr. Canfield?" asked Jefferson."Maria is
married to a worthy young man in the next town. Benjamin is employed in a book store,
and Austin wants togo to college, but I don't see any way to send him, poor boy!"and the
minister sighed softly."Does it cost much to keep a boy in college?""Not so much as might
be supposed. There are beneficiary fundsfor deserving students, and then there is
teaching to eke out apoor young man's income, so that I don't think it would costover a
hundred and fifty dollars a year.""That isn't a large sum.""Not in itelf, but you know, Jefferson,
my salary is only fourhundred dollars a year. It would take nearly half my income, soI think
Austin will have to give up his hopes of going tocollege and follow in his brother's
steps.""How old is Austin now?""He is eighteen.""Is he ready for college?""Yes, he could
enter at the next commencement but for thefinancial problem.""I never had any taste for
college, or study, as you know,Mr. Canfield. It is different with my friend Rodney, who isa
Latin and Greek scholar."The minister regarded Rodney with new interest."Do you think of
going to college, Mr. Ropes?" he asked."Not at present. I am going back to Montana with
Mr. Pettigrew. Perhaps he and I will both go to college next year.""Excuse me," said
Jefferson Pettigrew. "Latin and Greek ain'tin my line. I should make a good deal better
miner than minister.""It is not desirable that all should become ministers or go tocollege,"
said Mr. Canfield. "I suspect from what I know ofyou, Jefferson, that you judge yourself
correctly. How longshall you stay in Burton?""I expect to go away tomorrow.""Your visit is
a brief one.""Yes, I intended to stay longer, but I begin to be homesickafter the West.""Do
you expect to make your permanent home there?""I can't tell as to that. For the present I
can do better therethan here."The conversation lasted for some time. Then Jefferson
Pettigrewrose to go."Won't you call again, Jefferson?" asked the minister hospitably."I shall
not have time, but before I go I want to make you asmall present" and he put into the hands
of the astonishedminister four fifty dollar bills."Two hundred dollars!" ejaculated the minister.
"Why, I heardyou only brought home a few hundred.""I prefer to leave that impression. To
you I will say that I amworth a great deal more than that.""But you mustn't give me so much.
I am sure you are toogenerous for your own interest. Why, it's munificent, princely.""Don't
be troubled about me. I can spare it. Send your boy tocollege, and next year I will send
you another sum equally large.""How can I thank you, Jefferson?" said Mr. Canfield, the
tearscoming into his eyes. "Never in forty years have I had such a gift.""Not even from
Squire Sheldon?""The squire is not in the habit of bestowing gifts, but he paysa large
parish tax. May I--am I at liberty to say from whom Ireceived this liberal donation?""Please
don't! You can say that you have had a gift from a friend.""You have made me very
happy, Jefferson. Your own consciencewill reward you."Jefferson Pettigrew changed the
subject, for it embarrassed himto be thanked."That pays me for hard work and privation," he
said to Rodney asthey walked back to the tavern. "After all there is a greatpleasure in
making others happy.""Squire Sheldon hadn't found that out.""And he never will."On the
way they met the gentleman of whom they had been speaking. He bowed stiffly, for he
could not feel cordial to those whom hadsnatched from him the house for which he had been
scheming so long."Squire Sheldon," said Jefferson, "you were kind enough toinvite
Rodney and myself to supper some evening. I am sorry tosay that we must decline, as
we leave Burton tomorrow.""Use your own pleasure, Mr. Pettigrew," said the squire
coldly."It doesn't seem to disappoint the squire very much," remarkedJefferson, laughing,
when the great man of the village hadpassed on."It certainly is no disappointment to
me.""Nor to me. The little time I have left I can use morepleasantly than in going to see the
squire. I have promised tosupper at my uncle's tonight--that is, I have promised for bothof
us."Returning to New York, Jefferson and Rodney set about gettingready for their Western
journey. Rodney gave some of hiswardrobe to Mike Flynn, and bought some plain suits
suitable forhis new home.While walking on Broadway the day before the one fixed for
hisdeparture he fell in with Jasper Redwood."Have you got a place yet Ropes?" asked
Jasper."I am not looking for any.""How is that?" asked Jasper in some surprise."I am going
to leave the city.""That is a good idea. All cannot succeed in the city. You mayfind a chance
to work on a farm in the country.""I didn't say I was going to the country.""Where are you
going, then?""To Montana.""Isn't that a good way off?""Yes.""What are you going to do
there?""I may go to mining.""But how can you afford to go so far?""Really, Jasper, you
show considerable curiosity aboutmy affairs. I have money enough to buy my ticket, andI
think I can find work when I get out there.""It seems to me a crazy idea.""It might be--for
you.""And why for me?" asked Jasper suspiciously."Because you might not be willing to
rough it as I am preparedto do.""I guess you are right. I have always been used to living
likea gentleman.""I hope you will always be able to do so. Now I must bid yougood by,
as I am busy getting ready for my journey."Jasper looked after Rodney, not without
perplexity."I can't make out that boy," he said. "So he is going to be acommon miner!
Well, that may suit him, but it wouldn't suit me. There is no chance now of his interfering with
me, so I am gladhe is going to leave the city."CHAPTER XXIX.A MINING TOWN IN
MONTANA.The scene changes.Three weeks later among the miners who were sitting on
thenarrow veranda of the "Miners' Rest" in Oreville in Montana werecognize two familiar
faces and figures--those of JeffersonPettigrew and Rodney Ropes. Both were roughly
clad, and ifJasper could have seen Rodney he would have turned up his nosein scorn, for
Rodney had all the look of a common miner.It was in Oreville that Mr. Pettigrew had a
valuable miningproperty, on which he employed quite a number of men whopreferred
certain wages to a compensation depending on thefluctuations of fortune. Rodney was
among those employed, butalthough he was well paid he could not get to like the work. Of
this, however, he said nothing to Mr. Pettigrew whose companyhe enjoyed, and whom he
held in high esteem.On the evening in question Jefferson rose from his seat andsigned to
Rodney to follow him."Well, Rodney, how do you like Montana?" he asked."Well enough
to be glad I came here," answered Rodney."Still you are not partial to the work of a miner!""I
can think of other things I would prefer to do.""How would you like keeping a hotel?""Is there
any hotel in search of a manager?" asked Rodney smiling."I will explain. Yesterday I
bought the `Miners' Rest.'""What--the hotel where we board?""Exactly. I found that Mr.
Bailey, who has made a comfortablesum of money, wants to leave Montana and go East
and I boughtthe hotel.""So that hereafter I shall board with you?""Not exactly. I propose to
put you in charge, and pay youa salary. I can oversee, and give you instructions. How
willthat suit you?""So you think I am competent, Mr. Pettigrew?""Yes, I think so. There is a
good man cook, and two waiters. The cook will also order supplies and act as steward
under you.""What then will be my duties?""You will act as clerk and cashier, and pay the
bills. You willhave to look after all the details of management. If there isanything you don't
understand you will have me to back you up,and advise you. What do you say?""That I
shall like it much better than mining. My only doubt isas to whether I shall suit you.""It is true
that it takes a smart man to run a hotel, but Ithink we can do it between us. Now what will
you consider afair salary?""I leave that to you, Mr. Pettigrew.""Then we will call it a hundred
and fifty dollars a month and board.""But, Mr. Pettigrew," said Rodney in surprise, "how can
Ipossibly earn that much?""You know we charge big prices, and have about fifty steady
boarders. I expect to make considerable money after deducting all theexpenses of
management.""My friend Jasper would be very much surprised if he could knowthe salary I
am to receive. In the store I was only paid sevendollars a week.""The duties were different.
Almost any boy could discharge theduties of an entry clerk while it takes peculiar qualities
torun a hotel.""I was certainly very fortunate to fall in with you, Mr. Pettigrew.""I expect it will
turn out fortunate for me too, Rodney.""When do you want me to start in?""Next Monday
morning. It is now Thursday evening. Mr. Baileywill turn over the hotel to me on Saturday
night. You needn't goto the mines tomorrow, but may remain in the hotel, and he willinstruct
you in the details of management.""That will be quite a help to me, and I am at present
quiteignorant on the subject."Rodney looked forward with pleasure to his new employment.
He had good executive talent, though thus far he had had nooccasion to exercise it. It was
with unusual interest that heset about qualifying himself for his new position."Young man,"
said the veteran landlord, "I think you'll do. I thought at first that Jefferson was foolish to put a
young boyin my place, but you've got a head on your shoulders, you have! I guess you'll
fill the bill.""I hope to do so, Mr. Bailey.""Jefferson tells me that you understand Latin and
Greek?""I know something of them.""Thats what prejudiced me against you. I hired a
college boyonce as a clerk and he was the worst failure I ever came across. He seemed to
have all kinds of sense except common sense. I reckon he was a smart scholar, and he
could have made outthe bills for the boarders in Latin or Greek if it had beennecessary, but
he was that soft that any one could cheat him. Things got so mixed up in the department
that I had to turn himadrift in a couple of weeks. I surmised you might be the same sortof a
chap. If you were it would be a bad lookout for Jefferson."In Oreville Mr. Pettigrew was so
well known that nearly everyonecalled him by his first name. Mr. Pettigrew did not care
about thisas he had no false pride or artificial dignity."Do you consider this hotel a good
property, Mr. Bailey?""I'll tell you this much. I started here four years ago, andI've made
fifty thousand dollars which I shall take back with meto New Hampshire.""That certainly is
satisfactory.""I shouldn't wonder if you could improve upon it.""How does it happen that
you sell out such a valuable property,Mr. Bailey? Are you tired of making money?""No,
but I must tell you that there's a girl waiting for me athome, an old schoolmate, who will
become Mrs. Bailey as soon aspossible after I get back. If she would come out here
Iwouldn't sell, but she has a mother that she wouldn't leave,and so I must go to her.""That is
a good reason, Mr. Bailey.""Besides with fifty thousand dollars I can live as well as Iwant to
in New Hampshire, and hold up my head with the best. You will follow my example some
day.""It will be a long day first, Mr. Bailey, for I am only sixteen."On Monday morning the
old landlord started for his Eastern homeand Rodney took his place. It took him some little
time tobecome familiar with all the details of hotel management, but hespared no pains to
insure success. He had some trouble at firstwith the cook who presumed upon his position
and Rodney'ssupposed ignorance to run things as he chose.Rodney complained to Mr.
Pettigrew."I think I can fix things, Rodney," he said. "There's a man workingfor me who used
to be cook in a restaurant in New York. I found outabout him quietly, for I wanted to be
prepared for emergencies. The next time Gordon act contrary and threatens to leave,tell
him he can do as he pleases. Then report to me."The next day there came another conflict
of authority."If you don't like the way I manage you can get somebody else,"said the cook
triumphantly. "Perhaps you'd like to cook thedinner yourself. You're nothing but a boy, and
I don't see whatJefferson was thinking of to put you in charge.""That is his business, Mr.
Gordon.""I advise you not to interfere with me, for I won't stand it.""Why didn't you talk in this
way to Mr. Bailey?""That's neither here nor there. He wasn't a boy for one thing.""Then you
propose to have your own way, Mr. Gordon?""Yes, I do.""Very well, then you can leave
me at the end of this week.""What!" exclaimed the cook in profound astonishment. "Are
yougoing crazy?""No, I know what I am about.""Perhaps you intend to cook yourself.""No, I
don't. That would close up the hotel.""Look here, young feller, you're gettin' too
independent! I've a great mind to leave you tonight.""You can do so if you want to," said
Rodney indifferently."Then I will!" retorted Gordon angrily, bringing down his fistupon the
table in vigorous emphasis.Oreville was fifty miles from Helena, and that was the
nearestpoint, as he supposed, where a new cook could be obtained.After supper Rodney
told Jefferson Pettigrew what had happened."Have I done right?" he asked."Yes; we can't
have any insubordination here. There can't betwo heads of one establishment. Send
Gordon to me."The cook with a defiant look answered the summons."I understand you want
to leave, Gordon," said Jefferson Pettigrew."That depends. I ain't goin' to have no boy
dictatin' to me.""Then you insist upon having your own way without interference.""Yes, I
do.""Very well, I accept your resignation. Do you wish to wait tillthe end of the week, or to
leave tonight?""I want to give it up tonight.""Very well, go to Rodney and he will pay you
what is due you.""Are you goin' to get along without a cook?" inquired Gordonin
surprise."No.""What are you going to do, then?""I shall employ Parker in your place.""What
does he know about cookin'?""He ran a restaurant in New York for five years, the first partof
the time having charge of the cooking. We shan't suffer evenif you do leave us.""I think I will
stay," said Gordon in a submissive tone."It is too late. You have discharged yourself. You
can't stayhere on any terms."Gordon left Oreville the next day a sorely disappointed
man,for he had received more liberal pay than he was likely tocommand elsewhere. The
young landlord had triumphed.CHAPTER XXX.THE MYSTERIOUS ROBBERY.At the
end of a month Jefferson Pettigrew said: "I've beenlooking over the books, Rodney, and I
find the business isbetter than I expected. How much did I agree to pay you?""A hundred
and fifty dollars a month, but if you think that itis too much----""Too much? Why I am going
to advance you to two hundred and fifty.""You can't be in earnest, Mr. Pettigrew?""I am
entirely so.""That is at the rate of three thousand dollars a year!""Yes, but you are earning
it.""You know I am only a boy.""That doesn't make any difference as long as you
understandyour business.""I am very grateful to you, Mr. Pettigrew. My, I can save
twohundred dollars a month.""Do so, and I will find you a paying investment for the
money.""What would Jasper say to my luck?" thought Rodney.Three months passed
without any incident worth recording. One afternoon a tall man wearing a high hat and a
Prince Albertcoat with a paste diamond of large size in his shirt bosom enteredthe public
room of the Miners' Rest and walking up to the barprepared to register his name. As he
stood with his pen in hishand Rodney recognized him not without amazement.It was Louis
Wheeler--the railroad thief, whom he had last seenin New York.As for Wheeler he had not
taken any notice of the young clerk,not suspecting that it was an old acquaintance who was
familiarwith his real character."Have you just arrived in Montana, Mr. Wheeler?" asked
Rodney quietly.As Rodney had not had an opportunity to examine his signature inthe
register Wheeler looked up in quiet surprise."Do you know me?" he asked."Yes; don't you
know me?""I'll be blowed if it isn't the kid," ejaculated Wheeler."As I run this hotel, I don't
care to be called a kid.""All right Mr.----""Ropes.""Mr. Ropes, you are the most
extraordinary boy I ever met.""Am I?""Who would have thought of your turning up as a
Montana landlord.""I wouldn't have thought of it myself four months ago. But whatbrings
you out here?""Business," answered Wheeler in an important tone."Are you going to
become a miner?""I may buy a mine if I find one to suit me.""I am glad you seem to be
prospering.""Can you give me a good room?""Yes, but I must ask a week's advance
payment.""How much?""Twenty five dollars.""All right. Here's the money."Louis Wheeler
pulled out a well filled wallet and handed overtwo ten dollar bills and a five."Is that
satisfactory?" he asked."Quite so. You seem better provided with money than when I
sawyou last.""True. I was then in temporary difficulty. But I made a goodturn in stocks and I
am on my feet again."Rodney did not believe a word of this, but as long as Wheelerwas
able to pay his board he had no good excuse for refusinghim accommodation."That rascal
here!" exclaimed Jefferson, when Rodney informedhim of Wheeler's arrival. "Well, thats
beat all! What hasbrought him out here?""Business, he says.""It may be the same kind of
business that he had with me. He will bear watching.""I agree with you, Mr. Pettigrew."Louis
Wheeler laid himself out to be social and agreeable, andmade himself quite popular with
the other boarders at the hotel. As Jefferson and Rodney said nothing about him, he was
taken athis own valuation, and it was reported that he was a heavycapitalist from Chicago
who had come to Montana to buy a mine. This theory received confirmation both from his
speech and actions.On the following day he went about in Oreville and examinedthe
mines. He expressed his opinion freely in regard to what hesaw, and priced one that was
for sale at fifty thousand dollars."I like this mine," he said, "but I don't know enough about itto
make an offer. If it comes up to my expectations I will try it.""He must have been robbing a
bank," observed Jefferson Pettigrew.Nothing could exceed the cool assurance with which
Wheelergreeted Jefferson and recalled their meeting in New York."You misjudged me
then, Mr. Pettigrew," he said. "I believeupon my soul you looked upon me as an
adventurer--a confidence man.""You are not far from the truth, Mr. Wheeler,"
answeredJefferson bluntly."Well, I forgive you. Our acquaintance was brief and you
judgedfrom superficial impressions.""Perhaps so, Mr. Wheeler. Have you ever been
West before?""No.""When you came to Oreville had you any idea that I was here?""No; if I
had probably I should not have struck the town, as Iknew that you didn't have a favorable
opinion of me.""I can't make out much of that fellow, Rodney," said Jefferson."I can't
understand his object in coming here.""He says he wants to buy a mine.""That's all a
pretext. He hasn't money enough to buy a mine ora tenth part of it.""He seems to have
money.""Yes; he may have a few hundred dollars, but mark my words, hehasn't the
slightest intention of buying a mine.""He has some object in view.""No doubt! What it is is
what I want to find out."There was another way in which Louis Wheeler made
himselfpopular among the miners of Oreville. He had a violin with him,and in the evening
he seated himself on the veranda and playedpopular tunes.He had only a smattering in the
way of musical training, but theairs he played took better than classical music would have
done. Even Jefferson Pettigrew enjoyed listening to "Home, Sweet Home"and "The Last
Rose of Summer," while the miners were captivatedby merry dance tunes, which served to
enliven them after a longday's work at the mines.One day there was a sensation. A man
named John O'Donnell camedown stairs from his room looking pale and agitated."Boys,"
he said, "I have been robbed."Instantly all eyes were turned upon him."Of what have you
been robbed, O'Donnell?" asked Jefferson."Of two hundred dollars in gold. I was going to
send it home tomy wife in Connecticut next week.""When did you miss it?""Just
now.""Where did you keep it?""In a box under my bed.""When do you think it was
taken?""Last night.""What makes you think so?""I am a sound sleeper, and last night you
know was very dark. I awoke with a start, and seemed to hear footsteps. I lookedtowards
the door, and saw a form gliding from the room.""Why didn't you jump out of bed and seize
the intruder whoeverhe was?""Because I was not sure but it was all a dream. I think now
itwas some thief who had just robbed me.""I think so too. Could you make out anything of
his appearance?""I could only see the outlines of his figure. He was atall man. He must
have taken the money from under my bed.""Did any one know that you had money
concealed there?""I don't think I ever mentioned it.""It seems we have a thief among us,"
said Jefferson, and almostunconsciously his glance rested on Louis Wheeler who was
seatednear John O'Donnell, "what do you think, Mr. Wheeler?""I think you are right, Mr.
Pettigrew.""Have you any suggestion to make?" asked Jefferson. "Have youby chance
lost anything?""Not that I am aware of.""Is there any one else here who has been
robbed?"No one spoke."You asked me if I had any suggestions to make, Mr.
Pettigrew,"said Louis Wheeler after a pause. "I have."Our worthy friend Mr. O'Donnell has
met with a serious loss. I move that we who are his friends make it up to him. Here ismy
contribution," and he laid a five dollar bill on the table.It was a happy suggestion and
proved popular. Every one presentcame forward, and tendered his contributions
includingJefferson, who put down twenty five dollars.Mr. Wheeler gathered up the notes
and gold and sweeping them tohis hat went forward and tendered them to John
O'Donnell."Take this money, Mr. O'Donnell," he said. "It is the free willoffering of your
friends. I am sure I may say for them, as formyself, that it gives us all pleasure to help a
comrade in trouble."Louis Wheeler could have done nothing that would have so liftedhim in
the estimation of the miners."And now," he said, "as our friend is out of his trouble I willplay
you a few tunes on my violin, and will end the day happily.""I can't make out that fellow,
Rodney," said Jefferson when theywere alone. "I believe he is the thief, but he has an
immenseamount of nerve."CHAPTER XXXI.MR. WHEELER EXPLAINS.Probably there
was no one at the hotel who suspected LouisWheeler of being a thief except Rodney and
Mr. Pettigrew. His action in starting a contribution for John O'Donnell helpedto make him
popular. He was establishing a reputation quite newto him, and it was this fact probably
that made him less prudentthan he would otherwise have been.As the loss had been
made up, the boarders at the Miners' Restceased to talk of it. But Jefferson and his young
assistant didnot forget it."I am sure Wheeler is the thief, but I don't know how to bringit home
to him," said Jefferson one day, when alone with Rodney."You might search him.""Yes, but
what good would that do? It might be found that hehad money, but one gold coin is like
another and it would beimpossible to identify it as the stolen property. If O'Donnellhad lost
anything else except money it would be different. I wish he would come to my
chamber.""Perhaps he would if he thought you were a sound sleeper.""That is an idea. I
think I can make use of it.".That evening when Wheeler was present Mr. Pettigrew
managed toturn the conversation to the subject of sleeping."I am a very sound sleeper," he
said. "I remember when I was athome sleeping many a time through a severe thunder
storm.""Don't you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night?"asked Rodney."Very
seldom, if I am in good health.""Its different with me," said another of the company. "A step
onthe floor or the opening of the door will wake me up at any time.""I am glad I am not so
easily roused.""If I had a fish horn," said Rodney, laughing, "I should be temptedto come up
in the night and give it a blast before your door.""That might wake me up," said Mr.
Pettigrew. "I wouldn't advise youto try it or the other boarders might get up an indignation
meeting."The same evening Jefferson Pettigrew took out a bag of gold andcarelessly
displayed it."Are you not afraid of being robbed, Mr. Pettigrew?" asked Rodney."Oh no. I
never was robbed in my life.""How much money have you there?""I don't know exactly.
Perhaps six hundred dollars," saidPettigrew in an indifferent tone.Among those who
listened to this conversation with interest wasLouis Wheeler. Rodney did not fail to see the
covetous gleam ofhis eyes when the gold was displayed.The fact was, that Wheeler was
getting short of cash and at thetime he took John O'Donnell's money--for he was the thief--
hehad but about twenty dollars left, and of this he contributedfive to the relief of the man he
had robbed.His theft realized him two hundred dollars, but this wouldnot last him long, as
the expenses of living at the Miners' Restwere considerable. He was getting tired of
Oreville, but wantedto secure some additional money before he left it. The problemwas
whom to make his second victim.It would not have occurred to him to rob Jefferson
Pettigrew, ofwhom he stood in wholesome fear, but for the admission that hewas an
unusually sound sleeper; even then he would have feltuncertain whether it would pay. But
the display of the bag ofmoney, and the statement that it contained six hundred dollarsin
gold proved a tempting bait."If I can capture that bag of gold," thought Wheeler, "I
shallhave enough money to set me up in some new place. There won'tbe much risk about
it, for Pettigrew sleeps like a top. I willventure it."Jefferson Pettigrew's chamber was on the
same floor as his own. It was the third room from No. 17 which Mr. Wheeler occupied.As a
general thing the occupants of the Miners' Rest went tobed early. Mining is a fatiguing
business, and those who followit have little difficulty in dropping off to sleep. The
onlypersons who were not engaged in this business were Louis Wheelerand Rodney
Ropes. As a rule the hotel was closed at half pastten and before this all were in bed and
sleeping soundly.When Wheeler went to bed he said to himself, "This will probablybe my
last night in this tavern. I will go from here to Helena,and if things turn out right I may be able
to make my staythere profitable. I shan't dare to stay here long after relievingPettigrew of
his bag of gold."Unlike Jefferson Pettigrew, Wheeler was a light sleeper. He haddone
nothing to induce fatigue, and had no difficulty in keepingawake till half past eleven. Then
lighting a candle, heexamined his watch, and ascertained the time."It will be safe enough
now," he said to himself.He rose from his bed, and drew on his trousers. Then in
hisstocking feet he walked along the corridor till he stood infront of Jefferson Pettigrew's
door. He was in doubt as towhether he would not be obliged to pick the lock, but on
tryingthe door he found that it was not fastened. He opened it andstood within the
chamber.Cautiously he glanced at the bed. Mr. Pettigrew appeared to besleeping
soundly."It's all right" thought Louis Wheeler. "Now where is the bagof gold?"It was not in
open view, but a little search showed that theowner had put it under the bed."He isn't very
sharp," thought Wheeler. "He is playing rightinto my hands. Door unlocked, and bag of
gold under the bed. He certainly is a very unsuspicious man. However, that is allthe better
for me. Really there isn't much credit in stealingwhere all is made easy for you."There
seemed to be nothing to do but to take the gold from itsplace of deposit and carry it back to
his own room. While therewere a good many lodgers in the hotel, there seemed to be
littlerisk about this, as every one was asleep.Of course should the bag be found in his room
that would betrayhim, but Mr. Wheeler proposed to empty the gold coins into hisgripsack,
and throw the bag out of the window into the back yard."Well, here goes!" said Wheeler
cheerfully, as he lifted thebag, and prepared to leave the chamber. But at this
criticalmoment an unexpected sound struck terror into his soul. It wasthe sound of a key
being turned in the lock.Nervously Wheeler hastened to the door and tried it. It wouldnot
open. Evidently it had been locked from the outside. What could it mean?At the same time
there was a series of knocks on the outsideof the door. It was the signal that had been
agreed uponbetween Mr. Pettigrew and Rodney. Jefferson had given his keyto Rodney,
who had remained up and on the watch for Mr.Wheeler's expected visit. He, too, was in
his stocking feet.As soon as he saw Wheeler enter his friend's chamber he stole upand
locked the door on the outide. Then when he heard the thieftrying to open the door he
rained a shower of knocks on the panel.Instantly Jefferson Pettigrew sprang out of bed and
proceededto act."What are you doing here?" he demanded, seizing Wheeler in
hispowerful grasp."Where am I?" asked Wheeler in a tone of apparent bewilderment."Oh,
it's you, Mr. Wheeler?" said Jefferson. "Don't you knowwhere you are?""Oh, it is my friend,
Mr. Pettigrew. Is it possible I am inyour room?""It is very possible. Now tell me why you
are here?""I am really ashamed to find myself in this strange position. It is not the first time
that I have got into trouble fromwalking in my sleep.""Oh, you were walking in your
sleep!""Yes, friend Petttigrew. It has been a habit of mine since Iwas a boy. But it seems
very strange that I should have beenled to your room. How could I get in? Wasn't the
door locked?""It is locked now?""It is strange! I don't understand it," said Wheeler, passing
hishand over his forehead."Perhaps you understand why you have that bag of gold in your
hand.""Can it be possible?" ejaculated Wheeler in wellcounterfeited surprise. "I don't know
how to account for it.""I think I can. Rodney, unlock the door and come in."The key was
turned in the lock, and Rodney entered with alighted candle in his hand."You see, Rodney,
that I have a late visitor. You will noticealso that my bag of gold seems to have had an
attraction for him.""I am ashamed. I don't really know how to explain it except inthis way.
When you displayed the gold last night it drew myattention and I must have dreamed of it.
It was this which drewme unconsciously to your door. It is certainly an interestingfact in
mental science.""It would have been a still more interesting fact if you hadcarried off the
gold.""I might even have done that in my unconsciousness, but ofcourse I should have
discovered it tomorrow morning and wouldhave returned it to you.""I don't feel by any
means sure of that. Look here, Mr.Wheeler, if that is your name, you can't pull the wool
overmy eyes. You are a thief, neither more nor less.""How can you misjudge me so, Mr.
Pettigrew?""Because I know something of your past history. It is clear tome now that you
were the person that stole John O'Donnell's money.""Indeed, Mr. Pettigrew.""It is useless
to protest. How much of it have you left?"Louis Wheeler was compelled to acknowledge
the theft, andreturned one hundred dollars to Jefferson Pettigrew."Now," said Jefferson, "I
advise you to leave the hotel at once. If the boys find out that you are a thief you will stand
achance of being lynched. Get out!"The next morning Jefferson Pettigrew told the other
boarders thatLouis Wheeler had had a sudden call East, and it was not for aweek that he
revealed to them the real reason of Wheeler's departure.CHAPTER XXXII.RODNEY
FALLS INTO A TRAP.Rodney had reason to be satisfied with his position as landlordof
the Miners' Rest. His pay was large, and enabled him to putaway a good sum every
month, but his hours were long and he wastoo closely confined for a boy of his age. At the
end of threemonths he showed this in his appearance. His good friendPettigrew saw it and
said one day, "Rodney, you are lookingfagged out. You need a change.""Does that mean
that you are going to discharge me?" askedRodney, with a smile."It means that I am going
to give you a vacation.""But what can I do if I take a vacation? I should not likelounging
around Oreville with nothing to do.""Such a vacation would do you no good. I'll tell you the
planI have for you. I own a small mine in Babcock, about fiftymiles north of Oreville. I will
send you up to examine it, andmake a report to me. Can you ride on
horseback?""Yes.""That is well, for you will have to make your trip in that way. There are no
railroads in that direction, nor any other way oftravel except on foot or on horseback. A long
ride like thatwith hours daily in the open air, will do you good.What do you say to it?""I
should like nothing better," replied Rodney, with hiseyes sparkling. "Only, how will you get
along without me?""I have a man in my employ at the mines who will do part of yourwork,
and I will have a general oversight of things. So youneed not borrow any trouble on that
account. Do you think youcan find your way?""Give me the general direction, and I will
guarantee to do so. When shall I start?""Day after tomorrow. That will give me one day for
making arrangements."At nine the appointed morning Mr. Pettigrew's own horse
stoodsaddled at the door, and Rodney in traveling costume with asmall satchel in his hand,
mounted and rode away, waving asmiling farewell to his friend and employer.Rodney did
not hurry, and so consumed two days and a half inreaching Babcock. Here he was cordially
received by thesuperintendent whom Jefferson Pettigrew had placed in charge ofthe mine.
Every facility was afforded him to examine into themanagement of things and he found all
satisfactory.This part of his journey, therefore, may be passed over. But his return trip was
destined to be more exciting.Riding at an easy jog Rodney had got within fifteen miles
ofOreville, when there was an unexpected interruption. Two menstarted out from the
roadside, or rather from one side of thebridle path for there was no road, and advanced to
meet him withdrawn revolvers."Halt there!" one of them exclaimed in a commanding
tone.Rodney drew bridle, and gazed at the two men in surprise."What do you want of
me?" he asked."Dismount instantly!""Why should I? What right have you to interfere with
myjourney?""Might gives right," said one of the men sententiously. "It willbe best for you
to do as we bid you without too much back talk.""What are you--highwaymen?" asked
Rodney."You'd better not talk too much. Get off that horse!"Rodney saw that remonstrance
was useless, and obeyed the order.One of the men seized the horse by the bridle, and
led him."Walk in front!" he said."Where are you going to take me?" asked Rodney."You will
know in due time.""I hope you will let me go," urged Rodney, beginning to be uneasy. "I
am expected home this evening, or at all event I want to get there.""No doubt you do, but
the Miners' Rest will have to get alongwithout you for a while.""Do you know me
then?""Yes; you are the boy clerk at the Miners' Rest.""You both put up there about two
weeks since," said Rodney,examining closely the faces of the two men."Right you are,
kid!""What can you possibly want of me?""Don't be too curious. You will know in good
time."Rodney remembered that the two men had remained at the hotel fora day and night.
They spent the day in wandering around Oreville.He had supposed when they came that
they were in search ofemployment, but they had not applied for work and only
seemedactuated by curiosity. What could be their object in stoppinghim now he could not
understand.It would have been natural to suppose they wanted money, butthey had not
asked for any as yet. He had about fifty dollarsin his pocketbook and he would gladly have
given them this if itwould have insured his release. But not a word had been saidabout
money.They kept on their journey. Montana is a mountainous State, andthey were now in
the hilly regions. They kept on for perhapshalf an hour, gradually getting upon higher
ground, until theyreached a precipitous hill composed largely of rock.Here the two men
stopped as if they had reached their journey's end.One of them advanced to the side of the
hill and unlockeda thick wooden door which at first had failed to attractRodney's attention.
The door swung open, revealing a dark passage,cut partly through stone and partly through
earth. Inside on thefloor was a bell of good size.One of the men lifted the bell and rang it
loudly."What does that mean?" thought Rodney, who felt more curiousthan
apprehensive.He soon learned.A curious looking negro, stunted in growth, for he was no
tallerthan a boy of ten, came out from the interior and stood at theentrance of the cave, if
such it was. His face was large andhideous, there was a hump on his back, and his legs
were not amatch, one being shorter than the other, so that as he walked,his motion was a
curious one. He bent a scrutinizing glanceon Rodney."Well, Caesar, is dinner ready?"
asked one of the men."No, massa, not yet.""Let it be ready then as soon as possible. But
first leadthe way. We are coming in."He started ahead, leading the horse, for the entrance
was highenough to admit the passage of the animal."Push on!" said the other, signing to
Rodney to precede him.Rodney did so, knowing remonstrance to be useless. His curiosity
was excited. He wondered how long thepassage was and whither it led.The way was
dark, but here and there in niches was a kerosenelamp that faintly relieved the otherwise
intense blackness."I have read about such places," thought Rodney, "but I neverexpected
to get into one. The wonder is, that they should bringme here. I can't understand their
object."Rodney followed his guide for perhaps two hundred and fifty feetwhen they
emerged into a large chamber of irregular shape,lighted by four large lamps set on a square
wooden table. There were two rude cots in one corner, and it was here apparentlythat his
guides made their home.There was a large cooking stove in one part of the room, and
anappetizing odor showed that Caesar had the dinner under way.Rodney looked about
him in curiosity. He could not decidewhether the cave was natural or artificial. Probably it
was anatural cave which had been enlarged by the hand of man."Now hurry up the dinner,
Caesar," said one of the guides. "We are all hungry.""Yes, massa," responded the
obedient black.Rodney felt hungry also, and hoped that he would have a share ofthe
dinner. Later he trusted to find out the object of his newacquaintances in kidnaping
him.Dinner was soon ready. It was simple, but Rodney thoroughlyenjoyed it.During the
meal silence prevailed. After it his newacquaintances produced pipes and began to
smoke. They offeredRodney a cigarette, but he declined it."I don't smoke," he said."Are
you a Sunday school kid?" asked one in a sneering tone."Well, perhaps so.""How long
have you lived at Oreville?""About four months.""Who is the head of the settlement
there?""Jefferson Pettigrew.""He is the moneyed man, is he?""Yes.""Is he a friend of
yours?""He is my best friend," answered Rodney warmly."He thinks a good deal of you,
then?""I think he does.""Where have you been--on a journey?""Yes, to the town of
Babcock.""Did he send you?""Yes.""What interest has he there?""He is chief owner of a
mine there.""Humph! I suppose you would like to know why we brought you here.""I
would very much.""We propose to hold you for ransom.""But why should you? I am only
a poor boy.""You are the friend of Jefferson Pettigrew. He is a rich man. If he wants you
back he must pay a round sum."It was all out now! These men were emulating a class of
outlawsto be found in large numbers in Italy and Sicily, and weretrading upon human
sympathy and levying a tax upon human friendship.CHAPTER
XXXIII.UNDERGROUND.Rodney realized his position. The alternative was not apleasant
one. Either he must remain in the power of these men,or cost his friend Mr. Pettigrew a
large sum as ransom. There waslittle hope of changing the determination of his captors, but
heresolved to try what he could do."Mr. Pettigrew is under no obligations to pay money out
for me,"he said. "I am not related to him, and have not yet known himsix months.""That
makes no difference. You are his friend, and he likes you.""That is the very reason why I
should not wish him to lose moneyon my account.""Oh, very well! It will be bad for you is
he doesn't come toyour help.""Why? What do you propose to do to me?" asked
Rodney boldly."Better not ask!" was the significant reply."But I want to know. I want to
realize my position.""The least that will happen to you is imprisonment in this cavefor a term
of years.""I don't think I should like it but you would get tired ofstanding guard over me.""We
might, and in that case there is the other thing.""What other thing?""If we get tired of keeping
you here, we shall make short workwith you.""Would you murder me?" asked Rodney,
horror struck, as he mightwell be, for death seems terrible to a boy just on the thresholdof
life."We might be obliged to do so."Rodney looked in the faces of his captors, and he saw
nothing toencourage him. They looked like desperate men, who would stickat nothing to
carry out their designs."I don't see why you should get hold of me," he said. "If youhad
captured Mr. Pettigrew himself you would stand a betterchance of making it pay.""There is
no chance of capturing Pettigrew. If there were we wouldprefer him to you. A bird in the
hand is worth two in the bush.""How much ransom do you propose to ask?"This Rodney
said, thinking that if it were a thousand dollars hemight be able to make it good to his friend
Jefferson. But hewas destined to be disappointed."Five thousand dollars," answered the
chief speaker."Five thousand dollars!" ejaculated Rodney in dismay. "Five thousand dollars
for a boy like me!""That is the sum we want.""If it were one thousand I think you might get
it.""One thousand!" repeated the other scornfully. "That wouldn'thalf pay us.""Then
suppose you call it two thousand?""It won't do.""Then I suppose I must make up my mind
to remain a prisoner.""Five thousand dollars wouldn't be much to a rich manlike Pettigrew.
We have inquired, and found out that he isworth at least a hundred thousand dollars. Five
thousand isonly a twentieth part of this sum.""You can do as you please, but you had better
ask a reasonableamount if you expect to get it.""We don't want advice. We shall manage
things in our own way."Convinced that further discussion would be unavailing,
Rodneyrelapsed into silence, but now his captors proceeded to unfoldtheir plans.One of
them procured a bottle of ink, some paper and a pen, andset them on the table."Come up
here, boy, and write to Mr. Pettigrew," he said in atone of authority."What shall I write?""Tell
him that you are a prisoner, and that you will not bereleased unless he pays five thousand
dollars.""I don't want to write that. It will be the same as asking himto pay it for me.""That is
what we mean him to understand.""I won't write it."Rodney knew his danger, but he looked
resolutely into the eyesof the men who held his life in their hands. His voice did notwaver,
for he was a manly and courageous boy."The boy's got grit!" said one of the men to the
other."Yes, but it won't save him. Boy, are you going to write whatI told you?""No.""Are
you not afraid that we will kill you?""You have power to do it.""Don't you want to live?""Yes.
Life is sweet to a boy of sixteen.""Then why don't you write?""Because I think it would be
taking a mean advantage of Mr. Pettigrew.""You are a fool. Roderick, what shall we do with
him?""Tell him simply to write that he is in our hands.""Well thought of. Boy, will you do
that?""Yes."Rodney gave his consent for he was anxious that Mr. Pettigrewshould know
what had prevented him from coming home when hewas expected."Very well, write! You
will know what to say."Rodney drew the paper to him, and wrote as follows:DEAR MR.
PETTIGREW,On my way home I was stopped by two men who have confined me ina
cave, and won't let me go unless a sum of money is paid formy ransom. I don't know what
to do. You will know better than I. RODNEY ROPES.His chief
captor took the note and read it aloud."That will do," he said. "Now he will believe us when
we saythat you are in our hands."He signed to Rodney to rise from the table and took his
place. Drawing a pile of paper to him, he penned the following note:Rodney Ropes is in
our hands. He wants his liberty and wewant money. Send us five thousand dollars, or
arrange ameeting at which it can be delivered to us, and he shallgo free. Otherwise his
death be on your hands. HIS CAPTORS.Rodney noticed that this
missive was written in a handsomebusiness hand."You write a handsome hand," he said."I
ought to," was the reply. "I was once bookkeeper in a largebusiness house.""And what--"
here Rodney hesitated."What made me an outlaw you mean to ask?""Yes.""My nature, I
suppose. I wasn't cut out for sober, humdrum life.""Don't you think you would have been
happier?""No preaching, kid! I had enough of that when I used to go tochurch in my old
home in Missouri. Here, Caesar!""Yes, massa.""You know Oreville?""Yes, massa.""Go
over there and take this letter with you. Ask for JeffersonPettigrew, and mind you don't tell
him where we live. Only ifhe asks about me and my pal say we are desperate men, have
eachkilled a round dozen of fellows that stood in our way and willstick at nothing.""All right,
massa," said Caesar with an appreciative grin. "How shall I go, massa?""You can take the
kid's horse. Ride to within a mile ofOreville, then tether the horse where he won't easily be
found,and walk over to the mines. Do you understand?""Yes, massa.""He won't probably
give you any money, but he may give youa letter. Bring it safely to me."Caesar nodded
and vanished.For an hour the two men smoked their pipes and chatted. Then they rose,
and the elder said: "We are going out, kid,for a couple of hours. Are you afraid to stay
alone?""Why should I be?""That's the way to talk. I won't caution you not to escape, forit
would take a smarter lad then you to do it. If you are tiredyou can lie down on the bed and
rest.""All right!""I am sorry we haven't got the morning paper for you to lookover," said his
captor with a smile. "The carrier didn't leaveit this morning.""I can get along without it. I don't
feel much like reading.""You needn't feel worried. You'll be out of this tomorrow ifJefferson
Pettigrew is as much your friend as you think he is.""The only thing that troubles me is the
big price you charge atyour hotel.""Good! The kid has a good wit of his own. After all,
wewouldn't mind keeping you with us. It might pay you better thanworking for Pettigrew.""I
hope you'll excuse my saying it, but I don't like the business.""You may change your mind.
At your age we wouldn't either of uslike the sort of life we are leading. Come, John."The
two men went out but did not allow Rodney to accompany themto the place of exit.Left to
himself, Rodney could think soberly of his plight. He could not foresee whether his captivity
would be briefor prolonged.After a time the spirit of curiosity seized him. He felttempted to
explore the cavern in which he was confined. He tooka lamp, and followed in a direction
opposite to that taken byhis captors.The cave he found was divided into several irregularly
shaped chambers. He walked slowly, holding up the lamp to examine the walls ofthe
cavern. In one passage he stopped short, for somethingattracted his attention--something
the sight of which madehis heart beat quicker and filled him with excitement.CHAPTER
XXXIV.RODNEY'S DISCOVERY.There was a good reason for Rodney's excitement.
The walls ofthe subterranean passage revealed distinct and rich indicationsof gold. There
was a time, and that not long before, when theywould have revealed nothing to Rodney,
but since his residenceat Oreville he had more than once visited the mines and
madehimself familiar with surface indications of mineral deposit.He stopped short and
scanned attentively the walls of the passage."If I am not mistaken," he said to himself, "this
will make oneof the richest mines in Montana. But after all what good willit do me? Here am
I a prisoner, unable to leave the cave, orcommunicate with my friends. If Mr. Pettigrew
knew what I do hewould feel justified in paying the ransom these men want."Rodney
wondered how these rich deposits had failed to attractthe attention of his captors, but he
soon settled upon theconclusion that they had no knowledge of mines or mining, andwere
ignorant of the riches that were almost in their grasp."Shall I enlighten them?" he asked
himself.It was a question which he could not immediately answer. He resolved to be guided
by circumstances.In order not to excite suspicion he retraced his steps to theapartment
used by his captors as a common sitting room--carefullyfixing in his mind the location of the
gold ore.We must now follow the messenger who had gone to Oreville witha letter from
Rodney's captors.As instructed, he left his horse, or rather Rodney's, tetheredat some
distance from the settlement and proceeded on foot tothe Miners' Rest. His strange
appearance excited attentionand curiosity. Both these feelings would have been
magnifiedhad it been known on what errand he came."Where can I find Mr. Jefferson
Pettigrew?" he asked of a manwhom he saw on the veranda."At the Griffin Mine,"
answered the other, removing the pipe fromhis mouth."Where is that?""Over yonder. Are
you a miner?""No. I know nothing about mines.""Then why do you want to see Jefferson?
I thought you mightwant a chance to work in the mine.""No; I have other business with him--
business of importance,"added the black dwarf emphatically."If that is the case I'll take you
to him. I am always glad tobe of service to Jefferson.""Thank you. He will thank you,
too."The man walked along with a long, swinging gait which made itdifficult for Caesar to
keep up with him."So you have business with Jefferson?" said the man with thepipe,
whose curiosity had been excited."Yes.""Of what sort?""I will tell him," answered Caesar
shortly."So its private, is it?""Yes. If he wants to tell you he will.""That's fair. Well, come
along! Am I walking too fast for you?""Your legs are much longer than mine.""That's so.
You are a little shrimp. I declare."A walk of twenty minutes brought them to the Griffin Mine.
Jefferson Pettigrew was standing near, giving directions to aparty of miners."Jefferson," said
the man with the pipe, "here's a chap that wantsto see you on business of importance.
That is, he says it is."Jefferson Pettigrew wheeled round and looked at Caesar."Well," he
said, "what is it?""I have a letter for you, massa.""Give it to me."Jefferson took the letter and
cast his eye over it. As he readit his countenance changed and became stern and
severe."Do you know what is in this letter?" he asked."Yes.""Come with me."He led
Caesar to a place out of earshot."What fiend's game is this?" he demanded sternly."I can't
tell you, massa; I'm not in it.""Who are those men that have written to me?""I don't know
their right names. I calls 'em Massa John andMassa Dick.""It seems they have trapped a
boy friend of mine, Rodney Ropes. Did you see him?""Yes; I gave him a good
dinner.""That is well. If they should harm a hair of his head Iwouldn't rest till I had called them
to account. Where havethey got the boy concealed?""I couldn't tell you, massa.""You
mean, you won't tell me.""Yes. It would be as much as my life is worth.""Humph, well! I
suppose you must be faithful to your employer. Do you know that these men want me to
pay five thousand dollarsfor the return of the boy?""Yes, I heard them talking about it.""That
is a new kind of rascality. Do they expect you to bringback an answer?""Yes, massa.""I
must think. What will they do to the boy if I don't givethem the money?""They might kill
him.""If they do--but I must have time to think the matter over. Are you expected to go
back this afternoon?""Yes.""Can you get back? It must be a good distance.""I can get
back.""Stay here. I will consult some of my friends and see if I canraise the money.""Very
well, massa." One of those whom Jefferson called intoconsultation was the person who had
guided Caesar to the Griffin Mine.Quickly the proprietor of the Miners' Rest unfolded the
situation."Now," he said, "I want two of you to follow this misshapendwarf, and find out
where he comes from. I want to get hold ofthe scoundrels who sent him to me.""I will be
one," said the man with the pipe."Very well, Fred.""And I will go with Fred," said a long
limbed fellow who hadbeen a Kansas cowboy."I accept you, Otto. Go armed, and don't
lose sight of him.""Shall you send the money?""Not I. I will send a letter that will encourage
them to hopefor it. I want to gain time.""Any instructions, Jefferson?""Only this, if you see
these men, capture or kill them.""All right."CHAPTER XXXV.A BLOODY CONFLICT.This
was the letter that was handed to Caesar:I have received your note. I must have time to
think, and timeperhaps to get hold of the gold. Don't harm a hair of theboy's head. If so, I
will hunt you to death. JEFFERSON PETTIGREW.P.S.--Meet me
tomorrow morning at the rocky gorge at the foot ofBlack Mountain. Ten o'clock.Caesar took
the letter, and bent his steps in the direction ofthe place where he had tethered his horse.
He did not observethat he was followed by two men, who carefully kept him insight,
without attracting attention to themselves.When Caesar reached the place where he had
tethered the horse,he was grievously disappointed at not finding him. One of theminers in
roaming about had come upon the animal, and knowinghim to be Jefferson Pettigrew's
property, untied him and rodehim back to Oreville.The dwarf threw up his hands in
dismay."The horse is gone!" he said in his deep bass voice, "and nowI must walk back, ten
long miles, and get a flogging at the endfor losing time. It's hard luck," he groaned.The loss
was fortunate for Fred and Otto who would otherwisehave found it hard to keep up with the
dwarf.Caesar breathed a deep sigh, and then started on his wearisome journey. Had the
ground been even it would have troubled him less,but there was a steep upward grade,
and his short legswere soon weary. Not so with his pursuers, both of whom werelong
limbed and athletic.We will go back now to the cave and the captors of Rodney. They
waited long and impatiently for the return of their messenger. Having no knowledge of the
loss of the horse, they could notunderstand what detained Caesar."Do you think the rascal
has played us false?" said Roderick."He would be afraid to.""This man Pettigrew might try
to bribe him. It would be cheaperthan to pay five thousand dollars.""He wouldn't dare. He
knows what would happen to him," saidJohn grimly."Then why should he be so
long?""That I can't tell.""Suppose we go out to meet him. I begin to feel anxious lest
wehave trusted him too far.""I am with you!"The two outlaws took the path which led to
Oreville, and walkedtwo miles before they discovered Caesar coming towards them ata
slow and melancholy gait."There he is, and on foot! What does it mean?""He will tell
us.""Here now, you black imp! where is the horse?" demanded Roderick."I done lost him,
massa.""Lost him? You'll get a flogging for this, unless you bringgood news. Did you see
Jefferson Pettigrew?""Yes, massa.""Did he give you any money?""No; he gave me this
letter."Roderick snatched it from his hand, and showed it to John."It seems satisfactory," he
said. "Now how did you lose the horse?"Caesar told him."You didn't fasten him tight.""Beg
your pardon, massa, but I took good care of that.""Well, he's gone; was probably stolen.
That is unfortunate;however you may not have been to blame."Luckily for Caesar the letter
which he brought was consideredsatisfactory, and this palliated his fault in losing the
horse.The country was so uneven that the two outlaws did not observe thatthey were
followed, until they came to the entrance of the cave. Then, before opening the door, John
looked round and caughtsight of Fred and Otto eying them from a little distance.He instantly
took alarm."Look," he said, "we are followed. Look behind you!"His brother turned and
came to the same conclusion."Caesar," said Roderick, "did you ever see those men
before?""No, massa.""They must have followed you from Oreville. Hello, you two!"
headded striding towards the miners. "What do you want here?"Fred and Otto had
accomplished their object in ascertaining theplace where Rodney was confined, and no
longer cared for concealment."None of your business!" retorted Fred independently. "The
placeis as free to us as to you.""Are you spies?""I don't intend to answer any of your
questions.""Clear out of here!" commanded Roderick in a tone of authority."Suppose we
don't?"Roderick was a man of quick temper, and had never been in thehabit of curbing it.
He was provoked by the independent tone ofthe speaker, and without pausing to think of
the imprudence ofhis actions, he raised his rifle and pointing at Fred shot himin the left
arm.The two miners were both armed, and were not slow in acceptingthe challenge.
Simultaneously they raised their rifles andfired at the two men. The result was that both fell
seriouslywounded and Caesar set up a howl of dismay, not so much for hismasters as from
alarm for himself.Fred and Otto came forward, and stood looking down upon theoutlaws,
who were in the agonies of death."It was our lives or theirs," said Fred coolly, for he had
beenlong enough in Montana to become used to scenes of bloodshed."Yes," answered
Otto. "I think these two men are the notoriousDixon brothers who are credited with a large
number of murders. The country will be well rid of them."Roderick turned his glazing eyes
upon the tall miner. "I wishI had killed you," he muttered."No doubt you do. It wouldn't
have been your first murder.""Don't kill me, massa!" pleaded Caesar in tones of piteous
entreaty."I don't know," answered Fred. "That depends on yourself. If youobey us strictly
we will spare you.""Try me, massa!""You black hound!" said Roderick hoarsely. "If I were
notdisabled I'd kill you myself."Here was a new danger for poor Caesar, for he knew
Roderick'sfierce temper."Don't let him kill me!" he exclaimed, affrighted."He shall do you no
harm. Will you obey me?""Tell me what you want, massa.""Is the boy these men captured
inside?""Yes, massa.""Open the cave, then. We want him.""Don't do it," said Roderick, but
Caesar saw at a glance thathis old master, of whom he stood in wholesome fear, was
unableto harm him, and he proceeded to unlock the door."Go and call the boy!" said
Fred.Caesar disappeared within the cavern, and soon emerged withRodney following
him."Are you unhurt?" asked Fred anxiously."Yes, and overjoyed to see you. How came
you here?""We followed the nigger from Oreville."What happened afterwards Rodney did
not need to inquire, for thetwo outstretched figures, stiffening in death, revealed it to
him."They are the Dixon brothers, are they not?" asked Fred, turningto Caesar."Yes,
massa.""Then we are entitled to a thousand dollars each for their capture. I have never
before shed blood, but I don't regret ending thecareer of these scoundrels."Half an hour
later the two outlaws were dead and Rodney and hisfriends were on their way back to
Oreville.CHAPTER XXXVI.THE RODNEY MINE.Rodney was received by Jefferson
Pettigrew with open arms."Welcome home, boy!" he said. "I was very much worried about
you.""I was rather uneasy about myself," returned Rodney."Well, it's all over, and all's well
that ends well. You arefree and there has been no money paid out. Fred and Otto have
donea good thing in ridding the world of the notorious Dixon brothers. They will be well
paid, for I understand there is a standingreward of one thousand dollars for each of them
dead or alive. I don't know but you ought to have a share of this, for it wasthrough you that
the outlaws were trapped.""No, Mr. Pettigrew, they are welcome to the reward. If I am
notmistaken I shall make a good deal more out of it than they.""What do you mean?"Upon
this Rodney told the story of what he had seen in the cavern."When I said I, I meant we, Mr.
Pettigrew. I think if the goldthere is as plentiful as I think it is we shall do well tocommence
working it.""It is yours, Rodney, by right of first discovery.""I prefer that you should share it
with me.""We will go over tomorrow and make an examination. Was thereany one else
who seemed to have a claim to the cave exceptthe Dixons?""No. The negro, Caesar, will
still be there, perhaps.""We can easily get rid of him."The next day the two friends went
over to the cavern. Caesar was still there, but he had an unsettled, restless look,and
seemed undecided what to do."What are you going to do, Caesar?" asked Pettigrew.
"Are yougoing to stay here?""I don't know, massa. I don't want to lib here. I'm afraidI'll see
the ghostes of my old massas. But I haven't got no money.""If you had money where
would you go?""I'd go to Chicago. I used to be a whitewasher, and I reckonI'd get work at
my old trade.""That's where you are sensible, Caesar. This is no place for you. Now I'll tell
you what I'll do. I'll give you a hundred dollars,and you can go where you like. But I shall
want you to go awayat once.""I'll go right off, massa," said Caesar, overjoyed. "I don'twant
to come here no more.""Have you got anything belonging to you in the cave?""No, massa,
only a little kit of clothes.""Take them and go."In fifteen minutes Caesar had bidden farewell
to his home, andRodney and Jefferson were left in sole possession of the cavern."Now,
Mr. Pettigrew, come and let me show you what I saw. I hope I have made no
mistake."Rodney led the way to the narrow passage already described.By the light of a
lantern Mr. Pettigrew examined the walls. For five minutes not a word was said."Well, what
do you think of it?" asked Rodney anxiously."Only this: that you have hit upon the richest
gold depositsin Montana. Here is a mining prospect that will make us both rich.""I am glad I
was not mistaken," said Rodney simply."Your capture by the Dixon brothers will prove to
have been theluckiest event in your life. I shall lose no time in takingpossession in our joint
name."There was great excitement when the discovery of the golddeposit was made
known. In connection with the killing of theoutlaws, it was noised far and wide. The
consequence was thatthere was an influx of mining men, and within a week Rodney
andJefferson were offered a hundred thousand dollars for a halfinterest in the mine by a
Chicago syndicate."Say a hundred and fifty thousand, and we accept the offer,"said
Jefferson Pettigrew.After a little haggling this offer was accepted, and Rodneyfound himself
the possessor of seventy five thousand dollarsin cash."It was fortunate for me when I fell in
with you, Mr.Pettigrew," he said."And no less fortunate for me, Rodney. This mine will bring
usin a rich sum for our share, besides the cash we already have in hand.""If you don't object,
Mr. Pettigrew, I should like to go to NewYork and continue my education. You can look after
my interesthere, and I shall be willing to pay you anything you like fordoing so.""There won't
be any trouble about that, Rodney. I don't blameyou for wanting to obtain an education. It
isn't in my line. You can come out once a year, and see what progress we are making. The
mine will be called the Rodney Mine after you."The Miners' Rest was sold to the steward,
as Mr. Pettigrew was toobusy to attend to it, and in a week Rodney was on his way to
New York.CHAPTER XXXXVII.CONCLUSION.Otis Goodnow arrived at his place of
business a little earlierthan usual, and set himself to looking over his mail. Among other
letters was one written on paper bearing the name ofthe Fifth Avenue Hotel. He came to
this after a time and read it.It ran thus:DEAR SIR:I was once in your employ, though you
may not remember my name. I was in the department of Mr. Redwood, and there I
becameacquainted with Jasper Redwood, his nephew. I was discharged,it is needless to
recall why. I had saved nothing, and ofcourse I was greatly embarrassed. I could not
readily obtainanother place, and in order to secure money to pay livingexpenses I entered
into an arrangement with Jasper Redwood tosell me articles, putting in more than I paid for.
These I wasenabled to sell at a profit to smaller stores. This was not asprofitable as it might
have been to me, as I was obliged to payJasper a commission for his agency. Well, after
a time it wasascertained that articles were missing, and search was made forthe thief.
Through a cunningly devised scheme of Jasper's thetheft was ascribed to Rodney Ropes,
a younger clerk, and hewas discharged. Ropes was a fine young fellow, and I have
alwaysbeen sorry that he got into trouble through our agency, butthere seeemed no help
for it. It must rest on him or us. He protested his innocence, but was not believed. I wish to
saynow that he was absolutely innocent, and only Jasper and myselfwere to blame. If you
doubt my statement I will call today, andyou may confront me with Jasper. I desire that
justice shouldbe done. PHILIP CARTON."Call Mr. Redwood,"
said the merchant, summoning a boy.In five minutes Mr. Redwood entered the office of his
employer."You sent for me, sir?""Yes, Mr. Redwood; cast your eye over this letter."James
Redwood read the letter, and his face showed the agitationhe felt."I don't know anything
about this, Mr. Goodnow," he said at last."It ought to be inquired into.""I agree with you. If
my nephew is guilty I want to know it.""We will wait till the writer of this letter calls. Do
youremember him?""Yes, sir; he was discharged for intemperance."At twelve o'clock Philip
Carton made his appearance, and askedto be conducted to Mr. Goodnow's private
office."You are the writer of this letter?" asked the merchant."Yes sir.""And you stand by the
statement it contains?""Yes, sir.""Why, at this late day, have you made a
confession?""Because I wish to do justice to Rodney Ropes, who has beenunjustly
accused, and also because I have been meanlytreated by Jasper Redwood, who has
thrown me over now that hehas no further use for me.""Are you willing to repeat your
statement before him?""I wish to do so.""Call Jasper Redwood, Sherman," said the
merchant, addressinghimself to Sherman White, a boy recently taken into his
employ.Jasper entered the office, rather surprised at the summons. When he saw his
accomplice, he changed color, and looked confused."Jasper," said the merchant, "read this
letter and tell me whatyou have to say in reply."Jasper ran his eye over the letter, while his
color came and went."Well?""It's a lie," said Jasper hoarsely."Do you still insist that the
articles taken from my stock weretaken by Rodney Ropes?""Yes, sir.""What do you say,
Mr. Carton?""Not one was taken by Rodney Ropes. Jasper and I areresponsible for
them all.""What proof can you bring?""Mr. James Redwood will recall the purchase I made
at the timeof the thefts. He will recall that I always purchased of Jasper.""That is true," said
Mr. Redwood in a troubled voice."Do you confess, Jasper Redwood?""No, sir.""If you will
tell the truth, I will see that no harm comes to you. I want to clear this matter up."Jasper
thought the matter over. He saw that the game wasup--and decided rapidly that confession
was the best policy."Very well, sir, if I must I will do so, but that man put me upto it.""You
did not need any putting up to it. I wish young Ropes werehere, that I might clear him."As if
in answer to the wish a bronzed and manly figure appearedat the office door. It was
Rodney, but taller and more robustthan when he left the store nearly a year
before."Rodney Ropes!" ejaculated Jasper in great surprise."Yes, Jasper, I came here to
see you, and beg you to free mefrom the false charge which was brought against me when
I wasdischarged from this store. I didn't find you in your usualplaces, and was directed
here.""Ropes," said Mr. Goodnow, "your innocence has been established. This man,"
indicating Philip Carton, "has confessed that it washe and Jasper who stole the missing
articles.""I am thankful that my character has been cleared.""I am ready to take you back into
my employ.""Thank you, sir, but I have now no need of a position. I shallbe glad if you will
retain Jasper.""You are very generous to one who has done so much to injure
you.""Indirectly he put me in the way of making a fortune. If youwill retain him, Mr.
Goodnow, I will guarantee to make up anylosses you may incur from him.""How is this?
Are you able to make this guarantee?""I am worth seventy five thousand dollars in money,
besidesbeing owner of a large mining property in Montana.""This is truly wonderful! And
you have accumulated all thissince you left my store?""Yes, sir.""Rodney," said Jasper,
going up to his old rival, and offeringhis hand. "I am sorry I tried to injure you. It was to
savemyself, but I see now how meanly I acted.""That speech has saved you," said the
merchant. "Go back toyour work. I will give you another chance.""Will you take me back
also, Mr. Goodnow?" asked Philip Carton.The merchant hesitated."No, Mr. Carton," said
Rodney. "I will look out for you. I will send you to Montana with a letter to my partner. You
can do better there than here."Tears came into the eyes of the ex-clerk."Thank you," he said
gratefully. "I should prefer it. I willpromise to turn over a new leaf; and justify your
recommendation.""Come to see me this evening at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and Iwill
arrange matters.""Shall you stay in the city long, Ropes?" asked the merchant."About a
week.""Come and dine with me on Tuesday evening.""Thank you, sir."Later in the day
Rodney sought out his old room mate Mike Flynn. He found Mike in a bad case. He had a
bad cold, but did notdare to give up work, because he wouldn't be able to meet his bills.
He was still in the employ of the District Telegraph Company."Give the company notice,
Mike," said Rodney. "Henceforth Iwill take care of you. You can look upon me as your
richuncle," he added with a smile."I will be your servant, Rodney.""Not a bit of it. You will
be my friend. But you must obeyme implicitly. I am going to send you to school, and give
youa chance to learn something. Next week I shall return to Dr.Sampson's boarding school
and you will go with me as my friendand room mate.""But, Rodney, you will be ashamed of
me. I am awfully shabby.""You won't be long. You shall be as well dressed as I am."A
week later the two boys reached the school. It would havebeen hard for any of Mike's old
friends to recognize him in thehandsomely dressed boy who accompanied
Rodney."Really, Mike, you are quite good looking, now that you are welldressed," said
Rodney."Oh, go away with you, Rodney? It's fooling me you are!""Not a bit of it. Now I
want you to improve your time and learnas fast as you can.""I will, Rodney."A year later
Rodney left school, but he kept Mike there twoyears longer. There had been a great
change in the telegraphboy, who was quick to learn. He expects, when he leaves
school,to join Rodney in Montana.I will not attempt to estimate Rodney's present wealth,
but heis already prominent in financial circles in his adopted State. Philip Carton is
prospering, and is respected by his newfriends, who know nothing of his earlier life.As I
write, Rodney has received a letter from his old guardian,Benjamin Fielding. The letter
came from Montreal."My dear Rodney," he wrote. "I have worked hard to redeem thepast,
and restore to you your fortune. I have just succeeded,and send you the amount with
interest. It leaves me little ornothing, but my mind is relieved. I hope you have not had
tosuffer severely from my criminal carelessness, and that you willlive long to enjoy what
rightfully belongs to you."In reply Rodney wrote: "Please draw on me for fifty thousand
dollars. I do not need it, and you do. Five years from now, if you canspare the money you
may send it to me. Till then use itwithout interest. I am worth much more than the sum my
fatherintrusted to you for me."This offer was gratefully accepted, and Mr. Fielding is now
inNew York, where he is likely to experience a return of hisformer prosperity.As for
Rodney, his trials are over. They made a man of him, andproved a blessing in disguise.

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