A NEW PLACE

Scott opened the letter, which proved to be brief. It was dated at the
Sherman House, Chicago, and ran thus:

“I am called away suddenly on business, and may be absent for a
month. Should you need to consult me on any subject, direct to me
here, as letters will be forwarded if I am absent from the city.

COUSIN SETH.”

Scott showed the letter to Mr. Wood.

“I shall be glad to make the acquaintance of Mr. Lawton,” said Justin.
“He is evidently a good friend of yours.”

“If he were here now he might get me a place. I don’t stand much chance
myself.”

“I must see if I can’t find some temporary work for you to do. Suppose
we take an ice cream. Do you know any good place near by?”

“There is one on Sixth Avenue.”

“Very well, we will go there.”

Scott led the way to the place already referred to, frequented by his
cousin, Loammi. When they entered, Scott saw Loammi seated at a table in
the rear part of the saloon.

He espied the new arrival, and was evidently surprised to meet Scott in
such a place.

“Hello, Scott!” he called out.

“Good-evening, Loammi,” returned Scott, coolly.

“Goin’ to take an ice cream?”

“Yes.”

“I say, are you working yet?”

“Not yet.”

“Then how can you afford to buy ice cream?” Loammi was about to ask, but
the presence of Justin Wood checked him. Mr. Wood was handsomely
dressed, and looked like a man of means.

“I wonder where Scott picked him up,” thought Loammi. He wished to be
introduced, but Scott did not give any encouragement in that direction.

Loammi, having no good excuse to stay, rose and left the saloon.

“So that’s your cousin?” remarked Justin Wood.

“Yes.”

“He looks sly. I am something of a judge of faces, and I don’t like
his.”

“I suppose I am prejudiced against him,” said Scott. “I don’t think I
could ever like him.”

Scarcely had Loammi left the saloon, when Scott was surprised to see
Ezra Little and his wife enter.

Mrs. Little first caught sight of Scott, and spoke in a low tone to her
husband.

Ezra Little, turning his glance in the direction of Scott, eyed him
severely.

“So this is where you spend your ill-gotten money,” he said, not
noticing that Scott was in the company of the fashionably dressed young
man sitting on the opposite side of the table.

“I beg your pardon, sir,” said Justin Wood, “but it is my money that is
being spent.”

“I was not aware that you were in the boy’s company,” said Ezra Little,
respectfully, for he saw that Mr. Wood was a gentleman of social
position. “I must explain that your companion left my house a week since
under discreditable circumstances.”

“He told me the circumstances. You assumed that the money he had in his
possession was stolen.”

“There can hardly be a doubt of it. There was a five-dollar bill–and
the missing pocketbook contained a five-dollar bill.”

“I am personally cognizant of the fact that the money was his own.
Indeed, I helped to recover it for him from a swindler who had robbed
him of it.”

“This does not explain the pocketbook being found in his chamber.”

“Where your son put it.”

“This is a strange charge to make, sir. Have you any grounds for making
it?”

“Scott and I called at your house this evening. The servant said that an
hour before the discovery of the pocketbook your son was seen by her
coming out of Scott’s room.”

Ezra Little looked startled, and Mrs. Little looked distressed.

“Moreover, I think if you inquire, you will find that some of the stolen
money was disposed of in this saloon. Your son only went out ten minutes
since. Suppose you inquire whether he has changed a five-dollar bill
here recently.”

“I will do so.”

Ezra Little went up to the cashier.

“I understand,” he said, “that my son comes in here frequently.”

“Yes, sir, he was here this evening.”

“Can you call to mind whether you have ever changed a five-dollar bill
for him?”

“I did so about a week since. Was there anything wrong about the bill?”

“I only asked out of curiosity.”

Ezra was a hard man, but he was not altogether unjust.

“Scott,” he said, “I think there may have been some mistake about your
taking the pocketbook. If you will call at the store to-morrow, I will
see about taking you back.”

Scott bowed, but did not speak. He felt that he could never again be
contented in Mr. Little’s employment.

When they left the saloon he asked: “What do you advise me to do about
going back, Mr. Wood?”

“Don’t go,” said Justin Wood, promptly. “I will stand by you, and see if
I can’t get you something better.”

“Thank you, sir. I don’t want to go back if I can help it. But I am glad
my innocence has been proved.”

“I fancy your cousin will find himself in hot water.”

Loammi was already at the house when his father and mother came in. He
had no suspicion of trouble, but was eager to tell his father that he
had seen Scott.

He did not observe the unusual sternness on Mr. Little’s face.

“Pa,” he said, “I saw Scott to-night.”

“Where did you see him?”

“At an ice-cream saloon on Sixth Avenue. His money seems to have lasted
him pretty well.”

“What were you doing there?” was his father’s unexpected question.

“Getting an ice cream,” answered Loammi, in surprise.

“So your money seems to have lasted pretty well also,” said his father.

“An ice cream costs only ten cents, pa.”

“How many times have you been there within a week?”

“Once or twice, I believe,” answered Loammi, wondering what his father
meant by his strict cross-examination.

“Are you sure you have not been there every evening?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Have you ever had a bill changed there?”

“I don’t know what you mean, pa.”

But Loammi began to fear that he did understand, and he turned pale.

“Where,” asked his father, sternly, “did you get the five-dollar bill
that you got changed there a week ago to-day?”

“I don’t know anything about any five-dollar bill.”

Loammi looked frightened.

“Wasn’t it the money you found in your mother’s pocketbook?”

“But Scott took that, pa. You know the pocketbook was found in his
room.”

“Yes, by you. You knew just where to look for it, for you concealed it
there.”

“Oh, pa, who told you any such wicked story about me?”

“Go downstairs and ask Ellen to come up here.”

Loammi would willingly have been excused from doing this, but he knew
there was no alternative.

When Ellen appeared, Mr. Little said: “Do you remember the evening when
the pocketbook was found in Master Scott’s room?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Had Scott been in his room that evening?”

“I think not, sir.”

“Had any one else been in the room?”

“I saw Loammi coming out from the room about half-past eight.”

“Oh, what a story!” ejaculated Loammi, in perturbation.

“It is true, sir,” said Ellen, firmly.

“I have no doubt of it. That will do, Ellen.”

“Now, what have you to say?” demanded Ezra Little, addressing his son.
“Did you or did you not take the pocketbook?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Loammi, reluctantly.

“And you had the meanness to throw suspicion on your cousin. I am
ashamed of you.”

Loammi made no reply for the very good reason that he had nothing to
say.

“I have myself seen Scott this evening, and I also learned from the
keeper of the ice-cream saloon that you changed a five-dollar bill there
a week since. I have told Scott to come back to the store. As for you,
you deserve to be punished. I shall therefore reduce your allowance from
a dollar a week to fifty cents till the sum you stole has been made up.
Now, you can go upstairs to bed.”

Loammi shed tears of vexation.

“Now Scott will be crowing over me,” he thought to himself. “I can’t
stand it; I think I will run away.”

But he was spared this humiliation.

Scott went into Mr. Little’s store the next day and sought the
proprietor.

“You can come back to work on Monday morning,” said Ezra, “and you can
go round to the house this evening.”

“Thank you, sir; but I have got another place.”

“Another place? Where?”

“With Tower, Douglas & Co.”

Ezra Little was very much surprised, for the firm mentioned was in the
wholesale line and stood very high.

“How did you get there?”

“Mr. Wood, the gentleman that was with me last evening, recommended me.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Little, curtly. “You will bear in mind that I
offered you your position back. Of course, if you lose your new place I
can make no promises.”

“Then I will try not to lose it.”

The house of Tower, Douglas & Co. occupied a very high position in New
York, and was known by reputation all over the country. The firm was
liberal and considerate, and there were plenty of boys and young men who
sought to enter their establishment.

Rich men sometimes offered the services of their sons, but Mr. Tower was
never willing to accept them.

“A boy who works for nothing,” he said, “is worth only what he receives.
He loses his self-respect, and has no ambition to rise.”

Generally, however, the wages paid to beginners were small, not over
three or four dollars a week.

Of course it was impossible for Scott to live on such pay. Justin Wood
was a relative of Mrs. Tower, and being personally liked by her husband,
was the better able to secure favors.

When he obtained Scott’s engagement he said: “Now as to the rate of
compensation, Mr. Tower; how much are you willing to pay my young
friend?”

“We usually pay three dollars a week. We will stretch a point and make
it four in the case of young Walton.”

“I want you to pay him ten dollars a week.”

Mr. Tower looked amazed.

“Impossible!” he exclaimed. “You must be crazy.”

“The boy is wholly dependent on what he earns.”

“That may be; but I am under no obligation to support him.”

“True,” said Justin Wood, smiling, “but you may charge the extra six
dollars to me.”

“That will make a difference; but suppose our other employees find it
out; then there will be dissatisfaction.”

“Then let him understand that he is only paid ten dollars as a special
favor to me, and that the arrangement must be kept strictly secret.”

“That will do; but suppose he does not meet our expectations?”

“He will. You need be under no apprehensions. I am something of a judge
of boys, and I can assure you that he has a talent for business.”

“I will take your word for it until I have a chance to judge for
myself.”

When Scott was informed that he would receive ten dollars a week he was
delighted, and thanked Mr. Tower warmly.

“I am afraid I can’t earn that sum, sir,” he said.

“I know you can’t,” said the merchant, “but Mr. Wood is a cousin of my
wife, and it is on his account that I pay you so liberal a salary. I
expect you to work zealously so that you may deserve it.”

“Thank you, sir; I will.”

Scott spoke confidently, and Mr. Tower was pleased with his modest
self-assurance.

“I don’t think Justin is deceived in the boy,” he said to himself. “At
any rate, I will give him a fair chance.”

Six months later, when Justin Wood called and asked how Scott was
progressing, Mr. Tower said: “He is a born salesman. He is quick,
shrewd, intelligent, and above all, he inspires confidence in customers.
We will hereafter pay him ten dollars a week on our own account, and
will not ask you to reimburse us. But we will not raise him above that
till the end of the year.”

“That is perfectly satisfactory. I have only one favor to ask.”

“What is that?”

“Send him on the road as soon as you consider him competent. I think he
will make a successful drummer.”

“That is my intention. Some of my salesmen can never go outside the
store. Young Walton will make a good record outside.”

Scott had been with the new firm for a month, when Seth Lawton returned
from Chicago. He was much pleased at Scott’s success, but understood
very well that he was indebted for it to the friendly offices of Justin
Wood.

“Do your best, Scott,” he said. “You are at the bottom of the ladder,
but you must climb. Your future depends on yourself. Do you ever see
anything of Loammi?”

“I have met him two or three times. He seems surprised, and I think a
little disappointed, at my success.”

“Does he know how much you receive?”

“No; I promised to keep that a secret. But he knows that I live in a
comfortable boarding house on Lexington Avenue, and have a good room.
If he knew I was paid ten dollars a week he would want to borrow money.
His father has reduced his allowance to fifty cents a week, and he
complains that he might as well be a newsboy. ‘Don’t you think the old
man is mean?’ he asked me yesterday.”

“And what did you reply?”

“I told him that I didn’t care to criticise his father.”

“Good! I see you are discreet. What is Ezra going to do with his son?
Will he train him up to business?”

“Loammi says he is going to Columbia College, or perhaps to Yale.”

“He will never get there. He won’t study hard enough.”

“So I think, Cousin Seth. I wish I had the chance.”

“Would you really like to go to college, Scott?” asked Seth Lawton,
thoughtfully.

“No, I think not as I am at present situated. I could not enter before I
am eighteen, and by that time I shall be well advanced in the knowledge
of business.”

“I think you are right, but I advise you to study, and read instructive
books in your leisure hours.”

“I am doing that, Cousin Seth, and I am thinking soon of taking a
commercial course in some business college.”

“Do so, and I will pay the bill for tuition.”

“I can afford to pay that myself, cousin. You are too generous. That is
what keeps you poor.”

Seth Lawton smiled.

“Oh, I am not so unselfish as you suppose,” he said. “I make enough to
live comfortably.”

“Yes, Cousin Seth, but you ought to be saving up money. You are no
longer a young man.”

“I should think not, at fifty-five.”

“And suppose you get sick, how are you to live?”

“Don’t you think Ezra Little would take care of me?”

Scott laughed.

“I am afraid not,” he answered; “but you have another relative who would
be glad to help you.”

“Meaning yourself.”

“Yes.”

“Good boy!” said Seth, and he looked moved. “Yes, I think you would be
willing to help me if I were in need, but at present you have only
enough for yourself.”

“I am saving a little money, cousin.”

“What! Out of ten dollars a week?”

“Yes; ten dollars a week is quite a liberal salary.”

“You are right. It will do you no harm to be economical. By the way, has
Ezra Little never returned to you the forty dollars you placed in his
hands?”

“No.”

“You should ask him for it.”

“I would rather not,” said Scott, shrinking.

“But it is rightfully yours. He has no excuse for keeping it.”

“I don’t think I would like to speak to him on the subject,” said Scott,
thoughtfully.

“Then I will.”

In fact, Mr. Lawton lost no time in doing as he proposed. He called at
Ezra Little’s house and broached the subject.

“Ezra,” he said, “I understand that you have forty dollars belonging to
Scott.”

“I don’t look upon it in that light,” said Mr. Little. “I gave the boy a
place in my store.”

“And all you gave him was his board.”

“True; but that was more than he earned.”

“I don’t agree with you. It strikes me, Ezra, that it is small business
to take the boy’s small capital and appropriate it to your own use.”

Ezra Little looked incensed.

“Mr. Lawton,” he said, “it strikes me that your interference is
impertinent.”

“On the contrary, as Scott has no one else to speak up for him, I
consider that, as his near relative, it is my duty to do it.”

“If you had attended to your own affairs, instead of meddling with
others, you would not be in danger of going to the poorhouse, as you are
at present.”

“Am I?” asked Seth, looking amused. “You seem to know a good deal about
my affairs.”

“I don’t suppose you have a hundred dollars in the world. If you should
be in need you mustn’t expect me to help you.”

“I shall not. You are pretty safe on that score, Ezra.”

“I see you are poor and proud. However, I am glad to hear it.”

“Then suppose we return to Scott’s money. Are you prepared to give it
back?”

“No, I am not.”

“I don’t think it will do you any good. Robbing the orphan—-”

“Mr. Lawton, I will not submit to such insinuations. If Scott should
lose his position, as he is likely to do if he is guided by your advice,
I will help him out of the money in my hands.”

“Very well; I will hold you to that. However, I don’t think he is likely
to be placed in that predicament.”

“How much does he receive from Tower, Douglas & Co.?”

“More than you paid him. However, I will not occupy any more of your
time. If you become ashamed of your meanness, you can let me know.”

“Seth Lawton, I won’t stand any more of your impertinence. You appear to
forget who I am.”

“I am not likely to forget who and what you are, Ezra. Good-evening!”

“The beggar!” soliloquized the merchant. “He need never expect any
favors from me. He will yet repent his impertinence.”

Continue Reading

A NEW HOME

“I don’t think Scott would take my money,” said Mrs. Little.

“I don’t like to think so myself,” rejoined Loammi, “but some one must
have taken it.”

“You say that Scott has a five-dollar bill?” said his mother,
doubtfully.

“Yes, I saw it.”

“When did you see it?”

“This evening. I was surprised, for I knew he was poor.”

Mrs. Little began to think that Scott might have yielded to sudden
temptation.

“Won’t you call Scott?” she said. “He is in his room.”

Loammi obeyed with alacrity.

He knocked at Scott’s door, and it was opened to him.

“Scott,” he said, “ma wants to see you. Can you come downstairs?”

“Certainly.”

Scott was somewhat surprised, but he went down at once.

Mrs. Little looked embarrassed. She was a kind-hearted woman, and she
shrank from charging Scott with theft.

“Did you wish to speak with me, Mrs. Little?” asked Scott.

“Yes; I have met with a loss. My pocketbook, containing a sum of money,
has disappeared.”

“I am sorry to hear it.”

“I thought possibly you or Loammi might have seen it.”

“I have not seen anything of a pocketbook. When did you miss it?”

“I have not seen it since three o’clock this afternoon.”

“Do you remember whether you laid it down anywhere?”

“Yes; I laid it on the bureau in my room.”

“Then how could I have seen it? I don’t go into your room.”

“Nor I,” put in Loammi.

“I hope you don’t suspect either of us of stealing it,” said Scott,
gravely.

“I don’t know what to think. Loammi tells me that you have in your
possession a five-dollar bill. The pocketbook contained a five-dollar
bill.”

“Yes, Mrs. Little; I have a five-dollar bill of my own, I have had it
for some time. This Loammi knew, and also where I got it.”

“I don’t know anything about that. But it seems very strange what can
have become of the money.”

“Ma,” put in Loammi, “tell me in what sort of a pocketbook you kept the
money?”

Mrs. Little gave a description of it.

“I have something to propose. Suppose you search my chamber and Scott’s,
to see if there is any such pocketbook in either.”

“I don’t like to do that. It would be acting as if I thought you
dishonest.”

“I have no objection for one,” said Loammi. “Have you, Scott?”

“None whatever.”

“Then suppose we go about it. Go to my chamber first.”

The three went into Loammi’s room. Of course the search revealed nothing
of the lost pocketbook.

“Now, let us go upstairs.”

So they proceeded to Scott’s room.

Scott sat down on a chair.

“Don’t mind me,” he said. “Look wherever you see fit.”

Loammi lifted the pillow, then the bedclothes, peered behind the table,
and under the bed.

“Of course, I haven’t the slightest idea of finding it here, Scott,” he
said, “but it is just as well to look thoroughly.”

“You can’t please me better.”

With a nonchalant air Loammi went to the shelf, and raised the cover of
a small tin box.

“What is this?” he asked, drawing from it the pocketbook.

“That is my pocketbook,” said Mrs. Little, quickly. “Oh, Scott, how
could you have taken it?”

“I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Loammi, trying to look surprised.

“Let me see that pocketbook,” said Scott, quickly.

It was placed in his hand.

“Is this the pocketbook you lost?” he asked, turning to Mrs. Little.

“If it is not, it is exactly like it. Did you have one of this kind?”

“No, and I never saw this before.”

Loammi looked significantly at his mother.

“I hope what you say is true,” said Mrs. Little, looking troubled.

“It is true. What else was there in the pocketbook except a five-dollar
bill?”

“A one-dollar note.”

“I know nothing of either. Open this, Loammi, and see if either is in it
now.”

Loammi did so, but of course the pocketbook was empty.

“Do you think I took this pocketbook from your room, Mrs. Little?” asked
Scott.

“What am I to think?”

“I can’t tell you. I can tell you what I think.”

“What is it?”

“That the person who stole the pocketbook took out the money and placed
it where it was found.”

“Oh, of course,” sneered Loammi; “but who was it?”

“I don’t know, but I mean to find out.”

He gazed fixedly at Loammi, who flushed a little, for he saw that he was
suspected.

“Ma,” he said, “I hope you’ll forgive Scott. Probably he will be willing
to give up the money.”

“I consider that remark an insulting one, Loammi. I don’t want to be
forgiven, nor can I give up money that I didn’t take.”

“Haven’t you got a five-dollar note in your pocket?”

“Yes, but it’s my own.”

“We won’t continue the discussion,” said Mrs. Little, sadly. “I would a
great deal rather have given away the money than lose it in this way.”

“So you think me guilty, Mrs. Little?”

“I shall have to, if you don’t explain how the pocketbook came to be in
your room.”

“That I can’t do. Of course it was placed there, but I can’t tell who
did it.”

“Of course I must report the matter to Mr. Little.”

“Do so, madam. Perhaps he can think of some way to find out the real
thief.”

“Ma, I am sleepy. I think I will go to bed,” said Loammi.

Mother and son rose, and left the room.

It will readily be supposed that Scott did not sleep much that night. He
saw the awkwardness of his position.

He felt convinced that Loammi, if he had not taken the money, had
secreted the pocketbook in his room with the design of throwing
suspicion upon him. But how could he prove this?

That was the question, and one that baffled him.

Of course it was a despicable thing to do, but he believed that his
cousin was quite capable of it.

The next morning Scott shrank from going down to breakfast. It was
embarrassing for him to be looked upon as a thief, even though he were
supported by the consciousness of innocence.

As soon as he entered the dining room, he saw by Mr. Little’s cold and
frigid expression that he had been told.

Still, nothing was said until the meal was over.

When Scott rose from the table, Mr. Little said: “Stay behind a minute,
young man. I have something to say to you.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Mrs. Little has told me of the discovery that was made in your chamber
last evening.”

“Very well, sir.”

“But it is not very well. It looks very bad for you.”

“Mr. Little, do you think I took your wife’s pocketbook?”

“The evidence is pretty conclusive.”

“All I can say is that I am as innocent as you are.”

“The pocketbook contained a five-dollar bill. I learn that you have a
five-dollar bill.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I think that settles it.”

“I beg your pardon, Mr. Little, but you yourself probably have a
five-dollar bill in your pocket. It proves nothing.”

“You are very plausible, but I am not easily fooled. I have just one
thing to say. Give up that five-dollar bill, and we will overlook the
theft.”

“And if not?”

“Then you must leave my house and consider yourself discharged from my
store.”

Scott was pale but composed.

“You are treating me with great injustice,” he said. “My innocence will
some day appear. In the meantime I shall leave your house at once, sir.”

“That is for you to decide,” said Mr. Little, coldly, as he rose from
the table.

Scott walked up slowly to his little chamber. His heart was heavy within
him.

He was innocent, yet adjudged guilty. His home and situation were taken
from him, and he was turned out into the street.

He resolved to go around and see Cousin Seth. Of his sympathy he felt
assured.

He rang the bell, and Mrs. Mead opened the door in person.

“Good-morning, Scott,” she said, pleasantly.

“Is Mr. Lawton in?” asked Scott.

“No; he left last evening for the West, to be absent about a month. He
asked me to say that he would write you in a day or two. He was called
away suddenly by a telegram.”

Scott’s heart sank within him. He seemed to have lost his only friend.

“Did you wish to see Mr. Lawton about something important?” asked Mrs.
Mead.

“Yes, I wish to ask his advice. I have lost my place.”

“At Mr. Little’s store?”

“Yes.”

“I never liked Mr. Little. I am glad Willie has another position.”

“Have you a small room vacant, Mrs. Mead? I have left Mr. Little’s house
also, and I must find a room somewhere.”

“I have a small hall bedroom on the third floor.”

“What rent do you charge?”

“Two dollars a week, usually, but to you I will make it a dollar and a
half.”

“Then I will take it. Can I go up at once and leave my valise?”

“Yes; I will show the way.”

The room was small, as Mrs. Mead had described it, but it was
scrupulously clean. Scott felt that he would be very well satisfied with
it, if only he could continue to pay the rent. It was certainly
pleasanter than the room he had occupied at Ezra Little’s.

“You must dine with us to-night, Mr. Walton,” said Mrs. Mead,
hospitably. “Willie will be glad to see you, and then you can tell us
how you came to leave the store.”

As soon as he was settled, Scott went out and began to look for a
position. He bought a morning paper, and looked over the advertisements
of “Help Wanted.”

He took down several names, and began to call in rotation. In several
instances he found the places already filled. In one place he was
offered two dollars and a half a week, which he knew it would be idle to
accept, as it would do little more than pay his room rent.

In one place he was asked where he had worked last.

“At Little’s dry-goods store on Eighth Avenue,” he answered.

“Why did you leave?”

“Because of a disagreement with Mr. Little.”

“I don’t think we shall require your services,” said the merchant,
coldly.

He turned away, as if to intimate that the conference was at an end.

Scott was depressed. He saw that any explanation he might give of his
leaving his former place would only injure him. Yet, almost everywhere
the question would be asked.

This made him feel all the more that he had been very unjustly treated
by Ezra Little. He had been required to plead guilty to a theft which he
had not committed, and to replace the money lost with money of his own.
He had very properly declined to do this, and now he was thrown out of
employment, with very little chance of securing another place.

Several days passed, and Scott must have made application for a hundred
situations. But his luck did not improve. One obstacle was a general
business depression which made employers averse to hiring new employees.

And all the while his scanty funds were diminishing. He sought out cheap
restaurants and limited his orders to the barest necessities, but still
his money melted away till at length he was reduced to fifty cents.
Besides, his week was about out and he would be called upon to pay a
second week’s rent.

This was, of course, out of the question. Poor Scott was deeply
perplexed. He began to think it would have been better if he had
complied with Ezra Little’s demand for the five-dollar bill. It was
about gone now, and he was without an income.

He chanced to be passing the Gilsey House at four o’clock in the
afternoon, when he heard his name called.

Looking up, he recognized the familiar face of Justin Wood, whom he had
not met for some weeks.

“I am glad to see you once more, Scott,” said the young man, cordially.
“Why haven’t you called upon me?”

“I did call once, but I did not find you in.”

“It must have been when I was making a short visit to Philadelphia. But
now come in, and give an account of yourself. How does it happen that
you are in the streets at this hour?”

“Because, Mr. Wood,” answered Scott, gravely, “I have lost my place.”

“Then you have a story to tell. Come in, and tell me all about it.”

He led the way into the hotel, and Scott followed him into the reading
room.

“Now take a seat at the window,” said Justin Wood, pointing to an
armchair, “and tell me why you were discharged.”

Scott told the story in as few words as possible.

“This money which Mr. Little wished you to give up was a part of what
you recovered from that swindler at Staten Island, I presume?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then I could certify to its belonging to you. Do you wish me to do so?”

“I don’t want to go back to Mr. Little’s if I can find another place.
Besides, it will still be said that the pocketbook was found in my
room.”

“Have you any idea who put it there?”

“Yes, I think it was put there by Loammi.”

“That is my own conclusion.”

“But I don’t see how I can bring it home to him.”

“There will be a difficulty. If you get evidence of his having changed a
five-dollar bill about that time, now—-”

“I don’t see how I can do that. It happened a week since.”

“Where are you living now?”

“I have a room on West Sixteenth Street, at the house of a Mrs. Mead,
but I shall have to leave it to-morrow.”

“Why?”

“Because I have no money to pay the rent for a second week.”

“How much is it?”

“A dollar and a half.”

“I might be willing to lend you as much as that,” said Justin Wood,
smiling.

“Thank you, sir, but I shall need money to buy my meals besides.”

“Then I think I shall have to come to your assistance.”

Justin Wood put his hand in his pocket, and drew out two five-dollar
bills.

“That will tide you over for the present,” he said.

“But,” said Scott, “ought I accept so much? I don’t know when I shall be
able to repay you.”

“Then we had better consider it a gift.”

“Thank you very much, sir.”

“It is hardly worth mentioning,” he said. “If it will do you good I am
glad. Now, you must come in and take some dinner with me. I have eaten
nothing since breakfast, and am almost famished.”

The young man ordered a plain, but most appetizing dinner, to which
Scott and himself did equal justice. Scott, too, had eaten nothing since
breakfast, and that breakfast had been a meager one.

After dinner the two friends hailed a car and went uptown. They spent an
hour in Central Park.

Mr. Wood proposed to walk back, and Scott accompanied him.

“Would you mind if I called at Mr. Little’s house?” asked Scott. “There
may be a letter for me from Cousin Seth.”

“Do so, by all means, Scott.”

Scott rang the bell, and the door was opened by Ellen. Her eye
brightened when she saw Scott, whom she liked much better than Loammi.

“I am glad to see you, Scott,” she said. “And where are you living,
now?”

“I am boarding on West Sixteenth Street.”

“And have you got another place?”

“Not yet. I suppose you heard why I left the house.”

“Yes, I did, and it’s a shame.”

“Did you hear that Mrs. Little’s pocketbook was found in my room?”

“Yes, I did, and I know who put it there.”

“Who was it?” asked Scott, eagerly.

“Only an hour before, I myself saw Loammi coming out of your chamber. He
pretended that he went there expecting to see you.”

“Did you tell Mr. Little that?”

“No; but I will if you want me to.”

“I may ask you to do it some time. Do you think Loammi took the money?”

“I do that. All this week he’s been unusually flush of cash. It’s easy
to guess where it came from.”

“And I have had to suffer for his theft. Oh, by the way, Ellen, has any
letter come here for me?”

“There was one came this morning. I’ll get it for you.”

Scott looked at the postmark of the letter, and saw that it was from
Chicago.

Continue Reading

TEMPTATION

Cousin Seth arranged everything as he had planned, and Mrs. Mead’s
landlord, when he called, learned to his surprise that his poor tenant
was intending to move.

“Have you found cheaper rooms?” he asked.

“No, but I am going to take a whole house.”

The landlord looked astonished.

“Where?” he asked.

“On West Sixteenth Street.”

“Yet you have always been pleading poverty, and only last month I had to
wait two days for the last dollar of the rent.”

“That is true; but an old friend has found me out, and will give me a
helping hand.”

Of course, no more was to be said.

The removal was soon made, for Mrs. Mead had little to move, and with
Seth Lawton’s efficient help, the widow found herself in possession of
her new establishment, with everything running smoothly.

“Now,” said Mr. Lawton, “I must see if I can’t do something for Willie.
How much does Ezra Little pay him?”

“Two dollars and a half a week.”

“That is too little.”

“I don’t think Mr. Little will pay more.”

“Let him ask.”

“I am afraid in that case he will lose his place. The last time Willie
asked for a raise he was angry.”

“Very well, if he loses his place I will find him another. Or, stay, I
will ask Ezra myself.”

“That will be better.”

So Seth called the next evening on his rich relative. He was not
received with open arms, for Mr. Little was under the impression that he
wanted to borrow money.

“I can’t give you much time to-night, Seth,” said the merchant. “I have
a business engagement. Have you found anything to do?”

“I think I can see my way clear to a place as confidential clerk and
bookkeeper in a small office downtown.”

“How much salary?”

“Possibly fifteen dollars a week.”

“You had better accept. You are extremely lucky at your age to get such
an office.”

“You wouldn’t be satisfied with it, Ezra,” returned Seth, with a smile.

“I? You are dreaming. What, a well-known and long-established merchant
to think of such a salary! You must be insane.”

“Yet you are within five years as old as I am, Ezra.”

“What does that matter? I take it there is considerable difference
between your position and mine.”

“Yes, I suppose so.”

“To tell the truth, I didn’t think you would be able to get any position
at all. I hope this won’t slip through your fingers.”

“Then you advise me to accept it?”

“Of course. You would be crazy not to do so. Remember, you will have to
depend upon yourself. The fact that you are a relation will not justify
you in asking help from me.”

“I have a favor to ask, however, Ezra.”

“I cannot lend you money, if that’s what you mean,” said Ezra,
brusquely.

“It isn’t. I find that one of your cash boys is the son of an old
friend of ours–Mary Mead, formerly Mary Grant.”

“Yes; I gave the boy a place in order to help her.”

“You pay him two dollars and a half a week. There are only two boys, and
this is very small.”

“It is all I pay any of the boys.”

“But Willie is a well-grown boy of fourteen. Surely, out of old
friendship, and to help his mother, you can pay him more.”

“Have you been talking to Mrs. Mead, and encouraged her to think that I
will increase her boy’s wages?”

“Yes.”

“Then you have done a foolish thing. I decline. I am half inclined to
discharge the boy.”

“It won’t be necessary. He will leave the store at the end of the week.”

“What does this mean?”

“That I will undertake to find him a better place.”

Ezra looked annoyed and angry.

“You can’t do it,” he said. “You have no acquaintances in the city. You
are not even sure of employment yourself.”

“So it seems you have sized me up, Ezra,” said Seth Lawton, mildly.

“That is easy enough. You were born to be an unsuccessful man. You are
fifty-six years old, and I suppose you haven’t saved enough money to
keep you going for three months.”

“I don’t owe a cent, Ezra.”

“That is something. But I can’t remain here talking. Don’t forget what I
said about making sure of the place you spoke of.”

“Just as I expected,” thought Seth. “Ezra seems to be a thoroughly
selfish man. It is lucky for me that—-” but he did not finish the
sentence.

Mr. Little did not think of the matter again till the superintendent
told him on Saturday night: “One of the cash boys has resigned his
place.”

“Who is it?”

“William Mead.”

“It is all the bad advice of Seth Lawton,” he reflected. “He is a
perfect meddler. Probably his mother will be here in a day or two to beg
me to take him back.”

But no such application came. Willie had obtained a place on Grand
Street at four dollars a week.

Scott continued to enjoy the companionship of Seth Lawton, but
sometimes Cousin Seth was out of the city for days at a time, in which
event Scott was thrown back on the company of Loammi, but this gave him
very little satisfaction.

One evening Loammi happened upon his cousin coming out of a store on
Sixth Avenue.

“Have you been buying anything?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“What?”

“A couple of neckties.”

“Where did you get the money?”

Scott said, quietly: “That is my business, Loammi.”

“I thought you gave pa all the money you had.”

“I gave him forty dollars.”

“How much have you got left?”

“I don’t care to tell.”

This was enough for Loammi, who saw a chance to do his cousin an ill
turn. Accordingly he said to his father that evening: “Pa, did you know
that Scott had money?”

“What do you mean?”

Then Loammi told the story.

“I asked him how much he had, and he wouldn’t tell me. It seems to me
he ought to have handed it to you.”

In this Mr. Little agreed with his son.

“Call Scott,” said he.

Scott was in his small chamber, and there Loammi found him.

“Pa wants to see you, Scott.”

Scott went downstairs and into Mr. Little’s presence.

“Do you wish to see me, sir?”

“Yes. Loammi tells me you have some money.”

“Yes; I have a little money.”

“I thought you gave up all you had when you came here.”

“So I did, all but sixty cents, but I have regretted it since.”

“Why?”

“Because I understood it was to be used for my clothing, and it was
not.”

“I told you in what light I considered it. But I won’t dwell upon that
now. You deceived me in letting me think you had given up all your
money.”

“No, I did not, sir.”

“Then how do you explain your having money at present. Was it given you
by Mr. Lawton?”

“No, sir.”

“Where, then, did you get it?”

“It was money that I was swindled out of by a fellow passenger. I
induced him to return a part of it.”

“How much have you now?”

“About five dollars.”

“You may give it to me.”

“I prefer not to do so, Mr. Little; I need it myself.”

Scott spoke respectfully, but firmly.

“Do you refuse?” demanded Ezra, angrily.

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you think this is a suitable return for all I have done for you?”

“You have given me a home, but it is in return for services in your
store. As for this money, it was given me by my father and I prefer to
keep it.”

Ezra Little was taken aback by the boy’s resolute tone. On the whole, he
decided not to press the demand.

“Be it so,” he said; “but understand that I shall, hereafter, give you
nothing but your board and lodging. When you require clothing or
anything else, you must buy it yourself.”

“I understand, sir.”

“Seth has been talking to that boy,” reflected Ezra Little. “It would
serve him right for me to discharge him.”

But Ezra Little knew that Scott was an excellent salesman, and that he
could not supply his place at less than eight dollars a week, so he did
not care to dismiss him.

“I’ll bring him to terms yet,” he said to himself.

Loammi had a high idea of his personal qualities and social standing.
But he had one grievance.

He received an allowance from his father, but it was much less than he
thought he needed. Ezra Little was not a liberal man. He gave Loammi a
dollar every Saturday night, and obstinately refused to give him more.

“It is very hard to get along on a dollar, pa,” complained Loammi.

“When I was your age I had no allowance at all, my son.”

“You were a poor boy. You were not expected to keep up appearances.”

“You have no clothes to buy. I provide for you in that respect, and I
think you are as well dressed as most of the boys you associate with.”

“I don’t complain of my clothes, but a boy wants to keep up his end
with his school friends. Yesterday afternoon, Henry Bates proposed to me
to go in and get an ice cream, but I couldn’t, for I had no money.”

“Have you spent all your weekly allowance?”

“Yes, every cent.”

“Yet it is only Wednesday.”

“And I must scrimp till Saturday night.”

“Then you should manage better. If you limited yourself to ten cents a
day for the first five days, you would be able to spend twenty-five
cents on Friday and Saturday.”

“That’s easier said than done, pa.”

“I am afraid you are getting extravagant, Loammi.”

“Even Scott goes around with more money in his pocket than I do.”

“How much money has he got?”

“About five dollars.”

“He will have to spend it for clothes. He won’t be able to buy ice cream
with it.”

“Still, it makes a fellow feel good to have as much money as that in his
pocket.”

“Then I advise you to save up money for a few weeks till you have as
much.”

“Pa,” suggested Loammi, insinuatingly, “couldn’t you let me have a
five-dollar bill to carry round with me, so that I could show it to my
friends? They would think more of me.”

“How long do you think it would remain unbroken?” asked his father,
shrewdly.

“Oh, ever so long.”

“I don’t wish to try the experiment. Your friends will respect you
without that. They know that you are the son of a man who is well off.”

“No, they don’t think so, when they see that I am always short of money
and hard up.”

“Then let them think what they please. If they thought you had money
they would want to borrow it, or urge you to spend it on them.”

So Loammi failed in his effort to obtain a larger allowance.

One day–it was Friday–he particularly wanted to use some money and was
without a penny. Under these circumstances it occurred to him that his
despised cousin was well supplied with cash, and might be induced to
accommodate him with a loan.

Scott was rather surprised when, as he was going out after supper,
Loammi joined him.

“Are you going out for a walk?” he asked, in an unusually gracious tone.

“Yes, Loammi.”

“I will join you if you don’t mind.”

“Certainly. I shall be glad to have your company.”

“Have you called on Mr. Lawton lately?”

“No; he is out of town just now. I think he has gone to Philadelphia.”

“Has he got a place?”

“He is doing something, but I don’t know what it is. He doesn’t seem to
say much about his affairs.”

“I hope he won’t spend all his money.”

“So do I. He seems to be generous, even beyond his means.”

“I wish he’d be generous to me,” thought Loammi.

They walked down Broadway, Loammi chatting pleasantly.

“Oh, by the way,” he said, suddenly, “I find I have left my purse at
home. Could you lend me a dollar?”

Then it flashed upon Scott what was the meaning of his cousin’s
agreeable manner. He was of an obliging disposition, but he knew Loammi
well enough to be certain that he would never see his money back.

“I am sorry, Loammi,” he said, “but I am afraid I can’t lend you any
money.”

“Haven’t you got any?”

“Yes, but I have to buy my own clothes, as you know, and I need some
underclothing.”

“That won’t cost much.”

“True, but there are other things I need, also.”

“I don’t ask you to give me the money. To-morrow evening I shall get my
allowance from pa, and then I can pay you back.”

“You must excuse me, Loammi, but I have so little money that I have to
be very careful of that little. If I had some one to buy my clothes for
me, as you have, it would be different.”

“Oh, well,” said Loammi, offended, “do as you like. You seem to forget
that but for pa you would be in the poorhouse.”

“I don’t think I should.”

“Of course you would. Doesn’t he give you your living?”

“No. I earn it.”

“All the same. He gave you a place in his store.”

“I think I could have got work somewhere else. However, I don’t deny
that your father gave me employment.”

“And you repay him by refusing a slight favor to his son.”

“I wish I were differently situated, Loammi, but—-”

“Oh, you needn’t go on. You have refused me a small favor.
Good-evening!” and Loammi left his cousin, and went off in a huff.

“Now, I suppose Loammi will dislike me more than ever,” thought Scott.
“Well, I must put up with it. I am not rich enough to lend him money
which he won’t pay back.”

Meanwhile, Loammi went home in a very unsatisfactory frame of mind. He
was disgusted with himself now because he had humiliated himself so far
as to ask his cousin for a loan.

“I’ll get even with him if I get a chance,” he reflected, angrily.

He was destined to another mortification.

Before he reached home he met a schoolmate named Paul Granger. He wished
he could have avoided him for a reason that will immediately appear, but
Paul met him as he turned in from the corner of West Forty-fourth
Street.

“I am glad to meet you, Loammi,” said Paul. “You are owing me a dollar,
you know. I should like it back, as I want to go to a picnic to-morrow.”

“All right,” said Loammi, and he put his hand in his pocket.

“By Jove!” he exclaimed, in apparent astonishment. “My purse is empty. I
shall have to make you wait a day or two.”

“But I have been waiting already for three weeks,” protested Paul.

“I am sorry, but I really can’t do anything for you to-night. About the
first of next week.”

“Why don’t you ask your father for some money? He is a rich man, isn’t
he?”

“Yes, but he would be angry if he knew that I had borrowed money. He is
very strict about such matters.”

“Then you ought not to have borrowed money of me,” said Paul.

“Oh, I’ll make it all right in a day or two,” said Loammi.
“Good-evening, I am in a little of a hurry.”

Paul Granger walked away, pretty well assured that he would never get
back his dollar.

“I suppose that fellow will be annoying me every day,” said Loammi to
himself. “Heigh-ho! it’s awful inconvenient to be so poor. Pa could make
it all right if he’d open his heart and give me five or ten dollars.”

Loammi entered the house fully convinced that he was very ill used, and
that his father was a very selfish man.

He walked upstairs slowly, and as he passed through the upper hall he
saw the door of his mother’s chamber open. He went in, thinking that he
might be able to borrow from her, when as his eyes glanced around the
room he saw something that made his heart beat quicker.

On the bureau lay a small pocketbook, which he recognized as his
mother’s.

Under present circumstances the sight of a pocketbook affected him
powerfully.

Without any definite idea of what he would do, he walked softly to the
bureau, and taking the pocketbook in his hand, opened it. It contained
two bills, a five-dollar note and a one.

“This would just get me out of my trouble,” he thought. “I wish this
money was mine.”

It was a strong temptation. With the one dollar he could pay Paul
Granger, and the five would last him some time, supplementing what he
called his miserable allowance.

He put the pocketbook in his pocket, and slipping downstairs stealthily,
went out again into the street.

Continue Reading

A HELPING HAND

The next day Mr. Little asked: “Did you take that suit to my tailor for
alterations, Scott?”

“Thank you, sir,” said Scott, coloring, “but I think I will get along
for the present with the suit I am wearing.”

“What does that mean?” demanded Ezra Little, quickly.

“I don’t care to wear Loammi’s clothes.”

“Oh, you are proud, are you?” sneered Mr. Little.

“If it were necessary I would do so, but I think I am entitled to a new
suit.”

“On what do you base your claim?”

“On the money which I handed you, Mr. Little,” replied Scott.

“We will not discuss this question,” said Ezra Little, coldly. “I have
already told you that this money will be needed to pay your expenses.”

Scott did not reply.

“Well, what have you to say to that?”

“Nothing, sir.”

“You have no just cause of complaint. I have offered you a suit which,
when altered, would be almost as good as new. If you change your mind
about accepting it, you may let me know.”

“Very well, sir.”

On Thursday evening Scott made a call at Seth Lawton’s boarding house.

“I am glad to see you, Scott,” said Mr. Lawton, cordially. “But you look
sober.”

“I feel so, Cousin Seth.”

“Why is that? Anything unpleasant happened?”

“I applied to Mr. Little for a new suit. He declined to buy me one, but
said I could have an old suit of Loammi’s altered over for me.”

“Didn’t you mention the money you had placed in his hands?”

“Yes, but he said I was not earning my board, and this would make up the
deficit.”

Seth Lawton rose from his chair and paced the room. It was his habit to
do so when he was disturbed.

“I didn’t think Ezra Little would be so mean, though I knew he was far
from liberal. What did you say to his proposal?”

“I declined it. Loammi is not as large as I am, and, besides, I don’t
feel like wearing his second-hand clothes when Mr. Little has money of
mine in his possession.”

“What do you think of his claim that your services do not pay for your
board?”

“Judging from what I have found out about the pay of other salesmen, I
think that I earn more than my board.”

“I think so, too. So you are to have no new suit?”

“No, sir.”

“Perhaps you will be luckier than you imagine. You must remember that I
am your relative as well as Ezra Little. I will buy you a suit.”

“But, Cousin Seth, I don’t want to put you to that expense. You will
need all your money yourself.”

Seth Lawton smiled.

“I will promise not to put myself to any inconvenience,” he said. “Will
that satisfy you? Will you now refuse a favor at my hands, Scott, my
boy?”

“I would rather receive a favor from you than from Mr. Little, if you
really feel that you can afford it.”

“You need not be apprehensive on that score. At what time do you go out
to lunch?”

“At twelve o’clock.”

“I will call at that time to-morrow, and we will manage to get time to
stop at a tailor’s and leave your measure.”

“But, Cousin Seth, a ready-made suit will answer.”

“As this is the first present I have given you, I will make it a good
one. Probably we can find a tailor near your store.”

“Yes; Mr. Little’s tailor has a shop only three blocks away. Here is his
card.”

“The very thing.”

When the suit was finished Scott put it on at once, and left his old one
to be cleaned and repaired.

It was hardly to be supposed that it would escape the observation of
Loammi and his father. As a matter of fact, it was handsomer than any
his cousin wore.

“Where did you get that suit?” asked Loammi, in amazement.

“It was a present,” answered Scott.

“From whom?”

“Cousin Seth.”

Loammi was not slow in carrying the news to his father.

“Pa,” he said, “see the new suit Mr. Lawton has given Scott.”

Mr. Little put on his glasses and closely examined his young relative.

“Did you ask Mr. Lawton to buy you a suit?” he asked, abruptly.

“No, sir. I did not wish him to go to such an expense.”

“It must have cost at least twenty-five dollars.”

“I think it cost twenty-eight.”

“Seth is a fool. He is probably poor, and could not afford such an
extravagant outlay.”

“He told me he could afford it, and I had to take his word.”

“It is better than my best suit, pa,” complained Loammi.

“You shall have as good a one when you need it. It is only three weeks
since I bought you a suit.”

“Was it a ready-made suit?” asked Loammi of Scott.

“No; it was made to order by the tailor your father mentioned to me.”

“You will soon get it shabby wearing it every day.”

“I don’t intend to do so. I left my old suit to be cleaned and
repaired.”

“Well, you are provided for, for the present, thanks to Seth Lawton’s
folly. I don’t wonder he is poor if that is the way he manages. Do you
know if he has got work yet?”

“He told me part of his time was occupied.”

“I suppose he has got a little job to do at bookkeeping. Possibly it
will pay him twenty-five dollars. On the strength of that he has bought
you a suit at twenty-eight dollars. Seth always was a fool. When he
finds himself in need, it won’t do him any good to apply to me.”

It was clear that Mr. Lawton had not raised himself in the estimation of
his rich relatives by his kindness to Scott.

Among the cash boys who worked in the store was a pleasant-faced boy,
named William Mead. He was two years younger than Scott, but the latter
had taken special notice of him, and without knowing much of him, had
come to feel an interest in him.

Usually Willie, as he was called, was bright and cheerful, but one day
he appeared with a sad countenance.

“What is the matter, Willie?” asked Scott, when the two boys went out
together at the noon hour.

Scott bought his lunch at a neighboring restaurant, but the cash boy
brought his with him from home.

“I don’t like to annoy you with my troubles.”

“But they won’t annoy me. Please think of me as a friend.”

“Then I will tell you. I have a brother three years older than I am, who
earns six dollars a week. He has been sick for two weeks, and my mother
misses his wages. You know I only get two dollars and a half a week.”

“That is very small.”

“Some of the stores pay more, but Mr. Little never pays more than that
to a cash boy. Next week our rent comes due, and as we have a strict
landlord, I am afraid he will put us out when he finds mother is not
ready with the rent.”

“I am sorry for you, Willie,” said Scott, in a tone of sympathy. “Have
you no friend you can call upon for a loan?”

“Our friends are as poor as ourselves.”

“When does your rent come due?”

“Next Saturday.”

“I will think whether I can do anything for you, I will see you again
to-morrow.”

“But you are poor yourself. Mr. Little’s son was at the store one day,
and I overheard him telling one of the salesmen that you were a poor
relation.”

“He is not likely to let me forget that. I am not sure that I can do
anything for you, Willie, but if I can I will.”

“You have already done me good by speaking kindly to me.”

“Come in to lunch with me, Willie. A cup of coffee will do you good.”

That evening Scott had arranged to call on Mr. Lawton. He decided to
tell him of the young cash boy’s troubles. Seth Lawton’s face showed his
sympathy.

“It is really a hard case,” he said. “We must see if we can’t do
something for your friend.”

“I hope you don’t think I was hinting this to you, Cousin Seth.”

“I don’t, but still you won’t object to my doing something for the boy.”

“Mr. Little says you are foolishly generous, and this is why you keep
poor.”

“He will never make himself poor by his generosity. If you have the
boy’s address we will call upon him.”

The cash boy and his mother lived in a westside tenement house.

Just in front of the house, Scott met Willie Mead with a loaf of bread
which he was bringing home from a neighboring bakery. His eye lighted up
with pleasure when he saw Scott.

“Do you live here, Willie?” asked Scott.

“Yes, we live on the fourth floor.”

“I have brought a gentleman with me who may be able to help your mother.
We will follow you upstairs.”

“You may not like to climb so high, sir,” said the cash boy, turning to
Mr. Lawton.

“I think I can stand it for once,” rejoined Seth Lawton. “I am a little
more scant of breath than when I was a young man, but I am still good
for a climb.”

Willie started ahead and the two visitors followed him.

“We will stop here on the landing till you have told your mother she is
to have visitors,” said Seth, considerately.

The boy opened a door and entered a rear room. He reappeared in a short
time, and said: “Come in, please.”

The room was neat, but the scanty and well-worn furniture showed
evidences of dire poverty.

Mrs. Mead, a woman of forty, though poorly dressed, had a look of
refinement, though her face was sad and anxious.

As she watched the entrance of the visitors her eyes seemed riveted upon
Seth Lawton. She took a step forward.

“Surely,” she said, “I cannot be deceived. This is Seth Lawton.”

“You know me?” said Seth, in amazement.

“Yes, and you ought to know me. We were born in the same village.”

“Mary Grant!” ejaculated Seth, after a brief scrutiny.

“That was my name. Now I am Mary Mead. I married, but my husband is
dead. But sit down. It does me good to see an old friend.”

“It seems incredible,” said Seth, as he took the proffered seat. “We met
last in England, and now again under strange and unexpected
circumstances.” Seth Lawton seemed moved, but his tone was one of
satisfaction.

“Yes, Seth, much has happened since we parted.”

“How long have you lived in America?”

“Ten years.”

“And when did your husband die?”

“Three years since. He left me nothing but the children, and it has been
a sad and sorrowful time. We have lived, but there have been times when
we have been on the verge of starvation. And you, how has it been with
you?”

“I have no right to complain. I have lived comfortably. You know Ezra
Little?”

“Yes, it was at my request that he took Willie into his store. But the
two dollars and a half a week, which he pays him, seems very small.”

“I should think so. Didn’t he know how poor you were?” asked Seth,
indignantly.

“Yes, but he said he could not favor one cash boy more than the rest.”

“Then he might have made you a present.”

“I don’t think it ever occurred to him, Seth. But how did you find me?
Did he give you my address?”

“No, that was not likely. Scott Walton–you must have known his mother,
my cousin Lucy–works in the same store. It was he who heard of your
trouble and reported it to me. Now tell me how you are situated.”

“We are likely to be turned out of these poor rooms, because we cannot
pay the rent. My eldest boy, Sam, has been sick, and as he earned six
dollars a week, it took most of our income from us. Next week I think he
will be able to go to work again.”

“This is a poor place for you, Mary.”

“We are glad of even this shelter. We are too poor to be particular.”

“Your income consists only of what the two boys earn?”

“I earn something by sewing, but I have no sewing machine, and the
prices paid are very low. Still, every little helps.”

“If you had a whole house and kept lodgers, you could make a better
income.”

“No doubt, and I think I could do it if I had the means. But with no
capital, that is out of the question,” she finished, with a sigh.

“I have a proposal to make to you. I have a room in a house on West
Sixteenth Street. It is a moderate sized house, and is to let
furnished. My present landlady is desirous of giving up the house, as
she wishes to be with her mother in the country, but she is tied by a
lease. Suppose you take it off her hands?”

“I should like nothing better, but you can judge whether an offer from
one so poor as myself would be accepted.”

“Don’t trouble yourself about that,” said Seth Lawton, quietly. “I will
arrange it all, and will retain my room. I may say that the rooms are
all taken, so that you would be sure of an income at once.”

“I should like the arrangement very much, and I should like especially
to have you with me, Seth; but it seems like a dream.”

“We will make it a reality. I will see Mrs. Field this evening, and call
on you again to-morrow. When does your month here expire?”

“In three days.”

“The time is short, but it is sufficient. You will hear from me very
soon. Meanwhile accept this small favor.” He drew from his pocket a
ten-dollar note, and handed it to the widow.

“You are too kind, Seth,” she said, gratefully. “You look poor yourself,
and—-”

“I never was in the habit of dressing very handsomely,” said Mr.
Lawton, smiling, “and just at present I look shabbier than usual.
Perhaps I have an object in it. At any rate, it is a fact. The help I
offer you will not embarrass me in the least.”

“What a difference between you and Ezra Little,” said Mrs. Mead. “He has
never offered me a dollar, though he knew me as well as you.”

“He acts according to his nature, Mary. Scott is an orphan–his father
died on the ship that brought them over from England–but Ezra treats
him as meanly as he has treated you and your boy. He makes him work for
his board, and has refused him a suit of clothes, though he stood in
need of it.”

Mr. Lawton remained for half an hour. Then he rose, and went downstairs,
followed by Scott.

“It is strange you should have met an old acquaintance, Cousin Seth,”
said Scott.

“More than an acquaintance, Scott. It may seem strange to you that an
old fellow like me should ever have been in love, but the time was when
I was in love with Mary Grant, and asked her to be my wife.”

“And she refused you?”

“Yes, Scott; I was fifteen years her senior, and she liked the man,
whom she soon after married, better. It was this disappointment chiefly
that led to my leaving England. I am very glad to have met Mary again.
Though years have passed I have not lost my attachment for her. I am
glad indeed that I can do the poor woman a service.”

His voice softened as he spoke, and it was clear that his early romance
was not dead.

“Mr. Mead was a handsome man,” continued Seth. “You can judge of that,
for the boy Willie looks like him. He made a good husband, I presume,
but he had not the knack of succeeding in life.”

“Like Mr. Little.”

“Yes, like Ezra Little.”

It occurred to Scott that the same thing might be said of Seth Lawton
himself, but he would not, of course, speak of it. He was beginning to
have a sincere respect and regard for Cousin Seth.

What matter if he were poor–at least compared with Ezra Little–he
evidently had a kind heart, and was inclined to be generous beyond his
means.

“All cannot become rich,” said Scott. “I wish you had Mr. Little’s
money, though.”

“Don’t wish that, Scott, for without that Ezra would be poor indeed. It
is all that he has to boast of.”

“I am afraid it will be the same with Loammi.”

“With this difference: Ezra, with all his faults, is enterprising and
industrious, and I don’t think his son will be either. In the race of
life you may eclipse him, after all.”

“It doesn’t seem much like it now.”

“No, but you are young yet, and time often works wonders.”

“Won’t it cost a good deal to set up Mrs. Mead in her new business?”
asked Scott, thoughtfully.

“Not very much. She will enter into a house fully furnished and
equipped, and with a sure and prompt income from a good set of lodgers.”

“I hope she will succeed.”

“I think she will. If Ezra would pay you wages, in place of giving you a
home in his house, you might take a room there, too.”

“I wish I could.”

“Well, it may come about some time. But look, there is Loammi.”

Yes, it was Loammi, sporting a light cane, and evidently on very good
terms with himself.

“Good-evening, Loammi,” said Cousin Seth.

“Good-evening, Mr. Lawton,” responded Loammi, patronizingly. “Are you
and Scott taking a walk?”

“Yes; and you?”

“Oh, I have been to call on a schoolmate. His father’s awful rich.”

“We, too, have been to make a call–on the mother of one of your
father’s cash boys.”

Loammi turned up his nose.

“You keep fashionable company,” he said.

“We are not fashionable, like you, Loammi,” said Scott, smiling.

“No, of course not,” answered Loammi, in a matter-of-course tone. “Well,
ta, ta!”

“I wonder how that boy will turn out!” said Cousin Seth, thoughtfully.

Continue Reading

THE SECOND-HAND SUIT

Ezra Little asked a good many questions of his new-found relative, but
Seth Lawton’s answers were vague.

“I don’t see why you ever came to New York,” said his host.

“I feel repaid already,” replied Seth. “It does me good to see my
relations. I am glad especially to find you doing so well.”

“I wish I could return the compliment,” said Ezra, pointedly.

“Oh, I don’t complain,” responded Mr. Lawton.

“Don’t you ever consider what would become of you if you should get
sick?”

“I am in pretty fair health, thank you, Ezra. I am not likely to injure
my health with rich living.”

Loammi indulged in a boisterous laugh. He evidently thought this a good
joke.

Seth Lawton eyed his young relative with a glance of curiosity. Scott
flushed, for he felt that Loammi was disrespectful.

“Loammi thinks it a joke to be poor,” he said to himself.

When they rose from the table, Ezra Little said: “You will have to
excuse me, Seth. There is a meeting this evening of some bank directors,
and, as I am one of them, I ought to attend.”

“Oh, don’t mind me, Ezra. I can call again.”

“Of course we expect you to do so,” said his wealthy relative, but there
was no cordiality in his tone.

“Perhaps the boys will take a walk with me,” suggested Seth. “I shall be
glad to have them call at my room.”

“Where is your room?” asked Loammi.

“In West Sixteenth Street.”

“I have an engagement,” said Loammi, very brusquely.

“How is it with you?” asked Mr. Lawton, turning to Scott.

“I shall be happy to go with you, Cousin Seth,” answered Scott,
pleasantly.

Seth Lawton looked pleased.

Mr. Little had gone off in a hurry, followed by Loammi. Mr. Lawton and
Scott remained a short time in conversation with Mrs. Little; then they,
too, went out.

“I invited your cousin out of politeness,” said Mr. Lawton, “but I am
quite as well pleased to have you alone. I don’t think Loammi will ever
care much for me.”

“He doesn’t like poor relations,” observed Scott. “He takes very little
notice of me.”

Seth Lawton smiled.

“Then if I were rich you think Loammi would be more polite?”

“I am sure of it.”

“I am afraid it can’t be helped then. I am too old to start in to make a
fortune; but you are young. You may be a rich man in time.”

“It doesn’t look much like it now.”

“Most of the rich men in New York and other American cities were once
poor boys.”

“I don’t think my chances will be very good while I work for Mr. Little.
I hope you will remain in New York.”

“That will depend on circumstances. As Ezra Little said, a man of my age
doesn’t stand a good chance to get a position.”

“I think you said you kept books in the West?”

“Yes, a part of the time.”

“Shall you try to get a bookkeeper’s place here?”

“I have not decided. I think I must call at Ezra’s store to-morrow. I
have some curiosity to see it.”

“I wish it were your store instead of his.”

“He would not join you in the wish. Besides, I don’t think I should care
to be in the dry-goods business. I suppose you mean that you would
rather work for me than for him?”

“Yes.”

“Thank you for the compliment, Scott. It doesn’t look likely at present
that I shall ever be your employer. I hope, however, that our friendship
will continue and become more intimate.”

They had walked to Broadway, and sauntered slowly down that brilliant
thoroughfare. As they were passing the Fifth Avenue Hotel a fine-looking
man, who had just left it, espied Scott’s companion.

“How are you, Mr. Lawton?” he said, cordially, offering his hand.

“Very well, thank you, Mr. Mitchell.”

“I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“I haven’t been here for a good many years, but I took a fancy to make
a brief visit, and see how the city has changed. I suppose you are here
on particular business?”

“Well, perhaps so,” laughed the other. “I am staying at this hotel. Call
if you have time. I shall be here three days. That is not your son?”

“No; I am not married. It is a young cousin, Scott Walton.”

“I am glad to make your acquaintance, my boy,” said Mr. Mitchell,
pleasantly.

“Thank you, sir.”

Here the conference ended.

“That is a member of Congress from Michigan,” explained Seth Lawton, in
response to a look of inquiry. “I suppose he has run on from Washington
for a few days.”

“Is he a smart man?”

“Yes, he may be governor some time. He is a rising man.”

Scott was somewhat surprised to find that his poor relation had such a
prominent acquaintance; it seemed to indicate that even if he were poor
and dressed shabbily, he held a good social position in his western
home.

At length they reached West Sixteenth Street, and stopped at a plain
three-story house. Mr. Lawton took out a night key and led the way
inside and upstairs.

He occupied a front room on the second floor. It was of good size and
well, though plainly, furnished.

Scott was agreeably surprised. He thought his cousin would probably
occupy a small hall bedroom, for he had been long enough in New York to
know that lodgings were expensive. Everything looked comfortable. There
was a lounge in one corner with the head toward the window.

“I lie down here when I feel lazy,” said Mr. Lawton.

“Do you board here also, Cousin Seth?”

“Partially. I breakfast in the house, but it is more convenient to take
my other meals outside.”

Mr. Lawton’s trunk was on one side of the fireplace. It was a
substantial-looking trunk, somewhat the worse for wear.

“I have in my trunk, somewhere,” he said, “a picture of your mother,
taken at the age of twenty. Would you like to see it?”

“Very much,” answered Scott, eagerly. “I have one taken a few months
before she died, but she was in ill health then.”

Seth Lawton opened the trunk and soon found a small photograph album.
The second picture represented the attractive face of a young woman of
twenty.

“Do you recognize it?” asked Seth.

“Yes,” answered Scott, the tears coming to his eyes. “I wish I had one
like it.”

“I will have it copied, and you shall have one of the copies.”

“I don’t like to put you to that expense, Cousin.”

“The expense will be small. In return, you must show me the later
picture of your mother. She was my favorite cousin.”

“I will be glad to do so. You have a very comfortable room.”

“Yes. I hope you have a good room at Mr. Little’s.”

Scott shook his head.

“I don’t want to complain, but I should like it better if there were a
window in it.”

“No window?” repeated Seth, puzzled.

“No. It is an inside room on the third floor.”

“Small, I suppose?”

“Yes; I don’t think it is more than eight feet by ten.”

“It must be close.”

“It is. Still, the bed is comfortable.”

“What sort of a room does your cousin Loammi have?”

“A fine room on the second floor, large and handsomely furnished.”

“Is there no larger and better room which you could occupy?”

“Yes, there are two, but they consider my little room good enough for
me.”

Seth Lawton looked thoughtful.

“I am sorry you are not more comfortably accommodated,” he said. “There
may be better things in store for you, however. By the way, I see your
trousers are frayed about the bottoms.”

“Yes; they are getting shabby.”

“You ought to have a new pair.”

“Yes; but I don’t like to speak to Mr. Little.”

“You need feel no hesitation. He has fifty dollars of yours, you told
me.”

“Forty dollars.”

“Enough, at any rate, to provide you with new clothes. Your coat is
beginning to show signs of wear.”

“Yes; I am as careful of it as possible, but it will wear.”

“Take my advice and ask Mr. Little at once to give you some new
clothes.”

“I will if you advise it.”

“I do; and let me know how your application is received. This is
Tuesday. Call on me again Thursday evening if you can.”

“I will, Cousin Seth.”

The rest of the evening was spent in talking of old times and scenes.
Scott was much interested in what Mr. Lawton told him of his mother’s
early days. When he left the house Seth Lawton accompanied him as far as
the Fifth Avenue Hotel.

“I will go in and see if Mr. Mitchell is in,” he said. “Good-night,
Scott.”

When Scott reached home he found Loammi still up.

“Did you go to Mr. Lawton’s room?” the latter asked.

“Yes.”

“What sort of a place does he live in–a tenement house?”

“No; he has a very good room in West Sixteenth Street.”

“He will soon be out of money if he lives expensively.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because he is evidently poor. Didn’t you notice his clothes?”

“Yes, but I don’t think he cares much about dress.”

“I guess you’re right there. Pa thinks he was a fool to come to New
York. If he expects to fall back on pa when he has spent all his money,
he’ll be disappointed.”

“I don’t think he has any such expectations. He seems like an
independent man. He fell in with an acquaintance from Michigan who is
staying at the Fifth Avenue Hotel.”

Loammi looked surprised.

“Who was it?” he asked.

“Quite a nice-looking man. He is a member of Congress.”

“Then how does he happen to be in New York?” asked Loammi,
incredulously.

“He is here on a little business. He goes back to Washington in two or
three days.”

“Did Mr. Lawton seem to know him well?”

“Yes; the congressman was very cordial.”

“Politicians have to know everybody,” remarked Loammi, after a pause. He
found it difficult to conceive of “Cousin Seth” having any high-toned
friends.

Scott took his lamp and went to bed. In his small chamber there was no
gas jet, but this he did not mind. In England gas is not used as
extensively as in the United States, and he was more accustomed to lamps
or candles.

As he slowly undressed, he felt more cheerful than usual. It seemed
pleasanter to have found a relative who appeared to like him. He could
not feel toward Ezra Little or Loammi as if they were relations.

“I am very sorry Cousin Seth is not better off,” he said to himself. “If
he can’t get a place in the city, I suppose he will have to go back to
the West. I hope not, for I shall miss him.”

The next day Seth Lawton came to the Eighth Avenue store, and found his
way to the department where Scott was a salesman.

“What are you selling, Scott?” he asked, with a smile.

“Socks, Cousin Seth.”

“I think I shall have to buy some, just to say that I have bought from
you. What do you charge?”

“Here are some merino socks that we sell three pairs for a dollar.”

“Pick me out three–No. 9½.”

Scott did so, and Mr. Lawton handed him a five-dollar gold piece.

A cash boy was called, the goods and money were handed to him, and in
due time the bundle and change were brought back.

Just then Mr. Little, who had been out to lunch, came back, and passing
by the sock counter recognized Mr. Lawton.

“Good-morning, Ezra,” said Seth. “You have a fine store.”

“Quite fair, but not so large as some,” returned Ezra Little. “I am
cramped for room. I think of taking in the adjoining store next year.”

“I suppose you are getting rich.”

“Not so fast as I should like. Expenses are very large. How would you
like to run a store like this, Cousin Seth?” he added, in a complaisant
tone.

“Not very well. I might like to own it, but I don’t think dry goods are
in my line.”

“I fancy not,” said Ezra, in a tone of calm superiority. “It takes some
business ability to run a large store.”

“No doubt you have the necessary ability,” observed Seth, with a smile.

“Well, I manage to do it.”

“I hope Scott will be as successful as you have been.”

“It isn’t every one who works in a dry-goods store who rises beyond a
salesman,” returned Ezra Little, with a cold glance at Scott.

As the proprietor of the store passed on to his office, Seth Lawton
said: “Have you been out to lunch, Scott?”

“Yes, Cousin Seth.”

“I am sorry. I would have invited you to lunch with me.”

“Thank you. Perhaps I can go some other day.”

“Good-afternoon, then. Remember to-morrow evening.”

“I won’t forget.”

On the way home from the store, Scott took the opportunity to speak of a
new suit.

“Mr. Little,” he said, “I am afraid I shall have to ask you for some new
clothes.”

“What’s the matter with those you are wearing?” asked Ezra Little,
coldly.

“The trousers are frayed around the bottoms, and the coat is getting
faded.”

“You seem to have high notions for a poor boy,” continued his employer,
in a tone of displeasure.

“I like to look neat,” Scott answered, with spirit.

“You are as well dressed as most of the boys who work in the store.”

“They are cash boys, while I am behind the counter. Besides, I don’t
ask you to pay out of your own pocket.”

“That is just what I will have to do if I comply with your request.”

“You have forty dollars of mine, Mr. Little; the money I handed you when
I went into the store.”

“You seem to forget that this is to pay the difference between what you
receive–a home–and what you would get in any other store like mine.”

“Don’t you think I earn my board?” asked Scott, mortified.

“No, of course not. Did Mr. Lawton put you up to asking for new
clothes?”

“He said he thought I needed some new ones.”

“Just as I thought. It won’t be long, probably, before he wants you to
borrow money on his account.”

“I don’t think he will ask for any.”

“You seem to know him well. On what do you base this opinion?”

“He seems to be too independent.”

“In feeling, yes; but I don’t think he has independent means.”

“Then you are not willing to buy me new clothes, Mr. Little?”

“I will think it over, and let you know what I decide.”

It was a trial to Scott to prefer his request, though it seemed to him
necessary. Though his father had been poor, he had always been neatly
dressed, and in a store he was subject to an unusual amount of scrutiny.
He felt that his own money ought to be expended for what he needed.

Then, as to not earning his board, he knew that no salesman who sold as
much as he did received less than eight dollars a week. It certainly did
seem mean in Ezra Little to pay him less than his board.

What he should do if his application was denied he did not know. To be
sure, he had enough left of the ten dollars he had recovered from
Crawford Lane to buy a pair of trousers, but a new coat would be beyond
his means.

During supper no reference was made to the subject, but as they were
rising from the table, Mr. Little turned to his son and said: “How do
you compare in size with Scott?”

“We are of about the same size.”

In reality, Scott was two inches taller than his cousin, and probably as
much larger in chest measure.

“So I thought,” returned Mr. Little. “Scott thinks he needs some new
clothes. Look over your suits, and see if you haven’t one you can give
him.”

“Why should I give him my clothes, pa?”

“I will make it up to you.”

“All right! Will you buy me a new suit?”

“Yes.”

“Very well, then, I’m willing.”

“You can go upstairs with Loammi,” said Mr. Little, “and he will pick
you out a suit that he has laid aside.”

Scott flushed indignantly. He was not without pride, and it galled him
to have his cousin’s clothes turned over to him.

“Excuse me, Mr. Little,” he said, “but I am taller and stouter than
Loammi. I could not wear any of his cast-off suits.”

“You mean you are too proud to do so,” said Ezra Little, sharply.

“Perhaps I am, but at any rate they would not be large enough for me.”

“That is an excuse.”

“I will try on a suit, and let you see.”

“Do so.”

Scott went upstairs with his cousin, and put on a suit selected for him
by Loammi, the poorest he had, and came downstairs.

The trousers were nearly two inches too short, and the coat was
evidently too narrow across the shoulder.

“It seems to fit very well,” said Ezra.

“Why, Mr. Little,” exclaimed his wife, “it doesn’t fit Scott at all.”

“Then we will send it to a tailor and have it altered,” said her
husband.

Scott made no comment, but he made up his mind that he would get along
with his old suit rather than wear his cousin’s.

Continue Reading

SETH LAWTON

Scott went with his uncle to the store the next morning. It was rather
an humble imitator of the larger stores which keep everything for sale.

In any city but New York it would be considered a big store, but it
could not, of course, compare with Macy’s, Ehrich’s, Simpson &
Crawford’s, and other large bazaars, equally well known. It followed the
methods of these stores, however, and generally had some article in
which special bargains were offered.

When Mr. Little led the way into the store, where from twenty-five to
thirty salesmen were employed, besides cash boys and girls, Scott, who
was not used to American shops, thought it a very large one, and his
respect for Mr. Little increased, as a merchant on a large scale.

Ezra Little, followed by Scott, walked through the store and paused as
he reached a tall man of about forty, with pretentious side whiskers.

“Mr. Allen,” he said, “I have brought with me a new clerk. His name is
Scott Walton, and he is a distant relative of mine. I suppose he has no
experience, and I don’t know whether he has any business capacity, but
we will try him. Where can you make room for him?”

“In the handkerchief department, I think,” replied the superintendent.
“We have a drive in there, and there is more doing in that department
than usual.”

“Very well, give him the necessary instructions.”

“Follow me, my boy,” said the superintendent.

He led the way to the lower end of the store, where there was a large
display of handkerchiefs, at prices ranging from five cents up to fifty.

“You can take your place at this counter,” said Allen. “All the
handkerchiefs are marked, so that you will have no trouble about the
price. Take care that the different grades don’t get mixed. It would not
do, for instance, for a twenty-five cent handkerchief to get among the
fifteen centers, or vice versa. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I will give you a book, in which you will mark sales. When you have
made one, call a cash boy and send the goods and money by him to the
cashier’s desk. It is rather lucky that Mr. Little brought you, as we
are one clerk short. Mr. Cameron is absent on account of sickness.”

Scott listened to these instructions with interest. He had never acted
as salesman, but he felt instinctively that he had a taste for the work.
He had a little feeling of exhilaration, as he felt he had been raised
at once to a position of responsibility.

With mind alert and eyes on the lookout for customers, he began his
work. He also watched his fellow clerks to see how they acted, and
copied them as far as he was able.

Two things helped him. He had an agreeable, well-modulated voice and a
very pleasant face, which seemed to attract customers. He soon found
himself full of business, and bustled about like an experienced
salesman.

From time to time the superintendent passed Scott’s counter and glanced
approvingly at the young salesman, who seemed so busy.

Meeting Mr. Little about noon, he said: “That boy is going to make a
good salesman.”

“Is he?”

“Yes; I have watched him carefully, and I can judge. He is a relation
of yours, you say, Mr. Little.”

“Yes; his mother was my cousin.”

“Indeed! Is he an American?”

“No, he is an English boy.”

“And you say he has never been in a store before?”

“Never, so he says.”

“Then he is a born salesman.”

“I am glad to hear it,” said Ezra Little, indifferently. “He is
penniless, and has his own way to make.”

At twelve o’clock his uncle came up to the counter.

“Here is some money,” he said. “You can go out and buy some lunch. We
can’t spare you to go home.”

“Very well, sir.”

“Mind you are not away more than half an hour.”

“I suppose I shan’t have to go far?”

“No, there is a place on the next block where you can buy what you
need.”

Scott put on his hat and left the store. He looked to see the amount of
his lunch money. It was fifteen cents. This was not liberal, but he
felt that he could make it do.

He joined another clerk, who guided him to a small place where, with his
money, he was able to buy a cup of coffee, a sandwich and a piece of
pie. His companion, who was a man of twenty-five, allowed himself a
larger margin.

“Are you a new hand?” asked Mr. Sturgis, his fellow clerk.

“Yes, I only came in this morning.”

“What are you in?”

“Handkerchiefs.”

“They usually put beginners in that department. How’d you get the
place?”

“Mr. Little is a cousin of my mother.”

“Ah, that’s it. Where do you live?”

“At his house.”

“How do you like him?”

“I don’t know him very well yet.”

“I know him very well, for I have been here three years. There are not
many who stay here so long–that is, in the store.”

“Why not?”

“If you wasn’t a relative, I’d tell you.”

“I don’t think that need prevent,” said Scott, smiling.

“Well, Little has the reputation of paying very mean salaries. He is a
very close-fisted man. How much does he pay you?”

“I get my board.”

“How will you manage for clothes?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. You look pretty well now,
but Ezra Little won’t clothe you in purple and fine linen.”

“How is it you stay so long if the salaries are so poor?” was Scott’s
natural question.

“Well, I am well known and have a considerable trade of my own. I was
once junior partner in a firm on Sixth Avenue, but we failed. By the
way, Scott, how do you like your cousin, Loammi?”

“I am not in love with him,” answered Scott, with a smile.

“We all dislike him here. He sometimes comes to the store, and puts on
the airs of a boss.”

At six o’clock the store closed for the day. On Saturday evenings it was
kept open later. Scott did not accompany his uncle home, as Mr. Little
had a little business that detained him.

It was about a mile to Forty-seventh Street, but Scott did not object to
walking. It was pleasant for him after spending the day indoors to have
a walk in the open air.

We will pass over a period of six weeks. Scott was no longer in the
handkerchief department. He had been promoted to a more important
position.

He still liked the business. The days passed quickly for him when trade
was good. It was only when the weather was unpleasant and business dull
that he found the time hang heavy on his hands.

He did not see much of Loammi. Though they lived in the same house they
were not often together, except at meals.

Usually after supper, Loammi took a walk, but he never invited Scott to
go with him. Once when Scott proposed to do so, his cousin declined the
companionship curtly.

“I have a special engagement,” he said. “I don’t care for company.”

After that Scott, who had his share of pride, kept to himself. He saw
that Loammi looked upon him as a poor relation.

One evening when he returned from the store, he was surprised to have
Loammi meet him just outside the door.

“I am glad you have come,” he said. “There’s an old frump inside who
says he is a cousin of pa’s. He is old and shabby, and I expect he wants
to live on pa. It looks as if he would be overwhelmed with poor
relations.”

“I suppose he is a cousin of mine, too.”

“Yes; for Heaven’s sake, go in and keep him company. I’ll introduce
you.”

“If he is a cousin of mother’s, I shall be glad to know him.”

“You can have him all to yourself. Goodness knows I never want to see
him again.”

Scott followed Loammi into the house, and into the reception room.

There on a sofa sat a small old man, whose clothing, though scrupulously
clean, was worn and shabby. His face was wrinkled, but the expression
was pleasant.

“I think I shall like him better than Mr. Little,” thought Scott.

The time was coming when he would need a friend, and this old man was
destined to play an important part in his future experiences.

“Mr. Lawton,” said Loammi, “this boy is Scott Walton. His mother was a
cousin of ours. Pa has given him a place in the store, because he hasn’t
any money.”

Seth Lawton looked at Scott eagerly.

“My boy,” he said, grasping Scott’s hand, “your mother was my favorite
cousin. Poor Lucy, when I last saw her she was just married to your
father. Is she–is she dead?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Scott. “She died when I was but five years old.”

“Poor Lucy, poor girl!” said the old man, sighing. “And your father?”

“He is dead, too. He died but a few weeks since on the ship that brought
us over from Liverpool.”

“And there were no other children?”

“No, I was the only one.”

“Mr. Lawton,” said Loammi, who had been listening impatiently, “you
must excuse me, as I must go upstairs and prepare for dinner.”

Mr. Lawton scarcely noticed Loammi’s unceremonious exit, he was so
occupied with Scott.

“So you are my cousin, too,” he said, in a softened voice. “I never saw
you before, but I know I shall like you. You have a look like your
mother.”

“I was thought to look like mother,” said Scott.

“How old are you?”

“I shall be sixteen in a few weeks.”

“You are young to be an orphan. I judge from what your cousin says that
you were left poor.”

“Yes, father was unfortunate. He was so honest himself that he allowed
people to cheat him.”

“There are too many such cases. But I am glad that Cousin Ezra has
opened his heart and given you a home.”

“Yes,” said Scott, briefly.

He was not disposed to be ungrateful, but it did not seem to him that he
owed a very large debt of gratitude to Mr. Little, who had taken all
his money and merely gave him his board in return for his services in
the store.

“Do you find your cousin–what is his name?–a pleasant companion?”

“Loammi and I do not see much of each other, Mr. Lawton.”

Seth Lawton looked at Scott shrewdly.

“I am not surprised to hear it,” he said. “Loammi reminds me of his
father very strongly.”

“He looks upon me as a poor relation,” continued Scott, smiling.

“Do you mind that much?”

“A little. I don’t mean to be poor always.”

“A wise determination. So you have a place in the store?”

“Yes, sir.”

“How do you like that?”

“Very much. I like business. I don’t have much to do with Mr. Little
there, but the superintendent, Mr. Allen, is just, and encourages me to
do my best.”

“I am glad to hear that. Do you think Ezra is prosperous?”

“I should think so. He seems to be doing a good business.”

“Does he strike you as a good manager?”

“He keeps down expenses. The clerks say that he pays poorer wages than
anyone in the trade.”

“That isn’t always the sign of a good manager,” said Seth Lawton,
slowly. “Clerks will always work better for a generous employer. So, on
the whole, Ezra may be considered well-to-do?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I am always glad to hear that my friends–and relatives are
prospering.”

“You don’t look as if you were very prosperous yourself,” thought Scott.
“I suppose you, too, are a poor relation.”

“How much does Ezra pay you?”

“My board.”

“That wouldn’t be bad if you were a stranger. But how do you manage
about clothes?”

“My father left me fifty dollars. Mr. Little took charge of it, and I
suppose he will buy me clothing out of it.”

“Humph!” said Seth Lawton, dryly. “He seems to put everything on a
business basis.”

Just then the door opened, and Ezra Little entered the room. He was
prepared to see Mr. Lawton, Loammi having apprised him of his arrival.

He came forward, eying Mr. Lawton closely.

“He’s as poor as poverty!” he said to himself. “He doesn’t seem to have
made much of a success.”

“This is a surprise, Seth,” said he, offering his hand coldly. “I had
almost forgotten you.”

“Very natural, Cousin Ezra,” said the old man, smiling.

“Where have you been all these years?”

“I have been a wanderer, Ezra. I have been in America for the last few
years. I came from Michigan last.”

“Have you married?”

“No; I am alone.”

“Perhaps it is just as well. You have been at less expense.”

“True. You, however, have married, and, as I judge, are prosperous.”

“Yes, I have a good business on Eighth Avenue,” said Ezra Little,
complacently. “I haven’t been a rolling stone.”

“Like me?”

“Well, yes, like you.”

“And so you have gathered some moss.”

“Yes; I think it a duty to succeed.”

“If possible.”

“A man can succeed if he goes to work the right way,” said Ezra,
dogmatically.

“Well, perhaps so,” admitted Seth, slowly.

“How long have you been in New York?”

“I arrived last week.”

“From Michigan?”

“Yes.”

“Do you plan to stay here?”

“Well, I have not quite decided. I took a little while to get settled,
and then I looked you up in the directory. But I have found more than I
bargained for. I did not know that any of Lucy’s family were in
America,” and he nodded in the direction of Scott.

“Yes,” answered Ezra, with a slight frown; “Scott’s father took it into
his head to come to America when he was in the last stages of
consumption. He died on the passage leaving his son to the cold mercies
of the world.”

“And you kindly took him into your home?”

“Well, I couldn’t see him starve,” said Mr. Little, ungraciously. “So I
gave him a place in my store.”

“I hope he is doing well there.”

“Oh, yes, he is doing well enough. The work is not hard.”

“So that you receive some equivalent for your kindness.”

“Oh, I could get a boy to do the same work for three dollars a week.”

“Well, Ezra, I think you won’t lose anything by your kindness to an
orphan relative.”

“I will do what I can for him, but I can’t undertake to help any more
poor relations.”

His tone was significant, and Seth understood it, but his feelings did
not seem to be hurt.

“Possibly you were thinking of me, Ezra,” he said, mildly.

“Are you a poor relation?” asked Ezra Little, bluntly.

“That is hard to tell. Ideas of poverty are comparative. I have always
supported myself, and I hope I shall continue to do so. In a great city
like this I can surely find something to do.”

“I think you would better have remained in Michigan. What were you doing
there?”

“I kept books for a man in the lumber business,” answered Seth.

“You couldn’t get a chance to keep books here. Your age would be against
you, for one thing, Seth.”

“I am only fifty-six, Ezra.”

“That is old when you are seeking a position. I hope you have some
money to fall back upon.”

“I have a little, and then I was always able to live frugally.”

“That is wise. You might, perhaps, expect that I would give you a place
in my store, but you would not do for the dry-goods business.”

“I don’t think I should,” said the old man, candidly. “I have never been
accustomed to very close confinement.”

“Pa, supper’s ready!” announced Loammi, opening the door.

“Will you walk out and take supper with us, Seth?”

“Thank you, Ezra. It will be pleasant to sit down with relations. It is
many years since I have done so.”

Seth Lawton was introduced to Mrs. Little, who greeted him kindly,
though, like her husband and son, she looked upon him as a poor
relation. She had a better disposition than they, and was not so worldly
minded.

Seth Lawton was seated next to Scott on one side of the table. Opposite
sat Loammi.

“Put the two poor relations together, ma,” he had said to his mother,
beforehand. “Pa’ll have his hands full if any more come to the city.”

“They are not to blame for their poverty,” returned Mrs. Little.

“I should hate to be poor,” said Loammi, emphatically.

“Your father and I were poor once.”

“But you got bravely over it. That’s because pa was smart. This old
man–Seth Lawton–looks as if he wasn’t worth a hundred dollars, and he
must be ten years older than pa.”

Continue Reading

AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE

After Scott paid his hotel bill and reached his new home, he found that
he had just sixty cents left in his purse. To be sure, he would be at no
more expense for meals, but it made him feel poor.

When he left the ship he had one hundred dollars. There certainly had
been a great shrinkage in his resources.

He was taken by the servant to an inside room on the upper floor. Of
course there was no window, and the only light that entered the room was
from the transom.

It seemed gloomy, and bade fair to be very close. If it had only been an
outside room with a small window, Scott would have been more content. As
it was, he found that the two servants were much better provided for
than he.

The bed, however, was comfortable, and this was a partial compensation.
But he reflected with disappointment that the room would be available
only at night. He could not very well sit in it by day, as it was too
dark for him to read.

“I shall be glad when I get to work,” he thought. “That will take up my
time.”

Meanwhile, as it was but ten o’clock, it occurred to him that he would
call upon Justin Wood at the Gilsey House. He easily found the hotel,
which is on the corner of Twenty-ninth Street and Broadway.

He did not have to inquire for Mr. Wood, as he saw that gentleman
through the window, sitting in the reading room.

Justin Wood looked up from the paper he was reading and recognized Scott
at once.

“I am glad to see you, my young friend,” he said, with a pleasant smile.
“What luck have you had?”

“I have found a place, sir.”

“That is good. It hasn’t taken you long.”

“No, sir.”

“I am afraid it isn’t a very good place. You don’t look in good
spirits.”

“No, sir; I am afraid I shan’t like it.”

“How did you obtain it?”

“Through the relation I was telling you about. He keeps a dry-goods
store on Eighth Avenue, and he will give me a place in his employ.”

“Then he has treated you as a relation should.”

“I am not so sure,” said Scott, slowly. “He took all my money, and I am
to board at his house.”

“Why did he take your money?”

“He said I could not earn my board, and that would make up the deficit.”

Justin Wood laughed.

“He seems to be a very shrewd man. Still, you will have a good home.”

Again Scott looked doubtful, and told his new acquaintance of the small,
dark room which had been assigned him.

“Yet you say that Mr. Little has only a small family.”

“He has one son of about my age.”

“Surely there ought to be a better room for you if he occupies a whole
house.”

“I should think so.”

“He might have put you into the same room with his son.”

“I don’t think I should like to room with Loammi.”

“Then you don’t like him?”

Scott shook his head.

“We shouldn’t agree,” he answered.

“Why not?”

“He feels above me because of my poverty.”

“The most prominent merchants in the city were once poor boys.”

“Then there is hope for me,” said Scott, smiling faintly.

“Have you been to your relative’s store?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“I remember seeing it. It is quite a large one. I think he must be
prosperous.”

“I shall be very glad to get to work. I don’t know what to do with
myself now. Besides, it makes me feel helpless to have only sixty cents
in my pocket.”

“You will have no trouble from the tax collector, that is certain. It is
rather a pity you told Mr. Little how much money you had.”

“I wish I hadn’t now.”

“I don’t think I would have treated a poor cousin so if he had come
across the Atlantic to put himself under my charge.”

“I am sure you wouldn’t, sir.”

“What makes you say that? You don’t know much about me,” said Justin
Wood, with a quiet smile.

“I can tell by your looks.”

“Looks are deceptive,” remarked the young man; but he looked pleased
with the compliment. “So you don’t go to work till Monday?”

“No, sir.”

“And I suppose you have nothing to occupy you to-day?”

“No, sir.”

“Then be my guest. I will show you something of the city.”

“You are very kind,” said Scott, gratefully.

“Oh, I shall be repaid. I was wondering what to do with myself. Now the
problem is solved. Wait here a minute till I go up to my room, and we
will start.”

They passed through Twenty-ninth Street, and boarded a Sixth Avenue car.

“You have never been to Central Park, I presume,” said Wood.

“No, sir. I have only been about in the lower part of the city.”

“We think Central Park a very pleasant place,” said the young man,
“though in some respects it is not equal to the London parks.”

“I like parks. I like green grass and trees. I was born in the
country.”

When they reached Fifty-ninth Street they entered the park, and walked
leisurely to the lake. Scott’s eyes brightened, and his step grew more
elastic.

“This is fine,” he said. “How large is the park?”

“It is about two miles and a half to the extreme northern boundary. We
won’t try to see the whole. I will only show you the most attractive
features. You will be surprised when I tell you that I haven’t been in
the park for two years.”

“Yes, I am surprised.”

“I have no carriage, or I should drive here.”

“But it is pleasant to walk.”

“Yes, if you have a companion. Most of my friends are men of business,
and have no time to spare for park rambles.”

“Mr. Wood, I wish you were in business, and I were in your employ,” said
Scott, impulsively.

“Thank you, Scott. I do think we should get along well. So you think you
would like me better than your new-found relatives?”

“Oh, ever so much!”

“Then I will try to foster the illusion,” said the young man, smiling.
“Suppose I adopt you as a cousin?”

“I wish you would.”

“Very well! Then we will look upon each other in that light.”

“Do you live in the city, Mr. Wood?”

“I am not stationary anywhere. I have no fixed home.”

“Why don’t you go into business?”

“Partly because I am blessed with a sufficiency of this world’s goods.”

“But I should think the time would hang heavy on your hands.”

“Well, you see I have something to do in looking after my property.
Besides, I am literary.”

“Are you an author?”

“I occasionally write for magazines and reviews. I am a graduate of
Columbia College. If I had the spur of necessity, perhaps I might make
some mark in literature. As it is, I don’t have that motive for working
hard. I am rather glad I don’t, for I am afraid I shouldn’t be able to
live at the Gilsey House if I depended upon what I could earn by my pen.
Well, have you seen enough of Central Park?”

“I am ready to go anywhere else, sir.”

“Then I will go with you to the other end of the city and beyond. Have
you ever heard of Staten Island?”

“No, sir.”

“It is a few miles to the south of the Battery. I own a small piece of
property there–a couple of houses at New Brighton, which are let to
tenants. They have sent me word that they need some repairs made, and I
may as well go over and see them. I never like to travel alone, and as I
have a companion I may as well utilize his company.”

Half an hour on the Sixth Avenue Elevated train brought them from
Fifty-ninth Street to South Ferry. Close beside it the Staten Island
boats started from their pier.

Scott and his companion went on board, and ascended the stairs to the
upper cabin. Here they found seats in front, and sat enjoying the fine
breeze which is almost always to be found on this trip.

Mr. Wood pointed out Governor’s Island, the Statue of Liberty and other
notable sights.

Arrived at Staten Island, they took cars to New Brighton. Mr. Wood
attended to his business, and then took Scott on an extended ride
around the island. But first he stopped at a hotel and ordered dinner.
This they both enjoyed.

When they left the dining room and went out on the piazza they were
treated to a surprise. In an armchair, tilted back, with his feet on the
balustrade, sat Crawford Lane, evidently enjoying the fine breeze.

Justin Wood smiled as he saw how unconscious Lane was of his presence.
Then he walked forward quietly and laid his hand on Lane’s arm.

“Mr. Lane,” he said, “this is an unexpected pleasure.”

Lane turned quickly, and looked very much disconcerted when he saw who
it was that accosted him.

“I–I didn’t expect to meet you here,” he stammered.

“I presume not. Don’t you recognize this boy?”

“Scott Walton?”

“Yes; I am glad you have not forgotten him. He is here on business.”

“On business?”

“Yes; in a fit of absence of mind you relieved him of fifty dollars, or
the equivalent in English bank notes. I don’t say anything about the
considerably larger sum which you took from me in London, for I can
stand the loss, but this boy is poor and wants the money back.”

“I can’t give it to him,” said Lane, desperately.

“Why not?”

“Because I have spent most of it.”

“So you have spent nearly fifty dollars in one day?”

“Yes; I bet on the races.”

“That was foolish. If you had lost your own money it would have served
you right. But you had no business to squander the boy’s money in that
way. How much money have you got left?”

“I–don’t know.”

“Out with your pocketbook, man, and find out,” said Wood, impatiently.

As Lane still hesitated, Justin Wood added, sternly: “Do as I tell you,
or I will arrest you myself and march you to the station house.”

The young man looked as if he were quite capable of carrying out his
threat, and Lane very reluctantly took out his pocketbook.

“I have twelve dollars,” he said.

“Then give ten dollars to the boy, and keep two dollars for yourself.”

“It is all the money I have,” whined Lane.

“That is no concern of mine. The money doesn’t belong to you.”

“I am a very poor man.”

“You are smart enough to make a living by fair means. If you keep on as
you are doing now, you will obtain your board at the expense of the
State.”

Lane, very unwillingly, handed two five-dollar bills to Scott.

“We are letting you off very easy,” said Justin Wood. “We will give you
a chance to reform, but if ever I catch you trying any of your tricks
elsewhere, I will reveal what I know of you.”

Crawford Lane rose from his chair and with a look of chagrin made haste
to leave the hotel. He had already taken dinner there, and intended to
remain until the next day, but now he felt unable to do so.

“I am glad to get some of my money back,” said Scott, in a tone of
satisfaction. “I was reduced to sixty cents. Ten dollars will last me
for a good while.”

“Take care not to let your worthy relative know you have so much money,
or he will want you to give it up to him.”

“But for you I should not have recovered it,” said Scott, gratefully.

“I am very glad to have been the means of your getting it back. I have a
personal grudge against that rascal.”

“Of how much did he rob you?”

“I can’t tell precisely, for I am rather careless about my money, and
seldom know just how much I have. To the best of my knowledge he must
have taken about three hundred dollars.”

“That is a good deal of money.”

“It was much less to me than the sum he took was to you. It did not
especially inconvenience me. But it is getting late, and we had better
take the next boat back to New York.”

This they did. On the same boat, though they were unconscious of it, was
Crawford Lane. He saw them, however, and reflected bitterly that the
fifty dollars which he had taken from Scott was nearly all gone, though
it was only the second day since he got possession of it.

It was half-past four when they reached the Gilsey House.

“I think I must be getting back to my new home,” said Scott. “Thank you
very much for your kindness to me.”

“You have given me a pleasant day, Scott,” replied the young man,
genially. “Call and see me again when you have time.”

“Thank you, sir.”

When Scott reached the house in West Forty-seventh Street, he found
Loammi already there. He had returned from school at about half-past
two, and wondered what had become of his new-found cousin.

“Where have you been?” he asked, abruptly.

“First, I went to Central Park, and afterward I went to Staten Island.”

Loammi looked surprised.

“What could take you to Staten Island? You seem to have plenty of money
to go about with.”

“It didn’t cost me anything.”

“How is that?”

“I went with a gentleman who lives at the Gilsey House.”

“What made him take you? Is he a friend of yours?”

“Yes, he is a friend of mine, though I haven’t known him long.”

“Is he rich?”

“He seems to be.”

“You might introduce me.”

“I may have an opportunity to do so some time.”

Scott felt obliged to say this, though he was convinced that Justin Wood
would not care to make his cousin’s acquaintance.

“Ma told me you were not at home to lunch. Where did you eat?”

“We dined at a hotel on Staten Island.”

“Upon my word, you are getting to be quite a swell for a poor boy.”

Scott smiled.

“I don’t think I shall have much chance to be a swell,” he said, “after
I have begun work in the store.”

“No, I guess not. It was a great thing to have pa take you up and give
you a home.”

“I hope to show my appreciation of it,” said Scott; but under the
circumstances, his gratitude was not as deep as if he had had a better
room, and had not been obliged to give up all his money to his relative.

“How do you like your room?”

“The bed seems comfortable. Where is your room?”

“On the second floor. Follow me and I will show it to you.”

Scott followed his cousin upstairs. Loammi opened the door and led the
way into a large chamber about eighteen feet square, very neatly and
comfortably furnished.

There was a bookcase in one corner containing over a hundred volumes.
Near it was an upright writing desk. Through a half-open door Scott saw
a closet well filled with suits of clothes. Certainly, there was a great
contrast between this apartment, with its comforts and ample
accommodations, and his own small, stifling room on the floor above.
Scott could not quite suppress a feeling of envy.

“You have a fine room.”

“Haven’t I? My room is as nice as pa’s.”

Alongside of it was another room, not as large, but perhaps two-thirds
the size.

“Who occupies that room?” asked Scott.

“No one. We have two spare rooms on this floor.”

It naturally occurred to Scott to wonder why he had not been given one
in place of the poor room that had been assigned him.

He found afterward that Mrs. Little had proposed giving him the room
next to Loammi, but the latter had objected, saying that it was too
good for a penniless boy. In this he had been backed up by Ezra Little,
whose ideas agreed with those of his son.

At six o’clock the family assembled for supper.

“You will sit down to meals with us when we are alone,” said Ezra
Little. “When we have company you can eat in the kitchen.”

Scott said nothing, but his face flushed. It was evident that his
relatives did not look upon him as a social equal.

Yet Justin Wood, who, as Scott suspected, stood higher socially than the
Little family, treated him like a brother. Though in no way related to
him, Scott felt a greater regard for him than for any of the family with
whom he had found a home.

“To-morrow is Saturday,” said Ezra Little, as he rose from the table. “I
had not intended to have you enter the store till Monday, but there is a
little extra work to be done, and you can come in to-morrow.”

“I should like to do so,” said Scott, promptly.

“So you like to work,” said Loammi, sneeringly.

“Yes; at any rate, I like it better than being idle.”

“That is a very proper feeling,” observed Ezra, approvingly.

“Yes,” put in Loammi. “You ought to do all you can to pay pa for his
kindness to you.”

Scott did not answer, but he thought his young cousin about the most
disagreeable boy he had ever met.

Continue Reading

A RELATIVE AND A PLACE

Crawford Lane was considerably disconcerted.

“I will call later and buy the ticket,” he said to the broker. “At
present I have some business with this young rascal, who robbed me this
morning of a considerable sum of money. Now he has the assurance to make
a charge against me.”

The broker looked from one to the other. He was bewildered, and could
not decide which to believe.

Crawford Lane and the two boys went out into the street.

“Now, Mr. Lane,” said Scott, in a resolute tone, “please hand over that
money.”

“So you are acting the part of a highway robber, are you? If you know
what is best for yourself you will get away from here as soon as
possible.”

“I am ready to go as soon as you give me my money. If not—-”

“Well, if not?”

“I will summon a policeman.”

It chanced that a member of the Broadway squad was within hearing.

He stopped and said: “Am I wanted here?”

“Yes,” replied Lane, quickly; “I want you to arrest that boy.”

“On what charge?”

“Robbery. I took pity on him, and though I knew scarcely anything of
him, I let him occupy the same room with myself at a hotel on the Bowery
last night. He stole some Bank of England notes from my pocket while I
was sleeping, and I want him arrested.”

Scott’s breath was quite taken away by the audacious misrepresentation
of his treacherous acquaintance.

“Well, what have you to say?” asked the policeman.

“Only that this man was himself the thief, and stole the notes from me.”

“You young rascal!” exclaimed Lane, in assumed indignation. “That is a
likely story. I leave it to the officer which was more likely to have
money to be taken–a gentleman like myself, or a boy like you.”

“I think you will have to come with me,” said the officer to Scott.

“But,” put in John Schickling, “that man has told you a lie. He owes my
mother nine dollars for room rent.”

“I never saw the boy before in the whole course of my life,” said Lane,
boldly. “He seems to be a confederate of the boy who robbed me.”

“You can tell your story at the police station,” said the policeman to
Scott. “You, sir, can go with me and prefer a charge.”

“I am in a great hurry,” replied Lane, taking out his watch. “I will
call at the police station in an hour. Now I have an important
engagement.”

“You will have to come now,” said the officer, beginning to be
suspicious.

“Oh, well, if it is necessary,” said Lane, determined to brazen it out.

Scott was considerably taken aback at the unexpected turn which matters
had taken, and felt some anxiety.

“Will you come with me?” he said, addressing John Schickling.

“You bet I will,” responded John, briskly. “I ain’t goin’ back on a
friend. I’ll tell you what I know about this man.”

“You’d better clear out,” said Lane, “if you know what is best for you,
or you’ll find yourself in hot water, too.”

“I’ll take the risk,” rejoined John, not at all alarmed.

So they started for the station house in the City Hall, when something
unexpected happened.

A young man, handsomely dressed, met the procession, as he was himself
walking up Broadway. His eyes lighted up when they rested on Crawford
Lane.

He darted forward, and grasped him by the arm.

“At last I have found you!” he exclaimed. “Officer, I call upon you to
arrest this man.”

The officer stared, surprised as he might well be.

Crawford Lane tried to release himself from the grasp of the speaker,
and had he succeeded would have fled unceremoniously.

“What does this mean?” asked the policeman. “He is going with me to the
station house to prefer a charge against this boy.”

“That’s a good joke! He prefer a charge!”

“He says the boy has robbed him.”

“Then you may conclude that he has robbed the boy. He robbed me in
London some weeks since, and I have just caught him.”

“This is all a mistake,” said Lane, hurriedly. “Officer, you may let the
boy go.”

“Do you withdraw the charge?”

“Yes.”

“I prefer to go to the station house,” said Scott, quietly. “I wish to
tell my story there. This man stole ten pounds from me in English
money.”

At this moment there was a sudden excitement in the street. A man had
been knocked over by a passing truck, and all eyes were turned toward
the scene of the accident.

Justin Wood removed his hand from the arm of Crawford Lane, and the
latter lost no time in taking advantage of his freedom. He darted down a
side street, and when his companions turned to look for him he had
disappeared.

Justin Wood looked annoyed.

“He has escaped this time,” he exclaimed, “but I will have him yet.”

“Then I shall not be needed,” said the officer, as he resumed his beat.

“How did this man get a chance to rob you?” asked Justin Wood, turning
to Scott.

Scott briefly explained.

“Did he take all your money?”

“No, sir. I have ten pounds left.”

“Pardon me, but is this all you have?”

“Yes, sir.”

“But you have a home?”

“Only such a home as I may be able to make for myself.”

“Have you no relatives in this city?”

“Yes, sir, I have one. I am going to see him if I can, this afternoon.”

Mr. Wood took a card from his pocket.

“I am staying at the Gilsey House,” he said. “If you need help or
advice, call there and send up your name. By the way, what is your name,
my boy?”

“Scott Walton.”

“I shall remember it. Now I must leave you as, like your late friend, I
have an important engagement.”

“I suppose I must be getting back,” said John, “as my brother will need
me. I am sorry I didn’t collect the nine dollars from that jay.”

“He has got the best of all of us,” returned Scott. “Where do you live?
I may want to look you up some day.”

“In West Thirty-sixth Street,” said John. “I haven’t got any card with
me, but I can give you the number.”

“I won’t forget it. You have been my first friend in New York, and I
don’t want to lose you.”

“I never thought I would like an English boy before,” said John, “but I
like you.”

“Thank you. I hope we shall remain friends.”

When Scott was left alone it occurred to him that he had not yet
exchanged his English money, and he returned to the broker’s office,
where he made the exchange, receiving about fifty dollars in greenbacks.

“This is all I have to depend upon,” reflected Scott. “It won’t do for
me to remain at the hotel much longer. My money would soon be gone.”

He had ascertained that the rates at the hotel were two dollars a day,
including board.

This was not a large price, but Scott felt that it was more than he
could afford to pay. It was absolutely necessary that he should begin to
earn something as soon as possible.

He could decide upon nothing till he had seen his mother’s cousin, Ezra
Little. If that gentleman should agree to take him into his store in any
capacity, he felt that his anxieties would be at an end. Hence, it was
desirable that he should see Mr. Little as soon as possible. He had
already ascertained that his relative was in the dry-goods business on
Eighth Avenue, but he felt that it would be better to call upon him at
his residence on West Forty-seventh Street. Probably Mr. Little would
have more leisure to talk with him there.

It was with a fast-beating heart that Scott, standing on the steps of a
three-story brick house on West Forty-seventh Street, rang the bell.

The door was opened by a servant girl.

Just behind her was a boy who looked to be about Scott’s age, and who
listened inquisitively to what Scott had to say.

“Is Mr. Little at home?”

“He will be in in a few minutes. You can come in and wait for him.”

“I should like to do so.”

The servant opened the door leading into a small reception room to the
left of the front hall, and Scott, entering, seated himself.

The boy already referred to entered also. He was a very plain-looking
youth with light red hair.

“Did you have business with Mr. Little?” he asked, curiously. “I am his
son.”

“Yes.”

“Do you come from the store?”

“No.”

“Perhaps you are meaning to apply for a place there?”

“I should be glad if your father would give me a place. I have just come
from England. My mother was a cousin of Mr. Little.”

Loammi Little, for this was the name of the red-haired boy, regarded
Scott with curiosity mingled with surprise.

“What is your name?” he asked, abruptly.

“Scott Walton.”

“I never heard of you, though I have heard pa say that a cousin of his
married a man named Walton. Where is your father?”

“He is dead,” answered Scott, sadly. “He died on the voyage over.”

“Humph!” said Loammi, in a tone far from sympathetic. “I suppose you are
poor.”

“I am not rich,” replied Scott, coldly.

He began to resent the unfeeling questions with which his cousin was
plying him.

“If you have come over here to live on pa, I don’t think he will like
it.”

“I don’t want to live on anyone,” said Scott, his cheek flushing with
anger. “I am ready to earn my own living.”

“That’s the way pa did. He came over here a poor boy, or rather a poor
young man.”

“I respect him the more for it.”

“All the same I would rather begin life with a little money,” said
Loammi.

“I have a little money,” rejoined Scott, with a half smile.

“How much?”

“I would rather wait and tell your father my circumstances.”

“Oh, well, if you don’t like to tell. Pa’ll tell me all about it.”

“That is as he chooses–but I would rather tell him first.”

“How old are you?” asked Loammi, after a pause.

“Sixteen.”

“So am I.”

“Your father has a store on Eighth Avenue?”

“Yes; have you been in it?”

“Not yet. I only arrived in New York yesterday.”

“Where are you living?”

“In a hotel on the Bowery.”

“That isn’t a fashionable street.”

“So I judge; but I can’t afford to board on a fashionable street.”

“No, I suppose not. You are pretty well dressed, though.”

“My father bought me this suit in London before we started for America.
Are you working in your father’s store?”

“No, I am attending school. I am not a poor boy, and don’t have to work.
Did you work any before you left the old country?”

“No, I was at school.”

“Are you a good scholar?”

“That isn’t for me to say. I stood very well in school.”

“I am studying Latin and Greek,” observed Loammi, proudly.

“I have studied them both,” said Scott, quietly.

“How far were you in Latin?”

“I was reading Cicero’s orations when I left school.”

As this was considerably beyond the point to which Loammi had attained,
he made no comment. He was considering what question to ask next, when
his father entered the room.

There was a strong resemblance between father and son. Ezra Little was
a slender man, about five feet ten inches in height, with hair of a
yellowish-red, inclined to be thin toward the top of the head.

There was a feeble growth of side whiskers extending halfway down each
cheek. His eyes were of a pale blue, and his look was shrewd and cold.

He gazed inquiringly at Scott.

“This boy says his mother was your cousin, pa,” exclaimed Loammi.

“What name?” asked Ezra.

“Scott Walton.”

Ezra Little nodded.

“I see. Your father was an artist?”

“Yes.”

“Where is he?”

“He died on the voyage over.”

“Leaving you alone in the world?”

“Yes,” answered Scott, sadly.

“Well, what are your plans?”

This question was asked coldly.

“My father died so lately that I haven’t had time to form any plans. I
thought I would like to consult you about them.”

“I suppose you haven’t much money?”

“No, sir.”

“You have some?”

“About ten pounds.”

“Fifty dollars.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And that is all?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That won’t keep you long,” said Loammi, disdainfully. “I s’pose you’ll
expect pa to take care of you.”

“Have I hinted anything of the kind?” demanded Scott, indignantly. “I am
young and strong, and I am quite ready to earn my own living. I don’t
want anybody to support me.”

“Well spoken, lad!” said Ezra, in a tone of approval. “I’ll think over
your case. Loammi, tell your mother that Scott will stay to supper.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Mrs. Little was as plain in appearance as her husband and son, but Scott
liked her better. She appeared to have a kindly disposition, and
expressed sympathy for him when she heard of his father’s death.

This was in contrast to Mr. Little and Loammi, upon whom it seemed to
make no impression.

“And where are you staying, Scott?” she asked, in a tone of friendly
interest.

“At a hotel on the Bowery.”

“How much do they charge you?” inquired Ezra Little.

“Two dollars a day.”

“It is very extravagant for a boy with your small stock of money to pay
such a price.”

“I know it, sir, but I only went there yesterday, I shall not think of
staying.”

Scott had decided not to mention his loss to Mr. Little, as he felt sure
that it would bring upon him a reproof for his credulity in trusting a
man of whom he knew so little as Crawford Lane.

“Why couldn’t he come here, Ezra?” suggested Mrs. Little, turning to her
husband.

Mr. Little coughed.

“After supper I shall speak to Scott about business,” he said, “and that
point will be discussed.”

Scott looked forward to the interview with interest and anxiety. For him
a great deal depended on it.

He hoped that Mr. Little would give him a place in the store where he
would be in the line of promotion, and be able to earn his living.

He followed Mr. Little from the dining room into what might be called a
library, though there were only about fifty books in a small bookcase.
There was a desk, however, used by Mr. Little for letter writing, and
for the keeping of his accounts. Here, too, he received business
visitors.

“Well,” he said, pointing Scott to a chair, “now we will discuss your
plans. You want a chance to work?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I may find a place for you in my store, but I warn you that you can’t
expect much pay to begin with.”

“I don’t expect much pay, sir. If I can earn enough to support myself it
will satisfy me.”

“Eh, but that would require high pay. It costs a good deal to support a
boy in New York.”

This rather alarmed Scott, for he felt that he must manage somehow to
support himself on what he earned.

“We generally pay a beginner only three dollars a week,” proceeded Mr.
Little.

“Three dollars a week!”

Why, Scott was paying two dollars a day for board and lodging at the
hotel.

He looked at Mr. Little in dismay.

“I shouldn’t think I could support myself on three dollars a week,” he
said.

“We might strain a point and pay you three dollars and a half.”

“Is there any boarding house where I could live on three dollars and a
half?”

“Well, no; perhaps not; but you have some money, you tell me.”

“Yes, sir, I have fifty dollars.”

“Just at first you can use a part of that to supply deficiencies.”

“I thought I might need that for clothes.”

“Ahem!” said Mr. Little. “I have thought a way out of the difficulty.”

Scott looked at him hopefully.

“I think Mrs. Little can find a small room for you upstairs, and you can
live here.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Of course what you earn in the store won’t pay for your keep, so I
suggest that you hand me the fifty dollars to make up.”

Scott did not like that suggestion. He did not feel like giving up the
money bequeathed him by his father. It would make him feel helpless and
dependent.

Besides, when he wanted clothing, where should he find money to pay for
it? Yet, if he declined Mr. Little’s offer, he knew that the fifty
dollars would soon be exhausted, and he might have no other place
offered him.

“When could I move here?” he asked.

“To-morrow, and on Monday morning, you can begin work at the store.”

“Very well, sir.”

“You can give me the money now.”

“I will give you forty dollars, but I shall have to pay my hotel bill.”

“You can keep five dollars for that. It will be sufficient.”

So Scott handed over forty-five dollars to Mr. Little, who counted it
over with evident satisfaction. Then the English boy started for the
hotel.

He had secured a place, but somehow he felt depressed. His prospects did
not seem very bright, after all.

Continue Reading

TRACKING THE THIEF

Soon after supper Crawford Lane said: “Suppose we go to some theater
this evening. It will pass away the time pleasantly.”

Scott looked pained.

“Mr. Lane,” he said, “you seem to forget that it is scarcely more than a
week since my poor father died.”

“Excuse me, Scott. I ought to have remembered it. Shall you miss me if I
leave you to spend the evening alone?”

“No, Mr. Lane. On some accounts I should prefer to be alone.”

“Very well. You need not sit up for me, as I shall return late. Go to
bed when you feel inclined, and we shall meet in the morning. So long!”

Scott remained in the office of the hotel. He did not object to being
left alone, for he was forced to acknowledge that he did not care much
for the company of Crawford Lane.

Circumstances had thrown them together, and Lane had been of some
service to him in his absolute ignorance of the city, but Scott resolved
to break away from him as soon as possible.

Looking toward the desk, he espied a copy of the New York directory.

That gave him an idea. He would look up the name of Ezra Little, and
find out where he lived and what his business was.

Turning over the pages of the bulky volume, he came to the letter L.
There was a long list of Littles. Finally, he found Ezra Little, dry
goods, No. 849 Eighth Avenue; house, 392 West Forty-seventh Street.

“I will go to see him to-morrow,” thought Scott, hopefully. “Since he
has a store, he may find a place for me.”

Just off the ship, he found that walking about the streets had fatigued
him, and he went to bed about nine o’clock.

Lane had requested him to leave the door unlocked, so that he might get
in without difficulty on his return from the theater. Indeed, Scott was
obliged to do this, as Lane had carried off the key, intentionally or
otherwise.

It has already been mentioned that Scott had divided his small capital
into two equal parts, one of which he placed in the original envelope in
his coat pocket, the other in an inside pocket in his vest.

The coat he hung over a chair, but the vest he thought it prudent to
place under his pillow.

It was not long before Scott was sound asleep. He found himself more
fatigued than he had supposed.

Crawford Lane had gone to Niblo’s Theater, where there was a showy
spectacular play which suited his fancy. On his way home, he stepped
into a hotel, where he picked up a copy of the New York _Herald_.

He looked it over listlessly, but all at once he started in surprise,
not unmixed with dismay. In the list of passengers on the _Etruria_,
which had arrived very early the previous evening, he saw the name of
Justin Wood.

There was nothing remarkable about the name, but it so happened that it
had peculiar associations for Crawford Lane.

Seven weeks before, he had gone abroad with Justin Wood, a wealthy
young man, as his companion. Wood was liberal, and he had taken a fancy
to Lane to such an extent that he offered to defray his expenses on a
short European trip.

In London, Crawford Lane managed to rob his companion of a considerable
sum of money, and, of course, disappeared directly afterward.

For three weeks he spent money profusely. At the end of that time, he
had barely enough left to buy a ticket for New York by the ship
_Arcturus_.

When he landed, his funds had dwindled to three dollars, but he expected
to increase them by appropriating the Bank of England notes which he
learned were in the possession of Scott Walton.

But the arrival of Justin Wood complicated matters. He must keep out of
the way of the man he had robbed, and this would not be easy while both
were in the same city.

“Suppose he had been at the theater this evening!” he said to himself,
nervously.

As Justin Wood was an athlete, an encounter would probably have been far
from pleasant for his faithless friend.

Crawford Lane pursued his way homeward in a very serious frame of mind.

“It is lucky,” he thought, “that fate has thrown in my way this green
boy. With his hundred dollars I will start to-morrow for Chicago, and
stay there for the present. That will keep me out of the way of Justin
Wood.”

It was about midnight when Lane reached the hotel on the Bowery. He went
upstairs at once.

As he lit the gas he turned his gaze on the bed near the window. Scott
was fast asleep, with one arm thrown carelessly over the quilt.

“Sleeping like a top!” murmured Lane. “These young boys always sleep
sound. I used to when I was a boy. I had an easy conscience then,” he
continued, with a half laugh. “I’m not quite so innocent as I was, but I
know a lot more. Well, I must get to bed, for I must be up bright and
early to-morrow morning.”

He carefully locked the door, for he did not want anyone else to
anticipate him in his dishonest plans.

Crawford Lane slept rather later than he intended. When, upon opening
his eyes, he consulted his watch he found that it was half-past seven
o’clock.

“I ought to have been up an hour ago,” he said to himself. “Suppose the
boy is awake, all my plans would be upset.”

He dressed in great haste, and then, with one eye upon the sleeping
boy, tiptoed to the chair over which Scott’s coat was hanging, and drew
exit the envelope from the inside pocket.

He would have examined the contents, but Scott stirred slightly, and
Lane felt that it would be the part of prudence to leave the room at
once.

He went downstairs and reported at the desk, valise in hand.

“I am obliged to take an early train for the West,” he said, “and will
settle my part of the bill.”

“Will the boy remain?”

“Yes; his uncle will call for him during the day.”

“Very well, sir. Breakfast is on the table.”

“I shall not be able to stop, as I am already late. I left the boy
asleep. If he inquires for me you may tell him I will write him
from–Buffalo.”

“Very well, sir.”

Lane went out and got breakfast on Fulton Street.

“I hope I have seen the youngster for the last time,” he said to
himself.

There was one awkward thing in his way. He would have preferred to leave
the city at once, but outside of the English notes, he had scarcely any
money, and it would be necessary to wait till ten o’clock, when he could
call at some broker’s and exchange them for American bills.

Lane went into the Astor House and entered one of the small reading
rooms on the second floor.

Then, for the first time, he opened the envelope and examined his booty.

To his great disappointment, he found but half the sum he expected to
find–but ten pounds in place of twenty.

“Confusion!” he muttered. “Was the boy deceiving me? He certainly said
that he had twenty pounds.”

The explanation of the discrepancy readily suggested itself. The boy had
placed the balance of the notes somewhere else.

“I wish I had had the sense to examine the envelope before I left the
room.”

But the boy might have waked up, and though he regretted not having
taken all his money, Lane felt that he must make the ten pounds do.

Meanwhile Scott slept on till eight o’clock.

When he opened his eyes he looked over to the other bed. Evidently it
had been slept in, but it seemed now to be unoccupied.

It occurred to Scott as singular that his companion, who must have got
to bed late, should have risen so early, but no suspicion of wrong-doing
entered his mind till he put on his coat. Then he discovered at once the
disappearance of the envelope.

Scott was startled.

“He has stolen my money,” he instantly decided.

He felt in the pocket of his vest. The other ten notes were there,
fortunately, but Scott was by no means satisfied to give up the ten he
had lost. He hurried down the stairs, and in some excitement went up to
the hotel clerk.

With some agitation Scott addressed the clerk. “Has the gentleman who
came with me left the hotel?” he asked.

“Yes,” was the answer, “about an hour since.”

“Isn’t he coming back?”

“No. He told me to tell you that he was called suddenly to the West. He
will write to you from Buffalo.”

Scott felt limp and helpless. He turned pale and clung to the counter
for support.

He was only a boy, and he realized that with his companion went half his
scanty means.

“Didn’t Mr. Lane take breakfast here?” he asked. “Perhaps he is still
here.”

“No; he said he could not wait. He wanted to catch the early train. It
is strange he didn’t tell you he was going. You are young to be left
alone.”

“I don’t mind that,” said Scott, bitterly, “but he has robbed me.”

“Eh?” returned the clerk, briskly. “What’s that?”

“He stole ten pounds in English notes from my pocket while I slept.”

The clerk whistled.

“Is he a relation of yours?” he asked.

“No; he was only a fellow passenger on the ship _Arcturus_, which
arrived in this port yesterday morning.”

“Then you haven’t know him long?”

“No.”

“I am very much surprised. He seemed like a gentleman.”

“What shall I do?” asked Scott, feeling that he needed advice from some
one who knew the world better than he did.

“You might inform the police.”

“But if he has already left the city, I am afraid it wouldn’t do much
good.”

“Did he take all you had?” inquired the clerk, with the sudden thought
that in that case Scott would be unable to pay his hotel bill.

“No; I divided my money into two parts. He only took half.”

“That was lucky,” said the clerk, relieved. “Perhaps he hasn’t left the
city yet,” he added, after a pause.

“But he was going for an early train, you told me.”

“That is what he said. He might wait till after ten o’clock to change
the notes. Have you the number of them?”

“No, or–yes, I can tell what they would be from those I have left.
Probably they would come directly before or directly after those.”

“Then you stand a chance to recover them, or at any rate to have him
arrested. It is too early to do anything yet. You had better eat
breakfast, and then go down to Wall Street. That is where the brokers
have their offices, and you may meet him there.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you mean to remain here?”

“Yes, for the present. I shall probably stay till to-morrow, at any
rate.”

Scott went in to breakfast, and notwithstanding his loss he ate
heartily. He was of a sanguine temperament and disposed to make the best
of circumstances. So he congratulated himself on having retained a part
of his money.

“When do the brokers’ offices open?” he asked, when he again saw the
clerk.

“At ten o’clock.”

“I will walk leisurely toward Wall Street, then. If Mr. Lane comes
back—-”

“If he does, we will keep him. But I don’t think there is any chance of
it.”

Scott walked down to the City Hall Park, and then proceeded down
Broadway in the direction of Trinity Church, which, he was told, faced
the head of Wall Street.

As he was passing the Astor House, he espied a familiar face and figure.
It was the boy who had spoken to Crawford Lane the day before–John
Schickling.

“Good-morning!” he said, touching the boy’s arm.

John Schickling looked round with a puzzled expression, for he did not
recognize Scott. The day previous he had only taken notice of Crawford
Lane, and not of his companion.

“I don’t remember you,” he said.

“I was walking with Mr. Lane yesterday when you spoke to him.”

“Oh, yes. Where is he now?”

“That’s what I want to find out. He and I stopped at a hotel on the
Bowery last night. When I woke up this morning I found that he had
stolen some of my money and disappeared.”

“He’s a rascal!” said John, warmly. “It is just like him. Had you known
him long?”

“No; we met on board the ship that brought us over from Liverpool. I am
a stranger in the city, and he agreed to act as my guide.”

“You didn’t expect you would have to pay so dearly for it?”

“No.”

“What are you going to do?”

“The money he took was in English bank notes, and the hotel clerk
thought he might go down to Wall Street to exchange them there at some
broker’s.”

“Very likely. And you are going there now?” asked John.

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll go with you. I want to collect that money he owes mother.”

“I will be glad of your company. I feel strange in America. I am an
English boy.”

“I’ll help you all I can. I am on an errand for my brother. He is a
young man, and I work for him, but I know he won’t mind my following up
this fellow and trying to make him pay me. Say, how old are you?”

“Sixteen.”

“I am fifteen.”

“You are the first American boy I have met.”

“I hope you will like me better than Mr. Lane. He is an American, but
isn’t much credit to the country.”

The two boys reached Wall Street about ten minutes past ten. They turned
the corner and entered the great financial artery of New York.

Soon they reached a broker’s office, and went in.

Advised by John, Scott went up to a small window, behind which stood a
clerk.

“I have some English notes which I would like to exchange for American
money,” he said.

“Hand them to me.”

As he looked them over, the clerk’s face showed surprise.

“I have just bought some,” he said, “the numbers of which correspond
very nearly with these.”

Scott grew excited.

“What was the appearance of the man who presented them?”

The description was given.

“They were my notes,” said Scott. “The man stole them from me. Where did
he go?”

“I can’t tell, but perhaps our messenger may know. Wait a minute.”

The messenger–William Doon, a boy of eighteen–remembered that Lane had
gone as far as Broadway, and turned to go uptown.

“Come along,” said John, “we may catch him yet.”

Scott gave himself up to the guidance of his boy friend, and hurried up
Broadway, but without much hope of finding Lane. He had not yet sold his
notes, feeling that he must if possible catch the thief who had
plundered him.

Just above Chambers Street, on the west side of the street, was a
cut-rate railroad ticket office.

“Suppose we go in there,” suggested John. “He may buy a ticket for some
place out West. He wouldn’t dare to stay in New York.”

This seemed not unlikely, and Scott followed young Schickling into the
office.

It was a lucky thought. No sooner had they entered than Scott recognized
his faithless acquaintance at the counter inquiring the price of a
ticket to Chicago.

“I can give you a ticket this morning for fourteen dollars,” said the
agent. “It is a rare chance, but it will have to be used within three
days.”

“I will take it,” answered Lane, drawing a roll of bills from his
pocket.

It was the money he had received from the broker.

Scott was exasperated at the man’s coolness. He was no milk-and-water
boy, but a lad of spirit.

“Mr. Lane,” he said, grasping the other’s arm, “give me back that money
you stole from me.”

Crawford Lane turned and gazed at Scott in dismay. He had never expected
to see him again, and could not understand how he had got upon his
track. But he decided to brazen it out.

“What do you mean, boy?” he demanded, roughly. “You must be crazy.”

“I mean this, that you stole some English bank notes from me at the
hotel where we slept, and—-”

“That is absurd. I leave it to this gentleman whether these are English
notes.”

“Certainly not,” said the ticket agent. “This is American money.”

“If you don’t leave this office and stop annoying me I will have you
arrested,” blustered Lane.

“No, you don’t,” interposed John Schickling, whom until now Lane had
not noticed. “We’re on to your little game. We’ve just come from the
broker’s office where you exchanged the money.”

Continue Reading

THE FIRST DAY IN NEW YORK

Halfway across the Atlantic the good ship _Arcturus_ was making her way
from Liverpool to New York. She was a sailing vessel, and her speed by
no means equaled that of the mighty steamships, more than one of which
passed her, leaving her far behind.

While she was used chiefly for freight, she carried a few passengers,
less than twenty in all.

I wish to call the reader’s attention to the occupants of one of the
small staterooms, a man and a boy. There was a great contrast between
them. The man was thin and hollow-cheeked, and as he lay in his berth he
looked to be, as he was, in the last stages of consumption.

The boy, who must have been nearly sixteen, was the picture of health.
He was inclined to be dark, with black hair, bright eyes, and with
considerable color in his cheeks.

He bent over the reclining figure, and asked, with anxious solicitude:
“How do you feel, father?”

“No better, Scott,” and the father began to cough.

“Does it hurt you to cough?”

“Yes, but it won’t trouble me long.”

“You will be better?” said the boy, half inquiringly.

“No, Scott, I shall never be better. I am very near the end.”

“You don’t mean that?” exclaimed the boy, in pained surprise.

“Yes, I do, Scott, and you may as well know it. I doubt whether I shall
live to see New York.”

Scott Walton looked dismayed, for till now he had not suspected that his
father’s life was in danger. Yet, as he gazed at the fragile form, he
was forced to believe that his father spoke truly.

“What will become of me,” he said, with emotion, “alone in a strange
land?”

“That is what I want to speak to you about.” Here the man began to cough
again.

“Don’t talk, father. It makes you cough.”

“I must, my son. Perhaps I may have no other chance. I am sorry that I
must leave you almost penniless.”

“I don’t mind that, father. If you could only live—-”

“Don’t interrupt me, for there are some things I must tell you. You will
find in my wallet twenty pounds in English bank notes, worth in America
about one hundred dollars. This sum will support you while you are
looking for a situation, for you will need to find work.”

“I am strong and willing to work, father.”

“Yes, you are strong. You don’t take after me, but after your mother’s
family.”

“Have you any relatives in America?”

“There is a cousin of your mother’s in New York, Ezra Little. I believe
he is well-to-do. I can’t tell you what he is doing or where he lives,
but you can look up his name in the New York directory.”

“Is he the only relative we have in America?

“No, there is a cousin of my own, Philo Walton, who went out to one of
the Western States. He was a good-hearted fellow, and likely to make his
way, but I have heard nothing of him, and I don’t know whether he is
still living or not.

“There seems a very small chance of your finding him, in so large a
country, but you can probably find Ezra Little. Take down these names,
Scott. They may be of importance to you.”

Scott drew out a small memorandum book, and did as directed.

“I would not have started from England, had I supposed I should have
become worse so rapidly,” continued Mr. Walton. “I think the sea air has
aggravated my disease. There seemed nothing for us at home though, and
no friends on whom we could call. I built my hopes on Ezra Little. I
thought for your mother’s sake he would help her boy. If I could live to
see him, and commend him to you in person, I could die in peace.”

He had hardly completed these words when he had a terrible fit of
coughing, which seemed to rack his feeble frame.

“Don’t talk any more, father!” said Scott, in alarm. “Can’t I get you
something to relieve you? I will go to the steward and ask for a cup of
hot tea.”

Without waiting for an answer he left the stateroom and sought the
steward.

He was gone but ten minutes, but when he returned the bedclothes were
stained with blood.

His father had had a hemorrhage, and was lying with closed eyes,
breathing faintly.

The ship doctor was summoned, and applied restoratives, but without
effect. Before the morning dawned, Scott was fatherless.

It was a great trial to the lonely boy to see his father’s body
consigned to the deep. He wished he might carry it to the land which was
to be his future home, and have it buried in some quiet cemetery; but it
would be a week at least before the slow-going ship would reach New
York, and the sailors would have rebelled at having a corpse on board
for that length of time.

Scott secured the money of which his father had spoken, and a sealed
packet inscribed:

_For My Son._

_To be opened a year from my death._

The boy’s grief was so sincere that his curiosity was not aroused by
this inscription. He put the packet in his traveling bag, and tried to
prepare himself for the solitary life he must now lead.

There was a good deal of sympathy felt for the lonely boy on the ship,
and more than one of the passengers proffered sympathy and
companionship.

Scott received their advances politely, but showed by his manner that he
preferred to be alone.

A week later, however, when the vessel was within a few hours of
reaching her destination, he felt that it would be well to obtain some
information about the new country that awaited him.

Among the passengers was a young man who looked to be about twenty-five.
His name was Crawford Lane. He wore a light overcoat, a showy necktie, a
low-cut vest, and was in appearance a very good specimen of the Bowery
swell.

He joined Scott as he was standing on deck, trying to catch the first
glimpse of land.

“Well, my young friend,” he said, affably, “I suppose that you, like the
rest of us, are glad to be near port.”

“I don’t know,” replied Scott, listlessly.

“Of course you miss your father.”

“Oh, so much!” said the boy, the tears coming into his eyes. “For years
we have lived together and been constant companions.”

“Just so! My father died five years ago, and I often miss him.”

“But you doubtless have other relatives, while he was all I had,”
explained Scott.

“Yes, I have other relatives. An uncle of mine is the present mayor of
Chicago. Of course, you have heard of Chicago.”

“Yes; it is one of your largest cities, is it not?”

“Yes, it’s a smart place, Chicago is.”

“Do you live there?”

“Not at present. I have relations in New York also. They are rich; live
on Fifth Avenue, or near by.”

“You are fortunate in having so many relations,” said Scott, with a
touch of envy.

“I don’t know. One of my uncles tried to cheat me out of part of my
inheritance. Relations are not always the best friends.”

“I hope he did not succeed,” said Scott, politely, though he felt very
little interest in the fortunes of his fellow voyager.

“No. That is, he defrauded me of ten thousand dollars, but there was a
good deal more, so that I was not inconvenienced.”

Lane spoke carelessly, and gave Scott the impression that he was a rich
man.

“Then you have a home to go to,” said Scott, sadly.

“No,” answered Lane. “You see my father and mother are dead, and I live
at the hotels or in apartments of my own. I don’t care to live with
relations. Have you any relations in New York?”

“None that I have seen. There is a cousin of my mother, Ezra Little, who
I am told is well-to-do. But I never saw him, and I don’t know how he
will receive me.”

“Then you will probably go to a hotel?”

“I suppose so, but I know nothing of New York.”

“I hope,” said Lane, in an insinuating tone, “that your father left you
in easy circumstances?”

“No, I shall have to make my own way.”

“Surely you have some money.”

“Yes, I have twenty pounds. I am told that amounts to a hundred dollars
in American currency.”

“Yes,” answered Lane, brightening up. “Well, that will tide you over
till you get something to do. But probably your relative will provide
for you.”

“No,” said Scott; “I shall not ask him to do so. I prefer to earn my own
living.”

“Just so. Well, I can be of some service to you. I will find you a
reasonable place to stop, and when you get ready you can call on this
Mr. Little.”

“Thank you!”

Scott was disposed to accept the offer of his new acquaintance, as, of
course, he himself knew absolutely nothing about New York.

When the _Arcturus_ arrived in port, Scott placed himself in charge of
Mr. Lane, and accompanied that gentleman on shore. He congratulated
himself on having a competent guide.

He was struck by the bright and bustling appearance of the great
American metropolis, and, English though he was, he was fain to admit
that it was more attractive than London.

Scott had but one gripsack, but in this respect Crawford Lane was no
better off.

“I just took a brief trip across the water,” he explained, “and I don’t
believe in being hampered with baggage.”

“Then you were not gone long?” said Scott.

“No; I just ran across in company with an old college friend. He will be
absent several months, but I could not spare the time from my business.”

“Have you anything which a boy of my age could do in your office?”
asked Scott, who felt that he must now be on the search for a place.

“Not at present. My business is of a peculiar nature. I travel for a
large house. But I will keep my eyes open, and if I should hear of
anything I will most certainly let you know.”

“Do you expect anyone to meet you at the pier?”

“No, I never say much about my movements. My friends can wait till I get
fairly established in a hotel.”

Scott was somewhat amazed when his new acquaintance conducted him to a
very plain house on the Bowery.

“I don’t care for style,” remarked Lane, observing Scott’s surprise,
“and though I could afford to go to the most expensive hotel in the
city, I know that your means are limited, and I wish to select one in
which you can afford to remain with me.”

“Thank you, Mr. Lane; you are very considerate. I haven’t much money,
and I must be economical.”

“I will step up to the desk and arrange about rooms,” added Lane.

“Thank you.”

Crawford Lane left Scott sitting in the reading room, but he returned in
five minutes.

“I find,” he said, “that the hotel is crowded. I have engaged a single
room with two beds. Will that be agreeable?”

Scott felt that he would have preferred to room alone, but he did not
know how to make objection, and acquiesced in the arrangement.

“I would like to go upstairs at once,” he said, “so that I may wash and
change my underclothing.”

“Very well.”

They were shown up by a bell boy. The room on the third floor was rather
small, but contained two single beds.

The place and its furnishings looked dingy, and even dirty, but Scott
was not disposed to make any unnecessary complaint.

“I will take the bed near the door, if you don’t object,” said Lane.

“It is immaterial to me.”

“Very well. By the way, didn’t you say you had some Bank of England
notes to exchange for American money?”

“Yes.”

“While you are making your toilet, I might slip down to a broker’s in
Wall Street, and make the exchange. What do you say?”

Scott had his share of caution, and he remembered that his knowledge of
Mr. Lane was very limited. Indeed, on reflection, it occurred to him
that his sole knowledge of his acquaintance was derived from that
gentleman himself.

“I think,” he said, “that I will wait till to-morrow. I have a little
silver with me that will do me till then.”

“Oh, very well!” said Lane, in an indifferent tone, though his face
expressed some disappointment. “I only thought that I might save you
some trouble.”

“Thank you, but I don’t mind the trouble. I shall be interested to see
Wall Street myself.”

“All right, I will go there with you to-morrow, or whenever you choose.”

“I should not like to take up your time. Probably you have business of
your own to occupy you.”

“Oh, I can get through a good deal of business in a short time. When you
are ready, come downstairs. You will find me in the office.”

Left to himself, Scott took a good wash and put on some clean linen,
which he found refreshing. He divided his bank notes into two parcels,
one of which he put in his inside coat pocket, the other in an inside
pocket in his vest.

He took the hint from his father’s custom.

In twenty minutes he was ready to go downstairs. He found Crawford Lane
awaiting him in the office.

“Shall we go in to dinner now, Scott?” said his new friend, familiarly.

“Yes,” answered Scott, for, grieving though he did over his father’s
loss, he had the appetite of a healthy boy.

The dinner was plain, and the table neither neat nor attractive, but
Scott felt that he had no right to be fastidious, and upon the whole ate
heartily.

“Now, shall we go for a walk?” suggested Lane.

“If you like.”

Lane led the way to Broadway, pointing out various buildings and objects
of interest.

“What do you think of New York?” he asked.

“This seems a very lively street.”

“Yes, there is but one Broadway in the world.”

“But London is larger.”

“Yes, but less attractive.”

“I hope I can find something to do. Then I shall be contented.”

“Don’t borrow any trouble about that. I have influence, and will see
that you find employment,” said Lane, patronizingly.

“You are very kind, Mr. Lane.”

“I mean to be. I hope you will look upon me as a friend–and a brother.”

These words were kind, but Scott hesitated to respond. He had seen no
occasion to distrust his companion, but for some reason, unaccountable
to himself, he could not give him his confidence.

They sauntered up Broadway till they reached Waverly Place. Just at the
corner they attracted the attention of a boy of perhaps fifteen, who
seemed to recognize Scott’s companion.

He was a dark-haired, pleasant-looking boy, whose face seemed to
indicate German descent.

“Mr. Lane,” he said, touching Scott’s companion on the arm.

Crawford Lane wheeled round and eyed the boy as if disconcerted.

“What do you want, boy?” he demanded, haughtily. “I don’t know you.”

“Oh, yes, you do. My name is John Schickling.”

“I haven’t the honor of knowing you, Mr. John Schickling,” said Lane, in
a tone of sarcasm.

“You know me well enough,” said the boy, persistently.

“Just as you like, but I have no time to spend with you to-day. Pass on
and let me alone,” said Lane, impatiently.

“I will as soon as you pay me what you owe me.”

“Why, you impudent young rascal, how should I owe you anything?”

“You hired a room from my mother at three dollars a week, and you went
off owing three weeks’ lodging, if you will give me nine dollars I will
give you a receipt.”

“This is ridiculous nonsense. I never lived in three-dollar rooms.”

“All the same you had a room at our house for several weeks at the
price. I have been looking for you every day since you left us.”

“Boy,” said Crawford Lane, “I have just returned from Europe, and
therefore cannot have roomed in your house. If you have any doubt on the
subject, my young friend here will tell you that we arrived in New York
this morning on the ship _Arcturus_.”

“That may be,” rejoined John; “but it is two months since you left our
house. You have had time to go to Europe and back.”

“I can’t be troubled with you to-day, boy. Get out of my way!”

“Where can I find you? Where are you stopping?”

Crawford Lane drew a card from his pocket, and scribbling an address on
it, passed it to the boy. While John Schickling was trying to make it
out, Lane hurried on with Scott.

“Fifth Avenue Hotel!” repeated Johnny. “Why, that’s a very dear place.
If Mr. Lane can afford to stay there, he can afford to pay mother’s
bill.”

Later in the day John entered the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and went up to the
desk.

He showed the card to the clerk.

“Is any gentleman of that name staying here?” he asked.

“No,” answered the clerk, shaking his head.

“Has he ever stopped here?”

“No; I should remember the name if he had.”

“Sold again!” said Johnny. “If I ever meet Mr. Lane now, he won’t get
off so easily.”

“That is a very impudent boy!” said Lane, as he resumed his walk with
Scott.

“I thought him a pleasant-looking fellow. Didn’t you know him?”

“Never saw him before in the whole course of my life!”

“It is strange,” mused Scott. “He called you by your name.”

“Did he? I didn’t observe.”

“Yes.”

“Then he must have overheard you addressing me.”

“But he met us. He was not walking behind us.”

“I can’t undertake to explain it,” said Lane, shrugging his shoulders.
“The boy is evidently very artful. It is a put-up job.”

Scott made no comment, but he had been favorably impressed by John
Schickling’s open, frank face, and he felt some doubts about relying on
Lane’s explanation.

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