Part 3 out of 6
I could send him on errands, to the post office,
and make him useful in various ways."
"I had not supposed an office boy was needed.
Still, if you desire it, I will try your nephew
in the place."
"Thank you, sir."
"I am bound to tell you, however, that his
present place is a better one. He is learning
a good trade, which, if he masters it, will
always give him a livelihood. I learned a
trade, and owe all I have to that."
"True, Mr. Jennings, but there are other
ways of earning a living."
"And I thought of giving Leonard evening
instruction in bookkeeping."
"That alters the case. Good bookkeepers are
always in demand. I have no objection to
your trying the experiment."
"Thank you, sir."
"Have you mentioned the matter to your nephew?"
"I just suggested that I would ask you,
but could not say what answer you would give."
"It would have been better not to mention
the matter at all till you could tell him definitely
that he could change his place."
"I don't know but you are right, sir.
However, it is all right now."
"Now, Carl," said Mr. Jennings, "I will
take you into the workroom."
CARL GETS A PLACE.
"I suppose that is the bookkeeper," said Carl.
"Yes. He has been with me three years. He
understands his business well. You heard
what he said about his nephew?"
"It is his sister's son--a boy of about your
own age. I think he is making a mistake in
leaving the factory, and going into the office.
He will have little to do, and that not of a
character to give him knowledge of business."
"Still, if he takes lessons in bookkeeping----"
Mr. Jennings smiled.
"The boy will never make a bookkeeper," he said.
"His reason for desiring the change is because
he is indolent. The world has no room for lazy people."
"I wonder, sir, that you have had a chance
to find him out."
"Little things betray a boy's nature, or a
man's, for that matter. When I have visited
the workroom I have noticed Leonard, and
formed my conclusions. He is not a boy whom
I would select for my service, but I have taken
him as a favor to his uncle. I presume he is
without means, and it is desirable that he
should pay his uncle something in return for
the home which he gives him."
"How much do you pay him, sir, if it is not a secret?"
"Oh, no; he receives five dollars a week to begin with.
I will pay him the same in the office. And that reminds me;
how would you like to have a situation in the factory?
Would you like to take Leonard's place?"
"Yes, sir, if you think I would do."
"I feel quite sure of it. Have you ever done
any manual labor?"
"I suppose you have always been to school."
"You are a gentleman's son," proceeded Mr.
Jennings, eying Carl attentively. "How will
it suit you to become a working boy?"
"I shall like it," answered Carl, promptly.
"Don't be too sure! You can tell better after
a week in the factory. Those in my employ work
ten hours a day. Leonard Craig doesn't like it."
"All I ask, Mr. Jennings, is that you give me a trial."
"That is fair," responded the little man,
looking pleased. "I will tell you now that,
not knowing of any vacancy in the factory,
I had intended to give you the place in the office
which Mr. Gibbon has asked for his nephew.
It would have been a good deal easier work."
"I shall be quite satisfied to take my place
in the factory."
"Come in, then, and see your future scene
They entered a large room, occupying nearly
an entire floor of the building. Part of the
space was filled by machinery. The number
employed Carl estimated roughly at twenty-five.
Quite near the door was a boy, who bore
some personal resemblance to the bookkeeper.
Carl concluded that it must be Leonard Craig.
The boy looked round as Mr. Jennings entered,
and eyed Carl sharply.
"How are you getting on, Leonard?" Mr. Jennings asked.
"Pretty well, sir; but the machinery makes my head ache."
"Your uncle tells me that your employment does not agree with you."
"No, sir; I don't think it does."
"He would like to have you in the office with him.
Would you like it, also?"
"Yes, sir," answered Leonard, eagerly.
"Very well. You may report for duty at the office
to-morrow morning. This boy will take your place here."
Leonard eyed Carl curiously, not cordially.
"I hope you'll like it," he said.
"I think I shall."
"You two boys must get acquainted," said Mr. Jennings.
"Leonard, this is Carl Crawford."
"Glad to know you," said Leonard, coldly.
"I don't think I shall like that boy," thought Carl,
as he followed Mr. Jennings to another part of the room.
CARL ENTERS THE FACTORY.
When they left the factory Mr. Jennings said, with a smile:
"Now you are one of us, Carl. To-morrow you begin work."
"I am glad of it, sir."
"You don't ask what salary you are to get."
"I am willing to leave that to you."
"Suppose we say two dollars a week and board--
to begin with."
"That is better than I expected. But where
am I to board?"
"At my house, for the present, if that will suit you."
"I shall like it very much, if it won't
"Hannah is the one to be inconvenienced,
if anyone. I had a little conversation with
her while you were getting ready for dinner.
She seems to have taken a liking for you,
though she doesn't like boys generally.
As for me, it will make the home brighter to have
a young person in it. Hannah and I are old-
fashioned and quiet, and the neighbors don't
have much reason to complain of noise."
"No, sir; I should think not, ' said Carl, with a smile.
"There is one thing you must be prepared
for, Carl," said Mr. Jennings, after a pause.
"What is that, sir?"
"Your living in my house--I being your
employer--may excite jealousy in some. I think
I know of one who will be jealous."
"And his uncle. However, don't borrow any
trouble on that score. I hope you won't take
advantage of your position, and, thinking yourself
a favorite, neglect your duties."
"I will not, sir."
"Business and friendship ought to be kept apart."
"That is right, sir."
"I am going back to the house, but you may
like to take a walk about the village. You
will feel interested in it, as it is to be your
future home. By the way, it may be well for
you to write for your trunk. You can order
it sent to my house."
"All right, sir; I will do so."
He went to the post office, and, buying a postal
card, wrote to his friend, Gilbert Vance,
"Dear Gilbert:--Please send my trunk by
express to me at Milford, care of Henry Jennings,
Esq. He is my employer, and I live at
his house. He is proprietor of a furniture
factory. Will write further particulars soon.
This postal carried welcome intelligence to
Gilbert, who felt a brotherly interest in Carl.
He responded by a letter of hearty congratulation,
and forwarded the trunk as requested.
Carl reported for duty the next morning,
and, though a novice, soon showed that he was
not without mechanical skill.
At twelve o'clock all the factory hands had
an hour off for dinner. As Carl passed into
the street he found himself walking beside the
boy whom he had succeeded--Leonard Craig.
"Good-morning, Leonard," said Carl, pleasantly.
"Good-morning. Have you taken my place
in the factory?"
"Do you think you shall like it?"
"I think I shall, though, of course, it is
rather early to form an opinion."
"I didn't like it."
"I don't want to grow up a workman. I
think I am fit for something better."
"Mr. Jennings began as a factory hand."
"I suppose he had a taste for it. I haven't."
"Then you like your present position better?"
"Oh, yes; it's more genteel. How much does
Jennings pay you?"
"Two dollars a week and board."
"How is that? Where do you board?"
"Oh!" said Leonard, his countenance changing.
"So you are a favorite with the boss, are you?"
"I don't know. He gave me warning that
he should be just as strict with me as if we
"How long have you known him?"
"I met him for the first time yesterday," he answered.
"That's very queer."
"Well, perhaps it is a little singular."
"Are you a poor boy?"
"I have to earn my own living."
"I see. You will grow up a common workman."
"I shall try to rise above it. I am not ashamed
of the position, but I am ambitious to rise."
"I am going to be a bookkeeper," said Leonard.
"My uncle is going to teach me. I would
rather be a bookkeeper than a factory hand."
"Then you are right in preparing yourself
for such a post."
Here the two boys separated, as they were
to dine in different places.
Leonard was pleased with his new position.
He really had very little to do. Twice a day
he went to the post office, once or twice to the
bank, and there was an occasional errand besides.
To Carl the idleness would have been
insupportable, but Leonard was naturally
indolent. He sat down in a chair by the window,
and watched the people go by.
The first afternoon he was in luck, for there
was a dog fight in the street outside. He seized
his hat, went out, and watched the canine warfare
with the deepest interest.
"I think I will buy you a system of bookkeeping,"
said his uncle, "and you can study it in the office."
"Put it off till next week, Uncle Julius. I
want to get rested from the factory work."
"It seems to me, Leonard, you were born lazy,"
said his uncle, sharply.
"I don't care to work with my hands."
"Do you care to work at all?"
"I should like to be a bookkeeper."
"Do you know that my work is harder and
more exhausting than that of a workman in
"You don't want to exchange with him, do you?"
"That's where I agree with you."
Mr. Jennings took several weekly papers.
Leonard was looking over the columns of one
of them one day, when he saw the advertisement
of a gift enterprise of a most attractive
character. The first prize was a house and
grounds valued at ten thousand dollars. Following
were minor prizes, among them one
thousand dollars in gold.
Leonard's fancy was captivated by the brilliant
prospect of such a prize.
"Price of tickets--only one dollar!" he read.
"Think of getting a thousand dollars for one!
Oh, if I could only be the lucky one!"
He took out his purse, though he knew
beforehand that his stock of cash consisted only
of two dimes and a nickel.
"I wonder if I could borrow a dollar of that
boy Carl!" he deliberated. "I'll speak to him
This happened more than a week after Carl
went to work in the factory. He had already
received one week's pay, and it remained
untouched in his pocket.
Leonard joined him in the street early in the
evening, and accosted him graciously.
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"Nowhere in particular. I am out for a walk."
"So am I. Shall we walk together?"
"If you like."
After talking on indifferent matters, Leonard
said suddenly: "Oh, by the way, will you do me a favor?"
"What is it?"
"Lend me a dollar till next week."
In former days Carl would probably have granted
the favor, but he realized the value of money now
that he had to earn it by steady work.
"I am afraid it won't be convenient," he answered.
"Does that mean that you haven't got it?"
"No, I have it, but I am expecting to use it."
"I wouldn't mind paying you interest for it--
say twenty-five cents," continued Leonard,
who had set his heart on buying a ticket in the
"I would be ashamed to take such interest as that."
"But I have a chance of making a good deal
more out of it myself."
"In what way?"
"That is my secret."
"Why don't you borrow it of your uncle?"
"He would ask too many questions. However,
I see that you're a miser, and I won't
He left Carl in a huff and walked hastily
away. He turned into a lane little traveled,
and, after walking a few rods, came suddenly
upon the prostrate body of a man, whose deep,
breathing showed that he was stupefied by
liquor. Leonard was not likely to feel any
special interest in him, but one object did
attract his attention. It was a wallet which had
dropped out of the man's pocket and was lying
on the grass beside him.
Leonard was not a thief, but the sight of the
wallet tempted him, under the circumstances.
He had set his heart on buying a ticket in the
gift enterprise, and knew of no way of obtaining
the requisite sum--except this. It was,
indeed, a little shock to him to think of
appropriating money not his own; yet who would
know it? The owner of the wallet was drunk,
and would be quite unconscious of his loss.
Besides, if he didn't take the wallet, some one else
probably would, and appropriate the entire
contents. It was an insidious suggestion, and
Leonard somehow persuaded himself that since
the money was sure to be taken, he might as
well have the benefit of it as anyone else.
So, after turning over the matter in his mind
rapidly, he stooped down and picked up the
The man did not move.
Emboldened by his insensibility, Leonard
cautiously opened the pocketbook, and his eyes
glistened when he saw tucked away in one
side, quite a thick roll of bills.
"He won't miss one bill," thought Leonard.
"Anyone else might take the whole wallet, but
I wouldn't do that. I wonder how much money
there is in the roll."
He darted another glance at the prostrate
form, but there seemed no danger of interruption.
He took the roll in his hand, therefore,
and a hasty scrutiny showed him that the bills
ran from ones to tens. There must have been
nearly a hundred dollars in all.
"Suppose I take a five," thought Leonard,
whose cupidity increased with the sight of the
money. "He won't miss it, and it will be better
in my hands than if spent for whiskey."
How specious are the arguments of those
who seek an excuse for a wrong act that will
put money in the purse!
"Yes, I think I may venture to take a five,
and, as I might not be able to change it right
away, I will take a one to send for a ticket.
Then I will put the wallet back in the man's pocket."
So far, all went smoothly, and Leonard was
proceeding to carry out his intention when,
taking a precautionary look at the man on the
ground, he was dumfounded by seeing his eyes
wide open and fixed upon him.
Leonard flushed painfully, like a criminal
detected in a crime, and returned the look of
inquiry by one of dismay.
"What--you--doing?" inquired the victim
"I--is this your wallet, sir?" stammered Leonard.
"Course it is. What you got it for?"
"I--I saw it on the ground, and was afraid
some one would find it, and rob you," said
"Somebody did find it," rejoined the man,
whose senses seemed coming back to him.
"How much did you take?"
"I? You don't think I would take any of
your money?" said Leonard, in virtuous surprise.
"Looked like it! Can't tell who to trust."
"I assure you, I had only just picked it up,
and was going to put it back in your pocket, sir."
The man, drunk as he was, winked knowingly.
"Smart boy!" he said. "You do it well, ol' fella!"
"But, sir, it is quite true, I assure you.
I will count over the money before you.
Do you know how much you had?"
"Nev' mind. Help me up!"
Leonard stooped over and helped the drunkard
to a sitting position.
"Where am I? Where is hotel?"
Leonard answered him.
"Take me to hotel, and I'll give you a dollar."
"Certainly, sir," said Leonard, briskly. He
was to get his dollar after all, and would not
have to steal it. I am afraid he is not to be
praised for his honesty, as it seemed to be a
matter of necessity.
"I wish he'd give me five dollars," thought
Leonard, but didn't see his way clear to make
He placed the man on his feet, and guided
his steps to the road. As he walked along,
the inebriate, whose gait was at first unsteady,
recovered his equilibrium and required less help.
"How long had you been lying there?" asked Leonard.
"Don't know. I was taken sick," and the
inebriate nodded knowingly at Leonard,
who felt at liberty to laugh, too.
"Do you ever get sick?"
"Not that way," answered Leonard.
"Smart boy! Better off!"
They reached the hotel, and Leonard engaged
a room for his companion.
"Has he got money?" asked the landlord, in
a low voice.
"Yes," answered Leonard, "he has nearly
a hundred dollars. I counted it myself."
"That's all right, then," said the landlord.
"Here, James, show the gentleman up to No. 15."
"Come, too," said the stranger to Leonard.
The latter followed the more readily because
he had not yet been paid his dollar.
The door of No. 15 was opened, and the two entered.
"I will stay with the gentleman a short time,"
said Leonard to the boy. "If we want anything we will ring."
"All right, sir."
"What's your name?" asked the inebriate,
as he sank into a large armchair near the window.
"Never heard the name before."
"What's your name, sir?"
"What yon want to know for?" asked the other, cunningly.
"The landlord will want to put it on his book."
"My name? Phil Stark."
"Yes; who told you?"
It will be seen that Mr. Stark was not yet
"You told me yourself."
"So I did--'scuse me."
"Certainly, sir. By the way, you told me
you would pay me a dollar for bringing you
to the hotel."
"So I did. Take it," and Philip Stark passed
the wallet to Leonard.
Leonard felt tempted to take a two-dollar bill
instead of a one, as Mr. Stark would hardly notice
the mistake. Still, he might ask to look at the bill,
and that would be awkward. So the boy contented himself
with the sum promised.
"Thank you, sir," he said, as he slipped the bill
into his vest pocket. "Do you want some supper?"
"No, I want to sleep."
"Then you had better lie down on the bed.
Will you undress?"
"No; too much trouble."
Mr. Stark rose from the armchair, and,
lurching round to the bed, flung himself on it.
"I suppose you don't want me any longer,"
"No. Come round to-morrer."
Leonard opened the door and left the room.
He resolved to keep the appointment, and come
round the next day. Who knew but some more
of Mr. Stark's money might come into his
hands? Grown man as he was, he seemed to
need a guardian, and Leonard was willing to
act as such--for a consideration.
"It's been a queer adventure!" thought Leonard,
as he slowly bent his steps towards his uncle's
house. "I've made a dollar out of it, anyway,
and if he hadn't happened to wake up
just as he did I might have done better.
However, it may turn out as well in the end."
"You are rather late, Leonard," said his uncle,
in a tone that betrayed some irritation.
"I wanted to send you on an errand, and you
are always out of the way at such a time."
"I'll go now," said Leonard, with unusual
amiability. "I've had a little adventure."
"An adventure! What is it?" Mr. Gibbon
asked, with curiosity.
Leonard proceeded to give an account of his
finding the inebriate in the meadow, and his
guiding him to the hotel. It may readily be
supposed that he said nothing of his attempt
to appropriate a part of the contents of the wallet.
"What was his name?" asked Gibbon, with languid curiosity.
"Phil Stark, he calls himself."
A strange change came over the face of the bookkeeper.
There was a frightened look in his eyes, and his color faded.
"Phil Stark!" he repeated, in a startled tone.
"What brings him here?" Gibbon asked himself
nervously, but no words passed his lips.
"Do you know the name?" asked Leonard, wonderingly.
"I--have heard it before, but--no, I don't
think it is the same man."
AN ARTFUL SCHEME.
"Does this Mr. Stark intend to remain long
in the village!" inquired the bookkeeper, in
a tone of assumed indifference.
"He didn't say anything on that point,"
"He did not say what business brought him
here, I presume?"
"No, he was hardly in condition to say
much; he was pretty full," said Leonard, with
a laugh. "However, he wants me to call upon
him to-morrow, and may tell me then."
"He wants you to call upon him?"
"Are you going?"
"Yes; why shouldn't I?"
"I see no reason," said Gibbon, hesitating.
Then, after a pause he added: "If you see
the way clear, find out what brings him to
"Yes, uncle, I will."
"Uncle Julius seems a good deal interested
in this man, considering that he is a stranger,"
thought the boy.
The bookkeeper was biting his nails, a habit
he had when he was annoyed. "And, Leonard,"
he added slowly, "don't mention my
name while you are speaking to Stark."
"No, sir, I won't, if you don't want me to,"
answered Leonard, his face betraying unmistakable
curiosity. His uncle noted this, and
explained hurriedly: "It is possible that he
may be a man whom I once met under disagreeable
circumstances, and I would prefer
not to meet him again. Should he learn that
I was living here, he would be sure to want
to renew the acquaintance."
"Yes, sir, I see. I don't think he would
want to borrow money, for he seems to be
pretty well provided. I made a dollar out of
him to-day, and that is one reason why I am
willing to call on him again. I may strike
him for another bill."
"There is no objection to that, provided you
don't talk to him too freely. I don't think
he will want to stay long in Milford."
"I wouldn't if I had as much money as he probably has."
"Do you often meet the new boy?"
"Yes; I see him on the street quite often."
"He lives with Mr. Jennings, I hear."
"So he tells me."
"It is rather strange. I didn't suppose that
Jennings would care to receive a boy in his
house, or that tall grenadier of a housekeeper,
either. I expect she rules the household."
"She could tuck him under her arm and
walk off with him," said Leonard, laughing.
"The boy must be artful to have wormed
his way into the favor of the strange pair.
He seems to be a favorite."
"Yes, uncle, I think he is. However, I like
my position better than his."
"He will learn his business from the beginning.
I don't know but it was a mistake for
you to leave the factory."
"I am not at all sorry for it, uncle."
"Your position doesn't amount to much."
"I am paid just as well as I was when I was
in the factory."
"But you are learning nothing."
"You are going to teach me bookkeeping."
"Even that is not altogether a desirable
business. A good bookkeeper can never expect to
be in business for himself. He must be content
with a salary all his life."
"You have done pretty well, uncle."
"But there is no chance of my becoming
a rich man. I have to work hard for my
money. And I haven't been able to lay up
much money yet. That reminds me? Leonard,
I must impress upon you the fact that you
have your own way to make. I have procured
you a place, and I provide you a home----"
"You take my wages," said Leonard, bluntly.
"A part of them, but on the whole, you are
not self-supporting. You must look ahead,
Leonard, and consider the future. When you are
a young man you will want to earn an adequate income."
"Of course, I shall, uncle, but there is one
"What is that?"
"I may marry an heiress," suggested Leonard, smiling.
The bookkeeper winced.
"I thought I was marrying an heiress when
I married your aunt," he said, "but within
six months of our wedding day, her father
made a bad failure, and actually had the
assurance to ask me to give him a home under
"Did you do it?"
"No; I told him it would not be convenient."
"What became of him?"
"He got a small clerkship at ten dollars a
week in the counting room of a mercantile
friend, and filled it till one day last October,
when he dropped dead of apoplexy. I made
a great mistake when I married in not asking
him to settle a definite sum on his daughter.
It would have been so much saved from the wreck."
"Did aunt want him to come and live here?"
"Yes, women are always unreasonable. She
would have had me support the old man in
idleness, but I am not one of that kind.
Every tub should stand on its own bottom."
"I say so, too, uncle. Do you know whether
this boy, Carl Crawford, has any father or mother?"
"From a word Jennings let fall I infer
that he has relatives, but is not on good terms
with them. I have been a little afraid he
might stand in your light."
"How so, uncle?"
"Should there be any good opening for one
of your age, I am afraid he would get it rather
"I didn't think of that," said Leonard, jealously.
"Living as he does with Mr. Jennings, he
will naturally try to ingratiate himself with
him, and stand first in his esteem."
"That is true. Is Mr. Jennings a rich man,
do you think?"
"Yes, I think he is. The factory and stock
are worth considerable money, but I know he
has other investments also. As one item he
has over a thousand dollars in the Carterville
Savings Bank. He has been very pru-
dent, has met with no losses, and has put aside
a great share of his profits every year."
"I wonder he don't marry."
"Marriage doesn't seem to be in his
thoughts. Hannah makes him so comfortable
that he will probably remain a bachelor to
the end of his days."
"Perhaps he will leave his money to her."
"He is likely to live as long as she."
"She is a good deal longer than he," said
Leonard, with a laugh.
The bookkeeper condescended to smile at
this joke, though it was not very brilliant.
"Before this boy Carl came," he resumed
thoughtfully, "I hoped he might take a fancy
to you. He must die some time, and, having
no near blood relative, I thought he might
select as heir some boy like yourself, who might
grow into his favor and get on his blind side."
"Is it too late now?" asked Leonard, eagerly.
"Perhaps not, but the appearance of this
new boy on the scene makes your chance a good
"I wish we could get rid of him," said
"The only way is to injure him in the
estimation of Mr. Jennings."
"I think I know of a way."
"Here is an advertisement of a lottery," said
Leonard, whose plans, in view of what his uncle
had said, had experienced a change.
"I will write to the manager in Carl's name,
inquiring about tickets, and, of course, he will
answer to him, to the care of Mr. Jennings.
This will lead to the suspicion that Carl is
interested in such matters."
"It is a good idea. It will open the way
to a loss of confidence on the part of Mr. Jennings."
"I will sit down at your desk and write at once."
Three days later Mr. Jennings handed a letter
to Carl after they reached home in the evening.
"A letter for you to my care," he explained.
Carl opened it in surprise, and read as follows:
"Office Of Gift Enterprise.
"Mr. Carl Crawford:--Your letter of inquiry
is received. In reply we would say that
we will send you six tickets for five dollars.
By disposing of them among your friends at
one dollar each, you will save the cost of your
own. You had better remit at once.
"Yours respectfully, Pitkins & Gamp,
Carl looked the picture of astonishment
when he read this letter.
REVEALS A MYSTERY.
"Please read this letter, Mr. Jennings," said Carl.
His employer took the letter from his hand,
and ran his eye over it.
"Do you wish to ask my advice about the
investment?" he said, quietly.
"No, sir. I wanted to know how such a
letter came to be written to me."
"Didn't you send a letter of inquiry there?"
"No, sir, and I can't understand how these
men could have got hold of my name."
Mr. Jennings looked thoughtful.
"Some one has probably written in your name,"
he said, after a pause.
"But who could have done so?"
"If you will leave the letter in my hands,
I may be able to obtain some information on
"I shall be glad if you can, Mr. Jennings."
"Don't mention to anyone having received such a letter,
and if anyone broaches the subject, let me know who it is."
"Yes, sir, I will."
Mr. Jennings quietly put on his hat, and walked
over to the post office. The postmaster, who also
kept a general variety store, chanced to be alone.
"Good-evening, Mr. Jennings," he said,
pleasantly. "What can I do for you?"
"I want a little information, Mr. Sweetland,
though it is doubtful if you can give it."
Mr. Sweetland assumed the attitude of attention.
"Do you know if any letter has been posted
from this office within a few days, addressed
to Pitkins & Gamp, Syracuse, New York?"
"Yes; two letters have been handed in bearing this address."
Mr. Jennings was surprised, for he had never
thought of two letters.
"Can you tell me who handed them in?" he asked.
"Both were handed in by the same party."
"And that was----"
"A boy in your employ."
Mr. Jennings looked grave. Was it possible
that Carl was deceiving him?
"The boy who lives at my house?" he asked, anxiously.
"No; the boy who usually calls for the factory mail.
The nephew of your bookkeeper I think his name is Leonard Craig."
"Ah, I see," said Mr. Jennings, looking very much relieved.
"And you say he deposited both letters?"
"Do you happen to remember if any other
letter like this was received at the office?"
Here he displayed the envelope of Carl's letter.
"Yes; one was received, addressed to the name
of the one who deposited the first letters--
"Thank you, Mr. Sweetland. Your information has cleared
up a mystery. Be kind enough not to mention the matter."
"I will bear your request in mind."
Mr. Jennings bought a supply of stamps, and then left the office.
"Well, Carl," he said, when he re-entered the house,
"I have discovered who wrote in your name to Pitkins & Gamp."
"Who, sir?" asked Carl, with curiosity.
"But what could induce him to do it?" said Carl, perplexed.
"He thought that I would see the letter, and would be prejudiced
against you if I discovered that you were investing in what is
a species of lottery."
"Would you, sir?"
"I should have thought you unwise, and I
should have been reminded of a fellow workman
who became so infatuated with lotteries
that he stole money from his employer to
enable him to continue his purchases of tickets.
But for this unhappy passion he would have
"Leonard must dislike me," said Carl, thoughtfully.
"He is jealous of you; I warned you he or
some one else might become so. But the most
curious circumstance is, he wrote a second letter
in his own name. I suspect he has bought a ticket.
I advise you to say nothing about the matter
"I won't, sir."
The next day Carl met Leonard in the street.
"By the way," said Leonard, "you got a letter yesterday?"
"I brought it to the factory with the rest of the mail."
Leonard looked at him curiously.
"He seems to be close-mouthed," Leonard said to himself.
"He has sent for a ticket, I'll bet a hat, and don't
want me to find out. I wish I could draw the capital prize--
I would not mind old Jennings finding out then."
"Do you ever hear from your--friends?" he asked a minute later.
"I thought that letter might be from your home."
"No; it was a letter from Syracuse."
"I remember now, it was postmarked Syracuse. Have you friends there?"
"None that I am aware of."
"Yet you receive letters from there?"
"That was a business letter."
Carl was quietly amused at Leonard's skillful questions,
but was determined not to give him any light on the subject.
Leonard tried another avenue of attack.
"Oh, dear!" he sighed, "I wish I was rich."
"I shouldn't mind being rich myself," said Carl,
with a smile.
"I suppose old Jennings must have a lot of money."
"Mr. Jennings, I presume, is very well off,"
responded Carl, emphasizing the title "Mr."
"If I had his money I wouldn't live in such Quaker style."
"Would you have him give fashionable parties?"
asked Carl, smiling.
"Well, I don't know that he would enjoy that;
but I'll tell you what I would do. I would buy
a fast horse--a two-forty mare--and a bangup buggy,
and I'd show the old farmers round here what fast driving is.
Then I'd have a stylish house, and----"
"I don't believe you'd be content to live in Milford, Leonard."
"I don't think I would, either, unless my business were here.
I'd go to New York every few weeks and see life."
"You may be rich some time, so that you can carry out your wishes."
"Do you know any easy way of getting money?"
asked Leonard, pointedly.
"The easy ways are not generally the true ways.
A man sometimes makes money by speculation,
but he has to have some to begin with."
"I can't get anything out of him," thought Leonard.
He crossed the street, and joined the man who has already
been referred to as boarding at the hotel.
Mr. Stark had now been several days in Milford.
What brought him there, or what object
he had in staying, Leonard had not yet
ascertained. He generally spent part of his
evenings with the stranger, and had once or
twice received from him a small sum of money.
Usually, however, he had met Mr. Stark in
the billiard room, and played a game or two
of billiards with him. Mr. Stark always paid
for the use of the table, and that was naturally
satisfactory to Leonard, who enjoyed amusement
at the expense of others.
Leonard, bearing in mind his uncle's request,
had not mentioned his name to Mr. Stark, and
Stark, though he had walked about the village
more or less, had not chanced to meet Mr. Gibbon.
He had questioned Leonard, however, about
Mr. Jennings, and whether he was supposed to be rich.
Leonard had answered freely that everyone
considered him so.
"But he doesn't know how to enjoy his money," he added.
"We should," said Stark, jocularly.
"You bet we would," returned Leonard; and
he was quite sincere in his boast, as we know
from his conversation with Carl.
"By the way," said Stark, on this particular
evening, "I never asked you about your family,
Leonard. I suppose you live with your parents."
"No, sir. They are dead."
"Then whom do you live with?"
"With my uncle," answered Leonard, guardedly.
"Is his name Craig?"
"I've got to tell him," thought Leonard.
"Well, I don't suppose there will be much
harm in it. My uncle is bookkeeper for Mr. Jennings,"
he said, "and his name is Julius Gibbon."
Philip Stark wheeled round, and eyed Leonard
in blank astonishment.
"Your uncle is Julius Gibbon!" he exclaimed.
"Well, I'll be blowed."
"Do you--know my uncle?" asked Leonard, hesitating.
"I rather think I do. Take me round to the house.
I want to see him."
AN UNWELCOME GUEST.
When Julius Gibbon saw the door open and
Philip Stark enter the room where he was
smoking his noon cigar, his heart quickened
its pulsations and he turned pale.
"How are you, old friend?" said Stark,
boisterously. "Funny, isn't it, that I should run
across your nephew?"
"Very strange!" ejaculated Gibbon, looking
the reverse of joyous.
"It's a happy meeting, isn't it? We used to
see a good deal of each other," and he laughed
in a way that Gibbon was far from enjoying.
"Now, I've come over to have a good, long chat
with you. Leonard, I think we won't keep
you, as you wouldn't be interested in our talk
about old times."
"Yes, Leonard, you may leave us," added his uncle.
Leonard's curiosity was excited, and he
would have been glad to remain, but as there
was no help for it, he went out.
When they were alone, Stark drew up his
chair close, and laid his hand familiarly on
the bookkeeper's knee.
"I say, Gibbon, do you remember where we last met?"
Gibbon shuddered slightly.
"Yes," he answered, feebly.
"It was at Joliet--Joliet Penitentiary. Your
time expired before mine. I envied you the
six months' advantage you had of me. When
I came out I searched for you everywhere,
but heard nothing."
"How did you know I was here?" asked the bookkeeper.
"I didn't know. I had no suspicion of it.
Nor did I dream that Leonard, who was able
to do me a little service, was your nephew. I
say, he's a chip of the old block, Gibbon," and
Stark laughed as if he enjoyed it.
"What do you mean by that?"
"I was lying in a field, overcome by liquor,
an old weakness of mine, you know, and my
wallet had slipped out of my pocket. I
chanced to open my eyes, when I saw it in the
hands of your promising nephew, ha! ha!"
"He told me that."
"But he didn't tell you that he was on the
point of appropriating a part of the contents?
I warrant you he didn't tell you that."
"Did he acknowledge it? Perhaps you misjudged him."
"He didn't acknowledge it in so many words,
but I knew it by his change of color and confusion.
Oh, I didn't lay it up against him.
We are very good friends. He comes honestly by it."
Gibbon looked very much annoyed, but there were reasons
why he did not care to express his chagrin.
"On my honor, it was an immense surprise
to me," proceeded Stark, "when I learned that
my old friend Gibbon was a resident of Milford."
"I wish you had never found it out," thought
Gibbon, biting his lip.
"No sooner did I hear it than I posted off
at once to call on you."
"So I see."
Stark elevated his eyebrows, and looked
amused. He saw that he was not a welcome
visitor, but for that he cared little.
"Haven't you got on, though? Here I find
you the trusted bookkeeper of an important
business firm. Did you bring recommendations
from your last place?" and he burst into
a loud guffaw.
"I wish you wouldn't make such
references," snapped Gibbon. "They can do no
good, and might do harm."
"Don't be angry, my dear boy. I rejoice
at your good fortune. Wish I was equally
well fixed. You don't ask how I am getting on."
"I hope you are prosperous," said Gibbon, coldly.
"I might be more so. Is there a place vacant
in your office?"
"And if there were, you might not recommend me, eh?"
"There is no need to speak of that. There is no vacancy."
"Upon my word, I wish there were, as I am getting to
the end of my tether. I may have money enough to last
me four weeks longer, but no more."
"I don't see how I can help you," said Gibbon.
"How much salary does Mr. Jennings pay you?"
"A hundred dollars a month," answered the
"Not bad, in a cheap place like this."
"It takes all I make to pay expenses."
"I remember--you have a wife. I have no
"There is one question I would like to ask you,"
said the bookkeeper.
"Fire away, dear boy. Have you an extra cigar?"
"Here is one,"
"Thanks. Now I shall be comfortable. Go ahead
with your question."
"What brought you to Milford? You didn't
know of my being here, you say."
"Neither did I. I came on my old business."
"I heard there was a rich manufacturer here
--I allude to your respected employer.
I thought I might manage to open his safe
some dark night."
"No, no," protested Gibbon in alarm. "Don't think of it."
"Why not?" asked Stark, coolly.
"Because," answered Gibbon, in some agitation,
"I might be suspected."
"Well, perhaps you might; but I have got to look out
for number one. How do you expect me to live?"
"Go somewhere else. There are plenty of other
men as rich, and richer, where you would
not be compromising an old friend."
"It's because I have an old friend in the office
that I have thought this would be my best opening."
"Surely, man, you don't expect me to betray
my employer, and join with you in robbing him?"
"That's just what I do expect. Don't tell
me you have grown virtuous, Gibbon. The
tiger doesn't lose his spots or the leopard his
stripes. I tell you there's a fine chance for us
both. I'll divide with you, if you'll help me."
"But I've gone out of the business,"
"I haven't. Come, old boy, I can't let any
sentimental scruples interfere with so good a
stroke of business."
"I won't help you!" said Gibbon, angrily.
"You only want to get me into trouble."
"You won't help me?" said Stark, with slow deliberation.
"No, I can't honorably. Can't you let me alone?"
"Sorry to say, I can't. If I was rich, I might;
but as it is, it is quite necessary for me to raise
some money somewhere. By all accounts, Jennings is rich,
and can spare a small part of his accumulations for
a good fellow that's out of luck."
"You'd better give up the idea. It's quite impossible."
"Is it?" asked Stark, with a wicked look.
"Then do you know what I will do?"
"What will you do?" asked Gibbon, nervously.
"I will call on your employer, and tell him
what I know of you."
"You wouldn't do that?" said the bookkeeper,
"Why not? You turn your back upon an
old friend. You bask in prosperity, and turn
from him in his poverty. It's the way of the
world, no doubt; but Phil Stark generally gets
even with those who don't treat him well."
"Tell me what you want me to do," said
"Tell me first whether your safe contains
much of value."
"We keep a line of deposit with the Milford Bank."
"Do you mean to say that nothing of value is left
in the safe overnight?" asked Stark, disappointed
"There is a box of government bonds usually kept there,"
the bookkeeper admitted, reluctantly.
"Ah, that's good!" returned Stark, rubbing his hands.
"Do you know how much they amount to?"
"I think there are about four thousand dollars."
"Good! We must have those bonds, Gibbon."
MR. STARK IS RECOGNIZED.
Phil Stark was resolved not to release his
hold upon his old acquaintance. During the
day he spent his time in lounging about the
town, but in the evening he invariably fetched
up at the bookkeeper's modest home. His
attentions were evidently not welcome to Mr.
Gibbon, who daily grew more and more nervous
and irritable, and had the appearance of
a man whom something disquieted.
Leonard watched the growing intimacy with
curiosity. He was a sharp boy, and he felt
convinced that there was something between
his uncle and the stranger. There was no
chance for him to overhear any conversation,
for he was always sent out of the way when
the two were closeted together. He still met
Mr. Stark outside, and played billiards with
him frequently. Once he tried to extract
some information from Stark.
"You've known my uncle a good while," he said,
in a tone of assumed indifference.
"Yes, a good many years," answered Stark,
as he made a carom.
"Were you in business together?"
"Not exactly, but we may be some time,"
returned Stark, with a significant smile.
"Well, that isn't decided."
"Where did you first meet Uncle Julius?"
"The kid's growing curious," said Stark to
himself. "Does he think he can pull wool
over the eyes of Phil Stark? If he does, he
thinks a good deal too highly of himself. I
will answer his questions to suit myself."
"Why don't you ask your uncle that?"
"I did," said Leonard, "but he snapped me
up, and told me to mind my own business. He
is getting terribly cross lately."
"It's his stomach, I presume," said Stark,
urbanely. "He is a confirmed dyspeptic--
that's what's the matter with him. Now; I've
got the digestion of an ox. Nothing ever
troubles me, and the result is that I am as calm
and good-natured as a May morning."
"Don't you ever get riled, Mr. Stark?" asked
"Well, hardly ever. Sometimes when I am
asked fool questions by one who seems to be
prying into what is none of his business, I
get wrathy, and when I'm roused look out !"
He glanced meaningly at Leonard, and the
boy understood that the words conveyed a
warning and a menace.
"Is anything the matter with you, Mr.
Gibbon? Are you as well as usual?" asked Mr.
Jennings one morning. The little man was
always considerate, and he had noticed the
flurried and nervous manner of his bookkeeper.
"No, sir; what makes you ask?" said Gibbon, apologetically.
"Perhaps you need a vacation," suggested Mr. Jennings.
"Oh, no, I think not. Besides, I couldn't be spared."
"I would keep the books myself for a week to favor you."
"You are very kind, but I won't trouble you just yet.
A little later on, if I feel more uncomfortable,
I will avail myself of your kindness."
"Do so. I know that bookkeeping is a strain
upon the mind, more so than physical labor."
There were special reasons why Mr. Gibbon
did not dare to accept the vacation
tendered him by his employer. He knew that
Phil Stark would be furious, for it would
interfere with his designs. He could not afford
to offend this man, who held in his possession
a secret affecting his reputation and good name.
The presence of a stranger in a small town
always attracts public attention, and many
were curious about the rakish-looking man
who had now for some time occupied a room
at the hotel.
Among others, Carl had several times seen
him walking with Leonard Craig
"Leonard," he asked one day, "who is the
gentleman I see you so often walking with?"
"It's a man that's boarding at the hotel. I
play billiards with him sometimes."
"He seems to like Milford."
"I don't know. He's over at our house every evening."
"Is he?" asked Carl, surprised.
"Yes; he's an old acquaintance of Uncle Julius.
I don't know where they met each other,
for he won't tell. He said he and uncle might
go into business together some time. Between
you and me, I think uncle would like to get
rid of him. I know he doesn't like him."
This set Carl to thinking, but something occurred
soon afterwards that impressed him still more.
Occasionally a customer of the house visited
Milford, wishing to give a special order for
some particular line of goods. About this
time a Mr. Thorndike, from Chicago, came to
Milford on this errand, and put up at the
hotel. He had called at the factory during the
day, and had some conversation with Mr.
Jennings. After supper a doubt entered the mind
of the manufacturer in regard to one point,
and he said to Carl: "Carl, are you engaged
"Will you carry a note for me to the hotel?"
"Certainly, sir; I shall be glad to do so."
"Mr. Thorndike leaves in the morning, and I am
not quite clear as to one of the specifications
he gave me with his order. You noticed the
gentleman who went through the factory with me?"
"He is Mr. Thorndike. Please hand him this note,
and if he wishes you to remain with him for company,
you had better do so."
"I will, sir."
"Hannah," said Mr. Jennings, as his messenger left with
the note, "Carl is a pleasant addition to our little household?"
"Yes, indeed he is," responded Hannah, emphatically.
"If he was twice the trouble I'd be glad to have him here."
"He is easy to get along with."
"Yet his stepmother drove him from his father's house."
"She's a wicked trollop, then!" said Hannah,
in a deep, stern voice. "I'd like to get
hold of her, I would."
"What would you do to her?" asked Mr.
"I'd give her a good shaking," answered Hannah.
"I believe you would, Hannah," said Mr.
Jennings, amused. "On the whole, I think she
had better keep out of your clutches. Still,
but for her we would never have met with Carl.
What is his father's loss is our gain."
"What a poor, weak man his father must
be," said Hannah, contemptuously, "to let a
woman like her turn him against his own flesh
"I agree with you, Hannah. I hope some
time he may see his mistake."
Carl kept on his way to the hotel. It was
summer and Mr. Thorndike was sitting on the
piazza smoking a cigar. To him Carl delivered
"It's all right!" he said, rapidly glancing
it over. "You may tell Mr. Jennings," and
here he gave an answer to the question asked
in the letter.
"Yes, sir, I will remember."
"Won't you sit down and keep me company
a little while?" asked Thorndike, who was
"Thank you, sir," and Carl sat down in a
chair beside him.
"Will you have a cigar?"
"No, thank you, sir. I don't smoke."
"That is where you are sensible. I began
to smoke at fourteen, and now I find it hard
to break off. My doctor tells me it is hurting
me, but the chains of habit are strong."
"All the more reason for forming good habits, sir."
"Spoken like a philosopher. Are you in the
employ of my friend, Mr. Jennings?"
"Learning the business?"
"That is my present intention."
"If you ever come out to Chicago, call on
me, and if you are out of a place, I will give you one."
"Are you not a little rash, Mr. Thorndike,
to offer me a place when you know so little of me?"
"I trust a good deal to looks. I care more
for them than for recommendations."
At that moment Phil Stark came out of the
hotel, and passing them, stepped off the piazza
into the street.
Mr. Thorndike half rose from his seat,
and looked after him.
"Who is that?" he asked, in an exciting whisper.
"A man named Stark, who is boarding at the hotel.
Do you know him?"
"Do I know him?" repeated Thorndike. "He
is one of the most successful burglars in the West."
PREPARING FOR THE BURGLAR.
Carl stared at Mr. Thorndike in surprise and dismay.
"A burglar!" he ejaculated.
"Yes; I was present in the courtroom when
he was convicted of robbing the Springfield bank.
I sat there for three hours, and his face
was impressed upon my memory. I saw him
later on in the Joliet Penitentiary. I was
visiting the institution and saw the prisoners file
out into the yard. I recognized this man instantly.
Do you know how long he has been here?"
"For two weeks I should think."
"He has some dishonest scheme in his head,
I have no doubt. Have you a bank in Milford?"
"He may have some design upon that."
"He is very intimate with our bookkeeper,
so his nephew tells me."
Mr. Thorndike looked startled.
"Ha! I scent danger to my friend, Mr. Jennings.
He ought to be apprised."
"He shall be, sir," said Carl, firmly.
"Will you see him to-night?"
"Yes, sir; I am not only in his employ,
but I live at his house."
"That is well."
"Perhaps I ought to go home at once."
"No attempt will be made to rob the office
till late. It is scarcely eight o'clock.
I don't know, however, but I will walk around
to the house with you, and tell your employer
what I know. By the way, what sort of a man
is the bookkeeper?"
"I don't know him very well, sir. He has
a nephew in the office, who was transferred
from the factory. I have taken his place."
"Do you think the bookkeeper would join in
a plot to rob his employer?"
"I don't like him. To me he is always disagreeable,
but I would not like to say that."
"How long has he been in the employ of Mr. Jennings?"
"As long as two years, I should think."
"You say that this man is intimate with him?"
"Leonard Craig--he is the nephew--says that
Mr. Philip Stark is at his uncle's house
"So he calls himself Philip Stark, does he?"
"Isn't that his name?"
"I suppose it is one of his names. He was
convicted under that name, and retains it here
on account of its being so far from the place
of his conviction. Whether it is his real name
or not, I do not know. What is the name of
"I don't remember ever having heard it.
Evidently there has been some past acquaintance
between the two men, and that, I should say,
is hardly a recommendation for Mr. Gibbon.
Of course that alone is not enough to condemn
him, but the intimacy is certainly a suspicious
The two soon reached the house of Mr. Jennings,
for the distance was only a quarter of a mile.
Mr. Jennings seemed a little surprised, but
gave a kindly welcome to his unexpected guest.
It occurred to him that he might have come to
give some extra order for goods.
"You are surprised to see me," said Thorndike.
"I came on a very important matter."
A look of inquiry came over the face of Mr. Jennings.
"There's a thief in the village--a guest at
the hotel--whom I recognize as one of the most
expert burglars in the country."
"I think I know whom you mean, a man of moderate height,
rather thick set, with small, black eyes and a slouch hat."
"What can you tell me about him?"
Mr. Thorndike repeated the statement he
had already made to Carl.
"Do you think our bank is in danger?"
asked the manufacturer.
"Perhaps so, but the chief danger threatens you."
Mr. Jennings looked surprised.
"What makes you think so?"
"Because this man appears to be very intimate
with your bookkeeper."
"How do you know that?" asked the little man, quickly.
"I refer you to Carl."
"Leonard Craig told me to-night that this man
Stark spent every evening at his uncle's house."
Mr. Jennings looked troubled.
"I am sorry to hear this," he said. "I dislike
to lose confidence in any man whom I have trusted."
"Have you noticed anything unusual in the demeanor
of your bookkeeper of late?" asked Thorndike.
"Yes; he has appeared out of spirits and nervous."
"That would seem to indicate he is conspiring to rob you."
"This very day, noticing the change in him,
I offered him a week's vacation. He promptly
declined to take it."
"Of course. It would conflict with the plans
of his confederate. I don't know the man, but
I do know human nature, and I venture to
predict that your safe will be opened within
a week. Do you keep anything of value in it?"
"There are my books, which are of great value to me."
"But not to a thief. Anything else?"
"Yes; I have a tin box containing four
thousand dollars in government bonds."
"Coupon or registered?"
"Nothing could be better--for a burglar.
What on earth could induce you to keep the
bonds in your own safe?"
"To tell the truth, I considered them quite
as safe there as in the bank. Banks are more
likely to be robbed than private individuals."
"Circumstances alter cases. Does anyone
know that you have the bonds in your safe?"