Part 3 out of 5
"I generally hold on to good stock when I get possession of it.
Indeed, I would buy more, if there were any in the market."
"He must have surplus funds," thought the adventurer. "I must see if I
can't manage to get some into my possession."
Here the landlord appeared, and announced that dinner was ready.
"You dine here, then?" said Fairfax.
"Yes; it will take me two hours to reach home, so I am obliged to dine
"We shall dine together, it seems. I am glad of it, as at present I
happen to be the only permanent guest at the hotel. May I ask where
"I have heard favorably of it, and have been intending to come over
and see the place, but the fact is, I am used only to the city, and
your country roads are so blind, that I have been afraid of losing my
"Won't you ride over with me this afternoon, Mr. Fairfax? I can't
bring you back, but you are quite welcome to a seat in my chaise one
The eyes of the adventurer sparkled at the invitation. Colonel Preston
had fallen into the trap he had laid for him, but he thought it best
not to accept too eagerly.
"You are certainly very kind, Colonel Preston," he answered, with
affected hesitation, "but I am afraid I shall be troubling you too
"No trouble whatever," said Colonel Preston, heartily. "It is a lonely
ride, and I shall be glad of a companion."
"A lonely ride, is it?" thought Fairfax. "All the better for my
purpose. It shall not be my fault if I do not come back with my
pockets well lined. The dividends you have just collected will be
better in my pockets than in yours."
This was what he thought, but he said:
"Then I will accept with pleasure. I suppose I can easily engage
someone to bring me back to Melville?"
"Oh, yes; we have a livery stable, where you can easily obtain a horse
The dinner proceeded, and Fairfax made himself unusually social and
agreeable, so that Colonel Preston congratulated himself on the
prospect of beguiling the loneliness of the way in such pleasant
company. Fairfax spoke of stocks with such apparent knowledge that the
colonel imagined him to be a gentleman of large property. It is not
surprising that he was deceived, for the adventurer really understood
the subject of which he spoke, having been for several years a clerk
in a broker's counting-room in Wall Street. The loss of his situation
was occasioned by his abstraction of some securities, part of which he
had disposed of before he was detected. He was, in consequence, tried
and sentenced to three years' imprisonment. At the end of this period
he was released, with no further taste for an honest life, and had
since allied himself to the class who thrive by preying upon the
This was the man whom Colonel Preston proposed to take as his
companion on his otherwise lonely ride home.
RIDING WITH A HIGHWAYMAN
"Get into the chaise, Mr. Fairfax," said Colonel Preston.
"Thank you," said the adventurer, and accepted the invitation.
"Now we are off," said the colonel, as he took the reins, and touched
the horse lightly with the whip.
"Is the road a pleasant one?" inquired Fairfax.
"The latter part is rather lonely. For a mile it runs through the
woods--still, on a summer day, that is rather pleasant than otherwise.
In the evening, it is not so agreeable."
"No, I suppose not," said Fairfax, rather absently.
Colonel Preston would have been startled could he have read the
thoughts that were passing through the mind of his companion. Could he
have known his sinister designs, he would scarcely have sat at his
side, chatting so easily and indifferently.
"I will postpone my plan till we get to that part of the road he
speaks of," thought Fairfax. "It would not do for me to be
"I suppose it is quite safe traveling anywhere on the road," remarked
"Oh, yes," said Colonel Preston, with a laugh. "Thieves and highway
robbers do not pay us the compliment of visiting our neighborhood.
They keep in the large cities, or in places that will better reward
"Precisely," said Fairfax; "I am glad to hear it, for I carry a
considerable amount of money about me."
"So do I, to-day. This is the day for payment of mill dividends, and
as I have occasion to use the money, I did not deposit it."
"Good," said Fairfax, to himself. "That is what I wanted to find out."
Aloud he said:
"Oh, well, there are two of us, so it would be a bold highwayman that
would venture to attack us. Do you carry a pistol?"
"Not I," said Colonel Preston. "I don't like the idea of carrying
firearms about with me. They might go off by mistake. I was reading in
a daily paper, recently, of a case where a man accidentally shot his
son with the pistol he was in the habit of carrying about with him."
"There is that disadvantage, to be sure," said Fairfax. "So, he has no
pistol. He is quite in my power," he said to himself. "It's a good
thing to know."
"By the way," he asked, merely to keep up the conversation, "are you a
family man, Colonel Preston?"
"Yes, sir; I have a wife, and a son of fifteen."
"You have the advantage of me in that respect. I have always been
devoted to business, and have had no time for matrimony."
"Time enough yet, Mr. Fairfax."
"Oh, yes, I suppose so."
"If you are going to settle down in our neighborhood, I can introduce
you to some of our marriageable young ladies," said Colonel Preston,
"Thank you," said Fairfax; in the same tone. "I may avail myself of
"Won't you take supper at my home this evening?" said the colonel,
hospitably. "I shall be glad to introduce Mrs. Preston. My son is at
boarding school, so I shall not be able to let you see him."
"Have you but one child, then?"
"But one. His absence leaves us alone."
Godfrey's absence would have been lamented more by his father, had his
character and disposition been different. But he was so arrogant and
overbearing in his manners, and so selfish, that his father hoped that
association with other boys would cure him in part of these
objectionable traits. At home, he was so much indulged by his mother,
who could see no fault in him, as long as he did not oppose her, that
there was little chance of amendment.
So they rode on, conversing on various topics, but their conversation
was not of sufficient importance for me to report. At length they
entered on a portion of the road lined on either side by a natural
forest. Fairfax looked about him.
"I suppose, Colonel Preston, these are the woods you referred to?"
"How far do they extend?"
"About a mile."
They had traversed about half a mile, when Fairfax said:
"If you don't object, Colonel Preston, I will step out a moment.
There's a tree with a peculiar leaf. I would like to examine it nearer
"Certainly, Mr. Fairfax," said the colonel, though he wondered what
tree it could be, for he saw no tree of an unusual character.
The chaise stopped and Fairfax jumped off. But he seemed to have
forgotten the object of dismounting. Instead of examining the foliage
of a tree, he stepped to the horse's head, and seized him by the
"What are you going to do, Mr. Fairfax?" asked Colonel Preston, in
By this time Fairfax had withdrawn a pistol from his inside pocket,
and deliberately pointed it at his companion.
"Good heavens! Mr. Fairfax, what do you mean?"
"Colonel Preston," said the adventurer, "I want all the money you have
about you. I know you have a considerable sum, for you have yourself
"Why," exclaimed Colonel Preston, startled, "this is highway robbery."
"Precisely!" said Fairfax, bowing mockingly. "You have had the honor
of riding with a highwayman. Will you be good enough to give me the
money at once? I am in haste."
"Surely, this is a joke, Mr. Fairfax. I have heard of such practical
jokes before. You are testing my courage. I am not in the least
frightened. Jump in the chaise again, and we will proceed."
"That's a very kind way of putting it," said Fairfax, coolly; "but not
correct. I am no counterfeit, but the genuine article. Fairfax is not
my name. I won't tell you what it is, for it might be inconvenient."
No man can look with equanimity upon the prospect of losing money, and
Colonel Preston may be excused for not wishing to part with his eight
hundred dollars. But how could he escape? He had no pistol, and
Fairfax held the horse's bridle in a strong grasp. If he could only
parley with him till some carriage should come up, he might save his
money. It seemed the only way, and he resolved to try it.
"Mr. Fairfax," he said, "if you are really what you represent, I hope
you will consider the natural end of such a career. Turn, I entreat
you, to a more honest course of life."
"That may come some time," said Fairfax; "but at present my
necessities are too great. Oblige me by producing your pocketbook."
"I will give you one hundred dollars, and keep the matter a secret
from all. That will be better than to expose yourself to the penalty
of the law."
"Colonel Preston, a hundred dollars will not satisfy me. You have
eight hundred dollars with you, and I shall not leave this spot till
it is transferred to my possession."
"If I refuse?"
"You will subject me to the unpleasant alternative of blowing your
brains out," said the other, coolly.
"You surely would not be guilty of such a crime, Mr. Fairfax?" said
Colonel Preston, with a shudder.
"I would rather not. I have no desire to take your life, but I must
have that money. If you prefer to keep your money, you will compel me
to the act. You'll gain nothing, for in that case I shall take
both--your life first, and your money afterward."
"And this is the man with whom I dined, and with whom, a few moments
since, I was conversing freely!" thought Colonel Preston.
The adventurer became impatient.
"Colonel Preston," he said, abruptly, "produce that money instantly,
or I will fire."
There was no alternative. With reluctant hand the colonel drew out his
pocketbook, and was about to hand it with its contents to the
highwayman, when there was a sudden crash in the bushes behind
Fairfax, his pistol was dashed from his hand, and our young hero, Andy
Burke, with resolute face, stood with his gun leveled at him. All
happened so quickly that both Colonel Preston and Fairfax were taken
by surprise, and the latter, still retaining his hold upon the bridle,
stared at the young hero, who had so intrepidly come between him and
his intended victim.
With an oath he stopped, and was about to pick up the pistol which had
fallen from his hands, but was arrested by the quick, decisive tones
"Let that pistol alone! If you pick it up, I will shoot you on the
BAFFLED A ROBBER
Fairfax paused at Andy's threat. He was only a boy, it is true, but he
looked cool and resolute, and the gun, which was pointed at him,
looked positively dangerous. But was he to be thwarted in the very
moment of his triumph, by a boy? He could not endure it.
"Young man," he said, "this is dangerous business for you. If you
don't make yourself scarce, you won't be likely to return at all."
"I'll take the risk," said Andy, coolly.
"Confound him! I thought he'd be frightened," said Fairfax to himself.
"I don't want to kill you," he said, with a further attempt to
"I don't mean to let you," said our hero, quietly.
"You are no match for me."
"With a gun I am."
"I don't believe it is loaded."
"If you try to pick up that pistol, I'll convince you; by the powers,
I will," said Andy, energetically.
"What is to prevent my taking away the gun from you?"
"Faith," returned Andy, quaintly, "you'll take the powder and ball
first, I'm thinkin'."
Fairfax thought so, too, and that was one reason why he concluded not
to try it.
It was certainly a provoking position for him.
There lay the pistol on the ground, just at his feet; yet, if he tried
to pick it up, the boy would put a bullet through him. It was
furthermore provoking to reflect that, had he not stopped to parley
with Colonel Preston, he might have secured the money, which he so
much desired, before Andy had come up. There was one other resource.
He had tried bullying, and without success. He would try cajoling and
"Look here, boy," he said, "I am a desperate man. I would as leave
murder you as not."
"Thank you," said Andy. "But I'd rather not have it done."
"I don't want to hurt you, as I said before, but you mustn't interfere
"Then you mustn't interfere with the colonel."
"I must have the money in his pocketbook."
"Must you? Maybe, I'll have something to say, to that."
"He has eight hundred dollars with him."
"Did he tell you?"
"No matter; I know. If you won't interfere with me, I'll give you two
hundred of it."
"Thank you for nothing, then," said Andy, independently. "I'm only a
poor Irish boy, but I ain't a thafe, and never mane to be."
"Bravo, Andy!" said Colonel Preston, who had awaited with a little
anxiety the result of the offer.
Fairfax stooped suddenly, but before he could get hold of the pistol,
Andy struck him on the head with the gun-barrel, causing him to roll
over, while, in a quick and adroit movement, he himself got hold of
the pistol before Fairfax had recovered from the crack on his head.
"Now," said Andy, triumphantly, with the gun over his shoulder, and
presenting the pistol, "lave here mighty quick, or I'll shoot ye."
"Give me back the pistol, then," said the discomfited ruffian.
"I guess not," said Andy.
"It's my property."
"I don't know that. Maybe you took it from some thraveler."
"Give it to me, and I'll go off peaceably."
"I won't take no robber's word," said Andy. "Are you goin'?"
"Give me the pistol. Fire it off, if you like."
"That you may load it again. You don't catch a weasel asleep,"
answered Andy, shrewdly. "I've a great mind to make you march into the
village, and give you up to the perlice."
This suggestion was by no means pleasant for the highwayman,
particularly as he reflected that Andy had shown himself a resolute
boy, and doubly armed as he now was, it was quite within his power to
carry out his threat.
"Don't fire after me," he said.
"I never attack an inimy in the rare," said Andy, who always indulged
in the brogue more than usual under exciting circumstances.
I make this explanation, as the reader may have noticed a difference
in his dialect at different times.
"We shall meet again, boy!" said Fairfax, menacingly, turning at the
distance of a few feet.
"Thank you, sir. You needn't thrubble yourself," said Andy, "I ain't
anxious to mate you."
"When we do meet, you'll know it," said the other.
"Maybe I will. Go along wid ye!" said Andy, pointing the pistol at
"Don't shoot," said Fairfax, hastily, and he quickened his pace to get
out of the way of a dangerous companion.
Andy laughed as the highwayman disappeared in the distance.
"I thought he wouldn't wait long," he said.
"Andy," said Colonel Preston, warmly, "you have behaved like a hero."
"I'm only an Irish boy," said Andy, laughing. "Shure, they don't make
heroes of such as I."
"I don't care whether you are Irish or Dutch. You are a hero for all
"Shure, sir, it's lucky I was round whin that spalpeen wanted to rob
"How did you happen to be out with a gun this afternoon?"
"I got my work all done, and Miss Grant said I might go out shootin'
if I wanted. Shure, I didn't expect it 'ud been robbers I would be
"You came up just in the nick of time. Weren't you afraid?"
"I didn't stop to think of that when I saw that big blackguard
p'intin' his pistol at you. I thought I'd have a hand in it myself."
"Jump into the chaise, Andy, and ride home with me."
"What, wid the gun?"
"To be sure. We won't leave the gun. That has done us too good service
"I've made something out of it, anyway," said Andy, displaying the
pistol, which was silver-mounted, and altogether a very pretty weapon.
"It's a regular beauty," he said, with admiration.
"It will be better in your hands than in the real owner's," said
By this time Andy was in the chaise, rapidly nearing the village.
"If you hadn't come up just as you did, Andy, I should have been
poorer by eight hundred dollars."
"That's a big pile of money," said Andy, who, as we know, was not in
the habit of having large sums of money in his own possession.
"It is considerably more than I would like to lose," said Colonel
Preston, to whom it was of less importance than to Andy.
"I wonder will I ever have so much money?" thought Andy.
"Now, I'll tell you what I think it only right to do, Andy," pursued
Andy listened attentively.
"I am going to make you a present of some money, as an acknowledgment
of the service you have done me."
"I don't want anything, Colonel Preston," said Andy. "I didn't help
you for the money."
"I know you didn't, my lad," said the colonel, "but I mean to give it
to you all the same."
He took out his pocketbook, but Andy made one more remonstrance.
"I don't think I ought to take it, sir, thankin' you all the same."
"Then I will give you one hundred dollars for your mother. You can't
refuse it for her."
Andy's eyes danced with delight. He knew how much good this money
would do his mother, and relieve her from the necessity of working so
hard as she was now compelled to do.
"Thank you, sir," he said. "It'll make my mother's heart glad, and
save her from the hard work."
"Here is the money, Andy," said the colonel, handing his young
companion a roll of bills.
Again Andy poured out warm protestations of gratitude for the
munificent gift, with which Colonel Preston was well pleased.
"I believe you are a good boy, Andy," he said. "It is a good sign when
a boy thinks so much of his mother."
"I'd be ashamed not to, sir," said Andy.
They soon reached the village. Andy got down at the Misses Grant's
gate, and was soon astonishing the simple ladies by a narrative of his
encounter with the highwayman.
"Do you think he'll come here?" asked Sophia, in alarm. "If he should
come when Andy was away----"
"You could fire the gun yourself, Sophia."
"I should be frightened to death."
"Then he couldn't kill you afterward."
"Just so," answered Sophia, a little bewildered.
"Were you shot, Andrew?" she asked, a minute afterward.
"If I was, I didn't feel it," said Andy, jocosely.
Andy's heroic achievement made him still more valued by the Misses
Grant, and they rejoiced in the handsome gift he had received from the
colonel, and readily gave him permission to carry it to his mother
HOW THE NEWS WAS RECEIVED
It is always pleasant to carry good news, and Andy hastened with
joyful feet to his mother's humble dwelling.
"Why, Andy, you're out of breath. What's happened?" asked Mrs. Burke.
"I was afraid of bein' robbed," said Andy.
"The robber wouldn't get much that would steal from you, Andy."
"I don't know that, mother. I ain't so poor as you think. Look there,
Here he displayed the roll of bills. There were twenty fives, which
made quite a thick roll.
"Where did you get so much, Andy?" asked his sister Mary.
"How much is it?" asked his mother.
"A hundred dollars," answered Andy, proudly.
"A hundred dollars!" repeated his mother, with apprehension. "Oh,
Andy, I hope you haven't been stealing?"
"Did you ever know me to stale, mother?" said Andy.
"No, but I thought you might be tempted. Whose money is it?"
"It's yours, mother."
"Mine!" exclaimed Mrs. Burke, in astonishment. "You're joking now,
"No, I'm not. It's yours."
"Where did it come from, then?"
"Colonel Preston sent it to you as a present."
"I am afraid you are not tellin' me the truth, Andy," said his mother,
doubtfully. "Why should he send me so much money?"
"Listen, and I'll tell you, mother, and you'll see it's the truth I've
Thereupon he told the story of his adventure with the highwayman and
how he had saved Colonel Preston from being robbed.
His mother listened with pride, for though Andy spoke modestly, she
could see that he had acted in a brave and manly way, and it made her
proud of him.
"So the colonel," Andy concluded, "wanted to give me a hundred
dollars, but I didn't like to take it myself. But when he said he
would give it to you, I couldn't say anything ag'inst that. So here it
is, mother, and I hope you'll spend some of it on yourself."
"I don't feel as if it belonged to me, Andy. It was you that he meant
"Keep it, mother, and it'll do to use when we nade it."
"I don't like to keep so much money in the house, Andy. We might be
"You can put part of it in the savings bank, mother."
This course was adopted, and Andy himself carried eighty dollars, and
deposited it in a savings bank in Melville, a few days afterward.
Meanwhile Colonel Preston told the story of Andy's prowess, at home.
But Mrs. Preston was prejudiced against Andy, and listened coldly.
"It seems to me, Colonel Preston," she said, "you are making
altogether too much of that Irish boy. He puts on enough airs to make
one sick already."
"I never observed it, my dear," said the colonel, mildly.
"Everyone else does. He thought himself on a level with our Godfrey."
"He is Godfrey's superior in some respects."
"Oh, well, if you are going to exalt him above your own flesh and
blood, I won't stay and listen to you."
"You disturb yourself unnecessarily, my dear. I have no intention of
adopting him in place of my son. But he has done me a great service
this after-noon, and displayed a coolness and courage very unusual in
a boy of his age. But for him, I should be eight hundred dollars
"Oh, well, you can give him fifty cents, and he will be well paid for
his services, as you call them."
"Fifty cents!" repeated her husband.
"Well, a dollar, if you like."
"I have given him a hundred dollars."
"A hundred dollars!" almost screamed Mrs. Preston, who was a very mean
woman. "Are you insane?"
"Not that I am aware of, my dear."
"It is perfectly preposterous to give such a sum to such a boy."
"I ought to say that I gave it to him for his mother. He was not
willing to accept it for himself."
"That's a likely story," said Mrs. Preston, incredulously. "He only
wants to make a favorable impression upon you--perhaps to get more out
"You misjudge him, my dear."
"I know he is an artful, intriguing young rascal. You give him a
hundred dollars, yet you refused to give Godfrey ten dollars last
"For a very good reason. He has a liberal allowance, and must keep
within it. He did not need the money he asked for."
"Yet you lavish a hundred dollars on this boy."
"I felt justified in doing so. Which was better, to give him that sum,
or to lose eight hundred?"
"I don't like the boy, and I never shall. I suppose he will be
strutting around, boasting of his great achievement. If he had a gun
it was nothing to do."
"I suspect Godfrey would hardly have ventured upon it," said the
"Oh, of course, Godfrey is vastly inferior to the Irish boy!" remarked
Mrs. Preston, ironically. "You admire the family so much that I
suppose if I were taken away, you would marry his mother and establish
her in my place."
"If you have any such apprehensions, my dear, your best course is to
outlive her. That will effectually prevent my marrying her, and I
pledge you my word that, while you are alive, I shall not think of
eloping with her."
"It is very well to jest about it," said Mrs. Preston, tossing her
"I am precisely of your opinion, my dear. As you observe, that is
precisely what I am doing."
So the interview terminated. It was very provoking to Mrs. Preston
that her husband should have given away a hundred dollars to Andy
Burke's mother, but the thing was done, and could not be undone.
However, she wrote an account of the affair to Godfrey, who, she knew,
would sympathize fully with her view of the case. I give some extracts
from her letter:
"Your father seems perfectly infatuated with that low Irish boy. Of
course, I allude to Andy Burke. He has gone so far as to give him a
hundred dollars. Yesterday, in riding home from Melville, with eight
hundred dollars in his pocketbook, he says he was stopped by a
highwayman, who demanded his money or his life. Very singularly, Andy
came up just in the nick of time with a gun, and made a great show of
interfering, and finally drove the man away, as your father reports.
He is full of praise of Andy, and, as I said, gave him a hundred
dollars, when two or three would have been quite enough, even had the
rescue been real. But of this I have my doubts. It is very strange
that the boy should have been on the spot just at the right time,
still more strange that a full-grown man should have been frightened
away by a boy of fifteen. In fact, I think it is what they call a
'put-up job.' I think the robber and Andy were confederates, and that
the whole thing was cut and dried, that the man should make the
attack, and Andy should appear and frighten him away, for the sake of
a reward which I dare say the two have shared together. This is what I
think about the matter. I haven't said so to your father, because he
is so infatuated with the Irish boy that it would only make him angry,
but I have no doubt that you will agree with me. [It may be said here
that Godfrey eagerly adopted his mother's view, and was equally
provoked at his father's liberality to his young enemy.] Your father
says he won't give you the ten dollars you asked for. He can lavish a
hundred dollars on Andy, but he has no money to give his own son. But
sooner or later that boy will be come up with--sooner or later he will
show himself in his true colors, and your father will be obliged to
confess that he has been deceived. It puts me out of patience when I
think of him.
"We shall expect you home on Friday afternoon of next week, as usual."
Andy was quite unconscious of the large space which he occupied in the
thoughts of Mrs. Preston and Godfrey, and of the extent to which he
troubled them. He went on, trying to do his duty, and succeeding fully
in satisfying the Misses Grant, who had come to feel a strong interest
in his welfare.
Three weeks later, Sophia Grant, who had been to the village store on
an errand, returned home, looking greatly alarmed.
"What is the matter, Sophia?" asked her sister. "You look as if you
had seen a ghost."
"Just so, Priscilla," she said; "no, I don't mean that, but we may all
be ghosts in a short time."
"What do you mean?"
"Smallpox is in town!"
"Who's got it?"
"Colonel Preston; and his wife won't stay in the house. She is packing
up to go off, and I expect the poor man'll die all by himself, unless
somebody goes and takes care of him, and then it'll spread, and we'll
all die of it."
This was certainly startling intelligence. Andy pitied the colonel,
who had always treated him well. It occurred to him that his mother
had passed through an attack of smallpox in her youth, and could take
care of the colonel without danger. He resolved to consult her about
it at once.
A MODEL WIFE
Colonel Preston, returning from a trip to Boston, in which, probably,
he had been unconsciously exposed to the terrible disease referred to,
was taken sick, and his wife, wholly unsuspicious of her husband's
malady, sent for the doctor.
The latter examined his patient and, on leaving the sick-chamber,
beckoned Mrs. Preston to follow him.
"What is the matter with him, doctor?" asked Mrs. Preston. The
physician looked grave.
"I regret to say, Mrs. Preston, that he has the smallpox."
"The smallpox!" almost shrieked Mrs. Preston. "Oh! what will become of
Dr. Townley was rather disgusted to find her first thought was about
herself, not about her stricken husband.
"It's catching, isn't it, doctor?" she asked, in great agitation.
"I am sorry to say that it is, madam."
"Do you think I will take it?"
"I cannot take it upon myself to say."
"And I was in the same room with him," wailed Mrs. Preston, "and never
knew the awful danger! Oh, I wouldn't have the smallpox for this
world! If I didn't die, I should be all marked up for life."
"You haven't much beauty to spoil," thought the doctor; but this
thought he prudently kept to himself.
"I must leave the house at once. I will go to my brother's house till
he has recovered," said Mrs. Preston, in agitation.
"What!" exclaimed the doctor, in surprise, "and leave your husband
"I can't take care of him--you must see that I can't," said Mrs.
Preston, fretfully. "I can't expose my life without doing him any
"I expose myself every time I visit him," said the doctor. "I never
had the smallpox. Have you been vaccinated?"
"Yes, I believe so--I'm sure I don't know. But people sometimes take
the smallpox even after they have been vaccinated. I should be so
frightened that I could do no good."
"Then," said the doctor, gravely, "you have decided to leave your
"Yes, doctor, I must. It is my duty--to my boy," answered Mrs.
Preston, catching at this excuse with eagerness. "I must live for him,
you know. Of course, if I could do any good, it would be different.
But what would Godfrey do if both his father and mother should die?"
She looked up into his face, hoping that he would express approval of
her intentions; but the doctor was too honest for this. In truth, he
was disgusted with the woman's selfishness, and would like to have
said so; but this politeness forbade. At any rate, he was not going to
be trapped into any approval of her selfish and cowardly
"What do you wish to be done, Mrs. Preston?" he asked. "Of course,
your husband must be taken care of."
"Hire a nurse, doctor. A nurse will do much more good than I could.
She will know just what to do. Most of them have had the smallpox. It
is really much better for my husband that it should be so. Of course,
you can pay high wages--anything she asks," added Mrs. Preston, whose
great fear made her, for once in her life, liberal.
"I suppose that will be the best thing to do. You wish me, then, to
engage a nurse?"
"Yes, doctor, if you will be so kind."
"When do you go away?"
"At once. I shall pack up my clothes immediately. On the whole, I
think I will go to the town where Godfrey is at school, and board
there for the present. I must see him, and prevent him from coming
"You will go into your husband's chamber and bid him good-by?"
"No; I cannot think of it. It would only be useless exposure."
"What will he think?"
"Explain it to him, doctor. Tell him that I hope he will get well very
soon, and that I feel it my duty to go away now on Godfrey's account.
I am sure he will see that it is my duty."
"I wonder what excuse she would have if she had no son for a pretext?"
thought the doctor.
"Well," he said, "I will do as you request."
"See that he has the best of care. Get him two nurses, if you think
best. Don't spare expense."
"What extraordinary liberality in Mrs. Preston," thought the
He went back into the chamber of his patient.
"Doctor," said Colonel Preston, "you didn't tell me what was the
matter with me. Am I seriously sick?"
"I am sorry to say that you are."
"Not necessarily. You have the smallpox."
"Have I?" said the patient, thoughtfully.
"It's an awkward thing to tell him that his wife is going to leave
him," the doctor said to himself. "However, it must be done."
"Have you told my wife, doctor?"
"I just told her."
"What does she say?"
"She is very much startled, and (now for it), thinks, under the
circumstances, she ought not to run the risk of taking care of you on
account of Godfrey."
"Perhaps she is right," said Colonel Preston, slowly.
He was not surprised to hear it, but it gave him a pang, nevertheless.
"She wants me to engage a nurse for you."
"Yes, that will be necessary."
There was a pause.
"When is she going?" he asked, a little later.
"As soon as possible. She is going to board near the school where
Godfrey is placed."
"Shall I see her?"
"She thinks it best not to risk coming into the chamber, lest she
should carry the infection to Godfrey."
"I suppose that is only prudent," returned the sick man, but in his
heart he wished that his wife had shown less prudence, and a little
more feeling for him.
"Have you thought of any nurse?" he asked.
"I have thought of the widow Burke."
"She might not dare to come."
"She has had the disease. I know this from a few slight marks still
left on her face. Of course, you would be willing to pay a liberal
"Any price," said Colonel Preston, energetically. "It is a service
which, I assure you, I shall not soon forget."
"I must see her at once, for your wife will leave directly."
"Pray, do so," said Colonel Preston. "Tell my wife," he said, after a
pause, "that I hope soon to have recovered, so that it may be safe for
her to come back."
There was a subdued bitterness in his voice, which the doctor
detected, and did not wonder at. He gave the message, as requested.
"I am sure I hope so, Dr. Townley," said Mrs. Preston. "I shall be
tortured with anxiety. I hope you will write me daily how my poor
husband is getting along?"
"Perhaps the paper might carry the infection," said the doctor,
testing the real extent of her solicitude.
"I didn't think of that," answered Mrs. Preston, hastily. "On the
whole, you needn't write, then. It might communicate the disease to
"She finds Godfrey very useful," the doctor thought.
"I will bear my anxiety as I can," she continued. "Have you thought of
anyone for a nurse?"
"I have thought of Mrs. Burke."
"She is poor, and will come if you offer her a good price. Try to get
"I think she will come. I must go at once, for your husband needs
"Get her to come at once, Dr. Townley! Oh, do! My husband may want
something, and I can't go into the room. My duty to my dear, only son
will not permit me. I hope Mr. Preston understands my motives in going
"I presume he does," said the doctor, rather equivocally.
"Tell him how great a sacrifice it is for me to leave his bedside. It
is a terrible trial for me, but my duty to my son makes it
The doctor bowed.
He drove at once to the humble dwelling of Mrs. Burke.
His errand was briefly explained.
"Can you come?" he asked. "I am authorized to offer you ten dollars a
week for the time you spend there."
"I would come in a minute, doctor, but what shall I do with Mary?"
"She shall stay at my house. I will gladly take charge of her."
"You are very kind, doctor. I wouldn't want to expose her, but I don't
mind myself. I don't think I am in danger, for I've had the smallpox
"Can you be ready in five minutes? Tell Mary to pack up her things,
and go to my house at once. We'll take good care of her."
In less than an hour Mrs. Burke was installed at the bedside of the
sick man as his nurse. As she entered the house, Mrs. Preston left it,
bound for the railway depot.
"I'm so glad you're here," she said, greeting the widow Burke with
unwonted cordiality. "I am sure you will take the best care of my
husband. I have told the doctor to pay you whatever you ask."
"I'll do my best, Mrs. Preston, but not for the money," answered Mrs.
Burke. "Your husband shall get well, if good care can cure him."
"I've no doubt of it; but the carriage is here, and I must go. Tell my
husband how sorry I am to leave him."
So Mrs. Preston went away, leaving a stranger to fulfill her own
duties at the bedside of her husband.
Thus it happened that, when Andy came home, he found his mother
already gone, and his sister on the point of starting for the doctor's
house. His idea had already been carried out.
COLONEL PRESTON'S RECOVERY
Four weeks afterward, we will introduce the reader into the bedchamber
of Colonel Preston. His sickness has been severe. At times recovery
was doubtful, but Mrs. Burke has proved a careful and devoted nurse,
intelligent and faithful enough to carry out the directions of the
"How do you feel this morning, Colonel Preston?" asked the doctor, who
had just entered the chamber.
"Better, doctor. I feel quite an appetite."
"You are looking better--decidedly better. The disease has spent its
force, and retreated from the field."
"It is to you that the credit belongs, Dr. Townley."
"Only in part. The greater share belongs to your faithful nurse, Mrs.
"I shall not soon forget my obligations to her," said the sick man,
"Now, Colonel Preston," said Mrs. Burke, "you are making too much of
what little I have done."
"That is impossible, Mrs. Burke. It is to your good nursing and the
doctor's skill that I owe my life, and I hardly know to which the
"To the doctor, sir. I only followed out his directions."
"At the expense of your own health. You show the effects of your
"It won't take long to pick up," said Mrs. Burke, cheerfully.
"Is the danger of contagion over, doctor?" asked the patient.
"Then, would it not be well to write to Mrs. Preston? Not that I mean
to give up my good nurse just yet; that is, if she is willing to
"I will stay as long as you need me, sir."
"That is well; but Mrs. Preston may wish to return, now that there's
no further danger."
"I will write to her at once."
The following letter was dispatched to Mrs. Preston:
"Dear Madam: It gives me great pleasure to inform you that
your husband is so far recovered that there is no danger now
of infection. You can return with safety, and he will,
doubtless, be glad to see you. He has been very ill,
indeed--in danger of his life; but, thanks to the devotion of
Mrs. Burke, who has proved an admirable nurse, he is now on
the high road to recovery. Yours respectfully,
"I think that will bring her," said the doctor.
But he reckoned without his host.
The next day he received the following letter, on scented paper:
"MY DEAR DOCTOR TOWNLEY: You cannot think how rejoiced I am
to receive the tidings of my husband's convalescence. I have
been so tortured with anxiety during the last four weeks! You
cannot think how wretchedly anxious I have been. I could not
have endured to stay away from his bedside but that my duty
imperatively required it. I have lost flesh, and my anxiety
has worn upon me. Now, how gladly will I resume my place at
the bedside of my husband, restored by your skill. I am glad
the nurse has proved faithful. It was a good chance for her,
for she shall be liberally paid, and no doubt the money will
be welcome. But don't you think it might be more prudent for
me to defer my return until next week? It will be safer, I
think, and I owe it to my boy to be very careful. You know,
the contagion may still exist. It is hard for me to remain
longer away, when I would fain fly to the bedside of Mr.
Preston, but I feel that it is best. Say to him, with my
love, that he may expect me next week. Accept my thanks for
your attention to him. I shall never forget it; and believe
me to be, my dear doctor, your obliged
Dr. Townley threw down this letter with deep disgust.
"Was ever any woman more disgustingly selfish?" he exclaimed. "Her
husband might have died, so far as she was concerned."
Of course, he had to show this letter to Colonel Preston.
The latter read it, with grave face, and the doctor thought he heard a
"My wife is very prudent," he said, with a touch of bitterness in his
"She will be here next week," said the doctor, having nothing else to
"I think she will run no risk then," said the sick man, cynically.
But Mrs. Preston did not return in a week. It was a full week and a
half before she arrived at her own house.
The doctor was just coming out of the front door.
"How is my husband?" she asked.
"Not far from well. He is still weak, of course."
"And are you sure," she said, anxiously, "that there is no danger of
"Not the slightest, madam," said Dr. Townley, coldly.
"I am so glad I can see him once more. You cannot imagine," she
exclaimed, clasping her hands, "how much I have suffered in my
The doctor remained cool and unmoved. He didn't feel that he could
respond fittingly, being absolutely incredulous.
Mrs. Preston saw it, and was nettled. She knew that she was a
hypocrite, but did not like to have the doctor, by his silence, imply
his own conviction of it.
"Mine has been a hard position," she continued.
"Your husband has not had an easy time," said the doctor,
"But he has had good care--Mrs. Burke was a good nurse?"
"She must be paid well."
"I offered her ten dollars a week."
"Humph!" said Mrs. Preston, doubtfully, in whose eyes five dollars
would have been liberal compensation. "It has been a good chance for
"It is far from adequate," said the doctor, disgusted. "Money cannot
pay for such service as hers, not to speak of the risk she ran, for
cases have been known of persons being twice attacked by the disease."
"You don't think my husband will have a relapse?" asked Mrs. Preston,
with fresh alarm.
"Not if he has the same care for a short time longer."
"He shall have it. She must stay. Of course her duties are lighter
now, and six dollars a week for the remainder of the time will be
enough--don't you think so?"
"No, I don't," said the doctor, bluntly; "and, moreover, I am quite
sure your husband will not consent to reducing the wages of one whose
faithful care has saved his life."
"Oh, well, you know best," said Mrs. Preston, slowly. "I am quite
willing that she should be well paid."
Mrs. Preston went upstairs, and entered her husband's chamber.
"Oh, my dear husband!" she exclaimed, theatrically, hurrying across
the room, with affected emotion. "I am so glad to find you so much
"I am glad to see you back, Lucinda," said Colonel Preston; but he
spoke coldly, and without the slightest affectation of sentimental
joy. "I have passed through a good deal since you left me."
"And so have I!" exclaimed his wife. "Oh, how my heart has been rent
with anxiety, as I thought of you lying sick, while duty kept me from
"Is Godfrey well?" asked her husband, taking no notice of her last
"Yes, poor boy! He sends his love, and is so anxious to see you."
"Let him come next Friday afternoon," said the sick man, who doubted
this statement, yet wanted to believe it true.
"He shall. I will write to him at once."
So Mrs. Preston resumed her place in the house; but from that time
there was a something she could not understand in her husband's
manner. He was graver than formerly, and sometimes she saw him
watching her intently, and, after a little, turn away, with a sigh.
He had found her out in all her intense selfishness and want of
feeling, and he could never again regard her as formerly, even though
she tried hard at times, by a show of affection, to cover up her
MRS. BURKE HAS GOOD FORTUNE
Mrs. Burke remained a week longer to nurse Colonel Preston. At the end
of this time Mr. Preston thought he was well enough to dispense with a
nurse, and accordingly she prepared to take leave.
"I shall always remember your kind service, Mrs. Burke," said the
"It was only my duty, sir," said the widow, modestly.
"Not all would have done their duty so faithfully."
"I am glad to see you well again," said the widow.
"Not more than I am to get well, I assure you," said he. "Whenever you
are in any trouble, come to me."
With these words, he placed in her hands an envelope, which, as she
understood, contained the compensation for her services. She thanked
him, and took her departure.
Mrs. Preston was curious to know how much her husband paid the nurse,
and asked the question.
"A hundred dollars," he replied.
"A hundred dollars!" she repeated, in a tone which implied
disapproval. "I thought she agreed to come for ten dollars a week."
"So she did."
"She has not been here ten weeks; only about six."
"That is true, but she has richly earned all I gave her."
"Ten dollars a week I consider very handsome remuneration to one in
her position in life," said Mrs. Preston, pointedly.
"Lucinda, but for her attention I probably should not have lived
through this sickness. Do you think a hundred dollars so much to pay
for your husband's life?"
"You exaggerate the value of her services," said his wife.
"Dr. Townley says the same thing that I do."
"You are both infatuated with that woman," said Mrs. Preston,
"We only do her justice."
"Oh, well, have it your own way. But I should have only paid her what
I agreed to. It is a great windfall for her."
"She deserves it."
Mrs. Preston said no more at this time, for she found her husband too
"infatuated," as she termed it, to agree with her. She did, however,
open the subject to Godfrey when he came home, and he adopted her view
of the case.
"She and her low son are trying to get all they can out of father," he
said. "It's just like them."
"I wish I could make your father see it," said Mrs. Preston, "but he
seems prepossessed in her favor."
"If he can give a hundred dollars to her, he can give me a little
extra money; I'm going to ask him."
So he did the same evening.
"Will you give me ten dollars, father?" he asked.
"Oh, for various things. I need it."
"I give you an allowance of three dollars a week."
"I have a good many expenses."
"That will meet all your reasonable expenses. I was far from having as
much money as that when I was of your age."
"I don't see why you won't give me the money," said Godfrey,
"I don't think you need it."
"You are generous enough to others."
"To whom do you refer?"
"You give plenty of money to that Irish boy and his mother."
"They have both rendered me great services. The boy saved me from
being robbed. The mother, in all probability, saved me from falling a
victim to smallpox. But that has nothing to do with your affairs. It
is scarcely proper for a boy like you to criticise his father's way of
disposing of his money."
"I confess I think Godfrey is right in commenting upon your
extraordinary liberality to the Burkes," observed Mrs. Preston.
"Lucinda," said her husband, gravely, "when my own wife deserted my
sick bed, leaving me to wrestle alone with a terrible and dangerous
disease, I was fortunate enough to find in Mrs. Burke a devoted nurse.
The money I have paid her is no adequate compensation, nor is it all
that I intend to do for her."
There was a part of this speech that startled Mrs. Preston. Never
before had her husband complained of her desertion of him in his
sickness, and she hoped that he had been imposed upon by the excuse
which she gave of saving herself for Godfrey. Now she saw that in this
she had not been altogether successful, and she regretted having
referred to Mrs. Burke, and so brought this reproach upon herself. She
felt it necessary to say something in extenuation.
"It was because I wanted to live for Godfrey," she said, with a
flushed face. "Nothing but that would have taken me away from you at
such a time. It was a great trial to me," she continued, putting up
her handkerchief to eyes that were perfectly dry.
"We will say no more about it," said Colonel Preston, gravely. "I
shall not refer to it, unless you undervalue my obligations to Mrs.
Mrs. Preston thought it best not to reply, but on one thing that her
husband had said, she commented to Godfrey.
"Your father speaks of giving more money to Mrs. Burke. I suppose we
shall not know anything about it if he does."
"Perhaps he will leave her some money in his will," said Godfrey.
"Very likely. If he does, there is such a thing as contesting a
will--that is, if he gives her much."
Mrs. Preston was right. Her husband did intend to give his devoted
nurse something in his will, but of that more anon. There was one
thing which he did at once, and that was to buy the cottage which Mrs.
Burke occupied, from the heir, a non-resident. Mrs. Burke didn't learn
this until she went to pay her rent to the storekeeper, who had acted
as agent for the owner.
"I have nothing to do with the house any longer, Mrs. Burke," he said.
"Then who shall I pay rent to?" said Mrs. Burke.
"To Colonel Preston, who has recently bought the house."
Mrs. Burke, therefore, called at the house of the colonel.
Mr. and Mrs. Preston were sitting together when the servant announced
that she wished to speak to him.
"You seem to have a good deal of business with Mrs. Burke," said his
wife, in a very unpleasant tone.
"None that I care to conceal," he said, smiling. "Show Mrs. Burke in
here, Jane," he continued, addressing the servant.
"Good-morning, Mrs. Burke," he said, pleasantly.
"Good-morning," said Mrs. Preston, coldly.
"Good-morning, sir, I'm glad to see you looking so much better."
"Oh, yes, I am feeling pretty well now."
"I didn't find out till just now, Colonel Preston, that you were my
Here Mrs. Preston pricked up her ears, for it was news to her also, as
her husband had not mentioned his recent purchase.
"Yes, I thought I would buy the house, as it was in the market."
"I have come to pay my rent. I have been in the habit of paying
fifteen dollars a quarter."
"I won't be a hard landlord," said Colonel Preston. "You are welcome
to live in the house, if it suits you, free of all rent."
"This is too much kindness," said Mrs. Burke, quite overwhelmed by the
Mrs. Preston thought so, too, but could not well say anything.
"There's been kindness on both sides, Mrs. Burke. Put up your money, I
don't want it, but I have no doubt you will find use for it. Buy
yourself a new dress."
"Thank you, Colonel Preston. You are very generous, and I am very
grateful," said the widow.
"I have something to be grateful for also, Mrs. Burke. If you want any
repairs, just let me know, and they shall be attended to."
"Thank you, sir, but the house is very comfortable."
She soon took her leave.
"When did you buy that house, Colonel Preston?" asked his wife.
"A month since."
"You didn't say anything about it to me."
"Nor to anyone else, except those with whom I did the business."
Mrs. Preston would like to have said more, but she did not think it
expedient, remembering what she had brought upon herself before.
Toward the first of April of the succeeding year, Miss Sophia Grant
took a severe cold, not serious, indeed, but such as to make it
prudent for her to remain indoors. This occasioned a little
derangement of her sister's plans; for both sisters were in the habit,
about the first of April and of October, of taking a journey to
Boston--partly for a change, and partly because at these times certain
banks in which they owned stock declared dividends, which they took
the opportunity to collect. But this spring it seemed doubtful if they
could go. Yet they wanted the money--a part of it, at least.
"Send Andrew," suggested Miss Sophia, after her sister had stated the
In general Miss Priscilla did not approve Sophia's suggestions, but
this struck her more favorably.
"I don't know but we might," she said, slowly. "He is a boy to be
"And I think he is a smart boy."
"He can take care of himself. You remember how he saved Colonel
Preston from the robber?"
"Then, on the other hand, he has never been to Boston."
"He could ask."
"I don't suppose there would be any particular difficulty. I could
give him all the necessary directions."
"I'll propose it to him."
So, after supper, as Andy was going out into the woodshed for an
armful of wood, Miss Priscilla stopped him.
"Were you ever in Boston, Andy?" asked she.
"I wish you had been."
"Because I should like to send you there on some business."
"I'll go, ma'am," said Andy, eagerly.
Like most boys of his age, no proposition could have been more
"Do you think you could find your way there, and around the city?"
"No fear of that, ma'am," said Andy, confidently.
"We generally go ourselves, as you know, but my sister is sick, and I
don't like to leave her."
"Of course not, ma'am," said Andy, quite approving any plan that
opened the way for a journey to him.
"We own bank stock, and on the first of April they pay us dividends.
Now, if we send you, do you think you can get to the bank, get the
money, and bring it back safe?"
"I'll do it for you, ma'am," said Andy.
"Well, I'll think of it between now and next week. If we send you at
all, you must start next Monday."
"I'll go any day, ma'am," said Andy, "any day you name."
Miss Priscilla finally decided to send Andrew, but cautioned him
against saying anything about it, except to his own family.
On Monday morning, just before the morning train was to start, Andrew
appeared on the platform of the modest village depot with a small
carpetbag in his hand, lent him by the Misses Grant.
"Give me a ticket to Boston," said he to the station master.
Godfrey Preston, who was about to return to his boarding school, had
just purchased a ticket, and overheard this. He didn't much care to
speak to Andy, but his curiosity overcame his pride.
"Are you going to Boston?" he asked.
"Yes," said Andy.
"What are you going for?"
"Has Miss Grant turned you off?"
"She didn't say anything about it this morning. Why, do you want to
take my place?"
"Do you think I'd stoop to be a hired boy?" said Godfrey, haughtily.
"You wouldn't need to stoop," said Andy; "you ain't any too tall."
Godfrey winced at this. He was not tall of his age, and he wanted to
be. Andy had been growing faster than he, and was now, though scarcely
as old, quite two inches taller.
"It makes no difference about being tall," he rejoined. "I am a
gentleman, and don't have to work for a living like you do."
"What are you going to be when you grow up?"
"Then won't you work for money?"
"Then you'll be a hired man, and work for a living."
"That's very different. When are you coming back?"
"When I've finished my business."
"How soon will that be?"
"I can't tell yet."
"Humph! I shouldn't wonder if you were running away."
"Don't you tell anybody," said Andy, in a bantering tone.
"Where did you get the money to pay for your ticket?"
"What would you give to know?"
"You are impudent," said Godfrey, his cheek flushing.
"So are your questions," said Andy.
"I dare say you stole it."
"Look here, Godfrey Preston," said Andy, roused to indignation by this
insinuation, "you'd better not say that again, if you know what's best
He advanced a step with a threatening look, and Godfrey instinctively
"That comes of my speaking to my inferior," he said.
"You can't do that."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't know anybody that's inferior to you."
Godfrey turned on his heel wrathfully, muttering something about a
"low beggar," which Andy, not hearing, did not resent.
The whistle of the locomotive was heard, and the cars came along.
With high anticipation of pleasure, Andy got aboard. He had before him
a journey of close upon a hundred miles, and he wished it had been
longer. He had never been much of a traveler, and the scenes which
were to greet his eyes were all novel. He had heard a good deal of
Boston also, and he wanted to see it.
Besides the money which Miss Grant had given him to defray his
expenses, he had with him ten dollars of his own. Since his mother had
received the two donations from Colonel Preston she made Andy keep
half his wages for his own use. These were now seven dollars a week,
so he kept three and a half, and of this sum was able to lay up about
half. So he had a supply of money in his trunk, of which he had taken
with him ten dollars.
"Maybe I'll see something I want to buy in the city," he said to
I don't mean to dwell upon the journey. There is nothing very exciting
in a railway trip, even of a hundred miles, nowadays, unless, indeed,
the cars run off the track, or over the embankment, and then it is
altogether too exciting to be agreeable. For the sake of my young
hero, whom I really begin to like, though he was "only an Irish boy,"
I am glad to say that nothing of that sort took place; but in good
time--about the time when the clock on the Old South steeple indicated
noon--Andy's train drove into the Boston & Maine Railway depot,
fronting on Haymarket Square.
"Inquire your way to Washington Street."
That was the first direction that Andy had received from Miss
Priscilla, and that was what our hero did first.
The question was addressed to a very civil young man, who politely
gave Andy the necessary directions. So, in a short time, he reached
Washington Street by way of Court Street.
The next thing was to inquire the way to the Merchants' Bank, that
being the one in which the ladies owned the largest amount of stock.
"Where is the Merchants' Bank?" asked Andy of a boy, whose
blacking-box denoted his occupation.
"I'll show you, mister," said the boy. "Come along." His young guide,
instead of taking him to the bank, took him to the side door of the
court-house, and said:
"Go in there."
It was a massive stone building, and Andy, not suspecting that he was
being fooled, went in. Wandering at random, he found his way into a
room, where a trial was going on. That opened his eyes.
"He cheated me," thought Andy. "Maybe I'll get even with him."
He retraced his steps, and again found himself in the street. His
fraudulent young guide, with a grin on a face not over clean, was
awaiting his appearance.
THE MERCHANT FROM PORTLAND
"Look here, young chap," said Andy, "what made you tell me that was
the Merchants' Bank?"
"Isn't it?" asked the bootblack, with a grin.
"It's the bank where you'll be wanted some time. Shouldn't wonder if
they'd make a mistake and lock you up instead of your money."
"Have you got any money in the Merchants' Bank?" asked the other.
"I'm goin' to see if they won't give me some. If you hadn't cheated
me, maybe I'd have invited you to dine with me at my hotel."
"Where are you stoppin'?" asked the street boy, not quite knowing how
much of Andy's story to believe.
"At the most fashionable hotel."
"You're good at guessin'. Perhaps you'd like to dine there?"
"I don't know as they'd let me in," said the boy, doubtfully; "but
I'll show you where there's a nice eatin' house, where they don't
charge half so much."
"'Twouldn't be fashionable enough for me. I shall have to dine alone.
See what comes of tryin' to fool your grandfather."
Andy went on, leaving the boy in doubt whether his jest had really
lost him a dinner.
Andy didn't go to the Parker House, however. His expenses were to be
paid by the Misses Grant, and he felt that it wouldn't be right to be
extravagant at their expense.
"I shall come across an eatin' house presently," he said to himself.
Not far off he found one with the bill of fare exposed outside, with
the prices. Andy examined it, and found that it was not an expensive
place. He really felt hungry after his morning's ride, and determined,
before he attended to his business, to get dinner. He accordingly
entered, and seated himself at one of the tables. A waiter came up and
awaited his commands.
"What'll you have?" he asked.
"Bring me a plate of roast beef, and a cup of coffee," said Andy, "and
be quick about it, for I haven't eaten anything for three weeks."
"Then I don't think one plate will be enough for you," said the
"It'll do to begin on," said Andy.
The order was quickly filled, and Andy set to work energetically.
It is strange how we run across acquaintances when we least expect it.
Andy had no idea that he knew anybody in the eating house, and
therefore didn't look around, feeling no special interest in the
company. Yet there was one present who recognized him as soon as he
entered, and watched him with strong interest. The interest was not
friendly, however, as might be inferred from the scowl with which he
surveyed him. This will not be a matter of surprise to the reader when
I say that the observer was no other than Fairfax, whose attempt to
rob Colonel Preston had been defeated by Andy.
He recognized the boy at once, both from his appearance and his voice,
and deep feelings of resentment ran in his breast. To be foiled was
disagreeable enough, but to be foiled by a boy was most humiliating,
and he had vowed revenge, if ever an opportunity occurred. For this
reason he felt exultant when he saw his enemy walking into the eating
"I'll follow him," he said to himself, "and it'll go hard if I don't
get even with him for that trick he played on me."
But how did it happen that Andy did not recognize Fairfax?
For two reasons: First, because the adventurer was sitting behind him,
and our hero faced the front of the room. Next, had he seen him, it
was doubtful if he would have recognized a man whom he was far from
expecting to see. For Fairfax was skilled in disguises, and no longer
was the black-whiskered individual that we formerly knew him. From
motives of prudence, he had shaved off his black hair and whiskers,
and now appeared in a red wig, and whiskers of the same hue. If any of
my readers would like to know how effectual this disguise is, let them
try it, and I will guarantee that they won't know themselves when they
come to look at their likeness in the mirror.
After disposing of what he had ordered, Andy also ordered a plate of
apple dumpling, which he ate with great satisfaction.
"I wouldn't mind eatin' here every day," he thought. "Maybe I'll be in
business here some day myself, and then I'll come here and dine."
Fairfax was through with his dinner, but waited till Andy arose. He
then arose and followed him to the desk, where both paid at the same
time. He was careless of recognition, for he felt confident in his
"Now," thought Andy, "I must go to the bank."
But he didn't know where the bank was. So, when he got into the
street, he asked a gentleman whom he met: "Sir, can you direct me to
the Merchants' Bank?"
"It is in State Street," said the gentleman. "I am going past it, so
if you will come along with me, I will show you."
"Thank you, sir," said our hero, politely.
"Merchants' Bank!" said Fairfax to himself, beginning to feel
interested. "I wonder what he's going there for? Perhaps I can raise a
little money, besides having my revenge."
He had an added inducement now in following our hero.
When Andy went into the bank, Fairfax followed him. He was in the room
when Andy received the dividends, and, with sparkling eyes, he saw
that it was, a thick roll of bills, representing, no doubt, a
considerable sum of money.
"That money must be mine," he said to himself. "It can't be the boy's.
He must have been sent by some other person. The loss will get him
into trouble. Very likely he will be considered a thief. That would
just suit me."
Andy was careful, however. He put the money into a pocketbook, or,
rather, wallet, with which he had been supplied by the Misses Grant,
put it in his inside pocket, and then buttoned his coat up tight. He
was determined not to lose anything by carelessness.
But this was not his last business visit. There was another bank in
the same street where it was necessary for him to call and receive
dividends. Again Fairfax followed him, and again he saw Andy receive a
considerable sum of money.
"There's fat pickings here," thought Fairfax. "Now, I must manage, in
some way, to relieve him of that money. There's altogether too much
for a youngster like him. Shouldn't wonder if the money belonged to
that man I tried to rob. If so, all the better."
In this conjecture, as we know, Fairfax was mistaken. However, it made
comparatively little difference to him whose money it was, as long as
there was a chance of his getting it into his possession. The fact
was, that his finances were not in a very flourishing condition just
at present. He could have done better to follow some honest and
respectable business, and avoid all the dishonest shifts and
infractions of law to which he was compelled to resort, but he had
started wrong, and it was difficult to persuade him that even now it
would have been much better for him to amend his life and ways. In
this state of affairs he thought it a great piece of good luck that he
should have fallen in with a boy in charge of a large sum of money,
whom, from his youth and inexperience, he would have less trouble in
robbing than an older person.
Andy had already decided how he would spend the afternoon. He had
heard a good deal about the Boston Museum, its large collection of
curiosities, and the plays that were performed there. One of the
pleasantest anticipations he had was of a visit to this place, the
paradise of country people. Now that his business was concluded, he
determined to go there at once. But first he must inquire the way.
Turning around, he saw Fairfax without recognizing him.
"Can you direct me to the Boston Museum?" he asked.
"Certainly, with pleasure," said Fairfax, with alacrity. "In fact, I
am going there myself. I suppose you are going to the afternoon
"Have you ever been there?"
"No; but I have heard a good deal about it. I don't live in the city."
"Nor do I," said Fairfax. "I am a merchant of Portland, Maine. I have
come to the city to buy my winter stock of goods. As I only come twice
a year, I generally try to enjoy myself a little while I am here. Do
you stay in the city overnight?"
"Yes," said Andy.
"So do I. Here is the Museum."
They had reached the Museum, which, as some of my readers are aware,
is situated in Tremont Street.
"We go up these stairs," said Fairfax. "If you don't object, we will
take seats together."
"I shall be glad to have company," said Andy, politely.
Reserved seats adjoining were furnished, and the adventurer and his
intended victim entered the Museum.
SPINNING THE WEB
There was a short interval before the play commenced. This Andy
improved by examining the large stock of curiosities which have been
gathered from all parts of the world for the gratification of
visitors. Fairfax kept at his side, and spoke freely of all they saw.
There was something about him which seemed to Andy strangely familiar.
Was it in his features, or in his voice? He could not tell. The red
whig and whiskers misled him. Andy finally set it down as a mere
chance resemblance to someone whom he had met formerly, and dismissed
it from his mind.
At length the increasing crowds pouring into the lecture-room reminded
them that the play was about to begin.
"Shall we go in and take our seats?" said Fairfax.
Andy assented, and they were speedily in their seats.
I do not propose to speak of the play. It was a novelty to Andy to see
a dramatic representation, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Fairfax was
more accustomed to such things, but pretended to be equally
interested, feeling that in this way he could ingratiate himself
better into Andy's confidence.
At last it was over, and they went out of the building.
"How did you like it?" asked Fairfax.
"Tiptop," said Andy, promptly. "Don't you think so?"
"Capital," answered Fairfax, with simulated delight. "I am glad I had
company. I don't enjoy anything half as well alone. By the way, where
do you pass the night?"
"At some hotel--I don't know which."
"Suppose you go to the Adams House. I've got to stop overnight
somewhere, and it might be pleasanter going in company."
"Where is the Adams House?"
"On Washington Street, not very far off--ten or fifteen minutes'
"If it's a good place, I'm willing."
"It is an excellent hotel, and moderate in price. We might go up there
now, and engage a room, and then spend the evening where we like."
"Very well," said Andy.
They soon reached the Adams House--a neat, unpretending hotel--and
entered. They walked up to the desk, and Fairfax spoke to the clerk.
"Can you give us a room?"
"Certainly. Enter your names."
"Shall we room together?" asked Fairfax, calmly.
Now Andy, though he had had no objection to going to the theater with
his present companion, did not care to take a room with a stranger, of
whom he knew nothing. He might be a very respectable man, but somehow,
Andy did not know why, there was something in his manner which
inspired a little repulsion. Besides, he remembered that he had
considerable money with him, and that consideration alone rendered it
imprudent for him to put himself in the power of a companion. So he
said, a little awkwardly:
"I think we'd better take separate rooms."
"Very well," said Fairfax, in a tone of indifference, though he really
felt very much disappointed. "I thought it might have been a little
more sociable to be together."
Andy did not take the hint, except so far as to say:
"We can take rooms alongside of each other."
"I can give you adjoining rooms, if you desire," said the clerk.
Fairfax here entered his name in the hotel register as "Nathaniel
Marvin, Portland, Maine," while Andy put down his real address. His
companion's was, of course, fictitious. He did not venture to give the
name of Fairfax, as that might be recognized by Andy as that of the
highwayman, with whose little plans he had interfered.
A servant was called, and they went up to their rooms, which, as the
clerk had promised, were found to be adjoining. They were precisely
"Very comfortable, Mr. Burke," said Fairfax, in a tone of apparent
satisfaction. "I think we shall have a comfortable night."
"I guess so," said Andy.
"Are you going to stay here now?"
"No; I'm going to wash my face, and then take a walk around. I want to