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The Cash Boy by Horatio Alger Jr.

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Frank told his story, including an account of his

``So it seems I am to lose your company in the
evening. I am sorry for that, but I am glad you are
so lucky.''

``It was better than I expected,'' said Frank, with

``What sort of a man is this Mr. Wharton?'' said

``He is very kind and generous. I am lucky to
have so good a friend. There's only one thing that
is likely to be disagreeable.''

``What's that?''

``The housekeeper--her name is Mrs. Bradley--
for some reason or other she doesn't want me there.''

``What makes you think so?''

``Her manner, and the way she speaks. She came
in to read to Mr. Wharton last evening, and didn't
seem to like it because I had been taken in her place.''

``She is evidently jealous. You must take care not
to offend her. She might endeavor to have you dismissed.''

``I shall always treat her politely, but I don't think
I can ever like her.''

Meanwhile, the housekeeper, on leaving the
library, had gone to her own room in dudgeon.

``Mr. Wharton's a fool!'' she muttered to herself.

``What possessed him to take this cash-boy from the
streets, invite him to dinner, and treat him as an
honored guest, and finally to engage him as a reader?
I never heard of anything so ridiculous! Is this little
vagabond to take my place in the old man's good
graces? I've been slaving and slaving for twenty
years, and what have I got by it? I've laid up two
thousand dollars; and what is that to provide for
my old age? If the old man would die, and remember
me handsomely in his will, it would be worth
while; but this new favorite may stand in my way.
If he does I'll be revenged on him as sure as my name
is Ulrica Bradley.''

Here the area bell rang, and in a moment one of
the housemaids entered Mrs. Bradley's room.

``There's your nephew outside, ma'am, and wanting
to see you.''

``Tell him to come in,'' and the housekeeper's cold
face became softer and pleasanter in aspect as a
young man of twenty entered and greeted her carelessly.

``How are you, aunt?''

``Pretty well, Thomas,'' she answered. ``You
haven't been here for some time.''

``No. I've had a lot of work to do. Nothing but
work, work, all the time,'' he grumbled. ``I wish I
was rich.''

``You get through at six o'clock, don't you?''


``I hope you spend your evenings profitably,

``I ain't likely to go on any sprees, aunt, if that's
what you mean. I only get twelve dollars a week.''

``I should think you might live on it.''

``Starve, you mean. What's twelve dollars to a
young fellow like me when he's got his board to pay,
and has to dress like a gentleman?''

``You are not in debt, I hope, Thomas?'' said Mrs.
Bradley, uneasily.

``I owe for the suit I have on, and I don't know
where I'm going to get the money to pay for it.''

He was dressed in a flashy style, not unlike what is
popularly denominated a swell. His coarse features
were disfigured with unhealthy blotches, and his outward
appearance was hardly such as to recommend
him. But to him alone the cold heart of the
housekeeper was warm. He was her sister's son and her
nearest relative. Her savings were destined for him,
and in her attachment she was not conscious of his
disagreeable characteristics. She had occasionally
given him a five-dollar bill to eke out what he termed
his miserable pay, and now whenever he called he
didn't spare hints that he was out of pocket, and
that a further gift would be acceptable. Indeed, the
only tie that bound him to his aunt was a mercenary

But the housekeeper, sharp-sighted as she
ordinarily was, did not detect the secret motive of such
attention she received from her nephew. She flattered
herself that he really loved her, not suspecting
that he was too selfish to love anybody but himself.

``Thomas,'' she said, with a sudden thought, ``I
may be able to help you to an increase of your income.
Mr. Wharton needs somebody to read to him
evenings. On my recommendation he might take

``Thank you, aunt, but I don't see it. I don't
want to be worked to death.''

``But, think, Thomas,'' said his aunt, earnestly.
``He is very rich. He might take a fancy to you
and remember you in his will.''

``I wish somebody would remember me in his will.
Do you really think there's any chance of the old
boy's doing something handsome for me?''

``That depends on yourself. You must try to
please him.''

``Well, I must do something. What'll he give?''

``I don't know yet. In fact, there's another
reading to him just now.''

``Then there's no chance for me.''

``Listen to me. It's a boy he's picked up in the
streets, quite unsuited for the place. He's a cash-
boy at Gilbert & Mack's. Why, that's where you
are,'' she added, with sudden recollection.

``A cash-boy from my own place? What's his

``Fowler, I believe.''

``I know him--he's lately come. How did he get
in with the old man?''

``Mr. Wharton fell in the street, and he happened
to be near, and helped him home.''

``You'll have to manage it, aunt.''

``I'll see what I can do to-morrow. He ought to
prefer my nephew to a strange boy, seeing I have
been twenty years in his service. I'll let you know
as soon as I have accomplished anything.''

``I don't half like the idea of giving up my
evenings. I don't believe I can stand it.''

``It is only for a little while, to get him interested
in you.''

``Maybe I might try it a week, and then tell him
my health was failing, and get him to do something
else for me.''

``At any rate, the first thing must be to become

Thomas now withdrew, for he did not enjoy spending
an evening with his aunt, the richer by five dollars,
half of which was spent before the evening
closed at a neighboring billiard saloon.



If Mrs. Bradley had been wiser, she would have
felt less confident of her nephew's producing a favorable
impression upon Mr. Wharton. She resolved to
open the subject at the breakfast table

``I didn't know, Mr. Wharton,'' she commenced,
``that you intended to engage a reader.''

``Nor did I propose to do so until last evening.''

``I think--you'll excuse me for saying so--that
you will find that boy too young to suit you.''

``I don't think so. He reads very clearly and

``If I had known you thought of engaging a
reader, I would have asked you to engage my

``Indeed, I was not aware that you had a nephew
in the city. Is he a boy?''

``No; he is a young man. He was twenty years
old last June.''

``Is he unfavorably situated?''

``He has a place as salesman.''

``With what firm?''

``Gilbert & Mack.''

``Why, that is the same firm that employs my
young friend. It is a good firm.''

``Perhaps it is, but my poor nephew receives a
very small salary. He finds it very hard to get

``Your nephew is young. He will be promoted if
he serves his employers well.''

``Thomas would have been glad to read to you in
the evening, sir,'' said Mrs. Bradley, commencing
the attack.

``But for my present engagement, I might have
taken him,'' said Mr. Wharton, politely.

``Have you engaged that boy for any length of

``No; but it is understood that he will stay while
I need him, and he continues to suit me. I have a
favorable opinion of him. Besides, he needs the pay.
He receives but three dollars a week as a cash-boy,
and has a sister to support as well as himself.''

``I am sorry,'' she said in an injured tone. ``I
hope you'll excuse my mentioning it, but I took the
liberty, having been for twenty years in your employ.''

``To be sure! You were quite right,'' said her
employer, kindly. ``Perhaps I may be able to do
something for your nephew, though not that. Tell
him to come and see me some time.''

``Thank you, sir,'' said the housekeeper.

There was one question she wanted to determine,
and that was the amount of compensation received
by Frank. She did not like to inquire directly from
Mr. Wharton, but resolved to gain the information
from our hero. Some evenings later she had the
opportunity. Mr. Wharton had an engagement, and
asked her to tell Frank, when he arrived that he
was released from duty. Instead of this she received
him in the library herself.

``Probably Mr. Wharton will not be at home this
evening,'' she said. ``If he does not return in half
an hour, you need not wait.''

She took up her work, seated in Mr. Wharton's
usual place, and Frank remained ready for duty.

``Mr. Wharton tells me you have a sister,'' she

``Yes, ma'am.''

``You must find it hard work to provide for her
as well as yourself.''

``I do, or rather I did till I came here.''

``How much does Mr. Wharton pay you?'' she
asked, in an indifferent tone.

``Five dollars a week,'' answered Frank.

``You are lucky that you have such a chance,'' she

``Yes, ma'am; it is more than I earn, I know, but
it is a great help to me.''

``And how much do you get as cash-boy?''

``Three dollars a week.''

``So you actually receive nearly twice as much for
a couple of hours in the evening as for the whole

``Yes, ma'am.''

``What a pity Thomas can't have this chance,'' she

When it was nine o'clock, she said:

``You need not wait any longer. Mr. Wharton
will not be home in time to hear you read.''

``Good-evening, Mrs. Bradley,'' said Frank.

``Good-evening!'' she responded, coldly.

``That boy is in the way,'' she said to herself,
when she was left alone. ``He is in my way, and
Tom's way. I can see that he is artfully intriguing
for Mr. Wharton's favor, but I must checkmate him.
It's odd,'' she resumed, after a pause, ``but there is
something in his face and voice that seems familiar
to me. What is it?''

* * * * *

The following evening the housekeeper received
another visit from her nephew.

``How do, aunt?'' said Thomas Bradley, carelessly,
as he entered the housekeeper's room.

``Very well, thank you, Thomas. I am glad you
are here. I have been wanting to see you.''

``The old man isn't going to do anything for me,
is he?''

``How can you expect it so soon? He doesn't
know you yet. How much do you think he pays the
cash-boy that reads to him in the evening?''

``I don't know.''

``Five dollars a week.''

``I wouldn't give up my evenings for that,'' he said.

``It isn't so much the pay, Thomas, though that
would be a help. He might take a fancy to you.''

``That might pay better. When are you going to
introduce me?''

``This evening; that is, I will ask Mr. Wharton
if he will see you.''

Mrs. Bradley entered the library, where Frank
was engaged in reading aloud.

``Excuse my interruption,'' she said; ``but my
nephew has just called, and I should like to introduce
him to you, if you will kindly receive him.''

``Certainly, Mrs. Bradley,'' said Mr. Wharton.
``Bring him in.''

The housekeeper left the room, but speedily
reappeared, followed by her nephew, who seemed a
little abashed.

``My nephew, Thomas Bradley, Mr. Wharton,''
said his aunt, by way of introduction. ``You have
often heard me speak of Mr. Wharton, Thomas.''

``How do you do, sir?'' said Thomas awkwardly.

``Pray take a seat, Mr. Bradley. Your aunt has
been long a member of my family. I am glad to see
a nephew of hers. I believe you are a salesman at
Gilbert & Mack's?''

``Yes, sir.''

``Then you must know my young friend here?''
pointing to Frank.

``How are you, Cash?'' said Thomas, laughing,
under the impression that he had said something

``Very well, Mr. Bradley,'' answered Frank,

``You see, that's all the name we call 'em in the
store,'' said Thomas.

Mr. Wharton could not help thinking:

``How poorly this young man compares with my
young friend. Still, as he is Mrs. Bradley's nephew,
I must be polite to him.''

``Are there many cash-boys in your establishment,
Mr. Bradley?''

``About a dozen. Ain't there, Fowler?''

``I believe so, Mr. Bradley.''

``Gilbert & Mack do a good business, I should

``Yes, they do; but that doesn't do us poor
salesmen much good. We get just enough to keep soul
and body together.''

``I am sorry to hear it,'' said Mr. Wharton.

``Why, sir,'' said Thomas, gaining confidence, ``all
they pay me is twelve dollars a week. How can
they expect a fellow to live on that?''

``I began my career about your age,'' said Mr.
Wharton, ``or perhaps a little younger, and had to
live on but six dollars a week.''

``Didn't you come near starving?'' he asked.

``On the contrary, I saved a little every week.''

``I can't,'' said Thomas, a little discomfited. ``Why,
it takes half that to dress decently.''

Mr. Wharton glanced quietly at the rather loud
and flashy dress worn by his visitor, but only said:

``A small salary, of course, makes economy necessary.''

``But when a fellow knows he earns a good deal
more than he gets, he doesn't feel like starving himself
just that his employers may grow rich.''

``Of course, if he can better himself they cannot

``That's just what I want to do,'' said Thomas; ``but
I expect I need influence to help me to something
better. That's a good hint,'' thought he.

``I was telling Thomas,'' said the housekeeper,
``that you had kindly expressed a desire to be of
service to him.''

``I am not now in active business,'' said Mr. Wharton,
``and of course have not the opportunities I
formerly had for helping young men, but I will bear
your case in mind, Mr. Bradley.''

``Thank you, sir,'' said Thomas. ``I am sure I
earn a thousand dollars a year.''

``I think, Thomas,'' said Mrs. Bradley, ``we won't
intrude on Mr. Wharton longer this evening. When
he finds something for you he will tell me.''

``All right, aunt. Good-night, Mr. Wharton. Good-
night, Cash,'' said Thomas, chuckling anew at the
old joke.

``Well, aunt,'' said he, when they were once more
in the housekeeper's room, ``do you think the old
gentleman will do anything for me?''

``I hope so; but I am not sure, Thomas, whether
you were not too familiar. You spoke of money too

``It's my way to come to business.''

``I wish you were his reader, instead of that boy.''

``Well, I don't. I wouldn't want to he mewed up
in that room with the old man every night. I should
get tired to death of it.''

``You would have a chance to get him interested
in you. That boy is artful; he is doing all he can to
win Mr. Wharton's favor. He is the one you have
most reason to dread.''

``Do you think he will do me any harm?''

``I think he will injure your chances.''

``Egad! if I thought that, I'd wring the young
rascal's neck.''

``There's a better way, Thomas.''

``What's that?''

``Can't you get him dismissed from Gilbert &

``I haven't enough influence with the firm.''

``Suppose they thought him dishonest?''

``They'd give him the sack, of course.''

``Can't you make them think so, Thomas?''

``I don't know.''

``Then make it your business to find out.''

``I suppose you know what good it's going to do,
aunt, but I don't. He's got his place here with the
old man.''

``If Mr. Wharton hears that he is discharged, and
has lost his situation, he will probably discharge
him, too.''

``Perhaps so; I suppose you know best.''

``Do as I tell you, and I will manage the rest.''

``All right. I need your help enough. To-night,
for instance, I'm regularly cleaned out. Haven't got
but twenty-five cents to my name.''

``It seems to me, Thomas,'' said his aunt, with a
troubled look, ``you are always out of money. I'll
give you five dollars, Thomas, but you must remember
that I am not made of money. My wages are

``You ought to have a good nest-egg laid aside,

``I've got something, Thomas, and when I die, it'll
be yours.''

``I hope I shan't have to wait too long,'' thought
Thomas, but he did not give utterance to the

``Come again, Thomas, and don't forget what I
have said,'' said Mrs. Bradley.



A tall man, with a sallow complexion, and heavily-
bearded face, stood on the deck of a Cunard steamer,
only a few miles distant from New York harbor.

``It's three years since I have seen America,'' he
said to himself, thoughtfully. ``I suppose I ought to
feel a patriotic fervor about setting foot once more
on my native shore, but I don't believe in nonsense.
I would be content to live in Europe all my life, if
my uncle's fortune were once in my possession. I
am his sole heir, but he persists in holding on to
his money bags, and limits me to a paltry three thousand
a year. I must see if I can't induce him to give
me a good, round sum on account--fifty thousand,
at least--and then I can wait a little more patiently
till he drops off.''

``When shall we reach port, captain?'' he asked,
as he passed that officer.

``In four hours, I think, Mr. Wade.''

``So this is my birthday,'' he said to himself.

``Thirty five years old to-day. Half my life gone,
and I am still a dependent on my uncle's bounty.
Suppose he should throw me off--leave me out in
the cold--where should I be? If he should find the
boy--but no, there is no chance of that. I have
taken good care of that. By the way, I must look
him up soon--cautiously, of course--and see what
has become of him. He will grow up a laborer or
mechanic and die without a knowledge of his birth,
while I fill his place and enjoy his inheritance.''

At six o'clock the vessel reached the Quarantine.
Most of the passengers decided to remain on board
one night more, but John Wade was impatient, and,
leaving his trunks, obtained a small boat, and soon
touched the shore.

It was nearly eight when John Wade landed in
the city. It was half-past eight when he stood on
the steps of his uncle's residence and rang the bell.

``Is my uncle is Mr. Wharton--at home?'' he
asked of the servant who answered the bell.

``Yes, sir.''

``I am his nephew, just arrived from Europe. Let
him know that I am here, and would like to see

The servant, who had never before seen him,
having only been six months in the house, regarded him
with a great deal of curiosity, and then went to do
his biddng.

``My nephew arrived!'' exclaimed Mr. Wharton, in
surprise. ``Why, he never let me know he was coming.''

``Will you see him, sir?''

``To be sure! Bring him in at once.''

``My dear uncle!'' exclaimed John Wade, with
effusion, for he was a polite man, and could act when it
suited his interests to do so, ``I am glad to see you.
How is your health?''

``I am getting older every day, John.''

``You don't look a day older, sir,'' said John, who
did not believe what he said, for he could plainly
see that his uncle had grown older since he last saw

``You think so, John, but I feel it. Your coming
is a surprise. You did not write that you intended

``I formed the determination very suddenly, sir.''

``Were you tired of Europe?''

``No; but I wanted to see you, sir.''

``Thank you, John,'' said his uncle, pressing his
nephew's hand. ``I am glad you think so much of
me. Did you have a pleasant voyage?''

``Rather rough, sir.''

``You have had no supper, of course? If you will
ring the bell, the housekeeper will see that some is
got ready for you.''

``Is Mrs. Bradley still in your employ, uncle?''

``Yes, John. I am so used to her that I shouldn't
know how to get along without her.''

Hitherto John Wade had been so occupied with his
uncle that he had not observed Frank. But at this
moment our hero coughed, involuntarily, and John
Wade looked at him. He seemed to be singularly
affected. He started perceptibly, and his sallow face
blanched, as his eager eyes were fixed on the boy's

``Good heavens!'' he muttered to himself. ``Who is
that boy? How comes he here?''

Frank noticed his intent gaze, and wondered at it,
but Mr. Wharton's eyesight was defective, and he
did not perceive his nephew's excitement.

``I see you have a young visitor, uncle,'' said John

``Oh, yes,'' said Mr. Wharton, with a kindly smile.
``He spends all his evenings with me.''

``What do you mean, sir?'' demanded John Wade,
with sudden suspicion and fear. ``He seems very
young company for----''

``For a man of my years,'' said Mr. Wharton,
finishing the sentence. ``You are right, John. But, you
see, my eyes are weak, and I cannot use them for
reading in the evening, so it occurred to me to engage
a reader.''

``Very true,'' said his nephew. He wished to
inquire the name of the boy whose appearance had so
powerfully impressed him but he determined not to
do so at present. What information he sought he
preferred to obtain from the housekeeper.

``He seemed surprised, as if he had seen me some
where before, and recognized me,'' thought Frank,
``but I don't remember him. If I had seen his face
before, I think I should remember it.''

``Don't come out, uncle.'' said John Wade, when
summoned to tea by the housekeeper. ``Mrs. Bradley
and I are going to have a chat by ourselves, and
I will soon return.''

``You are looking thin, Mr. John,'' said Mrs Bradley.

``Am I thinner than usual? I never was very
corpulent, you know. How is my uncle's health? He
says he is well.''

``He is pretty well, but he isn't as young as he

``I think he looks older,'' said John. ``But that is
not surprising--at his age. He is seventy, isn't he?''

``Not quite. He is sixty-nine.''

``His father died at seventy-one.''


``But that is no reason why my uncle should not
live till eighty. I hope he will.''

``We all hope so,'' said the housekeeper; but she
knew, while she spoke, that if, as she supposed, Mr.
Wharton's will contained a generous legacy for her,
his death would not afflict her much. She suspected
also that John Wade was waiting impatiently for
his uncle's death, that he might enter upon his
inheritance. Still, their little social fictions must be
kept up, and so both expressed a desire for his continued
life, though neither was deceived as to the
other's real feeling on the subject.

``By the way, Mrs. Bradley,'' said John Wade,
``how came my uncle to engage that boy to read to

``He was led into it, sir,'' said the housekeeper,
with a great deal of indignation, ``by the boy himself.
He's an artful and designing fellow, you may
rely upon it.''

``What's his name?''

``Frank Fowler.''

``Fowler! Is his name Fowler?'' he repeated, with
a startled expression.

``Yes, sir,'' answered the housekeeper, rather
surprised at his manner. ``You don't know anything
about him, do you?''

``Oh, no,'' said John Wade, recovering his composure.
``He is a perfect stranger to me; but I once
knew a man of that name, and a precious rascal he
was. When you mentioned his name, I thought he
might be a son of this man. Does he say his father
is alive?''

``No; he is dead, and his mother, too, so the boy

``You haven't told me how my uncle fell in with

``It was an accident. Your uncle fell in getting
out of a Broadway stage, and this boy happened to
be near, and seeing Mr. Wharton was a rich gentleman,
he helped him home, and was invited in. Then
he told some story about his poverty, and so worked
upon your uncle's feelings that he hired him to read
to him at five dollars a week.''

``Is this all the boy does?''

``No; he is cash-boy in a large store on Broadway.
He is employed there all day, and he is here only in
the evenings.''

``Does my uncle seem attached to him?'' asked

``He's getting fond of him, I should say. The other
day he asked me if I didn't think it would be a good
thing to take him into the house and give him a
room. I suppose the boy put it into his head.''

``No doubt. What did you say?''

``I opposed it. I told him that a boy would be a
great deal of trouble in the family.''

``You did right, Mrs. Bradley. What did my uncle

``He hinted about taking him from the store and
letting him go to school. The next thing would be
his adopting him. The fact is, Mr. John, the boy is
so artful that he knows just how to manage your
uncle. No doubt he put the idea into Mr. Wharton's
head, and he may do it yet.''

``Does my uncle give any reason for the fancy he
has taken to the boy?'' demanded John

``Yes,'' said the housekeeper. ``He has taken it
into his head that the boy resembles your cousin,
George, who died abroad. You were with him, I

``Yes, I was with him. Is the resemblance strong?
I took very little notice of him.''

``You can look for yourself when you go back,''
answered the housekeeper.

``What else did my uncle say? Tell me all.''

``He said: `What would I give, Mrs. Bradley, if
I had such a grandson? If George's boy had lived,
he would have been about Frank's age. And,'' continued
the housekeeper, ``I might as well speak
plainly. You're my master's heir, or ought to be;
but if this artful boy stays here long, there's no
knowing what your uncle may be influenced to do.
If he gets into his dotage, he may come to adopt him,
and leave the property away from you.''

``I believe you are quite right. The danger exists,
and we must guard against it. I see you don't like
the boy,'' said John Wade.

``No, I don't. He's separated your uncle and me.
Before he came, I used to spend my evenings in the
library, and read to your uncle. Besides, when I
found your uncle wanted a reader, I asked him to
take my nephew, who is a salesman in the very same
store where that boy is a cash-boy, but although I've
been twenty years in this house I could not get him to
grant the favor, which he granted to that boy, whom
he never met till a few weeks ago.''

``Mrs. Bradley, I sympathize with you,'' said her
companion. ``The boy is evidently working against
us both. You have been twenty years in my uncle's
service. He ought to remember you handsomely in
his will. If I inherit the property, as is my right,
your services shall be remembered,'' said John Wade.

``Thank you, Mr. John,'' said the gratified housekeeper.

``That secures her help,'' thought John, in his turn.

``She will now work hard for me. When the time
comes, I can do as much or as little for her as I

``Of course, we must work together against this
interloper, who appears to have gained a dangerous
influence over my uncle.''

``You can depend upon me, Mr. John,'' said Mrs.

``I will think it over, and tell you my plan,'' said
John Wade. ``But my uncle will wonder at my appetite.
I must go back to the library. We will speak
of this subject again.''



When John Wade re-entered the library, Frank
was reading, but Mr. Wharton stopped him.

``That will do, Frank,'' he said. ``As I have not
seen my nephew for a long time, I shall not require
you to read any longer. You can go, if you like.''

Frank bowed, and bidding the two good-evening,
left the room.

``That is an excellent boy, John.'' said the old
gentleman, as the door closed upon our hero.

``How did you fall in with him?'' asked John. Mr.
Wharton told the story with which the reader is
already familiar.

``You don't know anything of his antecedents, I
suppose?'' said John, carelessly.

``Only what he told me. His father and mother
are dead, and he is obliged to support himself and
his sister. Did you notice anything familiar in
Frank's expression?'' asked Mr. Wharton.

``I don't know. I didn't observe him very closely.''

``Whenever I look at Frank, I think of George. I
suppose that is why I have felt more closely drawn
to the boy. I proposed to Mrs. Bradley that the
boy should have a room here, but she did not favor
it. I think she is prejudiced against him.''

``Probably she is afraid he would be some trouble,''
replied John.

``If George's boy had lived he would be about
Frank's age. It would have been a great comfort to
me to superintend his education, and watch him
grow up. I could not have wished him to be more
gentlemanly or promising than my young reader.''

``Decidedly, that boy is in my way,'' said John
Wade to himself. ``I must manage to get rid of him,
and that speedily, or my infatuated uncle will be
adopting him.''

``Of what disease did George's boy die, John?''
asked Mr. Wharton.

``A sudden fever.''

``I wish I could have seen him before he died. But
I returned only to find both son and grandson gone.
I had only the sad satisfaction of seeing his grave.''

``Yes, he was buried in the family lot at Greenwood,
five days before you reached home.''

``When I see men of my own age, surrounded by
children and grandchildren, it makes me almost
envious,'' said Mr. Wharton, sadly. ``I declare to you,
John, since that boy has been with me, I have felt
happier and more cheerful than for years.''

``That boy again!'' muttered John to himself. ``I
begin to hate the young cub, but I mustn't show it.
My first work will be to separate him from my uncle.
That will require consideration. I wonder whether
the boy knows that he is not Fowler's son? I must
find out. If he does, and should happen to mention
it in my uncle's presence, it might awaken suspicions
in his mind. I must interview the boy, and
find out what I can. To enlist his confidence, I
must assume a friendly manner.''

In furtherance of this determination, John Wade
greeted our hero very cordially the next evening,
when they met, a little to Frank's surprise.

When the reading terminated, John Wade said,

``I believe, uncle, I will go out for a walk. I think
I shall be better for it. ln what direction are you
going, Frank?''

``Down Sixth Avenue, sir.''

``Very good; I will walk along with you.''

Frank and his companion walked toward Sixth

``My uncle tells me you have a sister to support,''
said Wade, opening the conversation.

``Yes, sir.''

``Does your sister resemble you?'' asked John

``No, sir! but that is not surprising, for----''

``Why is it not surprising?''

Frank hesitated.

``You were about to assign some reason.''

``It is a secret,'' said our hero, slowly; ``that is,
has been a secret, but I don't know why I should
conceal it. Grace is not my sister. She is Mrs.
Fowler's daughter, but I am not her son. I will tell you
the story.''

That story Frank told as briefly as possible. John
Wade listened to it with secret alarm.

``It is a strange story,'' he said. ``Do you not feel
a strong desire to learn your true parentage?''

``Yes, sir. I don't know, but I feel as if I should
some day meet the man who gave me into Mrs. Fowler's

``You have met him, but it is lucky you don't suspect
it,'' thought John Wade.

``I am glad you told me this story,'' said he, aloud.

``It is quite romantic. I may be able to help you in
your search. But let me advise you to tell no one
else at present. No doubt there are parties interested
in keeping the secret of your birth from you.
You must move cautiously, and your chance of solving
the mystery will be improved.''

``Thank you, sir. I will follow your advice.''

``I was mistaken in him,'' thought Frank. ``I
disliked him at first, but he seems inclined to be my

When Frank reached his lodging he found Jasper
waiting up for him. He looked thoughtful, so much
so that Frank noticed it.

``You look as if you had something on your mind,'' Jasper.

``You have guessed right. I have read that letter.''

He drew from his pocket a letter, which Frank
took from his hands.

``It is from an uncle of mine in Ohio, who is
proprietor of a weekly newspaper. He is getting old,
and finds the work too much for him. He offers me
a thousand dollars a year if I will come out and relieve him.''

``That's a good offer, Jasper. I suppose you will
accept it?''

``It is for my interest to do so. Probably my uncle
will, after a while, surrender the whole establishment to me.''

``I shall be sorry to part with you, Jasper. It will
seem very lonely, but I think you ought to go. It
is a good chance, and if you refuse it you may not
get such another.''

``My uncle wants me to come on at once. I think
I will start Monday.''

Jasper saw no reason to change his determination,
and on Monday morning he started on his journey to

Thus, at a critical moment in his fortunes, when
two persons were planning to injure him, he lost the
presence and help of a valued friend.



``Uncle,'' said John Wade, ``you spoke of inviting
Frank Fowler to occupy a room in the house. Why
don't you do it? It would be more convenient to
you and a very good chance for him.''

``I should like it,'' said Mr. Wharton, ``but Mrs.
Bradley did not seem to regard it favorably when
I suggested it.''

``Oh, Mrs. Bradley is unused to boys, and she is
afraid he would give her trouble. I'll undertake to
bring her around.''

``I wish you would, John. I don't think Frank
would give any trouble, and it would enliven the
house to have a boy here. Besides, he reminds me of
George, as I told you the other day.''

``I agree with you, uncle,'' he said. ``He does
remind me a little of George.''

``Well, Mrs. Bradley, what do you think I have
done?'' asked John, entering the housekeeper's room
directly after his interview with his uncle.

``I don't know, Mr. John,'' she answered.

``I have asked him to give that boy a room in the

``Are you carried away with him as well as your

``Not quite. The fact is, I have a motive in what
I am doing. I'll tell you.''

He bent over and whispered in her ear.

``I never should have thought of that.''

``You see, our purpose is to convince my uncle
that he is unworthy of his favor. At present that
would be rather difficult, but once get him into the
house and we shall have no trouble.''

``I understand.''

In due time John Wade announced to his uncle
that the housekeeper had withdrawn her objections
to his plan.

``Then I'll tell him to-night,'' said Mr. Wharton,
brightening up.

Shortly after Frank entered the library that
evening Mr. Wharton made the proposal.

``You are very kind, Mr. Wharton,'' he said. ``I
never thought of such a thing.''

``Then it is settled that you are to come. You
can choose your own time for coming.''

``I will come to-morrow, sir.''

``Very well,'' said Mr. Wharton, with satisfaction.

The next day, by special favor, Frank got off from
the store two hours earlier than usual. He bought
at a Sixth Avenue basement store, a small, second
hand trunk for two dollars. He packed his scanty
wardrobe into the trunk, which, small as it was he
was unable to fill, and had it carried to Mr. Wharton's

He asked to see Mrs. Bradley, and she came to
the door.

``I am glad to see you,'' she said graciously. ``You
may leave your trunk in the hall and I will have it
carried up by the servants.''

``Thank you,'' said Frank, and he followed the
housekeeper up the handsome staircase.

``This is to be your room,'' said the housekeeper,
opening the door of a small chamber on the third

``It looks very nice and comfortable,'' said Frank,
looking about him with satisfaction.

She left the room, and five minutes later our hero's
modest trunk was brought up and deposited in the

That evening Frank read to Mr. Wharton as usual.

When nine o'clock came he said:

``You need not read aloud any more, but if you see
any books in my library which you would like to
read to yourself you may do so. In fact, Frank,
you must consider yourself one of the family, and
act as freely as if you were at home.''

``How kind you are to me, Mr. Wharton,'' said

The next morning after Frank had left the house
for his daily task, John Wade entered the housekeeper's room.

``The boy is out of the way now, Mrs. Bradley,''
he said. ``You had better see if you have a key that
will unlock his trunk.''

The two conspirators went upstairs, and together
entered Frank's room.

Mrs. Bradley brought out a large bunch of keys,
and successively tried them, but one after another
failed to open it.

``That's awkward,'' said John Wade. ``I have a
few keys in my pocket. One may possibly answer.''

The housekeeper kneeled down, and made a trial
of John Wade's keys. The last one was successful.
The cover was lifted, and the contents were
disclosed. However, neither John nor Mrs. Bradley
seemed particularly interested in the articles for
after turning them over they locked the trunk once

``So far so good,'' said John Wade. ``We have
found the means of opening the trunk when we

``When do you expect to carry out your plan, Mr.

``Two weeks from this time my uncle is obliged
to go to Washington for a few days on business.
While he is gone we will spring the trap, and when
he comes back he will find the boy gone in disgrace.
We'll make short work of him.''



``I am going to give you a few days' vacation,
Frank,'' said Mr. Wharton, a fortnight later. ``I
am called to Washington on business. However, you
have got to feel at home here now.''

``Oh, yes, sir.''

``And Mrs. Bradley will see that you are comfortable.''

``I am sure of that, sir,'' said Frank, politely.

When Frank returned at night, Mr. Wharton was
already gone. John Wade and the housekeeper
seated themselves in the library after dinner, and
by their invitation our hero joined them.

``By the way, Frank,'' said John Wade, ``did I
ever show you this Russia leather pocketbook?''
producing one from his pocket.

``No, sir, I believe not.''

``I bought it at Vienna, which is noted for its
articles of Russia leather.''

``It is very handsome, sir.''

``So I think. By the way, you may like to look at
my sleeve-buttons. They are of Venetian mosaic.
I got them myself in Venice last year.''

``They are very elegant. You must have enjoyed
visiting so many famous cities.''

``Yes; it is very interesting.''

John Wade took up the evening paper, and Frank
occupied himself with a book from his patron's
library. After a while John threw down the paper
yawning, and said that he had an engagement. Nothing
else occurred that evening which merits record.

Two days later Frank returned home in his usual
spirits. But at the table he was struck by a singular
change in the manner of Mrs. Bradley and John
Wade. They spoke to him only on what it was
absolutely necessary, and answered his questions in

``Will you step into the library a moment?'' said
John Wade, as they arose from the table.

Frank followed John into the library, and Mrs.
Bradley entered also.

``Frank Fowler,'' the enemy began, ``do you
remember my showing you two evenings since a pocketbook,
also some sleeve-buttons of Venetian mosaic,
expensively mounted in gold?''

``Certainly, sir.''

``That pocketbook contained a considerable sum
of money,'' pursued his questioner.

``I don't know anything about that.''

``You probably supposed so.''

``Will you tell me what you mean, Mr. Wade?''
demanded Frank, impatiently. ``I have answered
your questions, but I can't understand why you ask

``Perhaps you may suspect,'' said Wade, sarcastically.

``It looks as if you had lost them and suspected
me of taking them.''

``So it appears.''

``You are entirely mistaken, Mr. Wade. I am not
a thief. I never stole anything in my life.''

``It is very easy to say that,'' sneered John Wade.
``You and Mrs. Bradley were the only persons present
when I showed the articles, and I suppose you
won't pretend that she stole them?''

``No, sir; though she appears to agree with you
that I am a thief. I never thought of accusing her,''
replied Frank.

``Mr. Wade,'' said the housekeeper, ``I feel that it
is my duty to insist upon search being made in my

``Do you make the same offer?'' asked John Wade,
turning to Frank.

``Yes, sir,'' answered our hero, proudly. ``I wish
you to satisfy yourself that I am not a thief. If
you will come to my room at once, Mr. Wade, you
and Mrs. Bradley, I will hand you the key of my

The two followed him upstairs, exulting wickedly
in his discomfiture, which they had reason to forsee.

He handed his key to his artful enemy, and the
latter bending over, opened the trunk, which contained
all our hero's small possessions.

He raised the pile of clothes, and, to Frank's dismay,
disclosed the missing pocketbook and sleeve-
buttons in the bottom of the trunk.

``What have you got to say for yourself now, you
young villain?'' demanded John Wade, in a loud

``I don't understand it,'' Frank said, in a troubled
tone. ``I don't know how the things came there. I
didn't put them there.''

``Probably they crept in themselves,'' sneered John.

``Someone put them there,'' said Frank, pale, but
resolute; ``some wicked person, who wanted to get
me into trouble.''

``What do you mean by that, you young
vagabond?'' demanded John Wade, suspiciously.

``I mean what I say,'' he asserted. ``I am away
all day, and nothing is easier than to open my trunk
and put articles in, in order to throw suspicion on

``Look here, you rascal!'' said John Wade, roughly.
``I shall treat you better than you deserve. I
won't give you over to the police out of regard for
my uncle, but you must leave this house and never
set foot in it again. It will be the worse for you if
you do.''

John Wade and the housekeeper left the room, and
our hero was left to realize the misfortune which
had overwhelmed him.

Frank arose at an early hour the next morning
and left the house. It was necessary for him to find
a new home at once in order to be at the store in
time. He bought a copy of the Sun and turned to
the advertising columns. He saw a cheap room
advertised near the one he had formerly occupied.
Finding his way there he rang the bell.

The door was opened by a slatternly-looking
woman, who looked as if she had just got up.

``I see by the Sun you have a room to let,'' said

``Yes; do you want to see it now?''

``I should like to.''

``Come upstairs and I will show you the room.''

The room proved to be small, and by no means
neat in appearance, but the rent was only a dollar
and a quarter a week, and Frank felt that he could
not afford to be particular, so he quick closed the

The next day, about eleven o'clock in the
forenoon, he was surprised at seeing Mrs. Bradley enter
the store and thread her way to that part of the
counter where her nephew was stationed. She darted
one quick look at him, but gave him no sign of
recognition. His heart sank within him, for he had a
presentiment that her visit boded fresh evil for him.



Frank's misgivings were not without good cause.
The housekeeper's call at the store was connected
with him. How, will be understood from a conversation
which took place that morning between
her and John Wade.

``It's a relief to get that boy out of the house, Mrs.
Bradley,'' he said at the breakfast table.

``That it is, Mr. John,'' she replied. ``But he'll be
trying to get back, take my word for it.''

``He won't dare to,'' said John Wade,
incredulously. ``I told him if he came near the house I
would give him up to the police.''

``I am afraid he will write to your uncle. He's
bold enough for anything.''

``I didn't think of that,'' said John, thoughtfully.

``Do you know his handwriting, Mrs. Bradley?''

``I think I should know it.''

``Then if any letters come which you know to be
from him, keep them back from my uncle.''

``What shall I do with them?''

``Give them to me. I don't want my uncle worried
by his appeals.''

``Your uncle seems to be very attached to him.
He may go to the store to see him.''

``That is true. I should not like that. How shall
we prevent it, that's the question.''

``If Gilbert & Mack knew that he was not honest
they would discharge him.''

``Exactly,'' said John Wade; ``and as probably he
would be unable to get another situation, he would
be compelled to leave the city, and we should get rid
of him. I commend your shrewdness, Mrs. Bradley.
Your plan is most excellent.''

John Wade had more reasons than the housekeeper
knew of for desiring the removal of our young hero
from the city--reasons which the reader has probably
guessed. There was a dark secret in his life
connected with a wrong done in years past, from which
he hoped some day to reap personal benefit. Unconsciously
Frank Fowler stood in his way, and must
be removed. Such was his determination.

``I am going out this morning,'' said the
housekeeper. ``I will make it in my way to call at Gilbert
& Mack's. My nephew is a salesman there, as I
have told you. I will drop a word in his ear, and
that will be enough to settle that boy's hash.''

``Your language is professional, Mrs. Bradley,''
said John Wade, laughing, ``but you shouldn't allude
to hash in an aristocratic household. I shall be glad
to have you carry out your plan.''

``I hope you'll speak to your uncle about my
nephew, Mr. John. He gets very poor pay where
he is.''

``I won't forget him,'' said John, carelessly.

In his heart he thought Thomas Bradley a very
low, obtrusive fellow, whom he felt by no means
inclined to assist, but it was cheap to make promises.

The reader understands now why Mrs. Bradley
made a morning call at Gilbert &; Mack's store.

She knew at what part of the counter her nephew
was stationed, and made her way thither at once.
He did not at first recognize her, until she said:

``Good-morning, Thomas.''

``Good-morning, aunt. What brings you here this
morning? Any good news for me? Has the old
gentleman come around and concluded to do something handsome?''

``Mr. Wharton is not in the city. He has gone to
Washington. But that isn't what I came about this
morning. You remember that boy who has been
reading to Mr. Wharton?''

``One of our cash-boys. Yes; there he is, just
gone by.''

``Well, he has stolen Mr. John's pocketbook and
some jewelry belonging to him.''

``What have you done about it? What does Mr.
Wharton say?''

``He's away from home. He doesn't know yet. Mr.
John gave him a lecture, and ordered him to leave
the house.''

``Does he admit that he took the things?''

``No; he denied it as bold as brass, but it didn't
do him any good. There were the things in his
trunk. He couldn't get over that.''

Thomas fastened a shrewd glance on his aunt's
face, for he suspected the truth.

``So you've got rid of him?'' he said. ``What do
you propose to do next?''

``Mr. John thinks your employer ought to know
that he is a thief.''

``Are you going to tell them?''

``I want you to do it.''

``You must tell them yourself, aunt. I shan't.''

``Then introduce me to Mr. Gilbert, Thomas, and
I'll do it.''

``Follow me, aunt.''

He led his aunt to the rear of the store, where
Mr. Gilbert was standing.

``Mr. Gilbert,'' he said, ``allow me to introduce my
aunt, Mrs. Bradley.''

The housekeeper was courteously received, and
invited to be seated. She soon opened her business,
and blackened poor Frank's character as she had intended.

``Really, Mrs. Bradley, I am sorry to hear this,''
said Mr. Gilbert. ``You think there is no doubt of
the boy's guilt?''

``I am sorry to say that I have no doubt at all,''
said the housekeeper, hypocritically.

``Mr. Mack and myself have had a very good opinion
of him. He is faithful and prompt.''

``Of course, sir, you will retain him in your
employ if you are willing to take the risk, but I thought
it my duty to put you on your guard.''

``I am obliged to you, Mrs. Bradley; though, as
I said, I regret to find that my confidence in the boy
has been misplaced.''

Late in the afternoon, Frank was called to the
cashier's desk.

``I am directed by Mr. Gilbert to say that your
services will not be required after to-day,'' he said.
``Here are the week's wages.''

``Why am I discharged? What have I done?''
demanded Frank, while his heart sank within him.

``I don't know. You must ask Mr. Gilbert,''
answered the cashier.

``I will speak to him, at any rate,'' and Frank
walked up to the senior partner, and addressed to
him the same question.

``Can you not guess?'' asked Mr. Gilbert, sternly.

``I can guess that a false accusation has been
brought against me,'' said Frank.

``A respectable lady has informed me that you
are not honest. I regret it, for I have been pleased
with your diligence. Of course, I cannot retain you
in my employ.''

``Mr. Gilbert,'' said Frank, earnestly, ``the charge
is false. Mrs. Bradley is my enemy, and wishes me
harm. I don't understand how the things came into
my trunk, but I didn't put them there.''

``I hope you are innocent, but I must discharge
you. Business is dull now, and I had decided to part
with four of my cash-boys. I won't pass judgment
upon you, but you must go.''

Frank bowed in silence, for he saw that further
entreaty would be vain, and left the store more
dispirited than at any moment since he had been in
the city.

Ten days Frank spent in fruitless efforts to obtain
a place.

All this time his money steadily diminished. He
perceived that he would soon be penniless. Evidently,
something must be done. He formed two determinations.
The first was to write to Mr. Wharton,
who, he thought, must now have returned from
Washington, asserting his innocence and appealing
to him to see Gilbert & Mack, and re-establish him
in their confidence. The second was, since he could
not obtain a regular place, to frequent the wharves
and seek chances to carry bundles. In this way he
might earn enough, with great economy, to pay for
his board and lodging.

One morning the housekeeper entered the library
where John Wade sat reading the daily papers.

``Mr. John,'' she said, holding out a letter, ``here
is a letter from that boy. I expected he would write
to your uncle.''

John Wade deliberately opened the letter.

``Sit down, Mrs. Bradley, and I will read the letter

It will be only necessary to quote the concluding

`` `I hope, Mr. Wharton, you will not be influenced
against me by what Mrs. Bradley and your nephew
say. I don't know why it is, but they are my enemies,
though I have always treated them with respect.
I am afraid they have a desire to injure me in your
estimation. If they had not been, they would have
been content with driving me from your house, without
also slandering me to my employers, and inducing
them to discharge me. Since I was discharged,
I have tried very hard to get another place, but as
I cannot bring a recommendation from Gilbert &
Mack, I have everywhere been refused. I ask you,
Mr. Wharton to consider my situation. Already my
small supply of money is nearly gone, and I do not
know how I am to pay my expenses. If it was any
fault of mine that had brought me into this situation,
I would not complain, but it seems hard to
suffer when I am innocent.

`` `I do not ask to return to your house, Mr.
Wharton, for it would not be pleasant, since your nephew
and Mrs. Bradley dislike me, but I have a right to
ask that the truth may be told to my employers, so
that if they do not wish me to return to their service,
they may, at least, be willing to give me a recommendation
that will give me a place elsewhere.'''

``I must prevent the boy communicating with my
uncle, if it is a possible thing. `Strike while the iron
is hot,' I say.''

``I think that is very judicious, Mr. John. I have
no doubt you will know how to manage matters.''

John Wade dressed himself for a walk, and drawing
out a cigar, descended the steps of his uncle's
house into the street.

He reached Fifth Avenue, and walked slowly
downtown. He was about opposite Twenty-eighth Street,
when he came face to face with the subject of his

``Where are you going?'' John Wade demanded

``I don't know that I am bound to answer your
question,'' answered Frank, quietly, ``but I have no
objection. I am going to Thirty-ninth Street with
this bundle.''

``Hark you, boy! I have something to say to you,''
continued John Wade, harshly. ``You have had the
impudence to write to my uncle.''

``What did he say?''

``Nothing that you would like to hear. He looks
upon you as a thief.''

``You have slandered me to him, Mr. Wade,'' he
said, angrily. ``You might be in better business than
accusingly a poor boy falsely.''

``Hark you, young man! I have had enough of
your impudence. I will give you a bit of advice,
which you will do well to follow. Leave this city for
a place where you are not known, or I may feel
disposed to shut you up on a charge of theft.''

``I shall not leave the city, Mr. Wade,'' returned
Frank, firmly. ``I shall stay here in spite of you,''
and without waiting for an answer, he walked on.



No sooner had John Wade parted from our hero
than he saw approaching him a dark, sinister-looking
man, whom he had known years before.

``Good-morning, Mr. Wade,'' said the newcomer.

``Good-morning, Mr. Graves. Are you busy just

``No, sir; I am out of employment. I have been

``Then I will give you a job. Do you see that
boy?'' said John Wade, rapidly.

``Yes, I see him.''

``I want you to follow him. Find out where he
lives, and let me know this evening. Do you understand?''

``I understand. You may rely upon me, sir,''
answered Nathan Graves; and quickening his pace, he
soon came within a hundred feet of our hero.

After fulfilling his errand, Frank walked downtown
again, but did not succeed in obtaining any
further employment. Wherever he went, he was
followed by Graves. Unconsciously, he exhausted
the patience of that gentleman, who got heartily tired
of his tramp about the streets. But the longest day
will come to an end, and at last he had the satisfaction
of tracking Frank to his humble lodging. Then,
and not till then, he felt justified in leaving him.

Nathan Graves sought the residence of John Wade.
He rang the bell as the clock struck eight.

``Well, what success?'' asked Wade, when they met.

``I have tracked the boy. What more can I do
for you?'' asked Graves.

``I want to get him away from the city. The fact
is--I may as well tell you--my uncle has taken a
great fancy to the boy, and might be induced to
adopt him, and cut me off from my rightful inheritance.
The boy is an artful young rascal, and has
been doing all he could to get into the good graces
of my uncle, who is old and weak-minded.''

It was nine o'clock when Nathan Graves left the
house, John Wade himself accompanying him to the

``How soon do you think you can carry out my
instructions?'' asked Wade.

``To-morrow, if possible.''

``The sooner the better.''

``It is lucky I fell in with him,'' said Nathan
Graves to himself, with satisfaction, as he slowly
walked down Fifth Avenue. ``It's a queer business,
but that's none of my business. The main thing
for me to consider is that it brings money to my
purse, and of that I have need enough.''

Graves left the house richer by a hundred dollars
than he entered it.

It was eleven o'clock on the forenoon of the next
day when Frank walked up Canal Street toward
Broadway. He had been down to the wharves since
early in the morning, seeking for employment. He
had offered his services to many, but as yet had been
unable to secure a job.

As he was walking along a man addressed him:

``Will you be kind enough to direct me to Broadway?''

It was Nathan Graves, with whom Frank was destined
to have some unpleasant experiences.

``Straight ahead,'' answered Frank. ``I am going
there, and will show you, if you like.''

``Thank you, I wish you would. I live only fifteen
or twenty miles distant,'' said Graves, ``but I don't
often come to the city, and am not much acquainted.
I keep a dry-goods store, but my partner generally
comes here to buy goods. By the way, perhaps you
can help me about the errand that calls me here today.''

``I will, sir, if I can,'' said Frank, politely.

``My youngest clerk has just left me, and I want
to find a successor--a boy about your age, say. Do
you know any one who would like such a position?''

``I am out of employment myself just now. Do
you think I will suit?''

``I think you will,'' said Mr. Graves.

``You won't object to go into the country?''

``No, sir.''

``I will give you five dollars a week and your board
for the present. If you suit me, your pay will be
raised at the end of six months. Will that be
satisfactory?'' asked his companion.

``Quite so, sir. When do you wish me to come?''

``Can you go out with me this afternoon?''

``Yes, sir. I only want to go home and pack up
my trunk.''

``To save time, I will go with you, and we will
start as soon as possible.''

Nathan Graves accompanied Frank to his room,
where his scanty wardrobe was soon packed. A
hack was called, and they were speedily on their
way to the Cortland Street ferry.

They crossed the ferry, and Mr. Graves purchased
two tickets to Elizabeth. He bought a paper, and
occupied himself in reading. Frank felt that
fortune had begun to shine upon him once more. By
and by, he could send for Grace, and get her boarded
near him. As soon as his wages were raised, he
determined to do this. While engaged in these pleasant
speculations, they reached the station.

``We get out here,'' said Mr. Graves.

``Is your store in this place?'' asked Frank.

``No; it is in the next town.''

Nathan Graves looked about him for a conveyance.
He finally drove a bargain with a man driving
a shabby-looking vehicle, and the two took their

They were driven about six miles through a flat,
unpicturesque country, when they reached a branch
road leading away from the main one.

It was a narrow road, and apparently not much
frequented. Frank could see no houses on either

``Is your store on this road?'' he asked.

``Oh, no; but I am not going to the store yet. We
will go to my house, and leave your trunk.''

At length the wagon stopped, by Graves' orders,
in front of a gate hanging loosely by one hinge.

``We'll get out here,'' said Graves.

Frank looked with some curiosity, and some
disappointment, at his future home. It was a square,
unpainted house, discolored by time, and looked far
from attractive. There were no outward signs of
occupation, and everything about it appeared to have
fallen into decay. Not far off was a barn, looking
even more dilapidated than the house.

At the front door, instead of knocking--there was
no bell--Graves drew a rusty key from his pocket
and inserted it in the lock. They found themselves
in a small entry, uncarpeted and dingy.

``We'll go upstairs,'' said Graves.

Arrived on the landing, he threw open a door,
and ushered in our hero.

``This will be your room,'' he said.

Frank looked around in dismay.

It was a large, square room, uncarpeted, and
containing only a bed, two chairs and a washstand, all
of the cheapest and rudest manufacture.

``I hope you will soon feel at home here,'' said
Graves. ``I'll go down and see if I can find something
to eat.''

He went out, locking the door behind him

``What does this mean?'' thought Frank, with a
strange sensation.



It was twenty minutes before Frank, waiting
impatiently, heard the steps of his late companion
ascending the stairs.

But the door was not unlocked. Instead, a slide
was revealed, about eight inches square, through
which his late traveling companion pushed a plate
of cold meat and bread.

``Here's something to eat,'' he said; ``take it.''

``Why do you lock me in?'' demanded our hero.

``You can get along without knowing, I suppose,''
said the other, with a sneer.

``I don't mean to,'' said Frank, firmly. ``I demand
an explanation. How long do you intend to keep
me here?''

``I am sorry I can't gratify your curiosity, but I
don't know myself.''

``Perhaps you think that I am rich, but I am not.
I have no money. You can't get anything out of
me,'' said Frank.

``That may be so, but I shall keep you.''

``I suppose that was all a lie about your keeping

``It was a pretty little story, told for your amusement,
my dear boy,'' said Graves. ``I was afraid
you wouldn't come without it.''

``You are a villain!'' said Frank.

``Look here, boy,'' said Graves, in a different tone,
his face darkening, ``you had better not talk in that
way. I advise you to eat your dinner and be quiet.
Some supper will be brought to you before night.''

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