Part 3 out of 6
"That would just suit me, mother," answered the
boy eagerly. "Is there any chance of it?"
"Yes, if you follow my directions implicitly."
"I will, mother," said Jonas, his eyes shining with
desire. "Only tell me what to do and I'll do it."
"Do you remember what I told Philip the evening
before he went away?"
"About his being left at Mr. Brent's hotel? Yes,
I remember it."
"And about his true father having disappeared?"
"Jonas, the letter I received this afternoon was
from Philip's real father."
"By gosh!" ejaculated Jonas, altering his usual
expression of surprise.
"He is in Philadelphia. He is a very rich man."
"Then Phil will be rich," said Jonas, disappointed.
"I thought you said it would be me."
"Philip's father has never seen him since he was
three years old," continued Mrs. Brent, taking no
notice of her son's tone.
"What difference does that make, mother?"
"Jonas," said Mrs. Brent, bending toward her son,
"if I choose to tell him that you are Philip, he
won't know the difference. Do you understand?"
Jonas did understand.
"That's a bully idea, mother! Can we pull the
wool over the old man's eyes, do you think?"
"I wish you would not use such expressions, Jonas.
They are not gentlemanly, and you are to be a young
"All right, mother."
"We can manage it if you are very careful. It is
worth the trouble, Jonas. I think Mr. Granville--
that is his name--must be worth a quarter of a million
dollars, and if he takes you for Philip the whole
will probably go to you."
"What a head you've got, mother!" exclaimed
Jonas admiringly. "It is a tip-top chance."
"Yes, it is one chance in ten thousand. But you
must do just as I tell you."
"Oh, I'll do that, mother. What must I do?"
"To begin with, you must take Philip's name.
You must remember that you are no longer Jonas
Webb, but Philip Brent."
"That'll be a bully joke!" said Jonas, very much
amused. "What would Phil say if he knew I had
taken his name?"
"He must not know. Henceforth we must endeavor
to keep out of his way. Again, you must
consider me your step-mother, not your own
"Yes, I understand. What are you going to do
"We start for Philadelphia to-morrow. Your
father is lying sick at the Continental Hotel."
Jonas roared with delight at the manner in which
his mother spoke of the sick stranger.
"Oh, it'll be fun, mother! Shall we live in
"I don't know. That will be as Mr. Granville
"Where are you going, mother? Are you going
to live here?"
"Of course I shall be with you. I will make that
a condition. I cannot be parted from my only boy."
"But I shall be Mr. Granville's boy."
"To the public you will be. But when we are
together in private, we shall be once more mother and
"I am afraid you will spoil all," said Jonas. "Old
Granville will suspect something if you seem to care
too much for me."
The selfish nature of Jonas was cropping out, and
his mother felt, with a pang, that he would be
reconciled to part with her forever for the sake of the
brilliant prospects and the large fortune which Mr.
Granville could offer him.
She was outwardly cold, but such affection as she
was capable of she expended on this graceless and
"You seem to forget that I may have some feeling
in the matter," said Mrs. Brent coldly, but with
inward pain. "If the result of this plan were to be
that we should be permanently separated, I would
never consent to it."
"Just as you like, mother," said Jonas, with an
ill grace. "I don't look much like Phil."
"No, there will be a difficulty. Still Mr.
Granville has never seen Philip since he was three years
old, and that is in our favor. He thinks I am Mr.
Brent's first wife."
"Shall you tell him?"
"I don't know. I will be guided by circumstances.
Perhaps it may be best. I wouldn't like to have it
discovered that I had deceived him in that."
"How are you going to manage about this place,
"I am going to write to your Uncle Jonas to take
charge of it. I will let him have it at a nominal
rent. Then, if our plan miscarries we shall have a
place to come back to."
"Were you ever in Philadelphia, mother?"
"No; but there will be no trouble in journeying
there. I shall pack your clothes and my own to-
night. Of course, Jonas, when you meet Mr. Granville
you must seem to be fond of him. Then you
must tell him how kind I have been to you. In fact,
you must act precisely as Philip might be expected
"Yes, mother; and you must be careful not to call
me Jonas. That will spoil all, you know."
"Rest assured that I shall be on my guard. If
you are as careful as I am, Philip----"
Jonas burst into a guffaw at the new name.
"It's just like play-acting, mother," he said.
"But it will pay better," said Mrs. Brent quietly.
"I think it will be best for me to begin calling you
Philip at once--that is, as soon as we have left
town--so that we may both get accustomed to it."
"All right, mother. You've got a good headpiece."
"I will manage things properly. If you consent
to be guided by me, all will be right."
"Oh, I'll do it mother. I wish we were on our
"You can go to bed if you like. I must stay up
late to-night. I have to pack our trunks."
The next day the pair of adventurers left
Gresham. From the earliest available point Mrs.
Brent telegraphed to Mr. Granville that she was on
her way, with the son from whom he had so long
THE CONSPIRACY SUCCEEDS.
In a handsome private parlor at the Continental
Hotel a man of about forty-five years
of age sat in an easy-chair. He was of middle
height, rather dark complexion, and a pleasant
expression. His right foot was bandaged, and rested
on a chair. The morning Daily Ledger was in his
hand, but he was not reading. His mind, judging
from his absorbed look, was occupied with other
"I can hardly realize," he said half-aloud, "that
my boy will so soon be restored to my arms. We
have been separated by a cruel fate, but we shall
soon be together again. I remember how the dear
child looked when I left him at Fultonville in the
care of the kind inn-keeper. I am sorry he is dead,
but his widow shall be suitably repaid for her kind
He had reached this point when a knock was
heard at the door.
"Come in!" said Mr. Granville.
A servant of the hotel appeared.
"A lady and a boy are in the parlor below, sir.
They wish to see you."
Though Mr. Granville had considerable control
over his feelings, his heart beat fast when he heard
"Will you show them up at once?" he said, in a
tone which showed some trace of agitation.
The servant bore the message to Mrs. Brent and
Jonas, who were sitting in the hotel parlor.
If Mr. Granville was agitated, the two conspirators
were not wholly at their ease. There was a red spot
on each of Mrs. Brent's cheeks--her way of expressing
emotion--and Jonas was fidgeting about uneasily
in his chair, staring about him curiously.
"Mind what I told you," said his mother, in a low
voice. "Remember to act like a boy who has suddenly
been restored to his long-lost father. Everything
depends on first impressions."
"I wish it was all over; I wish I was out of it,"
said Jonas, wiping the perspiration from his face.
"Suppose he suspects?"
"He won't if you do as I tell you. Don't look
gawky, but act naturally."
Just then the servant reappeared.
"You are to come up-stairs," he said. "The
gentleman will see you."
"Thank you," said Mrs. Brent, rising. "Come."
Jonas rose, and with the manner of a cur that
expected a whipping, followed his mother and the
"It's only one flight," said the servant, "but we
can take the elevator."
"It is of no consequence," Mrs. Brent began, but
Jonas said eagerly:
"Let's ride on the elevator, ma!"
"Very well, Philip," said Mrs. Brent.
A minute later the two stood at the door of Mr.
Granville's room. Next they stood in his presence.
Mr. Granville, looking eagerly toward the door,
passed over Mrs. Brent, and his glance rested on the
boy who followed her. He started, and there was a
quick feeling of disappointment. He had been picturing
to himself how his lost boy would look, but
none of his visions resembled the awkward-looking
boy who stood sheepishly by the side of Mrs. Brent.
"Mr. Granville, I presume," said the lady.
"Yes, madam. You are----"
"Mrs. Brent, and this," pointing to Jonas, "is the
boy you left at Fultonville thirteen years ago.
Philip, go to your father."
Jonas advanced awkwardly to Mr. Granville's
chair, and said in parrot-like tones:
"I'm so glad to see you, pa!"
"And you are really Philip?" said Mr. Granville
"Yes, I'm Philip Brent; but I suppose my name
is Granville now."
"Come here, my boy!"
Mr. Granville drew the boy to him, and looked
earnestly in his face, then kissed him affectionately.
"He has changed since he was a little child, Mrs.
Brent," he said, with a half-sigh.
"That's to be expected, sir. He was only three
years old when you left him with us."
"But it seems to me that his hair and complexion
"You can judge of that better than I," said Mrs.
Brent plausibly. "To me, who have seen him daily,
the change was not perceptible."
"I am greatly indebted to you for your devoted
care--to you and your husband. I am grieved to
hear that Mr. Brent is dead."
"Yes, sir; he left me six months since. It was a
grievous loss. Ah, sir, when I give up Philip also, I
shall feel quite alone in the world," and she pressed
a handkerchief to her eyes. "You see, I have come
to look upon him as my own boy!"
"My dear madam, don't think that I shall be so
cruel as to take him from you. Though I wish him
now to live with me, you must accompany him. My
home shall be yours if you are willing to accept a
room in my house and a seat at my table."
"Oh, Mr. Granville, how can I thank you for your
great kindness? Ever since I received your letter
I have been depressed with the thought that I
should lose dear Philip. If I had a child of my own
it would be different; but, having none, my affections
are centered upon him."
"And very naturally," said Mr. Granville. "We
become attached to those whom we benefit. Doubtless
he feels a like affection for you. You love this
good lady, Philip, who has supplied to you the place
of your own mother, who died in your infancy, do
"Yes, sir," answered Jonas stolidly. "But I want
to live with my pa!"
"To be sure you shall. My boy, we have been
separated too long already. Henceforth we will live
together, and Mrs. Brent shall live with us."
"Where do you live, pa?" asked Jonas.
"I have a country-seat a few miles from Chicago,"
answered Mr. Granville. "We will go there as soon
as I am well enough. I ought to apologize, Mrs.
Brent, for inviting you up to my room, but my rheumatism
makes me a prisoner."
"I hope your rheumatism will soon leave you,
"I think it will. I have an excellent physician,
and already I am much better. I may, however,
have to remain here a few days yet."
"And where do you wish Philip and I to remain
in the meantime?"
"Here, of course. Philip, will you ring the bell?"
"I don't see any bell," answered Jonas, bewildered.
"Touch that knob!"
Jonas did so.
"Will that ring the bell?" he asked curiously.
"Yes, it is an electric bell."
"By gosh!" ejaculated Jonas.
"Don't use such language, Philip!" said Mrs.
Brent hastily. "Your father will be shocked. You
see, Mr. Granville, Philip has associated with country
boys, and in spite of my care, he has adopted
some of their language."
Mr. Granville himself was rather disturbed by
this countrified utterance, and it occurred to him
that his new-found son needed considerable polishing.
"Ah, I quite understand that, Mrs. Brent," he
said courteously. "He is young yet, and there will
be plenty of time for him to get rid of any objectionable
habits and phrases."
Here the servant appeared.
"Tell the clerk to assign this lady and the boy
rooms on this floor if any are vacant. Mrs. Brent,
Philip may have a room next to you for the present.
When I am better I will have him with me. John,
is dinner on the table?"
"Then, after taking possession of your rooms, you
and Philip had better go to dinner. I will send for
"Thank you, sir."
As Mrs. Brent was ushered into her handsome
apartment her face was radiant with joy and exultation.
"All has gone well!" she said. "The most
difficult part is over."
A NARROW ESCAPE FROM DETECTION.
The conspiracy into which Mrs. Brent
had entered was a daring one, and required
great coolness and audacity. But the inducements
were great, and for her son's sake she decided to
carry it through. Of course it was necessary that
she should not be identified with any one who could
disclose to Mr. Granville the deceit that was being
practiced upon him. Circumstances lessened the
risk of detection, since Mr. Granville was confined
to his room in the hotel, and for a week she and
Jonas went about the city alone.
One day she had a scare.
She was occupying a seat in a Chestnut Street car,
while Jonas stood in front with the driver, when a
gentleman whom she had not observed, sitting at
the other end of the car, espied her.
"Why, Mrs. Brent, how came you here?" he asked,
in surprise, crossing over and taking a seat beside
Her color went and came as, in a subdued tone, she
"I am in Philadelphia on a little visit, Mr. Pearson."
"Are you not rather out of your latitude?" asked
"Yes, perhaps so."
"How is Mr. Brent?"
"Did you not hear that he was dead?"
"No, indeed! I sympathize with you in your sad
"Yes," sighed the widow. "It is a great loss to
"I suppose Jonas is a large boy now," said the
other. "I haven't seen him for two or three years."
"Yes, he has grown," said the widow briefly. She
hoped that Mr. Pearson would not discover that
Jonas was with her, as she feared that the boy might
betray them unconsciously.
"Is he with you?"
"Do you stay long in Philadelphia?"
"No, I think not," answered Mrs. Brent.
"I go back to New York this afternoon, or I
would ask permission to call on you."
Mrs. Brent breathed more freely. A call at the
hotel was by all means to be avoided.
"Of course I should have been glad to see you,
she answered, feeling quite safe in saying so. "Are
you going far?"
"I get out at Thirteenth Street."
"Thank Heaven!" said Mrs. Brent to herself.
"Then he won't discover where we are."
The Continental Hotel is situated at the corner of
Chestnut and Ninth Streets, and Mrs. Brent feared
that Jonas would stop the car at that point. As it
was, the boy did not observe that his mother had
met an acquaintance, so intent was he on watching
the street sights.
When they reached Ninth Street mother and son
got out and entered the hotel.
"I guess I'll stay down stairs awhile," said Jonas.
"No, Philip, I have something to say to you.
Come up with me."
"I want to go into the billiard-room," said Jonas,
"It is very important," said Mrs. Brent emphatically.
Now the curiosity of Jonas was excited, and he
followed his mother into the elevator, for their
rooms were on the third floor.
"Well, mother, what is it?" asked Jonas, when
the door of his mother's room was closed behind
"I met a gentleman who knew me in the horse-
car," said Mrs. Brent abruptly.
"Did you? Who was it?"
"He used to give me candy. Why didn't you call
"It is important that we should not be
recognized," said his mother. "While we stay here we
must be exceedingly prudent. Suppose he had
called upon us at the hotel and fallen in with Mr.
Granville. He might have told him that you are
my son, and that your name is Jonas, not Philip."
"Then the fat would be in the fire!" said
"Exactly so; I am glad you see the danger. Now
I want you to stay here, or in your own room, for
the next two or three hours."
"It'll be awfully tiresome," grumbled Jonas.
"It is necessary," said his mother firmly. "Mr.
Pearson leaves for New York by an afternoon train.
It is now only two o'clock. He left the car at
Thirteenth Street, and might easily call at this hotel. It
is a general rendezvous for visitors to the city. If
he should meet you down stairs, he would probably
know you, and his curiosity would be aroused. He
asked me where I was staying, but I didn't appear
to hear the question."
"That's pretty hard on me, ma."
"I am out of all patience with you," said Mrs.
Brent. "Am I not working for your interest, and
you are doing all you can to thwart my plans. If
you don't care anything about inheriting a large fortune,
let it go! We can go back to Gresham and
give it all up."
"I'll do as you say, ma," said Jonas, subdued.
The very next day Mr. Granville sent for Mrs.
Brent. She lost no time in waiting upon him.
"Mrs. Brent," he said, "I have decided to leave
"Are you quite able, sir?" she asked, with a good
assumption of sympathy.
"My doctor tells me I may venture. We shall
travel in Pullman cars, you know. I shall secure a
whole compartment, and avail myself of every comfort
and luxury which money can command."
"Ah, sir! money is a good friend in such a case."
"True, Mrs. Brent. I have seen the time when I
was poorly supplied with it. Now I am happily at
ease. Can you and Philip be ready?"
"Yes, Mr. Granville," answered Mrs. Brent
promptly. "We are ready to-day, for that matter.
We shall both be glad to get started."
"I am glad to hear it. I think Philip will like his
Western home. I bought a fine country estate of a
Chicago merchant, whose failure compelled him to
part with it. Philip shall have his own horse and
his own servants."
"He will be delighted," said Mrs. Brent warmly.
"He has been used to none of these things, for Mr.
Brent and I, much as we loved him, had not the
means to provide him with such luxuries."
"Yes, Mrs. Brent, I understand that fully. You
were far from rich. Yet you cared for my boy as if
he were your own."
"I loved him as much as if he had been my own
son, Mr. Granville."
"I am sure you did. I thank Providence that I
am able to repay to some extent the great debt I
have incurred. I cannot repay it wholly, but I will
take care that you, too, shall enjoy ease and luxury.
You shall have one of the best rooms in my house,
and a special servant to wait upon you."
"Thank you, Mr. Granville," said Mrs. Brent, her
heart filled with proud anticipations of the state in
which she should hereafter live. "I do not care
where you put me, so long as you do not separate
me from Philip."
"She certainly loves my son!" said Mr. Granville
to himself. "Yet her ordinary manner is cold and
constrained, and she does not seem like a woman
whose affections would easily be taken captive. Yet
Philip seems to have found the way to her heart.
It must be because she has had so much care of him.
We are apt to love those whom we benefit."
But though Mr. Granville credited Mrs. Brent
with an affection for Philip, he was uneasily conscious
that the boy's return had not brought him
the satisfaction and happiness he had fondly anticipated.
To begin with, Philip did not look at all as he had
supposed his son would look. He did not look like
the Granvilles at all. Indeed, he had an unusually
countrified aspect, and his conversation was mingled
with rustic phrases which shocked his father's taste.
"I suppose it comes of the way in which he has
been brought up and the country boys he has associated
with," thought Mr. Granville. "Fortunately
he is young, and there is time to polish him. As
soon as I reach Chicago I will engage a private
tutor for him, who shall not only remedy his defects
of education, but do what he can to improve my
son's manners. I want him to grow up a gentleman."
The next day the three started for Chicago, while
Mr. Granville's real son and heir continued to live at
a cheap lodging-house in New York.
The star of Jonas was in the ascendant, while poor
Philip seemed destined to years of poverty and hard
work. Even now, he was threatened by serious misfortune.
LEFT OUT IN THE COLD.
Of course Phil was utterly ignorant of the
audacious attempt to deprive him of his
rights and keep him apart from the father who
longed once more to meet him. There was nothing
before him so far as he knew except to continue the
up-hill struggle for a living.
He gave very little thought to the prediction of
the fortune-teller whom he had consulted, and didn't
dream of any short-cut to fortune.
Do all he could, he found he could not live on his
His board cost him four dollars a week, and
washing and lunch two dollars more, thus compelling him
to exceed his salary by a dollar each week.
He had, as we know, a reserve fund, on which he
could draw, but it was small, and grew constantly
smaller. Then, again, his clothes were wearing out,
and he saw no way of obtaining money to buy new.
Phil became uneasy, and the question came up to
his mind, "Should he write to his step-mother and
ask her for a trifling loan?" If the money had been
hers, he would not have done so on any condition;
but she had had nothing of her own, and all the
property in her hands came through Mr. Brent, who,
as he knew, was attached to him, even though no
tie of blood united them. He certainly meant that
Phil should be cared for out of the estate, and at
length Phil brought himself to write the following
"NEW YORK, March 10, 18--.
"DEAR MRS. BRENT: I suppose I ought to have
written you before, and have no good excuse to offer.
I hope you and Jonas are well, and will continue so.
Let me tell you how I have succeeded thus far.
"I have been fortunate enough to obtain a place
in a large mercantile establishment, and for my
services I am paid five dollars a week. This is more
than boys generally get in the first place, and I am
indebted to the partiality of an old gentleman, the
senior member of the firm, whom I had the chance
to oblige, for faring so well. Still I find it hard to
get along on this sum, though I am as economical as
possible. My board and washing cost me six dollars
a week, and I have, besides, to buy clothing
from time to time. I have nearly spent the extra
money I had with me, and do not know how to
keep myself looking respectable in the way of clothing.
Under the circumstances, I shall have to apply
to you for a loan, say of twenty-five dollars. In a
year or two I hope to earn enough to be entirely
independent. At present I cannot expect it. As
my father--Mr. Brent--undoubtedly intended to
provide for me, I don't think I need to apologize for
making this request. Still I do it reluctantly, for I
would prefer to depend entirely upon myself.
"With regards to you and Jonas, I am yours
truly, PHILIP BRENT."
Phil put this letter in the post-office, and patiently
waited for an answer.
"Mrs. Brent surely cannot refuse me," he said to
himself, "since I have almost wholly relieved her of
the expense of taking care of me."
Phil felt so sure that money would be sent to him
that he began to look round a little among ready-
made clothing stores to see at what price he could
obtain a suit that would do for every-day use. He
found a store in the Bowery where he could secure a
suit, which looked as if it would answer, for thirteen
dollars. If Mrs. Brent sent him twenty-five, that
would leave him twelve for underclothing, and for a
reserve fund to meet the weekly deficit which he
could not avoid.
Three--four days passed, and no letter came in
answer to his.
"It can't be that Mrs. Brent won't at least answer
my letter," he thought uneasily. "Even if she didn't
send me twenty-five dollars, she couldn't help sending
Still he felt uneasy, in view of the position in
which he would find himself in case no letter or
remittance should come at all.
It was during this period of anxiety that his heart
leaped for joy when on Broadway he saw the familiar
form of Reuben Gordon, a young man already
mentioned, to whom Phil had sold his gun before
"Why, Reuben, how are you?" exclaimed Phil
joyfully. "When did you come to town?"
"Phil Brent!" exclaimed Reuben, shaking hands
heartily. "I'm thunderin' glad to see you. I was
thinkin' of you only five minutes ago, and wonderin'
where you hung out."
"But you haven't told me when you came to New
"Only this morning! I'm goin' to stay with a
cousin of my father's, that lives in Brooklyn, over
"I wanted to ask you about Mrs. Brent and Jonas.
I was afraid they might be sick, for I wrote four
days ago and haven't got any answer yet."
"Where did you write to?"
"To Gresham, of course," answered Phil, in surprise.
"You don't mean to say you hain't heard of their
leavin' Gresham?" said Reuben, in evident astonishment.
"Who has left Gresham?"
"Your mother--leastwise, Mrs. Brent--and Jonas.
They cleared out three weeks ago, and nobody's
heard a word of them since--that is, nobody in the
"Don't you know where they've gone?" asked
Phil, in amazement.
"No. I was goin' to ask you. I s'posed, of course,
they'd write and let you know."
"I didn't even know they had left Gresham."
"Well, that's what I call cur'us. It ain't treatin'
you right accordin' to my ideas."
"Is the house shut up?"
"It was till two days ago. Then a brother of
Mrs. Brent came and opened it. He has brought his
wife and one child with him, and it seems they're
goin' to live there. Somebody asked him where his
sister and Jonas were, but they didn't get no
satisfaction. He said he didn't rightly know himself.
He believed they was travelin'; thought they might
be in Canada."
Phil looked and felt decidedly sober at this
information. He understood, of course, now, why his
letter had not been answered. It looked as if he
were an outcast from the home that had been his so
long. When he came to New York to earn a living
he felt that he was doing so voluntarily, and was
not obliged to do so. Now he was absolutely thrown
upon his own resources, and must either work or
"They've treated you real mean," said Reuben.
"I never did like Mrs. Brent, or Jonas either, for
"Where are you working?"
Phil answered this question and several others
which his honest country friend asked, but his mind
was preoccupied, and he answered some of the questions
at random. Finally he excused himself on
the ground that he must be getting back to the
That evening Phil thought seriously of his position.
Something must be done, that was very evident.
His expenses exceeded his income, and he
needed some clothing. There was no chance of getting
his wages raised under a year, for he already
received more pay than it was customary to give to
a boy. What should he do?
Phil decided to lay his position frankly before the
only friend he had in the city likely to help him--
Mr. Oliver Carter. The old gentleman had been so
friendly and kind that he felt that he would not at
any rate repulse him. After he had come to this
decision he felt better. He determined to lose no
time in calling upon Mr. Carter.
After supper he brushed his hair carefully, and
made himself look as well as circumstances would
admit. Then he bent his steps toward Twelfth
Street, where, as the reader will remember, Mr.
Carter lived with his niece.
He ascended the steps and rang the bell. It was
opened by Hannah, who recognized him, having admitted
him on the former occasion of his calling.
"Good-evening," said Phil pleasantly. "Is Mr.
Carter at home?"
"No, sir," answered Hannah. "Didn't you know
he had gone to Florida?"
"Gone to Florida!" repeated Phil, his heart
sinking. "When did he start?"
"He started this afternoon."
"Who's asking after Uncle Oliver?" asked a boy's
Looking behind Hannah, Phil recognized the
speaker as Alonzo Pitkin.
"THEY MET BY CHANCE."
Who was asking after Uncle Oliver?" demanded
"I was," answered Philip.
"Oh! it's you, is it?" said Alonzo, rather
"Yes," answered Phil calmly, though he felt
provoked at Alonzo's tone, which was meant to be
offensive. "You remember me, don't you?"
"You are the boy that got round Uncle Oliver,
and got him to give you a place in pa's store."
"I deny that I got round him," returned Phil
warmly. "I had the good luck to do him a favor."
"I suppose you have come after money?" said
"I sha'n't ask you for any, at any rate," said Phil
"No; it wouldn't do any good," said Alonzo;
"and it's no use asking ma, either. She says you are
an adventurer, and have designs on Uncle Oliver because
he is rich."
"I shall not ask your mother for any favor," said
Phil, provoked. "I am sorry not to meet your uncle."
"I dare say!" sneered Alonzo.
Just then a woman, poorly but neatly dressed,
came down stairs. Her face was troubled. Just
behind her came Mrs. Pitkin, whose face wore a
chilly and proud look.
"Mr. Carter has left the city, and I really don't
know when he will return," Phil heard her say. "If
he had been at home, it would not have benefited
you. He is violently prejudiced against you, and
would not have listened to a word you had to say."
"I did not think he would have harbored resentment
so long," murmured the poor woman. "He
never seemed to me to be a hard man."
Phil gazed at the poorly dressed woman with a
surprise which he did not attempt to conceal, for in
her he recognized the familiar figure of his landlady.
What could she have to do in this house? he asked
"Mrs. Forbush!" he exclaimed.
"Philip!" exclaimed Mrs. Forbush, in a surprise as
great as his own, for she had never asked where her
young lodger worked, and was not aware that he
was in the employ of her cousin's husband and well
acquainted with the rich uncle whom she had not
seen for years.
"Do you know each other?" demanded Mrs. Pitkin,
whose turn it was to be surprised.
"This young gentleman lodges in my house,"
answered Mrs. Forbush.
"Young gentleman!" repeated Alonzo, with a
Philip looked at him sternly. He had his share
of human nature, and it would have given him satisfaction
to thrash the insolent young patrician, as
Alonzo chose to consider himself.
"And what do you want here, young man?" asked
Mrs. Pitkin in a frosty tone, addressing Phil of
"I wished to see Mr. Carter," answered Phil.
"Really, Mr. Carter seems to be very much in
request!" sneered Mrs. Pitkin. "No doubt he will be
very much disappointed when he hears what he has
lost. You will have to go to Florida to see him, I
think, however." She added, after a pause: "It
will not be well for either of you to call again. Mr.
Carter will understand the motive of your calls."
"How cruel you are, Lavinia!" said Mrs. Forbush
"My name is Mrs. Pitkin!" said that lady frigidly.
"You have not forgotten that we are cousins,
"I do not care to remember it, Mrs. Forbush.
There was no alternative but for Mrs. Forbush to
say "good-day" also, and to descend the steps.
Philip joined her in the street.
"Are you really the cousin of Mrs. Pitkin?" he
"Yes," answered Mrs. Forbush. "I bear the same
relationship to Mr. Carter that she does. We were
much together as girls, and were both educated at
the same expensive schools. I offended my relatives
by marrying Mr. Forbush, whose fault was
that he was poor, and chiefly, I think, through the
efforts of Lavinia Pitkin I was cast out by the family.
But where did you meet Uncle Oliver?"
Philip explained the circumstances already known
to the reader.
"Mr. Carter seems to me to be a kind-hearted
man," he said. "I don't believe he would have cast
you off if he had not been influenced by other
"So I think," said Mrs. Forbush. "I will tell
you," she continued, after a pause, "what drew me
here this afternoon. I am struggling hard to keep
my head above water, Mr. Brent, but I find it hard
to meet my expenses. I cannot meet my rent due
to-morrow within fifteen dollars, and I dared to
hope that if I could meet Uncle Oliver face to face
and explain matters to him, he would let me have
"I am sure he would," said Phil warmly.
"But he is in Florida, and will probably remain
there for a month or two at least," said Mrs. Forbush,
sighing. But even if he were in the city I
suppose Lavinia would do all in her power to keep
"I have no doubt she would, Mrs. Forbush.
Though she is your cousin, I dislike her very
"I suppose the boy with whom you were talking
was her son Alonzo?"
"Yes; he is about the most disagreeable boy I
ever met. Both he and his mother seem very much
opposed to my having an interview with your
"Lavinia was always of a jealous and suspicious
disposition," said Mrs. Forbush. "I have not seen
Alonzo since he was a baby. He is two years older
than my Julia. He was born before I estranged my
relatives by marrying a poor man."
"What are you going to do, Mrs. Forbush, about
the rent?" asked Phil, in a tone of sympathy.
"I don't know. I shall try to get the landlord to
wait, but I don't know how he will feel about it."
"I wish I had plenty of money. I would gladly
lend you all you need."
"I am sure you would, Philip," said Mrs. Forbush.
"The offer does me good, though it is not
accompanied by the ability to do what your good
heart dictates. I feel that I am not without
"I am a very poor one," said Phil. "The fact is,
I am in trouble myself. My income is only five
dollars a week, and my expenses are beyond that.
I don't know how I am going to keep up."
"You may stay with me for three dollars a week,
if you cannot pay four," said Mrs. Forbush, forgetting
her own troubles in her sympathy with our
"No, Mrs. Forbush, you can't afford it. You need
money as much as I do, and perhaps more; for you
have more than yourself to support."
"Yes, poor Julia!" sighed the mother. "She is
born to a heritage of poverty. Heaven only knows
how we are going to get along."
"God will provide for us, Mrs. Forbush," said
Philip. "I don't know how it is, but in spite of my
troubles I feel cheerful. I have a confidence that
things will come out well, though I cannot possibly
"You are young, and youth is more inclined to be
hopeful than maturer years. However, I do not
wish to dampen your cheerfulness. Keep it, and let
it comfort you."
If Phil could have heard the conversation that
took place between Mrs. Pitkin and Alonzo after
their departure, he might have felt less hopeful.
"It is dreadfully annoying that that woman
should turn up after all these years!" said Mrs. Pitkin,
in a tone of disgust.
"Is she really your cousin, ma?" asked Alonzo.
"Yes, but she disgraced herself by a low marriage,
and was cast off."
"That disposes of her, then?"
"I don't know. If she could meet Uncle Oliver, I
am afraid she would worm herself into his confidence
and get him to do something for her. Then
it is unfortunate that she and that boy have fallen
in with each other. She may get him to speak to
Uncle Oliver in her behalf."
"Isn't he working for pa?"
"Why don't you get pa to discharge him while
Uncle Oliver is away?"
"Well thought of, Alonzo! I will speak to your
father this very evening."
PHIL IS "BOUNCED."
Saturday, as is usual in such establishments,
was pay-day at the store of Phil's employers.
The week's wages were put up in small envelopes
and handed to the various clerks.
When Phil went up to the cashier to get his
money he put it quietly into his vest-pocket.
Daniel Dickson, the cashier, observing this, said:
"Brent, you had better open your envelope."
Rather surprised, Phil nevertheless did as requested.
In the envelope, besides the five-dollar bill
representing his week's salary, he found a small slip of
paper, on which was written these ominous words:
"Your services will not be required after this week."
Appended to this notice was the name of the firm.
Phil turned pale, for to him, embarrassed as he
was, the loss of his place was a very serious matter.
"What does this mean, Mr. Dickson?" he asked
"I can't inform you," answered the cashier,
smiling unpleasantly, for he was a selfish man who
sympathized with no one, and cared for no one as
long as he himself remained prosperous.
"Who handed you this paper?" asked Phil.
Mr. Pitkin was still in his little office, and Phil
made his way directly to him.
"May I speak to you, sir?" asked our hero.
"Be quick about it then, for I am in a hurry,"
answered Pitkin, in a very forbidding tone.
"Why am I discharged, sir?"
"I can't go into details. We don't need you any
"Are you not satisfied with me?"
"No!" said Pitkin brusquely.
"In what respect have I failed to satisfy you,
"Don't put on any airs, boy!" returned Pitkin.
"We don't want you, that's all."
"You might have given me a little notice," said
"We made no stipulation of that kind, I believe."
"It would only be fair, sir."
"No impertinence, young man! I won't stand it!
I don't need any instructions as to the manner of
conducting my business."
Phil by this time perceived that his discharge was
decided upon without any reference to the way in
which he had performed his duties, and that any
discussion or remonstrance would be unavailing.
"I see, sir, that you have no regard for justice,
and will leave you," he said.
"You'd better, and without delay!" said Pitkin
Phil emerged upon the street with a sinking heart.
His available funds consisted only of the money he
had just received and seventy-five cents in change,
and what he was to do he did not know. He walked
home with slow steps, looking sad in spite of his
usually hopeful temperament.
When he entered the house he met Mrs. Forbush
in the hall. She at once noticed his gravity.
"Have you had any bad luck, Philip?" she asked.
"Yes," answered Phil. "I have lost my situation."
"Indeed!" returned the landlady, with quick
sympathy. "Have you had any difficulty with your
"Not that I am aware of."
"Did he assign any reason for your discharge?"
"No; I asked him for an explanation, but he
merely said I was not wanted any longer."
"Isn't there any chance of his taking you back?"
"I am sure there is not."
"Don't be discouraged, Philip. A smart boy like
you won't be long out of a place. Meanwhile you
are welcome to stay here as long as I have a roof to
"Thank you, Mrs. Forbush," said Phil warmly.
"you are a true friend. You are in trouble yourself,
yet you stand by me!"
"I have had a stroke of good luck to-day," said
Mrs. Forbush cheerfully. "A former boarder, whom
I allowed to remain here for five or six weeks when
he was out of employment, has sent me thirty dollars
in payment of his bill, from Boston, where he
found a position. So I shall be able to pay my rent
and have something over. I have been lucky, and
so may you."
Phil was cheered by the ready sympathy of his
landlady, and began to take a more cheerful view of
"I will go out bright and early on Monday and
see if I can't find another place," he said. "Perhaps
it may be all for the best."
Yet on the day succeeding he had some sober
hours. How differently he had been situated only
three months before. Then he had a home and
relatives. Now he was practically alone in the
world, with no home in which he could claim a
share, and he did not even know where his step-
mother and Jonas were. Sunday forenoon he attended
church, and while he sat within its sacred
precincts his mind was tranquilized, and his faith
and cheerfulness increased.
On Monday he bought the Herald, and made a
tour of inquiry wherever he saw that a boy was
wanted. But in each place he was asked if he could
produce a recommendation from his last employer.
He decided to go back to his old place and ask for
one, though he was very reluctant to ask a favor of
any kind from a man who had treated him so shabbily
as Mr. Pitkin. It seemed necessary, however,
and he crushed down his pride and made his way to
Mr. Pitkin's private office.
"Mr. Pitkin!" he said.
"You here!" exclaimed Pitkin, scowling. "You
needn't ask to be taken back. It's no use."
"I don't ask it," answered Phil.
"Then what are you here for?"
"I would like a letter of recommendation, that I
may obtain another place."
"Well, well!" said Pitkin, wagging his head. "If
that isn't impudence."
"What is impudence?" asked Phil. "I did as
well as I could, and that I am ready to do for another
employer. But all ask me for a letter from
"You won't get any!" said Pitkin abruptly.
"Where is your home?"
"I have none except in this city."
"Where did you come from?"
"From the country."
"Then I advise you to go back there. You may
do for the country. You are out of place in the
Poor Phil! Things did indeed look dark for him.
Without a letter of recommendation from Mr. Pitkin
it would be almost impossible for him to secure
another place, and how could he maintain himself
in the city? He didn't wish to sell papers or black
boots, and those were about the only paths now
open to him.
"I am having a rough time!" he thought, "but I
will try not to get discouraged."
He turned upon his heel and walked out of the
As he passed the counter where Wilbur was standing,
the young man said:
"I am awfully sorry, Philip. It's a shame! If I
wasn't broke I'd offer to lend you a fiver."
"Thank you all the same for your kind offer, Wilbur,"
"Come round and see me."
"So I will--soon."
He left the store and wandered aimlessly about
Four days later, sick with hope deferred, he made
his way down to the wharf of the Charleston and
Savannah boats, with a vague idea that he might get
a job of carrying baggage, for he felt that he
must not let his pride interfere with doing anything
by which he could earn an honest penny.
It so happened that the Charleston boat was just
in, and the passengers were just landing.
Phil stood on the pier and gazed listlessly at them
as they disembarked.
All at once he started in surprise, and his heart
There, just descending the gang-plank, was his
tried friend, Mr. Oliver Carter, whom he supposed
over a thousand miles away in Florida.
"Mr. Carter!" exclaimed Phil, dashing forward.
"Philip!" exclaimed the old gentleman, much
surprised. "How came you here? Did Mr. Pitkin
It would be hard to tell which of the two was
the more surprised at the meeting, Philip or Mr.
"I don't understand how Mr. Pitkin came to hear
of my return. I didn't telegraph," said the old
"I don't think he knows anything about it," said
"Didn't he send you to the pier?"
"Then how is it that you are not in the store at
this time?" asked Mr. Carter, puzzled.
"Because I am no longer in Mr. Pitkin's employ.
I was discharged last Saturday."
"Discharged! What for?"
"Mr. Pitkin gave no reason. He said my services
were no longer required. He spoke roughly to me,
and has since declined to give me a recommendation,
though I told him that without it I should be
unable to secure employment elsewhere."
Mr. Carter frowned. He was evidently annoyed
"This must be inquired into," he said. "Philip,
call a carriage, and I will at once go to the Astor
House and take a room. I had intended to go at
once to Mr. Pitkin's, but I shall not do so until I
have had an explanation of this outrageous piece of
Phil was rejoiced to hear this, for he was at the
end of his resources, and the outlook for him was
decidedly gloomy. He had about made up his mind
to sink his pride and go into business as a newsboy
the next day, but the very unexpected arrival of Mr.
Carter put quite a new face on matters.
He called a carriage, and both he and Mr. Carter
"How do you happen to be back so soon, sir?"
asked Phil, when they were seated. "I thought you
were going to Florida for a couple of months."
"I started with that intention, but on reaching
Charleston I changed my mind. I expected to find
some friends at St. Augustine, but I learned that
they were already returning to the North, and I felt
that I should be lonely and decided to return. I
am very glad I did, now. Did you receive my
"Your letter?" queried Philip, looking at Mr.
Carter in surprise.
"Certainly. I gave Alonzo a letter for you, which
I had directed to your boarding-house, and requested
him to mail it. It contained a ten-dollar bill."
"I never received any such letter, sir. It would
have been of great service to me--the money, I
mean; for I have found it hard to live on five dollars
a week. Now I have not even that."
"Is it possible that Alonzo could have suppressed
the letter?" said Mr. Carter to himself.
"At any rate I never received it."
"Here is something else to inquire into," said Mr.
Carter. "If Alonzo has tampered with my letter,
perhaps appropriated the money, it will be the worse
"I hardly think he would do that, sir; though I
don't like him."
"You are generous; but I know the boy better
than you do. He is fond of money, not for the sake
of spending it, but for the sake of hoarding it. Tell
me, then, how did you learn that I had gone to
"I learned it at the house in Twelfth Street."
"Then you called there?"
"Yes, sir; I called to see you. I found it hard to
get along on my salary, and I did not want Mrs.
Forbush to lose by me, so I----"
"Mrs. Forbush?" repeated the old gentleman
quickly. "That name sounds familiar to me."
"Mrs. Forbush is your niece," said Phil, a hope
rising in his heart that he might be able to do his
kind landlady a good turn.
"Did she tell you that?"
"No, sir; that is, I was ignorant of it until I met
her just as I was going away from Mrs. Pitkin's."
"Did she call there, too--to see me?" asked the
"Yes, sir; but she got a very cold reception. Mrs.
Pitkin was very rude to her, and said that you were
so much prejudiced against her that she had better
not call again."
"That's like her cold selfishness. I understand
her motives very well. I had no idea that Mrs. Forbush
was in the city. Is she--poor?"
"Yes, sir; she is having a hard struggle to
maintain herself and her daughter."
"And you board at her house?"
"How strangely things come about! She is as
nearly related to me as Lavinia--Mrs. Pitkin."
"She told me so."
"She married against the wishes of her family,
but I can see now that we were all unreasonably
prejudiced against her. Lavinia, however, trumped
up stories against her husband, which I am now led
to believe were quite destitute of foundation, and
did all she could to keep alive the feud. I feel now
that I was very foolish to lend myself to her selfish
ends. Of course her object was to get my whole
fortune for herself and her boy."
Phil had no doubt of this, but he did not like to
say so, for it would seem that he, too, was influenced
by selfish motives.
"Then you are not so much prejudiced against
Mrs. Forbush as she was told?" he allowed himself
"No, no!" said Mr. Carter earnestly. "Poor
Rebecca! She has a much better nature and disposition
than Mrs. Pitkin. And you say she is poor?"
"She had great difficulty in paying her last
month's rent," said Philip.
"Where does she live?"
Phil told him.
"What sort of a house is it?"
"It isn't a brown-stone front," answered Phil,
smiling. "It is a poor, cheap house; but it is as
good as she can afford to hire."
"And you like her?"
"Very much, Mr. Carter. She has been very
kind to me, and though she finds it so hard to get
along, she has told me she will keep me as long as
she has a roof over her head, though just now I cannot
pay my board, because my income is gone."
"It will come back again, Philip," said the old
Phil understood by this that he would be restored
to his place in Mr. Pitkin's establishment. This did
not yield him unalloyed satisfaction, for he was sure
that it would be made unpleasant for him by Mr.
Pitkin. Still he would accept it, and meet disagreeable
things as well as he could.
By this time they had reached the Astor House.
Phil jumped out first, and assisted Mr. Carter to
He took Mr. Carter's hand-bag, and followed him
into the hotel.
Mr. Carter entered his name in the register.
"What is your name?" he asked--"Philip
"I will enter your name, too."
"Am I to stay here?" asked Phil, in surprise.
"Yes; I shall need a confidential clerk, and for
the present you will fill that position. I will take
two adjoining rooms--one for you."
Phil listened in surprise.
"Thank you, sir," he said.
Mr. Carter gave orders to have his trunk sent for
from the steamer, and took possession of the room.
Philip's room was smaller, but considerably more
luxurious than the one he occupied at the house of
"Have you any money, Philip?" asked the old
"I have twenty-five cents," answered Philip.
"That isn't a very large sum," said Mr. Carter,
smiling. "Here, let me replenish your pocketbook."
He drew four five-dollar bills from his wallet and
handed them to Phil.
"How can I thank you, sir?" asked Phil gratefully.
"Wait till you have more to thank me for. Let
me tell you this, that in trying to harm you, Mr.
and Mrs. Pitkin have done you a great service."
"I should like to see Mrs. Forbush this evening,
if you can spare me, to let her know that she
needn't be anxious about me."
"By all means. You can go."
"Am I at liberty to mention that I have seen you,
"Yes. Tell her that I will call to-morrow. And
you may take her this."
Mr. Carter drew a hundred-dollar bill from his
wallet and passed it to Phil.
"Get it changed at the office as you go out," he
said. "Come back as soon as you can."
With a joyful heart Phil jumped on a Fourth
Avenue car in front of the hotel, and started on his
way up town.
RAISING THE RENT.
Leaving Phil, we will precede him to the
house of Mrs. Forbush.
She had managed to pay the rent due, but she was
not out of trouble. The time had come when it was
necessary to decide whether she would retain the
house for the following year. In New York, as
many of my young readers may know, the first of
May is moving-day, and leases generally begin at
that date. Engagements are made generally by or
before March 1st.
Mr. Stone, the landlord, called upon the widow to
ascertain whether she proposed to remain in the
"I suppose I may as well do so," said Mrs. Forbush.
She had had difficulty in making her monthly
payments, but to move would involve expense, and
it might be some time before she could secure
boarders in a new location.
"You can't do better," said the landlord. "At
fifty dollars a month this is a very cheap house."
"You mean forty-five? Mr. Stone?" said Mrs. Forbush.
"No, I don't," said the landlord.
"But that is what I have been paying this last
"That is true, but I ought to get fifty dollars, and
if you won't pay it somebody else will."
"Mr. Stone," said the widow, in a troubled voice,
"I hope you will be considerate. It has been as
much as I could do to get together forty-five dollars
each month to pay you. Indeed, I can pay no
"Pardon me for saying that that is no affair of
mine," said the landlord brusquely. "If you can't
pay the rent, by all means move into a smaller
house. If you stay here you must be prepared to
pay fifty dollars a month."
"I don't see how I can," answered the widow in
"I'll give you three days to consider it," said the
landlord indifferently. "You'll make a mistake if
you give the house up. However, that is your
The landlord left the house, and Mrs. Forbush sat
"Julia," she said to her daughter, "I wish you
were old enough to advise me. I dislike to move,
but I don't dare to engage to pay such a rent. Fifty
dollars a month will amount to----"
"Six hundred dollars a year!" said Julia, who was
good at figures.
"And that seems a great sum to us."
"It would be little enough to Mrs. Pitkin," said
Julia, who felt that lady's prosperity unjust, while
her poor, patient mother had to struggle so hard for
a scanty livelihood.
"Oh, yes; Lavinia is rolling in wealth," sighed
Mrs. Forbush. "I can't understand how Uncle
Oliver can bestow his favors on so selfish a woman."
"Why don't you ask Philip's advice about keeping
the house?" said Julia.
It must be explained that Philip and Julia were
already excellent friends, and it may be said that
each was mutually attracted by the other.
"Poor Philip has his own troubles," said Mrs.
Forbush. "He has lost his place through the malice
and jealousy of Mr. and Mrs. Pitkin, for I am sure
that Lavinia is the cause of his dismissal, and I don't
know when he will be able to get another."
"You won't send him away, mother, if he can't
pay his board?"
"No," answered her mother warmly. "Philip is
welcome to stay with us as long as we have a roof
over our heads, whether he can pay his board or
This answer seemed very satisfactory to Julia,
who rose impulsively and kissed her mother.
"That's a good mother," she said. "It would be
a pity to send poor Philip into the street."
"You seem to like Philip," said Mrs. Forbush,
"Yes, mother. You know I haven't any brother,
and Phil seems just like a brother to me."
Just then the door opened, and Philip himself
entered the room.
Generally he came home looking depressed, after
a long and ineffectual search for employment. Now
he was fairly radiant with joy.
"Phil, you've got a place; I know you have!"
exclaimed Julia, noticing his glad expression. "Where
is it? Is it a good one?"
"Have you really got a place, Philip?" asked Mrs.
"Yes, for the present."
"Do you think you shall like your employer?"
"He is certainly treating me very well," said
Phil, smiling. "He has paid me twenty dollars in
"Then the age of wonders has not passed," said
the widow. "Of course I believe you, Philip, but it
"There is something more extraordinary to come,"
said Phil. "He has sent you some money, too."
"Me!" exclaimed Mrs. Forbush, in great surprise.
"What can he know about me?"
"I told him about you."
"But we are strangers."
"He used to know you, and still feels an interest
in you, Mrs. Forbush."
"Who can it be?" said the widow, looking bewildered.
"I don't want to keep you in suspense any longer,
so I may as well say that it is your Uncle Oliver."
"Uncle Oliver! Why, he is in Florida."
"No; he came home from Charleston. I happened
to be at the pier--I went down to see if I could get
a job at smashing baggage--when I saw him walking
down the gang-plank."
"Has he gone to his old quarters at Mr. Pitkin's?"
"No; what I told about the way they treated you
and me made him angry, and he drove to the Astor
House. I have a room there, too, and am to act as
his private secretary."
"So that is your new situation, Phil?" said Julia.
"Yes, and it is a good one."
"And he really feels kindly to me?" said Mrs.
"He sends you this and will call to-morrow," said
Phil. "Actions speak louder than words. There
are a hundred dollars in this roll of bills."
"He sent all this to me?" she said.
"Yes, and of his own accord. It was no suggestion
"Julia," said Mrs. Forbush, turning to her daughter,
"I believe God has heard my prayer, and that
better days are in store for all of us."
"Philip included," added Phil, smiling.
"Yes. I want you to share in our good fortune."
"Mother, you had better consult Phil about keeping
Mrs. Forbush thereupon told Philip of the landlord's
visit and his proposal to ask a higher rent.
"I hesitated about taking the house," she said;
"but with this handsome gift from Uncle Oliver, I
don't know but I may venture. What do you
"I think, Mrs. Forbush, you had better not decide
till you have seen your uncle. He may have some
plan of his own for you. At any rate, you had better
consult him. He will call to-morrow. And now,
let me pay you for my week's board."
"No, Philip. I shall not want it with all this
money, which I should not have received but for
"A debt is a debt, Mrs. Forbush, and I prefer to
pay it. I shall not be here to supper, as Mr.
Carter is expecting me back to the Astor House. I
shall probably come with him when he calls upon
On his return to the hotel, as he was walking on
Broadway, Phil came face to face with Alonzo Pitkin.
"I think I'll ask him about that letter his uncle
gave him to post to me," thought Phil, and he waited
until Alonzo was close at hand.
ALONZO IS PUZZLED.
Alonzo, who had his share of curiosity, as soon
as he saw Phil's approach, determined to speak
to him, and ascertain what were his plans and what
he was doing. With the petty malice which he
inherited from his mother, he hoped that Phil had
been unable to find a place and was in distress.
"It would serve him right," said Alonzo to
himself, "for trying to get into Uncle Oliver's good
graces. "I s'pose he would like to cut me out, but
he'll find that he can't fight against ma and me."
"Oh, it's you, is it?" was Alonzo's salutation when
"Yes," answered Phil.
"Pa bounced you, didn't he?" continued Alonzo
"Yes," answered Phil. "That is, he discharged
me. I suppose that is what you meant."
"You've got it right the first time," said Alonzo.
"Have you got another place?"
"Do you ask because you feel interested in me?"
"Well, not particularly," answered Alonzo
appearing quite amused by the suggestion.
"Then you ask out of curiosity?"
"S'pose I do?"
"I don't mind telling you that I have found a
"What sort of a place?" asked Alonzo, disappointed.
"There is no need of going into particulars."
"No. I s'pose not," sneered Alonzo. "You're
probably selling papers or blacking boots."
"You are mistaken. I have a much better situation
than I had with your father."
Alonzo's lower jaw fell. He was very sorry to
"Didn't your employer ask for a recommendation?"
"He didn't seem to think one necessary!" replied Phil.
"If he'd known pa had sacked you, he wouldn't
have wanted you, I guess."
"He knows it. Have you got through asking
"You are too familiar. You can call me Mr. Pitkin."
Phil laughed at Alonzo's assumption of dignity,
but made no comment upon it.
"I want to ask you what you did with that letter
Mr. Carter gave you to post for me?" asked Phil.
Alonzo was indeed surprised, not to say dismayed.
The truth was that, judging from the "feel" of the
letter, it contained money, and he had opened it
and appropriated the money to his own use. Moreover
he had the bank-note in his pocket at that very
moment, not having any wish to spend, but rather
to hoard it.
"That's a queer question," he stammered. "What
letter do you refer to?"