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The Errand Boy by Horatio Alger

Part 4 out of 6

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"A letter Mr. Carter gave you to mail to me."

"If he gave me any such letter I mailed it,"
answered Alonzo, scarcely knowing what to say.

"I didn't receive it."

"How do you know he gave me any letter?"
demanded Alonzo, puzzled.

"I don't care to tell. I only know that there was
such a letter handed to you. Do you know what
was in it?"

"Writing, I s'pose," said Alonzo flippantly.

"Yes, there was, but there was also a ten-dollar
bill. I didn't receive the letter," and Phil fixed his
eyes searchingly upon the face of Alonzo.

"That's a pretty story!" said Alonzo. "I don't
believe Uncle Oliver would be such a fool as to send
you ten dollars. If he did, you got it, and now
want to get as much more, pretending you haven't
received it."

"You are mistaken," said Phil quietly.

"If you didn't get the letter, how do you know
any was written, and that there was anything in it?"
asked Alonzo triumphantly, feeling that the question
was a crusher.

"I don't care to tell you how I know it. Do you
deny it?"

"I don't remember whether Uncle Oliver gave me
any letter or not."

"Will you be kind enough to give me his address
in Florida, so that I may write to him and find out?"

"No, I won't," said Alonzo angrily, "and I think
you are very cheeky to ask such a thing. Ma was
right when she said that you were the most impudent
boy she ever came across."

"That's enough, Alonzo," said Phil quietly. "I've
found out all I wanted to."

"What have you found out?" asked Alonzo, his
tone betraying some apprehension.

"Never mind. I think I know what became of
that letter."

"Do you mean to say I opened it and took out
the money?" demanded Alonzo, reddening.

"I wouldn't charge anybody with such a mean
act, unless I felt satisfied of it."

"You'd better not!" said Alonzo, in a bullying
tone. "If I find out who you're working for, I'll let
him know that pa bounced you."

"Just as you please! I don't think that any
words of yours will injure me with the gentleman I
have the good fortune to work for."

"Don't you be too sure! If you think he wouldn't
mind a boy, I'll refer him to pa and ma. They'll
give you a good setting out."

"I don't doubt it," said Phil indifferently, and
turned to go away.

He was called back by Alonzo, who had not quite
satisfied his curiosity.

"Say, are you boarding with that woman who
came to see ma the same day you were at the house?"
he asked.

"No; I have left her."

Alonzo looked well pleased. He knew that his
mother felt rather uneasy at the two being together,
dreading lest they should make a concerted attempt
to ingratiate themselves with her rich uncle.

"Ma says she behaved very badly," Alonzo could
not help adding.

"Mrs. Forbush is an excellent Lady," said Phil
warmly, for he could not hear one of his friends
spoken against.

"Lady! She's as poor as poverty," sneered

"She is none the worse for that."

"Uncle Oliver can't bear her!"

"Indeed!" said Phil; pausing to see what else
Alonzo would say.

"Ma says she disgraced herself, and all her
relations gave her up. When you see her tell her she
had better not come sneaking round the house

"If you will write a letter to that effect, I will see
that she gets it," said Phil. "That letter won't miscarry."

"I don't care to take any notice of her," said
Alonzo loftily.

"You are very kind to have wasted so much notice
upon me," said Phil, amused.

Alonzo did not see fit to answer this, but walked
away with his head in the air. He was, however,
not quite easy in mind.

"How in the world," he asked himself, "could
that boy have found out that Uncle Oliver gave me
a letter to post? If he should learn that I opened
it and took the money, there'd be a big fuss. I guess
I'd better not meet him again. If I see him any
day I'll go in a different direction. He's so artful
he may get me into trouble."

It is needless to say that neither Mr. or Mrs.
Pitkin knew of Alonzo's tampering with the letter.
Much as they would have been opposed to Phil's
receiving such a letter, they would have been too wise
to sanction such a bold step.

"Well," said Mr. Carter, when Phil returned, "did
you see Rebecca--Mrs. Forbush?"

"Yes, sir, and handed her the money. She was
overjoyed; not so much at receiving so generous a
sum as at learning that you were reconciled to her."

"Poor girl!" said the old man, forgetting that she
was now a worn woman. "I am afraid that she
must have suffered much."

"She has met with many hardships, sir, but she
won't mind them now."

"If I live her future shall be brighter than her
past. I will call to-morrow. You, Philip, shall go
with me."

"I should like to do so, sir. By the way, I met
Alonzo on Broadway."

He detailed the conversation that had taken place
between them.

"I am afraid he took the money," said Mr. Carter.
"I am sorry any relative of mine should have acted
in that way. Let him keep it. Any benefit he may
derive from it will prove to have been dearly purchased."



"You may order a carriage, Philip," said Mr.
Carter the next morning. "Pick out a handsome
one with seats for four."

"Yes, sir."

In five minutes the carriage was at the door.

"Now, Philip, we will go to see my long-neglected
niece, Mrs. Forbush. Give the driver the necessary

"Mrs. Forbush does not have many carriage-callers,"
said Philip, smiling.

"Perhaps she will have more hereafter," said Mr.
Carter, "I ought not so long to have lost sight of
her. I always liked Rebecca better than Lavinia,
yet I let the latter prejudice me against her cousin,
who is in disposition, education and sincerity her
superior. You see, Philip, there are old fools in the
world as well as young ones."

"It is never too late to mend, Mr. Carter," said
Phil, smiling.

"That's very true, even if it is a young philosopher
who says it."

"I don't claim any originality for it, Mr. Carter."

"By the way, Philip, I have noticed that you always
express yourself very correctly. Your education
must be good."

"Yes, sir, thanks to my father, or the man whom
I always regarded as my father. I am a fair Latin
scholar, and know something of Greek."

"Were you preparing for college?" asked Mr.
Carter, with interest.

"Yes, sir."

"Would you like to go?"

"I should have gone had father lived, but my
step-mother said it was foolishness and would be
money thrown away."

"Perhaps she preferred to incur that expense for
her own son?" suggested the old gentleman.

"Jonas wouldn't consent to that. He detests
study, and would decidedly object to going to college."

"By the way, you haven't heard from them

"Only that they have left our old home and gone
no one knows where."

"That is strange."

By this time they had reached the humble dwelling
occupied by Mrs. Forbush.

"And so this is where Rebecca lives?" said Mr.

"Yes, sir. It is not quite so nice as Mrs. Pitkin's."

"No," returned Mr. Carter thoughtfully.

Philip rang the bell, and the two were admitted
into the humble parlor. They had not long to wait
for Mrs. Forbush, who, with an agitation which she
could not overcome, entered the presence of her long
estranged and wealthy uncle.

"Rebecca!" exclaimed the old gentleman, rising,
and showing some emotion as he saw the changes
which fifteen years had made in the niece whom he
had last met as a girl.

"Uncle Oliver! how kind you are to visit me!"
cried Mrs. Forbush, the tears starting from her

"Kind! Nonsense! I have been very unkind to
neglect you so long. But it wasn't all my fault.
There were others who did all they could to keep us
apart. You have lost your husband?"

"Yes, uncle. He was poor, but he was one of the
kindest and best of men, and made me happy."

"I begin to think I have been an old fool,
Rebecca. Philip thinks so, too."

"Oh, Mr. Carter!" exclaimed our hero.

"Yes, you do, Philip," asserted Mr. Carter, "and
you are quite right. However, as you told me, it is
never too late to mend."

"Mrs. Forbush will think I take strange liberties
with you, sir."

"I don't object to good advice, even from a boy.
But who is this?"

Julia had just entered the room. She was a
bright, attractive girl, but held back bashfully until
her mother said:

"Julia, this is Uncle Oliver Carter. You have
heard me speak of him."

"Yes, mamma."

"And scold about him, I dare say. Well, Julia,
come and give your old uncle a kiss."

Julia blushed, but obeyed her uncle's request.

"I should know she was your child, Rebecca.
She looks as you did at her age. Now tell me, have
you any engagement this morning, you two?"

"No, Uncle Oliver."

"Then I will find one for you. I have a carriage
at the door. You will please put on your bonnets.
We are going shopping."


"Yes, I am going to fit out both of you in a
manner more befitting relatives of mine. The fact is,
Niece Rebecca, you are actually shabby."

"I know it, uncle, but there has been so many
ways of spending money that I have had to neglect
my dress.

"Very likely. I understand. Things are
different now. Now, don't be over an hour getting

"We are not fashionable, uncle," said Mrs.
Forbush, "and we haven't any change to make."

They entered the carriage, and drove to a large
and fashionable store, where everything necessary
to a lady's toilet, including dresses quite complete,
could be obtained. Mrs. Forbush was in favor of
selecting very plain articles, but her uncle overruled
her, and pointed out costumes much more

"But, uncle," objected Mrs. Forbush, "these
things won't at all correspond with our plain home
and mode of living. Think of a boarding-house
keeper arrayed like a fine lady."

"You are going to give up taking boarders--that
is, you will have none but Philip and myself."

"Will you really live with us, uncle? But the
house is too poor."

"Of course it is, but you are going to move. I
will speak further on this point when you are
through your purchases."

At length the shopping was over, and they re-
entered the carriage.

"Drive to No.-- Madison Avenue," said Mr.
Carter to the driver.

"Uncle Oliver, you have given the wrong direction."

"No, Rebecca, I know what I am about."

"Do you live on Madison Avenue?" asked Mrs.

"I am going to and so are you. You must know
that I own a furnished house on Madison Avenue.
The late occupants sailed for Europe last week, and
I was looking out for a tenant when I found you.
You will move there to-morrow, and act as house
keeper, taking care of Philip and myself. I hope
Julia and you will like it as well as your present

"How can I thank you for all your kindness,
Uncle Oliver?" said Mrs. Forbush, with joyful tears.
"It will be living once more. It will be such a rest
from the hard struggle I have had of late years."

"You can repay me by humoring all my whims,"
said Uncle Oliver, smiling. "You will find me very
tyrannical. The least infraction of my rules will
lead me to send you all packing."

"Am I to be treated in the same way, Mr. Carter?"
asked Philip.


"Then, if you discharge me, I will fly for refuge
to Mr. Pitkin."

"That will be `out of the frying-pan into the fire'
with a vengeance."

By this time they had reached the house. It was
an elegant brown-stone front, and proved, on
entrance, to be furnished in the most complete and
elegant manner. Mr. Carter selected the second
floor for his own use; a good-sized room on the
third was assigned to Philip, and Mrs. Forbush was
told to select such rooms for Julia and herself as she

"This is much finer than Mrs. Pitkin's house,"
said Philip.

"Yes, it is."

"She will be jealous when she hears of it."

"No doubt. That is precisely what I desire. It
will be a fitting punishment for her treatment of
her own cousin."

It was arranged that on the morrow Mrs. Forbush
and Julia should close their small house, leaving
directions to sell the humble furniture at auction,
while Mr. Carter and Philip would come up from
the Astor House.

"What will the Pitkins say when they hear of
it?" thought Philip. "I am afraid they will feel



While these important changes were occurring
in the lives of Philip Brent and the poor
cousin, Mrs. Pitkin remained in blissful ignorance of
what was going on. Alonzo had told her of his
encounter with Phil on Broadway and the intelligence
our hero gave him of his securing a place.

"You may rest assured the boy was lying, Lonny,"
said Mrs. Pitkin. "Boys don't get places so easily,
especially when they can't give a recommendation
from their last employer.

"That's just what I thought, ma," said Alonzo.

"Still Phil looked in good spirits, and he was as
saucy as ever."

"I can believe the last very well, Lonny. The
boy is naturally impertinent. They were probably
put on to deceive you."

"But how does he get money to pay his way?"
said Alonzo puzzled.

"As to that, he is probably selling papers or
blacking boots in the lower part of the city. He
could make enough to live on, and of course he
wouldn't let you know what he was doing."

"I hope you're right, ma. I'd give ever so much
to catch him blacking boots in City Hall Park, or
anywhere else; I'd give him a job. Wouldn't he
feel mortified to be caught?"

"No doubt he would."

"I've a great mind to go down town to-morrow
and look about for him."

"Very well, Lonny. You may to if you want

Alonzo did go; but he looked in vain for Phil.
The latter was employed in doing some writing and
attending to some accounts for Mr. Carter, who had
by this time found that his protege was thoroughly
well qualified for such work.

So nearly a week passed. It so chanced that
though Uncle Oliver had now been in New York a
considerable time, not one of the Pitkins had met
him or had reason to suspect that he was nearer
than Florida.

One day, however, among Mrs. Pitkin's callers
was Mrs. Vangriff, a fashionable acquaintance.

"Mr. Oliver Carter is your uncle, I believe?" said
the visitor.


"I met him on Broadway the other day. He was
looking very well."

"It must have been a fortnight since, then. Uncle
Oliver is in Florida."

"In Florida!" repeated Mrs. Vangriff, in surprise.

"When did he go?"

"When was it, Lonny?" asked Mrs. Pitkin,
appealing to her son.

"It will be two weeks next Thursday."

"There must be some mistake," said the visitor.

"I saw Mr. Carter on Broadway, near Twentieth
Street, day before yesterday."

"Quite a mistake, I assure you, Mrs. Vangriff,"
said Mrs. Pitkin, smiling. "It was some other person.
You were deceived by a fancied resemblance."

"It is you who are wrong, Mrs. Pitkin," said
Mrs. Vangriff, positively. "I am somewhat acquainted
with Mr. Carter, and I stopped to speak
with him."

"Are you sure of this?" asked Mrs. Pitkin, looking

"Certainly, I am sure of it."

"Did you call him by name?"

"Certainly; and even inquired after you. He
answered that he believed you were well. I thought
he was living with you?"

"So he was," answered Mrs. Pitkin coolly as
possible, considering the startling nature of the
information she had received. "Probably Uncle Oliver
returned sooner than he anticipated, and was merely
passing through the city. He has important business
interests at the West."

"I don't think he was merely passing through the
city, for a friend of mine saw him at the Fifth
Avenue Theater last evening."

Mrs. Pitkin actually turned as pale as her sallow
complexion would admit.

"I am rather surprised to hear this, I admit," she
said. "Was he alone, do you know?"

"No; he had a lady and a boy with him."

"Is it possible that Uncle Oliver has been married
to some designing widow?" Mrs. Pitkin asked
herself. "It is positively terrible!"

She did not dare to betray her agitation before
Mrs. Vangriff, and sat on thorns till that lady saw
fit to take leave. Then she turned to Alonzo and
said, in a hollow voice:

"Lonny, you heard what that woman said?"

"You bet!"

"Do you think Uncle Oliver has gone and got
married again?" she asked, in a hollow voice.

"I shouldn't wonder a mite, ma," was the not
consolitary reply.

"If so, what will become of us? My poor boy, I
looked upon you and myself as likely to receive all
of Uncle Oliver's handsome property. As it is----"
and she almost broke down.

"Perhaps he's only engaged?" suggested Alonzo.

"To be sure!" said his mother, brightening up.

"If so, the affair may yet be broken off. Oh, Lonny,
I never thought your uncle was so artful. His trip
to Florida was only a trick to put us off the scent."

"What are you going to do about it, ma?"

"I must find out as soon as possible where Uncle
Oliver is staying. Then I will see him, and try to
cure him of his infatuation. He is evidently trying
to keep us in the dark, or he would have come back
to his rooms."

"How are you going to find out, ma?"

"I don't know. That's what puzzles me."

"S'pose you hire a detective?"

"I wouldn't dare to. Your uncle would be angry
when he found it out."

"Do you s'pose Phil knows anything about it?"
suggested Alonzo.

"I don't know; it is hardly probable. Do you
know where he lives?"

"With the woman who called here and said she
was your cousin."

"Yes, I remember, Lonny. I will order the
carriage, and we will go there. But you must be very
careful not to let them know Uncle Oliver is in New
York. I don't wish them to meet him."

"All right! I ain't a fool. You can trust me, ma."

Soon the Pitkin carriage was as the door, and Mrs.
Pitkin and Alonzo entered it, and were driven to
the shabby house so recently occupied by Mrs. Forbush.

"It's a low place!" said Alonzo contemptuously,
as he regarded disdainfully the small dwelling.

"Yes; but I suppose it is as good as she can afford
to live in. Lonny, will you get out and ring
the bell? Ask if Mrs. Forbush lives there."

Alonzo did as requested.

The door was opened by a small girl, whose
shabby dress was in harmony with the place.

"Rebecca's child, I suppose!" said Mrs. Pitkin,
who was looking out of the carriage window.

"Does Mrs. Forbush live here?" asked Alonzo.

"No, she doesn't. Mrs. Kavanagh lives here."

"Didn't Mrs. Forbush used to live here?" further
asked Alonzo, at the suggestion of his mother.

"I believe she did. She moved out a week ago."

"Do you know where she moved to?"

"No, I don't."

"Does a boy named Philip Brent live here?"

"No, he doesn't."

"Do you know why Mrs. Forbush moved away?"
asked Alonzo again, at the suggestion of his

"Guess she couldn't pay her rent."

"Very likely," said Alonzo, who at last had
received an answer with which he was pleased.

"Well, ma, there isn't any more to find out here,"
he said.

"Tell the driver--home!" said his mother.

When they reached the house in Twelfth Street,
there was a surprise in store for them.

"Who do you think's up-stairs, mum?" said Hannah,
looking important.

"Who? Tell me quick!"

"It's your Uncle Oliver, mum, just got home from
Florida; but I guess he's going somewhere else
mum, for he's packing up his things."

"Alonzo, we will go up and see him," said Mrs.
Pitkin, excited. "I must know what all this



Mr. Carter was taking articles from a bureau
and packing them away in an open trunk,
when Mrs. Pitkin entered with Alonzo. It is
needless to say that his niece regarded his employment
with dismay, for it showed clearly that he proposed
to leave the shelter of her roof.

"Uncle Oliver!" she exclaimed, sinking into a
chair and gazing at the old gentleman spell-bound.

Mr. Carter, whose back had been turned, turned
about and faced his niece.

"Oh, it is you, Lavinia!" he said quietly.

"What are you doing?" asked his niece.

"As you see, I am packing my trunk."

"Do you intend to leave us?" faltered Mrs. Pitkin.

"I think it will be well for me to make a change,"
said Mr. Carter.

"This is, indeed, a sad surprise," said Mrs Pitkin
mournfully. "When did you return from Florida?"

"I have never been there. I changed my mind
when I reached Charleston."

"How long have you been in the city?"

"About a week."

"And never came near us. This is, indeed,
unkind. In what way have we offended you?" and
Mrs. Pitkin put her handkerchief to her eyes.

There were no tears in them, but she was making
an attempt to touch the heart of her uncle.

"Are you aware that Rebecca Forbush is in the
city?" asked the old gentleman abruptly.

"Ye-es," answered Mrs. Pitkin, startled.

"Have you seen her?"

"Ye-es. She came here one day."

"And how did you treat her?" asked Mr. Carter,
severely. "Did you not turn the poor woman from
the house, having no regard for her evident poverty?
Did you not tell her that I was very angry
with her, and would not hear her name mentioned?"

"Ye-es, I may have said so. You know, Uncle
Oliver, you have held no communication with her
for many years."

"That is true--more shame to me!"

"And I thought I was carrying out your wishes
in discouraging her visits."

"You also thought that she might be a dangerous
rival in my favor, and might deprive you and Alonzo
of an expected share in my estate."

"Oh, Uncle Oliver! how can you think so poorly
of me?"

Mr. Carter eyed his niece with a half-smile.

"So I do you injustice, do I, Lavinia?" he returned.

"Yes, great injustice."

"I am glad to hear it. I feel less objection now
to telling you what are my future plans."

"What are they?" asked Mrs. Pitkin apprehensively.

"I have lived for ten years under your roof, and
have had no communication, as you say, with Rebecca.
I think it is only fair now that I should
show her some attention. I have accordingly
installed her as mistress of my house in Madison
Avenue, and shall henceforth make my home with

Mrs. Pitkin felt as if the earth was sinking under
her feet. The hopes and schemes of so many years
had come to naught, and her hated and dreaded
cousin was to be constantly in the society of the rich

"Rebecca has played her cards well," she said bitterly.

"She has not played them at all. She did not
seek me. I sought her."

"How did you know she was in the city?"

"I learned it from--Philip!"

There was fresh dismay.

"So that boy has wormed his way into your
confidence!" said Mrs. Pitkin bitterly. "After acting
so badly that Mr. Pitkin was obliged to discharge
him, he ran to you to do us a mischief."

"Why was he discharged?" demanded Mr. Carter
sternly. "Why did your husband seize the
opportunity to get rid of a boy in whom he knew me to
be interested as soon as he thought I was out of the
way? Why, moreover, did he refuse the boy a reference,
without which Philip could scarcely hope to
get employment?"

"You will have to ask Mr. Pitkin. I am sure he
had good reason for the course he took. He's an
impudent, low upstart in my opinion."

"So he is, ma!" chimed in Alonzo, with heartiness.

"Ah! I have something to say to you, Alonzo,"
said Mr. Carter, turning his keen glances upon the
boy. "What became of that letter I gave to you
to post just before I went away?"

"I put it in the letter-box," said Alonzo nervously.

"Do you know what was in it?"

"No," answered Alonzo, but he looked frightened.

"There were ten dollars in it. That letter never
reached Phil, to whom it was addressed."

"I--don't know anything about it," faltered

"There are ways of finding out whether letters
have been posted," said Mr. Carter. "I might put
a detective on the case."

Alonzo turned pale, and looked much discomposed.

"Of what are you accusing my boy?" asked Mrs.
Pitkin, ready to contend for her favorite. "So that
boy has been telling lies about him, has he? and
you believe scandalous stories about your own flesh
and blood?"

"Not exactly that, Lavinia."

"Well, your near relation, and that on the testimony
of a boy you know nothing about. When
Lonny is so devoted to you, too!"

"I never noticed any special devotion," said Mr.
Carter, amused. "You are mistaken, however,
about Philip trying to injure him. I simply asked
Philip whether he had received such a letter, and he
said no."

"I dare say he did receive it," said Mrs. Pitkin

"We won't argue the matter now," said the old
gentleman. "I will only say that you and Alonzo,
and Mr. Pitkin also, have gone the wrong way to
work to secure my favor. You have done what you
could to injure two persons, one your own cousin,
because you were jealous."

"You judge me very hardly, uncle," said Mrs.
Pitkin, seeing that she must adopt a different course.
"I have no bad feeling against Rebecca, and as to
the boy, I will ask my husband to take him back
into the store. I am sure he will do it, because you
wish it."

"I don't wish it," answered Mr. Carter, rather

"Oh, well," answered Mrs. Pitkin, looking
relieved, "that is as you say."

"I have other views for Philip," said Mr. Carter.
"He is with me as my private secretary."

"Is he living with you?" asked his niece, in alarm.


"There was no need of taking a stranger, Uncle
Oliver. We should be glad to have Alonzo act as
your secretary, though of course we should want
him to stay at home."

"I shall not deprive you of Alonzo," said Mr.
Carter, with a tinge of sarcasm in his tone. "Philip
will suit me better."

Mr. Carter turned and resumed his packing.

"Are you quite determined to leave us?" asked
Mrs. Pitkin, in a subdued tone.

"Yes; it will be better."

"But you will come back--say after a few weeks?"

"No, I think not," he answered dryly.

"And shall we not see you at all?"

"Oh, I shall call from time to time, and besides,
you will know where I am, and can call whenever
you desire."

"People will talk about your leaving us,"
complained Mrs. Pitkin.

"Let them talk. I never agreed to have my
movements controlled by people's gossip. And now,
Lavinia, I shall have to neglect you and resume my
packing. To-morrow I shall bring Philip here to
help me."

"Would you like to have Alonzo help you, Uncle

This offer, much to Alonzo's relief, was declined.
He feared that he should be examined more closely
by the old gentleman about the missing money,
which at that very moment he had in his pocket.

Mrs. Pitkin went down stairs feeling angry and
baffled. All that she had done to retain her ascendency
over Uncle Oliver had failed, and Mrs. Forbush
and Philip seemed to have superseded herself and
Alonzo in his regard. She conferred with Mr. Pitkin
on his return from the store, but the more they
considered the matter the worse it looked for their

Could anything be done?



No more distasteful news could have come to
the Pitkins than to learn that Philip and their
poor cousin had secured a firm place in the good
graces of Uncle Oliver. Yet they did not dare to
show their resentment. They had found that Uncle
Oliver had a will of his own, and meant to exercise
it. Had they been more forbearing he would still
be an inmate of their house instead of going over to
the camp of their enemies, for so they regarded Mrs.
Forbush and Phil.

"I hate that woman, Mr. Pitkin!" said his wife
fiercely. "I scorn such underhanded work. How
she has sneaked into the good graces of poor,
deluded Uncle Oliver!"

"You have played your cards wrong, Lavinia,"
said her husband peevishly.

"I? That is a strange accusation, Mr. Pitkin. It
was you, to my thinking. You sent off that errand
boy, and that is how the whole thing came about. If
he had been in your store he wouldn't have met
Uncle Oliver down at the pier."

"You and Alonzo persuaded me to discharge

"Oh, of course it's Alonzo and me! When you
see Rebecca Forbush and that errand boy making
ducks and drakes out of Uncle Oliver's money you
may wish you had acted more wisely."

"Really, Lavinia, you are a most unreasonable
woman. It's no use criminating and recriminating.
We must do what we can to mend matters."

"What can we do?"

"They haven't got the money yet--remember
that! We must try to re-establish friendly relations
with Mr. Carter."

"Perhaps you'll tell me how?"

"Certainly! Call as soon as possible at the house
on Madison Avenue."

"Call on that woman?"

"Yes; and try to smooth matters over as well as
you can. Take Alonzo with you, and instruct him
to be polite to Philip."

"I don't believe Lonny will be willing to demean
himself so far."

"He'll have to," answered Mr. Pitkin firmly.

"We've all made a mistake, and the sooner we remedy
it the better."

Mrs. Pitkin thought it over. The advice was
unpalatable, but it was evidently sound. Uncle Oliver
was rich, and they must not let his money slip
through their fingers. So, after duly instructing
Alonzo in his part, Mrs. Pitkin, a day or two later,
ordered her carriage and drove in state to the house
of her once poor relative.

"Is Mrs. Forbush at home?" she asked of the servant.

"I believe so, madam," answered a dignified man-servant,

"Take this card to her."

Mrs. Pitkin and Alonzo were ushered into a drawing-
room more elegant than their own. She sat on
a sofa with Alonzo.

"Who would think that Rebecca Forbush would
come to live like this?" she said, half to herself.

"And that boy," supplemented Alonzo.

"To be sure! Your uncle is fairly infatuated."

Just then Mrs. Forbush entered, followed by her
daughter. She was no longer clad in a shabby
dress, but wore an elegant toilet, handsome beyond
her own wishes, but insisted upon by Uncle Oliver.

"I am glad to see you, Lavinia," she said simply.
"This is my daughter."

Julia, too, was stylishly dressed, and Alonzo, in
spite of his prejudices, could not help regarding this
handsome cousin with favor.

I do not propose to detail the interview. Mrs.
Pitkin was on her good behavior, and appeared very

Mrs. Forbush could not help recalling the difference
between her demeanor now and on the recent
occasion, when in her shabby dress she called at the
house in Twelfth Street, but she was too generous
to recall it.

As they were about to leave, Mr. Carter and Philip
entered the room, sent for by Mrs. Forbush.

"How do you do, Philip?" said Mrs. Pitkin,
graciously. "Alonzo, this is Philip."

"How do?" growled Alonzo, staring enviously at
Phil's handsome new suit, which was considerably
handsomer than his own.

"Very well, Alonzo."

"You must come and see Lonny," said Mrs.
Pitkin pleasantly.

"Thank you!" answered Phil politely.

He did not say it was a pleasure, for he was a boy
of truth, and he did not feel that it would be.

Uncle Oliver was partially deceived by his niece's
new manner. He was glad that there seemed to be
a reconciliation, and he grew more cordial than he
had been since his return.

After awhile Mrs. Pitkin rose to go.

When she was fairly in the carriage once more,
she said passionately:

"How I hate them!"

"You were awful sweet on them, ma!" said
Alonzo, opening his eyes.

"I had to be. But the time will come when I
will open the eyes of Uncle Oliver to the designs of
that scheming woman and that artful errand boy."

It was Mrs. Pitkin's true self that spoke.



Among the duties which devolved upon Phil
was Mr. Carter's bank business. He generally
made deposits for Uncle Oliver, and drew money
on his personal checks whenever he needed it.

It has already been said that Mr. Carter was a
silent partner in the firm of which Mr. Pitkin was
the active manager. The arrangement between the
partners was, that each should draw out two hundred
dollars a week toward current expenses, and
that the surplus, if any, at the end of the year,
should be divided according to the terms of the

When Phil first presented himself with a note
from Mr. Carter, he was an object of attention to
the clerks, who knew that he had been discharged by
Mr. Pitkin. Yet here he was, dressed in a new suit
provided with a watch, and wearing every mark of
prosperity. One of the most surprised was Mr. G.
Washington Wilbur, with whom, as an old friend,
Phil stopped to chat.

"Is old Pitkin going to take you back?" he inquired.

"No," answered Phil promptly. "He couldn't
have me if he wanted me."

"Have you got another place?"


"What's the firm?"

"It isn't in business. I am private secretary to
Mr. Carter."

Mr. Wilbur regarded him with surprise and respect.

"Is it a soft place?" he inquired.

"It's a very pleasant place."

"What wages do you get?"

"Twelve dollars a week and board."

"You don't mean it?"

"Yes, I do."

"Say, doesn't he want another secretary?" asked
Mr. Wilbur.

"No, I think not."

"I'd like a place of that sort. You're a lucky
fellow, Phil."

"I begin to think I am."

"Of course you don't live at the old place."

"No; I live on Madison Avenue. By the way,
Wilbur, how is your lady-love?"

Mr. Wilbur looked radiant.

"I think I'm getting on," he said. "I met her
the other evening, and she smiled."

"That is encouraging," said Phil, as soberly as
possible. "All things come to him who waits!
That's what I had to write in my copy-book

Phil was received by Mr. Pitkin with more
graciousness than he expected. He felt that he must do
what he could to placate Uncle Oliver, but he was
more dangerous when friendly in his manner than
when he was rude and impolite. He was even now
plotting to get Phil into a scrape which should lose
him the confidence of Uncle Oliver.

Generally Phil was paid in a check payable to the
order of Mr. Carter. But one Saturday two hundred
dollars in bills were placed in his hands instead.

"You see how much confidence I place in your
honesty," said Mr. Pitkin. "You couldn't use the
check. This money you could make off with."

"It would be very foolish, to say the least,"
responded Phil.

"Of course, of course. I know you are trustworthy,
or I would have given you a check instead."

When Phil left the building he was followed,
though he did not know it, by a man looking like a

Ah, Phil, you are in danger, though you don't
suspect it.



Phil felt that he must be more than usually
careful, because the money he had received was
in the form of bills, which, unlike the check, would
be of use to any thief appropriating it. That he
was in any unusual danger, however, he was far from

He reached Broadway, and instead of taking an
omnibus, started to walk up-town. He knew there
was no haste, and a walk up the great busy thoroughfare
had its attractions for him, as it has for
many others.

Behind him, preserving a distance of from fifteen
to twenty feet, walked a dark-complexioned man of
not far from forty years of age. Of course Phil
was not likely to notice him.

Whatever the man's designs might be, he satisfied
himself at first with simply keeping our hero in
view. But as they both reached Bleecker Street, he
suddenly increased his pace and caught up with
Phil. He touched the boy on the shoulder, breathing
quickly, as if he had been running.

Phil turned quickly.

"Do you want me, sir?" he asked, eying the
stranger in surprise.

"I don't know. Perhaps I am mistaken. Are
you in the employ of Mr. Oliver Carter?"

"Yes, sir."

"Ah I then you are the boy I want. I have bad
news for you."

"Bad news!" repeated Phil, alarmed. "What is

"Mr. Carter was seized with a fit in the street
half an hour since."

"Is he--dead?" asked Phil, in dismay.

"No, no! I think he will come out all right."

"Where is he?"

"In my house. I didn't of course know who he
was, but I found in his pocket a letter directed to
Oliver Carter, Madison Avenue. There was also a
business card. He is connected in business with Mr.
Pitkin, is he not?"

"Yes, sir," answered Phil; "where is your house?"

"In Bleecker Street, near by. Mr. Carter is lying
on the bed. He is unconscious, but my wife heard
him say: `Call Philip.' I suppose that is you?"

"Yes, sir; my name is Philip."

"I went around to his place of business, and was
told that you had just left there. I was given a
description of you and hurried to find you. Will
you come to the house and see Mr. Carter?"

"Yes, sir," answered Phil, forgetting everything
except that his kind and generous employer was
sick, perhaps dangerously.

"Thank you; I shall feel relieved. Of course you
can communicate with his friends and arrange to
have him carried home."

"Yes, sir; I live at his house."

"That is well."

They had turned down Bleecker Street, when it
occurred to Phil to say:

"I don't understand how Mr. Carter should be in
this neighborhood."

"That is something I can't explain, as I know
nothing about his affairs," said the stranger
pleasantly. "Perhaps he may have property on the

"I don't think so. I attend to much of his
business, and he would have sent me if there had been
anything of that kind to attend to."

"I dare say you are right," said his companion.

"Of course I know nothing about it. I only formed
a conjecture."

"Has a physician been sent for?" asked Phil.

"Do you know of any we can call in?"

"My wife agreed to send for one on Sixth Avenue,"
said the stranger. "I didn't wait for him to
come, but set out for the store."

Nothing could be more ready or plausible than
the answers of his new acquaintance, and Phil was
by no means of a suspicious temperament. Had he
lived longer in the city it might have occurred to
him that there was something rather unusual in the
circumstances, but he knew that Mr. Carter had
spoken of leaving the house at the breakfast-table,
indeed had left it before he himself had set out for
the store. For the time being the thought of the
sum of money which he carried with him had escaped
his memory, but it was destined very soon to
be recalled to his mind.

They had nearly reached Sixth Avenue, when his
guide stopped in front of a shabby brick house.

"This is where I live," he said. "We will go in."

He produced a key, opened the door, and Phil
accompanied him up a shabby staircase to the third
floor. He opened the door of a rear room, and
made a sign to Phil to enter.



When he was fairly in the room Phil looked
about him expecting to see Mr. Carter, but
the room appeared unoccupied. He turned to his
companion, a look of surprise on his face, but he was
destined to be still more surprised, and that not in a
pleasant way. His guide had locked the door from
the inside and put the key in his pocket.

"What does that mean?" asked Phil, with sudden

"What do you refer to?" asked his guide with an
unpleasant smile.

"Why do you lock the door?"

"I thought it might be safest," was the significant

"I don't believe Mr. Carter is in the house at all,"
said Phil quickly.

"I don't believe he is either, youngster."

"Why did you tell me he was here?" demanded
Phil, with rising indignation.

"I thought you wouldn't come if I didn't,"
replied his companion nonchalantly.

"Answer me one thing, is Mr. Carter sick at all?"

"Not that I know of."

"Then I am trapped!"

"Precisely. You may as well know the truth

Phil had already conjectured the reason why he
had been enticed to this poor dwelling. The two
hundred dollars which he had in his pocket made
him feel very uncomfortable. I think I may say
truly that if the money had been his own he would
have been less disturbed. But he thought, with a
sinking heart, that if the money should be taken
from him, he would himself fall under suspicion,
and he could not bear to have Mr. Carter think that
he had repaid his kindness with such black ingratitude.
He might be mistaken. The man before him
might not know he had such a sum of money in his
possession, and of course he was not going to give
him the information.

"I am glad Mr. Carter is all right," said Phil.
"Now tell me why you have taken such pains to get
me here?"

"Why, as to that," said his companion, "there
were at least two hundred good reasons."

Phil turned pale, for he understood now that in
some way his secret was known.

"What do you mean?" he asked, not wholly able
to conceal his perturbed feelings.

"You know well enough, boy," said the other
significantly. "You've got two hundred dollars in your
pocket. I want it."

"Are you a thief, then?" said Phil, with perhaps
imprudent boldness.

"Just take care what you say. I won't be
insulted by such a whipper-snapper as you. You'd
better not call names. Hand over that money!"

"How do you know I have any money?" Phil
asked, trying to gain a little time for deliberation.

"No matter. Hand it over, I say!"

"Don't take it!" said Phil, agitated. "It isn't

"Then you needn't mind giving it up."

"It belongs to Mr. Carter."

"He has plenty more."

"But he will think I took it. He will think I am

"That is nothing to me."

"Let me go," pleaded Phil, "and I will never
breathe a word about your wanting to rob me. You
know you might get into trouble for it."

"That's all bosh! The money, I say!" said the
man sternly.

"I won't give it to you!" said Phil boldly.

"You won't, hey? Then I shall have to take it.
If I hurt you, you will have yourself to blame."

So saying the man seized Phil, and then a struggle
ensued, the boy defending himself as well as he
could. He made a stouter resistance than the thief
anticipated, and the latter became irritated with the
amount of trouble he had to take it. I should be
glad to report that Phil made a successful defense,
but this was hardly to be expected. He was a
strong boy, but he had to cope with a strong man,
and though right was on his side, virtue in his case
had to succumb to triumphant vice.

Phil was thrown down, and when prostrate, with
the man's knee on his breast, the latter succeeded in
stripping him of the money he had so bravely defended.

"There, you young rascal!" he said, as he rose to
his feet; "you see how much good you have done.
You might as well have given up the money in the
first place."

"It was my duty to keep it from you, if I could,"
said Phil, panting with his exertions.

"Well, if that's any satisfaction to you, you're
welcome to it."

He went to the door and unlocked it.

"May I go now?" asked Phil.

"Not much. Stay where you are!"

A moment later and Phil found himself alone and
a prisoner.



Phil tried the door, but now it was locked on
the outside, and he found that he was securely
trapped. He went to the window, but here, too,
there was no chance of escape. Even if he had been
able to get safely out, he would have landed in a
back-yard from which there was no egress except
through the house, which was occupied by his

"What shall I do?" Phil asked himself, despairingly.
"Mr. Carter will be anxious about me, and
perhaps he may think I have gone off with the

This to Phil was the worst of his troubles. He
prized a good reputation and the possession of an
honorable name, and to be thought a thief would
distress him exceedingly.

"What a fool I was to walk into such a trap!" he
said to himself. "I might have known Mr. Carter
would not be in such a neighborhood."

Phil was too severe upon himself. I suspect that
most of my boy readers, even those who account
themselves sharp, might have been deceived as
easily. The fact is, rogues are usually plausible,
and they are so trained in deception that it is no
reflection upon their victims that they allow themselves
to be taken in.

Hours passed, and still Phil found himself a
prisoner. Each moment he became more anxious and

"How long will they keep me?" he asked himself.
"They can't keep me here forever."

About six o'clock the door was opened slightly,
and a plate of bread and butter was thrust in, together
with a glass of cold water. Who brought it
up Phil did not know, for the person did not show
himself or herself.

Phil ate and drank what was provided, not that
he was particularly hungry, but he felt that he must
keep up his strength.

"They don't mean to starve me, at any rate," he
reflected. "That is some consolation. While there
is life, there is hope."

A little over an hour passed. It became dark in
Phil's prison, but he had no means of lighting the
gas. There was a small bed in the room, and he
made up his mind that he must sleep there.

All at once there was a confused noise and
disturbance. He could not make out what it meant,
till above all other sounds he heard the terrible cry
of "Fire!"

"Fire! Where is it?" thought Phil.

It was not long before he made a terrible
discovery. It was the very house in which he was
confined! There was a trampling of feet and a
chorus of screams. The smoke penetrated into the

"Heavens! Am I to be burned alive!" thought
our poor hero.

He jumped up and down on the floor, pounded
frantically on the door, and at last the door was
broken open by a stalwart fireman, and Phil made
his way out, half-suffocated.

Once in the street, he made his way as fast as
possible homeward.



Meanwhile, Phil's long absence had excited
anxiety and alarm.

"What can have become of Philip?" said Mr.
Carter when supper time came and he did not arrive.

"I can't think," answered Mrs. Forbush. "He is
generally very prompt."

"That is what makes me feel anxious. I am
afraid something must have happened to him."

"Did you send him anywhere, Uncle Oliver?"

"Yes; he called, as usual, to get my check from
Mr. Pitkin."

"And he ought to have been here earlier?"

"Certainly. He wouldn't have to wait for that."

"Philip is very careful. I can't think that he has
met with an accident."

"Even the most prudent and careful get into
trouble sometimes."

They were finally obliged to sit down to supper
alone. None of the three enjoyed it. Not only Mr.
Carter and Mrs. Forbush, but Julia was anxious and

"I didn't know I cared so much for the boy," said
Uncle Oliver. "He has endeared himself to me. I
care nothing for the loss of the money if he will
only return safe."

It was about a quarter of eight when the door-bell
rang, and the servant ushered in Mr. and Mrs. Pitkin and Alonzo.

After the usual greetings were interchanged, Mrs.
Pitkin said, looking about her:

"Where is Philip?"

"We are very much concerned about him," said
Mr. Carter, his face showing his trouble. "He has
not been home since morning. Did he call at your
store, Pitkin?"

"Hasn't he been home since?" asked Pitkin, in a
tone unpleasantly significant.

"No. At what time did he leave the store?"

"Hours since. I--I am not sure but I may be able
to throw some light on his failure to return."

"Do so, if you can!" said Uncle Oliver.

"In place of giving him a check, I gave the boy
two hundred dollars in bills."


"Don't you see? The temptation has proved too
strong for him. I think, Uncle Oliver, you won't
see him back in a hurry."

"Do you mean to say the boy would steal?"
demanded the old gentleman indignantly.

"I think it more than likely that he has
appropriated the money."

"I am sure he has not," said Mrs. Forbush.

"And so am I," chimed in Julia.

Mr. Pitkin shrugged his shoulders.

"So you think," he answered; "but I don't agree
with you."

"Nor I!" said Mrs. Pitkin, nodding her head
vigorously. "I never had any confidence in the boy.
I don't mind telling you now that I have warned
Alonzo not to get too intimate with him. You
remember it, Lonny?"

"Yes'm," responded Lonny.

"Then you think the boy capable of appropriating
the money?" asked Mr. Carter quietly.

"Yes, I do."

"Well, I don't!" said Uncle Oliver emphatically.

"You are very easily deceived," said Mrs. Pitkin.

"Don't be too sure of that," returned Mr. Carter,
with a significant glance, that made his niece feel

"I suspect you will have to admit it," said Mr.
Pitkin. "If, contrary to my anticipation, the boy
returns, and brings the money with him, I will own
myself mistaken."

Just then the front door was heard to open; there
was a sound of steps in the hall, and Phil came
hurriedly into the room.

Mr. and Mrs. Pitkin exchanged looks of surprise
and dismay; but Mrs. Forbush, her daughter and
Uncle Oliver looked delighted.



"Where have you been, Philip?" asked Mr.
Carter, breaking the silence. "We were
getting anxious about you."

"I have bad news for you, sir," returned Phil,
saying what stood first in his mind. "I have lost
the two hundred dollars Mr. Pitkin paid me this

"So you lost it?" observed Mr. Pitkin with a
sneer, emphasizing the word "lost" to show his incredulity.

"Yes, sir, I lost it," answered Phil, looking him
fearlessly in the eye; "or, rather, it was stolen from

"Oh! now it is stolen, is it?" repeated Pitkin.

"Really, Uncle Oliver, this is getting interesting."

"I believe I am the proper person to question
Philip," said Mr. Carter coldly. "It was my
money, I take it."

"Yes, it was yours. As I made the payment, I
cannot, of course, be responsible for its not reaching
you. You will pardon my saying that it would have
been wiser to employ a different messenger."

"Why?" demanded Uncle Oliver, looking displeased.

"Why, really, Uncle Oliver," said Mr. Pitkin, "I
should think the result might convince you of that."

"We had better let Philip tell his story," said Mr.
Carter quietly. "How did it happen, Philip?"

Thereupon Philip told the story already familiar
to the reader.

"Upon my word, quite a romantic story!" commented
Mr. Pitkin, unable to repress a sneer. "So
you were tracked by a rascal, lured into a den of
thieves, robbed of your money, or, rather, Mr. Carter's,
and only released by the house catching fire?"

"That is exactly what happened to me, sir," said
Philip, coloring with indignation, for he saw that
Mr. Pitkin was doing his best to discredit him.

"It quite does credit to your imagination. By
the way, boy, have you been in the habit of reading
dime novels?"

"I never read one in my life, sir."

"Then I think you would succeed in writing
them. For a boy of sixteen, you certainly have a
vivid imagination."

"I quite agree with my husband," said Mrs.
Pitkin. "The boy's story is ridiculously improbable.
I can't understand how he has the face to stand
there and expect Uncle Oliver to swallow such

"I don't expect you to believe it, either of you,"
said Philip manfully, "for you have never treated
me fairly."

"I think you will find, also, that my uncle is too
sensible a man to credit it, also," retorted Mrs Pitkin.

"Speak for yourself, Lavinia," said Mr. Carter,
who had waited intentionally to let his relatives express
themselves. "I believe every word of Philip's

"You do?" ejaculated Mrs. Pitkin, rolling her
eyes and nodding her head, in the vain endeavor to
express her feelings. "Really, Uncle Oliver, for a
man of your age and good sense----"

"Thank you for that admission, Lavinia," said
Mr. Carter mockingly. "Go on."

"I was about to say that you seem infatuated
with this boy, of whom we know nothing, except
from his own account. To my mind his story is a
most ridiculous invention."

"Mr. Pitkin, did any one enter your store just
after Philip left it to inquire after him?"

"No, sir," answered Pitkin triumphantly. "That's
a lie, at any rate."

"You will remember that Philip did not make the
assertion himself. This was the statement of the
thief who robbed him."

"Yes, of course," sneered Pitkin. "He told his
story very shrewdly."

"Mr. Carter," said Philip, "I can show you or any
one else the house in which I was confined in
Bleecker Street, and there will be no trouble in
obtaining proof of the fire."

"I dare say there may have been such a fire,"
said Mr. Pitkin, "and you may have happened to
see it, and decided to weave it into your story."

"Do you think I stole the money or used it for
my own purpose?" asked Philip pointedly.

Mr. Pitkin shrugged his shoulders.

"Young man," he said, "upon this point I can
only say that your story is grossly improbable. It
won't hold water."

"Permit me to judge of that, Mr. Pitkin," said
Mr. Carter. "I wish to ask YOU one question."

"To ask ME a question!" said Pitkin, surprised.

"Yes; why did you pay Philip in bills to-day?
Why didn't you give him a check, as usual?"

"Why," answered Pitkin, hesitating, "I thought
it wouldn't make any difference to you. I thought
you would be able to use it more readily."

"Did you suppose I would specially need to use
money instead of a check this week? Why break
over your usual custom?"

"Really, I didn't give much thought to the matter,"
answered Pitkin, hesitating. "I acted on a
sudden impulse."

"Your impulse has cost me two hundred dollars.
Do me the favor, when Philip calls next week, to
hand him a check."

"You mean to retain him in your employ after
this?" asked Mrs. Pitkin sharply.

"Yes, I do. Why shouldn't I?"

"You are very trustful," observed the lady, tossing
her head. "If this had happened to Lonny
here, we should never have heard the last of it."

"Perhaps not!" responded the old gentleman
dryly. "When a young gentleman is trusted with
a letter to mail containing money, and that letter
never reaches its destination, it may at least be
inferred that he is careless."

It will be remembered that this was the first knowledge
Mrs. Pitkin or her husband had of the transaction referred to.

"What do you mean, Uncle Oliver?" demanded
Mr. Pitkin.

Mr. Carter explained.

"This is too much!" said Mrs. Pitkin angrily.

"You mean to accuse my poor boy of opening the
letter and stealing the money?"

"If I was as ready to bring accusations as you,
Lavinia, I should undoubtedly say that it looked a
little suspicious, but I prefer to let the matter rest."

"I think, Mr. Pitkin, we had better go," said Mrs.
Pitkin, rising with dignity. "Since Uncle Oliver
chooses to charge his own nephew with being a

"I beg pardon, Lavinia, I have not done so."

"You might just as well," said Lavinia Pitkin,
tossing her head. "Come, Mr. Pitkin; come, my
poor Lonny, we will go home. This is no place for

"Good-evening, Lavinia," said Mr. Carter calmly.
"I shall be glad to see you whenever you feel like

"When you have discharged that boy, I may call
again," said Mrs. Pitkin spitefully.

"You will have to wait some time, then. I am
quite capable of managing my own affairs."

When Mr. Pitkin had left the house, by no means
in a good humor, Phil turned to his employer and
said gratefully:

"I don't know how to thank you, Mr. Carter, for
your kind confidence in me. I admit that the story
I told you is a strange one, and I could not have
blamed you for doubting me."

"But I don't doubt you, my dear Philip," said Mr.
Carter kindly.

"Nor I," said Mrs. Forbush. "I feel provoked
with Lavinia and her husband for trying to throw
discredit upon your statement."

"In fact," said Mr. Carter humorously, "the only
one of us that suspected you was Julia."

"Oh, Uncle Oliver!" exclaimed Julia, in dismay.
"I never dreamed of doubting Phil."

"Then," said Mr. Carter, "it appears that you
have three friends, at least."

"If," said Phil? "you would allow me to make up
part of the loss, by surrendering a part of my

"Couldn't be thought of, Philip!" said Uncle
Oliver resolutely. "I don't care for the money, but
I should like to know how the thief happened to
know that to-day you received money instead of a

Without saying a word to Phil, Uncle Oliver called
the next day on a noted detective and set him to
work ferreting out the secret.



In the suburbs of Chicago, perhaps a dozen
miles from the great city, stands a fine country
house, in the midst of a fine natural park. From the
cupola which surmounts the roof can be seen in the
distance the waters of Lake Michigan, stretching
for many miles from north to south and from east to
west, like a vast inland sea.

The level lawns, the greenhouses, the garden
with rare plants and flowers, show clearly that this
is the abode of a rich man. My readers will be
specially interested to know that this is the luxurious
and stately home of Mr. Granville, whose son's
fortunes we have been following.

This, too, is the home of Mrs. Brent and Jonas,
who, under false representations, have gained a foothold
in the home of the Western millionaire.

Surely it is a great change for one brought up like
Jonas to be the recognized heir and supposed son of
so rich a man! It is a change, too, for his mother,
who, though she dare not avow the relationship, is
permitted to share the luxury of her son. Mrs.
Brent has for her own use two of the best rooms in
the mansion, and so far as money can bring happiness,
she has every right to consider herself happy.

Is she?

Not as happy as she anticipated. To begin with,
she is always dreading that some untoward circumstance
will reveal the imposition she has practiced
upon Mr. Granville. In that case what can she expect
but to be ejected in disgrace from her luxurious
home? To be sure, she will have her husband's
property left, but it would be a sad downfall and
descent in the social scale.

Besides, she finds cause for anxiety in Jonas, and
the change which his sudden and undeserved elevation

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