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  • 1893
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Rodney’s face flushed with pleasure.

“It will make me very happy,” he said.

“Come round to my warehouse–here is my business card–tomorrow morning,” said the merchant. “Ask to see me.”

“At what time shall I call, sir?”

“At half past nine o’clock. That is for the first morning. When you get to work you will have to be there at eight.”

“There will be no trouble about that, sir.”

“Now it is my turn,” said the Englishman. “Here are five dollars to keep you till your first week’s wages come due. I dare say you will find them useful.”

“Thank you very much, sir. I was almost out of money.”

After the two gentlemen left the Lodging House Rodney looked at the card and found that his new place of employment was situated on Reade Street not far from Broadway.

“It’s you that’s in luck, Rodney,” said his friend Mike. “Who’d think that a gentleman would come to the Lodging House to give you a place?”

“Yes, I am in luck, Mike, and now I’m going to make you a proposal.”

“What is it?”

“Why can’t we take a room together? It will be better than living here.”

“Sure you wouldn’t room with a poor boy like me?”

“Why shouldn’t I? You are a good friend, and I should like your company. Besides I mean to help you get an education. I suppose you’re not a first class scholar, Mike?”

“About fourth class, I guess, Rodney.”

“Then you shall study with me. Then when you know a little more you may get a chance to get out of your present business, and get into a store.”

“That will be bully!” said Mike with pleasure.

“Now we’d better go to bed; I must be up bright and early in the morning. We’ll engage a room before I go to work.”

There was no difficulty about rising early. It is one of the rules of the Lodging House for the boys to rise at six o’clock, and after a frugal breakfast of coffee and rolls they are expected to go out to their business whatever it may be. Mike and Rodney dispensed with the regulation breakfast and went out to a restaurant on Park Row where they fared better.

“Now where shall we go for a room?” asked Rodney.

“There’s a feller I know has a good room on Bleecker Street,” said Mike.

“How far is that?”

“A little more’n a mile.”

“All right! Let us go and see.”

Bleecker Street once stood in better repute than at present. It is said that A. T. Stewart once made his home there. Now it is given over to shops and cheap lodging houses.

Finally the boys found a room decently fumished, about ten feet square, of which the rental was two dollars and a half per week. Mike succeeded in beating down the lodging house keeper to two dollars, and at that figure they engaged it.

“When will you come?” asked Mrs. McCarty.

“Right off,” said Mike.

“I’ll need a little time to put it in order.”

“Me and my partner will be at our business till six o’clock,” returned Mike.

“You can send in your trunks during the day if you like.”

“My trunk is at the Windsor Hotel,” said Mike. “I’ve lent it to a friend for a few days.”

Mrs. McCarty looked at Mike with a puzzled expression. She was one of those women who are slow to comprehend a joke, and she could not quite make it seem natural that her new lodger, who was in rather neglige costume, should be a guest at a fashionable hotel.

“I will leave my valise,” said Rodney, “and will send for my trunk. It is in the country.”

Mike looked at him, not feeling quite certain whether he was in earnest, but Rodney was perfectly serious.

“You’re better off than me,” said Mike, when they reached the street. “If I had a trunk I wouldn’t have anything to put into it.”

“I’ll see if I can’t rig you out, Mike. I’ve got a good many clothes, bought when I was rich. You and I are about the same size. I’ll give you a suit of clothes to wear on Sundays.”

“Will you?” exclaimed Mike, his face showing pleasure. “I’d like to see how I look in good clo’es. I never wore any yet. It wouldn’t do no good in my business.”

“You won’t want to wear them when at work. But wouldn’t you like to change your business?”


“Have you ever tried?”

“What’d be the use of tryin’? They’d know I was a bootblack in these clo’es.”

“When you wear a better suit you can go round and try your luck.”

“I’d like to,” said Mike wistfully. “I don’t want you to tell at the store that you room with a bootblack.”

“It isn’t that I think of, Mike. I want you to do better. I’m going to make a man of you.”

“I hope you are. Sometimes I’ve thought I’d have to be a bootblack always. When do you think you’ll get the clo’es?”

“I shall write to the principal of the boarding school at once, asking him to forward my trunk by express. I want to economize a little this week, and shall have to pay the express charges.”

“I’ll pay up my part of the rent, Rodney, a quarter a day.”

Rodney had advanced the whole sum, as Mike was not in funds.

“If you can’t pay a dollar a week I will pay a little more than half.”

“There ain’t no need. I’ll pay my half and be glad to have a nice room.”

“I’ve got three or four pictures at the school, and some books. I’ll send for them later on, and we’ll fix up the room.”

“Will you? We’ll have a reg’lar bang up place. I tell you that’ll be better than livin’ at the Lodge.”

“Still that seems a very neat place. It is lucky for poor boys that they can get lodging so cheap.”

“But it isn’t like havin’ a room of your own, Rodney. I say, when we’re all fixed I’ll ask some of me friends to come in some evenin’ and take a look at us. They’ll be s’prised.”

“Certainly, Mike. I shall be glad to see any of your friends.”

It may seem strange that Rodney, carefully as he had been brought up, should have made a companion of Mike, but he recognized in the warm hearted Irish boy, illiterate as he was, sterling qualities, and he felt desirous of helping to educate him. He knew that he could always depend on his devoted friendship, and looked forward with pleasure to their more intimate companionship.

After selecting their room and making arrangements to take possession of it, the boys went down town. Rodney stepped into the reading room at the Astor House and wrote the following letter to Dr. Sampson:


DEAR SIR–Will you be kind enough to send my trunk by express to No. 312 Bleecker Street? I have taken a room there, and that will be my home for the present. I have obtained a position in a wholesale house on Reade Street, and hope I may give satisfaction. Will you remember me with best wishes to all the boys? I don’t expect to have so easy or pleasant a time as I had at school, but I hope to get on, and some time–perhaps in the summer–to make you a short visit.

Yours truly, RODNEY ROPES.



A little before half past nine Rodney paused in front of a large five story building on Reade Street occupied by Otis Goodnow.

He entered and found the first floor occupied by quite a large number of clerks and salesmen, and well filled with goods.

“Well, young fellow, what can I do for you?” asked a dapper looking clerk.

“I would like to see Mr. Goodnow.”

“He’s reading his letters. He won’t see you.”

Rodney was provoked.

“Do you decide who is to see him?” he asked.

“You’re impudent, young feller.”

“Am I? Perhaps you will allow Mr. Goodnow to see me, as long as he told me to call here this morning.”

“That’s a different thing,” returned the other in a different tone. “If you’re sure about that you can go to the office in the back part of the room.”

Rodney followed directions and found himself at the entrance of a room which had been partitioned off for the use of the head of the firm.

Mr. Goodnow was seated at a desk with his back to him, and was employed in opening letters. Without turning round he said, “Sit down and I will attend to you in a few minutes.”

Rodney seated himself on a chair near the door. In about ten minutes Mr. Goodnow turned around.

“Who is it?” he asked.

“Perhaps you remember telling me to call at half past nine. You saw me at the Newsboys’ Lodging House.”

“Ah, yes, I remember. I promised my friend Mulgrave that I would give you a place. What can you do? Are you a good writer?”

“Shall I give you a specimen of my handwriting?”

“Yes; sit down at that desk.”

It was a desk adjoining his own.

Rodney seated himself and wrote in a firm, clear, neat hand:

“I will endeavor to give satisfaction, if you are kind enough to give me a place in your establishment.”

Then he passed over the paper to the merchant.

“Ah, very good!” said Mr. Goodnow approvingly. “You won’t be expected to do any writing yet but I like to take into my store those who are qualified for promotion.”

He rang a little bell on his desk.

A boy about two years older than Rodney answered the summons.

“Send Mr. James here,” said the merchant.

Mr. James, a sandy complexioned man, partially bald, made his appearance.

“Mr. James,” said the merchant, “I have taken this boy into my employ. I don’t know if one is needed, but it is at the request of a friend. You can send him on errands, or employ him in any other way.”

“Very well, sir. I can find something for him to do today at any rate, as young Johnson hasn’t shown up.”

“Very well. Whats your name, my lad?”

“Rodney Ropes.”

“Make a note of his name, Mr. James, and enter it in the books. You may go with Mr. James, and put yourself at his disposal.”

Rodney followed the subordinate, who was the head of one of the departments, to the second floor. Here Mr. James had a desk.

“Wait a minute,” he said, “and I will give you a memorandum of places to call at.”

In five minutes a memorandum containing a list of three places was given to Rodney, with brief instructions as to what he was to do at each. They were places not far away, and fortunately Rodney had a general idea as to where they were.

In his search for positions he had made a study of the lower part of the city which now stood him in good stead.

As he walked towards the door he attracted the attention of the young clerk with whom he had just spoken.

“Well, did you see Mr. Goodnow?” asked the young man, stroking a sickly looking mustache.


“Has he taken you into the firm?”

“Not yet, but he has given me a place.”

The clerk whistled.

“So you are one of us?” he said.

“Yes,” answered Rodney with a smile.

“Then you ought to know the rules of the house.”

“You can tell me later on, but now I am going out on an errand.”

In about an hour Rodney returned. He had been detained at two of the places where he called.

“Do you remember what I said?” asked the young clerk as he passed.


“The first rule of the establishment is for a new hand to treat ME on his first day.”

“That’s pretty good for you,” said Rodney, laughing; “I shall have to wait till my pay is raised.”

About the middle of the afternoon, as Rodney was helping to unpack a crate of goods, the older boy whom he had already seen in the office below, walked up to him and said, “Is your name Ropes?”


“You are wanted in Mr. Goodnow’s office.”

Rodney went down stairs, feeling a little nervous. Had he done wrong, and was he to be reprimanded?

He could think of nothing deserving censure. So far as he knew he had attended faithfully to all the duties required of him.

As he entered the office, he saw that Mr. Goodnow had a visitor, whose face looked familiar to him. He recalled it immediately as the face of the English gentleman who had visited the Lodging House the day previous with his employer.

“So I find you at work?” he said, offering his hand with a smile.

“Yes, sir,” answered Rodney gratefully, “thanks to you.”

“How do you think you will like it?”

“Very much, sir. It is so much better than going around the street with nothing to do.”

“I hope you will try to give satisfaction to my friend, Mr. Goodnow.”

“I shall try to do so, sir.”

“You mustn’t expect to rise to be head salesman in a year. Festina lente, as the Latin poet has it.”

“I shall be satisfied with hastening slowly, sir.”

“What! you understand Latin?”

“Pretty well, sir.”

“Upon my word, I didn’t expect to find a boy in the News boys’ Lodging House with classical attainments. Perhaps you know something of Greek also!” he said doubtfully.

In reply Rodney repeated the first line of the Iliad.

“Astonishing!” exclaimed Mr. Mulgrave, putting up his eyeglass, and surveying Rodney as if he were a curious specimen. “You don’t happen to know anything of Sanscrit, do you?”

“No, sir; I confess my ignorance.”

“I apprehend you won’t require it in my friend Goodnow’s establishment.”

“If I do, I will learn it,” said Rodney, rather enjoying the joke.

“If I write a book about America, I shall certainly put in a paragraph about a learned office boy. I think you are entitled to something for your knowledge of Greek and Latin–say five dollars apiece,” and Mr. Mulgrave drew from his pocket two gold pieces and handed them to Rodney.

“Thank you very much, sir,” said Rodney. “I shall find this money very useful, as I have taken a room, and am setting up housekeeping.”

“Then you have left the Lodging House?”

“Yes, sir; I only spent one night there.”

“You are right. It is no doubt a great blessing to the needy street boys, but you belong to a different class.”

“It is very fortunate I went there last evening, or I should not have met you and Mr. Goodnow.”

“I am glad to have been the means of doing you a service,” said the Englishman kindly, shaking hands with Rodney, who bowed and went back to his work.

“I am not sure but you are taking too much notice of that boy, Mulgrave,” said the merchant.

“No fear! He is not a common boy. You won’t regret employing him.”

“I hope not.”

Then they talked of other matters, for Mr. Mulgrave was to start on his return to England the following day.

At five o’clock Rodney’s day was over, and he went back to Bleecker Street. He found Mike already there, working hard to get his hands clean, soiled as they were by the stains of blacking.

“Did you have a good day, Mike?” asked Rodney.

“Yes; I made a dollar and ten cents. Here’s a quarter towards the rent.”

“All right! I see you are prompt in money matters.”

“I try to be. Do you know, Rodney, I worked better for feelin’ that I had a room of my own to go to after I got through. I hope I’ll soon be able to get into a different business.”

“I hope so, too.”

Two days later Rodney’s trunk arrived. In the evening he opened it. He took out a dark mixed suit about half worn, and said, “Try that on, Mike.”

Mike did so. It fitted as if it were made for him.

“You can have it, Mike,” said Rodney.

“You don’t mean it?” exclaimed Mike, delighted.

“Yes, I do. I have plenty of others.”

Rodney supplemented his gift by a present of underclothing, and on the following Sunday the two boys went to Central Park in the afternoon, Mike so transformed that some of his street friends passed him without recognition, much to Mike’s delight.



A wonderful change came over Mike Flynn. Until he met Rodney he seemed quite destitute of ambition. The ragged and dirty suit which he wore as bootblack were the best he had. His face and hands generally bore the marks of his business, and as long as he made enough to buy three meals a day, two taken at the Lodging House, with something over for lodging, and an occasional visit to a cheap theater, he was satisfied.

He was fifteen, and had never given a thought to what he would do when he was older. But after meeting Rodney, and especially after taking a room with him, he looked at life with different eyes. He began to understand that his business, though honorable because honest, was not a desirable one. He felt, too, that he ought to change it out of regard for Rodney, who was now his close companion.

“If I had ten dollars ahead,” he said one day, “I’d give up blackin’ boots.”

“What else would you do?”

“I’d be a telegraph boy. That’s more respectable than blackin’ boots, and it ‘ould be cleaner.”

“That is true. Do you need money to join?”

“I would get paid once in two weeks, and I’d have to live till I got my first salary.”

“I guess I can see you through, Mike.”

“No; you need all your money, Rodney. I’ll wait and see if I can’t save it myself.”

This, however, would have taken a long time, if Mike had not been favored by circumstances. He was standing near the ladies’ entrance to the Astor House one day, when casting his eyes downward he espied a neat pocketbook of Russia leather. He picked it up, and from the feeling judged that it must be well filled.

Now I must admit that it did occur to Mike that he could divert to his own use the contents without detection, as no one had seen him pick it up. But Mike was by instinct an honest boy, and he decided that this would not be right. He thrust it into his pocket, however, as he had no objection to receiving a reward if one was offered.

While he was standing near the entrance, a tall lady, dressed in brown silk and wearing glasses, walked up from the direction of Broadway. She began to peer about like one who was looking for something.

“I guess its hers,” thought Mike.

“Are you looking for anything, ma’am?” he asked.

She turned and glanced at Mike.

“I think I must have dropped my pocketbook,” she said. “I had it in my hand when I left the hotel, but I had something on my mind and I think I must have dropped it without noticing. Won’t you help me look for it, for I am short sighted?”

“Is this it?” asked Mike, producing the pocketbook.

“Oh yes!” exclaimed the lady joyfully. “Where did you find it?”

“Just here,” answered Mike, indicating a place on the sidewalk.

“I suppose there is a good deal of money in it?” said Mike, with pardonable curiosity.

“Then you didn’t open it?”

“No, ma’am, I didn’t have a chance. I just found it.”

“There may be forty or fifty dollars, but it isn’t on that account I should have regretted losing it. It contained a receipt for a thousand dollars which I am to use in a law suit. That is very important for it will defeat a dishonest claim for money that I have already paid.”

“Then I’m glad I found it.”

“You are an honest boy. You seem to be a poor boy also.”

“That’s true, ma’am. If I was rich I wouldn’t black boots for a livin’.”

“Dear me, you are one of the young street Arabs I’ve read about,” and the lady looked curiously at Mike through her glasses.

“I expect I am.”

“And I suppose you haven’t much money.”

“My bank account is very low, ma’am.”

“I’ve read a book about a boy named `Ragged Dick.’ I think he was a bootblack, too. Do you know him?”

“He’s my cousin, ma’am,” answered Mike promptly.

It will be observed that I don’t represent Mike as possessed of all the virtues.

“Dear me, how interesting. I bought the book for my little nephew. Now I can tell him I have seen `Ragged Dick’s’ cousin. Where is Dick now?”

“He’s reformed, ma’am.”


“Yes, from blackin’ boots. He’s in better business now.”

“If I should give you some of the money in this pocketbook, you wouldn’t spend it on drinking and gambling, would you?”

“No, ma’am. I’d reform like my cousin, Ragged Dick.”

“You look like a good truthful boy. Here are ten dollars for you.”

“Oh, thank you, ma’am! you’re a gentleman,” said Mike overjoyed. “No, I don’t mean that but I hope you’ll soon get a handsome husband.”

“My young friend, I don’t care to marry, though I appreciate your good wishes. I am an old maid from principle. I am an officer of the Female Suffrage Association.”

“Is it a good payin’ office, ma’am?” asked Mike, visibly impressed.

“No, but it is a position of responsibility. Please tell me your name that I may make a note of it.”

“My name is Michael Flynn.”

“I see. You are of Celtic extraction.”

“I don’t know, ma’am. I never heard that I was. It isn’t anything bad, is it?”

“Not at all. I have some Celtic blood in my own veins. If you ever come to Boston you can inquire for Miss Pauline Peabody.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” said Mike, who thought the lady rather a “queer lot.”

“Now I must call upon my lawyer, and leave the receipt which I came so near losing.”

“Well, I’m in luck,” thought Mike. “I’ll go home and dress up, and apply for a position as telegraph boy.”

When Rodney came home at supper time he found Mike, dressed in his Sunday suit.

“What’s up now, Mike?” he asked. “Have you retired from business?”

“Yes, from the bootblack business. Tomorrow I shall be a telegraph boy.”

“That is good. You haven’t saved up ten dollars, have you?”

“I saved up two, and a lady gave me ten dollars for findin’ her pocketbook.”

“That’s fine, Mike.”

There chanced to be a special demand for telegraph boys at that time, and Mike, who was a sharp lad, on passing the necessary examination, was at once set to work.

He was immensely fond of his blue uniform when he first put it on, and felt that he had risen in the social scale. True, his earnings did not average as much, but he was content with smaller pay, since the duties were more agreeable.

In the evenings under Rodney’s instruction he devoted an hour and sometimes two to the task of making up the deficiencies in his early education. These were extensive, but Mike was naturally a smart boy, and after a while began to improve rapidly.

So three months passed. Rodney stood well in with Mr. Goodnow, and was promoted to stock clerk. The discipline which he had revived as a student stood him in good stead, and enabled him to make more rapid advancement than some who had been longer in the employ of the firm. In particular he was promoted over the head of Jasper Redwood, a boy two years older than himself, who was the nephew of an old employee who had been for fifteen years in the house.

Jasper’s jealousy was aroused, and he conceived a great dislike for Rodney, of which Rodney was only partially aware.

For this dislike there was really no cause. Rodney stood in his way only because Jasper neglected his duties, and failed to inspire confidence. He was a boy who liked to spend money and found his salary insufficient, though he lived with his uncle and paid but two dollars a week for his board.

“Uncle James,” he said one day, “when do you think I will get a raise?”

“You might get one now if it were not for the new boy.”

“You mean Ropes.”

“Yes, he has just been promoted to a place which I hoped to get for you.”

“It is mean,” grumbled Jasper. “I have been here longer than he.”

“True, but he seems to be Mr. Goodnow’s pet. It was an unlucky day for you when he got a place in the establishment.”

“Did you ask Mr. Goodnow to promote me?”

“Yes, but he said he had decided to give Archer’s place to Ropes.”

Archer was a young clerk who was obliged, on account of pulmonary weakness, to leave New York and go to Southern California.

“How much does Ropes get now?”

“Seven dollars a week.”

“And I only get five, and I am two years older. They ought to have more regard for you, Uncle James, or I, as your nephew, would get promoted.”

“I will see what we can do about it.”

“I wish Ropes would get into some scrape and get discharged.”

It was a new idea, but Jasper dwelt upon it, and out of it grew trouble for Rodney.



James Redwood was summoned one morning to the counting room of his employer.

“Mr. Redwood,” said the merchant “I have reason to think that one of my clerks is dishonest.”

“Who, sir?”

“That is what I want you to find out.”

“What reason have you for suspecting any one?”

“Some ladies’ cloaks and some dress patterns are missing.”

“Are you sure they were not sold?”

“Yes: the record of sales has been examined, and they are not included.”

“That is strange, Mr. Goodnow” said Redwood thoughtfully. “I hope I am not under suspicion.”

“Oh, not at all.”

“The losses seem to have taken place in my department.”

“True, but that doesn’t involve you.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Watch those under you. Let nothing in your manner, however, suggest that you are suspicious. I don’t want you to put any one on his guard.”

“All right, sir. I will be guided by your instructions. Have you any idea how long this has been going on?”

“Only a few weeks.”

Mr. Redwood turned to go back to his room, but Mr. Goodnow called him back.

“I needn’t suggest to you,” he said, “that you keep this to yourself. Don’t let any clerk into the secret.”

“Very well, sir.”

James Redwood, however, did not keep his promise. After supper he called back Jasper as he was about putting on his hat to go out, and said, “Jasper, I wish to speak with you for five minutes.”

“Won’t it do tomorrow morning? I have an engagement.”

“Put it off, then. This is a matter of importance.”

“Very well, sir,” and Jasper, albeit reluctantly, laid down his hat and sat down.

“Jasper,” said his uncle, “there’s a thief in our establishment.”

Jasper started, and his sallow complexion turned yellower than usual.

“What do you mean, uncle?” he asked nervously.

“What I say. Some articles are missing that have not been sold.”

“Such as what?”

“Ladies’ cloaks and dress patterns.”

“Who told you?” asked Jasper in a low tone.

“Mr. Goodnow.”

“What the boss?”


“How should he know?”

“I didn’t inquire, and if I had he probably wouldn’t have told me. The main thing is that he does know.”

“He may not be sure.”

“He is not a man to speak unless he feels pretty sure.”

“I don’t see how any one could steal the articles without being detected.”

“It seems they are detected.”

“Did–did Mr. Goodnow mention any names?”

“No. He wants to watch and find out the thief. I wish you to help me, though I am acting against instructions. Mr. Goodnow asked me to take no one into my confidence. You will see, therefore, that it will be necessary for you to say nothing.”

“I won’t breathe a word,” said Jasper, who seemed to feel more at ease.

“Now that I have told you so much, can you suggest any person who would be likely to commit the theft?”

Jasper remained silent for a moment, then with a smile of malicious satisfaction said, “Yes, I can suggest a person.”

“Who is it?”

“The new boy, Rodney Ropes.”

James Redwood shook his head.

“I can’t believe that it is he. I am not in love with the young fellow, who seems to stand in the way of your advancement but he seems straight enough, and I don’t think it at all likely that he should be the guilty person.”

“Yes, Uncle James, he SEEMS straight but you know that still waters run deep.”

“Have you seen anything that would indicate guilt on his part?”

“I have noticed this, that, he is very well dressed for a boy of his small salary, and seems always to have money to spend.”

“That will count for something. Still he might have some outide means. Have you noticed anything else?”

Jasper hesitated.

“I noticed one evening when he left the store that he had a sizable parcel under his arm.”

“And you think it might have contained some article stolen from the stock?”

“That’s just what I think now. Nothing of the kind occurred to me at that time, for I didn’t know any articles were missing.”

“That seems important. When was it that you noticed this?”

“One day last week,” answered Jasper hesitatingly.

“Can you remember the day?”


“Couldn’t you fix it some way?”

“No. You see, I didn’t attach any particular importance to it at the time, and probably it would not have occurred to me again, but for your mentioning that articles were missing.”

“There may be something in what you say,” said his uncle thoughtfully. “I will take special notice of young Ropes after this.”

“So will I.”

“Don’t let him observe that he is watched. It would defeat our chances of detecting the thief.”

“I’ll be careful. Do you want to say anything more, uncle?”

“No. By the way, where were you going this evening?”

“I was going to meet a friend, and perhaps go to the theater. You couldn’t lend me a dollar, could you, Uncle James?”

“Yes, I could, but you are not quite able to pay for your own pleasures. It costs all my salary to live, and its going to be worse next year, for I shall have to pay a higher rent.”

“When I have my pay raised, I can get along better.”

“If Ropes loses his place, you will probably step into it.”

“Then I hope he’ll go, and that soon.”

When Jasper passed through the front door and stood on the sidewalk, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“So, they are on to us,” he said to himself. “But how was it found out? That’s what I’d like to know. I have been very careful. I must see Carton at once.”

A short walk took him to a billiard room not far from Broadway. A young man of twenty five, with a slight mustache, and a thin, dark face, was selecting a cue.

“Ah, Jasper!” he said. “Come at last. Let us have a game of pool.”

“Not just yet. Come outide. I want to speak to you.”

Jasper looked serious, and Philip Carton, observing it, made no remonstrance, but taking his hat, followed him out.

“Well, what is it?” he asked.

“Something serious. It is discovered at the store that goods are missing.”

“You don’t mean it? Are we suspected?”

“No one is suspected–yet.”

“But how do you know?”

“My uncle spoke to me about it this evening–just after supper.”

“He doesn’t think you are in it.”


“How did he find out?”

“Through the boss. Goodnow spoke to him about it today.”

“But how should Goodnow know anything about it?”

“That no one can tell but himself. He asked Uncle James to watch the clerks, and see if he could fasten the theft on any of them.”

“That is pleasant for us. It is well we are informed so that we can be on our guard. I am afraid our game is up.”

“For the present at any rate we must suspend operations. Now, have you some money for me?”

“Well, a little.”

“A little? Why there are two cloaks and a silk dress pattern to be accounted for.”

“True, but I have to be very careful. I have to submit to a big discount for the parties I sell to undoubtedly suspect that the articles are stolen.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to pawn them?”

“It would be more dangerous. Besides you know how liberal pawnbrokers are. I’ll tell you what would be better. If I had a sufficient number of articles to warrant it, I could take them on to Boston or Philadelphia, and there would be less risk selling them there.”

“That is true. I wish we had thought of that before. Now we shall have to give up the business for a time. How much money have you got for me?”

“Seven dollars.”

“Seven dollars!” exclaimed Jasper in disgust. “Why, that is ridiculous. The articles must have been worth at retail a hundred dollars.”

“Perhaps so, but I only got fourteen for them. If you think you can do any better you may sell them yourself next time.”

“I thought I should assuredly get fifteen dollars out of it,” said Jasper, looking deeply disappointed. “I had a use for the money too.”

“Very likely. So had I.”

“Well, I suppose I must make it do. Listen and I will tell you how I think I can turn this thing to my advantage.”

“Go ahead!”



“There is a boy who stands between me and promotion,” continued Jasper, speaking in a low tone.

“The boy you mentioned the other day?”

“Yes, Rodney Ropes. Mr. Goodnow got him from I don’t know where, and has taken a ridiculous fancy to him. He has been put over my head and his pay raised, though I have been in the store longer than he. My idea is to connect him with the thefts and get him discharged.”

“Do you mean that we are to make him a confederate?”

“No,” answered Jasper impatiently. “He would be just the fellow to peach and get us all into trouble.”

“Then what do you mean?”

“To direct suspicion towards him. We won’t do it immediately, but within a week or two. It would do me good to have him turned out of the store.”

Jasper proceeded to explain his idea more fully, and his companion pronounced it very clever.

Meanwhile Rodney, not suspecting the conspiracy to deprive him of his place and his good name, worked zealously, encouraged by his promotion, and resolved to make a place for himself which should insure him a permanent connection with the firm.

Ten days passed, and Mr. Redwood again received a summons from the office.

Entering, he found Mr. Goodnow with a letter in his hand.

“Well, Mr. Redwood,” he began, “have you got any clew to the party who has stolen our goods?”

“No, sir.”

“Has any thing been taken since I spoke with you on the subject?”

“Not that I am aware of.”

“Has any one of the clerks attracted your attention by suspicious conduct?”

“No, sir,” answered Redwood, puzzled.

“Humph! Cast your eye over this letter.”

James Redwood took the letter, which was written in a fine hand, and read as follow:


DEAR SIR,–I don’t know whether you are aware that articles have been taken from your stock, say, ladies’ cloaks and silk dress patterns, and disposed of outside. I will not tell you how it has come to my knowledge, for I do not want to get any one’s ill will, but I will say, to begin with, that they were taken by one of your employees, and the one, perhaps, that you would least suspect, for I am told that he is a favorite of yours. I may as well say that it is Rodney Ropes. I live near him, and last evening I saw him carry a bundle to his room when he went back from the store. I think if you would send round today when he is out, you would find in his room one or more of the stolen articles. I don’t want to get him into trouble, but I don’t like to see you robbed, and so I tell you what I know. A FRIEND.

Mr. Redwood read this letter attentively, arching his brows, perhaps to indicate his surprise. Then he read it again carefully.

“What do you think of it?” asked the merchant.

“I don’t know,” answered Redwood slowly.

“Have you ever seen anything suspicious in the conduct of young Ropes?”

“I can’t say I have. On the contrary, he seems to be a very diligent and industrious clerk.”

“But about his honesty.”

“I fancied him the soul of honesty.”

“So did I, but of course we are liable to be deceived. It wouldn’t be the first case where seeming honesty has been a cover for flagrant dishonesty.”

“What do you wish me to do, Mr. Goodnow? Shall I send Ropes down to you?”

“No; it would only give him a chance, if guilty, to cover up his dishonesty.”

“I am ready to follow your instructions.”

“Do you know where he lodges?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then I will ask you to go around there, and by some means gain admission to his room. If he has any of our goods secreted take possession of them and report to me.”

“Very well, sir.” Half an hour later Mrs. McCarty, Rodney’s landlady, in response to a ring admitted Mr. James Redwood.

“Does a young man named Ropes lodge here?” he asked.

“Yes, sir.”

“I come from the house where he is employed. He has inadvertently left in his room a parcel belonging to us, and I should be glad if you would allow me to go up to his room and take it.”

“You see, sir,” said Mrs. McCarty in a tone of hesitation, “while you look like a perfect gentleman, I don’t know you, and I am not sure whether, in justice to Mr. Ropes, I ought to admit you to his room.”

“You are quite right my good lady; I am sure. It is just what I should wish my own landlady to do. I will therefore ask you to go up to the room with me to see that all is right.”

“That seems all right, sir. In that case I don’t object. Follow me, if you please.”

As they entered Rodney’s room Mr. Redwood looked about him inquisitively. One article at once fixed his attention. It was a parcel wrapped in brown paper lying on the bed.

“This is the parcel, I think,” he said. “If you will allow me I will open it, to make sure.”

Mrs. McCarty looked undecided, but as she said nothing in opposition Mr. Redwood unfastened the strings and unrolled the bundle. His eyes lighted up with satisfaction as he disclosed the contents–a lady’s cloak.

Mrs. McCarty looked surprised.

“Why, it’s a lady’s cloak,” she said, “and a very handsome one. What would Mr. Ropes want of such a thing as that?”

“Perhaps he intended to make you a present of it.”

“No, he can’t afford to make such present.”

“The explanation is simple. It belongs to the store. Perhaps Mr. Ropes left it here inadvertently.”

“But he hasn’t been here since morning.”

“He has a pass key to the front door?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then he may have been here. Would you object to my taking it?”

“Yes, sir, you see I don’t know you.”

“Your objection is a proper one. Then I will trouble you to take a look at the cloak, so that you would know it again.”

“Certainly, sir. I shall remember it!”

“That is all, Mrs. —-?”

“McCarty, sir.”

“Mrs. McCarty, I won’t take up any more of your time,” and Mr. Redwood started to go down stairs.

“Who shall I tell Mr. Ropes called to see him.”

“You needn’t say. I will mention the matter to him myself. I am employed in the same store.”

“All right sir. Where is the store? I never thought to ask Mr. Ropes.”

“Reade Street, near Broadway. You know where Reade Street is?”

“Yes, sir. My husband used to work in Chambers Street. That is the first street south.”

“Precisely. Well, I can’t stay longer, so I will leave, apologizing for having taken up so much of your time.”

“Oh, it’s of no consequence, sir.”

“He is a perfect gentleman,” she said to herself, as Mr. Redwood closed the front door, and went out on the street. “I wonder whether he’s a widower.”

Being a widow this was quite a natural thought for Mrs. McCarty to indulge in, particularly as Mr. Redwood looked to be a substantial man with a snug income.

Mr. Redwood went back to the store, and went at once to the office.

“Well, Redwood,” said Mr. Goodnow, “did you learn anything?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Go on.”

“I went to the lodging of young Ropes, and was admitted to his room.”


“And there, wrapped in a brown paper, I found one of our missing cloaks lying on his bed.”

“Is it possible?”

“I am afraid he is not what we supposed him to be, Mr. Goodnow.”

“It looks like it. I am surprised and sorry. Do you think he took the other articles that are missing?”

“Of course I can’t say, sir, but it is fair to presume that he did.”

“I am exceedingly sorry. I don’t mind saying, Redwood, that I took an especial interest in that boy. I have already told you the circumstances of my meeting him, and the fancy taken to him by my friend Mulgrave.”

“Yes, sir, I have heard you say that.”

“I don’t think I am easily taken in, and that boy impressed me as thoroughly honest. But of course I don’t pretend to be infallible and it appears that I have been mistaken in him.”

The merchant looked troubled, for he had come to feel a sincere regard for Rodney. He confessed to himself that he would rather have found any of the other clerks dishonest.

“You may send Ropes to me,” he said, “Mr. Redwood, and you will please come with him. We will investigate this matter at once.”

“Very well, sir.”



Rodney entered Mr. Goodnow’s office without a suspicion of the serious accusation which had been made against him. The first hint that there was anything wrong came to him when he saw the stern look in the merchants eyes.

“Perhaps,” said Mr. Goodnow, as he leaned back in his chair and fixed his gaze on the young clerk, “you may have an idea why I have sent for you.”

“No, sir,” answered Rodney, looking puzzled.

“You can’t think of any reason I may have for wishing to see you?”

“No, sir,” and Rodney returned Mr. Goodnow’s gaze with honest unfaltering eyes.

“Possibly you are not aware that within a few weeks some articles have been missed from our stock.”

“I have not heard of it. What kind of articles?”

“The boy is more artful than I thought!” soliloquized the merchant.

“All the articles missed,” he proceeded, “have been from the room in charge of Mr. Redwood, the room in which you, among others, are employed.”

Something in Mr. Goodnow’s tone gave Rodney the hint of the truth. If he had been guilty he would have flushed and showed signs of confusion. As it was, he only wished to learn the truth and he in turn became the questioner.

“Is it supposed,” he asked, “that any one in your employ is responsible for these thefts?”

“It is.”

“Is any one in particular suspected?”


“Will you tell me who, that is if you think I ought to know?”

“Certainly you ought to know, for it is you who are suspected.”

Then Rodney became indignant.

“I can only deny the charge in the most emphatic terms,” he said. “If any one has brought such a charge against me, it is a lie.”

“You can say that to Mr. Redwood, for it is he who accuses you.”

“What does this mean, Mr. Redwood?” demanded Rodney quickly. “What have you seen in me that leads you to accuse me of theft.”

“To tell the truth, Ropes, you are about the last clerk in my room whom I would have suspected. But early this morning this letter was received,” and he placed in Rodney’s hands the letter given in a preceding chapter.

Rodney read it through and handed it back scornfully.

“I should like to see the person who wrote this letter,” he said. “It is a base lie from beginning to end.”

“I thought it might be when Mr. Goodnow showed it to me,” said Redwood in an even tone, “but Mr. Goodnow and I agreed that it would be well to investigate. Therefore I went to your room.”

“When, sir?”

“This morning.”

“Then it is all right, for I am sure you found nothing.”

“On the contrary, Ropes, I found that the statement made in the letter was true. On your bed was a bundle containing one of the cloaks taken from our stock.”

Rodney’s face was the picture of amazement.

“Is this true?” he said.

“It certainly is. I hope you don’t doubt my word.”

“Did you bring it back with you?”

“No; your worthy landlady was not quite sure whether I was what I represented, and I left the parcel there. However I opened it in her presence so that she can testify what I found.”

“This is very strange,” said Rodney, looking at his accuser with puzzled eyes. “I know nothing whatever of the cloak and can’t imagine how it got into my room.”

“Perhaps it walked there,” said Mr. Goodnow satirically.

Rodney colored, for he understood that his employer did not believe him.

“May I go to my room,” he asked, “and bring back the bundle with me?”

Observing that Mr. Goodnow hesitated he added, “You can send Some one with me to see that I don’t spirit away the parcel, and come back with it.”

“On these conditions you may go. Redwood, send some one with Ropes.”

Rodney followed the chief of his department back to the cloak room, and the latter, after a moments thought, summoned Jasper.

“Jasper,” he said, “Ropes is going to his room to get a parcel which belongs to the store. You may go with him.”

There was a flash of satisfaction in Jasper’s eyes as he answered with seeming indifference, “All right! I will go. I shall be glad to have a walk.”

As the two boys passed out of the store, Jasper asked, “What does it mean, Ropes?”

“I don’t know myself. I only know that there is said to be a parcel containing a cloak in my room. This cloak came from the store, and I am suspected of having stolen it.”

“Whew! that’s a serious matter. Of course it is all a mistake?”

“Yes, it is all a mistake.”

“But how could it get to your room unless you carried it there?”

Rodney gave Jasper a sharp look.

“Some one must have taken it there,” he said.

“How on earth did Uncle James find out?”

“An anonymous letter was sent to Mr. Goodnow charging me with theft. Did you hear that articles have been missed for some time from the stock?”

“Never heard a word of it” said Jasper with ready falsehood.

“It seems the articles are missing from our room, and some one in the room is suspected of being the thief.”

“Good gracious! I hope no one will suspect me,” said Jasper in pretended alarm.

“It seems I am suspected. I hope no other innocent person will have a like misfortune.”

Presently they reached Rodney’s lodgings. Mrs. McCarty was coming up the basement stairs as they entered.

“La, Mr. Ropes!” she said, “what brings you here in the middle of the day?”

“I hear there is a parcel in my room.”

“Yes; it contains such a lovely cloak. The gentleman from your store who called a little while ago thought you might have meant it as a present for me.”

“I am afraid it will be some time before I can afford to make such present. Do you know if any one called and left the cloak here?”

“No; I didn’t let in no one at the door.”

“Was the parcel there when you made the bed?”

“Well, no, it wasn’t. That is curious.”

“It shows that the parcel has been left here since. Now I certainly couldn’t have left it, for I have been at work all the morning. Come up stairs, Jasper.”

The two boys went up the stairs, and, entering Rodney’s room, found the parcel, still on the bed.

Rodney opened it and identified the cloak as exactly like those which they carried in stock.

He examined the paper in which it was inclosed, but it seemed to differ from the wrapping paper used at the store. He called Jasper’s attention to this.

“I have nothing to say,” remarked Jasper, shrugging his shoulders. “I don’t understand the matter at all. I suppose you are expected to carry the cloak back to the store.”

“Yes, that is the only thing to do.”

“I say, Ropes, it looks pretty bad for you.”

Jasper said this, but Rodney observed that his words were not accompanied by any expressions of sympathy, or any words that indicated his disbelief of Rodney’s guilt.

“Do you think I took this cloak from the store?” he demanded, facing round upon Jasper.

“Really, I don’t know. It looks bad, finding it in your room.”

“I needn’t ask any further. I can see what you think.”

“You wouldn’t have me tell a lie, would you, Ropes? Of course such things have been done before, and your salary is small.”

“You insult me by your words,” said Rodney, flaming up.

“Then I had better not speak, but you asked me, you know.”

“Yes, I did. Things may look against me, but I am absolutely innocent.”

“If you can make Mr. Goodnow think so,” said Jasper with provoking coolness, “it will be all right. Perhaps he will forgive you.”

“I don’t want his forgiveness. I want him to think me honest.”

“Well, I hope you are, I am sure, but it won’t do any good our discussing it, and it doesn’t make any difference what I think any way.”

By this time they had reached the store.



Rodney reported his return to Mr. Redwood, and in his company went down stairs to the office, with the package under his arm.

“Well?” said Mr. Goodnow inquiringly.

“This is the package, sir.”

“And it was found in your room?”

“Yes, sir, I found it on my bed.”

“Can’t you account for it being there?” asked the merchant searchingly.

“No, sir.”

“You must admit that its presence in your room looks bad for you.”

“I admit it sir; but I had nothing to do with it being there.”

“Have you any theory to account for it?”

“Only this, that some one must have carried it to my room and placed it where it was found.”

“Did you question your landlady as to whether she had admitted any one during the morning?”

“Yes, sir. She had not.”

“This is very unfavorable to you.”

“In what way, sir?”

“It makes it probable that you carried in the parcel yourself.”

“That I deny,” said Rodney boldly.

“I expected you to deny it” said the merchant coldly. “If this cloak were the only one that had been taken I would drop the matter. But this is by no means the case. Mr. Redwood, can you give any idea of the extent to which we have been robbed?”

“So far as I can estimate we have lost a dozen cloaks and about half a dozen dress patterns.”

“This is a serious loss, Ropes,” said Mr. Goodnow. “I should think it would foot up several hundred dollars. If you can throw any light upon the thefts, or give me information by which I can get back the goods even at considerable expense, I will be as considerate with you as I can.”

“Mr. Goodnow,” returned Rodney hotly, “I know no more about the matter than you do. I hope you will investigate, and if you can prove that I took any of the missing articles I want no consideration. I shall expect you to have me arrested, and, if convicted, punished.”

“These are brave words, Ropes,” said Mr. Goodnow coldly, “but they are only words. The parcel found in your room affords strong ground for suspicion that you are responsible for at least a part of the thefts. Under the circumstances there is only one thing for me to do, and that is to discharge you.”

“Very well, sir.”

“You may go to the cashier and he will pay you to the end of the week, but your connection with the store will end at once.”

“I don’t care to be paid to the end of the week, sir. If you will give me an order for payment up to tonight, that will be sufficient.”

“It shall be as you say.”

Mr. Goodnow wrote a few words on a slip of paper and handed it to Rodney.

“I will leave my address, sir, and if I change it I will notify you. If you should hear anything as to the real robber I will ask you as a favor to communicate with me.”

“Mr. Redwood, you have heard the request of Ropes, I will look to you to comply with it.”

“Very well, sir.”

The merchant turned back to his letters, and Rodney left the office, with what feelings of sorrow and humiliation may be imagined.

“I am sorry for this occurrence, Ropes,” said Mr. Redwood, with a touch of sympathy in his voice.

“Do you believe me guilty, Mr. Redwood?”

“I cannot do otherwise. I hope you are innocent, and, if so, that the really guilty party will be discovered sooner or later.”

“Thank you, sir.”

When they entered the room in which Rodney had been employed Jasper came up, his face alive with curiosity.

“Well,” he said, “how did you come out?”

“I am discharged,” said Rodney bitterly.

“Well, you couldn’t complain of that. Things looked pretty dark for you.”

“If I had committed the theft, I would not complain. Indeed, I would submit to punishment without a murmur. But it is hard to suffer while innocent.”

“Uncle James,” said Jasper, “if Ropes is going will you ask Mr. Goodnow to put me in his place?”

Even Mr. Redwood was disgusted by this untimely request.

“It would be more becoming,” he said sharply, “if you would wait till Ropes was fairly out of the store before applying for his position.”

“I want to be in time. I don’t want any one to get ahead of me.”

James Redwood did not deign a reply.

“I am sorry you leave us under such circumstances, Ropes,” he said. “The time may come when you will be able to establish your innocence, and in that case Mr. Goodnow will probably take you back again.”

Rodney did not answer, but with his order went to the cashier’s desk and received the four dollars due him. Then, with a heavy heart, he left the store where it had been such a satisfaction to him to work.

On Broadway he met his room mate, Mike Flynn, in the uniform of a telegraph boy.

“Where are you goin’, Rodney?” asked Mike. “You ain’t let off so early, are you?”

“I am let off for good and all, Mike.”

“What’s that?”

“I am discharged.”

“What for?” asked Mike in amazement.

“I will tell you when you get home tonight.”

Rodney went back to his room, and lay down sad and despondent. Some hours later Mike came in, and was told the story. The warm hearted telegraph boy was very angry.

“That boss of yours must be a stupid donkey,” he said.

“I don’t know. The parcel was found in my room.”

“Anybody’d know to look at you that you wouldn’t steal.”

“Some thieves look very innocent. The only way to clear me is to find out who left the bundle at the house.”

“Doesn’t Mrs. McCarty know anything about it?”

“No; I asked her.”

“Some one might have got into the house without her knowing anything about it. The lock is a very common one. There are plenty of keys that will open it.”

“If we could find some one that saw a person with a bundle go up the steps, that would give us a clew.”

“That’s so. We’ll ask.”

But for several days no one could be found who had seen any such person.

Meanwhile Rodney was at a loss what to do. He was cut off from applying for another place, for no one would engage him if he were refused a recommendation from his late employer. Yet he must obtain some employment for he could not live on nothing.

“Do you think, Mike,” he asked doubtfully, “that I could make anything selling papers?”

“Such business isn’t for you,” answered the telegraph boy.

“But it is one of the few things open to me. I can become a newsboy without recommendations. Even your business would be closed to me if it were known that I was suspected of theft.”

“Thats so,” said Mike, scratching his head in perplexity.

“Then would you recommend my becoming a newsboy?”

“I don’t know. You couldn’t make more’n fifty or sixty cent a day.”

“That will be better than nothing.”

“And I can pay the rent, or most of it, as I’ll be doin’ better than you.”

“We will wait and see how much I make.”

So Rodney swallowed his pride, and procuring a supply of afternoon papers set about selling them. He knew that it was an honest business, and there was no disgrace in following it.

But one day he was subjected to keen mortification. Jasper Redwood and a friend–it was Philip Carton, his confederate–were walking along Broadway, and their glances fell on Rodney.

“I say, Jasper,” said the elder of the two, “isn’t that the boy who was in the same store with you?”

Jasper looked, and his eyes lighted up with malicious satisfaction.

“Oho!” he said. “Well, this is rich!”

“Give me a paper, boy,” he said, pretending not to recognize Rodney at first. “Why, it’s Ropes.”

“Yes,” answered Rodney, his cheek flushing. “You see what I am reduced to. What paper will you buy?”

“The Mail and Express.”

“Here it is.”

“Can’t you get another place?” asked Jasper curiously.

“I might if I could get a recommendation, but probably Mr. Goodnow wouldn’t give me one.”

“No, I guess not.”

“So I must take what I can get.”

“Do you make much selling papers?”

“Very little.”

“You can’t make as much as you did in the store?”

“Not much more than half as much.”

“Do you live in the same place?”

“Yes, for the present.”

“Oh, by the way, Ropes, I’ve got your old place,” said Jasper in exultation.

“I thought you would get it,” answered Rodney, not without a pang.

“Come into the store some day, Ropes. It will seem like old times.”

“I shall not enter the store till I am able to clear myself of the charge made against me.”

“Then probably you will stay away a long time.”

“I am afraid so.”

“Well, ta, ta! Come along, Philip.”

As Rodney followed with his eye the figure of his complacent successor he felt that his fate was indeed a hard one.



As Jasper and his companion moved away, Carton said, “I’m sorry for that poor duffer, Jasper.”

“Why should you be sorry?” asked Jasper, frowning.

“Because he has lost a good place and good prospects, and all for no fault of his own.”

“You are getting sentimental, Philip,” sneered Jasper.

“No, but I am showing a little humanity. He has lost all this through you—-“

“Through us, you mean.”

“Well, through us. We have made him the scapegoat for our sins.”

“Oh well, he is making a living.”

“A pretty poor one. I don’t think you would like to be reduced to selling papers.”

“His case and mine are different.”

“I begin to think also that we have made a mistake in getting him discharged so soon.”

“We can’t take anything more.”

“Why not?”

“Because there will be no one to lay the blame upon. He is out of the store.”

“That is true. I didn’t think of that. But I invited him to come around and call. If he should, and something else should be missing it would be laid to him.”

“I don’t believe he will call. I am terribly hard up, and our source of income has failed us. Haven’t you got a dollar or two to spare?”

“No,” answered Jasper coldly. “I only get seven dollars a week.”

“But you have nearly all that. You only have to hand in two dollars a week to your uncle.”

“Look here, Philip Carton, I hope you don’t expect to live off me. I have all I can do to take care of myself.”

Carton looked at Jasper in anger and mortification.

“I begin to understand how good a friend you are,” he said.

“I am not fool enough to pinch myself to keep you,” said Jasper bluntly. “You are a man of twenty five and I am only a boy. You ought to be able to take care of yourself.”

“Just give me a dollar, or lend it Jasper, and I will risk it at play. I may rise from the table with a hundred. If I do I will pay you handsomely for the loan.”

“I couldn’t do it, Mr. Carton. I have only two dollars in my pocket, and I have none to spare.”

“Humph! what is that?”

Philip Carton’s eyes were fixed upon the sidewalk. There was a flimsy piece of paper fluttering about impelled by the wind. He stooped and picked it up.

“It is a five dollar bill,” he exclaimed in exultation. “My luck has come back.”

Jasper changed his tone at once. Now Philip was the better off of the two.

“That is luck!” he said. “Shall we go into Delmonico’s, and have an ice?”

“If it is at your expense, yes.”

“That wouldn’t be fair. You have more money than I.”

“Yes, and I mean to keep it myself. You have set me the example.”

“Come, Philip, you are not angry at my refusing you a loan?”

“No; I think you were sensible. I shall follow your example.

I will bid you good night. I seem to be in luck, and will try my fortune at the gaming table.”

“I will go with you.”

“No; I would prefer to go alone.”

“That fellow is unreasonable,” muttered Jasper, as he strode off, discontented. “Did he expect I would divide my salary with him?”

Philip Carton, after he parted company with Jasper, walked back to where Rodney was still selling papers.

“Give me a paper,” he said.

“Which will you have?”

“I am not particular. Give me the first that comes handy. Ah, the Evening Sun will do.”

He took the paper and put a quarter into Rodney’s hand.

As he was walking away Rodney called out, “Stop, here’s your change,”

“Never mind,” said Philip with a wave of the hand.

“Thank you,” said Rodney gratefully, for twenty five cents was no trifle to him at this time.

“That ought to bring me luck,” soliloquized Philip Carton as he walked on. “It isn’t often I do a good deed. It was all the money I had besides the five dollar bill, and I am sure the news boy will make better use of it than I would.”

“That was the young man that was walking with Jasper,” reflected Rodney. “Well, he is certainly a better fellow than he. Thanks to this quarter, I shall have made eighty cents today, and still have half a dozen papers. That is encouraging.”

Several days passed that could not be considered lucky. Rodney’s average profits were only about fifty cent a day, and that was barely sufficient to buy his meals. It left him nothing to put towards paying room rent.

He began to consider whether he would not be compelled to pawn some article from his wardrobe, for he was well supplied with clothing, when he had a stroke of luck.

On Fifteenth Street, by the side of Tiffany’s great jewelry store, he picked up a square box neatly done up in thin paper. Opening it, he was dazzled by the gleam of diamonds.

The contents were a diamond necklace and pin, which, even to Rodney’s inexperienced eyes, seemed to be of great value.

“Some one must have dropped them in coming from the jewelry store,” he reflected. “Who can it be?”

He had not far to seek. There was a card inside on which was engraved:


with an address on Fifth Avenue.

Passing through to Fifth Avenue Rodney began to scan the numbers on the nearest houses. He judged that Mrs. Harvey must live considerably farther up the Avenue, in the direction of Central Park.

“I will go there at once,” Rodney decided. “No doubt Mrs. Harvey is very much distressed by her loss. I shall carry her good news.”

The house he found to be between Fortieth and Fiftieth Street. Ascending the steps he rang the bell. The door was opened by a man servant.

“Does Mrs. Harvey live here?” asked Rodney.

“What do you want with her, young man?” demanded the servant in a tone of importance.

“That I will tell her.”

“What’s your name?”

“I can give you my name, but she won’t recognize it.”

“Then you don’t know her.”


“If it’s money you want, she don’t give to beggars.”

“You are impudent” said Rodney hotly. “If you don’t give my message you will get into trouble.”

The servant opened his eyes. He seemed somewhat impressed by Rodney’s confident tone.

“Mrs. Harvey doesn’t live here,” he said.

“Is she in the house?”

“Well, yes, she’s visiting here.”

“Then why do you waste your time?” said Rodney impatiently. He forgot for the time that he was no longer being educated at an expensive boarding school, and spoke in the tone he would have used before his circumstances had changed.

“I’ll go and ask if she’ll see you,” said the flunky unwillingly.

Five minutes later a pleasant looking woman of middle age descended the staircase.

“Are you the boy that wished to see me?” she asked.

“Yes, if you are Mrs. Harvey.”

“I am. But come in! Thomas, why didn’t you invite this young gentleman into the parlor?”

Thomas opened his eyes wide. So the boy whom he had treated so cavalierly was a young gentleman.

He privately put down Mrs. Harvey in his own mind as eccentric.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” he said. “I didn’t know as he was parlor company.”

“Well, he is,” said Mrs. Harvey with a cordial smile that won Rodney’s heart.

“Follow me!” said the lady.