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Driven From Home by Horatio Alger

Part 4 out of 6

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"My bookkeeper is aware of it."

"Then, my friend, I caution you to remove
the bonds from so unsafe a depository as soon
as possible. Unless I am greatly mistaken,
this man, Stark, has bought over your bookkeeper,
and will have his aid in robbing you."

"What is your advice?"

"To remove the bonds this very evening," said Thorndike.

"Do you think the danger so pressing?"

"Of course I don't know that an attempt
will be made to-night, but it is quite possible.
Should it be so, you would have an opportunity
to realize that delays are dangerous."

"Should Mr. Gibbon find, on opening the
safe to-morrow morning, that the box is gone,
it may lead to an attack upon my house."

"I wish you to leave the box in the safe."

"But I understand that you advised me to remove it."

"Not the box, but the bonds. Listen to my plan.
Cut out some newspaper slips of about the same bulk
as the bonds, put them in place of the bonds in the box,
and quietly transfer the bonds in your pocket to your
own house. To-morrow you can place them in the bank.
Should no burglary be attempted, let the box remain
in the safe, just as if its contents were valuable."

"Your advice is good, and I will adopt it,"
said Jennings, "and thank you for your valuable
and friendly instruction."

"If agreeable to you I will accompany you to
the office at once. The bonds cannot be removed
too soon. Then if anyone sees us entering,
it will be thought that you are showing
me the factory. It will divert suspicion,
even if we are seen by Stark or your bookkeeper."

"May I go, too?" asked Carl, eagerly.

"Certainly," said the manufacturer. "I know, Carl,
that you are devoted to my interests.
It is a comfort to know this, now that
I have cause to suspect my bookkeeper."

It was only a little after nine. The night
was moderately dark, and Carl was intrusted
with a wax candle, which he put in his pocket
for use in the office. They reached the factory
without attracting attention, and entered
by the office door.

Mr. Jennings opened the safe--he and the
bookkeeper alone knew the combination--and
with some anxiety took out the tin box. It
was possible that the contents had already
been removed. But no! on opening it, the
bonds were found intact. According to Mr.
Thorndike's advice, he transferred them to his
pocket, and substituted folded paper. Then,
replacing everything, the safe was once more
locked, and the three left the office.

Mr. Thorndike returned to the hotel, and
Mr. Jennings to his house, but Carl asked
permission to remain out a while longer.

"It is on my mind that an attempt will be
made to-night to rob the safe," he said.
"I want to watch near the factory to see if my
suspicion is correct."

"Very well, Carl, but don't stay out too long!"
said his employer.

"Suppose I see them entering the office, sir?"

"Don't interrupt them! They will find
themselves badly fooled. Notice only if Mr.
Gibbon is of the party. I must know whether my
bookkeeper is to be trusted."



Carl seated himself behind a stone wall on
the opposite side of the street from the factory.
The building was on the outskirts of the village,
though not more than half a mile from
the post office, and there was very little travel
in that direction during the evening. This
made it more favorable for thieves, though up
to the present time no burglarious attempt
had been made on it. Indeed, Milford had been
exceptionally fortunate in that respect.
Neighboring towns had been visited, some of
them several times, but Milford had escaped.

The night was quite dark, but not what is
called pitchy dark. As the eyes became
accustomed to the obscurity, they were able to
see a considerable distance. So it was with
Carl. From his place of concealment he
occasionally raised his head and looked across
the way to the factory. An hour passed, and
he grew tired. It didn't look as if the
attempt were to be made that night. Eleven
o'clock pealed out from the spire of the Bap-
tist Church, a quarter of a mile away. Carl
counted the strokes, and when the last died
into silence, he said to himself:

"I will stay here about ten minutes longer.
Then, if no one comes, I will give it up for tonight."

The time was nearly up when his quick ear
caught a low murmur of voices. Instantly
he was on the alert. Waiting till the sound
came nearer, he ventured to raise his head for
an instant above the top of the wall.

His heart beat with excitement when he saw
two figures approaching. Though it was so
dark, he recognized them by their size and
outlines. They were Julius Gibbon, the bookkeeper,
and Phil Stark, the stranger staying at the hotel.

Carl watched closely, raising his head for
a few seconds at a time above the wall, ready
to lower it should either glance in his direction.
But neither of the men did so. Ignorant
that they were suspected, it was the farthest
possible from their thoughts that anyone
would be on the watch.

Presently they came so near that Carl could
hear their voices.

"I wish it was over," murmured Gibbon, nervously.

"Don't worry," said his companion. "There is no
occasion for haste. Everybody in Milford is in bed
and asleep, and we have several hours at our disposal."

"You must remember that my reputation is
at stake. This night's work may undo me."

"My friend, you can afford to take the chances.
Haven't I agreed to give you half the bonds?"

"I shall be suspected, and shall be obliged
to stand my ground, while you will disappear
from the scene."

"Two thousand dollars will pay you for some
inconvenience. I don't see why you should be
suspected. You will be supposed to be fast
asleep on your virtuous couch, while some bad
burglar is robbing your worthy employer. Of
course you will be thunderstruck when in the
morning the appalling discovery is made. I'll
tell you what will be a good dodge for you."


"Offer a reward of a hundred dollars from
your own purse for the discovery of the villain
who has robbed the safe and abstracted
the bonds."

Phil Stark burst out into a loud guffaw as
he uttered these words.

"Hush!" said Gibbon, timidly. "I thought
I heard some one moving."

"What a timid fool you are!" muttered Stark,
contemptuously. "If I had no more pluck,
I'd hire myself out to herd cows."

"It's a better business," said Gibbon, bitterly.

"Well, well, each to his taste! If you lose
your place as bookkeeper, you might offer your
services to some farmer. As for me, the danger,
though there isn't much, is just enough
to make it exciting."

"I don't care for any such excitement," said
Gibbon, dispiritedly. "Why couldn't you have
kept away and let me earn an honest living?"

"Because I must live as well as you, my dear
friend. When this little affair is over, you
will thank me for helping you to a good thing."

Of course all this conversation did not take
place within Carl's hearing. While it was going
on, the men had opened the office door and
entered. Then, as Carl watched the window
closely he saw a narrow gleam of light from
a dark lantern illuminating the interior.

"Now they are at the safe," thought Carl.

We, who are privileged, will enter the
office and watch the proceedings.

Gibbon had no difficulty in opening the safe,
for he was acquainted with the combination.
Stark thrust in his hand eagerly and drew out the box.

"This is what we want," he said, in a tone of satisfaction.
"Have you a key that will open it?"


"Then I shall have to take box and all."

"Let us get through as soon as possible,"
said Gibbon, uneasily.

"You can close the safe, if you want to.
There is nothing else worth taking?"


"Then we will evacuate the premises. Is
there an old newspaper I can use to wrap up
the box in? It might look suspicious if anyone
should see it in our possession."

"Yes, here is one."

He handed a copy of a weekly paper to Phil Stark,
who skillfully wrapped up the box, and placing
it under his arm, went out of the office,
leaving Gibbon to follow.

"Where will you carry it?" asked Gibbon.

"Somewhere out of sight where I can safely open it.
I should have preferred to take the bonds,
and leave the box in the safe. Then the bonds
might not have been missed for a week or more."

"That would have been better."

That was the last that Carl heard. The
two disappeared in the darkness, and Carl,
raising himself from his place of concealment,
stretched his cramped limbs and made the best
of his way home. He thought no one would
be up, but Mr. Jennings came out from the
sitting-room, where he had flung himself on a
lounge, and met Carl in the hall.

"Well?" he said.

"The safe has been robbed."

"Who did it?" asked the manufacturer, quickly.

"The two we suspected."

"Did you see Mr. Gibbon, then?"

"Yes; he was accompanied by Mr. Stark."

"You saw them enter the factory?"

"Yes, sir; I was crouching behind the stone
wall on the other side of the road."

"How long were they inside?"

"Not over fifteen minutes--perhaps only ten."

"Mr. Gibbon knew the combination," said Jennings, quietly.
"There was no occasion to lose time in breaking open the safe.
There is some advantage in having a friend inside.
Did you see them go out?"

"Yes, sir."

"Carrying the tin box with them?"

"Yes, sir. Mr. Stark wrapped it in a
newspaper after they got outside."

"But you saw the tin box?"


"Then, if necessary, you can testify to it.
I thought it possible that Mr. Gibbon might
have a key to open it."

"I overheard Stark regretting that he could
not open it so as to abstract the bonds and
leave the box in the safe. In that case, he
said, it might be some time before the robbery
was discovered."

"He will himself make an unpleasant discovery
when he opens the box. I don't think
there is any call to pity him, do you, Carl?"

"No, sir. I should like to be within sight
when he opens it."

The manufacturer laughed quietly.

"Yes," he said; "if I could see it I should
feel repaid for the loss of the box. Let it be
a lesson for you, my boy. Those who seek to
enrich themselves by unlawful means are likely
in the end to meet with disappointment."

"Do you think I need the lesson?" asked Carl, smiling.

"No, my lad. I am sure you don't. But
you do need a good night's rest. Let us go
to bed at once, and get what sleep we may.
I won't allow the burglary to keep me awake."

He laughed in high good humor, and Carl
went up to his comfortable room, where he soon
lost all remembrance of the exciting scene of
which he had been a witness.

Mr. Jennings went to the factory at the
usual time the next morning.

As he entered the office the bookkeeper
approached him pale and excited.

"Mr. Jennings," he said, hurriedly, "I have
bad news for you."

"What is it, Mr. Gibbon?"

"When I opened the safe this morning, I
discovered that the tin box had been stolen."

Mr. Jennings took the news quietly.

"Have you any suspicion who took it?" he asked.

"No, sir. I--I hope the loss is not a heavy one."

"I do not care to make the extent of the loss public.
Were there any marks of violence? Was the safe broken open?"

"No, sir."

"Singular; is it not?"

"If you will allow me I will join in offering
a reward for the discovery of the thief. I
feel in a measure responsible."

"I will think of your offer, Mr. Gibbon."

"He suspects nothing," thought Gibbon,
with a sigh of relief.



Philip Stark went back to the hotel with
the tin box under his arm. He would like to
have entered the hotel without notice, but this
was impossible, for the landlord's nephew was
just closing up. Though not late for the city,
it was very late for the country, and he looked
surprised when Stark came in.

"I am out late," said Stark, with a smile.


"That is, late for Milford. In the city
I never go to bed before midnight."

"Have you been out walking?"


"You found it rather dark, did you not?"

"It is dark as a pocket."

"You couldn't have found the walk a very
pleasant one."

"You are right, my friend; but I didn't walk
for pleasure. The fact is, I am rather worried
about a business matter. I have learned
that I am threatened with a heavy loss--an
unwise investment in the West--and I wanted
time to think it over and decide how to act."

"I see," answered the clerk, respectfully, for
Stark's words led him to think that his guest
was a man of wealth.

"I wish I was rich enough to be worried by
such a cause," he said, jokingly.

"I wish you were. Some time I may be able
to throw something in your way."

"Do you think it would pay me to go to the West?"
asked the clerk, eagerly.

"I think it quite likely--if you know some one
out in that section."

"But I don't know anyone."

"You know me," said Stark, significantly.

"Do you think you could help me to a place,
Mr. Stark?"

"I think I could. A month from now write
to me Col. Philip Stark, at Denver, Colorado,
and I will see if I can find an opening for you."

"You are very kind, Mr.--I mean Col.
Stark," said the clerk, gratefully.

"Oh, never mind about the title," returned
Stark, smiling good-naturedly. "I only gave
it to you just now, because everybody in Denver
knows me as a colonel, and I am afraid a
letter otherwise addressed would not reach me.
By the way, I am sorry that I shall probably
have to leave you to-morrow."

"So soon?"

"Yes; it's this tiresome business. I should
not wonder if I might lose ten thousand dollars
through the folly of my agent. I shall
probably have to go out to right things."

"I couldn't afford to lose ten thousand dollars,"
said the young man, regarding the capitalist
before him with deference.

"No, I expect not. At your age I wasn't
worth ten thousand cents. Now--but that's
neither here nor there. Give me a light,
please, and I will go up to bed."

"He was about to say how much he is worth now,"
soliloquized the clerk. "I wish he had
not stopped short. If I can't be rich myself,
I like to talk with a rich man. There's hope
for me, surely. He says that at my age he was
not worth ten thousand cents. That is only
a hundred dollars, and I am worth that. I
must keep it to pay my expenses to Colorado,
if he should send for me in a few weeks."

The young man had noticed with some
curiosity the rather oddly-shaped bundle which
Stark carried under his arm, but could not
see his way clear to asking any questions about
it. It seemed queer that Stark should have
it with him while walking. Come to think of
it, he remembered seeing him go out in the
early evening, and he was quite confident that
at that time he had no bundle with him. However,
he was influenced only by a spirit of idle
curiosity. He had no idea that the bundle was
of any importance or value. The next day
he changed his opinion on that subject.

Phil Stark went up to his chamber, and
setting the lamp on the bureau, first carefully
locked the door, and then removed the paper
from the tin box. He eyed it lovingly, and
tried one by one the keys he had in his pocket,
but none exactly fitted.

As he was experimenting he thought with a smile
of the night clerk from whom he had just parted.

"Stark," he soliloquized, addressing himself,
"you are an old humbug. You have cleverly
duped that unsophisticated young man downstairs.
He looks upon you as a man of unbounded
wealth, evidently, while, as a matter
of fact, you are almost strapped. Let me
see how much I have got left."

He took out his wallet, and counted out
seven dollars and thirty-eight cents.

"That can hardly be said to constitute
wealth," he reflected, "but it is all I have over
and above the contents of this box. That makes
all the difference. Gibbon is of opinion that
there are four thousand dollars in bonds
inside, and he expects me to give him half. Shall
I do it? Not such a fool! I'll give him fifteen
hundred and keep the balance myself.
That'll pay him handsomely, and the rest will
be a good nestegg for me. If Gibbon is only
half shrewd he will pull the wool over the eyes
of that midget of an employer, and retain his
place and comfortable salary. There will be
no evidence against him, and he can pose as
an innocent man. Bah! what a lot of
humbug there is in the world. Well,
well, Stark, you have your share, no
doubt. Otherwise how would you make
a living? To-morrow I must clear out
from Milford, and give it a wide berth in
future. I suppose there will be a great hue-
and-cry about the robbery of the safe. It will
be just as well for me to be somewhere else.
I have already given the clerk a good reason
for my sudden departure. Confound it, it's
a great nuisance that I can't open this box! I
would like to know before I go to bed just how
much boodle I have acquired. Then I can
decide how much to give Gibbon. If I dared
I'd keep the whole, but he might make trouble."

Phil Stark, or Col. Philip Stark, as he had
given his name, had a large supply of keys,
but none of them seemed to fit the tin box.

"I am afraid I shall excite suspicion if I sit
up any longer," thought Stark. "I will go
to bed and get up early in the morning. Then
I may succeed better in opening this plaguy box."

He removed his clothing and got into bed.
The evening had been rather an exciting one,
but the excitement was a pleasurable one, for
he had succeeded in the plan which he and the
bookkeeper had so ingeniously formed and carried
out, and here within reach was the rich
reward after which they had striven. Mr.
Stark was not troubled with a conscience--
that he had got rid of years ago--and he was
filled with a comfortable consciousness of
having retrieved his fortunes when they were on
the wane. So, in a short time he fell asleep,
and slept peacefully. Toward morning, however,
he had a disquieting dream. It seemed
to him that he awoke suddenly from slumber.
and saw Gibbon leaving the room with the tin
box under his arm. He awoke really with
beads of perspiration upon his brow--awoke
to see by the sun streaming in at his window
that the morning was well advanced, and the
tin box was still safe.

"Thank Heaven, it was but a dream!" he murmured.
"I must get up and try once more to open the box."

The keys had all been tried, and had proved
not to fit. Mr. Stark was equal to the emergency.
He took from his pocket a button hook and bent it
so as to make a pick, and after a little experimenting
succeeded in turning the lock. He lifted the lid eagerly,
and with distended eyes prepared to gloat upon the stolen
bonds. But over his face there came a startling change.
The ashy blue hue of disappointment succeeded the glowing,
hopeful look. He snatched at one of the folded slips of paper
and opened it. Alas! it was valueless, mere waste paper.
He sank into a chair in a limp, hopeless posture,
quite overwhelmed. Then he sprang up suddenly,
and his expression changed to one of fury and menace.

"If Julius Gibbon has played this trick upon me,"
he said, between his set teeth, "he shall repent it--bitterly!"



Philip Stark sat down to breakfast in a
savage frame of mind. He wanted to be revenged
upon Gibbon, whom he suspected of
having deceived him by opening and
appropriating the bonds, and then arranged to have
him carry off the box filled with waste paper.

He sat at the table but five minutes, for he
had little or no appetite.

From the breakfast room he went out on the piazza,
and with corrugated brows smoked a cigar, but it failed
to have the usual soothing effect.

If he had known the truth he would have
left Milford without delay, but he was far
from suspecting that the deception practiced
upon him had been arranged by the man whom
he wanted to rob. While there seemed little
inducement for him to stay in Milford, he was
determined to seek the bookkeeper, and ascertain
whether, as he suspected, his confederate
had in his possession the bonds which he had
been scheming for. If so, he would compel
him by threats to disgorge the larger portion,
and then leave town at once.

But the problem was, how to see him. He
felt that it would be venturesome to go round
to the factory, as by this time the loss might
have been discovered. If only the box had
been left, the discovery might be deferred.
Then a bright idea occurred to him. He must
get the box out of his own possession, as its
discovery would compromise him. Why could
he not arrange to leave it somewhere on the
premises of his confederate?

He resolved upon the instant to carry out
the idea. He went up to his room, wrapped
the tin box in a paper, and walked round to
the house of the bookkeeper. The coast seemed
to be clear, as he supposed it would be. He
slipped into the yard, and swiftly entered an
outhouse. There was a large wooden chest,
or box, which had once been used to store
grain. Stark lifted the cover, dropped the
box inside, and then, with a feeling of relief,
walked out of the yard. But he had been
observed. Mrs. Gibbon chanced to be looking
out of a side window and saw him. She recognized
him as the stranger who had been in the habit
of spending recent evenings with her husband.

"What can he want here at this time?"
she asked herself.

She deliberated whether she should go to
the door and speak to Stark, but decided not
to do so.

"He will call at the door if he has anything
to say," she reflected.

Phil Stark walked on till he reached the factory.
He felt that he must see Julius Gibbon,
and satisfy himself as to the meaning of the
mysterious substitution of waste paper for bonds.

When he reached a point where he could see
into the office, he caught the eye of Leonard,
who was sitting at the window. He beckoned
for him to come out, and Leonard was glad to do so.

"Where are you going?" asked the bookkeeper,
observing the boy's movement.

"Mr. Stark is just across the street, and he
beckoned for me."

Julius Gibbon flushed painfully, and he
trembled with nervous agitation, for he feared
something had happened.

"Very well, go out, but don't stay long."

Leonard crossed the street and walked up to Stark,
who awaited him, looking grim and stern.

"Your uncle is inside?" he asked.

"Yes, sir."

"Tell him I wish to see him at once--
on business of importance."

"He's busy," said Leonard. "'He doesn't
leave the office in business hours."

"Tell him I must see him--do you hear?
He'll come fast enough."

"I wonder what it's all about," thought
Leonard, whose curiosity was naturally excited.

"Wait a minute!" said Stark, as he turned to go.
"Is Jennings in?"

"No, sir, he has gone over to the next town."

"Probably the box has not been missed, then,"
thought Stark. "So much the better! I can
find out how matters stand, and then leave town."

"Very well!" he said, aloud, "let your uncle
understand that I must see him."

Leonard carried in the message. Gibbon made
no objection, but took his hat and went out,
leaving Leonard in charge of the office.

"Well, what is it?" he asked, hurriedly, as
he reached Stark. "Is--is the box all right?"

"Look here, Gibbon," said Stark, harshly,
"have you been playing any of your infernal
tricks upon me?"

"I don't know what you mean," responded
Gibbon, bewildered.

Stark eyed him sharply, but the bookkeeper
was evidently sincere.

"Is there anything wrong?" continued the latter.

"Do you mean to tell me you didn't know
that wretched box was filled with waste paper?"

"You don't mean it?" exclaimed Gibbon, in dismay.

"Yes, I do. I didn't open it till this morning,
and in place of government bonds, I found
only folded slips of newspaper."

By this time Gibbon was suspicious. Having
no confidence in Stark, it occurred to him
that it was a ruse to deprive him of his share
of the bonds.

"I don't believe you," he said. "You want
to keep all the bonds for yourself, and cheat
me out of my share."

"I wish to Heaven you were right. If there
had been any bonds, I would have acted on the
square. But somebody had removed them,
and substituted paper. I suspected you."

"I am ready to swear that this has happened
without my knowledge," said Gibbon, earnestly.

"How, then, could it have occurred?" asked Stark.

"I don't know, upon my honor. Where is the box?"

"I--have disposed of it."

"You should have waited and opened it before me."

"I asked you if you had a key that would open it.
I wanted to open it last evening in the office."


"You will see after a while that I was acting
on the square. You can open it for yourself
at your leisure."

"How can I? I don't know where it is."

"Then I can enlighten you," said Stark,
maliciously. "When you go home, you will
find it in a chest in your woodshed."

Gibbon turned pale.

"You don't mean to say you have carried it
to my house?" he exclaimed, in dismay.

"Yes, I do. I had no further use for it,
and thought you had the best claim to it."

"But, good heavens! if it is found there I
shall be suspected."

"Very probably," answered Stark, coolly.
"Take my advice and put it out of the way."

"How could you be so inconsiderate?"

"Because I suspected you of playing me a trick."

"I swear to you, I didn't."

"Then somebody has tricked both of us. Has Mr. Jennings
discovered the disappearance of the box?"

"Yes, I told him."


"When he came to the office."

"What did he say?"

"He took the matter coolly. He didn't say much."

"Where is he?"

"Gone to Winchester on business."

"Look here! Do you think he suspects you?"

"I am quite sure not. That is why I told
him about the robbery."

"He might suspect me."

"He said nothing about suspecting anybody."

"Do you think he removed the bonds and substituted paper?"

"I don't think so."

"If this were the case we should both be in
a serious plight. I think I had better get out
of town. You will have to lend me ten dollars."

"I don't see how I can, Stark."

"You must!" said Stark, sternly, "or I will
reveal the whole thing. Remember, the box
is on your premises."

"Heavens! what a quandary I am in," said
the bookkeeper, miserably. "That must be
attended to at once. Why couldn't you put it
anywhere else?"

"I told you that I wanted to be revenged upon you."

"I wish you had never come to Milford,"
groaned the bookkeeper.

"I wish I hadn't myself, as things have turned out."

They prepared to start for Gibbon's house,
when Mr. Jennings drove up. With him were
two tall muscular men, whom Stark and Gibbon
eyed uneasily. The two strangers jumped
out of the carriage and advanced toward the
two confederates.

"Arrest those men!" said Jennings, in a quiet tone.
"I charge them with opening and robbing my safe
last night about eleven o'clock."



Phil Stark made an effort to get away,
but the officer was too quick for him.
In a trice he was handcuffed.

"What is the meaning of this outrage?"
demanded Stark, boldly.

"I have already explained," said the
manufacturer, quietly.

"You are quite on the wrong tack," continued
Stark, brazenly. "Mr. Gibbon was just
informing me that the safe had been opened
and robbed. It is the first I knew of it."

Julius Gibbon seemed quite prostrated by his arrest.
He felt it necessary to say something,
and followed the lead of his companion.

"You will bear me witness, Mr. Jennings,"
he said, "that I was the first to inform you of
the robbery. If I had really committed the
burglary, I should have taken care to escape
during the night."

"I should be glad to believe in your innocence,"
rejoined the manufacturer. "but I know more
about this matter than you suppose."

"I won't answer for Mr. Gibbon," said Stark,
who cared nothing for his confederate,
if he could contrive to effect his own escape.
"Of course he had opportunities, as bookkeeper,
which an outsider could not have."

Gibbon eyed his companion in crime distrustfully.
He saw that Stark was intending to throw him over.

"I am entirely willing to have my room at the hotel searched,"
continued Stark, gathering confidence. "If you find any traces
of the stolen property there, you are welcome to make the
most of them. I have no doubt Mr. Gibbon will make you
the same offer in regard to his house."

Gibbon saw at once the trap which had been
so craftily prepared for him. He knew that
any search of his premises would result in the
discovery of the tin box, and had no doubt that
Stark would he ready to testify to any falsehood
likely to fasten the guilt upon him.
His anger was roused and he forgot his prudence.

"You--scoundrel!" he hissed between his closed teeth.

"You seem excited," sneered Stark. "Is it possible
that you object to the search?"

"If the missing box is found on my premises,"
said Gibbon, in a white heat, "it is because
you have concealed it there."

Phil Stark shrugged his shoulders.

"I think, gentlemen," he said, "that settles it.
I am afraid Mr Gibbon is guilty. I shall be glad
to assist you to recover the stolen property.
Did the box contain much that was of value?"

"I must caution you both against saying anything
that will compromise you," said one of the officers.

"I have nothing to conceal," went on Stark,
brazenly. "I am obliged to believe that this
man committed the burglary. It is against
me that I have been his companion for the last
week or two, but I used to know him, and that
will account for it."

The unhappy bookkeeper saw the coils closing around him.

"I hope you will see your way to release me,"
said Stark, addressing himself to Mr. Jennings.
"I have just received information that
my poor mother is lying dangerously sick in
Cleveland, and I am anxious to start for her
bedside to-day."

"Why did you come round here this morning?"
asked Mr. Jennings.

"To ask Mr. Gibbon to repay me ten dollars
which he borrowed of me the other day,"
returned Stark, glibly.

"You--liar!" exclaimed Gibbon, angrily.

"I am prepared for this man's abuse," said Stark.
"I don't mind admitting now that a few days since
he invited me to join him in the robbery of the safe.
I threatened to inform you of his plan, and he promised
to give it up. I supposed he had done so, but it is
clear to me now that he carried out his infamous scheme."

Mr. Jennings looked amused. He admired Stark's
brazen effrontery.

"What have you to say to this charge, Mr. Gibbon?" he asked.

"Only this, sir, that I was concerned in the burglary."

"He admits it!" said Stark, triumphantly.

"But this man forced me to it. He threatened
to write you some particulars of my past
history which would probably have lost me my
position if I did not agree to join him in the
conspiracy. I was weak, and yielded. Now
he is ready to betray me to save himself."

"Mr. Jennings," said Stark, coldly, "you
will know what importance to attach to the
story of a self-confessed burglar. Gibbon, I
hope you will see the error of your ways, and
restore to your worthy employer the box of
valuable property which you stole from his safe."

"This is insufferable!" cried the bookkeeper
"You are a double-dyed traitor, Phil Stark.
You were not only my accomplice, but you
instigated the crime."

"You will find it hard to prove this," sneered Stark.
"Mr. Jennings, I demand my liberty.
If you have any humanity you will not keep
me from the bedside of my dying mother."
"I admire your audacity, Mr. Stark,"
observed the manufacturer, quietly.
"Don't suppose for a moment that I give
the least credit to your statements."

"Thank you, sir," said Gibbon. "I'm ready to
accept the consequences of my act, but I don't
want that scoundrel and traitor to go free."

"You can't prove anything against me," said
Stark, doggedly, "unless you accept the word
of a self-confessed burglar, who is angry with
me because I would not join him."

"All these protestations it would be better
for you to keep till your trial begins, Mr.
Stark," said the manufacturer. "However, I
think it only fair to tell you that I am better
informed about you and your conspiracy than
you imagine. Will you tell me where you were
at eleven o'clock last evening?"

"I was in my room at the hotel--no, I was
taking a walk. I had received news of my
mother's illness, and I was so much disturbed
and grieved that I could not remain indoors."

"You were seen to enter the office of this
factory with Mr. Gibbon, and after ten minutes
came out with the tin box under your arm."

"Who saw me?" demanded Stark, uneasily.

Carl Crawford came forward and answered this question.

"I did!" he said.

"A likely story! You were in bed and asleep."

"You are mistaken. I was on watch behind
the stone wall just opposite. If you want
proof, I can repeat some of the conversation
that passed between you and Mr. Gibbon."

Without waiting for the request, Carl rehearsed
some of the talk already recorded in a previous chapter.

Phil Stark began to see that things were getting serious
for him, but he was game to the last.

"I deny it," he said, in a loud voice.

"Do you also deny it, Mr. Gibbon?" asked Mr. Jennings.

"No, sir; I admit it," replied Gibbon, with
a triumphant glance at his foiled confederate.

"This is a conspiracy against an innocent man,"
said Stark, scowling. "You want to screen
your bookkeeper, if possible. No one has
ever before charged me with crime."

"Then how does it happen, Mr. Stark, that
you were confined at the Joliet penitentiary
for a term of years?"

"Did he tell you this?" snarled Stark,
pointing to Gibbon.


"Who then?"

"A customer of mine from Chicago. He saw
you at the hotel, and informed Carl last evening
of your character. Carl, of course, brought
the news to me. It was in consequence of this
information that I myself removed the bonds
from the box, early in the evening, and
substituted strips of paper. Your enterprise,
therefore, would have availed you little even
if you had succeeded in getting off scot-free."

"I see the game is up," said Stark,
throwing off the mask. "It's true that I have been
in the Joliet penitentiary. It was there that
I became acquainted with your bookkeeper,"
he added, maliciously. "Let him deny it if he dare."

"I shall not deny it. It is true," said Gibbon.
"But I had resolved to live an honest life
in future, and would have done so if this man
had not pressed me into crime by his threats."

"I believe you, Mr. Gibbon," said the
manufacturer, gently, "and I will see that this is
counted in your favor. And now, gentlemen,
I think there is no occasion for further delay."

The two men were carried to the lockup and
in due time were tried. Stark was sentenced
to ten years' imprisonment, Gibbon to five. At
the end of two years, at the intercession of Mr.
Jennings, he was pardoned, and furnished with
money enough to go to Australia, where, his
past character unknown, he was able to make
an honest living, and gain a creditable position.



Twelve months passed without any special
incident. With Carl it was a period of steady
and intelligent labor and progress. He had
excellent mechanical talent, and made remarkable
advancement. He was not content with
attention to his own work, but was a careful
observer of the work of others, so that in one
year he learned as much of the business as
most boys would have done in three.

When the year was up, Mr. Jennings
detained him after supper.

"Do you remember what anniversary this is, Carl?"
he asked, pleasantly.

"Yes, sir; it is the anniversary of my going
into the factory."

"Exactly. How are you satisfied with the year and its work?"

"I have been contented and happy, Mr. Jennings;
and I feel that I owe my happiness and content to you."

Mr. Jennings looked pleased.

"I am glad you say so," he said, "but it is
only fair to add that your own industry and
intelligence have much to do with the satisfactory
results of the year."

"Thank you, sir."

"The superintendent tells me that outside
of your own work you have a general knowledge
of the business which would make you
a valuable assistant to himself in case he
needed one."

Carl's face glowed with pleasure.

"I believe in being thorough," he said, "and I
am interested in every department of the business."

"Before you went into the factory you had
not done any work."

"No, sir; I had attended school."

"It was not a bad preparation for business,
but in some cases it gives a boy disinclination
for manual labor."

"Yes; I wouldn't care to work with my hands all my life."

"I don't blame you for that. You have qualified yourself
for something better. How much do I pay you?"

"I began on two dollars a week and my board.
At the end of six months you kindly advanced me
to four dollars."

"I dare say you have found it none too much for your wants."

Carl smiled.

"I have saved forty dollars out of it," he answered.

Mr. Jennings looked pleased.

"You have done admirably," he said, warmly.
"Forty dollars is not a large sum,
but in laying it by you have formed a habit
that will be of great service to you in after years.
I propose to raise you to ten dollars a week."

"But, sir, shall I earn so much? You are very kind,
but I am afraid you will be a loser by your liberality."

Mr. Jennings smiled.

"You are partly right," he said. "Your services
at present are hardly worth the sum
I have agreed to pay, that is, in the factory,
but I shall probably impose upon you other
duties of an important nature soon."

"If you do, sir, I will endeavor to meet your expectations."

"How would you like to take a journey Carl?"

"Very much, sir."

"I think of sending you--to Chicago."

Carl, who had thought perhaps of a fifty-
mile trip, looked amazed, but his delight was
equal to his surprise. He had always wished
to see the West, though Chicago can hardly
be called a Western city now, since between
it and the Pacific there is a broad belt of land
two thousand miles in extent.

"Do you think I am competent?" he asked, modestly.

"I cannot say positively, but I think so," answered Mr. Jennings.

"Then I shall be delighted to go. Will it be very soon?"

"Yes, very soon. I shall want you to start next Monday."

"I will be ready, sir."

"And I may as well explain what are to
be your duties. I am, as you know, manufacturing
a special line of chairs which I am
desirous of introducing to the trade. I shall
give you the names of men in my line in Albany,
Buffalo, Cleveland and Chicago, and
it will be your duty to call upon them, explain
the merits of the chair, and solicit orders.
In other words, you will be a traveling salesman
or drummer. I shall pay your traveling
expenses, ten dollars a week, and, if your
orders exceed a certain limit, I shall give you
a commission on the surplus."

"Suppose I don't reach that limit?"

"I shall at all events feel that you have
done your best. I will instruct you a little
in your duties between now and the time of
your departure. I should myself like to go
in your stead, but I am needed here. There
are, of course, others in my employ, older than
yourself, whom I might send, but I have an
idea that you will prove to be a good salesman."

"I will try to be, sir."

On Monday morning Carl left Milford,
reached New York in two hours and a half
and, in accordance with the directions of Mr.
Jennings, engaged passage and a stateroom on
one of the palatial night lines of Hudson
River steamers to Albany. The boat was well
filled with passengers, and a few persons were
unable to procure staterooms.

Carl, however, applied in time, and obtained
an excellent room. He deposited his gripsack
therein, and then took a seat on deck, meaning
to enjoy as long as possible the delightful
scenery for which the Hudson is celebrated.
It was his first long journey, and for this reason
Carl enjoyed it all the more. He could
not but contrast his present position and prospects
with those of a year ago, when, helpless
and penniless, he left an unhappy home to
make his own way.

"What a delightful evening!" said a voice at his side.

Turning, Carl saw sitting by him a young
man of about thirty, dressed in somewhat
pretentious style and wearing eyeglasses.
He was tall and thin, and had sandy side whiskers.

"Yes, it is a beautiful evening," replied Carl, politely.

"And the scenery is quite charming. Have you
ever been all the way up the river?"

"No, but I hope some day to take a day trip."

"Just so. I am not sure but I prefer the
Rhine, with its romantic castles and vineclad hills."

"Have you visited Europe, then?" asked Carl.

"Oh, yes, several times. I have a passion
for traveling. Our family is wealthy, and I
have been able to go where I pleased."

"That must be very pleasant."

"It is. My name is Stuyvesant--one of the
old Dutch families."

Carl was not so much impressed, perhaps, as
he should have been by this announcement,
for he knew very little of fashionable life in
New York.

"You don't look like a Dutchman," he said, smiling.

"I suppose you expected a figure like a beer keg,"
rejoined Stuyvesant, laughing. "Some of my forefathers
may have answered that description, but I am not built that way.
Are you traveling far?"

"I may go as far as Chicago."

"Is anyone with you?"


"Perhaps you have friends in Chicago?"

"Not that I am aware of. I am traveling on business."

"Indeed; you are rather young for a business man."

"I am sixteen."

"Well, that cannot exactly be called venerable."

"No, I suppose not."

"By the way, did you succeed in getting a stateroom?"

"Yes, I have a very good one."

"You're in luck, on my word. I was just too late.
The man ahead of me took the last room."

"You can get a berth, I suppose."

"But that is so common. Really, I should
not know how to travel without a stateroom.
Have you anyone with you?"


"If you will take me in I will pay the entire expense."

Carl hesitated. He preferred to be alone,
but he was of an obliging disposition, and he
knew that there were two berths in the stateroom.

"If it will be an accommodation," he said,
"I will let you occupy the room with me, Mr. Stuyvesant."

"Will you, indeed! I shall esteem it a very great favor.
Where is your room?"

"I will show you."

Carl led the way to No. 17, followed by his
new acquaintance. Mr. Stuyvesant seemed
very much pleased, and insisted on paying for
the room at once. Carl accepted half the regular
charges, and so the bargain was made.

At ten o'clock the two travelers retired to bed.
Carl was tired and went to sleep at once.
He slept through the night. When he awoke
in the morning the boat was in dock. He
heard voices in the cabin, and the noise of
the transfer of baggage and freight to the wharf.

"I have overslept myself," he said, and
jumped up, hurriedly. He looked into the upper
berth, but his roommate was gone. Something
else was gone, too--his valise, and a
wallet which he had carried in the pocket of
his trousers.



Carl was not long in concluding that he had been
robbed by his roommate. It was hard to believe
that a Stuyvesant--a representative of one of the
old Dutch families of New Amsterdam--should have
stooped to such a discreditable act. Carl was sharp enough,
however, to doubt the genuineness of Mr. Stuyvesant's
claims to aristocratic lineage. Meanwhile he blamed
himself for being so easily duped by an artful adventurer.

To be sure, it was not as bad as it might be.
His pocketbook only contained ten dollars in small bills.
The balance of his money he had deposited for safe keeping
in the inside pocket of his vest. This he had placed
under his pillow, and so it had escaped the notice of the thief.

The satchel contained a supply of shirts,
underclothing, etc., and he was sorry to lose it.
The articles were not expensive, but it would cost
him from a dozen to fifteen dollars to replace them.

Carl stepped to the door of his stateroom
and called a servant who was standing near.

"How long have we been at the pier?" he asked.

"About twenty minutes, sir."

"Did you see my roommate go out?"

"A tall young man in a light overcoat?"


"Yes, sir. I saw him."

"Did you notice whether he carried a valise in his hand?"

"A gripsack? Yes, sir."

"A small one?"

"Yes, sir."

"It was mine."

"You don't say so, sir! And such a respectable-
lookin' gemman, sir."

"He may have looked respectable, but he was
a thief all the same."

"You don't say? Did he take anything else, sir?"

"He took my pocketbook."

"Well, well! He was a rascal, sure!
But maybe it dropped on the floor."

Carl turned his attention to the carpet, but
saw nothing of the lost pocketbook. He did
find, however, a small book in a brown cover,
which Stuyvesant had probably dropped. Picking
it up, he discovered that it was a bank
book on the Sixpenny Savings Bank of Albany,
standing in the name of Rachel Norris,
and numbered 17,310.

"This is stolen property, too," thought Carl.
"I wonder if there is much in it."

Opening the book he saw that there were
three entries, as follows:

1883. Jan. 23. Five hundred dollars.
" June 10. Two hundred dollars.
" Oct. 21. One hundred dollars.

There was besides this interest credited to
the amount of seventy-five dollars. The deposits,
therefore, made a grand total of $875.

No doubt Mr. Stuyvesant had stolen this
book, but had not as yet found an opportunity
of utilizing it.

"What's dat?" asked the colored servant.

"A savings bank book. My roommate must
have dropped it. It appears to belong to a
lady named Rachel Norris. I wish I could
get it to her."

"Is she an Albany lady, sir?"

"I don't know."

"You might look in the directory."

"So I will. It is a good idea."

"I hope the gemman didn't take all your money, sir."

"No; he didn't even take half of it. I only
wish I had been awake when the boat got to the dock."

"I would have called you, sir, if you had asked me."

"I am not much used to traveling. I shall
know better next time what to do."

The finding of the bank book partially consoled
Carl for the loss of his pocketbook and
gripsack. He was glad to be able to defeat
Stuyvesant in one of his nefarious schemes,
and to be the instrument of returning Miss
Norris her savings bank book.

When he left the boat he walked along till
he reached a modest-looking hotel, where he
thought the charges would be reasonable. He
entered, and, going to the desk, asked if he
could have a room.

"Large or small?" inquired the clerk.


"No. 67. Will you go up now?"

"Yes, sir."

"Any baggage?"

"No; I had it stolen on the boat."

The clerk looked a little suspicious.

"We must require pay in advance, then," he said.

"Certainly," answered Carl, pulling out a roll of bills.
I suppose you make special terms to commercial travelers?"

"Are you a drummer?"

"Yes. I represent Henry Jennings, of Milford, New York."

"All right, sir. Our usual rates are two dollars
a day. To you they will be a dollar and a quarter."

"Very well; I will pay you for two days. Is breakfast ready?"

"It is on the table, sir."

"Then I will go in at once. I will go to my room afterwards."

In spite of his loss, Carl had a hearty
appetite, and did justice to the comfortable
breakfast provided. He bought a morning
paper, and ran his eye over the advertising
columns. He had never before read an Albany
paper, and wished to get an idea of the
city in its business aspect. It occurred to
him that there might be an advertisement of
the lost bank book. But no such notice met
his eyes.

He went up to his room, which was small
and plainly furnished, but looked comfortable.
Going down again to the office, he looked
into the Albany directory to see if he could find
the name of Rachel Norris.

There was a Rebecca Norris, who was put
down as a dressmaker, but that was as near
as he came to Rachel Norris.

Then he set himself to looking over the other
members of the Norris family. Finally he
picked out Norris & Wade, furnishing goods,
and decided to call at the store and inquire
if they knew any lady named Rachel Norris.
The prospect of gaining information in this
way did not seem very promising, but no other
course presented itself, and Carl determined
to follow up the clew, slight as it was.

Though unacquainted with Albany streets,
he had little difficulty in finding the store of
Norris & Wade. It was an establishment of
good size, well supplied with attractive goods.
A clerk came forward to wait upon Carl.

"What can I show you?" he asked.

"You may show me Mr. Norris, if you
please," responded Carl, with a smile.

"He is in the office," said the clerk, with an
answering smile.

Carl entered the office and saw Mr. Norris,
a man of middle age, partially bald, with a
genial, business-like manner.

"Well, young man?" he said, looking at Carl inquiringly.

"You must excuse me for troubling you,
sir," said Carl, who was afraid Mr. Norris
would laugh at him, "but I thought you might
direct me to Rachel Norris."

Mr. Norris looked surprised.

"What do you want of Rachel Norris?" he asked, abruptly.

"I have a little business with her," answered Carl.

"Of what nature?"

"Excuse me, but I don't care to mention it at present."

"Humph! you are very cautious for a young man, or rather boy."

"Isn't that a good trait, sir?"

"Good, but unusual. Are you a schoolboy?"

"No, sir; I am a drummer."

Mr. Norris put on a pair of glasses and scrutinized
Carl more closely.

"I should like to see--just out of curiosity
--the man that you travel for," he said.

"I will ask him to call whenever he visits Albany.
There is his card."

Mr. Norris took it.

"Why, bless my soul!" he exclaimed. "It is Henry Jennings,
an old schoolmate of mine."

"And a good business man, even if he has
sent out such a young drummer."

"I should say so. There must be something
in you, or he wouldn't have trusted you.
How is Jennings?"

"He is well, sir--well and prosperous."

"That is good news. Are you in his employ?"

"Yes, sir. This is the first time I have
traveled for him."

"How far are you going?"

"As far as Chicago."

"I don't see what you can have to do with
Rachel Norris. However, I don't mind telling
you that she is my aunt, and--well, upon
my soul! Here she is now."

And he ran hastily to greet a tall, thin lady,
wearing a black shawl, who at that moment
entered the office.



Miss Norris dropped into a chair as if she were fatigued.

"Well, Aunt Rachel, how are you feeling this morning?"
asked her nephew.

"Out of sorts," was the laconic reply.

"I am very sorry for that. I suppose there is reason for it."

"Yes; I've been robbed."

"Indeed!" said Mr. Norris. "Lost your purse?
I wonder more ladies are not robbed,
carrying their money as carelessly as they do."

"That isn't it. I am always careful, as careful
as any man."

"Still you got robbed."

"Yes, but of a bank book."

Here Carl became attentive. It was clear that
he would not have to look any farther for the
owner of the book he had found in his stateroom.

"What kind of a bank book?" inquired Mr. Norris.

"I had nearly a thousand dollars deposited
in the Sixpenny Savings Bank. I called at
the bank to make some inquiries about interest,
and when I came out I presume some rascal
followed me and stole the book----"

"Have you any idea who took it?"

"I got into the horse cars, near the bank;
next to me sat a young man in a light overcoat.
There was no one on the other side of me.
I think he must have taken it."

"That was Stuyvesant," said Carl to himself.

"When did this happen, Aunt Rachel?"

"Three days since."

"Why didn't you do something about it before?"

"I did. I advertised a reward of twenty-five dollars
to anyone who would restore it to me."

"There was no occasion for that. By giving
notice at the bank, they would give you
a new book after a time."

"I preferred to recover the old one. Besides,
I thought I would like to know what became of it."

"I can tell you, Miss Norris," said Carl,
who thought it time to speak.

Hitherto Miss Norris had not seemed aware
of Carl's presence. She turned abruptly and
surveyed him through her glasses.

"Who are you?" she asked.

This might seem rude, but it was only Miss Rachel's way.

"My name is Carl Crawford."

"Do I know you?"

"No, Miss Norris, but I hope you will."

"Humph! that depends. You say you know
what became of my bank book?"

"Yes, Miss Norris."


"It was taken by the young man who sat next to you."

"How do you know?"

"He robbed me last night on the way from
New York in a Hudson River steamboat."

"That doesn't prove that he robbed me.
I was robbed here in this city."

"What do you say to this?" asked Carl,
displaying the bank book.

"Bless me! That is my book. Where did you get it?"

Carl told his story briefly, how, on discovering that
he had been robbed, he explored the stateroom
and found the bank book.

"Well, well, I am astonished! And how did
you know Mr. Norris was my nephew?"

"I didn't know. I didn't know anything
about him or you, but finding his name in the
directory, I came here to ask if he knew any
such person."

"You are a smart boy, and a good, honest one,"
said Miss Norris. "You have earned the
reward, and shall have it."

"I don't want any reward, Miss Norris,"
rejoined Carl. "I have had very little trouble
in finding you."

"That is of no consequence. I offered the reward,
and Rachel Norris is a woman of her word."

She thrust her hand into her pocket, and drew
out a wallet, more suitable to a man's use.
Openings this, she took out three bills,
two tens and a five, and extended them toward Carl.

"I don't think I ought to take this money,
Miss Norris," said Carl, reluctantly.

"Did that rascal rob you, too?"


"Of how much?"

"Ten dollars in money and some underclothing."

"Very well! This money will go toward making up your loss.
You are not rich, I take it?"

"Not yet."

"I am, and can afford to give you this money.
There, take it."

"Thank you, Miss Norris."

"I want to ask one favor of you. If you
ever come across that young man in the light
overcoat, have him arrested, and let me know."

"I will, Miss Norris."

"Do you live in Albany?"

Carl explained that he was traveling on
business, and should leave the next day if he
could get through.

"How far are you going?"

"To Chicago."

"Can you attend to some business for me there?"

"Yes, if it won't take too long a time."

"Good! Come round to my house to supper at six o'clock,
and I will tell you about it. Henry, write my address
on a piece of paper, and give it to this young man."

Henry Norris smiled, and did as his aunt requested.

"You have considerable confidence in this young man?" he said.

"I have."

"You may be mistaken."

"Rachel Norris is not often mistaken."

"I will accept your invitation with pleasure,
Miss Norris," said Carl, bowing politely.
"Now, as I have some business to attend to,
I will bid you both good-morning."

As Carl went out, Miss Norris said: "Henry,
that is a remarkable boy."

"I think favorably of him myself. He is
in the employ of an old schoolmate of mine,
Henry Jennings, of Milford. By the way,
what business are you going to put into his hands?"

"A young man who has a shoe store on State
Street has asked me for a loan of two thousand
dollars to extend his business. His
name is John French, and his mother was an
old schoolmate of mine, though some years
younger. Now I know nothing of him. If
he is a sober, steady, industrious young man,
I may comply with his request. This boy will
investigate and report to me."

"And you will be guided by his report?"


"Aunt Rachel, you are certainly very eccentric."

"I may be, but I am not often deceived."

"Well, I hope you won't be this time. The boy
seems to me a very good boy, but you can't
put an old head on young shoulders."

"Some boys have more sense than men twice their age."

"You don't mean me, I hope, Aunt Rachel,"
said Mr. Norris, smiling.

"Indeed, I don't. I shall not flatter you by
speaking of you as only twice this boy's age."

"I see, Aunt Rachel, there is no getting the
better of you."

Meanwhile Carl was making business calls.
He obtained a map of the city, and located the
different firms on which he proposed to call.
He had been furnished with a list by Mr.
Jennings. He was everywhere pleasantly received
--in some places with an expression of surprise
at his youth--but when he began to talk
he proved to be so well informed upon the
subject of his call that any prejudice excited
by his age quickly vanished. He had the
satisfaction of securing several unexpectedly
large orders for the chair, and transmitting
them to Mr. Jennings by the afternoon mail.

He got through his business at four o'clock,
and rested for an hour or more at his hotel.
Then he arranged his toilet, and set out for
the residence of Miss Rachel Norris.

It was rather a prim-looking, three-story
house, such as might be supposed to belong
to a maiden lady. He was ushered into a sitting-
room on the second floor, where Miss Norris
soon joined him.

"I am glad to see you, my young friend,"
she said, cordially. "You are in time."

"I always try to be, Miss Norris."

"It is a good way to begin."

Here a bell rang.

"Supper is ready," she said. "Follow me downstairs."

Carl followed the old lady to the rear room
on the lower floor. A small table was set in
the center of the apartment.

"Take a seat opposite me," said Miss Norris.

There were two other chairs, one on each
side--Carl wondered for whom they were set.
No sooner were he and Miss Norris seated than
two large cats approached the table, and
jumped up, one into each chair. Carl looked
to see them ordered away, but instead, Miss
Norris nodded pleasantly, saying: "That's right,
Jane and Molly, you are punctual at meals."

The two cats eyed their mistress gravely,
and began to purr contentedly.



"This is my family," said Miss Norris,
pointing to the cats.

"I like cats," said Carl.

"Do you?" returned Miss Norris, looking
pleased. "Most boys tease them. Do you see
poor Molly's ear? That wound came from a
stone thrown by a bad boy."

"Many boys are cruel," said Carl, "but I
remember that my mother was very fond of cats,
and I have always protected them from abuse."

As he spoke he stroked Molly, who purred
an acknowledgment of his attention. This
completed the conquest of Miss Norris, who
inwardly decided that Carl was the finest boy
she had ever met. After she had served Carl
from the dishes on the table, she poured out
two saucers of milk and set one before each cat,
who, rising upon her hind legs, placed her
forepaws on the table, and gravely partook
of the refreshments provided. Jane and Molly
were afterwards regaled with cold meat, and
then, stretching themselves out on their chairs,

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