Thursday, November 8, 2007



Author of
"Joe's Luck," "Frank Fowler, the Cash Boy,"
"Tom Temple's Career," "Tom Thatcher's Fortune,"
"Ragged Dick," "Tattered Tom," "Luck and Pluck,"
etc., etc.
Phil Brent was plodding through the snow
in the direction of the house where he lived
with his step-mother and her son, when a snow-ball,
moist and hard, struck him just below his ear with
stinging emphasis. The pain was considerable, and
Phil's anger rose.
He turned suddenly, his eyes flashing fiercely,
intent upon discovering who had committed this outrage,
for he had no doubt that it was intentional.
He looked in all directions, but saw no one except
a mild old gentleman in spectacles, who appeared to
have some difficulty in making his way through the
obstructed street.
Phil did not need to be told that it was not the
old gentleman who had taken such an unwarrantable
liberty with him. So he looked farther, but
his ears gave him the first clew.
He heard a chuckling laugh, which seemed to
proceed from behind the stone wall that ran along the
"I will see who it is," he decided, and plunging
through the snow he surmounted the wall, in time
to see a boy of about his own age running away
across the fields as fast as the deep snow would
"So it's you, Jonas!" he shouted wrathfully. "I
thought it was some sneaking fellow like you."
Jonas Webb, his step-brother, his freckled face
showing a degree of dismay, for he had not calculated
on discovery, ran the faster, but while fear
winged his steps, anger proved the more effectual
spur, and Phil overtook him after a brief run, from
the effects of which both boys panted.
"What made you throw that snow-ball?" demanded
Phil angrily, as he seized Jonas by the collar
and shook him.
"You let me alone!" said Jonas, struggling
ineffectually in his grasp.
"Answer me! What made you throw that snowball?"
demanded Phil, in a tone that showed he did
not intend to be trifled with.
"Because I chose to," answered Jonas, his spite
getting the better of his prudence. "Did it hurt
you?" he continued, his eyes gleaming with malice.
"I should think it might. It was about as hard
as a cannon-ball," returned Phil grimly. "Is that
all you've got to say about it?"
"I did it in fun," said Jonas, beginning to see that
he had need to be prudent.
"Very well! I don't like your idea of fun. Perhaps
you won't like mine," said Phil, as he forcibly
drew Jonas back till he lay upon the snow, and then
kneeling by his side, rubbed his face briskly with
"What are you doin'? Goin' to murder me?"
shrieked Jonas, in anger and dismay.
"I am going to wash your face," said Phil,
continuing the operation vigorously.
"I say, you quit that! I'll tell my mother,"
ejaculated Jonas, struggling furiously.
"If you do, tell her why I did it," said Phil.
Jonas shrieked and struggled, but in vain. Phil
gave his face an effectual scrubbing, and did not
desist until he thought he had avenged the bad
treatment he had suffered.
"There, get up!" said he at length.
Jonas scrambled to his feet, his mean features
working convulsively with anger.
"You'll suffer for this!" he shouted.
"You won't make me!" said Phil contemptuously.
"You're the meanest boy in the village."
"I am willing to leave that to the opinion of all
who know me."
"I'll tell my mother!"
"Go home and tell her!"
Jonas started for home, and Phil did not attempt
to stop him.
As he saw Jonas reach the street and plod angrily
homeward, he said to himself:
"I suppose I shall be in hot water for this; but I
can't help it. Mrs. Brent always stands up for her
precious son, who is as like her as can be. Well, it
won't make matters much worse than they have
Phil concluded not to go home at once, but to
allow a little time for the storm to spend its force
after Jonas had told his story. So he delayed half
an hour and then walked slowly up to the side door.
He opened the door, brushed off the snow from his
boots with the broom that stood behind the
door, and opening the inner door, stepped into the
No one was there, as Phil's first glance satisfied
him, and he was disposed to hope that Mrs. Brent--
he never called her mother--was out, but a thin,
acid, measured voice from the sitting-room adjoining
soon satisfied him that there was to be no reprieve.
"Philip Brent, come here!"
Phil entered the sitting-room.
In a rocking-chair by the fire sat a thin woman,
with a sharp visage, cold eyes and firmly compressed
lips, to whom no child would voluntarily
draw near.
On a sofa lay outstretched the hulking form of
Jonas, with whom he had had his little difficulty.
"I am here, Mrs. Brent," said Philip manfully.
"Philip Brent," said Mrs. Brent acidly, "are you
not ashamed to look me in the face?"
"I don't know why I should be," said Philip,
bracing himself up for the attack.
"You see on the sofa the victim of your brutality,"
continued Mrs. Brent, pointing to the recumbent
figure of her son Jonas.
Jonas, as if to emphasize these words, uttered a
half groan.
Philip could not help smiling, for to him it seemed
"You laugh," said his step-mother sharply. "I
am not surprised at it. You delight in your brutality."
"I suppose you mean that I have treated Jonas
"I see you confess it."
"No, Mrs. Brent, I do not confess it. The brutality
you speak of was all on the side of Jonas."
"No doubt," retorted Mrs. Brent, with sarcasm.
"It's the case of the wolf and the lamb over again."
"I don't think Jonas has represented the matter
to you as it happened," said Phil. "Did he tell you
that he flung a snow-ball at my head as hard as a
lump of ice?"
"He said he threw a little snow at you playfully
and you sprang upon him like a tiger."
"There's a little mistake in that," said Phil. "The
snow-ball was hard enough to stun me if it had hit
me a little higher. I wouldn't be hit like that again
for ten dollars."
"That ain't so! Don't believe him, mother!" said
Jonas from the sofa.
"And what did you do?" demanded Mrs. Brent
with a frown.
"I laid him down on the snow and washed his face
with soft snow."
"You might have given him his death of cold,"
said Mrs. Brent, with evident hostility. "I am not
sure but the poor boy will have pneumonia now, in
consequence of your brutal treatment."
"And you have nothing to say as to his attack
upon me?" said Phil indignantly.
"I have no doubt you have very much exaggerated it."
"Yes, he has," chimed in Jonas from the sofa.
Phil regarded his step-brother with scorn.
"Can't you tell the truth now and then, Jonas?"
he asked contemptuously.
"You shall not insult my boy in my presence!"
said Mrs. Brent, with a little spot of color mantling
her high cheek-bones. "Philip Brent, I have too
long endured your insolence. You think because I
am a woman you can be insolent with impunity, but
you will find yourself mistaken. It is time that you
understood something that may lead you to lower
your tone. Learn, then, that you have not a cent of
your own. You are wholly dependent upon my
"What! Did my father leave you all his money?"
asked Philip.
"He was NOT your father!" answered Mrs. Brent
Philip started in irrepressible astonishment as
these words fell from the lips of his step-mother.
It seemed to him as if the earth were crumbling
beneath his feet, for he had felt no more certain of the
existence of the universe than of his being the son
of Gerald Brent.
He was not the only person amazed at this
declaration. Jonas, forgetting for the moment the part
he was playing, sat bolt upright on the sofa, with his
large mouth wide open, staring by turns at Philip
and his mother.
"Gosh!" he exclaimed in a tone indicating utter
surprise and bewilderment.
"Will you repeat that, Mrs. Brent?" asked Philip,
after a brief pause, not certain that he had heard
"I spoke plain English, I believe," said Mrs. Brent
coldly, enjoying the effect of her communication.
"I said that Mr. Brent, my late husband, was not
your father."
"I don't believe you!" burst forth Philip impetuously.
"You don't wish to believe me, you mean,"
answered his step-mother, unmoved.
"No, I don't wish to believe you," said the boy,
looking her in the eye.
"You are very polite to doubt a lady's word," said
Mrs. Brent with sarcasm.
"In such a matter as that I believe no one's
word," said Phil. "I ask for proof."
"Well, I am prepared to satisfy you. Sit down
and I will tell you the story."
Philip sat down on the nearest chair and regarded
his step-mother fixedly.
"Whose son am I," he demanded, "if not Mr.
"You are getting on too fast. Jonas," continued
his mother, suddenly turning to her hulking son, on
whose not very intelligent countenance there was
an expression of greedy curiosity, "do you understand
that what I am going to say is to be a secret,
not to be spoken of to any one?"
"Yes'm," answered Jonas readily.
"Very well. Now to proceed. Philip, you have
heard probably that when you were very small your
father--I mean Mr. Brent--lived in a small town in
Ohio, called Fultonville?"
"Yes, I have heard him say so."
"Do you remember in what business he was then
"He kept a hotel."
"Yes; a small hotel, but as large as the place
required. He was not troubled by many guests. The
few who stopped at his house were business men
from towns near by, or drummers from the great
cities, who had occasion to stay over a night. One
evening, however, a gentleman arrived with an
unusual companion--in other words, a boy of about
three years of age. The boy had a bad cold, and
seemed to need womanly care. Mr. Brent's
"My mother?"
"The woman you were taught to call mother,"
corrected the second Mrs. Brent, "felt compassion
for the child, and volunteered to take care of it for
the night. The offer was gladly accepted, and you--
for, of course, you were the child--were taken into
Mrs. Brent's own room, treated with simple remedies,
and in the morning seemed much better. Your
father--your real father--seemed quite gratified,
and preferred a request. It was that your new
friend would take care of you for a week while he
traveled to Cincinnati on business. After dispatching
this, he promised to return and resume the care
of you, paying well for the favor done him. Mrs.
Brent, my predecessor, being naturally fond of
children, readily agreed to this proposal, and the child
was left behind, while the father started for Cincinnati."
Here Mrs. Brent paused, and Philip regarded her
with doubt and suspense
"Well?" he said.
"Oh, you want to know the rest?" said Mrs. Brent
with an ironical smile. "You are interested in the
"Yes, madam, whether it is true or not."
"There isn't much more to tell," said Mrs. Brent.
"A week passed. You recovered from your cold,
and became as lively as ever. In fact, you seemed
to feel quite at home among your new surroundings,
which was rather unfortunate, FOR YOUR FATHER NEVER
"Never came back!" repeated Philip.
"No; nor was anything heard from him. Mr.
and Mrs. Brent came to the conclusion that the
whole thing was prearranged to get rid of you.
Luckily for you, they had become attached to you,
and, having no children of their own, decided to
retain you. Of course, some story had to be told to
satisfy the villagers. You were represented to be
the son of a friend, and this was readily believed.
When, however, my late husband left Ohio, and
traveled some hundreds of miles eastward to this
place, he dropped this explanation and represented
you as his own son. Romantic, wasn't it?"
Philip looked searchingly at the face of his stepmother,
or the woman whom he had regarded as
such, but he could read nothing to contradict the
story in her calm, impassive countenance. A great
fear fell upon him that she might be telling the
truth. His features showed his contending
emotions. But he had a profound distrust as well as
dislike of his step-mother, and he could not bring
himself to put confidence in what she told him.
"What proof is there of this?" he asked, after a
"Your father's word. I mean, of course, Mr.
Brent's word. He told me this story before I married
him, feeling that I had a right to know."
"Why didn't he tell me?" asked Philip incredulously.
"He thought it would make you unhappy."
"You didn't mind that," said Philip, his lips curling.
"No," answered Mrs. Brent, with a curious smile.
"Why should I? I never pretended to like you, and
now I have less cause than ever, after your brutal
treatment of my boy."
Jonas endeavored to look injured, but could not at
once change the expression of his countenance.
"Your explanation is quite satisfactory, Mrs.
Brent," returned Philip. "I don't think I stood
much higher in your estimation yesterday than today,
so that I haven't lost much. But you haven't
given me any proof yet."
"Wait a minute."
Mrs. Brent left the room, went up-stairs, and
speedily returned, bringing with her a small
daguerreotype, representing a boy of three years.
"Did you ever see this before?" she asked.
"No," answered Philip, taking it from her hand
and eying it curiously.
"When Mr. and Mrs. Brent decided that you were
to be left on their hands," she proceeded, "they had
this picture of you taken in the same dress in which
you came to them, with a view to establish your
identity if at any time afterward inquiry should be
made for you."
The daguerreotype represented a bright, handsome
child, dressed tastefully, and more as would be
expected of a city child than of one born in the
country. There was enough resemblance to Philip
as he looked now to convince him that it was really
his picture.
"I have something more to show you," said Mrs.
She produced a piece of white paper in which the
daguerreotype had been folded. Upon it was some
writing, and Philip readily recognized the hand of
the man whom he had regarded as his father.
He read these lines:
"This is the picture of the boy who was
mysteriously left in the charge of Mr. Brent, April, 1863,
and never reclaimed. l have reared him as my own
son, but think it best to enter this record of the way
in which he came into my hands, and to preserve by
the help of art his appearance at the time he first
came to us. GERALD BRENT."
"Do you recognize this handwriting?" asked Mrs.
"Yes," answered Philip in a dazed tone.
"Perhaps," she said triumphantly, "you will
doubt my word now."
"May I have this picture?" asked Philip, without
answering her.
"Yes; you have as good a claim to it as any one."
"And the paper?"
"The paper I prefer to keep myself," said Mrs.
Brent, nodding her head suspiciously. "I don't
care to have my only proof destroyed."
Philip did not seem to take her meaning, but with
the daguerreotype in his hand, he left the room.
"I say, mother," chuckled Jonas, his freckled face
showing his enjoyment, "it's a good joke on Phil,
isn't it?" I guess he won't be quite so uppish after
When Phil left the presence of Mrs. Brent, he
felt as if he had been suddenly transported
to a new world. He was no longer Philip Brent,
and the worst of it was that he did not know who he
was. In his tumultuous state of feeling, however,
one thing seemed clear--his prospects were wholly
changed, and his plans for the future also. Mrs. Brent
had told him that he was wholly dependent upon
her. Well, he did not intend to remain so. His home
had not been pleasant at the best. As a dependent
upon the bounty of such a woman it would be worse.
He resolved to leave home and strike out for himself,
not from any such foolish idea of independence as
sometimes leads boys to desert a good home for an
uncertain skirmish with the world, but simply be
cause he felt now that he had no real home.
To begin with he would need money, and on opening
his pocket-book he ascertained that his available
funds consisted of only a dollar and thirty-seven
cents. That wasn't quite enough to begin the world
with. But he had other resources. He owned a gun,
which a friend of his would be ready to take off his
hands. He had a boat, also, which he could
probably sell.
On the village street he met Reuben Gordon, a
young journeyman carpenter, who was earning good
wages, and had money to spare.
"How are you, Phil," said Reuben in a friendly
"You are just the one I want to meet," said Phil
earnestly. "Didn't you tell me once you would like
to buy my gun?"
"Yes. Want to sell it?"
"No, I don't; but I want the money it will bring.
So I'll sell it if you'll buy."
"What d'ye want for it?" asked Reuben cautiously.
"Six dollars."
"Too much. I'll give five."
"You can have it," said Phil after a pause. "How
soon can you let me have the money?"
"Bring the gun round to-night, and I'll pay you
for it."
"All right. Do you know of any one who wants
to buy a boat?"
"What? Going to sell that, too?"
"Seems to me you're closin' up business?" said
Reuben shrewdly.
"So I am. I'm going to leave Planktown."
"You don't say? Well, I declare! Where are
you goin'?"
"To New York, I guess."
"Got any prospect there?"
This was not, perhaps, strictly true--that is, Phil
had no definite prospect, but he felt that there must
be a chance in a large city like New York for any
one who was willing to work, and so felt measurably
justified in saying what he did.
"I hadn't thought of buyin' a boat," said Reuben
Phil pricked up his ears at the hint of a possible
"You'd better buy mine," he said quickly; "I'll
sell it cheap."
"How cheap?"
"Ten dollars."
"That's too much."
"It cost me fifteen."
"But it's second-hand now, you know," said Reuben.
"It's just as good as new. I'm taking off five
dollars, though, you see."
"I don't think I want it enough to pay ten dollars."
"What will you give?"
Reuben finally agreed to pay seven dollars and
seventy-five cents, after more or less bargaining, and
to pay the money that evening upon delivery of the
"I don't think I've got anything more to sell," said
Phil thoughtfully. "There's my skates, but they
are not very good. I'll give them to Tommy Kavanagh.
He can't afford to buy a pair."
Tommy was the son of a poor widow, and was very
much pleased with the gift, which Phil conveyed to
him just before supper.
Just after supper he took his gun and the key of
his boat over to Reuben Gordon, who thereupon
gave him the money agreed upon.
"Shall I tell Mrs. Brent I am going away?" Phil
said to himself, "or shall I leave a note for her?"
He decided to announce his resolve in person. To
do otherwise would seem too much like running
away, and that he had too much self-respect to do.
So in the evening, after his return from Reuben
Gordon's, he said to Mrs. Brent:
"I think I ought to tell you that I'm going away
Mrs. Brent looked up from her work, and her cold
gray eyes surveyed Phil with curious scrutiny.
"You are going away!" she replied. "Where are
you going?"
"I think I shall go to New York."
"What for?"
"Seek my fortune, as so many have done before
"They didn't always find it!" said Mrs. Brent
with a cold sneer. "Is there any other reason?"
"Yes; it's chiefly on account of what you told me
yesterday. You said that I was dependent upon
"So you are."
"And that I wasn't even entitled to the name of
"Yes, I said it, and it's true."
"Well," said Phil, "I don't want to be dependent
upon you. I prefer to earn my own living."
"I am not prepared to say but that you are right.
But do you know what the neighbors will say?"
"What will they say?"
"That I drove you from home."
"It won't be true. I don't pretend to enjoy my
home, but I suppose I can stay on here if I like?"
"Yes, you can stay."
"You don't object to my going?"
"No, if it is understood that you go of your own
"I am willing enough to take the blame of it, if
there is any blame."
"Very well; get a sheet of note-paper, and write
at my direction."
Phil took a sheet of note-paper from his father's
desk, and sat down to comply with Mrs. Brent's request.
She dictated as follows:
"I leave home at my own wish, but with the consent
of Mrs. Brent, to seek my fortune. It is wholly
my own idea, and I hold no one else responsible.
"You may as well keep the name of Brent," said
his step-mother, "as you have no other that you know
Phil winced at those cold words. It was not
pleasant to reflect that this was so, and that he was
wholly ignorant of his parentage.
"One thing more," said Mrs. Brent. "It is only
eight o'clock. I should like to have you go out and
call upon some of those with whom you are most
intimate, and tell them that you are leaving home
"I will," answered Phil.
"Perhaps you would prefer to do so to-morrow."
"No; I am going away to-morrow morning."
"Very well."
"Going away to-morrow morning?" repeated
Jonas, who entered the room at that moment.
Phil's plan was briefly disclosed.
"Then give me your skates," said Jonas.
"I can't. I've given them to Tommy Kavanagh."
"That's mean. You might have thought of me
first," grumbled Jonas.
"I don't know why. Tommy Kavanagh is my
friend and you are not."
"Anyway, you can let me have your boat and
"I have sold them."
"That's too bad."
"I don't know why you should expect them. I
needed the money they brought me to pay my expenses
till I get work."
"I will pay your expenses to New York if you
wish," said Mrs. Brent.
"Thank you; but I shall have money enough,"
answered Phil, who shrank from receiving any favor
at the hands of Mrs. Brent.
"As you please, but you will do me the justice to
remember that I offered it."
"Thank you. I shall not forget it."
That evening, just before going to bed, Mrs.
Brent opened a trunk and drew from it a folded
She read as follows--for it was her husband's
"To the boy generally known as Philip Brent,
and supposed, though incorrectly, to be my son, I
bequeath the sum of five thousand dollars, and direct
the same to be paid over to any one whom he may
select as guardian, to hold in trust for him till he
attains the age of twenty-one."
"He need never know of this," said Mrs. Brent to
herself in a low tone. "I will save it for Jonas."
She held the paper a moment, as if undecided
whether to destroy it, but finally put it carefully
back in the secret hiding-place from which she had
taken it.
"He is leaving home of his own accord," she
whispered. "Henceforth he will probably keep
away. That suits me well. but no one can say I
drove him to it."
Six months before it might have cost Philip a
pang to leave home. Then his father was living,
and from him the boy had never received aught
but kindness. Even his step-mother, though she
secretly disliked him, did not venture to show it,
and secure in the affections of his supposed father,
he did not trouble himself as to whether Mrs. Brent
liked him or not. As for Jonas, he was cautioned
by his mother not to get himself into trouble by
treating Phil badly, and the boy, who knew on
which side his interests lay, faithfully obeyed. It
was only after the death of Mr. Brent that both
Jonas and his mother changed their course, and
thought it safe to snub Philip.
Planktown was seventy-five miles distant from
New York, and the fare was two dollars and a quarter.
This was rather a large sum to pay, considering
Phil's scanty fund, but he wished to get to the great
city as soon as possible, and he decided that it would
be actually cheaper to ride than to walk, considering
that he would have to buy his meals on the way.
He took his seat in the cars, placing a valise full
of underclothes on the seat next him. The train was
not very full, and the seat beside him did not appear
to be required.
Mile after mile they sped on the way, and Phil
looked from the window with interest at the towns
through which they passed. There are very few
boys of his age--sixteen--who do not like to travel
in the cars. Limited as were his means, and uncertain
as were his prospects, Phil felt not only cheerful,
but actually buoyant, as every minute took him
farther away from Planktown, and so nearer the
city where he hoped to make a living at the outset,
and perhaps his fortune in the end.
Presently--perhaps half way on--a young man,
rather stylishly dressed, came into the car. It was
not at a station, and therefore it seemed clear that
he came from another car.
He halted when he reached the seat which Phil
Our hero, observing that his glance rested on his
valise, politely removed it, saying:
"Would you like to sit down here, sir?"
"Yes, thank you," answered the young man, and
sank into the seat beside Phil.
"Sorry to inconvenience you," he said, with a
glance at the bag.
"Oh, not at all," returned Phil. "I only put the
valise on the seat till it was wanted by some passenger."
"You are more considerate than some passengers,"
observed the young man. "In the next car is a
woman, an elderly party, who is taking up three extra
seats to accommodate her bags and boxes."
"That seems rather selfish," remarked Phil.
"Selfish! I should say so. I paused a minute at
her seat as I passed along, and she was terribly
afraid I wanted to sit down. She didn't offer to
move anything, though, as you have. I stopped
long enough to make her feel uncomfortable, and
then passed on. I don't think I have fared any the
worse for doing so. I would rather sit beside you
than her."
"Am I to consider that a compliment?" asked Phil,
"Well, yes, if you choose. Not that it is saying
much to call you more agreeable company than the
old party alluded to. Are you going to New York?"
"Yes, sir."
"Live there?"
"I expect to live there."
"Brought up in the country, perhaps?"
"Yes, in Planktown."
"Oh, Planktown! I've heard it's a nice place, but
never visited it. Got any folks?"
Phil hesitated. In the light of the revelation that
had been made to him by Mrs. Brent, he did not
know how to answer. However, there was no call
to answer definitely.
"Not many," he said.
"Goin' to school in New York?"
"To college, perhaps. I've got a cousin in
Columbia College."
"I wish I knew enough to go to college," said
Phil; "but I only know a little Latin, and no Greek
at all."
"Well, I never cared much about Latin or Greek,
myself. I presume you are thinking about a business
"Yes, I shall try to get a place."
"You may find a little time necessary to find one.
However, you are, no doubt, able to pay your board
for awhile."
"For a short time," said Phil.
"Well, I may be able to help you to a place. I
know a good many prominent business men."
"I should be grateful to you for any help of that
kind," said Phil, deciding that he was in luck to
meet with such a friend.
"Don't mention it. I have had to struggle
myself--in earlier days--though at present I am well
fixed. What is your name?"
"Philip Brent."
"Good! My name is Lionel Lake. Sorry I haven't
got any cards. Perhaps I may have one in my
pocket-book. Let me see!"
Mr. Lake opened his porte-monnaie and uttered a
exclamation of surprise.
"By Jove!" he said, "I am in a fix."
Phil looked at him inquiringly.
"I took out a roll of bills at the house of my aunt,
where I stayed last night," explained Mr. Lake, "and
must have neglected to replace them."
"I hope you have not lost them," said Phil
"Oh, no; my aunt will find them and take care of
them for me, so that I shall get them back. The
trouble is that I am left temporarily without funds."
"But you can get money in the city," suggested
"No doubt; only it is necessary for me to stay
over a train ten miles short of the city."
Mr. Lionel Lake seemed very much perplexed.
"If I knew some one in the cars," he said
It did occur to Phil to offer to loan him
something, but the scantiness of his own resources warned
him that it would not be prudent, so he remained
Finally Mr. Lake appeared to have an idea.
"Have you got five dollars, Philip?" he said
"Yes, sir," answered Philip slowly.
"Then I'll make a proposal. Lend it to me and I
will give you this ring as security. It is worth
twenty-five dollars easily.
He drew from his vest-pocket a neat gold ring,
with some sort of a stone in the setting.
"There!" said Mr. Lake, "I'll give you this ring
and my address, and you can bring it to my office
to-morrow morning. I'll give you back the five
dollars and one dollar for the accommodation. That's
good interest, isn't it?"
"But I might keep the ring and sell it," suggested
"Oh, I am not afraid. You look honest. I will
trust you," said the young man, in a careless, offhand
manner. "Say, is it a bargain?"
"Yes," answered Phil.
It occurred to him that he could not earn a dollar
more easily. Besides, he would be doing a favor to
this very polite young man.
"All right, then!"
Five dollars of Phil's scanty hoard was handed
to Mr. Lake, who, in return, gave Phil the ring,
which he put on his finger.
He also handed Phil a scrap of paper, on which he
"LIONEL LAKE, No. 237 Broadway."
"I'm ever so much obliged," he said. "Good-by.
I get out at the next station."
Phil was congratulating himself on his good stroke
of business, when the conductor entered the car,
followed by a young lady. When they came to where
Phil was seated, the young lady said:
"That is my ring on that boy's finger?"
"Aha! we've found the thief, then!" said the
conductor. "Boy, give up the ring you stole from this
young lady!"
As he spoke he placed his hand on Phil's shoulder.
"Stole!" repeated Phil, gasping. "I don't
understand you."
"Oh, yes, you do!" said the conductor roughly.
No matter how honest a boy may be, a sudden
charge of theft is likely to make him
look confused and guilty.
Such was the case with Phil.
"I assure you," he said earnestly, "that I did not
steal this ring."
"Where did you get it, then?" demanded the
conductor roughly.
He was one of those men who, in any position,
will make themselves disagreeable. Moreover, he
was a man who always thought ill of others, when
there was any chance of doing so. In fact, he preferred
to credit his fellows with bad qualities rather
than with good.
"It was handed me by a young man who just
left the car," said Phil.
"That's a likely story," sneered the conductor.
"Young men are not in the habit of giving
valuable rings to strangers."
"He did not give it to me, I advanced him five
dollars on it."
"What was the young man's name?" asked the
conductor incredulously.
"There's his name and address," answered Phil,
drawing from his pocket the paper handed him by
Mr. Lake.
"Lionel Lake, 237 Broadway," repeated the
conductor. "If there is any such person, which I very
much doubt, you are probably a confederate of his."
"You have no right to say this," returned Phil
"I haven't, haven't I?" snapped the conductor.
"Do you know what I am going to do with you?"
"If you wish me to return the ring to this young
lady, I will do so, if she is positive it is hers."
"Yes, you must do that, but it won't get you out
of trouble. I shall hand you over to a policeman as
soon as we reach New York."
Phil was certainly dismayed, for he felt that it
might be difficult for him to prove that he came
honestly in possession of the ring.
"The fact is," added the conductor, "your story
is too thin."
"Conductor," said a new voice, "you are doing
the boy an injustice."
The speaker was an old man with gray hair, but
of form still robust, though he was at least sixty
five. He sat in the seat just behind Phil.
"Thank you, sir," said Phil gratefully.
"I understand my business," said the conductor
impertinently, "and don't need any instructions
from you."
"Young man," said the old gentleman, in a very
dignified tone, "I have usually found officials of
your class polite and gentlemanly, but you are an
"Who are you?" asked the conductor rudely.
"What right have you to put in your oar?"
"As to who I am, I will answer you by and by.
In reference to the boy, I have to say that his story
is correct. I heard the whole conversation between
him and the young man from whom he received the
ring, and I can testify that he has told the truth."
"At any rate he has received stolen property."
"Not knowing it to be stolen. The young man
was an entire stranger to him, and though I
suspected that he was an unscrupulous adventurer, the
boy has not had experience enough to judge men."
"Very well. If he's innocent he can prove it
when he's brought to trial," said the conductor.
"As for you, sir, it's none of your business."
"Young man, you asked me a short time since
who I am. Do you want to know?"
"I am not very particular."
"Then, sir, I have to inform you that I am Richard
Grant, the president of this road."
The conductor's face was a curious and interesting
study when he heard this announcement. He knew
that the old man whom he had insulted had a right
to discharge him from his position, and bully as he
had shown himself, he was now inclined to humble
himself to save his place.
"I beg your pardon, sir," he said in a composed
tone. "If I had known who you were I wouldn't
have spoken as I did."
"I had a claim to be treated like a gentleman,
even if I had no connection with the road," he said.
"If you say the boy's all right, I won't interfere
with him," continued the conductor.
"My testimony would clear him from any charge
that might be brought against him," said the
president. "I saw him enter the car, and know he has
had no opportunity to take the ring."
"If he'll give me back the ring, that's all I want,"
said the young lady.
"That I am willing to do, though I lose five
dollars by it," said Philip.
"Do so, my boy," said the president. "I take it
for granted that the young lady's claim is a just
Upon this Philip drew the ring from his finger
and handed it to the young lady, who went back to
the car where her friends were sitting.
"I hope, sir," said the conductor anxiously, "that
you won't be prejudiced against me on account of
this affair."
"I am sorry to say that I can't help feeling
prejudiced against you," returned the president dryly;
"but I won't allow this feeling to injure you if, upon
inquiring, I find that you are otherwise an efficient
"Thank you, sir."
"I am glad that my presence has saved this boy
from being the victim of an injustice. Let this be a
lesson to you in future."
The conductor walked away, looking quite chopfallen,
and Philip turned to his new friend.
"I am very much indebted to you, sir," he said.
"But for you I should have found myself in serious
"I am glad to have prevented an injustice, my lad.
I am sorry I could not save you from loss also. That
enterprising rogue has gone off with five dollars
belonging to you. I hope the loss will not be a serious
one to you."
"It was more than a third part of my capital, sir,"
said Phil, rather ruefully.
"I am sorry for that. I suppose, however, you
are not dependent upon your own resources?"
"Yes, sir, I am."
"Have you no parents, then?" asked Mr. Grant,
with interest.
"No, sir; that is, I have a step-mother."
"And what are your plans, if you are willing to
tell me?"
"I am going to New York to try to make a
"I cannot commend your plan, my young friend,
unless there is a good reason for it."
"I think there is a good reason for it, sir."
"I hope you have not run away from home?"
"No, sir; I left home with my step-mother's
knowledge and consent."
"That is well. I don't want wholly to discourage
you, and so I will tell you that I, too, came to New
York at your age with the same object in view, with
less money in my pocket than you possess."
"And now you are the president of a railroad!"
said Phil hopefully.
"Yes; but I had a hard struggle before I reached
that position."
"I am not afraid of hard work, sir."
"That is in your favor. Perhaps you may be as
lucky as I have been. You may call at my office in
the city, if you feel inclined."
As Mr. Grant spoke he put in Phil's hand a card
bearing his name and address, in Wall Street.
"Thank you, sir," said Phil gratefully. "I shall
be glad to call. I may need advice."
"If you seek advice and follow it you will be an
exception to the general rule," said the president,
smiling. "One thing more--you have met with a
loss which, to you, is a serious one. Allow me to
bear it, and accept this bill."
"But, sir, it is not right that you should bear it,"
commenced Phil. Then, looking at the bill, he said:
"Haven't you made a mistake? This is a TEN-dollar
"I know it. Accept the other five as an evidence
of my interest in you. By the way, I go to
Philadelphia and Washington before my return to New
York, and shall not return for three or four days.
After that time you will find me at my office.
"I am in luck after all," thought Phil cheerfully,
"in spite of the mean trick of Mr. Lionel Lake."
So Phil reached New York in very fair spirits.
He found himself, thanks to the liberality of
Mr. Grant, in a better financial position than when
he left home.
As he left the depot and found himself in the
streets of New York, he felt like a stranger upon
the threshold of a new life. He knew almost nothing
about the great city he had entered, and was at
a loss where to seek for lodgings.
"It's a cold day," said a sociable voice at his elbow.
Looking around, Phil saw that the speaker was a
sallow-complexioned young man, with black hair and
mustache, a loose black felt hat, crushed at the
crown, giving him rather a rakish look.
"Yes, sir," answered Phil politely.
"Stranger in the city, I expect?"
"Yes, sir."
"Never mind the sir. I ain't used to ceremony.
I am Signor Orlando."
"Signor Orlando!" repeated Phil, rather puzzled.
"Are you an Italian?"
"Well, yes," returned Signor Orlando, with a
wink, "that's what I am, or what people think me;
but I was born in Vermont, and am half Irish and
half Yankee."
"How did you come by your name, then?"
"I took it," answered his companion. "You see,
dear boy, I'm a professional."
"A what?"
"A professional--singer and clog-dancer. I
believe I am pretty well known to the public,"
continued Signor Orlando complacently. "Last
summer I traveled with Jenks & Brown's circus. Of
course you've heard of THEM. Through the winter
I am employed at Bowerman's Varieties, in the Bowery.
I appear every night, and at two matinees
It must be confessed that Phil was considerably
impressed by the professional character of Signor
Orlando. He had never met an actor, or public
performer of any description, and was disposed to have
a high respect for a man who filled such a conspicuous
position. There was not, to be sure, anything
very impressive about Signor Orlando's appearance.
His face did not indicate talent, and his dress was
shabby. But for all that he was a man familiar with
the public--a man of gifts.
"I should like to see you on the stage," said Phil
"So you shall, my dear boy--so you shall. I'll get
you a pass from Mr. Bowerman. Which way are
you going?"
"I don't know," answered Phil, puzzled. "I
should like to find a cheap boarding-house, but I don't
know the city."
"I do," answered Signor Orlando promptly. "Why
not come to my house?"
"Have you a house?"
"I mean my boarding-house. It's some distance
away. Suppose we take a horse-car?"
"All right!" answered Phil, relieved to find a
guide in the labyrinth of the great city.
"I live on Fifth Street, near the Bowery--a very
convenient location," said Orlando, if we may take
the liberty to call him thus.
"Fifth Avenue?" asked Phil, who did not know
the difference.
"Oh, no; that's a peg above my style. I am not a
Vanderbilt, nor yet an Astor."
"Is the price moderate?" asked Phil anxiously.
"I must make my money last as long as I can, for I
don't know when I shall get a place."
"To be sure. You might room with me, only I've
got a hall bedroom. Perhaps we might manage it,
"I think I should prefer a room by myself," said
Phil, who reflected that Signor Orlando was a
stranger as yet.
"Oh, well, I'll speak to the old lady, and I guess
she can accommodate you with a hall bedroom like
mine on the third floor."
"What should I have to pay?"
"A dollar and a quarter a week, and you can get
your meals where you please."
"I think that will suit me," said Phil thoughtfully.
After leaving the car, a minute's walk brought
them to a shabby three-story house of brick. There
was a stable opposite, and a group of dirty children
were playing in front of it.
"This is where I hang out," said Signor Orlando
cheerfully. "As the poet says, there is no place like
If this had been true it was not much to be regretted,
since the home in question was far from attractive.
Signor Orlando rang the bell, and a stout woman
of German aspect answered the call.
"So you haf come back, Herr Orlando," said this
lady. "I hope you haf brought them two weeks'
rent you owe me."
"All in good time, Mrs. Schlessinger," said
Orlando. "But you see I have brought some one with
"Is he your bruder now?" asked the lady.
"No, he is not, unfortunately for me. His name
Orlando coughed.
"Philip Brent," suggested our hero.
"Just so--Philip Brent."
"I am glad to see Mr. Prent," said the landlady.
"And is he an actor like you, Signor Orlando?"
"Not yet. We don't know what may happen.
But he comes on business, Mrs. Schlessinger. He
wants a room."
The landlady brightened up. She had two rooms
vacant, and a new lodger was a godsend.
"I vill show Mr. Prent what rooms I haf," she
said. "Come up-stairs, Mr. Prent."
The good woman toiled up the staircase panting,
for she was asthmatic, and Phil followed. The
interior of the house was as dingy as the exterior,
and it was quite dark on the second landing.
She threw open the door of a back room, which,
being lower than the hall, was reached by a step.
"There!" said she, pointing to the faded carpet,
rumpled bed, and cheap pine bureau, with the little
six-by-ten looking-glass surmounting it. "This is a
peautiful room for a single gentleman, or even for a
man and his wife."
"My friend, Mr. Brent, is not married," said
Signor Orlando waggishly.
Phil laughed.
"You will have your shoke, Signor Orlando," said
Mrs. Schlessinger.
"What is the price of this room?" asked Phil.
"Three dollars a week, Mr. Prent, I ought to
have four, but since you are a steady young gentleman----"
"How does she know that?" Phil wondered.
"Since you are a steady young gentleman, and a
friend of Signor Orlando, I will not ask you full
"That is more than I can afford to pay," said
Phil, shaking his head.
"I think you had better show Mr. Brent the hall
bedroom over mine," suggested the signor.
Mrs. Schlessinger toiled up another staircase, the
two new acquaintances following her. She threw
open the door of one of those depressing cells known
in New York as a hall bedroom. It was about five
feet wide and eight feet long, and was nearly filled
up by a cheap bedstead, covered by a bed about two
inches thick, and surmounted at the head by a
consumptive-looking pillow. The paper was torn from
the walls in places. There was one rickety chair,
and a wash-stand which bore marks of extreme antiquity.
"This is a very neat room for a single gentleman,"
remarked Mrs. Schlessinger.
Phil's spirits fell as he surveyed what was to be
his future home. It was a sad contrast to his neat,
comfortable room at home.
"Is this room like yours, Signor Orlando?" he
asked faintly.
"As like as two peas," answered Orlando.
"Would you recommend me to take it?"
"You couldn't do better."
How could the signor answer otherwise in
presence of a landlady to whom he owed two weeks'
"Then," said Phil, with a secret shudder, "I'll
take it if the rent is satisfactory."
"A dollar and a quarter a week," said Mrs.
Schlessinger promptly.
"I'll take it for a week."
"You won't mind paying in advance?" suggested
the landlady. "I pay my own rent in advance."
Phil's answer was to draw a dollar and a quarter
from his purse and pass it to his landlady.
"I'll take possession now," said our hero. "Can
I have some water to wash my face?"
Mrs. Schlessinger was evidently surprised that
any one should want to wash in the middle of the
day, but made no objections.
When Phil had washed his face and hands, he
went out with Signor Orlando to dine at a restaurant
on the Bowery.
The restaurant to which he was taken by
Signor Orlando was thronged with patrons, for
it was one o'clock. On the whole, they did not
appear to belong to the highest social rank, though
they were doubtless respectable. The table-cloths
were generally soiled, and the waiters had a greasy
look. Phil said nothing, but he did not feel quite so
hungry as before he entered.
The signor found two places at one of the tables,
and they sat down. Phil examined a greasy bill of
fare and found that he could obtain a plate of meat
for ten cents. This included bread and butter, and
a dish of mashed potato. A cup of tea would be
five cents additional.
"I can afford fifteen cents for a meal," he thought,
and called for a plate of roast beef.
"Corn beef and cabbage for me," said the signor.
"It's very filling," he remarked aside to Phil.
"They won't give you but a mouthful of beef."
So it proved, but the quality was such that Phil
did not care for more. He ordered a piece of apple
pie afterward feeling still hungry.
"I see you're bound to have a square meal," said
the signor.
After Phil had had it, he was bound to confess
that he did not feel uncomfortably full. Yet he had
spent twice as much as the signor, who dispensed
with the tea and pie as superfluous luxuries.
In the evening Signor Orlando bent his steps
toward Bowerman's Varieties.
"I hope in a day or two to get a complimentary
ticket for you, Mr. Brent," he said.
"How much is the ticket?" asked Phil.
"Fifteen cents. Best reserved seats twenty-five
"I believe I will be extravagant for once," said
Phil, "and go at my own expense."
"Good!" said the signor huskily. "You'll feel
repaid I'll be bound. Bowerman always gives the
public their money's worth. The performance
begins at eight o'clock and won't be out until halfpast
"Less than five cents an hour," commented Phil.
"What a splendid head you've got!" said Signor
Orlando admiringly. "I couldn't have worked that
up. Figures ain't my province."
It seemed to Phil rather a slender cause for
compliment, but he said nothing, since it seemed clear
that the computation was beyond his companion's
As to the performance, it was not refined, nor was
the talent employed first-class. Still Phil enjoyed
himself after a fashion. He had never had it in his
power to attend many amusements, and this was
new to him. He naturally looked with interest for
the appearance of his new friend and fellow-lodger.
Signor Orlando appeared, dressed in gorgeous
array, sang a song which did credit to the loudness
of his voice rather than its quality, and ended by a
noisy clog-dance which elicited much applause from
the boys in the gallery, who shared the evening's
entertainment for the moderate sum of ten cents.
The signor was called back to the stage. He
bowed his thanks and gave another dance. Then he
was permitted to retire. As this finished his part of
the entertainment he afterward came around in
citizen's dress, and took a seat in the auditorium
beside Phil.
"How did you like me, Mr. Brent?" he asked
"I thought you did well, Signor Orlando. You
were much applauded."
"Yes, the audience is very loyal," said the proud
Two half-grown boys heard Phil pronounce the
name of his companion, and they gazed awe-stricken
at the famous man.
"That's Signor Orlando!" whispered one of the
"I know it," was the reply.
"Such is fame," said the Signor, in a pleased tone
to Phil. "People point me out on the streets."
"Very gratifying, no doubt," said our hero, but it
occurred to him that he would not care to be pointed
out as a performer at Bowerman's. Signor Orlando,
however, well-pleased with himself, didn't doubt
that Phil was impressed by his popularity, and
perhaps even envied it.
They didn't stay till the entertainment was over.
It was, of course, familiar to the signor, and Phil
felt tired and sleepy, for he had passed a part of the
afternoon in exploring the city, and had walked in
all several miles.
He went back to his lodging-house, opened the
door with a pass-key which Mrs. Schlessinger had
given him, and climbing to his room in the third story,
undressed and deposited himself in bed.
The bed was far from luxurious. A thin pallet
rested on slats, so thin that he could feel the slats
through it, and the covering was insufficient. The
latter deficiency he made up by throwing his overcoat
over the quilt, and despite the hardness of his
bed, he was soon sleeping soundly.
"To-morrow I must look for a place," he said to
Signor Orlando. "Can you give me any advise?"
"Yes, my dear boy. Buy a daily paper, the Sun
or Herald, and look at the advertisements. There
may be some prominent business man who is looking
out for a boy of your size."
Phil knew of no better way, and he followed Signor
Orlando's advice.
After a frugal breakfast at the Bowery restaurant,
he invested a few pennies in the two papers
mentioned, and began to go the rounds.
The first place was in Pearl Street.
He entered, and was directed to a desk in the
front part of the store.
"You advertised for a boy," he said.
"We've got one," was the brusque reply.
Of course no more was to be said, and Phil walked
out, a little dashed at his first rebuff.
At the next place he found some half a dozen boys
waiting, and joined the line, but the vacancy was
filled before his turn came.
At the next place his appearance seemed to make
a good impression, and he was asked several questions.
"What is your name?"
"Philip Brent."
"How old are you?"
"Just sixteen."
"How is your education?"
"I have been to school since I was six."
"Then you ought to know something. Have you
ever been in a place?"
"No, sir."
"Do you live with your parents?"
"No, sir; I have just come to the city, and am
lodging in Fifth Street."
"Then you won't do. We wish our boys to live
with their parents."
Poor Phil! He had allowed himself to hope that
at length he was likely to get a place. The abrupt
termination of the conversation dispirited him.
He made three more applications. In one of them
he again came near succeeding, but once more the
fact that he did not live with his parents defeated
his application.
"It seems to be very hard getting a place,"
thought Phil, and it must be confessed he felt a little
"I won't make any more applications to-day," he
decided, and being on Broadway, walked up that
busy thoroughfare, wondering what the morrow
would bring forth.
It was winter, and there was ice on the sidewalk.
Directly in front of Phil walked an elderly gentleman,
whose suit of fine broadcloth and gold spectacles,
seemed to indicate a person of some prominence
and social importance.
Suddenly he set foot on a treacherous piece of ice.
Vainly he strove to keep his equilibrium, his arms
waving wildly, and his gold-headed cane falling to
the sidewalk. He would have fallen backward, had
not Phil, observing his danger in time, rushed to his
With some difficulty the gentleman righted
himself, and then Phil picked up his cane.
"I hope you are not hurt, sir?" he said.
"I should have been but for you, my good boy,"
said the gentleman. "I am a little shaken by the
suddenness of my slipping."
"Would you wish me to go with you, sir?"
"Yes, if you please. I do not perhaps require
you, but I shall be glad of your company."
"Thank you, sir."
"Do you live in the city?"
"Yes, sir; that is, I propose to do so. I have
come here in search of employment."
Phil said this, thinking it possible that the old
gentleman might exert his influence in his favor.
"Are you dependent on what you may earn?"
asked the gentleman, regarding him attentively.
"I have a little money, sir, but when that is gone
I shall need to earn something."
"That is no misfortune. It is a good thing for a
boy to be employed. Otherwise he is liable to get
into mischief."
"At any rate, I shall be glad to find work, sir."
"Have you applied anywhere yet?"
Phil gave a little account of his unsuccessful
applications, and the objections that had been made to
"Yes, yes," said the old gentleman thoughtfully,
"more confidence is placed in a boy who lives with
his parents."
The two walked on together until they reached
Twelfth Street. It was a considerable walk, and
Phil was surprised that his companion should walk,
when he could easily have taken a Broadway stage,
but the old gentleman explained this himself.
"I find it does me good," he said, "to spend some
time in the open air, and even if walking tires me it
does me good."
At Twelfth Street they turned off.
"I am living with a married niece," he said, "just
on the other side of Fifth Avenue."
At the door of a handsome four-story house, with
a brown-stone front, the old gentleman paused, and
told Phil that this was his residence.
"Then, sir, I will bid you good-morning," said
"No, no; come in and lunch with me," said Mr.
Carter hospitably.
He had, by the way, mentioned that his name was
Oliver Carter, and that he was no longer actively
engaged in business, but was a silent partner in the
firm of which his nephew by marriage was the
nominal head.
"Thank you, sir," answered Phil.
He was sure that the invitation was intended to
be accepted, and he saw no reason why he should
not accept it.
"Hannah," said the old gentleman to the servant
who opened the door, "tell your mistress that I
have brought a boy home to dinner with me."
"Yes, sir," answered Hannah, surveying Phil in
some surprise.
"Come up to my room, my young friend," said
Mr. Carter. "You may want to prepare for
Mr. Carter had two connecting rooms on the
second floor, one of which he used as a bed-chamber.
The furniture was handsome and costly, and
Phil, who was not used to city houses, thought it
Phil washed his face and hands, and brushed his
hair. Then a bell rang, and following his new
friend, he went down to lunch.
Lunch was set out in the front basement. When
Phil and Mr. Carter entered the room a lady was
standing by the fire, and beside her was a boy of
about Phil's age. The lady was tall and slender,
with light-brown hair and cold gray eyes.
"Lavinia," said Mr. Carter, "I have brought a
young friend with me to lunch."
"So I see," answered the lady. "Has he been
here before?"
"No; he is a new acquaintance."
"I would speak to him if I knew his name."
"His name is----"
Here the old gentleman hesitated, for in truth he
had forgotten.
"Philip Brent."
"You may sit down here, Mr. Brent," said Mrs.
Pitkin, for this was the lady's name.
"Thank you, ma'am."
"And so you made my uncle's acquaintance this
morning?" she continued, herself taking a seat at
the head of the table.
"Yes; he was of service to me," answered Mr.
Carter for him. "I had lost my balance, and should
have had a heavy fall if Philip had not come to my
"He was very kind, I am sure," said Mrs. Pitkin,
but her tone was very cold.
"Philip," said Mr. Carter, "this is my grandnephew,
Alonzo Pitkin."
He indicated the boy already referred to.
"How do you do?" said Alonzo, staring at Philip
not very cordially.
"Very well, thank you," answered Philip politely.
"Where do you live?" asked Alonzo, after a
moment's hesitation.
"In Fifth Street."
"That's near the Bowery, isn't it?"
The boy shrugged his shoulders and exchanged a
significant look with his mother.
Fifth Street was not a fashionable street--indeed
quite the reverse, and Phil's answer showed that he
was a nobody. Phil himself had begun to suspect
that he was unfashionably located, but he felt that
until his circumstances improved he might as well
remain where he was.
But, though he lived in an unfashionable street, it
could not be said that Phil, in his table manners,
showed any lack of good breeding. He seemed
quite at home at Mrs. Pitkin's table, and in fact
acted with greater propriety than Alonzo, who was
addicted to fast eating and greediness.
"Couldn't you walk home alone, Uncle Oliver?"
asked Mrs. Pitkin presently.
"Then it was a pity to trouble Mr. Brent to come
with you."
"It was no trouble," responded Philip promptly,
though he suspected that it was not consideration
for him that prompted the remark.
"Yes, I admit that I was a little selfish in taking
up my young friend's time," said the old gentleman
cheerfully; "but I infer, from what he tells me,
that it is not particularly valuable just now."
"Are you in a business position, Mr. Brent?"
asked Mrs. Pitkin.
"No, madam. I was looking for a place this
"Have you lived for some time in the city?"
"No; I came here only yesterday from the country."
"I think country boys are very foolish to leave
good homes in the country to seek places in the
city," said Mrs. Pitkin sharply.
"There may be circumstances, Lavinia, that make
it advisable," suggested Mr. Carter, who, however,
did not know Phil's reason for coming.
"No doubt; I understand that," answered Mrs.
Pitkin, in a tone so significant that Phil wondered
whether she thought he had got into any trouble at
"And besides, we can't judge for every one. So I
hope Master Philip may find some good and satisfactory
opening, now that he has reached the city."
After a short time, lunch, which in New York is
generally a plain meal, was over, and Mr. Carter
invited Philip to come up-stairs again.
"I want to talk over your prospects, Philip," he
There was silence till after the two had left the
room. Then Mrs. Pitkin said:
"Alonzo, I don't like this."
"What don't you like, ma?"
"Uncle bringing this boy home. It is very
extraordinary, this sudden interest in a perfect
"Do you think he'll leave him any money?" asked
Alonzo, betraying interest.
"I don't know what it may lead to, Lonny, but it
don't look right. Such things have been known."
"I'd like to punch the boy's head," remarked
Alonzo, with sudden hostility. "All uncle's money
ought to come to us."
"So it ought, by rights," observed his mother.
"We must see that this boy doesn't get any
ascendency over him."
Phil would have been very much amazed if he
had overheard this conversation.
The old gentleman sat down in an arm-chair
and waved his hand toward a small rockingchair,
in which Phil seated himself.
"I conclude that you had a good reason for
leaving home, Philip," said Mr. Carter, eying our hero
with a keen, but friendly look.
"Yes, sir; since my father's death it has not been
a home to me."
"Is there a step-mother in the case?" asked the
old gentleman shrewdly.
"Yes, sir."
"Any one else?"
"She has a son."
"And you two don't agree?"
"You seem to know all about it, sir," said Phil,
"I know something of the world--that is all."
Phil began to think that Mr. Carter's knowledge
of the world was very remarkable. He began to wonder
whether he could know anything more--could
suspect the secret which Mrs. Brent had communicated
to him. Should he speak of it? He decided
at any rate to wait, for Mr. Carter, though kind, was
a comparative stranger.
"Well," continued the old gentleman, "I won't
inquire too minutely into the circumstances. You
don't look like a boy that would take such an important
step as leaving home without a satisfactory reason.
The next thing is to help you."
Phil's courage rose as he heard these words. Mr.
Carter was evidently a rich man, and he could help
him if he was willing. So he kept silence, and let
his new friend do the talking.
"You want a place," continued Mr. Carter. "Now,
what are you fit for?"
"That is a hard question for me to answer, sir. I
don't know."
"Have you a good education?"
"Yes, sir; and I know something of Latin and
French besides."
"You can write a good hand?"
"Shall I show you, sir?"
"Yes; write a few lines at my private desk."
Phil did so, and handed the paper to Mr. Carter.
"Very good," said the old gentleman approvingly.
"That is in your favor. Are you good at accounts?"
"Yes, sir."
"Better still."
"Sit down there again," he continued. "I will
give you a sum in interest."
Phil resumed his seat.
"What is the interest of eight hundred and fortyfive
dollars and sixty cents for four years, three
months and twelve days, at eight and one-half per
Phil's pen moved fast in perfect silence for five
minutes. Then he announced the result.
"Let me look at the paper. I will soon tell you
whether it is correct."
After a brief examination, for the old gentleman
was himself an adept at figures, he said, with a
beaming smile:
"It is entirely correct. You are a smart boy."
"Thank you, sir," said Phil, gratified.
"And you deserve a good place--better than you
will probably get."
Phil listened attentively. The last clause was not
quite so satisfactory.
"Yes," said Mr. Carter, evidently talking to
himself, "I must get Pitkin to take him."
Phil knew that the lady whom he had already
met was named Pitkin, and he rightly concluded
that it was her husband who was meant.
"I hope he is more agreeable than his wife,"
thought Philip.
"Yes, Philip," said Mr. Carter, who had evidently
made up his mind, "I will try to find you a place
this afternoon.
"I shall be very much obliged, sir," said Philip
"I have already told you that my nephew and I
are in business together, he being the active and I
the silent partner. We do a general shipping
business. Our store is on Franklin Street. I will give
you a letter to my nephew and he will give you a
"Thank you, sir."
"Wait a minute and I will write the note."
Five minutes later Phil was on his way down town
with his credentials in his pocket.
PHIL paused before an imposing business structure,
and looked up to see if he could see the
sign that would show him he had reached his destination.
He had not far to look. On the front of the
building he saw in large letters the sign:
In the door-way there was another sign, from
which he learned that the firm occupied the second
He went up-stairs, and opening a door, entered a
spacious apartment which looked like a hive of
industry. There were numerous clerks, counters
piled with goods, and every indication that a prosperous
business was being carried on.
The nearest person was a young man of eighteen,
or perhaps more, with an incipient, straw-colored
mustache, and a shock of hair of tow-color. This
young man wore a variegated neck-tie, a stiff
standing-collar, and a suit of clothes in the extreme of
Phil looked at him hesitatingly.
The young man observed the look, and asked
"What can I do for you, my son?"
Such an address from a person less than three
years older than himself came near upsetting the
gravity of Phil.
"Is Mr. Pitkin in?" he asked.
"Yes, I believe so."
"Can I see him."
"I have no objection," remarked the young man
"Where shall I find him?"
The youth indicated a small room partitioned off
as a private office in the extreme end of the store.
"Thank you," said Phil, and proceeded to find
his way to the office in question.
Arrived at the door, which was partly open, he
looked in.
In an arm-chair sat a small man, with an erect
figure and an air of consequence. He was not over
forty-five, but looked older, for his cheeks were
already seamed and his look was querulous. Cheerful
natures do not so soon show signs of age as their
"Mr. Pitkin?" said Phil interrogatively.
"Well?" said the small man, frowning instinctively.
"I have a note for you, sir."
Phil stepped forward and handed the missive to
Mr. Pitkin.
The latter opened it quickly and read as follows:
The boy who will present this to you did me a
service this morning. He is in want of employment.
He seems well educated, but if you can't offer him
anything better than the post of errand boy, do so.
I will guarantee that he will give satisfaction. You
can send him to the post-office, and to other offices
on such errands as you may have. Pay him five
dollars a week and charge that sum to me.
Yours truly,
Mr. Pitkin's frown deepened as he read this note.
"Pish!" he ejaculated, in a tone which, though
low, was audible to Phil. "Uncle Oliver must be
crazy. What is your name?" he demanded fiercely,
turning suddenly to Phil.
"Philip Brent."
"When did you meet--the gentleman who gave
you this letter?"
Phil told him.
"Do you know what is in this letter?"
"I suppose, sir, it is a request that you give me a
"Did you read it?"
"No," answered Phil indignantly.
"Humph! He wants me to give you the place of
errand boy."
"I will try to suit you, sir,"
"When do you want to begin?"
"As soon as possible, sir."
"Come to-morrow morning, and report to me
"Another freak of Uncle Oliver's!" he muttered,
as he turned his back upon Phil, and so signified that
the interview was at an end.
Phil presented himself in good season the next
morning at the store in Franklin Street. As he
came up in one direction the youth whom he had
seen in the store the previous day came up in the
opposite direction. The latter was evidently surprised.
"Halloo, Johnny!" said he. "What's brought
you here again?"
"Business," answered Phil.
"Going to buy out the firm?" inquired the youth
"Not to-day."
"Some other day, then," said the young man,
laughing as if he had said a very witty thing.
As Phil didn't know that this form of expression,
slightly varied, had become a popular phrase of the
day, he did not laugh.
"Do you belong to the church?" asked the youth,
stopping short in his own mirth.
"What makes you ask?"
"Because you don't laugh."
"I would if I saw anything to laugh at."
"Come, that's hard on me. Honor bright, have
you come to do any business with us?"
It is rather amusing to see how soon the cheapest
clerk talks of "us," quietly identifying himself with
the firm that employs him. Not that I object to it.
Often it implies a personal interest in the success
and prosperity of the firm, which makes a clerk more
valuable. This was not, however, the case with G.
Washington Wilbur, the young man who was now
conversing with Phil, as will presently appear.
"I am going to work here," answered Phil simply.
"Going to work here!" repeated Mr. Wilbur in
surprise. "Has old Pitkin engaged you?"
"Mr. Pitkin engaged me yesterday," Phil replied.
"I didn't know he wanted a boy. What are you
to do?"
"Go to the post-office, bank, and so on."
"You're to be errand boy, then?"
"That's the way I started," said Mr. Wilbur patronizingly.
"What are you now?"
"A salesman. I wouldn't like to be back in my
old position. What wages are you going to get?"
"Five dollars."
"Five dollars a week!" ejaculated Mr. G.
Washington Wilbur, in amazement. "Come, you're chaffing."
"Why should I do that? Is that anything remarkable?"
"I should say it was," answered Mr. Wilbur
"Didn't you get as much when you were errand
"I only got two dollars and a half. Did Pitkin
tell you he would pay you five dollars a week."
"No; Mr Carter told me so."
"The old gentleman--Mr. Pitkin's uncle?"
"Yes. It was at his request that Mr. Pitkin took
me on."
Mr. Wilbur looked grave.
"It's a shame!" he commenced.
"What is a shame; that I should get five dollars
a week?"
"No, but that I should only get a dollar a week
more than an errand boy. I'm worth every cent of
ten dollars a week, but the old man only gives me
six. It hardly keeps me in gloves and cigars."
"Won't he give you any more?"
"No; only last month I asked him for a raise, and
he told me if I wasn't satisfied I might go elsewhere."
"You didn't?"
"No, but I mean to soon. I will show old Pitkin
that he can't keep a man of my experience for such
a paltry salary. I dare say that Denning or Claflin
would be glad to have me, and pay me what I am
Phil did not want to laugh, but when Mr. Wilbur,
who looked scarcely older than himself, and was in
appearance but a callow youth, referred to himself
as a man of experience he found it hard to resist.
"Hadn't we better be going up stairs?" asked Phil.
"All right. Follow me," said Mr. Wilbur, "and
I'll take you to the superintendent of the room."
"I am to report to Mr. Pitkin himself, I believe."
"He won't be here yet awhile," said Wilbur.
But just then up came Mr. Wilbur himself, fully
half an hour earlier than usual.
Phil touched his hat politely, and said:
"Good-morning!" returned his employer, regarding
him sharply. "Are you the boy I hired yesterday?"
"Yes, sir."
"Come up-stairs, then."
Phil followed Mr. Pitkin up-stairs, and they
walked together through the sales-room.
"I hope you understand," said Mr. Pitkin
brusquely, "that I have engaged you at the request
of Mr. Carter and to oblige him."
"I feel grateful to Mr. Carter," said Phil, not quite
knowing what was coming next.
"I shouldn't myself have engaged a boy of whom
I knew nothing, and who could give me no city references."
"I hope you won't be disappointed in me," said
"I hope not," answered Mr. Pitkin, in a tone
which seemed to imply that he rather expected to
Phil began to feel uncomfortable. It seemed evident
that whatever he did would be closely scrutinized,
and that in an unfavorable spirit.
Mr. Pitkin paused before a desk at which was
standing a stout man with grayish hair.
"Mr. Sanderson," he said, "this is the new errand
boy. His name is--what is it, boy?"
"Philip Brent."
"You will give him something to do. Has the
mail come in?"
"No; we haven't sent to the post-office yet."
"You may send this boy at once."
Mr. Sanderson took from the desk a key and
handed it to Philip.
"That is the key to our box," he said. "Notice
the number--534. Open it and bring the mail.
Don't loiter on the way."
"Yes, sir."
Philip took the key and left the warehouse.
When he reached the street he said to himself:
"I wonder where the post-office is?"
He did not like to confess to Mr. Sanderson that
he did not know, for it would probably have been
considered a disqualification for the post which he
was filling.
"I had better walk to Broadway," he said to
himself. "I suppose the post-office must be on the
principal street."
In this Phil was mistaken. At that time the postoffice
was on Nassau Street, in an old church which
had been utilized for a purpose very different from
the one to which it had originally been devoted.
Reaching Broadway, Phil was saluted by a bootblack,
with a grimy but honest-looking face.
"Shine your boots, mister?" said the boy, with a
"Not this morning."
"Some other morning, then?"
"Yes," answered Phil.
"Sorry you won't give me a job," said the bootblack.
"My taxes comes due to-day, and I ain't got
enough to pay 'em."
Phil was amused, for his new acquaintance scarcely
looked like a heavy taxpayer.
"Do you pay a big tax?" he asked.
"A thousand dollars or less," answered the knight
of the brush.
"I guess it's less," said Phil.
"That's where your head's level, young chap."
"Is the post-office far from here?"
"Over half a mile, I reckon."
"Is it on this street?"
"No, it's on Nassau Street."
"If you will show me the way there I'll give you
ten cents."
"All right! The walk'll do me good. Come on!"
"What's your name?" asked Phil, who had become
interested in his new acquaintance.
"The boys call me Ragged Dick."
It was indeed the lively young bootblack whose
history was afterward given in a volume which is
probably familiar to many of my readers. At this
time he was only a bootblack, and had not yet begun
to feel the spur of that ambition which led to his
subsequent prosperity.
"That's a queer name," said Phil.
"I try to live up to it," said Dick, with a comical
glance at his ragged coat, which had originally been
worn by a man six feet in height.
He swung his box over his shoulder, and led the
way to the old post-office.
Phil continued his conversation with Ragged
Dick, and was much amused by his quaint way
of expressing himself.
When they reached Murray Street, Dick said:
"Follow me. We'll cut across the City Hall Park.
It is the shortest way."
Soon they reached the shabby old building with
which New Yorkers were then obliged to be content
with as a post-office.
Phil secured the mail matter for Pitkin & Co.,
and was just about leaving the office, when he noticed
just ahead of him a figure which looked very
It flashed upon him of a sudden that it was his
old train acquaintance, Lionel Lake. He immediately
hurried forward and touched his arm.
Mr. Lake, who had several letters in his hand,
started nervously, and turned at the touch. He
recognized Phil, but appeared not to do so.
"What do you wish, boy?" he asked, loftily.
"I want to speak a word with you, Mr. Lake."
The young man shrugged his shoulders.
"You are mistaken in the person," he said. "My
name is not Lake."
"Very likely not," said Phil significantly, "but
that's what you called yourself when we met on the
"I repeat, boy, that you are strangely mistaken.
My name is"--he paused slightly--"John Montgomery."
"Just as you please. Whatever your name is, I
have a little business with you."
"I can't stop. My business is urgent," said Lake.
"Then I will be brief. I lent you five dollars on
a ring which I afterward discovered to be stolen. I
want you to return that money."
Mr. Lake looked about him apprehensively, for
he did not wish any one to hear what Phil was saying.
"You must be crazy!" he said. "I never saw you
before in the whole course of my life."
He shook off Phil's detaining hand, and was about
to hurry away, but Phil said resolutely:
"You can't deceive me, Mr. Lake. Give me that
money, or I will call a policeman."
Now, it happened that a policeman was passing
just outside, and Lake could see him.
"This is an infamous outrage!" he said, "but I
have an important appointment, and can't be detained.
Take the money. I give it to you in
Phil gladly received and pocketed the bank-note,
and relinquishing his hold of Mr. Lake, rejoined
Dick, who had been an interested eye-witness of the
"I see you've got pluck," said Dick. "What's it
all about?"
Phil told him.
"I ain't a bit s'prised," said Dick. "I could tell
by his looks that the man was a skin."
"Well, I'm even with him, at any rate," said Phil.
"Now I'll be getting back to the office. Thank you
for your guidance. Here's a quarter."
"You only promised me ten cents."
"It's worth a quarter. I hope to meet you
"We'll meet at Astor's next party," said Dick,
with a grin. "My invite came yesterday."
"Mine hasn't come yet," said Phil, smiling.
"Maybe it'll come to-morrow."
"He's a queer chap," thought Phil. "He's fit for
something better than blacking boots. I hope he'll
have the luck to get it."
Phil had been detained by his interview with Mr.
Lake, but he made up for it by extra speed, and
reached the warehouse in fair time. After delivering
the letters he was sent out on another errand,
and during the entire day he was kept busy.
Leaving him for the moment we go back to the
Pitkin mansion, and listen to & conversation between
Mr. and Mrs. Pitkin.
"Uncle Oliver is getting more and more eccentric
every day," said the lady. "He brought home a boy
to lunch to-day--some one whom he had picked up
in the street."
"Was the boy's name Philip Brent?" asked her
"Yes, I believe so. What do you know about
him?" asked the lady in surprise.
"I have engaged him as errand boy."
"You have! What for?" exclaimed Mrs. Pitkin.
"I couldn't help it. He brought a letter from
your uncle, requesting me to do so, and offering to
pay his wages out of his own pocket."
"This is really getting very serious," said Mrs.
Pitkin, annoyed. "Suppose he should take a fancy to
this boy?"
"He appears to have done so already," said her
husband dryly.
"I mean, suppose he should adopt him?"
"You are getting on pretty fast, Lavinia, are you
"Such things happen sometimes," said the lady,
nodding. "If it should happen it would be bad for
poor Lonny."
"Even in that case Lonny won't have to go to the
"Mr. Pitkin, you don't realize the danger. Here's
Uncle Oliver worth a quarter of a million dollars,
and it ought to be left to us."
"Probably it will be."
"He may leave it all to this boy. This must be
"You must say the boy doesn't suit you, and
discharge him."
"Well, well, give me time. I have no objection;
but I suspect it will be hard to find any fault with
him. He looks like a reliable boy."
"To me he looks like an artful young adventurer,"
said Mrs. Pitkin vehemently. "Depend upon it,
Mr. Pitkin, he will spare no pains to ingratiate
himself into Uncle Oliver's favor."
It will be seen that Mrs. Pitkin was gifted--if it
can be called a gift--with a very suspicious temperament.
She was mean and grasping, and could not
bear the idea of even a small part of her uncle's
money going to any one except her own family.
There was, indeed, another whose relationship to
Uncle Oliver was as close--a cousin, who had
estranged her relatives by marrying a poor
bookkeeper, with whom she had gone to Milwaukee.
Her name was never mentioned in the Pitkin household,
and Mrs. Pitkin, trusting to the distance between
them, did not apprehend any danger from this
source. Had she known Rebecca Forbush was even
now in New York, a widow with one child, struggling
to make a living by sewing and taking lodgers,
she would have felt less tranquil. But she knew
nothing of all this, nor did she dream that the boy
whom she dreaded was the very next day to make
the acquaintance of this despised relation.
This was the way that it happened:
Phil soon tired of the room he had taken in Fifth
Street. It was not neatly kept, and was far from
comfortable. Then again, he found that the restaurants,
cheap as they were, were likely to absorb
about all his salary, though the bill-of-fare was far
from attractive.
Chance took him through a side-street, between
Second and Third Avenues, in the neighborhood of
Thirteenth Street.
Among the three and four-story buildings that
lined the block was one frame-house, two-story-andbasement,
on which he saw a sign, "Board for
Gentlemen." He had seen other similar signs, but his
attention was specially drawn to this by seeing a
pleasant-looking woman enter the house with the
air of proprietor. This woman recalled to Philip his
own mother, to whom she bore a striking resemblance.
"I would like to board with one whose face
recalled that of my dear dead mother," thought Phil,
and on the impulse of the moment, just after the
woman had entered, he rang the door-bell.
The door was opened almost immediately by the
woman he had just seen enter.
It seemed to Phil almost as if he were looking into
his mother's face, and he inquired in an unsteady
"Do you take boarders?"
"Yes," was the answer. "Won't you step in?"
The house was poorly furnished with cheap
furniture, but there was an unexpected air of
neatness about it. There is a great difference
between respectable and squalid poverty. It was the
first of these that was apparent in the small house in
which our hero found himself.
"I am looking for a boarding-place," said Philip.
"I cannot afford to pay a high price."
"And I should not think of asking a high price
for such plain accommodations as I can offer," said
Mrs. Forbush. "What sort of a room do you desire?"
"A small room will answer."
"I have a hall-bedroom at the head of the stairs.
Will you go up and look at it?"
"I should like to do so."
Mrs. Forbush led the way up a narrow staircase,
and Philip followed her.
Opening the door of the small room referred to,
she showed a neat bed, a chair, a wash-stand, and a
few hooks from which clothing might be hung. It
was plain enough, but there was an air of neatness
which did not characterize his present room.
"I like the room," he said, brightening up. "How
much do you charge for this room and board?"
"Four dollars. That includes breakfast and
supper," answered Mrs. Forbush. "Lunch you provide
for yourself."
"That will be satisfactory," said Phil. "I am in
a place down town, and I could not come to lunch,
at any rate."
"When would you like to come, Mr.----?" said
the widow interrogatively."
"My name is Philip Brent."
"Mr. Brent."
"I will come some time to-morrow."
"Generally I ask a small payment in advance, as
a guarantee that an applicant will really come, but
I am sure I can trust you."
"Thank you, but I am quite willing to conform to
your usual rule," said Phil, as he drew a two-dollar
bill from his pocket and handed it to the widow.
So they parted, mutually pleased. Phil's week at
his present lodging would not be up for several
days, but he was tired of it, and felt that he would
be much more comfortable with Mrs. Forbush. So
he was ready to make the small pecuniary sacrifice
The conversation which has been recorded took
but five minutes, and did not materially delay Phil,
who, as I have already said, was absent from the
store on an errand.
The next day Phil became installed at his new
boarding-place, and presented himself at supper.
There were three other boarders, two being a
young salesman at a Third Avenue store and his
wife. They occupied a square room on the same
floor with Phil. The other was a female teacher,
employed in one of the city public schools. The
only remaining room was occupied by a drummer,
who was often called away for several days together.
This comprised the list of boarders, but Phil's attention
was called to a young girl of fourteen, of sweet
and attractive appearance, whom he ascertained to
be a daughter of Mrs. Forbush. The young lady
herself, Julia Forbush, cast frequent glances at Phil,
who, being an unusually good-looking boy, would
naturally excite the notice of a young girl.
On the whole, it seemed a pleasant and social
circle, and Phil felt that he had found a home.
The next day, as he was occupied in the store,
next to G. Washington Wilbur, he heard that young
man say:
"Why, there's Mr. Carter coming into the store!"
Mr. Oliver Carter, instead of making his way
directly to the office where Mr. Pitkin was sitting,
came up to where Phil was at work.
"How are you getting along, my young friend?"
he asked familiarly.
"Very well, thank you, sir."
"Do you find your duties very fatiguing?"
"Oh, no, sir. I have a comfortable time."
"That's right. Work cheerfully and you will win
the good opinion of your employer. Don't forget to
come up and see me soon."
"Thank you, sir."
"You seem to be pretty solid with the old man,"
remarked Mr. Wilbur.
"We are on very good terms," answered Phil,
"I wish you had introduced him to me," said Wilbur.
"Don't you know him?" asked Phil, in surprise.
"He doesn't often come to the store, and when he
does he generally goes at once to the office, and the
clerks don't have a chance to get acquainted."
"I should hardly like to take the liberty, then,"
said Phil.
"Oh, keep him to yourself, then, if you want to,"
said Mr. Wilbur, evidently annoyed.
"I don't care to do that. I shall be entirely
willing to introduce you when there is a good chance."
This seemed to appease Mr. Wilbur, who became
once more gracious.
"Philip," he said, as the hour of closing
approached, "why can't you come around and call upon
me this evening?"
"So I will," answered Phil readily.
Indeed, he found it rather hard to fill up his
evenings, and was glad to have a way suggested.
"Do. I want to tell you a secret."
"Where do you live?" asked Phil.
"No.---- East Twenty-second Street."
"All right. I will come round about half-past
Though Wilbur lived in a larger house than he,
Phil did not like his room as well. There being only
one chair in the room, Mr. Wilbur put his visitor in
it, and himself sat on the bed.
There was something of a mystery in the young
man's manner as, after clearing his throat, he said
to Phil:
"I am going to tell you a secret."
Phil's curiosity was somewhat stirred, and he
signified that he would like to hear it.
"I have for some time wanted a confidant," said
Mr. Wilbur. "I did not wish to trust a mere acquaintance,
for--ahem!--the matter is quite a delicate one.
Phil regarded him with increased interest.
"I am flattered by your selecting me," said he.
"I will keep your secret."
"Phil," said Mr. Wilbur, in a tragic tone, "you
may be surprised to hear that I am in LOVE!"
Phil started and wanted to laugh, but Mr. Wilbur's
serious, earnest look restrained him.
"Ain't you rather young?" he ventured to say.
"No; I am nineteen," answered Mr. Wilbur.
"The heart makes no account of years."
Whether this was original or borrowed, Phil could
not tell.
"Have you been in love long?" asked Phil.
"Three weeks."
"Does the lady know it?"
"Not yet," returned Mr. Wilbur. "I have
worshiped her from afar. I have never even spoken to
"Then the matter hasn't gone very far?"
"No, not yet."
"Where did you meet her first?"
"In a Broadway stage."
"What is her name?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know much about her, then?"
"Yes; I know where she lives."
"On Lexington Avenue."
"Between Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Streets.
Would you like to see her house?"
"Yes," answered Phil, who saw that Mr. Wilbur
wished him so to answer.
"Then come out. We might see her."
The two boys--for Mr. Wilbur, though he considered
himself a young man of large experience, was
really scarcely more than a boy--bent their steps to
Lexington Avenue, and walked in a northerly direction.
They had reached Twenty-eighth Street, when the
door of house farther up on the avenue was opened
and a lady came out.
"That's she!" ejaculated Mr. Wilbur, clutching
Phil by the arm.
Phil looked, and saw a tall young lady, three or
four inches taller than his friend and as many years
older. He looked at his companion with surprise.
"Is that the young lady you are in love with?"
he asked.
"Yes; isn't she a daisy?" asked the lover fervently.
"I am not much of a judge of daisies,' answered
Phil, a little embarrassed, for the young lady had
large features, and was, in his eyes, very far from
Phil did not like to hurt the feelings of his
companion, and refrained from laughing, though
with difficulty.
"She doesn't appear to know you," he said.
"No," said Wilbur; "I haven't had a chance to
make myself known to her."
"Do you think you can make a favorable
impression upon--the daisy?" asked Phil, outwardly sober,
but inwardly amused.
"I always had a taking way with girls," replied
Mr. Wilbur complacently.
Phil coughed. It was all that saved him from
While he was struggling with the inclination, the
lady inadvertently dropped a small parcel which she
had been carrying in her hand. The two boys were
close behind. Like an arrow from the bow Mr. Wilbur
sprang forward, picked up the parcel, and while
his heart beat wildly, said, as he tendered it to the
owner, with a graceful bow and captivating smile:
"Miss, I believe you dropped this."
"Thank you, my good boy," answered the daisy
Mr. Wilbur staggered back as if he had been
struck. He fell back in discomfiture, and his face
showed the mortification and anguish he felt.
"Did you hear what she said?" he asked, in a
hollow voice.
"She called you a boy, didn't she?"
"Yes," answered Mr. Wilbur sadly.
"Perhaps she may be near-sighted," said Phil consolingly.
"Do you think so?" asked Mr. Wilbur hopefully.
"It is quite possible. Then you are short, you
"Yes, it must be so," said G. Washington Wilbur,
his face more serene. "If she hadn't been she would
have noticed my mustache."
"She spoke kindly. If--if she had seen how old I
was, it would have been different, don't you think so?"
"Yes, no doubt."
"There is only one thing to do," said Mr. Wilbur,
in a tone of calm resolve.
"What is that?" inquired Phil, in some curiosity.
"I must wear a stove-pipe hat! As you say, I am
small, and a near-sighted person might easily suppose
me to be younger than I am. Now, with a
stove-pipe hat I shall look much older."
"Yes, I presume so."
"Then I can make her acquaintance again, and
she will not mistake me. Phil, why don't you wear
a stove-pipe?"
"Because I don't want to look any older than I
am. Besides, an errand-boy wouldn't look well in a
tall hat."
"No, perhaps not."
"And Mr. Pitkin would hardly like it."
"Of course. When you are a salesman like me it
will be different."
Mr. Wilbur was beginning to recover his
complacency, which had been so rudely disturbed.
"I suppose you wouldn't think of marrying on
your present salary?" said Phil. "Six dollars a
week wouldn't support a married pair very well."
"The firm would raise my salary. They always
do when a man marries. Besides, I have other resources."
"Yes; I am worth two thousand dollars. It was
left me by an aunt, and is kept in trust for me until
I am twenty-one. I receive the interest now."
"I congratulate you," said Phil, who was really
pleased to hear of his companion's good fortune.
"That money will come in handy."
"Besides, I expect SHE'S got money," continued
Mr. Wilbur. "Of course, I love her for herself
alone--I am not mercenary--still, it will be a help
when we are married."
"So it will," said Phil, amused at the confident
manner in which Mr. Wilbur spoke of marriage with
a lady of whom he knew absolutely nothing.
"Philip," said Mr. Wilbur, "when I marry, I want
you to stand up with me--to be my groomsman."
"If I am in the city, and can afford to buy a
dress-suit, I might consent."
"Thank you. You are a true friend!" said Mr.
Wilbur, squeezing his hand fervently.
The two returned to Mr. Wilbur's room and had a
chat. At an early hour Phil returned to his own
As time passed on, Phil and Wilbur spent considerable
time together out of the store. Mr. G. Washington
Wilbur, apart from his amusing traits, was a
youth of good principles and good disposition, and
Phil was glad of his company. Sometimes they
went to cheap amusements, but not often, for neither
had money to spare for such purposes.
Some weeks after Phil's entrance upon his duties
Mr. Wilbur made a proposal to Phil of a startling
"Suppose we have our fortunes told, Phil?" he said.
"If it would help my fortune, or hurry it up, I
shouldn't object," said Phil, smiling.
"I want to know what fate has in store for me,"
said Wilbur.
"Do you think the fortune-tellers know any better
than you do?" asked Phil incredulously.
"They tell some strange things," said Wilbur.
"What, for instance?"
"An aunt of mine went to a fortune-teller and
asked if she would ever be married, and when? She
was told that she would be married before she was
twenty-two, to a tall, light-complexioned man."
"Did it come true?"
"Yes, every word," said Mr. Wilbur solemnly.
"She was married three months before her twentysecond
birthday, and her husband was just the
kind of man that was predicted. Wasn't that
"The fortune-teller might easily have guessed all
that. Most girls are married as young as that."
"But not to tall, light-complexioned men!" said
Wilbur triumphantly.
"Is there anything you wish particularly to
know?" asked Phil.
"I should like to know if I am going to marry--
you know who."
"The daisy?"
Phil was not much in favor of the scheme, but
finally agreed to it.
There was a certain "Veiled Lady," who
advertised her qualifications in the Herald, as the seventh
daughter of a seventh daughter, and therefore
gifted with the power to read the future. Mr.
Wilbur made choice of her, and together they went to
call upon her one evening.
They were shown into an anteroom, and in due
time Mr. Wilbur was called into the dread presence.
He was somewhat nervous and agitated, but "braced
up," as he afterward expressed it, and went in. He
wanted Phil to go in with him, but the attendant
said that madam would not allow it, and he went
forward alone.
Fifteen minutes afterward he re-entered the room
with a radiant face.
"Have you heard good news?" asked Phil.
Mr. Wilbur nodded emphatically and whispered,
for there were two others in waiting:
"It's all right. I am to marry her."
"Did the fortune-teller say so?"
"Did she give her name?"
"No, but she described her so that I knew her at
"Will it be soon?" asked Phil slyly.
"Not till I am twenty-four," answered Mr.
Wilbur soberly. "But perhaps she may be mistaken
about that. Perhaps she thought I was older than
I am."
"Do you doubt her knowledge, then?"
"No; at any rate, I can wait, since she is to be
mine at last. Besides, I am to be rich. When I am
thirty years old I am to be worth twenty thousand
"I congratulate you, Wilbur," said Phil, smiling.
"You are all right, at least,"
"The next gentleman!" said the attendant.
Phil entered the inner room, and looked about
him in curiosity.
A tall woman sat upon a sort of throne, with one
hand resting on a table beside her. A tall waxtaper
supplied the place of the light of day, which
was studiously excluded from the room by thick,
dark curtains. Over the woman's face was a black
veil, which gave her an air of mystery.
"Come hither, boy!" she said, in a clear,
commanding voice.
Phil advanced, not wholly unimpressed, though he
felt skeptical.
The woman bent forward, starting slightly and
scanned his face eagerly.
Do you wish to hear of the past or the future?"
asked the fortune-teller.
"Tell me something of the past," said Phil, with
a view of testing the knowledge of the seeress.
"You have left an uncongenial home to seek your
fortune in New York. You left without regret, and
those whom you have left behind do not miss you."
Phil started in amazement. This was certainly
"Shall I find the fortune I seek?" asked our hero
"Yes, but not in the way you expect. You think
yourself alone in the world!"
The fortune-teller paused, and looked searchingly
at the boy.
"So I am," returned Phil.
"No boy who has a father living can consider
himself alone."
"My father is dead!" returned Phil, growing
"You are mistaken."
"I am not likely to be mistaken in such a matter.
My father died a few months since."
"Your father still lives!" said the fortune-teller
sharply. "Do not contradict me!"
"I don't see how you can say that. I attended
his funeral."
"You attended the funeral of the man whose
name you bear. He was not your father."
Phil was much excited by this confirmation of his
step-mother's story. He had entertained serious
doubts of its being true, thinking it might have been
trumped up by Mrs. Brent to drive him from home,
and interfere with his succession to any part of Mr.
Brent's property.
"Is my step-mother's story true, then?" he asked
breathlessly. "She told me I was not the son of
Mr. Brent."
"Her story was true," said the veiled lady.
"Who is my real father, then?"
The lady did not immediately reply. She
seemed to be peering into distant space, as she said
"I see a man of middle size, dark-complexioned,
leading a small child by the hand. He pauses before
a house--it looks like an inn. A lady comes out
from the inn. She is kindly of aspect. She takes
the child by the hand and leads him into the inn.
Now I see the man go away--alone. The little
child remains behind. I see him growing up. He
has become a large boy, but the scene has changed.
The inn has disappeared. I see a pleasant village
and a comfortable house. The boy stands at the
door. He is well-grown now. A lady stands on the
threshold as his steps turn away. She is thin and
sharp-faced. She is not like the lady who welcomed
the little child. Can you tell me who this boy is?"
asked the fortune-teller, fixing her eyes upon Phil.
"It is myself!" he answers, his flushed face
showing the excitement he felt.
"You have said!"
"I don't know how you have learned all this,"
said Phil, "but it is wonderfully exact. Will you
answer a question?"
"You say my father--my real father--is living?"
The veiled lady bowed her head.
"Where is he?"
"That I cannot say, but he is looking for you."
"He is in search of me?"
"Why has he delayed it so long?"
"There are circumstances which I cannot explain
which have prevented his seeking and claiming
"Will he do so?"
"I have told you that he is now seeking for you.
I think he will find you at last."
"What can I do to bring this about?"
"Do nothing! Stay where you are. Circumstances
are working favorably, but you must wait.
There are some drawbacks."
"What are they?"
"You have two enemies, or rather one, for the
other does not count."
"Is that enemy a man?"
"No, it is a woman."
"My step-mother!" ejaculated Phil, with immediate
"You have guessed aright."
"And who is the other?"
"A boy."
"It is the son of the woman whom you call your
"What harm can they do me? I am not afraid
of them," said Phil, raising his head proudly.
"Do not be too confident! The meanest are
capable of harm. Mrs. Brent does not like you
because she is a mother."
"She fears that I will interfere with her son."
"You are all right."
"Is there anything more you can tell me?" asked
Phil. "Have I any other enemies?"
"Yes; there are two more--also a woman and her
"That puzzles me. I can think of no one."
"They live in the city."
"I know. It is Mrs. Pitkin, my employer's wife.
Why should she dislike me?"
"There is an old man who likes you. That is the
"I see. She doesn't want him to be kind to any
one out of the family."
"That is all I have to tell you," said the fortuneteller
abruptly. "You can go."
"You have told me strange things," said Phil.
"Will you tell me how it is you know so much about
a stranger?"
"I have nothing more to tell you. You can go!"
said the veiled lady impatiently.
"At least tell me how much I am to pay you."
"But I thought you received fees."
"Not from you."
"Did you not take something from my friend who
was in here before me?"
"You told him a good fortune."
"He is a fool!" said the fortune-teller
contemptuously. "I saw what he wanted and predicted
She waved her hand, and Phil felt that he had no
excuse for remaining longer.
He left the room slowly, and found Mr. Wilbur
anxiously awaiting him.
"What did she tell you, Phil?" he asked eagerly.
"Did she tell you what sort of a wife you would
"No. I didn't ask her," answered Phil, smiling.
"I should think you'd want to know. What did
she tell you, then?"
"She told me quite a number of things about my
past life and the events of my childhood."
"I shouldn't have cared about that," said Wilbur,
shrugging his shoulders. "Why, I know all about
that myself. What I want to know about is,
whether I am to marry the girl I adore."
"But you see, Wilbur, I don't adore anybody. I
am not in love as you are."
"Of course that makes a difference," said Wilbur.
"I'm glad I came, Phil. Ain't you?"
"Yes," answered Phil slowly.
"You see, it's such a satisfaction to know that all
is coming right at last. I am to marry HER, you
know, and although it isn't till I am twentyfour----"
"She will be nearly thirty by that time," said Phil
"She won't look it!" said Mr. Wilbur, wincing a
little. "When I am thirty I shall be worth twenty
thousand dollars."
"You can't save it very soon out of six dollars a
"That is true. I feel sure I shall be raised soon.
Did the fortune-teller say anything about your getting rich?"
"No. I can't remember that she did. Oh, yes!
she said I would make my fortune, but not in the
way I expected."
"That is queer!" said Mr. Wilbur, interested.
"What could she mean?"
"I suppose she meant that I would not save a
competence out of five dollars a week."
"Maybe so."
"I have been thinking, Wilbur, you have an
advantage over the young lady you are to marry. You
know that you are to marry her, but she doesn't
know who is to be her husband."
"That is true," said Wilbur seriously. "If I can
find out her name, I will write her an anonymous
letter, asking her to call on the veiled Lady."
Now that Phil is fairly established in the
city, circumstances require us to go back to
the country town which he had once called home.
Mrs. Brent is sitting, engaged with her needle, in
the same room where she had made the important
revelation to Phil.
Jonas entered the house, stamping the snow from
his boots.
"Is supper most ready, mother?" he asked.
"No, Jonas; it is only four o'clock," replied Mrs.
"I'm as hungry as a bear. I guess it's the skating."
"I wish you would go to the post-office before
supper, Jonas. There might be a letter."
"Do you expect to hear from Phil?"
"He said nothing about writing," said Mrs. Brent
indifferently. "He will do as he pleases about it."
"I did'nt know but he would be writing for
money," chuckled Jonas.
"If he did, I would send him some," said Mrs.
"You would!" repeated Jonas, looking at his
mother in surprise.
"Yes, I would send him a dollar or two, so that
people needn't talk. It is always best to avoid
"Are you expecting a letter from anybody,
mother?" asked Jonas, after a pause.
"I dreamed last night I should receive an
important letter," said Mrs. Brent.
"With money in it?" asked Jonas eagerly.
"I don't know."
"If any such letter comes, will you give me some
of the money?"
"If you bring me a letter containing money," said
Mrs. Brent, "I will give you a dollar."
"Enough said!" exclaimed Jonas, who was fond
of money; "I'm off to the post-office at once."
Mrs. Brent let the work fall into her lap and
looked intently before her. A flush appeared on
her pale face, and she showed signs of restlessness.
"It is strange," she said to herself, "how I have
allowed myself to be affected by that dream. I am
not superstitious, but I cannot get over the idea that
a letter will reach me to-night, and that it will have
an important bearing upon my life. I have a feeling,
too, that it will relate to the boy Philip."
She rose from her seat and began to move about
the room. It was a, relief to her in the restless state
of her mind. She went to the window to look for
Jonas, and her excitement rose as she saw him
approaching. When he saw his mother looking from
the window, he held aloft a letter.
"The letter has come," she said, her heart beating
faster than its wont. "It is an important letter.
How slow Jonas is."
And she was inclined to be vexed at the deliberation
with which her son was advancing toward the
But he came at last.
"Well, mother, I've got a letter--a letter from
Philadelphia," he said. "It isn't from Phil, for I
know his writing."
"Give it to me, Jonas," said his mother, outwardly
calm, but inwardly excited.
"Do you know any one in Philadelphia, mother?"
She cut open the envelope and withdrew the
inclosed sheet.
"Is there any money in it?" asked Jonas eagerly.
"Just my luck!" said Jonas sullenly.
"Wait a minute," said his mother. "If the letter
is really important, I'll give you twenty-five
She read the letter, and her manner soon showed
that she was deeply interested.
We will look over her shoulders and read it with
"DEAR MADAM:--I write to you on a matter of
the greatest importance to my happiness, and shall
most anxiously await your reply. I would come to
you in person, but am laid up with an attack of
rheumatism, and my physician forbids me to travel.
"You are, as I have been informed, the widow of
Gerald Brent, who thirteen years since kept a small
hotel in the small village of Fultonville, in Ohio.
At that date I one day registered myself as his
guest. I was not alone. My only son, then a boy
of three, accompanied me. My wife was dead, and
my affections centered upon this child. Yet the
next morning I left him under the charge of
yourself and your husband, and pursued my journey.
From that day to this I have not seen the boy, nor
have I written to you or Mr. Brent. This seems
strange, does it not? It requires an explanation,
and that explanation I am ready to give.
"To be brief, then, I was fleeing from undeserved
suspicion. Circumstances which I need not detail
had connected my name with the mysterious
disappearance of a near friend, and the fact that a
trifling dispute between us had taken place in the
presence of witnesses had strengthened their
suspicions. Knowing myself to be innocent, but unable
to prove it, I fled, taking my child with me. When
I reached Fultonville, I became alive to the ease with
which I might be traced, through the child's
companionship. There was no resource but to leave
him. Your husband and yourself impressed me as
kind and warm-hearted. I was specially impressed
by the gentleness with which you treated my little
Philip, and I felt that to you I could safely trust
him. I did not, however, dare to confide my secret
to any one. I simply said I would leave the boy
with you till he should recover from his temporary
indisposition, and then, with outward calmness but
inward anguish, I left my darling, knowing not if I
should ever see him again.
"Well, time passed. I went to Nevada, changed
my name, invested the slender sum I had with me in
mining, and, after varying fortune, made a large
fortune at last. But better fortune still awaited me.
In a poor mining hut, two months since, I came
across a man who confessed that he was guilty of the
murder of which I had been suspected. His confession
was reduced in writing, sworn to before a
magistrate, and now at last I feel myself a free man.
No one now could charge me with a crime from
which my soul revolted.
"When this matter was concluded, my first
thought was of the boy whom I had not seen for
thirteen long years. I could claim him now before
all the world; I could endow him with the gifts of
fortune; I could bring him up in luxury, and I could
satisfy a father's affectionate longing. I could not
immediately ascertain where you were. I wrote to
Fultonville, to the postmaster, and learned that you
and Mr. Brent had moved away and settled down in
Gresham, in the State of New York. I learned
also that my Philip was still living, but other details
I did not learn. But I cared not, so long as my boy
still lived.
"And now you may guess my wish and my intention.
I shall pay you handsomely for your kind
care of Philip, but I must have my boy back again.
We have been separated too long. I can well understand
that you are attached to him, and I will find
a home for you and Mr. Brent near my own, where
you can see as often as you like the boy whom you
have so tenderly reared. Will you do me the favor
to come at once, and bring the boy with you? The
expenses of your journey shall, of course, be
reimbursed, and I will take care that the pecuniary
part of my obligations to you shall be amply repaid.
I have already explained why I cannot come in person
to claim my dear child.
"Telegraph to me when you will reach Philadelphia,
and I will engage a room for you. Philip will
stay with me. Yours gratefully,
"Mother, here is a slip of paper that has dropped
from the letter," said Jonas.
He picked up and handed to his mother a check
on a Philadelphia bank for the sum of one hundred
"Why, that's the same as money, isn't it?" asked
"Yes, Jonas."
"Then you'll keep your promise, won't you?"
Mrs. Brent silently drew from her pocket-book a
two-dollar bill and handed it to Jonas.
"Jonas," she said, "if you won't breathe a word
of it, I will tell you a secret."
"All right, mother."
"We start for Philadelphia to-morrow."
"By gosh! that's jolly," exclaimed Jonas, overjoyed.
"I'll keep mum. What was in the letter,
"I will not tell you just now. You shall know
very soon."
Mrs. Brent did not sleep much that night. Her
mind was intent upon a daring scheme of imposture.
Mr. Granville was immensely wealthy, no doubt.
Why should she not pass off Jonas upon him as his
son Philip, and thus secure a fortune for her own
Later in the evening Mrs. Brent took Jonas
into her confidence. She was a silent, secretive
woman by nature, and could her plan have been
carried out without imparting it to any one, she
would gladly have had it so. But Jonas must be her
active accomplice, and it was as well to let him know
at once what he must do.
In the evening, when Jonas, tired with his day's
skating, was lying on the lounge, Mrs. Brent rose
deliberately from her seat, peeped into the adjoining
room, then went to each window to make sure there
was no eavesdropper, then resumed her seat and
"Jonas, get up. I want to speak to you."
"I am awfully tired, mother. I can hear you
while I lie here."
"Jonas, do you hear me? I am about to speak to
you of something no other person must hear. Get a
chair and draw it close to mine."
Jonas rose, his curiosity stimulated by his mother's
words and manner.
"Is it about the letter, mother?" he asked.
"Yes, it relates to the letter and our journey tomorrow."
Jonas had wondered what the letter was about
and who had sent his mother the hundred-dollar
check, and he made no further objection. He drew
a chair in front of his mother and said:
"Go ahead, mother, I'm listening."
"Would you like to be rich, Jonas?" asked Mrs.
"Wouldn't I?"
"Would you like to be adopted by a very rich
man, have a pony to ride, plenty of pocket-money,
fine clothes and in the end a large fortune?"
"That would just suit me, mother," answered the
boy eagerly. "Is there any chance of it?"
"Yes, if you follow my directions implicitly."
"I will, mother," said Jonas, his eyes shining with
desire. "Only tell me what to do and I'll do it."
"Do you remember what I told Philip the evening
before he went away?"
"About his being left at Mr. Brent's hotel? Yes,
I remember it."
"And about his true father having disappeared?"
"Yes, yes."
"Jonas, the letter I received this afternoon was
from Philip's real father."
"By gosh!" ejaculated Jonas, altering his usual
expression of surprise.
"He is in Philadelphia. He is a very rich man."
"Then Phil will be rich," said Jonas, disappointed.
"I thought you said it would be me."
"Philip's father has never seen him since he was
three years old," continued Mrs. Brent, taking no
notice of her son's tone.
"What difference does that make, mother?"
"Jonas," said Mrs. Brent, bending toward her son,
"if I choose to tell him that you are Philip, he
won't know the difference. Do you understand?"
Jonas did understand.
"That's a bully idea, mother! Can we pull the
wool over the old man's eyes, do you think?"
"I wish you would not use such expressions, Jonas.
They are not gentlemanly, and you are to be a young
"All right, mother."
"We can manage it if you are very careful. It is
worth the trouble, Jonas. I think Mr. Granville--
that is his name--must be worth a quarter of a million
dollars, and if he takes you for Philip the whole
will probably go to you."
"What a head you've got, mother!" exclaimed
Jonas admiringly. "It is a tip-top chance."
"Yes, it is one chance in ten thousand. But you
must do just as I tell you."
"Oh, I'll do that, mother. What must I do?"
"To begin with, you must take Philip's name.
You must remember that you are no longer Jonas
Webb, but Philip Brent."
"That'll be a bully joke!" said Jonas, very much
amused. "What would Phil say if he knew I had
taken his name?"
"He must not know. Henceforth we must endeavor
to keep out of his way. Again, you must
consider me your step-mother, not your own
"Yes, I understand. What are you going to do
first, mother?"
"We start for Philadelphia to-morrow. Your
father is lying sick at the Continental Hotel."
Jonas roared with delight at the manner in which
his mother spoke of the sick stranger.
"Oh, it'll be fun, mother! Shall we live in
"I don't know. That will be as Mr. Granville
thinks best."
"Where are you going, mother? Are you going
to live here?"
"Of course I shall be with you. I will make that
a condition. I cannot be parted from my only boy."
"But I shall be Mr. Granville's boy."
"To the public you will be. But when we are
together in private, we shall be once more mother and
"I am afraid you will spoil all," said Jonas. "Old
Granville will suspect something if you seem to care
too much for me."
The selfish nature of Jonas was cropping out, and
his mother felt, with a pang, that he would be
reconciled to part with her forever for the sake of the
brilliant prospects and the large fortune which Mr.
Granville could offer him.
She was outwardly cold, but such affection as she
was capable of she expended on this graceless and
ungrateful boy.
"You seem to forget that I may have some feeling
in the matter," said Mrs. Brent coldly, but with
inward pain. "If the result of this plan were to be
that we should be permanently separated, I would
never consent to it."
"Just as you like, mother," said Jonas, with an
ill grace. "I don't look much like Phil."
"No, there will be a difficulty. Still Mr.
Granville has never seen Philip since he was three years
old, and that is in our favor. He thinks I am Mr.
Brent's first wife."
"Shall you tell him?"
"I don't know. I will be guided by circumstances.
Perhaps it may be best. I wouldn't like to have it
discovered that I had deceived him in that."
"How are you going to manage about this place,
"I am going to write to your Uncle Jonas to take
charge of it. I will let him have it at a nominal
rent. Then, if our plan miscarries we shall have a
place to come back to."
"Were you ever in Philadelphia, mother?"
"No; but there will be no trouble in journeying
there. I shall pack your clothes and my own tonight.
Of course, Jonas, when you meet Mr. Granville
you must seem to be fond of him. Then you
must tell him how kind I have been to you. In fact,
you must act precisely as Philip might be expected
to do."
"Yes, mother; and you must be careful not to call
me Jonas. That will spoil all, you know."
"Rest assured that I shall be on my guard. If
you are as careful as I am, Philip----"
Jonas burst into a guffaw at the new name.
"It's just like play-acting, mother," he said.
"But it will pay better," said Mrs. Brent quietly.
"I think it will be best for me to begin calling you
Philip at once--that is, as soon as we have left
town--so that we may both get accustomed to it."
"All right, mother. You've got a good headpiece."
"I will manage things properly. If you consent
to be guided by me, all will be right."
"Oh, I'll do it mother. I wish we were on our
"You can go to bed if you like. I must stay up
late to-night. I have to pack our trunks."
The next day the pair of adventurers left
Gresham. From the earliest available point Mrs.
Brent telegraphed to Mr. Granville that she was on
her way, with the son from whom he had so long
been separated.
In a handsome private parlor at the Continental
Hotel a man of about forty-five years
of age sat in an easy-chair. He was of middle
height, rather dark complexion, and a pleasant
expression. His right foot was bandaged, and rested
on a chair. The morning Daily Ledger was in his
hand, but he was not reading. His mind, judging
from his absorbed look, was occupied with other
"I can hardly realize," he said half-aloud, "that
my boy will so soon be restored to my arms. We
have been separated by a cruel fate, but we shall
soon be together again. I remember how the dear
child looked when I left him at Fultonville in the
care of the kind inn-keeper. I am sorry he is dead,
but his widow shall be suitably repaid for her kind
He had reached this point when a knock was
heard at the door.
"Come in!" said Mr. Granville.
A servant of the hotel appeared.
"A lady and a boy are in the parlor below, sir.
They wish to see you."
Though Mr. Granville had considerable control
over his feelings, his heart beat fast when he heard
these words.
"Will you show them up at once?" he said, in a
tone which showed some trace of agitation.
The servant bore the message to Mrs. Brent and
Jonas, who were sitting in the hotel parlor.
If Mr. Granville was agitated, the two conspirators
were not wholly at their ease. There was a red spot
on each of Mrs. Brent's cheeks--her way of expressing
emotion--and Jonas was fidgeting about uneasily
in his chair, staring about him curiously.
"Mind what I told you," said his mother, in a low
voice. "Remember to act like a boy who has suddenly
been restored to his long-lost father. Everything
depends on first impressions."
"I wish it was all over; I wish I was out of it,"
said Jonas, wiping the perspiration from his face.
"Suppose he suspects?"
"He won't if you do as I tell you. Don't look
gawky, but act naturally."
Just then the servant reappeared.
"You are to come up-stairs," he said. "The
gentleman will see you."
"Thank you," said Mrs. Brent, rising. "Come."
Jonas rose, and with the manner of a cur that
expected a whipping, followed his mother and the
"It's only one flight," said the servant, "but we
can take the elevator."
"It is of no consequence," Mrs. Brent began, but
Jonas said eagerly:
"Let's ride on the elevator, ma!"
"Very well, Philip," said Mrs. Brent.
A minute later the two stood at the door of Mr.
Granville's room. Next they stood in his presence.
Mr. Granville, looking eagerly toward the door,
passed over Mrs. Brent, and his glance rested on the
boy who followed her. He started, and there was a
quick feeling of disappointment. He had been picturing
to himself how his lost boy would look, but
none of his visions resembled the awkward-looking
boy who stood sheepishly by the side of Mrs. Brent.
"Mr. Granville, I presume," said the lady.
"Yes, madam. You are----"
"Mrs. Brent, and this," pointing to Jonas, "is the
boy you left at Fultonville thirteen years ago.
Philip, go to your father."
Jonas advanced awkwardly to Mr. Granville's
chair, and said in parrot-like tones:
"I'm so glad to see you, pa!"
"And you are really Philip?" said Mr. Granville
"Yes, I'm Philip Brent; but I suppose my name
is Granville now."
"Come here, my boy!"
Mr. Granville drew the boy to him, and looked
earnestly in his face, then kissed him affectionately.
"He has changed since he was a little child, Mrs.
Brent," he said, with a half-sigh.
"That's to be expected, sir. He was only three
years old when you left him with us."
"But it seems to me that his hair and complexion
are lighter."
"You can judge of that better than I," said Mrs.
Brent plausibly. "To me, who have seen him daily,
the change was not perceptible."
"I am greatly indebted to you for your devoted
care--to you and your husband. I am grieved to
hear that Mr. Brent is dead."
"Yes, sir; he left me six months since. It was a
grievous loss. Ah, sir, when I give up Philip also, I
shall feel quite alone in the world," and she pressed
a handkerchief to her eyes. "You see, I have come
to look upon him as my own boy!"
"My dear madam, don't think that I shall be so
cruel as to take him from you. Though I wish him
now to live with me, you must accompany him. My
home shall be yours if you are willing to accept a
room in my house and a seat at my table."
"Oh, Mr. Granville, how can I thank you for your
great kindness? Ever since I received your letter
I have been depressed with the thought that I
should lose dear Philip. If I had a child of my own
it would be different; but, having none, my affections
are centered upon him."
"And very naturally," said Mr. Granville. "We
become attached to those whom we benefit. Doubtless
he feels a like affection for you. You love this
good lady, Philip, who has supplied to you the place
of your own mother, who died in your infancy, do
you not?"
"Yes, sir," answered Jonas stolidly. "But I want
to live with my pa!"
"To be sure you shall. My boy, we have been
separated too long already. Henceforth we will live
together, and Mrs. Brent shall live with us."
"Where do you live, pa?" asked Jonas.
"I have a country-seat a few miles from Chicago,"
answered Mr. Granville. "We will go there as soon
as I am well enough. I ought to apologize, Mrs.
Brent, for inviting you up to my room, but my rheumatism
makes me a prisoner."
"I hope your rheumatism will soon leave you,
"I think it will. I have an excellent physician,
and already I am much better. I may, however,
have to remain here a few days yet."
"And where do you wish Philip and I to remain
in the meantime?"
"Here, of course. Philip, will you ring the bell?"
"I don't see any bell," answered Jonas, bewildered.
"Touch that knob!"
Jonas did so.
"Will that ring the bell?" he asked curiously.
"Yes, it is an electric bell."
"By gosh!" ejaculated Jonas.
"Don't use such language, Philip!" said Mrs.
Brent hastily. "Your father will be shocked. You
see, Mr. Granville, Philip has associated with country
boys, and in spite of my care, he has adopted
some of their language."
Mr. Granville himself was rather disturbed by
this countrified utterance, and it occurred to him
that his new-found son needed considerable polishing.
"Ah, I quite understand that, Mrs. Brent," he
said courteously. "He is young yet, and there will
be plenty of time for him to get rid of any objectionable
habits and phrases."
Here the servant appeared.
"Tell the clerk to assign this lady and the boy
rooms on this floor if any are vacant. Mrs. Brent,
Philip may have a room next to you for the present.
When I am better I will have him with me. John,
is dinner on the table?"
"Yes, sir."
"Then, after taking possession of your rooms, you
and Philip had better go to dinner. I will send for
him later."
"Thank you, sir."
As Mrs. Brent was ushered into her handsome
apartment her face was radiant with joy and exultation.
"All has gone well!" she said. "The most
difficult part is over."
The conspiracy into which Mrs. Brent
had entered was a daring one, and required
great coolness and audacity. But the inducements
were great, and for her son's sake she decided to
carry it through. Of course it was necessary that
she should not be identified with any one who could
disclose to Mr. Granville the deceit that was being
practiced upon him. Circumstances lessened the
risk of detection, since Mr. Granville was confined
to his room in the hotel, and for a week she and
Jonas went about the city alone.
One day she had a scare.
She was occupying a seat in a Chestnut Street car,
while Jonas stood in front with the driver, when a
gentleman whom she had not observed, sitting at
the other end of the car, espied her.
"Why, Mrs. Brent, how came you here?" he asked,
in surprise, crossing over and taking a seat beside
Her color went and came as, in a subdued tone, she
"I am in Philadelphia on a little visit, Mr. Pearson."
"Are you not rather out of your latitude?" asked
the gentleman.
"Yes, perhaps so."
"How is Mr. Brent?"
"Did you not hear that he was dead?"
"No, indeed! I sympathize with you in your sad
"Yes," sighed the widow. "It is a great loss to
"I suppose Jonas is a large boy now," said the
other. "I haven't seen him for two or three years."
"Yes, he has grown," said the widow briefly. She
hoped that Mr. Pearson would not discover that
Jonas was with her, as she feared that the boy might
betray them unconsciously.
"Is he with you?"
"Do you stay long in Philadelphia?"
"No, I think not," answered Mrs. Brent.
"I go back to New York this afternoon, or I
would ask permission to call on you."
Mrs. Brent breathed more freely. A call at the
hotel was by all means to be avoided.
"Of course I should have been glad to see you,
she answered, feeling quite safe in saying so. "Are
you going far?"
"I get out at Thirteenth Street."
"Thank Heaven!" said Mrs. Brent to herself.
"Then he won't discover where we are."
The Continental Hotel is situated at the corner of
Chestnut and Ninth Streets, and Mrs. Brent feared
that Jonas would stop the car at that point. As it
was, the boy did not observe that his mother had
met an acquaintance, so intent was he on watching
the street sights.
When they reached Ninth Street mother and son
got out and entered the hotel.
"I guess I'll stay down stairs awhile," said Jonas.
"No, Philip, I have something to say to you.
Come up with me."
"I want to go into the billiard-room," said Jonas,
"It is very important," said Mrs. Brent emphatically.
Now the curiosity of Jonas was excited, and he
followed his mother into the elevator, for their
rooms were on the third floor.
"Well, mother, what is it?" asked Jonas, when
the door of his mother's room was closed behind
"I met a gentleman who knew me in the horsecar,"
said Mrs. Brent abruptly.
"Did you? Who was it?"
"Mr. Pearson."
"He used to give me candy. Why didn't you call
"It is important that we should not be
recognized," said his mother. "While we stay here we
must be exceedingly prudent. Suppose he had
called upon us at the hotel and fallen in with Mr.
Granville. He might have told him that you are
my son, and that your name is Jonas, not Philip."
"Then the fat would be in the fire!" said
"Exactly so; I am glad you see the danger. Now
I want you to stay here, or in your own room, for
the next two or three hours."
"It'll be awfully tiresome," grumbled Jonas.
"It is necessary," said his mother firmly. "Mr.
Pearson leaves for New York by an afternoon train.
It is now only two o'clock. He left the car at
Thirteenth Street, and might easily call at this hotel. It
is a general rendezvous for visitors to the city. If
he should meet you down stairs, he would probably
know you, and his curiosity would be aroused. He
asked me where I was staying, but I didn't appear
to hear the question."
"That's pretty hard on me, ma."
"I am out of all patience with you," said Mrs.
Brent. "Am I not working for your interest, and
you are doing all you can to thwart my plans. If
you don't care anything about inheriting a large fortune,
let it go! We can go back to Gresham and
give it all up."
"I'll do as you say, ma," said Jonas, subdued.
The very next day Mr. Granville sent for Mrs.
Brent. She lost no time in waiting upon him.
"Mrs. Brent," he said, "I have decided to leave
Philadelphia to-morrow."
"Are you quite able, sir?" she asked, with a good
assumption of sympathy.
"My doctor tells me I may venture. We shall
travel in Pullman cars, you know. I shall secure a
whole compartment, and avail myself of every comfort
and luxury which money can command."
"Ah, sir! money is a good friend in such a case."
"True, Mrs. Brent. I have seen the time when I
was poorly supplied with it. Now I am happily at
ease. Can you and Philip be ready?"
"Yes, Mr. Granville," answered Mrs. Brent
promptly. "We are ready to-day, for that matter.
We shall both be glad to get started."
"I am glad to hear it. I think Philip will like his
Western home. I bought a fine country estate of a
Chicago merchant, whose failure compelled him to
part with it. Philip shall have his own horse and
his own servants."
"He will be delighted," said Mrs. Brent warmly.
"He has been used to none of these things, for Mr.
Brent and I, much as we loved him, had not the
means to provide him with such luxuries."
"Yes, Mrs. Brent, I understand that fully. You
were far from rich. Yet you cared for my boy as if
he were your own."
"I loved him as much as if he had been my own
son, Mr. Granville."
"I am sure you did. I thank Providence that I
am able to repay to some extent the great debt I
have incurred. I cannot repay it wholly, but I will
take care that you, too, shall enjoy ease and luxury.
You shall have one of the best rooms in my house,
and a special servant to wait upon you."
"Thank you, Mr. Granville," said Mrs. Brent, her
heart filled with proud anticipations of the state in
which she should hereafter live. "I do not care
where you put me, so long as you do not separate
me from Philip."
"She certainly loves my son!" said Mr. Granville
to himself. "Yet her ordinary manner is cold and
constrained, and she does not seem like a woman
whose affections would easily be taken captive. Yet
Philip seems to have found the way to her heart.
It must be because she has had so much care of him.
We are apt to love those whom we benefit."
But though Mr. Granville credited Mrs. Brent
with an affection for Philip, he was uneasily conscious
that the boy's return had not brought him
the satisfaction and happiness he had fondly anticipated.
To begin with, Philip did not look at all as he had
supposed his son would look. He did not look like
the Granvilles at all. Indeed, he had an unusually
countrified aspect, and his conversation was mingled
with rustic phrases which shocked his father's taste.
"I suppose it comes of the way in which he has
been brought up and the country boys he has associated
with," thought Mr. Granville. "Fortunately
he is young, and there is time to polish him. As
soon as I reach Chicago I will engage a private
tutor for him, who shall not only remedy his defects
of education, but do what he can to improve my
son's manners. I want him to grow up a gentleman."
The next day the three started for Chicago, while
Mr. Granville's real son and heir continued to live at
a cheap lodging-house in New York.
The star of Jonas was in the ascendant, while poor
Philip seemed destined to years of poverty and hard
work. Even now, he was threatened by serious misfortune.
Of course Phil was utterly ignorant of the
audacious attempt to deprive him of his
rights and keep him apart from the father who
longed once more to meet him. There was nothing
before him so far as he knew except to continue the
up-hill struggle for a living.
He gave very little thought to the prediction of
the fortune-teller whom he had consulted, and didn't
dream of any short-cut to fortune.
Do all he could, he found he could not live on his
His board cost him four dollars a week, and
washing and lunch two dollars more, thus compelling him
to exceed his salary by a dollar each week.
He had, as we know, a reserve fund, on which he
could draw, but it was small, and grew constantly
smaller. Then, again, his clothes were wearing out,
and he saw no way of obtaining money to buy new.
Phil became uneasy, and the question came up to
his mind, "Should he write to his step-mother and
ask her for a trifling loan?" If the money had been
hers, he would not have done so on any condition;
but she had had nothing of her own, and all the
property in her hands came through Mr. Brent, who,
as he knew, was attached to him, even though no
tie of blood united them. He certainly meant that
Phil should be cared for out of the estate, and at
length Phil brought himself to write the following
"NEW YORK, March 10, 18--.
"DEAR MRS. BRENT: I suppose I ought to have
written you before, and have no good excuse to offer.
I hope you and Jonas are well, and will continue so.
Let me tell you how I have succeeded thus far.
"I have been fortunate enough to obtain a place
in a large mercantile establishment, and for my
services I am paid five dollars a week. This is more
than boys generally get in the first place, and I am
indebted to the partiality of an old gentleman, the
senior member of the firm, whom I had the chance
to oblige, for faring so well. Still I find it hard to
get along on this sum, though I am as economical as
possible. My board and washing cost me six dollars
a week, and I have, besides, to buy clothing
from time to time. I have nearly spent the extra
money I had with me, and do not know how to
keep myself looking respectable in the way of clothing.
Under the circumstances, I shall have to apply
to you for a loan, say of twenty-five dollars. In a
year or two I hope to earn enough to be entirely
independent. At present I cannot expect it. As
my father--Mr. Brent--undoubtedly intended to
provide for me, I don't think I need to apologize for
making this request. Still I do it reluctantly, for I
would prefer to depend entirely upon myself.
"With regards to you and Jonas, I am yours
Phil put this letter in the post-office, and patiently
waited for an answer.
"Mrs. Brent surely cannot refuse me," he said to
himself, "since I have almost wholly relieved her of
the expense of taking care of me."
Phil felt so sure that money would be sent to him
that he began to look round a little among readymade
clothing stores to see at what price he could
obtain a suit that would do for every-day use. He
found a store in the Bowery where he could secure a
suit, which looked as if it would answer, for thirteen
dollars. If Mrs. Brent sent him twenty-five, that
would leave him twelve for underclothing, and for a
reserve fund to meet the weekly deficit which he
could not avoid.
Three--four days passed, and no letter came in
answer to his.
"It can't be that Mrs. Brent won't at least answer
my letter," he thought uneasily. "Even if she didn't
send me twenty-five dollars, she couldn't help sending
me something."
Still he felt uneasy, in view of the position in
which he would find himself in case no letter or
remittance should come at all.
It was during this period of anxiety that his heart
leaped for joy when on Broadway he saw the familiar
form of Reuben Gordon, a young man already
mentioned, to whom Phil had sold his gun before
leaving Gresham.
"Why, Reuben, how are you?" exclaimed Phil
joyfully. "When did you come to town?"
"Phil Brent!" exclaimed Reuben, shaking hands
heartily. "I'm thunderin' glad to see you. I was
thinkin' of you only five minutes ago, and wonderin'
where you hung out."
"But you haven't told me when you came to New
"Only this morning! I'm goin' to stay with a
cousin of my father's, that lives in Brooklyn, over
"I wanted to ask you about Mrs. Brent and Jonas.
I was afraid they might be sick, for I wrote four
days ago and haven't got any answer yet."
"Where did you write to?"
"To Gresham, of course," answered Phil, in surprise.
"You don't mean to say you hain't heard of their
leavin' Gresham?" said Reuben, in evident astonishment.
"Who has left Gresham?"
"Your mother--leastwise, Mrs. Brent--and Jonas.
They cleared out three weeks ago, and nobody's
heard a word of them since--that is, nobody in the
"Don't you know where they've gone?" asked
Phil, in amazement.
"No. I was goin' to ask you. I s'posed, of course,
they'd write and let you know."
"I didn't even know they had left Gresham."
"Well, that's what I call cur'us. It ain't treatin'
you right accordin' to my ideas."
"Is the house shut up?"
"It was till two days ago. Then a brother of
Mrs. Brent came and opened it. He has brought his
wife and one child with him, and it seems they're
goin' to live there. Somebody asked him where his
sister and Jonas were, but they didn't get no
satisfaction. He said he didn't rightly know himself.
He believed they was travelin'; thought they might
be in Canada."
Phil looked and felt decidedly sober at this
information. He understood, of course, now, why his
letter had not been answered. It looked as if he
were an outcast from the home that had been his so
long. When he came to New York to earn a living
he felt that he was doing so voluntarily, and was
not obliged to do so. Now he was absolutely thrown
upon his own resources, and must either work or
"They've treated you real mean," said Reuben.
"I never did like Mrs. Brent, or Jonas either, for
that matter.
"Where are you working?"
Phil answered this question and several others
which his honest country friend asked, but his mind
was preoccupied, and he answered some of the questions
at random. Finally he excused himself on
the ground that he must be getting back to the
That evening Phil thought seriously of his position.
Something must be done, that was very evident.
His expenses exceeded his income, and he
needed some clothing. There was no chance of getting
his wages raised under a year, for he already
received more pay than it was customary to give to
a boy. What should he do?
Phil decided to lay his position frankly before the
only friend he had in the city likely to help him--
Mr. Oliver Carter. The old gentleman had been so
friendly and kind that he felt that he would not at
any rate repulse him. After he had come to this
decision he felt better. He determined to lose no
time in calling upon Mr. Carter.
After supper he brushed his hair carefully, and
made himself look as well as circumstances would
admit. Then he bent his steps toward Twelfth
Street, where, as the reader will remember, Mr.
Carter lived with his niece.
He ascended the steps and rang the bell. It was
opened by Hannah, who recognized him, having admitted
him on the former occasion of his calling.
"Good-evening," said Phil pleasantly. "Is Mr.
Carter at home?"
"No, sir," answered Hannah. "Didn't you know
he had gone to Florida?"
"Gone to Florida!" repeated Phil, his heart
sinking. "When did he start?"
"He started this afternoon."
"Who's asking after Uncle Oliver?" asked a boy's
Looking behind Hannah, Phil recognized the
speaker as Alonzo Pitkin.
Who was asking after Uncle Oliver?" demanded
Alonzo superciliously.
"I was," answered Philip.
"Oh! it's you, is it?" said Alonzo, rather
"Yes," answered Phil calmly, though he felt
provoked at Alonzo's tone, which was meant to be
offensive. "You remember me, don't you?"
"You are the boy that got round Uncle Oliver,
and got him to give you a place in pa's store."
"I deny that I got round him," returned Phil
warmly. "I had the good luck to do him a favor."
"I suppose you have come after money?" said
Alonzo coarsely.
"I sha'n't ask you for any, at any rate," said Phil
"No; it wouldn't do any good," said Alonzo;
"and it's no use asking ma, either. She says you are
an adventurer, and have designs on Uncle Oliver because
he is rich."
"I shall not ask your mother for any favor," said
Phil, provoked. "I am sorry not to meet your uncle."
"I dare say!" sneered Alonzo.
Just then a woman, poorly but neatly dressed,
came down stairs. Her face was troubled. Just
behind her came Mrs. Pitkin, whose face wore a
chilly and proud look.
"Mr. Carter has left the city, and I really don't
know when he will return," Phil heard her say. "If
he had been at home, it would not have benefited
you. He is violently prejudiced against you, and
would not have listened to a word you had to say."
"I did not think he would have harbored resentment
so long," murmured the poor woman. "He
never seemed to me to be a hard man."
Phil gazed at the poorly dressed woman with a
surprise which he did not attempt to conceal, for in
her he recognized the familiar figure of his landlady.
What could she have to do in this house? he asked
"Mrs. Forbush!" he exclaimed.
"Philip!" exclaimed Mrs. Forbush, in a surprise as
great as his own, for she had never asked where her
young lodger worked, and was not aware that he
was in the employ of her cousin's husband and well
acquainted with the rich uncle whom she had not
seen for years.
"Do you know each other?" demanded Mrs. Pitkin,
whose turn it was to be surprised.
"This young gentleman lodges in my house,"
answered Mrs. Forbush.
"Young gentleman!" repeated Alonzo, with a
mocking laugh.
Philip looked at him sternly. He had his share
of human nature, and it would have given him satisfaction
to thrash the insolent young patrician, as
Alonzo chose to consider himself.
"And what do you want here, young man?" asked
Mrs. Pitkin in a frosty tone, addressing Phil of
"I wished to see Mr. Carter," answered Phil.
"Really, Mr. Carter seems to be very much in
request!" sneered Mrs. Pitkin. "No doubt he will be
very much disappointed when he hears what he has
lost. You will have to go to Florida to see him, I
think, however." She added, after a pause: "It
will not be well for either of you to call again. Mr.
Carter will understand the motive of your calls."
"How cruel you are, Lavinia!" said Mrs. Forbush
"My name is Mrs. Pitkin!" said that lady frigidly.
"You have not forgotten that we are cousins,
"I do not care to remember it, Mrs. Forbush.
There was no alternative but for Mrs. Forbush to
say "good-day" also, and to descend the steps.
Philip joined her in the street.
"Are you really the cousin of Mrs. Pitkin?" he
"Yes," answered Mrs. Forbush. "I bear the same
relationship to Mr. Carter that she does. We were
much together as girls, and were both educated at
the same expensive schools. I offended my relatives
by marrying Mr. Forbush, whose fault was
that he was poor, and chiefly, I think, through the
efforts of Lavinia Pitkin I was cast out by the family.
But where did you meet Uncle Oliver?"
Philip explained the circumstances already known
to the reader.
"Mr. Carter seems to me to be a kind-hearted
man," he said. "I don't believe he would have cast
you off if he had not been influenced by other
"So I think," said Mrs. Forbush. "I will tell
you," she continued, after a pause, "what drew me
here this afternoon. I am struggling hard to keep
my head above water, Mr. Brent, but I find it hard
to meet my expenses. I cannot meet my rent due
to-morrow within fifteen dollars, and I dared to
hope that if I could meet Uncle Oliver face to face
and explain matters to him, he would let me have
the money."
"I am sure he would," said Phil warmly.
"But he is in Florida, and will probably remain
there for a month or two at least," said Mrs. Forbush,
sighing. But even if he were in the city I
suppose Lavinia would do all in her power to keep
us apart."
"I have no doubt she would, Mrs. Forbush.
Though she is your cousin, I dislike her very
"I suppose the boy with whom you were talking
was her son Alonzo?"
"Yes; he is about the most disagreeable boy I
ever met. Both he and his mother seem very much
opposed to my having an interview with your
"Lavinia was always of a jealous and suspicious
disposition," said Mrs. Forbush. "I have not seen
Alonzo since he was a baby. He is two years older
than my Julia. He was born before I estranged my
relatives by marrying a poor man."
"What are you going to do, Mrs. Forbush, about
the rent?" asked Phil, in a tone of sympathy.
"I don't know. I shall try to get the landlord to
wait, but I don't know how he will feel about it."
"I wish I had plenty of money. I would gladly
lend you all you need."
"I am sure you would, Philip," said Mrs. Forbush.
"The offer does me good, though it is not
accompanied by the ability to do what your good
heart dictates. I feel that I am not without
"I am a very poor one," said Phil. "The fact is,
I am in trouble myself. My income is only five
dollars a week, and my expenses are beyond that.
I don't know how I am going to keep up."
"You may stay with me for three dollars a week,
if you cannot pay four," said Mrs. Forbush, forgetting
her own troubles in her sympathy with our
"No, Mrs. Forbush, you can't afford it. You need
money as much as I do, and perhaps more; for you
have more than yourself to support."
"Yes, poor Julia!" sighed the mother. "She is
born to a heritage of poverty. Heaven only knows
how we are going to get along."
"God will provide for us, Mrs. Forbush," said
Philip. "I don't know how it is, but in spite of my
troubles I feel cheerful. I have a confidence that
things will come out well, though I cannot possibly
imagine how."
"You are young, and youth is more inclined to be
hopeful than maturer years. However, I do not
wish to dampen your cheerfulness. Keep it, and let
it comfort you."
If Phil could have heard the conversation that
took place between Mrs. Pitkin and Alonzo after
their departure, he might have felt less hopeful.
"It is dreadfully annoying that that woman
should turn up after all these years!" said Mrs. Pitkin,
in a tone of disgust.
"Is she really your cousin, ma?" asked Alonzo.
"Yes, but she disgraced herself by a low marriage,
and was cast off."
"That disposes of her, then?"
"I don't know. If she could meet Uncle Oliver, I
am afraid she would worm herself into his confidence
and get him to do something for her. Then
it is unfortunate that she and that boy have fallen
in with each other. She may get him to speak to
Uncle Oliver in her behalf."
"Isn't he working for pa?"
"Why don't you get pa to discharge him while
Uncle Oliver is away?"
"Well thought of, Alonzo! I will speak to your
father this very evening."
Saturday, as is usual in such establishments,
was pay-day at the store of Phil's employers.
The week's wages were put up in small envelopes
and handed to the various clerks.
When Phil went up to the cashier to get his
money he put it quietly into his vest-pocket.
Daniel Dickson, the cashier, observing this, said:
"Brent, you had better open your envelope."
Rather surprised, Phil nevertheless did as requested.
In the envelope, besides the five-dollar bill
representing his week's salary, he found a small slip of
paper, on which was written these ominous words:
"Your services will not be required after this week."
Appended to this notice was the name of the firm.
Phil turned pale, for to him, embarrassed as he
was, the loss of his place was a very serious matter.
"What does this mean, Mr. Dickson?" he asked
"I can't inform you," answered the cashier,
smiling unpleasantly, for he was a selfish man who
sympathized with no one, and cared for no one as
long as he himself remained prosperous.
"Who handed you this paper?" asked Phil.
"The boss."
"Mr. Pitkin?"
"Of course."
Mr. Pitkin was still in his little office, and Phil
made his way directly to him.
"May I speak to you, sir?" asked our hero.
"Be quick about it then, for I am in a hurry,"
answered Pitkin, in a very forbidding tone.
"Why am I discharged, sir?"
"I can't go into details. We don't need you any
"Are you not satisfied with me?"
"No!" said Pitkin brusquely.
"In what respect have I failed to satisfy you,
"Don't put on any airs, boy!" returned Pitkin.
"We don't want you, that's all."
"You might have given me a little notice," said
Phil indignantly.
"We made no stipulation of that kind, I believe."
"It would only be fair, sir."
"No impertinence, young man! I won't stand it!
I don't need any instructions as to the manner of
conducting my business."
Phil by this time perceived that his discharge was
decided upon without any reference to the way in
which he had performed his duties, and that any
discussion or remonstrance would be unavailing.
"I see, sir, that you have no regard for justice,
and will leave you," he said.
"You'd better, and without delay!" said Pitkin
Phil emerged upon the street with a sinking heart.
His available funds consisted only of the money he
had just received and seventy-five cents in change,
and what he was to do he did not know. He walked
home with slow steps, looking sad in spite of his
usually hopeful temperament.
When he entered the house he met Mrs. Forbush
in the hall. She at once noticed his gravity.
"Have you had any bad luck, Philip?" she asked.
"Yes," answered Phil. "I have lost my situation."
"Indeed!" returned the landlady, with quick
sympathy. "Have you had any difficulty with your
"Not that I am aware of."
"Did he assign any reason for your discharge?"
"No; I asked him for an explanation, but he
merely said I was not wanted any longer."
"Isn't there any chance of his taking you back?"
"I am sure there is not."
"Don't be discouraged, Philip. A smart boy like
you won't be long out of a place. Meanwhile you
are welcome to stay here as long as I have a roof to
cover me."
"Thank you, Mrs. Forbush," said Phil warmly.
"you are a true friend. You are in trouble yourself,
yet you stand by me!"
"I have had a stroke of good luck to-day," said
Mrs. Forbush cheerfully. "A former boarder, whom
I allowed to remain here for five or six weeks when
he was out of employment, has sent me thirty dollars
in payment of his bill, from Boston, where he
found a position. So I shall be able to pay my rent
and have something over. I have been lucky, and
so may you."
Phil was cheered by the ready sympathy of his
landlady, and began to take a more cheerful view of
"I will go out bright and early on Monday and
see if I can't find another place," he said. "Perhaps
it may be all for the best."
Yet on the day succeeding he had some sober
hours. How differently he had been situated only
three months before. Then he had a home and
relatives. Now he was practically alone in the
world, with no home in which he could claim a
share, and he did not even know where his stepmother
and Jonas were. Sunday forenoon he attended
church, and while he sat within its sacred
precincts his mind was tranquilized, and his faith
and cheerfulness increased.
On Monday he bought the Herald, and made a
tour of inquiry wherever he saw that a boy was
wanted. But in each place he was asked if he could
produce a recommendation from his last employer.
He decided to go back to his old place and ask for
one, though he was very reluctant to ask a favor of
any kind from a man who had treated him so shabbily
as Mr. Pitkin. It seemed necessary, however,
and he crushed down his pride and made his way to
Mr. Pitkin's private office.
"Mr. Pitkin!" he said.
"You here!" exclaimed Pitkin, scowling. "You
needn't ask to be taken back. It's no use."
"I don't ask it," answered Phil.
"Then what are you here for?"
"I would like a letter of recommendation, that I
may obtain another place."
"Well, well!" said Pitkin, wagging his head. "If
that isn't impudence."
"What is impudence?" asked Phil. "I did as
well as I could, and that I am ready to do for another
employer. But all ask me for a letter from
"You won't get any!" said Pitkin abruptly.
"Where is your home?"
"I have none except in this city."
"Where did you come from?"
"From the country."
"Then I advise you to go back there. You may
do for the country. You are out of place in the
Poor Phil! Things did indeed look dark for him.
Without a letter of recommendation from Mr. Pitkin
it would be almost impossible for him to secure
another place, and how could he maintain himself
in the city? He didn't wish to sell papers or black
boots, and those were about the only paths now
open to him.
"I am having a rough time!" he thought, "but I
will try not to get discouraged."
He turned upon his heel and walked out of the
As he passed the counter where Wilbur was standing,
the young man said:
"I am awfully sorry, Philip. It's a shame! If I
wasn't broke I'd offer to lend you a fiver."
"Thank you all the same for your kind offer, Wilbur,"
said Phil.
"Come round and see me."
"So I will--soon."
He left the store and wandered aimlessly about
the streets.
Four days later, sick with hope deferred, he made
his way down to the wharf of the Charleston and
Savannah boats, with a vague idea that he might get
a job of carrying baggage, for he felt that he
must not let his pride interfere with doing anything
by which he could earn an honest penny.
It so happened that the Charleston boat was just
in, and the passengers were just landing.
Phil stood on the pier and gazed listlessly at them
as they disembarked.
All at once he started in surprise, and his heart
beat joyfully.
There, just descending the gang-plank, was his
tried friend, Mr. Oliver Carter, whom he supposed
over a thousand miles away in Florida.
"Mr. Carter!" exclaimed Phil, dashing forward.
"Philip!" exclaimed the old gentleman, much
surprised. "How came you here? Did Mr. Pitkin
send you?"
It would be hard to tell which of the two was
the more surprised at the meeting, Philip or Mr.
"I don't understand how Mr. Pitkin came to hear
of my return. I didn't telegraph," said the old
"I don't think he knows anything about it," said
"Didn't he send you to the pier?"
"No, sir."
"Then how is it that you are not in the store at
this time?" asked Mr. Carter, puzzled.
"Because I am no longer in Mr. Pitkin's employ.
I was discharged last Saturday."
"Discharged! What for?"
"Mr. Pitkin gave no reason. He said my services
were no longer required. He spoke roughly to me,
and has since declined to give me a recommendation,
though I told him that without it I should be
unable to secure employment elsewhere."
Mr. Carter frowned. He was evidently annoyed
and indignant.
"This must be inquired into," he said. "Philip,
call a carriage, and I will at once go to the Astor
House and take a room. I had intended to go at
once to Mr. Pitkin's, but I shall not do so until I
have had an explanation of this outrageous piece of
Phil was rejoiced to hear this, for he was at the
end of his resources, and the outlook for him was
decidedly gloomy. He had about made up his mind
to sink his pride and go into business as a newsboy
the next day, but the very unexpected arrival of Mr.
Carter put quite a new face on matters.
He called a carriage, and both he and Mr. Carter
entered it.
"How do you happen to be back so soon, sir?"
asked Phil, when they were seated. "I thought you
were going to Florida for a couple of months."
"I started with that intention, but on reaching
Charleston I changed my mind. I expected to find
some friends at St. Augustine, but I learned that
they were already returning to the North, and I felt
that I should be lonely and decided to return. I
am very glad I did, now. Did you receive my
"Your letter?" queried Philip, looking at Mr.
Carter in surprise.
"Certainly. I gave Alonzo a letter for you, which
I had directed to your boarding-house, and requested
him to mail it. It contained a ten-dollar bill."
"I never received any such letter, sir. It would
have been of great service to me--the money, I
mean; for I have found it hard to live on five dollars
a week. Now I have not even that."
"Is it possible that Alonzo could have suppressed
the letter?" said Mr. Carter to himself.
"At any rate I never received it."
"Here is something else to inquire into," said Mr.
Carter. "If Alonzo has tampered with my letter,
perhaps appropriated the money, it will be the worse
for him."
"I hardly think he would do that, sir; though I
don't like him."
"You are generous; but I know the boy better
than you do. He is fond of money, not for the sake
of spending it, but for the sake of hoarding it. Tell
me, then, how did you learn that I had gone to
"I learned it at the house in Twelfth Street."
"Then you called there?"
"Yes, sir; I called to see you. I found it hard to
get along on my salary, and I did not want Mrs.
Forbush to lose by me, so I----"
"Mrs. Forbush?" repeated the old gentleman
quickly. "That name sounds familiar to me."
"Mrs. Forbush is your niece," said Phil, a hope
rising in his heart that he might be able to do his
kind landlady a good turn.
"Did she tell you that?"
"No, sir; that is, I was ignorant of it until I met
her just as I was going away from Mrs. Pitkin's."
"Did she call there, too--to see me?" asked the
old gentleman,
"Yes, sir; but she got a very cold reception. Mrs.
Pitkin was very rude to her, and said that you were
so much prejudiced against her that she had better
not call again."
"That's like her cold selfishness. I understand
her motives very well. I had no idea that Mrs. Forbush
was in the city. Is she--poor?"
"Yes, sir; she is having a hard struggle to
maintain herself and her daughter."
"And you board at her house?"
"Yes, sir."
"How strangely things come about! She is as
nearly related to me as Lavinia--Mrs. Pitkin."
"She told me so."
"She married against the wishes of her family,
but I can see now that we were all unreasonably
prejudiced against her. Lavinia, however, trumped
up stories against her husband, which I am now led
to believe were quite destitute of foundation, and
did all she could to keep alive the feud. I feel now
that I was very foolish to lend myself to her selfish
ends. Of course her object was to get my whole
fortune for herself and her boy."
Phil had no doubt of this, but he did not like to
say so, for it would seem that he, too, was influenced
by selfish motives.
"Then you are not so much prejudiced against
Mrs. Forbush as she was told?" he allowed himself
to say.
"No, no!" said Mr. Carter earnestly. "Poor
Rebecca! She has a much better nature and disposition
than Mrs. Pitkin. And you say she is poor?"
"She had great difficulty in paying her last
month's rent," said Philip.
"Where does she live?"
Phil told him.
"What sort of a house is it?"
"It isn't a brown-stone front," answered Phil,
smiling. "It is a poor, cheap house; but it is as
good as she can afford to hire."
"And you like her?"
"Very much, Mr. Carter. She has been very
kind to me, and though she finds it so hard to get
along, she has told me she will keep me as long as
she has a roof over her head, though just now I cannot
pay my board, because my income is gone."
"It will come back again, Philip," said the old
Phil understood by this that he would be restored
to his place in Mr. Pitkin's establishment. This did
not yield him unalloyed satisfaction, for he was sure
that it would be made unpleasant for him by Mr.
Pitkin. Still he would accept it, and meet disagreeable
things as well as he could.
By this time they had reached the Astor House.
Phil jumped out first, and assisted Mr. Carter to
He took Mr. Carter's hand-bag, and followed him
into the hotel.
Mr. Carter entered his name in the register.
"What is your name?" he asked--"Philip
"Yes, sir."
"I will enter your name, too."
"Am I to stay here?" asked Phil, in surprise.
"Yes; I shall need a confidential clerk, and for
the present you will fill that position. I will take
two adjoining rooms--one for you."
Phil listened in surprise.
"Thank you, sir," he said.
Mr. Carter gave orders to have his trunk sent for
from the steamer, and took possession of the room.
Philip's room was smaller, but considerably more
luxurious than the one he occupied at the house of
Mrs. Forbush.
"Have you any money, Philip?" asked the old
"I have twenty-five cents," answered Philip.
"That isn't a very large sum," said Mr. Carter,
smiling. "Here, let me replenish your pocketbook."
He drew four five-dollar bills from his wallet and
handed them to Phil.
"How can I thank you, sir?" asked Phil gratefully.
"Wait till you have more to thank me for. Let
me tell you this, that in trying to harm you, Mr.
and Mrs. Pitkin have done you a great service."
"I should like to see Mrs. Forbush this evening,
if you can spare me, to let her know that she
needn't be anxious about me."
"By all means. You can go."
"Am I at liberty to mention that I have seen you,
"Yes. Tell her that I will call to-morrow. And
you may take her this."
Mr. Carter drew a hundred-dollar bill from his
wallet and passed it to Phil.
"Get it changed at the office as you go out," he
said. "Come back as soon as you can."
With a joyful heart Phil jumped on a Fourth
Avenue car in front of the hotel, and started on his
way up town.
Leaving Phil, we will precede him to the
house of Mrs. Forbush.
She had managed to pay the rent due, but she was
not out of trouble. The time had come when it was
necessary to decide whether she would retain the
house for the following year. In New York, as
many of my young readers may know, the first of
May is moving-day, and leases generally begin at
that date. Engagements are made generally by or
before March 1st.
Mr. Stone, the landlord, called upon the widow to
ascertain whether she proposed to remain in the
"I suppose I may as well do so," said Mrs. Forbush.
She had had difficulty in making her monthly
payments, but to move would involve expense, and
it might be some time before she could secure
boarders in a new location.
"You can't do better," said the landlord. "At
fifty dollars a month this is a very cheap house."
"You mean forty-five? Mr. Stone?" said Mrs. Forbush.
"No, I don't," said the landlord.
"But that is what I have been paying this last
"That is true, but I ought to get fifty dollars, and
if you won't pay it somebody else will."
"Mr. Stone," said the widow, in a troubled voice,
"I hope you will be considerate. It has been as
much as I could do to get together forty-five dollars
each month to pay you. Indeed, I can pay no
"Pardon me for saying that that is no affair of
mine," said the landlord brusquely. "If you can't
pay the rent, by all means move into a smaller
house. If you stay here you must be prepared to
pay fifty dollars a month."
"I don't see how I can," answered the widow in
"I'll give you three days to consider it," said the
landlord indifferently. "You'll make a mistake if
you give the house up. However, that is your
The landlord left the house, and Mrs. Forbush sat
down depressed.
"Julia," she said to her daughter, "I wish you
were old enough to advise me. I dislike to move,
but I don't dare to engage to pay such a rent. Fifty
dollars a month will amount to----"
"Six hundred dollars a year!" said Julia, who was
good at figures.
"And that seems a great sum to us."
"It would be little enough to Mrs. Pitkin," said
Julia, who felt that lady's prosperity unjust, while
her poor, patient mother had to struggle so hard for
a scanty livelihood.
"Oh, yes; Lavinia is rolling in wealth," sighed
Mrs. Forbush. "I can't understand how Uncle
Oliver can bestow his favors on so selfish a woman."
"Why don't you ask Philip's advice about keeping
the house?" said Julia.
It must be explained that Philip and Julia were
already excellent friends, and it may be said that
each was mutually attracted by the other.
"Poor Philip has his own troubles," said Mrs.
Forbush. "He has lost his place through the malice
and jealousy of Mr. and Mrs. Pitkin, for I am sure
that Lavinia is the cause of his dismissal, and I don't
know when he will be able to get another."
"You won't send him away, mother, if he can't
pay his board?"
"No," answered her mother warmly. "Philip is
welcome to stay with us as long as we have a roof
over our heads, whether he can pay his board or
This answer seemed very satisfactory to Julia,
who rose impulsively and kissed her mother.
"That's a good mother," she said. "It would be
a pity to send poor Philip into the street."
"You seem to like Philip," said Mrs. Forbush,
smiling faintly.
"Yes, mother. You know I haven't any brother,
and Phil seems just like a brother to me."
Just then the door opened, and Philip himself
entered the room.
Generally he came home looking depressed, after
a long and ineffectual search for employment. Now
he was fairly radiant with joy.
"Phil, you've got a place; I know you have!"
exclaimed Julia, noticing his glad expression. "Where
is it? Is it a good one?"
"Have you really got a place, Philip?" asked Mrs.
"Yes, for the present."
"Do you think you shall like your employer?"
"He is certainly treating me very well," said
Phil, smiling. "He has paid me twenty dollars in
"Then the age of wonders has not passed," said
the widow. "Of course I believe you, Philip, but it
seems extraordinary."
"There is something more extraordinary to come,"
said Phil. "He has sent you some money, too."
"Me!" exclaimed Mrs. Forbush, in great surprise.
"What can he know about me?"
"I told him about you."
"But we are strangers."
"He used to know you, and still feels an interest
in you, Mrs. Forbush."
"Who can it be?" said the widow, looking bewildered.
"I don't want to keep you in suspense any longer,
so I may as well say that it is your Uncle Oliver."
"Uncle Oliver! Why, he is in Florida."
"No; he came home from Charleston. I happened
to be at the pier--I went down to see if I could get
a job at smashing baggage--when I saw him walking
down the gang-plank."
"Has he gone to his old quarters at Mr. Pitkin's?"
"No; what I told about the way they treated you
and me made him angry, and he drove to the Astor
House. I have a room there, too, and am to act as
his private secretary."
"So that is your new situation, Phil?" said Julia.
"Yes, and it is a good one."
"And he really feels kindly to me?" said Mrs.
Forbush hopefully.
"He sends you this and will call to-morrow," said
Phil. "Actions speak louder than words. There
are a hundred dollars in this roll of bills."
"He sent all this to me?" she said.
"Yes, and of his own accord. It was no suggestion
of mine.
"Julia," said Mrs. Forbush, turning to her daughter,
"I believe God has heard my prayer, and that
better days are in store for all of us."
"Philip included," added Phil, smiling.
"Yes. I want you to share in our good fortune."
"Mother, you had better consult Phil about keeping
the house."
"Oh, yes."
Mrs. Forbush thereupon told Philip of the landlord's
visit and his proposal to ask a higher rent.
"I hesitated about taking the house," she said;
"but with this handsome gift from Uncle Oliver, I
don't know but I may venture. What do you
"I think, Mrs. Forbush, you had better not decide
till you have seen your uncle. He may have some
plan of his own for you. At any rate, you had better
consult him. He will call to-morrow. And now,
let me pay you for my week's board."
"No, Philip. I shall not want it with all this
money, which I should not have received but for
"A debt is a debt, Mrs. Forbush, and I prefer to
pay it. I shall not be here to supper, as Mr.
Carter is expecting me back to the Astor House. I
shall probably come with him when he calls upon
you to-morrow."
On his return to the hotel, as he was walking on
Broadway, Phil came face to face with Alonzo Pitkin.
"I think I'll ask him about that letter his uncle
gave him to post to me," thought Phil, and he waited
until Alonzo was close at hand.
Alonzo, who had his share of curiosity, as soon
as he saw Phil's approach, determined to speak
to him, and ascertain what were his plans and what
he was doing. With the petty malice which he
inherited from his mother, he hoped that Phil had
been unable to find a place and was in distress.
"It would serve him right," said Alonzo to
himself, "for trying to get into Uncle Oliver's good
graces. "I s'pose he would like to cut me out, but
he'll find that he can't fight against ma and me."
"Oh, it's you, is it?" was Alonzo's salutation when
they met.
"Yes," answered Phil.
"Pa bounced you, didn't he?" continued Alonzo
"Yes," answered Phil. "That is, he discharged
me. I suppose that is what you meant."
"You've got it right the first time," said Alonzo.
"Have you got another place?"
"Do you ask because you feel interested in me?"
asked Phil.
"Well, not particularly," answered Alonzo
appearing quite amused by the suggestion.
"Then you ask out of curiosity?"
"S'pose I do?"
"I don't mind telling you that I have found a
place, then."
"What sort of a place?" asked Alonzo, disappointed.
"There is no need of going into particulars."
"No. I s'pose not," sneered Alonzo. "You're
probably selling papers or blacking boots."
"You are mistaken. I have a much better situation
than I had with your father."
Alonzo's lower jaw fell. He was very sorry to
hear it.
"Didn't your employer ask for a recommendation?"
"He didn't seem to think one necessary!" replied Phil.
"If he'd known pa had sacked you, he wouldn't
have wanted you, I guess."
"He knows it. Have you got through asking
questions, Alonzo?"
"You are too familiar. You can call me Mr. Pitkin."
Phil laughed at Alonzo's assumption of dignity,
but made no comment upon it.
"I want to ask you what you did with that letter
Mr. Carter gave you to post for me?" asked Phil.
Alonzo was indeed surprised, not to say dismayed.
The truth was that, judging from the "feel" of the
letter, it contained money, and he had opened it
and appropriated the money to his own use. Moreover
he had the bank-note in his pocket at that very
moment, not having any wish to spend, but rather
to hoard it.
"That's a queer question," he stammered. "What
letter do you refer to?"
"A letter Mr. Carter gave you to mail to me."
"If he gave me any such letter I mailed it,"
answered Alonzo, scarcely knowing what to say.
"I didn't receive it."
"How do you know he gave me any letter?"
demanded Alonzo, puzzled.
"I don't care to tell. I only know that there was
such a letter handed to you. Do you know what
was in it?"
"Writing, I s'pose," said Alonzo flippantly.
"Yes, there was, but there was also a ten-dollar
bill. I didn't receive the letter," and Phil fixed his
eyes searchingly upon the face of Alonzo.
"That's a pretty story!" said Alonzo. "I don't
believe Uncle Oliver would be such a fool as to send
you ten dollars. If he did, you got it, and now
want to get as much more, pretending you haven't
received it."
"You are mistaken," said Phil quietly.
"If you didn't get the letter, how do you know
any was written, and that there was anything in it?"
asked Alonzo triumphantly, feeling that the question
was a crusher.
"I don't care to tell you how I know it. Do you
deny it?"
"I don't remember whether Uncle Oliver gave me
any letter or not."
"Will you be kind enough to give me his address
in Florida, so that I may write to him and find out?"
"No, I won't," said Alonzo angrily, "and I think
you are very cheeky to ask such a thing. Ma was
right when she said that you were the most impudent
boy she ever came across."
"That's enough, Alonzo," said Phil quietly. "I've
found out all I wanted to."
"What have you found out?" asked Alonzo, his
tone betraying some apprehension.
"Never mind. I think I know what became of
that letter."
"Do you mean to say I opened it and took out
the money?" demanded Alonzo, reddening.
"I wouldn't charge anybody with such a mean
act, unless I felt satisfied of it."
"You'd better not!" said Alonzo, in a bullying
tone. "If I find out who you're working for, I'll let
him know that pa bounced you."
"Just as you please! I don't think that any
words of yours will injure me with the gentleman I
have the good fortune to work for."
"Don't you be too sure! If you think he wouldn't
mind a boy, I'll refer him to pa and ma. They'll
give you a good setting out."
"I don't doubt it," said Phil indifferently, and
turned to go away.
He was called back by Alonzo, who had not quite
satisfied his curiosity.
"Say, are you boarding with that woman who
came to see ma the same day you were at the house?"
he asked.
"No; I have left her."
Alonzo looked well pleased. He knew that his
mother felt rather uneasy at the two being together,
dreading lest they should make a concerted attempt
to ingratiate themselves with her rich uncle.
"Ma says she behaved very badly," Alonzo could
not help adding.
"Mrs. Forbush is an excellent Lady," said Phil
warmly, for he could not hear one of his friends
spoken against.
"Lady! She's as poor as poverty," sneered
"She is none the worse for that."
"Uncle Oliver can't bear her!"
"Indeed!" said Phil; pausing to see what else
Alonzo would say.
"Ma says she disgraced herself, and all her
relations gave her up. When you see her tell her she
had better not come sneaking round the house
"If you will write a letter to that effect, I will see
that she gets it," said Phil. "That letter won't miscarry."
"I don't care to take any notice of her," said
Alonzo loftily.
"You are very kind to have wasted so much notice
upon me," said Phil, amused.
Alonzo did not see fit to answer this, but walked
away with his head in the air. He was, however,
not quite easy in mind.
"How in the world," he asked himself, "could
that boy have found out that Uncle Oliver gave me
a letter to post? If he should learn that I opened
it and took the money, there'd be a big fuss. I guess
I'd better not meet him again. If I see him any
day I'll go in a different direction. He's so artful
he may get me into trouble."
It is needless to say that neither Mr. or Mrs.
Pitkin knew of Alonzo's tampering with the letter.
Much as they would have been opposed to Phil's
receiving such a letter, they would have been too wise
to sanction such a bold step.
"Well," said Mr. Carter, when Phil returned, "did
you see Rebecca--Mrs. Forbush?"
"Yes, sir, and handed her the money. She was
overjoyed; not so much at receiving so generous a
sum as at learning that you were reconciled to her."
"Poor girl!" said the old man, forgetting that she
was now a worn woman. "I am afraid that she
must have suffered much."
"She has met with many hardships, sir, but she
won't mind them now."
"If I live her future shall be brighter than her
past. I will call to-morrow. You, Philip, shall go
with me."
"I should like to do so, sir. By the way, I met
Alonzo on Broadway."
He detailed the conversation that had taken place
between them.
"I am afraid he took the money," said Mr. Carter.
"I am sorry any relative of mine should have acted
in that way. Let him keep it. Any benefit he may
derive from it will prove to have been dearly purchased."
"You may order a carriage, Philip," said Mr.
Carter the next morning. "Pick out a handsome
one with seats for four."
"Yes, sir."
In five minutes the carriage was at the door.
"Now, Philip, we will go to see my long-neglected
niece, Mrs. Forbush. Give the driver the necessary
"Mrs. Forbush does not have many carriage-callers,"
said Philip, smiling.
"Perhaps she will have more hereafter," said Mr.
Carter, "I ought not so long to have lost sight of
her. I always liked Rebecca better than Lavinia,
yet I let the latter prejudice me against her cousin,
who is in disposition, education and sincerity her
superior. You see, Philip, there are old fools in the
world as well as young ones."
"It is never too late to mend, Mr. Carter," said
Phil, smiling.
"That's very true, even if it is a young philosopher
who says it."
"I don't claim any originality for it, Mr. Carter."
"By the way, Philip, I have noticed that you always
express yourself very correctly. Your education
must be good."
"Yes, sir, thanks to my father, or the man whom
I always regarded as my father. I am a fair Latin
scholar, and know something of Greek."
"Were you preparing for college?" asked Mr.
Carter, with interest.
"Yes, sir."
"Would you like to go?"
"I should have gone had father lived, but my
step-mother said it was foolishness and would be
money thrown away."
"Perhaps she preferred to incur that expense for
her own son?" suggested the old gentleman.
"Jonas wouldn't consent to that. He detests
study, and would decidedly object to going to college."
"By the way, you haven't heard from them
"Only that they have left our old home and gone
no one knows where."
"That is strange."
By this time they had reached the humble dwelling
occupied by Mrs. Forbush.
"And so this is where Rebecca lives?" said Mr.
"Yes, sir. It is not quite so nice as Mrs. Pitkin's."
"No," returned Mr. Carter thoughtfully.
Philip rang the bell, and the two were admitted
into the humble parlor. They had not long to wait
for Mrs. Forbush, who, with an agitation which she
could not overcome, entered the presence of her long
estranged and wealthy uncle.
"Rebecca!" exclaimed the old gentleman, rising,
and showing some emotion as he saw the changes
which fifteen years had made in the niece whom he
had last met as a girl.
"Uncle Oliver! how kind you are to visit me!"
cried Mrs. Forbush, the tears starting from her
"Kind! Nonsense! I have been very unkind to
neglect you so long. But it wasn't all my fault.
There were others who did all they could to keep us
apart. You have lost your husband?"
"Yes, uncle. He was poor, but he was one of the
kindest and best of men, and made me happy."
"I begin to think I have been an old fool,
Rebecca. Philip thinks so, too."
"Oh, Mr. Carter!" exclaimed our hero.
"Yes, you do, Philip," asserted Mr. Carter, "and
you are quite right. However, as you told me, it is
never too late to mend."
"Mrs. Forbush will think I take strange liberties
with you, sir."
"I don't object to good advice, even from a boy.
But who is this?"
Julia had just entered the room. She was a
bright, attractive girl, but held back bashfully until
her mother said:
"Julia, this is Uncle Oliver Carter. You have
heard me speak of him."
"Yes, mamma."
"And scold about him, I dare say. Well, Julia,
come and give your old uncle a kiss."
Julia blushed, but obeyed her uncle's request.
"I should know she was your child, Rebecca.
She looks as you did at her age. Now tell me, have
you any engagement this morning, you two?"
"No, Uncle Oliver."
"Then I will find one for you. I have a carriage
at the door. You will please put on your bonnets.
We are going shopping."
"Yes, I am going to fit out both of you in a
manner more befitting relatives of mine. The fact is,
Niece Rebecca, you are actually shabby."
"I know it, uncle, but there has been so many
ways of spending money that I have had to neglect
my dress.
"Very likely. I understand. Things are
different now. Now, don't be over an hour getting
"We are not fashionable, uncle," said Mrs.
Forbush, "and we haven't any change to make."
They entered the carriage, and drove to a large
and fashionable store, where everything necessary
to a lady's toilet, including dresses quite complete,
could be obtained. Mrs. Forbush was in favor of
selecting very plain articles, but her uncle overruled
her, and pointed out costumes much more
"But, uncle," objected Mrs. Forbush, "these
things won't at all correspond with our plain home
and mode of living. Think of a boarding-house
keeper arrayed like a fine lady."
"You are going to give up taking boarders--that
is, you will have none but Philip and myself."
"Will you really live with us, uncle? But the
house is too poor."
"Of course it is, but you are going to move. I
will speak further on this point when you are
through your purchases."
At length the shopping was over, and they reentered
the carriage.
"Drive to No.-- Madison Avenue," said Mr.
Carter to the driver.
"Uncle Oliver, you have given the wrong direction."
"No, Rebecca, I know what I am about."
"Do you live on Madison Avenue?" asked Mrs.
"I am going to and so are you. You must know
that I own a furnished house on Madison Avenue.
The late occupants sailed for Europe last week, and
I was looking out for a tenant when I found you.
You will move there to-morrow, and act as house
keeper, taking care of Philip and myself. I hope
Julia and you will like it as well as your present
"How can I thank you for all your kindness,
Uncle Oliver?" said Mrs. Forbush, with joyful tears.
"It will be living once more. It will be such a rest
from the hard struggle I have had of late years."
"You can repay me by humoring all my whims,"
said Uncle Oliver, smiling. "You will find me very
tyrannical. The least infraction of my rules will
lead me to send you all packing."
"Am I to be treated in the same way, Mr. Carter?"
asked Philip.
"Then, if you discharge me, I will fly for refuge
to Mr. Pitkin."
"That will be `out of the frying-pan into the fire'
with a vengeance."
By this time they had reached the house. It was
an elegant brown-stone front, and proved, on
entrance, to be furnished in the most complete and
elegant manner. Mr. Carter selected the second
floor for his own use; a good-sized room on the
third was assigned to Philip, and Mrs. Forbush was
told to select such rooms for Julia and herself as she
"This is much finer than Mrs. Pitkin's house,"
said Philip.
"Yes, it is."
"She will be jealous when she hears of it."
"No doubt. That is precisely what I desire. It
will be a fitting punishment for her treatment of
her own cousin."
It was arranged that on the morrow Mrs. Forbush
and Julia should close their small house, leaving
directions to sell the humble furniture at auction,
while Mr. Carter and Philip would come up from
the Astor House.
"What will the Pitkins say when they hear of
it?" thought Philip. "I am afraid they will feel
While these important changes were occurring
in the lives of Philip Brent and the poor
cousin, Mrs. Pitkin remained in blissful ignorance of
what was going on. Alonzo had told her of his
encounter with Phil on Broadway and the intelligence
our hero gave him of his securing a place.
"You may rest assured the boy was lying, Lonny,"
said Mrs. Pitkin. "Boys don't get places so easily,
especially when they can't give a recommendation
from their last employer.
"That's just what I thought, ma," said Alonzo.
"Still Phil looked in good spirits, and he was as
saucy as ever."
"I can believe the last very well, Lonny. The
boy is naturally impertinent. They were probably
put on to deceive you."
"But how does he get money to pay his way?"
said Alonzo puzzled.
"As to that, he is probably selling papers or
blacking boots in the lower part of the city. He
could make enough to live on, and of course he
wouldn't let you know what he was doing."
"I hope you're right, ma. I'd give ever so much
to catch him blacking boots in City Hall Park, or
anywhere else; I'd give him a job. Wouldn't he
feel mortified to be caught?"
"No doubt he would."
"I've a great mind to go down town to-morrow
and look about for him."
"Very well, Lonny. You may to if you want
Alonzo did go; but he looked in vain for Phil.
The latter was employed in doing some writing and
attending to some accounts for Mr. Carter, who had
by this time found that his protege was thoroughly
well qualified for such work.
So nearly a week passed. It so chanced that
though Uncle Oliver had now been in New York a
considerable time, not one of the Pitkins had met
him or had reason to suspect that he was nearer
than Florida.
One day, however, among Mrs. Pitkin's callers
was Mrs. Vangriff, a fashionable acquaintance.
"Mr. Oliver Carter is your uncle, I believe?" said
the visitor.
"I met him on Broadway the other day. He was
looking very well."
"It must have been a fortnight since, then. Uncle
Oliver is in Florida."
"In Florida!" repeated Mrs. Vangriff, in surprise.
"When did he go?"
"When was it, Lonny?" asked Mrs. Pitkin,
appealing to her son.
"It will be two weeks next Thursday."
"There must be some mistake," said the visitor.
"I saw Mr. Carter on Broadway, near Twentieth
Street, day before yesterday."
"Quite a mistake, I assure you, Mrs. Vangriff,"
said Mrs. Pitkin, smiling. "It was some other person.
You were deceived by a fancied resemblance."
"It is you who are wrong, Mrs. Pitkin," said
Mrs. Vangriff, positively. "I am somewhat acquainted
with Mr. Carter, and I stopped to speak
with him."
"Are you sure of this?" asked Mrs. Pitkin, looking
"Certainly, I am sure of it."
"Did you call him by name?"
"Certainly; and even inquired after you. He
answered that he believed you were well. I thought
he was living with you?"
"So he was," answered Mrs. Pitkin coolly as
possible, considering the startling nature of the
information she had received. "Probably Uncle Oliver
returned sooner than he anticipated, and was merely
passing through the city. He has important business
interests at the West."
"I don't think he was merely passing through the
city, for a friend of mine saw him at the Fifth
Avenue Theater last evening."
Mrs. Pitkin actually turned as pale as her sallow
complexion would admit.
"I am rather surprised to hear this, I admit," she
said. "Was he alone, do you know?"
"No; he had a lady and a boy with him."
"Is it possible that Uncle Oliver has been married
to some designing widow?" Mrs. Pitkin asked
herself. "It is positively terrible!"
She did not dare to betray her agitation before
Mrs. Vangriff, and sat on thorns till that lady saw
fit to take leave. Then she turned to Alonzo and
said, in a hollow voice:
"Lonny, you heard what that woman said?"
"You bet!"
"Do you think Uncle Oliver has gone and got
married again?" she asked, in a hollow voice.
"I shouldn't wonder a mite, ma," was the not
consolitary reply.
"If so, what will become of us? My poor boy, I
looked upon you and myself as likely to receive all
of Uncle Oliver's handsome property. As it is----"
and she almost broke down.
"Perhaps he's only engaged?" suggested Alonzo.
"To be sure!" said his mother, brightening up.
"If so, the affair may yet be broken off. Oh, Lonny,
I never thought your uncle was so artful. His trip
to Florida was only a trick to put us off the scent."
"What are you going to do about it, ma?"
"I must find out as soon as possible where Uncle
Oliver is staying. Then I will see him, and try to
cure him of his infatuation. He is evidently trying
to keep us in the dark, or he would have come back
to his rooms."
"How are you going to find out, ma?"
"I don't know. That's what puzzles me."
"S'pose you hire a detective?"
"I wouldn't dare to. Your uncle would be angry
when he found it out."
"Do you s'pose Phil knows anything about it?"
suggested Alonzo.
"I don't know; it is hardly probable. Do you
know where he lives?"
"With the woman who called here and said she
was your cousin."
"Yes, I remember, Lonny. I will order the
carriage, and we will go there. But you must be very
careful not to let them know Uncle Oliver is in New
York. I don't wish them to meet him."
"All right! I ain't a fool. You can trust me, ma."
Soon the Pitkin carriage was as the door, and Mrs.
Pitkin and Alonzo entered it, and were driven to
the shabby house so recently occupied by Mrs. Forbush.
"It's a low place!" said Alonzo contemptuously,
as he regarded disdainfully the small dwelling.
"Yes; but I suppose it is as good as she can afford
to live in. Lonny, will you get out and ring
the bell? Ask if Mrs. Forbush lives there."
Alonzo did as requested.
The door was opened by a small girl, whose
shabby dress was in harmony with the place.
"Rebecca's child, I suppose!" said Mrs. Pitkin,
who was looking out of the carriage window.
"Does Mrs. Forbush live here?" asked Alonzo.
"No, she doesn't. Mrs. Kavanagh lives here."
"Didn't Mrs. Forbush used to live here?" further
asked Alonzo, at the suggestion of his mother.
"I believe she did. She moved out a week ago."
"Do you know where she moved to?"
"No, I don't."
"Does a boy named Philip Brent live here?"
"No, he doesn't."
"Do you know why Mrs. Forbush moved away?"
asked Alonzo again, at the suggestion of his
"Guess she couldn't pay her rent."
"Very likely," said Alonzo, who at last had
received an answer with which he was pleased.
"Well, ma, there isn't any more to find out here,"
he said.
"Tell the driver--home!" said his mother.
When they reached the house in Twelfth Street,
there was a surprise in store for them.
"Who do you think's up-stairs, mum?" said Hannah,
looking important.
"Who? Tell me quick!"
"It's your Uncle Oliver, mum, just got home from
Florida; but I guess he's going somewhere else
mum, for he's packing up his things."
"Alonzo, we will go up and see him," said Mrs.
Pitkin, excited. "I must know what all this
Mr. Carter was taking articles from a bureau
and packing them away in an open trunk,
when Mrs. Pitkin entered with Alonzo. It is
needless to say that his niece regarded his employment
with dismay, for it showed clearly that he proposed
to leave the shelter of her roof.
"Uncle Oliver!" she exclaimed, sinking into a
chair and gazing at the old gentleman spell-bound.
Mr. Carter, whose back had been turned, turned
about and faced his niece.
"Oh, it is you, Lavinia!" he said quietly.
"What are you doing?" asked his niece.
"As you see, I am packing my trunk."
"Do you intend to leave us?" faltered Mrs. Pitkin.
"I think it will be well for me to make a change,"
said Mr. Carter.
"This is, indeed, a sad surprise," said Mrs Pitkin
mournfully. "When did you return from Florida?"
"I have never been there. I changed my mind
when I reached Charleston."
"How long have you been in the city?"
"About a week."
"And never came near us. This is, indeed,
unkind. In what way have we offended you?" and
Mrs. Pitkin put her handkerchief to her eyes.
There were no tears in them, but she was making
an attempt to touch the heart of her uncle.
"Are you aware that Rebecca Forbush is in the
city?" asked the old gentleman abruptly.
"Ye-es," answered Mrs. Pitkin, startled.
"Have you seen her?"
"Ye-es. She came here one day."
"And how did you treat her?" asked Mr. Carter,
severely. "Did you not turn the poor woman from
the house, having no regard for her evident poverty?
Did you not tell her that I was very angry
with her, and would not hear her name mentioned?"
"Ye-es, I may have said so. You know, Uncle
Oliver, you have held no communication with her
for many years."
"That is true--more shame to me!"
"And I thought I was carrying out your wishes
in discouraging her visits."
"You also thought that she might be a dangerous
rival in my favor, and might deprive you and Alonzo
of an expected share in my estate."
"Oh, Uncle Oliver! how can you think so poorly
of me?"
Mr. Carter eyed his niece with a half-smile.
"So I do you injustice, do I, Lavinia?" he returned.
"Yes, great injustice."
"I am glad to hear it. I feel less objection now
to telling you what are my future plans."
"What are they?" asked Mrs. Pitkin apprehensively.
"I have lived for ten years under your roof, and
have had no communication, as you say, with Rebecca.
I think it is only fair now that I should
show her some attention. I have accordingly
installed her as mistress of my house in Madison
Avenue, and shall henceforth make my home with
Mrs. Pitkin felt as if the earth was sinking under
her feet. The hopes and schemes of so many years
had come to naught, and her hated and dreaded
cousin was to be constantly in the society of the rich
"Rebecca has played her cards well," she said bitterly.
"She has not played them at all. She did not
seek me. I sought her."
"How did you know she was in the city?"
"I learned it from--Philip!"
There was fresh dismay.
"So that boy has wormed his way into your
confidence!" said Mrs. Pitkin bitterly. "After acting
so badly that Mr. Pitkin was obliged to discharge
him, he ran to you to do us a mischief."
"Why was he discharged?" demanded Mr. Carter
sternly. "Why did your husband seize the
opportunity to get rid of a boy in whom he knew me to
be interested as soon as he thought I was out of the
way? Why, moreover, did he refuse the boy a reference,
without which Philip could scarcely hope to
get employment?"
"You will have to ask Mr. Pitkin. I am sure he
had good reason for the course he took. He's an
impudent, low upstart in my opinion."
"So he is, ma!" chimed in Alonzo, with heartiness.
"Ah! I have something to say to you, Alonzo,"
said Mr. Carter, turning his keen glances upon the
boy. "What became of that letter I gave to you
to post just before I went away?"
"I put it in the letter-box," said Alonzo nervously.
"Do you know what was in it?"
"No," answered Alonzo, but he looked frightened.
"There were ten dollars in it. That letter never
reached Phil, to whom it was addressed."
"I--don't know anything about it," faltered
"There are ways of finding out whether letters
have been posted," said Mr. Carter. "I might put
a detective on the case."
Alonzo turned pale, and looked much discomposed.
"Of what are you accusing my boy?" asked Mrs.
Pitkin, ready to contend for her favorite. "So that
boy has been telling lies about him, has he? and
you believe scandalous stories about your own flesh
and blood?"
"Not exactly that, Lavinia."
"Well, your near relation, and that on the testimony
of a boy you know nothing about. When
Lonny is so devoted to you, too!"
"I never noticed any special devotion," said Mr.
Carter, amused. "You are mistaken, however,
about Philip trying to injure him. I simply asked
Philip whether he had received such a letter, and he
said no."
"I dare say he did receive it," said Mrs. Pitkin
"We won't argue the matter now," said the old
gentleman. "I will only say that you and Alonzo,
and Mr. Pitkin also, have gone the wrong way to
work to secure my favor. You have done what you
could to injure two persons, one your own cousin,
because you were jealous."
"You judge me very hardly, uncle," said Mrs.
Pitkin, seeing that she must adopt a different course.
"I have no bad feeling against Rebecca, and as to
the boy, I will ask my husband to take him back
into the store. I am sure he will do it, because you
wish it."
"I don't wish it," answered Mr. Carter, rather
"Oh, well," answered Mrs. Pitkin, looking
relieved, "that is as you say."
"I have other views for Philip," said Mr. Carter.
"He is with me as my private secretary."
"Is he living with you?" asked his niece, in alarm.
"There was no need of taking a stranger, Uncle
Oliver. We should be glad to have Alonzo act as
your secretary, though of course we should want
him to stay at home."
"I shall not deprive you of Alonzo," said Mr.
Carter, with a tinge of sarcasm in his tone. "Philip
will suit me better."
Mr. Carter turned and resumed his packing.
"Are you quite determined to leave us?" asked
Mrs. Pitkin, in a subdued tone.
"Yes; it will be better."
"But you will come back--say after a few weeks?"
"No, I think not," he answered dryly.
"And shall we not see you at all?"
"Oh, I shall call from time to time, and besides,
you will know where I am, and can call whenever
you desire."
"People will talk about your leaving us,"
complained Mrs. Pitkin.
"Let them talk. I never agreed to have my
movements controlled by people's gossip. And now,
Lavinia, I shall have to neglect you and resume my
packing. To-morrow I shall bring Philip here to
help me."
"Would you like to have Alonzo help you, Uncle
This offer, much to Alonzo's relief, was declined.
He feared that he should be examined more closely
by the old gentleman about the missing money,
which at that very moment he had in his pocket.
Mrs. Pitkin went down stairs feeling angry and
baffled. All that she had done to retain her ascendency
over Uncle Oliver had failed, and Mrs. Forbush
and Philip seemed to have superseded herself and
Alonzo in his regard. She conferred with Mr. Pitkin
on his return from the store, but the more they
considered the matter the worse it looked for their
Could anything be done?
No more distasteful news could have come to
the Pitkins than to learn that Philip and their
poor cousin had secured a firm place in the good
graces of Uncle Oliver. Yet they did not dare to
show their resentment. They had found that Uncle
Oliver had a will of his own, and meant to exercise
it. Had they been more forbearing he would still
be an inmate of their house instead of going over to
the camp of their enemies, for so they regarded Mrs.
Forbush and Phil.
"I hate that woman, Mr. Pitkin!" said his wife
fiercely. "I scorn such underhanded work. How
she has sneaked into the good graces of poor,
deluded Uncle Oliver!"
"You have played your cards wrong, Lavinia,"
said her husband peevishly.
"I? That is a strange accusation, Mr. Pitkin. It
was you, to my thinking. You sent off that errand
boy, and that is how the whole thing came about. If
he had been in your store he wouldn't have met
Uncle Oliver down at the pier."
"You and Alonzo persuaded me to discharge
"Oh, of course it's Alonzo and me! When you
see Rebecca Forbush and that errand boy making
ducks and drakes out of Uncle Oliver's money you
may wish you had acted more wisely."
"Really, Lavinia, you are a most unreasonable
woman. It's no use criminating and recriminating.
We must do what we can to mend matters."
"What can we do?"
"They haven't got the money yet--remember
that! We must try to re-establish friendly relations
with Mr. Carter."
"Perhaps you'll tell me how?"
"Certainly! Call as soon as possible at the house
on Madison Avenue."
"Call on that woman?"
"Yes; and try to smooth matters over as well as
you can. Take Alonzo with you, and instruct him
to be polite to Philip."
"I don't believe Lonny will be willing to demean
himself so far."
"He'll have to," answered Mr. Pitkin firmly.
"We've all made a mistake, and the sooner we remedy
it the better."
Mrs. Pitkin thought it over. The advice was
unpalatable, but it was evidently sound. Uncle Oliver
was rich, and they must not let his money slip
through their fingers. So, after duly instructing
Alonzo in his part, Mrs. Pitkin, a day or two later,
ordered her carriage and drove in state to the house
of her once poor relative.
"Is Mrs. Forbush at home?" she asked of the servant.
"I believe so, madam," answered a dignified man-servant,
"Take this card to her."
Mrs. Pitkin and Alonzo were ushered into a drawingroom
more elegant than their own. She sat on
a sofa with Alonzo.
"Who would think that Rebecca Forbush would
come to live like this?" she said, half to herself.
"And that boy," supplemented Alonzo.
"To be sure! Your uncle is fairly infatuated."
Just then Mrs. Forbush entered, followed by her
daughter. She was no longer clad in a shabby
dress, but wore an elegant toilet, handsome beyond
her own wishes, but insisted upon by Uncle Oliver.
"I am glad to see you, Lavinia," she said simply.
"This is my daughter."
Julia, too, was stylishly dressed, and Alonzo, in
spite of his prejudices, could not help regarding this
handsome cousin with favor.
I do not propose to detail the interview. Mrs.
Pitkin was on her good behavior, and appeared very
Mrs. Forbush could not help recalling the difference
between her demeanor now and on the recent
occasion, when in her shabby dress she called at the
house in Twelfth Street, but she was too generous
to recall it.
As they were about to leave, Mr. Carter and Philip
entered the room, sent for by Mrs. Forbush.
"How do you do, Philip?" said Mrs. Pitkin,
graciously. "Alonzo, this is Philip."
"How do?" growled Alonzo, staring enviously at
Phil's handsome new suit, which was considerably
handsomer than his own.
"Very well, Alonzo."
"You must come and see Lonny," said Mrs.
Pitkin pleasantly.
"Thank you!" answered Phil politely.
He did not say it was a pleasure, for he was a boy
of truth, and he did not feel that it would be.
Uncle Oliver was partially deceived by his niece's
new manner. He was glad that there seemed to be
a reconciliation, and he grew more cordial than he
had been since his return.
After awhile Mrs. Pitkin rose to go.
When she was fairly in the carriage once more,
she said passionately:
"How I hate them!"
"You were awful sweet on them, ma!" said
Alonzo, opening his eyes.
"I had to be. But the time will come when I
will open the eyes of Uncle Oliver to the designs of
that scheming woman and that artful errand boy."
It was Mrs. Pitkin's true self that spoke.
Among the duties which devolved upon Phil
was Mr. Carter's bank business. He generally
made deposits for Uncle Oliver, and drew money
on his personal checks whenever he needed it.
It has already been said that Mr. Carter was a
silent partner in the firm of which Mr. Pitkin was
the active manager. The arrangement between the
partners was, that each should draw out two hundred
dollars a week toward current expenses, and
that the surplus, if any, at the end of the year,
should be divided according to the terms of the
When Phil first presented himself with a note
from Mr. Carter, he was an object of attention to
the clerks, who knew that he had been discharged by
Mr. Pitkin. Yet here he was, dressed in a new suit
provided with a watch, and wearing every mark of
prosperity. One of the most surprised was Mr. G.
Washington Wilbur, with whom, as an old friend,
Phil stopped to chat.
"Is old Pitkin going to take you back?" he inquired.
"No," answered Phil promptly. "He couldn't
have me if he wanted me."
"Have you got another place?"
"What's the firm?"
"It isn't in business. I am private secretary to
Mr. Carter."
Mr. Wilbur regarded him with surprise and respect.
"Is it a soft place?" he inquired.
"It's a very pleasant place."
"What wages do you get?"
"Twelve dollars a week and board."
"You don't mean it?"
"Yes, I do."
"Say, doesn't he want another secretary?" asked
Mr. Wilbur.
"No, I think not."
"I'd like a place of that sort. You're a lucky
fellow, Phil."
"I begin to think I am."
"Of course you don't live at the old place."
"No; I live on Madison Avenue. By the way,
Wilbur, how is your lady-love?"
Mr. Wilbur looked radiant.
"I think I'm getting on," he said. "I met her
the other evening, and she smiled."
"That is encouraging," said Phil, as soberly as
possible. "All things come to him who waits!
That's what I had to write in my copy-book
Phil was received by Mr. Pitkin with more
graciousness than he expected. He felt that he must do
what he could to placate Uncle Oliver, but he was
more dangerous when friendly in his manner than
when he was rude and impolite. He was even now
plotting to get Phil into a scrape which should lose
him the confidence of Uncle Oliver.
Generally Phil was paid in a check payable to the
order of Mr. Carter. But one Saturday two hundred
dollars in bills were placed in his hands instead.
"You see how much confidence I place in your
honesty," said Mr. Pitkin. "You couldn't use the
check. This money you could make off with."
"It would be very foolish, to say the least,"
responded Phil.
"Of course, of course. I know you are trustworthy,
or I would have given you a check instead."
When Phil left the building he was followed,
though he did not know it, by a man looking like a
Ah, Phil, you are in danger, though you don't
suspect it.
Phil felt that he must be more than usually
careful, because the money he had received was
in the form of bills, which, unlike the check, would
be of use to any thief appropriating it. That he
was in any unusual danger, however, he was far from
He reached Broadway, and instead of taking an
omnibus, started to walk up-town. He knew there
was no haste, and a walk up the great busy thoroughfare
had its attractions for him, as it has for
many others.
Behind him, preserving a distance of from fifteen
to twenty feet, walked a dark-complexioned man of
not far from forty years of age. Of course Phil
was not likely to notice him.
Whatever the man's designs might be, he satisfied
himself at first with simply keeping our hero in
view. But as they both reached Bleecker Street, he
suddenly increased his pace and caught up with
Phil. He touched the boy on the shoulder, breathing
quickly, as if he had been running.
Phil turned quickly.
"Do you want me, sir?" he asked, eying the
stranger in surprise.
"I don't know. Perhaps I am mistaken. Are
you in the employ of Mr. Oliver Carter?"
"Yes, sir."
"Ah I then you are the boy I want. I have bad
news for you."
"Bad news!" repeated Phil, alarmed. "What is
"Mr. Carter was seized with a fit in the street
half an hour since."
"Is he--dead?" asked Phil, in dismay.
"No, no! I think he will come out all right."
"Where is he?"
"In my house. I didn't of course know who he
was, but I found in his pocket a letter directed to
Oliver Carter, Madison Avenue. There was also a
business card. He is connected in business with Mr.
Pitkin, is he not?"
"Yes, sir," answered Phil; "where is your house?"
"In Bleecker Street, near by. Mr. Carter is lying
on the bed. He is unconscious, but my wife heard
him say: `Call Philip.' I suppose that is you?"
"Yes, sir; my name is Philip."
"I went around to his place of business, and was
told that you had just left there. I was given a
description of you and hurried to find you. Will
you come to the house and see Mr. Carter?"
"Yes, sir," answered Phil, forgetting everything
except that his kind and generous employer was
sick, perhaps dangerously.
"Thank you; I shall feel relieved. Of course you
can communicate with his friends and arrange to
have him carried home."
"Yes, sir; I live at his house."
"That is well."
They had turned down Bleecker Street, when it
occurred to Phil to say:
"I don't understand how Mr. Carter should be in
this neighborhood."
"That is something I can't explain, as I know
nothing about his affairs," said the stranger
pleasantly. "Perhaps he may have property on the
"I don't think so. I attend to much of his
business, and he would have sent me if there had been
anything of that kind to attend to."
"I dare say you are right," said his companion.
"Of course I know nothing about it. I only formed
a conjecture."
"Has a physician been sent for?" asked Phil.
"Do you know of any we can call in?"
"My wife agreed to send for one on Sixth Avenue,"
said the stranger. "I didn't wait for him to
come, but set out for the store."
Nothing could be more ready or plausible than
the answers of his new acquaintance, and Phil was
by no means of a suspicious temperament. Had he
lived longer in the city it might have occurred to
him that there was something rather unusual in the
circumstances, but he knew that Mr. Carter had
spoken of leaving the house at the breakfast-table,
indeed had left it before he himself had set out for
the store. For the time being the thought of the
sum of money which he carried with him had escaped
his memory, but it was destined very soon to
be recalled to his mind.
They had nearly reached Sixth Avenue, when his
guide stopped in front of a shabby brick house.
"This is where I live," he said. "We will go in."
He produced a key, opened the door, and Phil
accompanied him up a shabby staircase to the third
floor. He opened the door of a rear room, and
made a sign to Phil to enter.
When he was fairly in the room Phil looked
about him expecting to see Mr. Carter, but
the room appeared unoccupied. He turned to his
companion, a look of surprise on his face, but he was
destined to be still more surprised, and that not in a
pleasant way. His guide had locked the door from
the inside and put the key in his pocket.
"What does that mean?" asked Phil, with sudden
"What do you refer to?" asked his guide with an
unpleasant smile.
"Why do you lock the door?"
"I thought it might be safest," was the significant
"I don't believe Mr. Carter is in the house at all,"
said Phil quickly.
"I don't believe he is either, youngster."
"Why did you tell me he was here?" demanded
Phil, with rising indignation.
"I thought you wouldn't come if I didn't,"
replied his companion nonchalantly.
"Answer me one thing, is Mr. Carter sick at all?"
"Not that I know of."
"Then I am trapped!"
"Precisely. You may as well know the truth
Phil had already conjectured the reason why he
had been enticed to this poor dwelling. The two
hundred dollars which he had in his pocket made
him feel very uncomfortable. I think I may say
truly that if the money had been his own he would
have been less disturbed. But he thought, with a
sinking heart, that if the money should be taken
from him, he would himself fall under suspicion,
and he could not bear to have Mr. Carter think that
he had repaid his kindness with such black ingratitude.
He might be mistaken. The man before him
might not know he had such a sum of money in his
possession, and of course he was not going to give
him the information.
"I am glad Mr. Carter is all right," said Phil.
"Now tell me why you have taken such pains to get
me here?"
"Why, as to that," said his companion, "there
were at least two hundred good reasons."
Phil turned pale, for he understood now that in
some way his secret was known.
"What do you mean?" he asked, not wholly able
to conceal his perturbed feelings.
"You know well enough, boy," said the other
significantly. "You've got two hundred dollars in your
pocket. I want it."
"Are you a thief, then?" said Phil, with perhaps
imprudent boldness.
"Just take care what you say. I won't be
insulted by such a whipper-snapper as you. You'd
better not call names. Hand over that money!"
"How do you know I have any money?" Phil
asked, trying to gain a little time for deliberation.
"No matter. Hand it over, I say!"
"Don't take it!" said Phil, agitated. "It isn't
"Then you needn't mind giving it up."
"It belongs to Mr. Carter."
"He has plenty more."
"But he will think I took it. He will think I am
"That is nothing to me."
"Let me go," pleaded Phil, "and I will never
breathe a word about your wanting to rob me. You
know you might get into trouble for it."
"That's all bosh! The money, I say!" said the
man sternly.
"I won't give it to you!" said Phil boldly.
"You won't, hey? Then I shall have to take it.
If I hurt you, you will have yourself to blame."
So saying the man seized Phil, and then a struggle
ensued, the boy defending himself as well as he
could. He made a stouter resistance than the thief
anticipated, and the latter became irritated with the
amount of trouble he had to take it. I should be
glad to report that Phil made a successful defense,
but this was hardly to be expected. He was a
strong boy, but he had to cope with a strong man,
and though right was on his side, virtue in his case
had to succumb to triumphant vice.
Phil was thrown down, and when prostrate, with
the man's knee on his breast, the latter succeeded in
stripping him of the money he had so bravely defended.
"There, you young rascal!" he said, as he rose to
his feet; "you see how much good you have done.
You might as well have given up the money in the
first place."
"It was my duty to keep it from you, if I could,"
said Phil, panting with his exertions.
"Well, if that's any satisfaction to you, you're
welcome to it."
He went to the door and unlocked it.
"May I go now?" asked Phil.
"Not much. Stay where you are!"
A moment later and Phil found himself alone and
a prisoner.
Phil tried the door, but now it was locked on
the outside, and he found that he was securely
trapped. He went to the window, but here, too,
there was no chance of escape. Even if he had been
able to get safely out, he would have landed in a
back-yard from which there was no egress except
through the house, which was occupied by his
"What shall I do?" Phil asked himself, despairingly.
"Mr. Carter will be anxious about me, and
perhaps he may think I have gone off with the
This to Phil was the worst of his troubles. He
prized a good reputation and the possession of an
honorable name, and to be thought a thief would
distress him exceedingly.
"What a fool I was to walk into such a trap!" he
said to himself. "I might have known Mr. Carter
would not be in such a neighborhood."
Phil was too severe upon himself. I suspect that
most of my boy readers, even those who account
themselves sharp, might have been deceived as
easily. The fact is, rogues are usually plausible,
and they are so trained in deception that it is no
reflection upon their victims that they allow themselves
to be taken in.
Hours passed, and still Phil found himself a
prisoner. Each moment he became more anxious and
"How long will they keep me?" he asked himself.
"They can't keep me here forever."
About six o'clock the door was opened slightly,
and a plate of bread and butter was thrust in, together
with a glass of cold water. Who brought it
up Phil did not know, for the person did not show
himself or herself.
Phil ate and drank what was provided, not that
he was particularly hungry, but he felt that he must
keep up his strength.
"They don't mean to starve me, at any rate," he
reflected. "That is some consolation. While there
is life, there is hope."
A little over an hour passed. It became dark in
Phil's prison, but he had no means of lighting the
gas. There was a small bed in the room, and he
made up his mind that he must sleep there.
All at once there was a confused noise and
disturbance. He could not make out what it meant,
till above all other sounds he heard the terrible cry
of "Fire!"
"Fire! Where is it?" thought Phil.
It was not long before he made a terrible
discovery. It was the very house in which he was
confined! There was a trampling of feet and a
chorus of screams. The smoke penetrated into the
"Heavens! Am I to be burned alive!" thought
our poor hero.
He jumped up and down on the floor, pounded
frantically on the door, and at last the door was
broken open by a stalwart fireman, and Phil made
his way out, half-suffocated.
Once in the street, he made his way as fast as
possible homeward.
Meanwhile, Phil's long absence had excited
anxiety and alarm.
"What can have become of Philip?" said Mr.
Carter when supper time came and he did not arrive.
"I can't think," answered Mrs. Forbush. "He is
generally very prompt."
"That is what makes me feel anxious. I am
afraid something must have happened to him."
"Did you send him anywhere, Uncle Oliver?"
"Yes; he called, as usual, to get my check from
Mr. Pitkin."
"And he ought to have been here earlier?"
"Certainly. He wouldn't have to wait for that."
"Philip is very careful. I can't think that he has
met with an accident."
"Even the most prudent and careful get into
trouble sometimes."
They were finally obliged to sit down to supper
alone. None of the three enjoyed it. Not only Mr.
Carter and Mrs. Forbush, but Julia was anxious and
"I didn't know I cared so much for the boy," said
Uncle Oliver. "He has endeared himself to me. I
care nothing for the loss of the money if he will
only return safe."
It was about a quarter of eight when the door-bell
rang, and the servant ushered in Mr. and Mrs. Pitkin and Alonzo.
After the usual greetings were interchanged, Mrs.
Pitkin said, looking about her:
"Where is Philip?"
"We are very much concerned about him," said
Mr. Carter, his face showing his trouble. "He has
not been home since morning. Did he call at your
store, Pitkin?"
"Hasn't he been home since?" asked Pitkin, in a
tone unpleasantly significant.
"No. At what time did he leave the store?"
"Hours since. I--I am not sure but I may be able
to throw some light on his failure to return."
"Do so, if you can!" said Uncle Oliver.
"In place of giving him a check, I gave the boy
two hundred dollars in bills."
"Don't you see? The temptation has proved too
strong for him. I think, Uncle Oliver, you won't
see him back in a hurry."
"Do you mean to say the boy would steal?"
demanded the old gentleman indignantly.
"I think it more than likely that he has
appropriated the money."
"I am sure he has not," said Mrs. Forbush.
"And so am I," chimed in Julia.
Mr. Pitkin shrugged his shoulders.
"So you think," he answered; "but I don't agree
with you."
"Nor I!" said Mrs. Pitkin, nodding her head
vigorously. "I never had any confidence in the boy.
I don't mind telling you now that I have warned
Alonzo not to get too intimate with him. You
remember it, Lonny?"
"Yes'm," responded Lonny.
"Then you think the boy capable of appropriating
the money?" asked Mr. Carter quietly.
"Yes, I do."
"Well, I don't!" said Uncle Oliver emphatically.
"You are very easily deceived," said Mrs. Pitkin.
"Don't be too sure of that," returned Mr. Carter,
with a significant glance, that made his niece feel
"I suspect you will have to admit it," said Mr.
Pitkin. "If, contrary to my anticipation, the boy
returns, and brings the money with him, I will own
myself mistaken."
Just then the front door was heard to open; there
was a sound of steps in the hall, and Phil came
hurriedly into the room.
Mr. and Mrs. Pitkin exchanged looks of surprise
and dismay; but Mrs. Forbush, her daughter and
Uncle Oliver looked delighted.
"Where have you been, Philip?" asked Mr.
Carter, breaking the silence. "We were
getting anxious about you."
"I have bad news for you, sir," returned Phil,
saying what stood first in his mind. "I have lost
the two hundred dollars Mr. Pitkin paid me this
"So you lost it?" observed Mr. Pitkin with a
sneer, emphasizing the word "lost" to show his incredulity.
"Yes, sir, I lost it," answered Phil, looking him
fearlessly in the eye; "or, rather, it was stolen from
"Oh! now it is stolen, is it?" repeated Pitkin.
"Really, Uncle Oliver, this is getting interesting."
"I believe I am the proper person to question
Philip," said Mr. Carter coldly. "It was my
money, I take it."
"Yes, it was yours. As I made the payment, I
cannot, of course, be responsible for its not reaching
you. You will pardon my saying that it would have
been wiser to employ a different messenger."
"Why?" demanded Uncle Oliver, looking displeased.
"Why, really, Uncle Oliver," said Mr. Pitkin, "I
should think the result might convince you of that."
"We had better let Philip tell his story," said Mr.
Carter quietly. "How did it happen, Philip?"
Thereupon Philip told the story already familiar
to the reader.
"Upon my word, quite a romantic story!" commented
Mr. Pitkin, unable to repress a sneer. "So
you were tracked by a rascal, lured into a den of
thieves, robbed of your money, or, rather, Mr. Carter's,
and only released by the house catching fire?"
"That is exactly what happened to me, sir," said
Philip, coloring with indignation, for he saw that
Mr. Pitkin was doing his best to discredit him.
"It quite does credit to your imagination. By
the way, boy, have you been in the habit of reading
dime novels?"
"I never read one in my life, sir."
"Then I think you would succeed in writing
them. For a boy of sixteen, you certainly have a
vivid imagination."
"I quite agree with my husband," said Mrs.
Pitkin. "The boy's story is ridiculously improbable.
I can't understand how he has the face to stand
there and expect Uncle Oliver to swallow such
"I don't expect you to believe it, either of you,"
said Philip manfully, "for you have never treated
me fairly."
"I think you will find, also, that my uncle is too
sensible a man to credit it, also," retorted Mrs Pitkin.
"Speak for yourself, Lavinia," said Mr. Carter,
who had waited intentionally to let his relatives express
themselves. "I believe every word of Philip's
"You do?" ejaculated Mrs. Pitkin, rolling her
eyes and nodding her head, in the vain endeavor to
express her feelings. "Really, Uncle Oliver, for a
man of your age and good sense----"
"Thank you for that admission, Lavinia," said
Mr. Carter mockingly. "Go on."
"I was about to say that you seem infatuated
with this boy, of whom we know nothing, except
from his own account. To my mind his story is a
most ridiculous invention."
"Mr. Pitkin, did any one enter your store just
after Philip left it to inquire after him?"
"No, sir," answered Pitkin triumphantly. "That's
a lie, at any rate."
"You will remember that Philip did not make the
assertion himself. This was the statement of the
thief who robbed him."
"Yes, of course," sneered Pitkin. "He told his
story very shrewdly."
"Mr. Carter," said Philip, "I can show you or any
one else the house in which I was confined in
Bleecker Street, and there will be no trouble in
obtaining proof of the fire."
"I dare say there may have been such a fire,"
said Mr. Pitkin, "and you may have happened to
see it, and decided to weave it into your story."
"Do you think I stole the money or used it for
my own purpose?" asked Philip pointedly.
Mr. Pitkin shrugged his shoulders.
"Young man," he said, "upon this point I can
only say that your story is grossly improbable. It
won't hold water."
"Permit me to judge of that, Mr. Pitkin," said
Mr. Carter. "I wish to ask YOU one question."
"To ask ME a question!" said Pitkin, surprised.
"Yes; why did you pay Philip in bills to-day?
Why didn't you give him a check, as usual?"
"Why," answered Pitkin, hesitating, "I thought
it wouldn't make any difference to you. I thought
you would be able to use it more readily."
"Did you suppose I would specially need to use
money instead of a check this week? Why break
over your usual custom?"
"Really, I didn't give much thought to the matter,"
answered Pitkin, hesitating. "I acted on a
sudden impulse."
"Your impulse has cost me two hundred dollars.
Do me the favor, when Philip calls next week, to
hand him a check."
"You mean to retain him in your employ after
this?" asked Mrs. Pitkin sharply.
"Yes, I do. Why shouldn't I?"
"You are very trustful," observed the lady, tossing
her head. "If this had happened to Lonny
here, we should never have heard the last of it."
"Perhaps not!" responded the old gentleman
dryly. "When a young gentleman is trusted with
a letter to mail containing money, and that letter
never reaches its destination, it may at least be
inferred that he is careless."
It will be remembered that this was the first knowledge
Mrs. Pitkin or her husband had of the transaction referred to.
"What do you mean, Uncle Oliver?" demanded
Mr. Pitkin.
Mr. Carter explained.
"This is too much!" said Mrs. Pitkin angrily.
"You mean to accuse my poor boy of opening the
letter and stealing the money?"
"If I was as ready to bring accusations as you,
Lavinia, I should undoubtedly say that it looked a
little suspicious, but I prefer to let the matter rest."
"I think, Mr. Pitkin, we had better go," said Mrs.
Pitkin, rising with dignity. "Since Uncle Oliver
chooses to charge his own nephew with being a
"I beg pardon, Lavinia, I have not done so."
"You might just as well," said Lavinia Pitkin,
tossing her head. "Come, Mr. Pitkin; come, my
poor Lonny, we will go home. This is no place for
"Good-evening, Lavinia," said Mr. Carter calmly.
"I shall be glad to see you whenever you feel like
"When you have discharged that boy, I may call
again," said Mrs. Pitkin spitefully.
"You will have to wait some time, then. I am
quite capable of managing my own affairs."
When Mr. Pitkin had left the house, by no means
in a good humor, Phil turned to his employer and
said gratefully:
"I don't know how to thank you, Mr. Carter, for
your kind confidence in me. I admit that the story
I told you is a strange one, and I could not have
blamed you for doubting me."
"But I don't doubt you, my dear Philip," said Mr.
Carter kindly.
"Nor I," said Mrs. Forbush. "I feel provoked
with Lavinia and her husband for trying to throw
discredit upon your statement."
"In fact," said Mr. Carter humorously, "the only
one of us that suspected you was Julia."
"Oh, Uncle Oliver!" exclaimed Julia, in dismay.
"I never dreamed of doubting Phil."
"Then," said Mr. Carter, "it appears that you
have three friends, at least."
"If," said Phil? "you would allow me to make up
part of the loss, by surrendering a part of my
"Couldn't be thought of, Philip!" said Uncle
Oliver resolutely. "I don't care for the money, but
I should like to know how the thief happened to
know that to-day you received money instead of a
Without saying a word to Phil, Uncle Oliver called
the next day on a noted detective and set him to
work ferreting out the secret.
In the suburbs of Chicago, perhaps a dozen
miles from the great city, stands a fine country
house, in the midst of a fine natural park. From the
cupola which surmounts the roof can be seen in the
distance the waters of Lake Michigan, stretching
for many miles from north to south and from east to
west, like a vast inland sea.
The level lawns, the greenhouses, the garden
with rare plants and flowers, show clearly that this
is the abode of a rich man. My readers will be
specially interested to know that this is the luxurious
and stately home of Mr. Granville, whose son's
fortunes we have been following.
This, too, is the home of Mrs. Brent and Jonas,
who, under false representations, have gained a foothold
in the home of the Western millionaire.
Surely it is a great change for one brought up like
Jonas to be the recognized heir and supposed son of
so rich a man! It is a change, too, for his mother,
who, though she dare not avow the relationship, is
permitted to share the luxury of her son. Mrs.
Brent has for her own use two of the best rooms in
the mansion, and so far as money can bring happiness,
she has every right to consider herself happy.
Is she?
Not as happy as she anticipated. To begin with,
she is always dreading that some untoward circumstance
will reveal the imposition she has practiced
upon Mr. Granville. In that case what can she expect
but to be ejected in disgrace from her luxurious
home? To be sure, she will have her husband's
property left, but it would be a sad downfall and
descent in the social scale.
Besides, she finds cause for anxiety in Jonas, and
the change which his sudden and undeserved elevation
has wrought in him. It requires a strong mind
to withstand the allurements and temptations of
prosperity, and Jonas is far from possessing a strong
mind. He is, indeed, if I may be allowed the
expression, a vulgar little snob, utterly selfish, and
intent solely upon his own gratification. He has a
love for drink, and against the protests of his
mother and the positive command of Mr. Granville,
indulges his taste whenever he thinks he can do so
without fear of detection. To the servants he
makes himself very offensive by assuming consequential
airs and a lordly bearing, which excites
their hearty dislike.
He is making his way across the lawn at this
moment. He is dressed in clothes of the finest
material and the most fashionable cut. A thick gold
chain is displayed across his waistcoat, attached to
an expensive gold watch, bought for him by his
supposed father. He carries in his hand a natty
cane, and struts along with head aloft and nose in
the air.
Two under-gardeners are at work upon a flowerbed
as he passes.
"What time is it, Master Philip?" says one, a boy
about a year older than Jonas.
"My good boy," said Jonas haughtily, "I don't
carry a watch for your benefit."
The gardener bit his lip, and surveyed the heir
with unequivocal disgust.
"Very well," he retorted; "I'll wait till a gentleman
comes this way."
A flush of anger was visible on the cheek of Jonas
despite his freckles.
"Do you mean to say I'm not a gentleman!" he
demanded angrily.
"You don't act like one," returned Dan.
"You'd better not be impertinent to me!" exclaimed
Jonas, his small gray eyes flashing with indignation.
"Take that back!"
"I won't, for it's true!" said Dan undauntedly.
"Take that, then!"
Jonas raised his cane and brought it down
smartly on the young gardener's shoulder.
He soon learned that he had acted imprudently.
Dan dropped his rake, sprang forward, and seizing
the cane, wrenched it from the hands of the young
heir, after which he proceeded to break it across his
"There's your cane!" he said contemptuously, as
he threw the pieces on the ground.
"What did you do that for?" demanded Jonas,
"Because you insulted me. That's why."
"How can I insult you? You're only a poor
working boy!"
"I wouldn't change places with you," said Dan.
"I'd like well enough to be rich, but I wouldn't be
willing to be as mean as you are."
"You'll suffer for this!" said Jonas, his little beadlike
eyes glowing with anger. "I'll have you turned
off this very day, or as soon as my father get's
"If he says I'm to go, I'll go!" said Dan. "He's
a gentleman."
Jonas made his way to his mother's room. She
noticed his perturbed look.
"What's the matter, my dear boy?" she asked.
"What's the matter, Jonas?"
"I wish you'd stop calling me your dear boy,"
said Jonas angrily.
"I--I forget sometimes," said Mrs. Brent, with a
"Then you ought not to forget. Do you want to
spoil everything?"
"We are alone now, Jonas, and I cannot forget
that I am your mother."
"You'd better, if you know what's best for both of
us," said Jonas.
Mrs. Brent was far from being a kind-hearted
woman. Indeed she was very cold, but Jonas was
her only son, and to him she was as much attached
as it was possible for her to be to any one. Formerly
he had returned her affection in a slight degree, but
since he had figured as a rich man's son and heir he
had begun, incredible as it may appear, to look
down upon his own mother. She was not wholly
ignorant of this change in his feelings, and it made
her unhappy. He was all she had to live for. But
for him she would not have stooped to take part in
the conspiracy in which she was now a participant.
It seemed hard that her only son, for whom she had
sinned, should prove so ungrateful.
"My boy," she said, "I would not on any account
harm you or injure your prospects, but when we
are alone there can be no harm in my treating you
as my son."
"It can't do any good," grumbled Jonas, "and we
might be overheard."
"I will be cautious. You may be sure of that.
But why do you look so annoyed?"
"Why? Reason enough. That boy Dan, the
under-gardener, has been impudent to me."
"He has?" said Mrs. Brent quickly. "What has
he done?"
Jonas rehearsed the story. He found in his
mother a sympathetic listener.
"He is bold!" she said, compressing her lips.
"Yes, he is. When I told him I would have him
turned off, he coolly turned round and said that my
father was a gentleman, and wouldn't send him
away. Ma, will you do me a favor?"
"What is it, Jonas?"
"Send him off before the governor gets home.
You can make it all right with him."
Mrs. Brent hesitated.
"Mr. Granville might think I was taking a liberty."
"Oh, you can make it all right with him. Say
that he was very impudent to me. After what has
happened, if he stays he'll think he can treat me
just as he pleases."
Again Mrs. Brent hesitated, but her own inclination
prompted her to do as her son desired.
"You may tell Dan to come here. I wish to
speak to him," she said.
Jonas went out and did the errand.
"Mrs. Brent wants to see me?" said Dan. "I
have nothing to do with her."
"You'd better come in if you know what's best
for yourself." said Jonas, with an exultation he did
not attempt to conceal.
"Oh, well, I have no objection to meeting Mrs.
Brent," said Dan. "I'll go in."
Mrs. Brent eyed the young gardener with cold animosity.
"You have been impudent to Master Philip," she
said. "Of course you cannot remain any longer in
his father's employment. Here are five dollars--
more than is due you. Take it, and leave the estate."
"I won't take your money, Mrs. Brent," said Dan
independently, "and I won't take my dismissal from
any one but Mr. Granville himself."
"Do you defy me, then?" said Mrs. Brent, with a
firmer compression of her lips.
"No, Mrs. Brent, I don't defy you, but you have
nothing to do with me, and I shall not take any orders
or any dismissal from you."
"Don't be impertinent to my----" burst forth
from Jonas, and then he stopped in confusion.
"To your--what?" asked Dan quickly.
"To my--nurse," faltered Jonas.
Dan looked suspiciously from one to the other.
"There's something between those two," he said to
himself. "Something we don't know of."
The chambermaid in the Granville household
was a cousin of Dan, older by three years.
She took a warm interest in Dan's welfare, though
there was nothing but cousinly affection between
Fresh from his interview with Mrs. Brent, Dan
made his way to the kitchen.
"Well, Aggie," he said, "I may have to say goodby
"What, Dan! You're not for lavin', are you?"
asked Aggie, in surprise.
"Mrs. Brent has just given me notice," answered
"Mrs. Brent! What business is it of her's, and
how did it happen, anyway?"
"She thinks it's her business, and it's all on account
of that stuck-up Philip."
"Tell me about it, Cousin Dan."
Dan did so, and wound up by repeating his young
master's unfinished sentence.
"It's my belief," he said, "that there's something
between those two. If there wasn't, why is Mrs.
Brent here?"
"Why, indeed, Dan?" chimed in Aggie. "Perhaps
I can guess something."
"What is it?"
"Never you mind. I'll only say I overheard Mrs.
Brent one day speaking to Master Philip, but she
didn't call him Philip."
"What then?"
"JONAS! I'm ready to take my oath she called
him Jonas."
"Perhaps that is his real name. He may have it
for his middle name."
"I don't believe it. Dan, I've an idea. I'm going
to see Mrs. Brent and make her think I know
something. You see?"
"Do as you think best, Aggie. I told her
wouldn't take a dismissal from her.
Mrs. Brent was in her own room. She was not a
woman who easily forgave, and she was provoked
with Dan, who had defied her authority. She knew
very well that in dismissing him she had wholly exceeded
her authority, but this, as may readily be
supposed, did not make her feel any more friendly
to the young gardener. Jonas artfully led her indignation.
"Dan doesn't have much respect for you, mother,"
he said. "He doesn't mind you any more than he
does a kitchen-girl."
"He may find he has made a mistake," said Mrs.
Brent, a bright red spot in each cheek, indicating
her anger. "He may find he has made a mistake in
defying my authority."
"I wouldn't stand it if I was you, ma."
"I won't!" said Mrs. Brent decidedly, nodding
vigorously and compressing her lips more firmly.
Soon after a knock was heard at Mrs. Brent's
"Come in!" she said in a sharp, incisive voice.
The door was opened and Aggie entered.
"What do you want of me, Aggie?" asked Mrs.
Brent, in some surprise.
"I hear you've been tellin' Dan he'll have to go,"
said the chambermaid.
"Yes," answered Mrs. Brent, "but I fail to see
what business it is of yours."
"Dan's me cousin, ma'am."
"That's nothing to me. He has been impertinent
to Master Philip, and afterward to me."
"I know all about it, ma'am. He told me."
"Then you understand why he must leave. He
will do well to be more respectful in his next
"It wasn't his fault, ma'am, accordin' to what he
told me."
"No doubt!" sneered Mrs. Brent. "It is hardly
likely that he would admit himself to be in fault."
"Dan's a good, truthful boy, ma'am."
"What did he tell you?"
The moment had come for Aggie's master-stroke,
and she fixed her eyes keenly on Mrs. Brent to
watch the effect of her words.
"He said he was at work in the garden, ma'am,
when Master Jonas----"
"WHAT!" exclaimed Mrs. Brent, staring at the
girl in dismay.
"He was at work in the garden, ma'am when
Master Jonas----"
"What do you mean, girl? Who is Master
Jonas?" asked Mrs. Brent, trying to conceal her
"Did I say Jonas, ma'am. La, what could I be
thinking of? Of course I mean Master Philip."
"What should have put the name of Jonas into
your head?" demanded Mrs. Brent nervously.
"I must have heard it somewhere," said Aggie,
with a quick, shrewd look out of the corner of her
eyes. "Well, Dan just asked the young master a
civil question, and Master Philip, he snapped him
up rude-like. Mrs. Brent I think you'd better not
make any fuss about Dan. It wasn't so much his
fault as the fault of Master Jonas--oh, dear! I beg
pardon, I mean Master Philip."
"Don't repeat that ridiculous name again,
Aggie!" said Mrs. Brent. "Your young master has
nothing to do with it. You ought to know that his
name is Philip."
"I should say so!" broke in Jonas. "I ain't goin'
to be called out of my name!"
"As to Dan," proceeded Mrs. Brent. "I am willing
to overlook his impertinence this time. I won't
say a word to Mr. Granville, but he must be more
careful hereafter."
"I'm sure I'm obliged to you, ma'am," said Aggie
When she was out of the room she nodded to herself
"Sure, I've got the old lady under me thumb, but
divil a bit I know how. It's all in the word Jonas.
When I want a favor, all I've got to do is to say that
word. I wonder what it manes now, anyhow."
However, Aggie communicated to Dan the welcome
intelligence that he would have no trouble
with Mrs. Brent or Philip, but as to the way in
which she had managed she kept that to herself.
"I want to think it over," she said. "There's a
secret, and it's about Jonas. I'll wait patiently,
and maybe I'll hear some more about it."
As for Mrs. Brent, she was panic-stricken.
Uncertain how much Aggie knew, she feared that she
knew all. But how could she have discovered it?
And was it come to this that she and Jonas were in
the power of an Irish chambermaid? It was galling
to her pride.
She turned to her son when they were left alone.
"How could she have found out?" she asked.
"Found out what, mother?"
"That your name is Jonas. She evidently knows
it. I could see that in her eyes."
"She must have heard you calling me so. I've
told you more than once, ma, that you must never
call me anything but Philip."
"It is hard to have to keep silent always, never
to speak to you as my own boy. I begin to think it
is a dear price to pay, Jonas."
"There you go again, mother!" said Jonas, peevishly.
His mother had seated herself and spoke despondently.
"I am afraid it will all come out some day," she
"It will if you don't take better care, ma. I tell
you, it would be the best thing for you to go away.
Mr. Granville will give you a good income. If I
was left alone, there'd be no fear of its leaking
"Oh, Jonas! would you really have me leave you?
Would you really have me live by myself, separated
from my only child?"
Cold as she was, her heart was keenly wounded,
for, looking at the boy, she saw that he was in
earnest, and that he would prefer to have her go,
since thereby he would be safer in the position he
had usurped.
Mr. Carter, can you spare me a couple of
days?" asked Philip.
"Certainly, Phil," answered the old gentleman.
"May I ask how you wish to dispose of the time?"
"I would like to go to Planktown to see my
friends there. It is now some months since I left
the village, and I would like to see my old friends."
"The desire is a natural one. Your home is
broken up, is it not?"
"Yes, but I can stay at the house of Tommy
Kavanagh. I know he will be glad to have me."
"It is strange that your step-mother and her son
have left no trace behind them," said Mr. Carter
thoughtfully. "It looks suspicious, as if they had
some good reason for their disappearance."
"I can't understand why they should have left
Planktown," said Philip, appearing puzzled.
"Is the house occupied?"
"Yes. I hear that a cousin of Mrs. Brent occupies
it. I shall call and inquire after her."
"Very well, Philip. Go when you please. You
may be sure of a welcome when you return."
In Planktown, though his home relations
latterly had not been pleasant, Philip had many
friends, and when he appeared on the street, he met
everywhere glances of friendly welcome. One of
the first to meet him was Tommy Kavanagh.
"Where did you come from, Phil?" he asked.
"I am glad enough to see you. Where are you
"Nowhere, Tommy, at present. If your mother
can take me in, I will stay at your house."
"Take you? Yes, and will be glad enough to
have you stay with us. You know we live in a
small house, but if you don't mind----"
"What do you take me for, Tommy? Whatever
is good enough for you and your mother will be
good enough for me."
"What are you doing, Phil? You don't look as
if you had hard work making a living."
"I am well fixed now, but I have had some anxious
days. But all's well that ends well. I am private
secretary to a rich man, and live in a fine
brown-stone house on Madison Avenue."
"Good for you, Phil! I knew you'd succeed."
"Where is Mrs. Brent? Has anything been
heard from her?"
"I don't think anybody in the village knows
where she is--that is, except her cousin, who lives
in your old house."
"What is his name?"
"Hugh Raynor."
"What sort of a man is he?"
"The people in the village don't like him. He
lives alone, and I hear that he cooks for himself.
He is not at all social, and no one feels very much
acquainted with him."
"I shall call upon him and inquire after Mrs.
"Then, Phil, you had better go alone, for he
doesn't like callers, and he will be more ready to
receive one than two."
Philip enjoyed his visit, and was busied making
calls on his old acquaintances. He was much
pleased with the cordiality with which he had been
It was not till the afternoon of the second day
that he turned his steps toward the house which had
been his home for so long a time.
We will precede him, and explain matters which
made his visit very seasonable.
In the sitting-room sat Hugh Raynor, the present
occupant of the house. He was a small, darkcomplexioned
man, with a large Roman nose, and his
face was at this moment expressive of discontent.
This seemed to be connected with a letter which he
had just been reading. Not to keep the reader in
suspense, it was mailed at Chicago, and was written
by Mrs. Brent. We will quote a paragraph:
"You seem to me very unreasonable in expecting
me not only to give you the house rent-free, but
also to give you a salary. I would like to know
what you do to merit a salary. You merely take
care of the house. As for that, there are plenty
who would be glad to take charge of so good a
house, and pay me a fair rent. Indeed, I am thinking
that it will be best for me to make some such
arrangement, especially as you do not seem satisfied
with your sinecure position. You represent me
as rolling in wealth. Jonas and I are living very
comfortably, and we have nothing to complain of,
but that is no reason for my squandering the small
fortune left me by my husband. I advise you to be
a little more reasonable in your demands, or I shall
request you to leave my house."
"Selfish as ever," muttered Mr. Raynor, after
reading this letter over again. "Cousin Jane never
was willing that any one else should prosper. But
she has made a mistake in thinking she can treat
UPON HER! This paper--if she dreamed I had found
it, she would yield to all my demands."
He laid his hand upon a paper, folded lengthwise,
and presenting the appearance of a legal document.
He opened the paper and read aloud:
"To the boy generally known as Philip Brent
and supposed, though incorrectly, to be my son, I
bequeath the sum of five thousand dollars, and
direct the same to be paid over to any one whom he
may select as guardian, to hold in trust for him until
he attains the age of twenty-one."
"This will Mrs. Brent carefully concealed,"
continued Mr. Raynor, "in order to save the money for
herself and Jonas. I wonder she was not prudent
enough to burn it, or, at any rate, to take it with her
when she left Planktown. It is a damaging secret,
but I hold it, and I mean to use it, too. Let me see,
what is it best to do?"
Mr. Raynor spent some time in quiet thought.
It seemed to him that it might be well to hint his
discovery in a letter to Mrs. Brent, and to make it
the basis of a demand for a generous sum of hushmoney--
one thousand dollars, at least. He might
have decided to do this but for an incident which
suggested another course.
The door-bell rang, and when he opened the door
with some surprise, for callers were few, he saw
standing before him a tall, handsome boy, whom he
did not recognize.
"Do you wish to see me?" he asked. "What is
your name?"
"My name is Philip Brent."
"What!" exclaimed Mr. Raynor, in visible excitement,
"are you the son of the late Mr. Brent?"
"I was always regarded as such," answered
"Come in, then. I am glad to see you," said Mr.
Raynor; and Phil entered the house, surprised at a
reception much more cordial than he had expected.
In that brief moment Mr. Raynor had decided to
reveal the secret to Phil, and trust to his gratitude
for a suitable acknowledgment. In this way he
would revenge himself upon Mrs. Brent, who had
treated him so meanly.
"I have been wishing to see you, for I have a
secret of importance to communicate," said Mr.
"If it relates to my parents, I know it already,"
said Phil.
"No; it is something to your advantage. In
revealing it I make Mrs. Brent my enemy, and shall
forfeit the help she is giving me."
"If it is really of advantage to me, and I am able
to make up your loss to you, I will do it," said Phil.
"That is sufficient. I will trust to your honor.
You look like a boy who will keep a promise though
not legally bound."
"You only do me justice, Mr. Raynor."
"Then cast your eye upon this paper and you will
know the secret."
"Is it a will?" exclaimed Phil, in surprise.
"Yes, it is the will of the late Gerald Brent. By
it he bequeaths to you five thousand dollars."
"Then he did not forget me," said Phil, more
pleased with the assurance that he had been remembered
than by the sum of money bequeathed
to him. "But why have I not known this before?"
he asked, looking up from the will
"You must ask that of Mrs. Brent!" said Mr.
Raynor significantly.
"Do you think she suppressed it purposely?"
"I do," answered Raynor laconically.
"I must see her. Where can I find her?"
"I can only say that her letters to me are mailed
in Chicago, but she scrupulously keeps her address
a secret."
"Then I must go to Chicago. May I take this
paper with me?"
"Yes. I advise you to put it into the hands of a
lawyer for safe keeping. You will not forget that
you are indebted to me for it?"
"No, Mr. Raynor. I will take care you lose
nothing by your revelation."
The next morning Phil returned to New York.
It may be readily supposed that Phil's New
York friends listened with the greatest attention
to his account of what he had learned in his
visit to Planktown.
"Your step-mother is certainly an unscrupulous
woman," said Mr. Carter. "Doubtless she has left
your old town in order to escape accountability to
you for your stolen inheritance. What puzzles me
however, is her leaving behind such tell-tale evidence.
It is a remarkable oversight. Do you think
she is aware of the existence of the will?"
"I think she must be, though I hope not,"
answered Phil. "I should like to think that she had
not conspired to keep back my share of father's
"At any rate, the first thing to do is evidently to
find her out, and confront her with the evidence of
her crime--that is, supposing her to be really culpable."
"Then you approve of my going to Chicago?"
said Phil.
"Most emphatically. Nay, more--I will go with
"Will you indeed, sir?" said Phil joyfully. "You
are very kind. I shrank from going alone, being a
boy ignorant of business."
"A pretty shrewd boy, however," said Mr. Carter,
smiling. "I don't claim much credit, however, as I
have some interests in Chicago to which I can attend
with advantage personally. I am interested in a
Western railroad, the main office of which is in that
"When shall we go, sir?"
"To-morrow," answered Mr. Carter promptly.
"The sooner the better. You may go down town
and procure the necessary tickets, and engage sleeping-berths."
Here followed the necessary directions, which need
not be repeated.
It is enough to say that twenty-four hours later
Phil and his employer were passengers on a lightning
express train bound for Chicago.
They arrived in due season, without any adventure
worth naming, and took rooms at the Palmer House.
Now, it so happened that in the same hotel at the
very same moment were three persons in whom
Phil was vitally interested. These were Mrs. Brent,
Jonas, otherwise called Philip Granville, and Mr.
Granville himself.
Let me explain their presence in Chicago, when,
as we know, Mr. Granville's house was situated at
some distance away.
Jonas had preferred a petition to go to Chicago
for a week, in order to attend some of the amusements
there to be enjoyed, alleging that it was awfully
dull in the country.
Mr. Granville was inclined to be very indulgent,
to make up for the long years in which he had been
compelled practically to desert his son. The petition
therefore received favor.
"It is only natural that you should wish to see
something of the city, my son," he said. "I will
grant your request. We will go to Chicago, and remain
a week at the Palmer House. Mrs. Brent, will
you accompany us?"
"With pleasure, Mr. Granville," answered that
lady. "It is not dull here for me, still I shall no
doubt enjoy a little excitement. At any rate, I
shall be best pleased to be where you and your son
"Then so let it be. We will go to-morrow."
One secret wish and scheme of Mrs. Brent has
not been referred to. She felt that her present position
was a precarious one. She might at any time
be found out, and then farewell to wealth and
luxury! But if she could induce Mr. Granville to
marry her, she would then be secure, even if found
out, and Jonas would be the son of Mr. Granville,
though detected as a usurper. She, therefore, made
herself as agreeable as possible to Mr. Granville,
anticipated his every wish, and assumed the character,
which she did not possess, of a gracious and
feminine woman of unruffled good humor and
sweetness of disposition.
"I say, ma," Jonas observed on one occasion,
"you've improved ever so much since you came
here. You're a good deal better natured than you
Mrs. Brent smiled, but she did not care to take
her son into her confidence.
"Here I have no cares to trouble me," she said.
"I live here in a way that suits me."
But when they were about starting for Chicago,
Mrs. Brent felt herself becoming unaccountably depressed.
"Jonas," she said, "I am sorry we are going to
"Why, ma? We'll have a splendid time."
"I feel as if some misfortune were impending
over us," said his mother, and she shivered apprehensively.
But it was too late to recede. Besides, Jonas
wished to go, and she had no good reason to allege
for breaking the arrangement.
Phil was in Chicago, but that was only the first
step toward finding those of whom he was in
search. Had he been sure that they were in the
city, it would have simplified matters, but the fact
that Mrs. Brent directed her letters to be sent to
that city proved nothing. It did not make it certain
that she lived in the town.
"We are only at the beginning of our perplexities,
Philip," said Mr. Carter. "Your friends may
be near us, or they may be a hundred miles away."
"That is true, sir."
"One method of finding them is barred, that of
advertising, since they undoubtedly do not care to
be found, and an advertisement would only place
them on their guard."
"What would you advise, sir?"
"We might employ a detective to watch the postoffice,
but here again there might be disappointment.
Mrs. Brent might employ a third person to
call for her letters. However, I have faith to
believe that sooner or later we shall find her. Time
and patience accomplishes much."
"Were you ever a detective, sir?" asked Phil,
"No, Philip, but I have had occasion to employ
them. Now how would you like to go to the theater
this evening?"
"Very much, sir."
"There is a good play running at McVicker's
Theatre. We will go there."
"Anywhere will suit me, Mr. Carter."
"Young people are easily satisfied," he said.
"When they get older they get more fastidious.
However, there is generally something attractive at
It so happened that Philip and his employer took
a late dinner, and did not reach the theater till ten
minutes after the hour. They had seats in the
seventh row of orchestra chairs, a very eligible portion
of the house.
The curtain had risen, and Philip's attention was
given to the stage till the end of the first act. Then
he began to look around him.
Suddenly he started and half rose from his seat.
"What is the matter, Philip?" asked Mr. Carter.
"There, sir! look there!" said the boy, in excitement,
pointing to two persons in the fourth row in
"Do you recognize acquaintances, Philip?"
"It is my step-mother and Jonas," answered
Philip eagerly.
"It is, indeed, wonderful!" said Mr. Carter, sharing
the boy's excitement. "You are confident, are
"Oh, sir, I couldn't be mistaken about that."
Just then Mrs. Brent turned to a gentleman at
her side and spoke. It was Mr. Granville.
"Who is that gentleman?" said Mr. Carter
reflectively. "Do you think Mrs. Brent is married
"I don't know what to think!" said Philip, bewildered.
"I will tell you what to do. You cannot allow
these people to elude you. Go to the hotel, ask a
direction to the nearest detective office, have a man
detailed to come here directly, and let him find, if
necessary, where your step-mother and her son are
Philip did so, and it was the close of the second
act before he returned. With him was a small, quiet
gentleman, of unpretending appearance, but skilled
as a detective.
"Now," continued Mr. Carter, "you may venture
at any time to go forward and speak to your
friends--if they can be called such."
"I don't think they can, sir. I won't go till the
last intermission."
Phil was forestalled, however. At the close of the
fourth act Jonas happened to look back, and his
glance fell upon Philip.
A scared, dismayed look was on his face as he
clutched his mother's arm and whispered:
"Ma, Philip is sitting just back of us."
Mrs. Brent's heart almost ceased to beat. She
saw that the moment of exposure was probably at
With pale face she whispered:
"Has he seen us?"
"He is looking right at us."
She had time to say no more. Philip left his seat,
and coming forward, approached the seat of his step-mother.
"How do you do, Mrs. Brent?" he said.
She stared at him, but did not speak.
"How are you, Jonas?" continued our hero.
"My name isn't Jonas," muttered the boy addressed.
Mr. Granville meanwhile had been eagerly looking
at Philip. There appeared to be something in
his appearance which riveted the attention of the
beholder. Was it the voice of nature which spoke
from the striking face of the boy?
"You have made a mistake, boy," said Mrs. Brent,
summoning all her nerve. "I am not the lady you
mention, and this boy does not bear the name of
"What is his name, then?" demanded Philip.
"My name is Philip Granville," answered Jonas
"Is it? Then it has changed suddenly,"
answered Phil, in a sarcastic voice. "Six months ago,
when we were all living at Planktown, your name
was Jonas Webb."
"You must be a lunatic!" said Mrs. Brent, with
audacious falsehood.
"My own name is Philip, as you very well know."
"Your name Philip?" exclaimed Mr. Granville,
with an excitement which he found it hard to control.
"Yes, sir; the lady is my step-mother, and this
boy is her son Jonas."
"And you--whose son are you?" gasped Mr.
"I don't know, sir. I was left at an early age at a
hotel kept by this lady's husband, by my father,
who never returned."
"Then YOU must be my son!" said Mr. Granville.
"You and not this boy!"
"You, sir? Did you leave me?"
"I left my son with Mr. Brent. This lady led me
to believe that the boy at my side was my son."
Here, then, was a sudden and startling occurrence.
Mrs. Brent fainted. The strain had been too much
for her nerves, strong as they were. Of course she
must be attended to.
"Come with me; I cannot lose sight of you now,
MY SON!" said Mr. Granville. "Where are you
"At the Palmer House."
"So am I. Will you be kind enough to order a
Mrs. Brent was conveyed to the hotel, and Jonas
followed sullenly.
Of course Philip, Mr. Granville and Mr. Carter left
the theater.
Later the last three held a conference in the parlor.
It took little to convince Mr. Granville that Philip
was his son.
"I am overjoyed!" he said. "I have never been
able to feel toward the boy whom you call Jonas as
a father should. He was very distasteful to me."
"It was an extraordinary deception on the part of
Mrs. Brent," said Mr. Carter thoughtfully.
"She is a very unprincipled woman," said Mr.
Granville. "Even now that matters have come
right, I find it hard to forgive her."
"You do not know all the harm she has sought
to do your son. The sum of five thousand dollars
was left him by Mr. Brent, and she suppressed the
"Good heavens! is this true?"
"We have the evidence of it."
The next day an important interview was held at
the Palmer House. Mrs. Brent was forced to
acknowledge the imposition she had practiced upon
Mr. Granville.
"What could induce you to enter into such a
wicked conspiracy?" asked Mr. Granville, shocked.
"The temptation was strong--I wished to make
my son rich. Besides, I hated Philip."
"It is well your wicked plan has been defeated;
it might have marred my happiness forever."
"What are you going to do with me?" she asked
coolly, but not without anxiety.
It was finally settled that the matter should be
hushed up. Philip wished to give up the sum bequeathed
him by Mr. Brent; but to this Mr. Granville
objected, feeling that it would constitute a
premium on fraud. Besides, Mrs. Brent would have
the residue of the estate, amounting to nearly ten
thousand dollars. Being allowed to do what he
chose with this money, he gave it in equal portions
to Tommy Kavanagh and Mr. Raynor, who had informed
him of the existence of Mr. Brent's will.
Mrs. Brent decided not to go back to Planktown.
She judged that the story of her wickedness would
reach that village and make it disagreeable for her.
She opened a small millinery store in Chicago, and
is doing fairly well. But Jonas is her chief trouble,
as he is lazy and addicted to intemperate habits.
His chances of success and an honorable career are
"How can I spare you, Philip?" said Mr. Carter
regretfully. "I know your father has the best right
to you, but I don't like to give you up."
"You need not," said Mr. Granville. "I propose
to remove to New York; but in the summer I shall
come to my estate near Chicago, and hope, since the
house is large enough, that I may persuade you and
your niece, Mrs. Forbush, to be my guests."
This arrangement was carried out. Mrs. Forbush
and her daughter are the recognized heirs of Mr.
Carter, who is wholly estranged from the Pitkins.
He ascertained, through a detective, that the attack
upon Philip by the man who stole from him the roll
of bills was privately instigated by Mr. Pitkin himself,
in the hope of getting Philip into trouble. Mr.
Carter, thereupon, withdrew his capital from the
firm, and Mr. Pitkin is generally supposed to be on
the verge of bankruptcy. At any rate, his credit is
very poor, and there is a chance that the Pitkins
may be reduced to comparative poverty.
"I won't let Lavinia suffer," said Uncle Oliver;
"if the worst comes to the worst, I will settle a
small income, say twelve hundred dollars, on her,
but we can never be friends."
As Phil grew older--he is now twenty-one--it
seems probable that he and Mr. Carter may be
more closely connected, judging from his gallant
attentions to Julia Forbush, who has developed into
a charming young lady. Nothing would suit Mr.
Carter better, for there is no one who stands higher
in his regard than Philip Granville, the Errand Boy.
Fred Sargent, upon this day from which
my story dates, went to the head of his Latin
class, in the high school of Andrewsville. The
school was a fine one, the teachers strict, the classes
large, the boys generally gentlemanly, and the
moral tone pervading the whole, of the very best
To lead a class in a school like this was an honor
of which any boy might have been proud; and
Fred, when he heard his name read off at the head
of the roll, could have thrown up his well-worn
Latin grammar, which he happened to have in his
hand just at that moment, and hurrahed. It was
quite a wonder to him afterward that he did not.
As a class, boys are supposed to be generous. I
really don't know whether they deserve to be considered
so or not, but some four or five only in
this large school envied Fred. The rest would
probably have hurrahed with him; for Fred was a
"capital good fellow," and quite a favorite.
"Bully for you!" whispered Ned Brown, his
right-hand neighbor; but Ned was instantly disgraced,
the eye of the teacher catching the words
as they dropped from his lips.
When school was over several of the boys rushed
to the spot where Fred--his cap in his hand, and
his dark hair blowing about every way--was
"I say," said James Duncan, "I thought you
would get it. You've worked like a Trojan and
you deserve it."
"It's as good as getting the valedictory," said
Joe Stone.
"And that is entering into any college in the
land without an examination," said Peter Crane.
Now Peter had run shoulder to shoulder with
Fred and it does him great credit that, being
beaten, he was thoroughly good-natured about it.
"I say, Fred, you ought to treat for this;" and
Noah Holmes, standing on tiptoe, looked over the
heads of the other boys significantly at Fred.
"I wish I could; but here's all the money I've
got," said Fred, taking about twenty-five cents from
his pocket--all that was left of his monthly allowance.
"That's better than nothing. It will buy an
apple apiece. Come on! Let's go down to old
Granger's. I saw some apples there big as your
head; and bigger, too," said Noah, with a droll
"Well, come on, then;" and away went the boys
at Fred's heels, pushing and shouting, laughing and
frolicking, until they came to Abel Granger's little
"Now hush up, you fellows," said Noah, turning
round upon them. "Let Fred go in by himself.
Old Grange can't abide a crowd and noise. It will
make him cross, and all we shall get will be the
specked and worm-eaten ones. Come, fall back,
Very quietly and obediently the boys, who always
knew their leader, fell back, and Fred went into
the little dark grocery alone.
He was so pleasant and gentlemanly that, let him
go where he would and do what he would, in some
mysterious way he always found the right side of
people and got what he wanted, in the most satisfactory manner.
Now Abel Granger was "as cross as a meat axe."
Noah said, and all the boys were afraid of him. If
the apples had been anywhere else they would
have been much surer of their treat; but in spite of
their fears, back came Fred in a few moments, with
a heaping measure of nice red apples--apples that
made the boys' mouths water.
Fred said that old Abel had given him as near a
smile as could come to his yellow, wrinkled face.
"Treat 'em," he said, "treat 'em, eh? Wal, now,
'pears likely they'd eat you out of house and home.
I never see a boy yet that couldn't go through a
tenpenny nail, easy as not."
"We ARE always hungry, I believe," said Fred.
"Allers, allers--that's a fact," picking out the
best apples as he spoke and heaping up the measure.
"There, now if you'll find a better lot than that, for
the money, you are welcome to it, that's all."
"Couldn't do it. Thank you very much," said
As the boys took the apples eagerly and began to
bite them, they saw the old face looking out of the
dirty panes of window glass upon them.
Fred loved to make everybody happy around
him, and this treating was only second best to leading
his class; so when, at the corner of the street
turning to his father's house, he parted from his
young companions, I doubt whether there was a
happier boy in all Andrewsville.
I do not think we shall blame him very much if
he unconsciously carried his head pretty high and
looked proudly happy.
Out from under the low archway leading to Bill
Crandon's house a boy about as tall as Fred, but
stout and coarse, in ragged clothes, stood staring up
and down the street as Fred came toward him.
Something in Fred's looks and manner seemed
especially to displease him. He moved directly into
the middle of the sidewalk, and squared himself as
if for a fight.
There was no other boy in town whom Fred disliked
so much, and of whom he felt so afraid.
Sam Crandon, everybody knew, was a bully. He
treated boys who were larger and stronger than
himself civilly, but was cruel and domineering over
the poor and weak.
So far in his life, though they met often, Fred had
avoided coming into contact with Sam, and Sam
had seemed to feel just a little awe of him; for Mr.
Sargent was one of the wealthiest leading men in
town, and Sam, in spite of himself, found something
in the handsome, gentlemanly boy that held him in
check; but to-day Sam's father had just beaten him,
and the boy was smarting from the blows.
I dare say he was hungry, and uncomfortable
from many other causes; but however this may
have been, he felt in the mood for making trouble;
for seeing somebody else unhappy beside himself.
This prosperous, well-dressed boy, with his books
under his arm, and his happy face, was the first
person he had come across--and here then was his
Fred saw him assume the attitude of a prize
fighter and knew what it meant. Sam had a cut,
red and swollen, across one cheek, and this helped
to make his unpleasant face more ugly and lowering
than usual.
What was to be done? To turn and run never
occurred to Fred. To meet him and fight it out
was equally impossible; so Fred stopped and looked
at him irresolutely.
"You're afraid of a licking?" asked Sam, grinning
"I don't want to fight," said Fred, quietly.
"No more you don't, but you've got to."
Fred's blood began to rise. The words and looks
of the rough boy were a little too much for his
"Move out of the way," he said, walking directly
up to him.
Sam hesitated for a moment. The steady, honest,
bold look in Fred's eyes was far more effective than
a blow would have been; but as soon as Fred had
passed him he turned and struck him a quick, stinging
blow between his shoulders.
"That's mean," said Fred, wheeling round.
"Strike fair and in front if you want to, but don't
hit in the back--that's a coward's trick."
"Take it there, then," said Sam, aiming a heavy
blow at Fred's breast. But the latter skillfully
raised his books, and Sam's knuckles were the worse
for the encounter.
"Hurt, did it?" said Fred, laughing.
"What if it did?"
"Say quits, then."
"Not by a good deal;" and in spite of himself
Fred was dragged into an ignominious street
Oh, how grieved and mortified he was when his
father, coming down the street, saw and called to
him. Hearing his voice Sam ran away and Fred,
bruised and smarting, with his books torn and his
clothes, too, went over to his father.
Not a word did Mr. Sargent say. He took Fred's
hand in his, and the two walked silently to their
I doubt whether Mr. Sargent was acting wisely.
Fred never had told him an untruth in his life, and
a few words now might have set matters right.
But to this roughness in boys Mr. Sargent had a
special aversion. He had so often taken pains to
instill its impropriety and vulgarity into Fred's mind
that he could not now imagine an excuse.
"He should not have done so under any circumstances,"
said his father sternly, to himself. "I am
both surprised and shocked, and the punishment
must be severe."
Unfortunately for Fred, his mother was out of
town for a few days--a mother so much sooner than
a father reaches the heart of her son--so now his
father said:
"You will keep your room for the next week. I
shall send your excuse to your teacher. Ellen will
bring your meals to you. At the end of that time I
will see and talk with you."
Without a word Fred hung his cap upon its nail,
and went to his room. Such a sudden change from
success and elation to shame and condign punishment
was too much for him.
He felt confused and bewildered. Things looked
dark around him, and the great boughs of the
Norway spruce, close up by his window, nodded and
winked at him in a very odd way.
He had been often reproved, and sometimes had
received a slight punishment, but never anything
like this. And now he felt innocent, or rather at first
he did not feel at all, everything was so strange
and unreal.
He heard Ellen come into his room after a few
minutes with his dinner, but he did not turn.
A cold numbing sense of disgrace crept over
him. He felt as if, even before this Irish girl, he
could never hold up his head again.
He did not wish to eat or do anything. What
could it all mean?
Slowly the whole position in which he was placed
came to him. The boys gathering at school; the
surprise with which his absence would be noted;
the lost honor, so lately won; his father's sad, grave
face; his sisters' unhappiness; his mother's sorrow;
and even Sam's face, so ugly in its triumph, all were
What an afternoon that was! How slowly the
long hours dragged themselves away! And yet
until dusk Fred bore up bravely. Then he leaned
his head on his hands. Tired, hungry, worn out
with sorrow, he burst into tears and cried like a
Don't blame him. I think any one of us would
have done the same.
"Oh, mother! mother!" said Fred aloud, to himself,
"do come home! do come home!"
Ellen looked very sympathizing when she came
in with his tea, and found his dinner untouched.
"Eat your tea, Master Fred," she said, gently.
"The like of ye can't go without your victuals, no
way. I don't know what you've done, but I ain't
afeared there is any great harm in it, though your
collar is on crooked and there's a tear in your jacket,
to say nothing of a black and blue place under your
left eye. But eat your tea. Here's some fruit
cake Biddy sent o' purpose."
Somebody did think of and feel sorry for him!
Fred felt comforted on the instant by Ellen's kind
words and Biddy's plum cake; and I must say, ate
a hearty, hungry boy's supper; then went to bed
and slept soundly until late the next morning
We have not space to follow Fred through the
tediousness of the following week. His father
strictly carried out the punishment to the letter
No one came near him but Ellen, though he heard
the voices of his sisters and the usual happy home
sounds constantly about him.
Had Fred really been guilty, even in the matter
of a street fight, he would have been the unhappiest
boy living during this time; but we know he was
not, so we shall be glad to hear that with his books
and the usual medley of playthings with which a
boy's room is piled, he contrived to make the time
pass without being very wretched. It was the disgrace
of being punished, the lost position in school,
and above all, the triumph which it would be to
Sam, which made him the most miserable. The
very injustice of the thing was its balm in this case.
May it be so, my young readers, with any punishment
which may ever happen to you!
All these things, however, were opening the way
to make Fred's revenge, when it came, the more
Fred Sargent, of course, had lost his place, and
was subjected to a great many curious inquiries
when he returned to school.
He had done his best, in his room, to keep up
with his class, but his books, studied "in prison," as
he had learned to call it, and in the sitting-room,
with his sister Nellie and his mother to help him,
were very different things. Still, "doing your best"
always brings its reward; and let me say in passing,
before the close of the month Fred had won his
place again.
This was more easily done than satisfying the
kind inquiries of the boys. So after trying the
first day to evade them, Fred made a clean breast
of it and told the whole story.
I think, perhaps, Mr. Sargent's severe and unjust
discipline had a far better effect upon the boys
generally than upon Fred particularly. They did
not know how entirely Fred had acted on the
defensive, and so they received a lesson which most
of them never forgot on the importance which a
kind, genial man, with a smile and a cheery word
for every child in town, attached to brawling.
After all, the worst effect of this punishment
came upon Sam Crandon himself. Very much disliked
as his wicked ways had made him before, he
was now considered as a town nuisance. Everybody
avoided him, and when forced to speak to him did
so in the coldest, and often in the most unkind
Sam, not three weeks after his wanton assault
upon Fred, was guilty of his first theft and of
drinking his first glass of liquor. In short, he was
going headlong to destruction and no one seemed
to think him worth the saving. Skulking by day,
prowling by night--hungry, dirty, beaten and
sworn at--no wonder that he seemed God-forsaken
as well as man-forsaken.
Mr. Sargent had a large store in Rutgers street.
He was a wholesale dealer in iron ware, and
Andrewsville was such an honest, quiet town
ordinary means were not taken to keep the goods
from the hands of thieves.
Back doors, side doors and front doors stood open
all the day, and no one went in or out but those
who had dealings with the firm.
Suddenly, however, articles began to be missed--a
package of knives, a bolt, a hatchet, an axe, a pair
of skates, flat-irons, knives and forks, indeed hardly
a day passed without a new thing being taken, and
though every clerk in the store was on the alert
and very watchful, still the thief, or thieves
remained undetected.
At last matters grew very serious. It was not so
much the pecuniary value of the losses--that was
never large--but the uncertainty into which it
threw Mr. Sargent. The dishonest person might be
one of his own trusted clerks; such things had
happened, and sad to say, probably would again.
"Fred," said his father, one Saturday afternoon,
"I should like to have you come down to the store
and watch in one of the rooms. There is a great
run of business to-day, and the clerks have their
hands more than full. I must find out, if possible
who it is that is stealing so freely. Yesterday I
lost six pearl-handled knives worth two dollars
apiece. Can you come?"
"Yes, sir," said Fred, promptly, "I will be there
at one, to a minute; and if I catch him, let him look
out sharp, that is all."
This acting as police officer was new business to
Fred and made him feel very important, so when
the town clock was on the stroke of one he entered
the store and began his patrol.
It was fun for the first hour, and he was so much
on the alert that old Mr. Stone, from his high stool
before the desk, had frequently to put his pen behind
his ear and watch him. It was quite a scene in a
play to see how Fred would start at the least
sound. A mouse nibbling behind a box of iron
chains made him beside himself until he had scared
the little gray thing from its hole, and saw it
scamper away out of the shop. But after the first
hour the watching FOR NOTHING became a little
tedious. There was a "splendid" game of base
ball to come off on the public green that afternoon;
and after that the boys were going to the "Shawseen"
for a swim; then there was to be a picnic on
the "Indian Ridge," and--well, Fred had thought
of all these losses when he so pleasantly assented to
his father's request, and he was not going to
complain now. He sat down on a box, and commenced
drumming tunes with his heels on its sides. This
disturbed Mr. Stone. He looked at him sharply, so
he stopped and sauntered out into a corner of the
back store, where there was a trap-door leading
down into the water. A small river ran by under
the end of the store, also by the depot, which was
near at hand, and his father used to have some of
his goods brought down in boats and hoisted up
through this door.
It was always one of the most interesting places
in the store to Fred; he liked to sit with his feet
hanging down over the water, watching it as it
came in and dashed against the cellar walls.
To-day it was high, and a smart breeze drove it in
with unusual force. Bending down as far as he
could safely to look under the store, Fred saw the
end of a hatchet sticking out from the corner of one
of the abutments that projected from the cellar, to
support the end of the store in which the trap-door
"What a curious place this is for a hatchet!"
thought Fred, as he stooped a little further, holding
on very tight to the floor above. What he saw
made him almost lose his hold and drop into the
water below. There, stretched along on a beam
was Sam Crandon, with some stolen packages near
For a moment Fred's astonishment was too great
to allow him to speak; and Sam glared at him like
a wild beast brought suddenly to bay.
"Oh, Sam! Sam!" said Fred, at length, "how
could you?"
Sam caught up a hatchet and looked as if he was
going to aim it at him, then suddenly dropped it
into the water.
Fred's heart beat fast, and the blood came and
went from his cheeks; he caught his breath heavily,
and the water, the abutment and even Sam with his
wicked ugly face were for a moment darkened.
Then, recovering himself, he said:
"Was it you, Sam? I'm sorry for you!"
"Don't lie!" said Sam, glowering back, "you
know you're glad!"
"Glad? Why should I be glad to have you
"Cause I licked you, and you caught it."
"So I did; but I am sorry, for all that."
"You lie!"
Fred had thought very fast while this conversation
was going on. He had only to lift his head and
call his father, then the boat would be immediately
pushed in under the store, Sam secured and his
punishment certain. There were stolen goods
enough to convict him, and his mode of ingress into
the store was now certain. This trap-door was
never locked; very often it was left open--the
water being considered the most effectual bolt and
bar that could be used; but Sam, a good swimmer
and climber, had come in without difficulty and had
quite a store of his own hidden away there for future
use. This course was very plain; but for some
reason, which Fred could not explain even to himself,
he did not feel inclined to take it; so he sat
looking steadily in Sam's face until he said:
"Look here, Sam, I want to show you I mean
what I say. I'm sorry you have turned thief and
if I can help you to be a better boy, I should be
glad to."
Again Fred's honest kindly face had the same
effect upon Sam that it had at the commencement
of their street fight; he respected and trusted it
"Here!" said he, crawling along on the beam and
handing back the package of knives, the last theft
of which his father had complained.
"Yes, that is right," said Fred, leaning down and
taking it, "give them all back, if you can; that is
what my father calls `making restitution,' and
then you won't be a thief any longer."
Something in the boy's tone touched Sam's heart
still more; so he handed back one thing after
another as rapidly as he could until nearly everything
was restored.
"Bravo for you, Sam! I won't tell who took
them, and there is a chance for you. Here, give me
your hand now, honor bright you'll never come
here again to steal, if I don't tell my father."
Sam looked at him a moment, as if he would read
his very soul; then he said sulkily:
"You'll tell; I know you will, 'cause I licked you
when you didn't want me to; but you've got 'em
all back, and I s'pose it won't go very hard."
"What won't go very hard?"
"The prison."
"You sha'n't go to prison at all. Here, give me
your hand; I promise not to tell if you will promise
not to steal any more. Ain't that fair?"
"Yes," said Sam, a sudden change coming over
his face, "but you will!"
"Try me and see."
Sam slowly and really at a great deal of peril,
considering his situation, put his rough, grimed hand
into Fred's--a dishonest hand it was, and that more
than the other thing made Fred recoil a little as he
touched it; but that clasp sealed the compact
between these two boys. It began Fred Sargent's
"Now be off, will you, before the clerks come?
They will see the things and catch you here. I'll
be round to your house soon and we will see."
Even in this short time Fred had formed a
general plan for saving Sam.
The boy, stretching himself out flat, slipped down
the transverse beam into the water, dived at once
and came up under the bridge a few rods distant,
then coolly passed down the river and swam to shore
under a bunch of alder-bushes, by which he was
concealed from the sight of the passers-by.
Fred sought his father, told him the story, then
brought him to the spot, showed the goods which
the boy had returned, and begged as a reward for
the discovery to be allowed to conceal his name.
His father of course hesitated at so unusual a
proposition; but there was something so very much
in earnest in all Fred did and said that he became
convinced it was best, for the present at least, to
allow him to have his own way; and this he was
very glad he had done when a few days after Fred
asked him to do something for Sam Crandon.
"Sam Crandon?" he asked in surprise. "Is not
that the very boy I found you fighting in the street
"Yes, sir," said Fred, hanging his head, "but he
promises to do well, if he can only find work--
HONEST work; you see, sir, he is so bad nobody helps
Mr. Sargent smiled. "A strange recommendation,
Fred," he said, "but I will try what can be
done. A boy who wants to reform should have a
helping hand."
"He does want to--he wants to heartily; he says
he does. Father, if you only will!"
Fred, as he stood there, his whole face lit up with
the glow of this generous, noble emotion, never was
dearer to his father's heart; indeed his father's eyes
were dim, and his voice a little husky, as he said
"I will look after him, Fred, for your sake."
And so he did; but where and how I have not
space now to tell my readers. Perhaps, at some
future time, I may finish this story; for the present
let me say there is a new boy in Mr. Sargent's
store, with rough, coarse face, voice and manners;
everybody wonders at seeing him there; everybody
prophesies future trouble; but nobody knows that
this step up in Sam Crandon's life is Fred Sargent's
Hubert had accompanied his father on a visit
to his uncle, who lived in a fine old country
mansion, on the shore of Caermarthen Bay.
In front of the house spread a long beach, which
terminated in precipitous cliffs and rocky ledges.
On the, afternoon of the day following his arrival,
he declared his intention of exploring the beach.
"Don't get caught in `The Smuggler's Trap,' "
said his uncle, as he mentioned his plan.
" `The Smuggler's Trap?' "
"Yes. It's at the end of the beach where you
see the cliffs. It's a hollow cave, which you can
only walk at very low tide. You'd better not go in
"Oh, never fear," said Hubert carelessly, and in a
few minutes he was wandering over the beach, and
after walking about two miles reached the end of
the beach at the base of the great cliffs.
The precipice towered frowningly overhead, its
base all worn and furrowed by the furious surges
that for ages had dashed against it. All around lay
a chaos of huge boulders covered with seaweed.
The tide was now at the lowest ebb. The surf here
was moderate, for the seaweed on the rocks interfered
with the swell of the waters, and the waves
broke outside at some distance.
Between the base of the precipice and the edge of
the water there was a space left dry by the ebb
tide about two yards in width; and Hubert walked
forward over the space thus uncovered to see what
lay before him.
He soon found himself in a place which seemed
like a fissure rent in a mountain side, by some
extraordinary convulsion of nature. All around
rose black, precipitous cliffs. On the side nearest
was the precipice by whose base he had passed;
while over opposite was a gigantic wall of dark rock,
Which extended far out into the sea. Huge waves
thundered at its feet and dashed their spray far
upward into the air. The space was about fifty yards
The fissure extended back for about two hundred
yards, and there terminated in a sharp angle formed
by the abrupt walls of the cliffs which enclosed it.
All around there were caverns worn into the base
of the precipices by the action of the sea.
The floor of this place was gravelly, but near the
water it was strewn with large boulders. Further
in there were no boulders and it was easy to walk
At the furthest extremity there was a flat rock
that seemed to have fallen from the cliff above in
some former age. The cliffs around were about two
hundred feet in height. They were perfectly bare,
and intensely black. On their storm-riven summits
not a sign of verdure appeared. Everything had
the aspect of gloom, which was heightened by the
mournful monotone of the sea waves as they dashed
against the rock.
After the first feeling of awe had passed, Hubert
ran forward, leaping from rock to rock, till he came
to where the beach or floor of the fissure was
gravelly. Over this he walked and hastened to the
caverns, looking into them one after another.
Then he busied himself by searching among the
pebbles for curious stones and shells. He found
here numerous specimens of the rarest and finest
treasures of the sea--shells of a delicacy of tint
and perfection of outline; seaweeds of new and
exquisite forms with rich hues which he had hitherto
believed impossible.
In the hollows of the rocks, where the water yet
lay in pools, he found little minnows; and delicate
jelly fish, with their long slender fibers; and sea
anemones; and sea urchins with their spires extended;
and star-fish moving about with their
innumerable creepers. It was a new world, a world
which had thus far been only visible to him in the
aquarium, and now as it stood before him he forgot
all else.
He did not feel the wind as it blew in fresh from
the sea--the dread "sou'wester," the terror of
fishermen. He did not notice the waves that rolled
in more furiously from without, and were now
beginning to break in wrath upon the rocky ledges
and boulders. He did not see that the water had
crept on nearer to the cliff, and that a white line of
foam now lay on that narrow belt of beach which
he had traversed at the foot of the cliff.
Suddenly a sound burst upon his ears that roused
him, and sent all the blood back to his heart. It
was his own name, called out in a voice of anguish
and almost of despair by his father.
He sprang to his feet, started forward and rushed
with the speed of the wind to the place by which
he had entered the enclosure. But a barrier lay
before him. The rolling waves were there, rushing
in over the rocks, dashing against the cliff, tossing
their white and quivering spray exulting in the air.
At once Hubert knew his danger.
He was caught in the "Smuggler's Trap," and the
full meaning of his uncle's warning flashed upon his
mind as in his terror he shrieked back to his father.
Then there was silence for a time
While Hubert had been in the "Trap," his father
and uncle had been walking along the beach, and
the former heard for the first time the nature and
danger of the "Smuggler's Trap." He was at once
filled with anxiety about his son, and had hurried
to the place to call him back, when to his horror he
found that the tide had already covered the only
way by which the dangerous place might be
No sooner had he heard Hubert's answering cry
than he rushed forward to try and save him. But
the next moment a great wave came rolling in and
dashed him upon the cliff. Terribly bruised, he
clung to the cliff till the surf fell back, and then ran
on again.
He slipped over a rock and fell, but instantly
regaining his feet he advanced further, and in his
haste fell into a hollow which was filled with water.
Before he could emerge another wave was upon
him. This one beat him down, and it was only by
clinging to the seaweed that he escaped being
sucked back by the retreating surge. Bold and
frenzied though he was, he had to start back from
the fury of such an assault as this. He rushed backward
and waited.
His eyes searched wildly around. He noticed
that the surf grew more violent every moment, and
every moment took away hope. But he would not
Once more he rushed forward. The waves rolled
in, but he grasped the rocks and withstood the surf,
and still advanced. Another followed. He bowed
before it, and clinging to the rocks as before came
forth triumphant.
Already he was nearly halfway. He sprang upon
a rock that rose above the level of the seething
flood, and stood for a moment panting and gasping.
But now a great wave came rolling in upon him.
He fell on his knees and clung to the seaweed.
The wave struck. It hurled him from the rock.
He rolled over and over. Blinded, bruised and half
drowned, he felt himself dashed against the cliff.
He threw his arms wildly about, but found nothing
which he could seize. The retreating wave sucked
him back. But a rock stayed him. This he grasped
and was saved.
Then, hastily scrambling to his feet, he staggered
back to the place from which he had started.
Before he could get back another wave threw him
down, and this time he might have been drowned
had not his brother plunged in and dragged him
Of all this Hubert had seen nothing, and known
nothing. He waited for some time in silence, and
then called. There was no answer. He called
again and again. But at that time his father was
struggling with the waves and did not hear him.
At last, after what seemed an interminable time, he
heard once more his father's voice. He shouted
"Don't be afraid!" cried the voice. "I'll get you
out. Wait."
And then there were no more voices.
It was about two o'clock when Hubert had
entered the gorge. It was after three when his
father had roused him, and made his vain effort to
save him. Hubert was now left alone with the
rising tide, whose waters rolled forward with fearful
rapidity. The beach inside was nearly level and he
saw that in an hour or so it would be covered with
the waters. He tried to trust to his father's promise,
but the precious moments passed and he began
to look with terror upon the increasing storm; for
every moment the wind grew fiercer, and the surf
rolled in with ever increasing impetuosity.
He looked all around for a place of refuge, and
saw nothing except the rock which arose at the
extremity of the place, at the foot of the overhanging
cliffs. It was about five feet high, and was
the only place that afforded anything like safety.
Up this he clambered, and from this he could
survey the scene, but only to perceive the full extent
of his danger. For the tide rushed in more and
more swiftly, the surf grew higher and higher and
he saw plainly that before long the water would
reach the summit of the rock, and that even before
then the surf in its violence would sweep him
The moments passed slowly. Minutes seemed in
his suspense to be transformed to hours. The sky
was overspread now with black clouds; and the
gloom increased. At length the waves rolled in
until they covered all the beach in front, and began
to dash against the rock on which he had taken
The precious moments passed. Higher and
higher grew the waters. They came rolling into
the cave, urged on by the fury of the billows outside,
and heaping themselves up as they were compressed
into this narrow gorge. They dashed up
around the rock. The spray was tossed in his face.
Already he felt their inexorable grasp. Death
seemed so near that hope left him. He fell upon
his knees with his hands clasped, and his white face
upturned. Just then a great wave rolled up and
flung itself over the rock, and over his knees as he
knelt, and over his hands as he clasped them in
prayer. A few more moments and all would be
As hope left a calmness came--the calmness
that is born of despair. Face to face with death,
he had tasted the bitterness of death, but now he
flung aside the agony of his fear and rose to his
feet, and his soul prepared itself for the end. Just
then, in the midst of the uproar of wind and wave,
there came a sudden sound, which roused to quick,
feverish throbs the young lad's heart. It was a
voice--and sounded just above him:
He looked up.
There far above him, in the gloom, he saw faces
projecting over the edge of the cliff. The cry came
again; he recognized the voice of his father.
For a moment Hubert could not speak. Hope
returned. He threw up his arms wildly, and cried:
"Make haste! Oh, make haste!"
A rope was made fast about Hubert's father, and
he was let down over the edge of the cliff. He
would allow no other than himself to undertake this
He had hurried away and gathered a number of
fishermen, whose stout arms and sinewy hands now
held the rope by which he descended to save his
It was a perilous journey. The wind blew and
the rope swayed more and more as it was let down,
and sometimes he was dashed against the rocky
sides of the precipice; but still he descended, and
at last stood on the rock and clasped his son in his
But there was no time to lose. Hubert mounted
on his father's shoulders, holding the rope while his
father bound his boy close to him. Then the word
was given, and they were slowly pulled up.
They reached the summit in safety, and as they
reached it those who looked down through the
gloom saw the white foam of the surf as it boiled in
fury over the rock where Hubert had been standing.

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