Smith concluded to mention only one.
"Yes, it's something. You can sell it after a while, and bring me half the money."
"Will there be any danger in selling it?"
"None to speak of," said Smith, who was afraid Martin might decline selling it, unless he gave this assurance.
"Wasn't there any money?" asked Martin, disappointed.
"Yes, there was a trifle,—a hundred dollars," answered his unscrupulous confederate, who was certainly cheating Martin in the most barefaced manner.
"Half of that belongs to me," said Martin.
"Of course it does. Do you think I wouldn't treat you fair?"
"No," said his dupe. "I know, Mr. Smith, you're a man of honor."
"Of course I am. I'd like to see anybody say I wasn't. I've left everything in the box just as it was, so you might see it was all right."
He went to the cupboard, and, unlocking it, produced the box, of which he lifted the lid. The certificates of stock were at the bottom. Above them, folded up, was the five-twenty U. S. bond for five hundred dollars, and upon it a small roll of green-backs.
"You see it's just as I say, Martin," said Smith, with an air of frankness. "There's the shares that we can't do anything with, here's the bond, and there's the money. Just take and count it, I may have been mistaken in the amount."
Martin counted the roll of bills, and made out just one hundred dollars. Of course he could not be expected to know that there had been three hundred more, which, together with the other bond, were carefully concealed in his confederate's breast-pocket.
"Yes, it's just a hundred dollars," he said, after finishing the count.
"Well, take fifty of them, and put in your pocket."
Martin did so.
"It aint what I expected," he said, rather ruefully. "If I'd knowed there was so little in the box, I wouldn't have taken it."
"Well, it's better than nothing," said Smith, who could afford to be philosophical, having appropriated to himself seven-eighths of the money, and three-fourths of the bonds. "There's the bond, you know."
"Let me see it."
Smith extended it to Martin.
"When shall I sell it?" asked he.
"Not just yet. Wait till the affair blows over a little."
"Do you think there's any danger, then?" queried Martin, anxiously.
"Not much. Still it's best to be prudent."
"Hadn't you better sell it yourself?"
"Suppose I did," said Smith. "I might take the notion to walk off with all the money."
"I don't think you would," said Martin, surveying his confederate doubtfully, nevertheless.
"No, I don't think I would; but if you sell it yourself, you'll have the affair in your own hands."
"But I might walk off with all the money, too," said Martin, who thought it a poor rule that didn't work both ways.
"I don't think you would," said Smith, "and I'll tell you why. We belong to a large band, that are bound together by a terrible oath to punish any one guilty of treachery. Suppose you played me false, and did as you say,—though of course I know you don't mean it,—I wouldn't give that for your life;" and he snapped his fingers.
"Don't!" said Martin, with a shudder. "You make me shiver. Of course I didn't mean anything. I'm on the square."
"Certainly, I only told you what would happen to you or me, or any one that was false to the others."
"I think I'd rather have you sell the bond," said Martin, nervously.
"If I were in your case, I'd be perfectly willing; but the fact is, the brokers know me too well. They suspect me, and they won't suspect you."
"I think I've had my share of the risk," grumbled Martin. "I don't see but I do the work, and you share the profits."
"Wasn't it I that put you up to it?" demanded Smith. "Would you ever have thought of it if it hadn't been for me?"
"Maybe I wouldn't. I wish I hadn't."
"You're a fool, then! Don't you see it's turned out all right? Haven't you got fifty dollars in your pocket, and won't you have two hundred and fifty more when the bond is sold?"
"I thought I'd get five thousand," said Martin, dissatisfied.
"It seems to me that three hundred dollars is pretty good pay for one morning's work; but then there are some people that are never satisfied."
"It wasn't the work, it was the danger. I aint at all sure but the boy saw me, and knew who I was. If he did, I've got to keep out of the way."
"Do you think he did recognize you?" asked Smith, thoughtfully.
"I'm not sure. I'm afraid he did."
"I wish we'd got him in our clutches. But I dare say he was too frightened to tell who it was."
"He aint easy frightened," said Martin, shaking his head. He understood our hero better than his confederate.
"Well, all is, you must be more careful for a few days. Instead of staying in the city, I'll send you to Jersey City, Newark, and other places where you won't be likely to meet him."
"That might do," said Martin; "he's a smart boy, though he's an undootiful son. He don't care no more for me than if I was no kith nor kin to him, and he just as lieves see me sent to prison as not."
"There's one thing you haven't thought of," said Smith.
"His employer will most likely think that the boy has stolen the box, or had something to do with its being carried off. As he took him out of the street, he won't have much confidence in his honesty. I shouldn't be at all surprised if this undootiful boy of yours, as you call him, found himself locked up in the Tombs, on account of this little affair."
"Do you think so?" said Martin, brightening up at the suggestion.
"I think it more likely than not. If that is the case, of course you won't be in any danger from him."
"That's so," said Martin, cheerfully. "I hope you're right. It would be worth something to have that young imp locked up. He wouldn't put on so many airs after that."
"Well, it's very likely to happen."
The contemplation of this possibility so raised Martin's spirits, that, in spite of the disappointment he had experienced in finding the booty so far below what he had anticipated, he became quite cheerful, especially after Smith produced a bottle of whiskey, and asked him to help himself,—an invitation which he did not have occasion to repeat.
"Now," said Rufus to himself on the morning succeeding the robbery, "I've got a week to recover that box. How shall I go about it?"
This was a question easier asked than answered. Martin being the thief, the first thing, of course, was to find him; and Rufus had considerable hopes of encountering him in the street some day. Should this be the case, he might point him out to a policeman, and have him arrested at once; but this would not recover the box. Probably it was concealed at Martin's boarding-house, and this it was that Rufus was anxious to find. He decided, therefore, whenever he got on the track of his step-father, to follow him cautiously until he ascertained where he lodged.
He walked the street with his eyes about him all day, but did not catch a glimpse of Martin. The fact was, the latter was at Newark, having been sent there by his employers with a supply of counterfeit money to dispose of, so that our hero's search was of course fruitless, and so he was obliged to report to Mr. Turner the next morning.
"Probably he is in hiding," said his employer. "I don't think you have much chance of meeting him for a few days to come."
"I should like to try," said Rufus. "He won't be content to hide long."
"I have notified the banks and railroad companies of the robbery," said Mr. Turner; "so that it will be impossible to sell the shares. After a while, should we fail to recover them, they will grant us duplicate certificates. I have advertised, also, the numbers of the bonds; and, if an attempt is made to dispose of them, the thief will find himself in trouble. So the loss is reduced to four hundred dollars."
"That is too much to lose," said Rufus.
"That is true; but we are lucky to get off so cheap."
"I hope to get back some of that," said our hero, stoutly.
"Did it ever strike you that there might be some risk encountering this man? If he is driven to bay he may become dangerous."
"I don't think of the danger, Mr. Turner," said Rufus. "I lost that box, and it is my duty to recover it if I can, danger or no danger."
Mr. Turner secretly admired the pluck of Rufus; but he was not a man given to compliments, so he only said, quietly, "Well, Rufus, you shall have the week I promised you. I have no doubt you will do your best. I shall not be surprised, however, if you fail."
So Rufus entered upon his second day's search.
He went up Chatham Street, and explored most of the streets intersecting it, visiting many places which he remembered as former haunts of his step-father. But he was quite off the track here. Martin's employment now was on the other side of the city, near the North River, and he had no longer occasion to visit his old haunts. Besides, he had again been sent over to New Jersey, and did not get back to the city at all till late in the afternoon.
The next day Martin complained of headache, and was permitted to remain at home. He did not think it prudent to be out during the day; but easily solaced himself in his confinement with whiskey and cigars, of which he had laid in a good supply. He was sitting in his shirt-sleeves at the front window, looking through the blinds, which were always closed, when his eyes lighted on Rufus passing on the opposite side of the street.
"He's looking for me," exclaimed Martin to himself, observing that Rufus was looking about him as he walked.
"Who's looking for you?" asked his confederate, Smith, who happened just then to enter the room.
"My undootiful son. Look, there he is," said Martin, nervously. "I wonder if he has heard about my living here."
Smith went to the window, and looked out.
"He looks resolute and determined," said Smith. "We must pull his teeth."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean we must put it out of his power to do you harm."
"How are we going to do that?"
"Wait a minute and I'll tell you."
Smith left the room hastily, and after a brief interval returned.
"I think I'll fetch it," he said.
"What have you done?" asked Martin.
"I've sent Humpy to follow your son. He's to carry him a message from you."
"What do you mean?" asked Martin, alarmed.
"Don't be afraid. It's all right."
"But I don't understand it. I didn't send any message. What was it?"
"I'll tell you. If I'm not mistaken Humpy will bring your son back with him, so that I shall have the pleasure of reuniting parent and child."
"You don't mean to say you are going to bring Rufus here?" said Martin, his lower jaw falling. "You aint going to betray me, are you?"
"Stuff and nonsense! What are you thinking of? All you need understand is, that the boy is getting dangerous. He is following you round as if he meant something, and that must be stopped. I mean to get him into the house, but I don't mean to part company with him very soon."
Smith here briefly detailed the instructions which he had given to his errand-boy. Martin listened with much satisfaction.
"What a head you've got!" he said admiringly.
"I'm generally ready for an emergency," remarked Smith, complacently. "You've got to get up early in the morning to get ahead of me."
We must now follow Smith's messenger, and we shall ascertain that gentleman's plan.
Humpy was a boy of sixteen, very short, in fact almost a dwarf, and, as his name implies, disfigured by a hump. He was sharp, however, and secretive, and, though he could not help understanding the character of the men who employed him, was not likely to betray them. He had a pride in deserving the confidence which he saw was reposed in him.
After receiving the instructions of his principal, he crossed the street, and followed Rufus at a little distance, being particular to keep him in sight. Our hero turned a corner, and so did he. He then quickened his pace and came up with him.
"Was you a-lookin' for anybody in particular?" he said.
"What makes you ask?" said Rufus, facing round upon him.
"Maybe I could help you."
"Perhaps you know who I am after," said Rufus, looking at him steadily.
"You're looking for a man named Martin, aint you?"
"Do you know where I can find him?" asked Rufus, eagerly.
"Yes, I do. He sent me after you."
"He sent you!" repeated our hero, hardly believing his ears.
"Yes; he wants to see you."
"What does he want to see me for?" asked Rufus, inclined to be suspicious.
"There's something he's got of yours that he wants to return," said Humpy, in a low voice, looking around cautiously.
Rufus was more and more astonished. Was it possible that Martin's conscience troubled him, and that he wanted to make restitution? He could hardly believe this, knowing what he did of his step-father. Martin was about the last man he would have suspected of being troubled in any such way.
"Yes, he has got something of mine," he said aloud. "Does he want to return it?"
"Yes, he's sorry he took it. He's afraid you'll set the copps on him."
"So he's frightened," thought Rufus. This seemed to throw light on the new phase of affairs. He had never regarded his step-father as very brave, and now concluded that he was alarmed about the consequences of the theft.
"If he'll return what he took, all right," said Rufus, venturing to make this promise on his own responsibility; "he shan't be touched. Where is he?"
"Not far off," said Humpy.
"Tell him to bring it to me, and I'll give my word not to have him arrested."
"He can't come."
"Why can't he?"
"In a house near by. He wants you to come and see him."
"What's the matter with him?" he asked.
"He caught a cold, and is threatened with a fever," said the boy, glibly. "If you want to see him, I'll lead you where he is."
"All right! Go ahead!" said Rufus, thoroughly deceived by the boy's plausible story.
"You'll promise not to set the copps on him, after you've got the box?" said Humpy.
"Yes, I promise."
"Then follow me."
Rufus followed, congratulating himself that things were coming out satisfactorily. He had no hesitation in making the promise he did, for he felt sure that he would be sustained by his employer. At any rate, he determined that, having pledged his word to Martin, nothing should make him break it.
Humpy stumped along, followed by Rufus. They turned the corner again, and the boy guided him at once to the counterfeiter's den.
"He's in there," said Humpy, with a jerk of his forefinger. "Come along!"
He mounted the steps, and opened the door, which had been left unlocked.
"He's upstairs," said Humpy. "Come up."
Rufus, without suspicion, followed his humpbacked guide up the narrow staircase. They had scarcely reached the top, when Smith, coming out of a room on the floor below, locked the outer door, and put the key in his pocket. This Rufus did not see, or it would have aroused his suspicion. The boy opened the door of a chamber at the head of the staircase. "Go in there," he said.
Rufus entered, and looked around him, but saw no one. He did not have to wait long. A step was heard at the door, and James Martin entered the room, apparently in perfect health.
"I'm glad to see you, Rufus," he said with a triumphant grin. "You've been such an undootiful son that I didn't much expect you'd come to see your sick father."
Rufus sprang to his feet in dismay. The whole plot flashed upon him at once, and he realized that he had walked into a trap with his eyes wide open.
IN A TRAP.
Our hero's first impulse, on finding himself entrapped, was to escape. He sprang towards the door, but Martin quickly grasped him by the arm, and forced him back.
"No you don't!" he said, with emphasis. "I want you to stay with me."
"Let me go!" exclaimed Rufus, struggling to escape.
"Sorry I couldn't oblige you," said Martin, with a grin. "Can't you stay with your sick father a few days?"
"You've played me a mean trick," said Rufus, indignantly.
"What was you walkin' through this street for?" asked Martin. "Wasn't it because you wanted to see me?"
"Yes," answered our hero.
"Well, you've got what you wanted," said Martin, smiling maliciously. "I know'd you'd never find me if I didn't send out for you. Was there anything partic'lar you wish to say to me?"
"Yes," said Rufus, bluntly. "I want you to give me back that tin box you stole from me the other day."
"What do I know about any tin box?" asked Martin, not knowing that it had been spoken of by Humpy in the street.
"You needn't deny it, Mr. Martin. The boy you sent after me told me you took it."
"He did, did he?" said Martin, seeing that he must try another tack. "Well, s'posin' I did, what then?"
"The law may have something to say. You'll stand a chance of going to Sing Sing for a few years."
"You'd have to prove I took it," said Martin, uneasily. "I only told the boy to say so, so's to get you in here. I read about the robbery in the papers."
"I recognized you at the time, and am ready to swear to you," said Rufus, firmly.
This was rather imprudent, for it made Martin even more determined to prevent our hero's escape.
"If that's your game," he said, "I'll see you don't get a chance to swear to any lies."
"What do you mean to do with me?" demanded Rufus.
"I aint decided yet," said Martin. "Your health's so delicate that I don't think it'll agree with you to go out in the street."
"Are you going to confine me here?"
"Maybe," said his step-father. "I shan't charge you nothing for board. Your cheerful company'll pay me for that."
"Mr. Martin," said Rufus, "I've got a proposition to make to you."
"Go ahead and make it then."
"You've got yourself into a scrape about that tin box."
"I thought you was the one that had got into a scrape," said Martin, jocularly.
"So I have; but mine is of a different kind from yours. You run the risk of going to prison."
"And you're in prison already," said Martin, with a grin. "Seems to me I've got the best of it so far."
"Perhaps you have; but I wouldn't exchange with you for all that. Now I've got a proposition to make."
"That's what you said before."
"If you will restore the tin box, and let me go free, I'll see that you are not arrested for what you've done."
"You're very kind," said Martin; "but that won't pay me for my trouble."
"If I'll get you out of your present danger?"
"I don't know about that. S'posin' I was to do as you say, the first thing you'd do after you got out would be to set the copps on me."
"No, I wouldn't. I'd go to prison first myself."
This proposition had some effect upon Martin. He realized that he was in danger, and felt that he had been very poorly paid for his risk and trouble. He was inclined to believe Rufus would keep his word, but he knew also that matters had gone too far. Smith, he was sure, would not consent to any such arrangement, and without him he could do nothing. Besides, it was a satisfaction to him to feel that he had Rufus in his power, and he had no desire to lose that advantage by setting him free. Tyrant and bully as he was by nature, he meant to gratify his malice at our hero's expense.
"I couldn't do it, Rufus," he said. "There's another man in it, and he's got the box."
Rufus looked sharply at Martin to ascertain if he was speaking the truth. He decided that it was as his step-father stated, and, if this was the case, he would have more than one enemy to deal with.
"Does the other man live here?" he asked.
"Maybe he does, and maybe he doesn't."
"Who is he?"
"Maybe it's the Emperor of Chiny, and maybe it isn't. What would you give to know?"
"Not much," said Rufus, assuming an indifferent tone. "You're the man that took the box,—that's enough for me."
"He put me up to it," said Martin, unguardedly.
"I thought Martin wasn't smart enough to plan the robbery himself," said Rufus to himself. He resolved to appear indifferent to this information, in the hope of learning more.
"You can settle that among yourselves," he said, quietly. "If you consented to do it, you're as much to blame as he."
At this moment Smith, influenced by curiosity, opened the door and entered.
"This is my undootiful son, Mr. Smith," said Martin.
"So his name's Smith," thought Rufus. "I wonder whether it's his real name, or a false one."
"I'm glad to see you, young man," said Smith. "So you've called to see your father?"
"He isn't my father."
"You see how undootiful he is," said Martin. "He won't own me."
"We'll teach him to be more dutiful before we get through with him," said Smith.
"Mr. Smith," said Rufus, "I'm not here of my own accord. I dare say you know that. But as long as I am here, I'd like to ask you if you know anything about a tin box that was taken from me the other day by Mr. Martin."
"By your father?"
"By Mr. Martin," said Rufus, determined not to admit the relationship.
"What should I know about it?"
"Mr. Martin tells me that, though he took it, somebody else set him to do it. I thought you might be the one."
"Did you say that?" demanded Smith, looking angrily at Martin.
"I was only foolin'," returned Martin, who began to think he had made a blunder.
"It's my belief that you're a fool," retorted Smith. "You'd better be careful what you tell your son. Young man," turning to Rufus, "as to the tin box you speak of, I can tell you nothing. Your father says that he has recovered some property which you stole from him a while since, and I suppose that may be the tin box you refer to."
"That isn't true. It belonged to Mr. Turner, my employer, or rather to a customer of his."
"That's nothing to me. Mr. Martin boards with me, and as long as he pays for his board I don't want to pry into his affairs. If he has taken a tin box from you, I presume he had a better right to it than you had. Are you going to bring your son down to dinner, Mr. Martin?"
"I guess he'd better eat his victuals up here," said Martin.
"Just as you say. I can send Humpy with them. We shall have dinner in about an hour."
"All right; I'll go down now if my dootiful son can spare me."
As Rufus did not urge him to stay, Martin left the room with Smith, taking care to lock the door after him.
"What's the boy's name?" asked Smith, abruptly.
"He's smart. I can tell that by his looks."
"Ye-es, he's smart enough," said Martin, hesitatingly; "but he's as obstinate as a pig."
"Likes to have his own way, eh?"
"That's what he does."
"He'd make a good boy for our business," said Smith, musingly.
Martin shook his head.
"It wouldn't do," he said.
"He wants to be honest," said Martin, contemptuously. "We couldn't trust him."
"Then there's only one thing to do."
"We must keep him close. We mustn't on any account allow him to escape."
"I'll look after that," said Martin, nodding. "I've had hard work enough to get hold of him. He won't get away in a hurry."
"If he does, you'll be arrested."
"And you too," suggested Martin.
"Why should I?"
"Didn't you put me up to taking the box, and haven't you taken half what was in it?"
"Look here," said Smith, menacingly, "you'd better stop that. You've already told the boy more than you ought. If you are taken through your own carelessness, mind what you are about, and don't split on me. If you do, it'll be the worse day's work you ever did. Imprisonment isn't the worse thing that can happen to a man."
Martin understood what his confederate meant, and the intended effect was produced. He began to think that Smith was a desperate man, and capable of murdering him, or instigating his murder, in case of treachery. This made him feel rather uneasy, in spite of his capture of Rufus.
Meanwhile, our hero, left to himself, began to examine the apartment in which he was confined. The door had been locked by Martin, as we have already said. This was the only mode of exit from the apartment, except what was afforded by two windows. Rufus walked to them, and looked out. The room was in the back part of the house, and these windows looked out into a back yard. He could see the rear portions of the houses on a parallel street, and speculated as to the chances of escape this way. As the room was only on the second floor, the distance to the ground was not great. He could easily swing off the window-sill without injury. Though he knew it would not be well to attempt escape now when Martin and Smith were doubtless on the lookout, he thought he would open the window softly and take a survey. He tried one window, but could not raise it. He tried the other, with like want of success. He thought at first that the difficulty lay in their sticking, but, on closer examination, he ascertained that both were firmly fastened by nails, which accounted for their being immovable.
"I might break the window," thought Rufus; but it occurred to him at once that the noise would probably be heard. Besides, if there was any one in the room below, he would very likely be seen descending from the window. If this plan were adopted at all, he must wait till evening. Meanwhile some other way of escape might suggest itself.
The room was of moderate size,—about fifteen feet square. A cheap carpet covered the floor. A pine bedstead occupied one corner. There were three or four chairs, a bureau, and a bedstead.
Rufus sat down, and turned the matter over in his mind. He couldn't make up his mind what Martin's business was, but decided that it was something unlawful, and that he was either employed by Smith, or connected in some way with him. It seemed to him probable that his step-father, in waylaying him and stealing the tin box, had acted under the direction of Smith, and that probably the box was at that very moment in the possession of the superior villain.
"If I could only find the box and escape with it," thought Rufus, "that would set me right with Mr. Turner."
But there seemed little chance of that. It did not seem very probable even that he could escape from the room in which he was confined, much less carry out the plan he had in view.
While he was thinking over his situation, the key turned in the lock, and the door was opened. Rufus looked up, expecting to see Martin; but instead of his step-father there entered the boy already referred to as Humpy.
Humpy carried in his hand a plate of meat and vegetables.
"Here's your dinner," he said, laying the plate down, while he locked the door behind him.
"Look here, Johnny," said Rufus, "you served me a mean trick."
"You came in just as innocent," he said. "It was jolly."
"Maybe it is, but I don't see it. You told me a lie."
"Didn't you find the man you was after?" said Humpy.
"You told me he was sick."
"So he is. He's in delicate health, and couldn't go to business to-day."
"What is his business?" asked Rufus, a little too eagerly.
Humpy put his thumbs to his nose, and twirled his fingers with a grin of intelligence.
"Don't you wish you knew?" he said tantalizingly.
"Do you know anything about the tin box?" asked Rufus, seeing that his former question was not likely to be answered.
"Maybe I do."
"It's in this house."
"Oh, is it? Well, if you know that, there's no use of my telling you."
"I can't make much of him," thought Rufus. "He's a young imp, and it isn't easy to get round him."
He looked at Humpy meditatively, and it occurred to him whether it would not be well to spring upon him, snatch the key, release himself from the room, and dash downstairs. So far as the boy was concerned, this plan was practicable. Rufus was much his superior in strength, and could master him without difficulty. But, doubtless, Martin and Smith were below. They would hear the noise of the struggle, and would cut off his flight. Evidently that plan would not work. Another suggested itself to him.
"Johnny," said he, "don't you want to make some money?"
Here he attacked the boy on his weak side. Humpy was fond of money. He had already scraped together about twenty dollars from the meagre pay he received, and had it carefully secreted.
"Of course I do," he answered. "How'm I to do it?"
"I'll tell you. That tin box contained property of value. It doesn't belong to me. It belongs to Mr. Turner, the banker. I was trying to recover it when you got me to come in here this morning. Now what I want to say, is this. Get that tin box for me, and help me to get away with it, and it'll be worth fifty dollars to you."
Fifty dollars! Humpy's eyes sparkled when he heard the sum named; but prudence came to his aid, fortified by suspicion.
"Who's a-goin' to pay it?" he asked.
"S'posin' he don't?"
"Then I will."
"Where'd you raise the money?"
"I'm not rich, but I'm worth a good deal more than that. I'd rather pay it out of my own pocket than not get back that box."
But if Humpy was fond of money, he had also a rude sense of honor, which taught him to be faithful to his employer. He did want the money, and then there was something in our hero's look that made him pretty sure that he would keep his promise. So he put away the seductive temptation, though reluctantly.
"I aint a-goin' to do it," he said, doggedly.
"Perhaps you'll think better of it," said Rufus, who, in spite of the boy's manner, saw the struggle in his mind. "If you do, just let me know."
"I've got to be goin'," said Humpy, and, unlocking the door, he went out, locking it again directly.
Rufus turned his attention to the dinner, which he found of good quality. Despite his imprisonment, his appetite was excellent, and he ate all there was of it.
"I must keep up my strength at any rate," he said to himself; "I may need it."
Meanwhile, as there was no longer anything to dread, Rufus being a prisoner, Martin went out in the service of his employer.
"Now," thought he, reflecting with satisfaction on his signal triumph over Rufus, "if I only knew where Rose was, I'd go after her, and her brother shouldn't get hold of her again in a hurry. He's got enough to do to take care of himself."
This was pleasant to think about; but Martin had not the least idea where Rose was, and was not likely to find out.
Meanwhile something happened in the counterfeiter's den, which was destined to prove of advantage to Rufus.
Smith sent Humpy out on an errand. The boy was detained unavoidably, and returned an hour later than he was expected. Smith was already in an ill-temper, which the late return of his emissary aggravated.
"What made you so late?" he demanded, with lowering brow.
"I couldn't help it," said Humpy.
"Don't tell me that!" roared Smith. "You stopped to play on the way; I know you did."
"No, I didn't," said Humpy, angrily.
"Do you dare to contradict me, you villanous little humpback?" screamed Smith. "I'll teach you to do it again."
He clutched the boy by the collar, and, seizing a horsewhip, brought it down with terrible force on the boy's shrinking form.
"Let me go! Don't beat me!" screamed Humpy, in mingled fear and rage.
"Not till I've cured you," retorted Smith. Twice more he struck the humpbacked boy with the whip, and then threw him on the floor.
"That's what you get for contradicting me," he said.
The boy rose slowly and painfully, and limped out of the room. His face was pale, but his heart was filled with a burning sense of humiliation and anger against the man who had assaulted him. It would have been well for Smith if he had controlled himself better, for the boy was not one of the forgiving kind, but harbored resentment with an Indian-like tenacity, and was resolved to be revenged.
He crawled upstairs to the small attic room in which he usually slept, and, entering, threw himself upon the bed, face downward, where he burst into a passion of grief, shame, and rage, which shook his crooked form convulsively. This lasted for fifteen minutes, when he became more quiet.
Then he got up slowly, and, going to a corner of the room, lifted up a board from which the nails appeared to have been drawn out, and drew from beneath a calico bag. This he opened, and exposed to view a miscellaneous collection of coins, which he took out and counted.
"Twenty dollars and nineteen cents!" he said to himself. "I've been more'n a year gettin' it. That boy offers me fifty dollars,—most three times as much,—if I'll get him the tin box and help him to escape. I said I wouldn't do it; but he hadn't struck me then. He hadn't called me a villanous humpback. Now he's got to pay for it. He'll wish he hadn't done it;" and the boy clenched his fist, and shook it vindictively. "Now, how'll I get the box?"
He sat on the bed thinking for some time, then, composing his countenance, he went downstairs. He resolved to assume his usual manner, in order not to excite Smith's suspicion.
Smith had by this time got over his rage, and was rather sorry he had struck the boy so brutally, for he knew very well that Humpy might prove a dangerous enemy. He glanced at Humpy's face when he came downstairs, but saw nothing unusual.
"Oh, he'll forget all about it," he thought to himself.
"Here's ten cents, Humpy," he said. "Maybe I struck you too hard. Go and buy yourself some candy."
"Thank you," said the boy, taking the money.
"I've another errand for you."
He told what it was.
"Go and come back as soon as possible."
Humpy went quietly, and returned in good season.
About five o'clock, Martin not yet having returned, Smith directed him to carry up our hero's supper. There was a little exultant sparkle in the boy's eye, as he took the plate of buttered bread, and started to go upstairs.
"So it's you, is it?" said Rufus, on the boy's entrance. "Where is Martin?"
"He aint come in yet. Do you want to see him?"
"No, I'm not particular about it."
Humpy stood looking earnestly at Rufus while he was eating the bread and butter. At length he said, "I've been thinkin' over what you said to me at dinner-time. Shall I get the fifty dollars certain sure if I do what you want?"
"Yes," said Rufus, eagerly. "Get me the tin box, and help me to escape, and the money shall be yours."
Rufus generally reached his boarding-house at half-past five o'clock. Sometimes Rose and her two young companions were playing in Washington Park at that time, and ran to meet him when he appeared in sight. But on the night of our hero's capture by Martin they waited for him in vain.
"Where can Rufie be?" thought Rose, as she heard six o'clock peal from a neighboring church-tower.
She thought he might have gone by without her seeing him, and with this idea, as it was already the hour for dinner, she went into the house. She ran upstairs two steps at a time, and opened the door of her own room.
"You should not have stayed out so late, Rose," said Miss Manning. "You will hardly have time to get ready for dinner."
"I was waiting for Rufie. Has he come?"
"No; he seems to be late to-night."
"I am afraid he's got run over," said Rose anxiously.
"Rufus is old enough to take care of himself. I've no doubt he's quite safe."
"Then what makes him so late?"
"He is probably detained by business. But there is the bell. We must go down to dinner."
"Can't we wait for Rufie?"
"No, my dear child; we cannot tell when he will be home."
"It don't seem a bit pleasant to eat dinner without Rufie," complained Rose.
"It isn't often he stays, Rose. He'll tell us all about it when he comes."
They went down and took their seats at the dinner-table.
"Where is your brother, Rose?" asked Mrs. Clifton.
"He hasn't got home," said Rose, rather disconsolately.
"I am sorry for that. He is a very agreeable young man. If I wasn't married," simpered Mrs. Clifton, "I should set my cap for him. But I mustn't say that, or Mr. Clifton will be jealous."
"Oh, don't mind me!" said Mr. Clifton, carelessly. "It won't spoil my appetite."
"I don't think there's anything that would spoil your appetite," said his wife, rather sharply, for she would have been flattered by her husband's jealousy.
"Just so," said Mr. Clifton, coolly. "May I trouble you for some chicken, Mrs. Clayton?"
"You're a great deal too old for Rufie, Mrs. Clifton," said Rose, with more plainness than politeness.
"I'm not quite so young as you are, Rose," said Mrs. Clifton, somewhat annoyed. "How old do you think I am?"
"Most fifty," answered Rose, honestly.
"Mercy sake!" exclaimed Mrs. Clifton, horrified, "what a child you are! Why don't you say a hundred, and done with it?"
"How old are you, Mrs. Clifton?" persisted Rose.
"Well, if you must know, I shall be twenty-five next November."
Mrs. Clifton was considerably nearer thirty-five; but, then, some ladies are very apt to be forgetful of their age.
The dinner-hour passed, and Rose and Miss Manning left the table. They went upstairs hoping that Rufus might be there before them; but the room was empty. An hour and a half passed, and it was already beyond eight, the hour at which Rose usually went to bed.
"Can't I sit up a little later to-night, Miss Manning?" pleaded Rose. "I want to see Rufie."
"No, Rose, I think not. You'll see him in the morning."
So Rose unwillingly undressed and went to bed.
By this time Miss Manning began to wonder a little why Rufus did not appear. It seemed to her rather strange that he should be detained by business till after eight o'clock, and she thought that an accident might possibly have happened to him. Still Rufus was a strong, manly boy, well able to take care of himself, and this was not probable.
When ten o'clock came, and he had not yet made his appearance, she went downstairs. The door of the hall bedroom, which Rufus occupied, was open and empty. This she saw on the way. In the hall below she met Mrs. Clayton.
"Rufus has not yet come in?" she said, interrogatively.
"No, I have not seen him. I saved some dinner for him, thinking he might have been detained."
"I can't think why he doesn't come home. I think he must be here soon. Do you know if he has a latch-key?"
"Yes, he got a new one of me the other day. Perhaps he has gone to some place of amusement."
"He would not go without letting us know beforehand. He would know we would feel anxious."
"Yes, he is more considerate than most young men of his age. I don't think you need feel anxious about him."
Miss Manning went upstairs disappointed. She began to feel perplexed and anxious. Suppose something should happen to Rufus, what would they do? Rose would refuse to be comforted. She was glad the little girl was asleep, otherwise she would be asking questions which she would be unable to answer. It was now her hour for retiring, but she resolved to sit up a little longer. More than an hour passed, and still Rufus did not come. It seemed unlikely that he would return that night, and Miss Manning saw that it was useless to sit up longer. It was possible, however, that he might have come in, and gone at once to his room, thinking it too late to disturb them. But, on going down to the next floor, she saw that his room was still unoccupied.
Rose woke up early in the morning; Miss Manning was already awake.
"Did Rufie come last night?" asked the little girl.
"He had not come when I went to bed," was the answer. "Perhaps he came in afterwards."
"May I dress and go down and see?"
"Yes, if you would like to."
Rose dressed quicker than usual, and went downstairs. She came up again directly, with a look of disappointment.
"Miss Manning, he is not here," she said. "His chamber door is open, and I saw that he had not slept in his bed."
"Very likely Mr. Turner sent him out of the city on business," said Miss Manning, with an indifference which she did not feel.
"I wish he'd come," said Rose. "I shall give him a good scolding, when he gets home, for staying away so long."
"Has not Mr. Rushton come?" asked Mrs. Clayton, at the breakfast-table.
"Not yet. I suppose he is detained by business."
Just after breakfast, Miss Manning, as usual, took the three little girls out in the Park to play. It was their custom to come in about nine o'clock to study. This morning, however, their governess went to Mrs. Colman and said, "I should like to take this morning, if you have no objection. I am feeling a little anxious about Rufus, who did not come home last night. I would like to go to the office where he is employed, and inquire whether he has been sent out of town on any errand."
"Certainly, Miss Manning. The little girls can go out and play in the Park while you are gone."
"Where are you going, Miss Manning?" asked Rose, seeing that the governess was preparing to go out.
"I am going to Rufie's office to see why he stayed away."
"May I go with you?" asked Rose, eagerly.
"No, Rose, you had better stay at home. The streets are very crowded down town, and I shouldn't like to venture to cross Broadway with you. You can go and play in the Park."
"And shan't we have any lessons?"
"Not this morning."
"That will be nice," said Rose, who, like most girls of her age, enjoyed a holiday.
Miss Manning walked to Broadway, and took a stage. That she knew would carry her as far as Wall Street, only a few rods from Mr. Turner's office. She had seldom been in a stage, the stage fare being higher than in the cars, and even four cents made a difference to her. She would have enjoyed the brilliant scene which Broadway always presents, with its gay shop-windows and hurrying multitudes, if her mind had not been preoccupied. At length Trinity spire came in sight. When they reached the great church which forms so prominent a landmark in the lower part of Broadway, she got out, and turned into Wall Street.
It did not take her long to find Mr. Turner's number. She had never been there before, and had never met Mr. Turner, and naturally felt a little diffident about going into the office. It was on the second floor. She went up the stairway, and timidly entered. She looked about her, but Rufus was not to be seen. At first no one noticed her; but finally a clerk, with a pen behind his ear, came out from behind the line of desks.
"What can I do for you, ma'am?" he asked.
"Is Rufus Rushton here?" she inquired.
"No, he is not."
"Was he here yesterday?"
"He's out of the office just now, on some business of Mr. Turner's. That's Mr. Turner, if you would like to speak to him."
Miss Manning turned, and saw Mr. Turner just entering the office. He was a pleasant-looking man, and this gave her courage to address him.
"Mr. Turner," she said, "I came to ask about Rufus Rushton. He did not come home last night, and I am feeling anxious about him."
"Indeed!" said the banker, "I am surprised to hear that. It leads me to think that he may have found a clue to the stolen box."
"The stolen box!" repeated Miss Manning, in surprise.
"Yes; did he not tell you of it?"
Mr. Turner briefly related the particulars already known to the reader. "I think," he said, in conclusion, "Rufus must have tracked the man Martin, and—"
"Martin!" interrupted Miss Manning. "Was he the thief?"
"Yes, so Rufus tells me. Do you know him?"
"I have good reason to. He is a very bad man. I hope he has not got Rufus in his power."
"I don't think you need feel apprehensive. Rufus is a smart boy, and knows how to take care of himself. He'll come out right, I have no doubt."
"I am glad to hear you say so, Mr. Turner. I will bid you good-morning, with thanks for your kindness."
"If Rufus comes in this morning, I will let him go home at once, that your anxiety may be relieved."
With this assurance Miss Manning departed. She had learned something, but, in spite of the banker's assurance, she felt troubled. She knew Martin was a bad man, and she was afraid Rufus would come to harm.
MARTIN GROWS SUSPICIOUS.
Our hero's interview with Humpy gave him new courage. When he had felt surrounded by enemies the chances seemed against him. Now he had a friend in the house, who was interested in securing his escape. Not only this, but there was a fair chance of recovering the box for which he was seeking. On the whole, therefore, Rufus was in very good spirits.
About nine o'clock he heard a step on the stairs, which he recognized as that of his step-father. He had good reason to remember that step. Many a time while his mother was alive, and afterwards while they were living in Leonard Street, he had listened to it coming up the rickety staircase, and dreaded the entrance of the man whose presence was never welcome.
After some fumbling at the lock the door opened, and Martin entered. It was dark, and he could not at first see Rufus.
"Where are you, you young villain?" he inquired, with a hiccough.
Rufus did not see fit to answer when thus addressed.
"Where are you, I say?" repeated Martin.
"Here I am," answered Rufus.
"Why didn't you speak before? Didn't you hear me?" demanded his step-father, angrily.
"Yes, Mr. Martin, I heard you," said Rufus, composedly.
"Then why didn't you answer?"
"Because you called me a young villain."
"Well, you are one."
Rufus did not answer.
Martin locked the door and put the key in his pocket. He next struck a match, and lit the gas. Then seating himself in a rocking-chair, still with his hat on, he looked at Rufus with some curiosity, mingled with triumph.
"I hope you like your accommodations," he said.
"We don't charge you nothing for board, you see, and you haven't any work to do. That's what I call living like a gentleman."
"I believe you tried the same kind of life at Blackwell's Island," said Rufus.
"Look here," said Martin, roughly, "you'd better not insult me. I didn't come here to be insulted."
"What did you come for, then?" asked Rufus.
"I thought you'd like to know how Rose was," answered Martin.
"I don't believe you have seen her."
"Well, you needn't believe it. Perhaps I didn't meet her on the street, and follow her home. She begged me to tell her where you was; but I couldn't do it."
Rufus felt a temporary uneasiness when he heard this statement; but there was something in Martin's manner which convinced him that he had not been telling the truth. He decided to change the subject.
"Mr. Martin," he said, "have you made up your mind to give up that tin box?"
"No I haven't. I can't spare it."
"If you will give it up, I will see that you are not punished for taking it."
"I aint a-goin' to be punished for taking it."
"You certainly will be if you are caught."
"What do you know about it?"
"There was a man convicted of the same thing three months ago, and he got five years for it."
"I don't believe it," said Martin, uneasily.
"You needn't if you don't want to."
"I haven't got the box now, so I couldn't give it back. Smith's got it."
"Is that the man I saw this morning?"
"Then you'd better ask him to give it back to you."
"He wouldn't do it if I asked him."
"Then I'm sorry for you."
Martin was not very brave, and in spite of his assertions he felt uneasy at what Rufus was saying. Besides, he felt rather afraid of our hero. He knew that Rufus was a resolute, determined boy, and that he could not keep him confined forever. Some time he would get out, and Martin feared that he would set the officers on his track. The remark of Smith that he would make a good boy for their business occurred to him, and he determined to try him on a new tack. If he could get him compromised by a connection with their business, it would be for his interest also to keep clear of the police.
"Rufus," said Martin, edging his chair towards our hero, "I'm your friend."
Rufus was rather astonished at this sudden declaration.
"I'm glad to hear it," he said; "but I don't think you've treated me in a very friendly manner."
"About the tin box?"
"Yes, partly that. If you're my friend, you will return it, and not keep me locked up here."
"Never mind, Rufus, I've got a business proposal to make to you. You're a smart boy."
"I am glad you think so."
"And I can give you a chance to make a good living."
"I am making a good living now, or I was before you interfered with me."
"How much did you earn a week?"
"Why do you want to know?"
"Was it over ten dollars a week?"
"I know a business that will pay you fifteen dollars a week."
"What is it?"
"It is the one I'm in. I earn a hundred dollars a month."
"If you are earning as much as that, I shouldn't think you'd need to steal tin boxes."
"There wasn't much in it. Only a hundred dollars in money."
"You are not telling me the truth. There were four hundred dollars in it."
"What was that you said?" asked Martin, pricking up his ears.
"There were four hundred dollars in it."
"How do you know?"
"Mr. Turner told me so."
"Smith told me there were only a hundred. He opened it, and gave me half."
"Then he gave you fifty, and kept three hundred and fifty himself."
"If I thought that, I'd smash his head!" said Martin, angrily. "Make me run all the risk, and then cheat me out of my hard earnin's. Do you call that fair?"
"I think he's been cheating you," said Rufus, not sorry to see Martin's anger with his confederate.
"It's a mean trick," said Martin, indignantly. "I'd ought to have got two hundred. It was worth it."
"I wouldn't do what you did for a good deal more than two hundred dollars. You haven't told me what that business was that I could earn fifteen dollars a week at."
"No," said Martin, "I've changed my mind about it. If Smith's goin' to serve me such a mean trick, I won't work for him no longer. I'll speak to him about it to-morrow."
Martin relapsed into silence. Rufus had given him something to think about, which disturbed him considerably. Though he had been disappointed in the contents of the box, he had not for a moment doubted the good faith of his confederate, and he was proportionately incensed now that the latter had appropriated seven dollars to his one. Considering that he had done all the work, and incurred all the danger, it did seem rather hard.
There was one bed in the room, rather a narrow one.
"I'm goin' to bed," said Martin, at length. "I guess the bed'll be big enough for us both."
"Thank you," said Rufus, who did not fancy the idea of sleeping with his step-father. "If you'll give me one of the pillows, I'll sleep on the floor."
"Just as you say, but you'll find it rather hard sleepin'."
"I shan't mind."
This was the arrangement they adopted. Martin took off his coat and vest, and threw himself on the bed. He was soon asleep, as his heavy breathing clearly indicated. Rufus, stretched on the floor, lay awake longer. It occurred to him that he might easily take the key of the door from the pocket of Martin's vest, which lay on the chair at his bedside, and so let himself out of the room. But even then it would be uncertain whether he could get out of the house, and he would have to leave the tin box behind him. This he hoped to get hold of through Humpy's assistance. On the whole, therefore, it seemed best to wait a little longer.
Humpy made up his mind to accept our hero's offer. Fifty dollars was to him a small fortune, and he saw no reason why he should not earn it. The brutal treatment he had received from Smith removed all the objections he had at first felt.
Now, how was he going to fulfil his part of the compact?
To release Rufus would be comparatively easy. He happened to know that the key of his own room in the attic would also fit the door of the chamber in which our hero was confined. The difficulty was to get possession of the tin box. He did not even know where it was concealed, and must trust to his own sagacity to find out.
To this end he watched his employer carefully whenever he got a chance to do so without being observed, hoping he might take the box out from its place of concealment. Finally Smith noticed the boy's glances, and said, roughly, "What are you looking at, boy? Do you think you shall know me the next time you see me?"
Humpy did not reply, but this made him more careful.
In the morning he took up our hero's breakfast, meeting Martin on his way downstairs.
"Well," said Rufus, eagerly, as he entered the room, "have you found out anything about the box?"
"Not yet," said Humpy. "I'm tryin' to find where he's hid it. I can let you out any time."
"I've got a key that fits this lock."
"That's well, but I'd rather wait till I can carry the box with me."
"I'll do what I can," said Humpy. "I'm goin' to watch him sharp. I'd better go down now, or maybe he'll be suspectin' something."
Humpy went downstairs, leaving Rufus to eat his breakfast. On his way down his attention was drawn by angry voices, proceeding from the room in which he had left Smith. He comprehended at once that Smith and Martin were having a dispute about something. He stood still and listened attentively, and caught the following conversation:—
"The boy tells me," said Martin, doggedly, "that there was four hundred dollars in the box. You only gave me fifty."
"Then the boy lies!" said Smith, irritated.
"I don't believe he does," said Martin. "I don't like him myself, but he aint in the habit of telling lies."
"Perhaps you believe him sooner than you do me."
"I don't see where the three hundred dollars went," persisted Martin. "Considerin' that I did all the work, fifty dollars was very small for me."
"You got half what there was. If there'd been more, you'd have got more."
"Why didn't you wait and open the box when I was there?"
"Look here," said Smith, menacingly, "if you think I cheated you, you might as well say so right out. I don't like beating around the bush."
"The boy says there was four hundred dollars. Turner told him so."
"Then Turner lies!" exclaimed Smith, who was the more angry, because the charge was a true one. "The box is just as it was when I opened it. I'll bring it out and show you just where I found the money."
When Humpy heard this, his eyes sparkled with excitement and anticipation. Now, if ever, he would find out the whereabouts of the tin box. Luckily for him the door was just ajar, and by standing on the upper part of the staircase he could manage to see into the room.
He saw Smith go to a desk at the centre of one side of the room, and open a drawer in it. From this he drew out the box, and, opening it, displayed the contents to Martin.
"There," said he, "that's where I found the money. There was a roll of ten ten-dollar bills. I divided them into two equal parts, and gave you your share. I was disappointed myself, for I expected more. I didn't think you'd suspect me of cheating you. But I don't want any fuss. I'll give you ten dollars off my share, and then you can't complain."
So saying, he took out a ten from his pocket-book, and handed it to Martin.
"Are you satisfied now?" he asked.
"I suppose I shall have to be," said Martin, rather sullenly, for he was by no means sure of the veracity of his confederate.
"It's all I can do for you at any rate," said Smith. "And now suppose we take breakfast. I shall want you to go to Newark to-day."
He replaced the box in the drawer, and, locking it, put the key in his pocket.
By this time Humpy thought it would do to reappear.
"Where've you been all the time?" asked Smith, roughly.
"The boy upstairs was talkin' to me."
"What did he say?"
"He asked what was your business."
"What did you tell him?"
"I told him I didn't rightly know; but I thought you was a manufacturer."
"Right, Humpy; you're a smart boy," laughed Smith. "You know a thing or two."
The boy showed his teeth, and appeared pleased with the compliment.
"What else did he ask?"
"He asked, would I let him out?"
"Did he, the young rascal? And what did you tell him?"
"Not for Joe!"
"Good for you! There's a quarter;" and Smith offered the boy twenty-five cents.
"If he'd done that yesterday instead of hittin' me," thought Humpy, "I wouldn't have gone ag'inst him."
But the money came too late. Humpy had a brooding sense of wrong, not easily removed, and he had made up his mind to betray his employer.
The breakfast proceeded, Humpy waiting upon the table. When the meal was over, Smith gave Martin some instructions, and the latter set out for Newark, which was to be the scene of his operations during the day. About half an hour later Smith said, "Humpy, I've got to go down town; I may be gone all the forenoon. Stay in the house while I am gone, and look out, above all, that that boy upstairs don't escape."
"Yes, sir," said Humpy.
When Smith left, the coast was clear. There were none in the house except Rufus and the boy who was expected to stand guard over him. The giant had gone to Philadelphia on some business, precisely what Humpy did not understand, and there was nothing to prevent his carrying out his plans.
He had two or three old keys in his pocket, and with these he eagerly tried the lock of the drawer. But none exactly fitted. One was too large, the other two were too small.
Humpy decided what to do. He left the house, and went to a neighboring locksmith.
"I want to get a key," he said.
"A little smaller than this."
"I must know the exact size, or I can't suit you. What is it the key of?"
"I can go with you to the house."
"That won't do," said Humpy. "I've lost the key, and I don't want the boss to know it. He'd find out if you went to the house."
"Then I'll tell you what you can do. Take an impression of the lock in wax. I'll give you some wax, and show you how. Then I'll make a key for you."
"Can you do it right off? I'm in a great hurry."
"Yes, my son, I'll attend to it right away."
He brought a piece of wax, and showed Humpy how to take an impression of a lock.
"There," said he, laughing, "that's the first lesson in burglary."
Humpy lost no time in hurrying back and following the locksmith's instructions. He then returned to the shop.
"How soon can I have the key?"
"In an hour. I'm pretty sure I've got a key that will fit this impression with a little filing down. Come back in an hour, and you shall have it."
Humpy went back, and seeing that there were some traces of wax on the lock, he carefully washed them off with soap. A little before the hour was up, he reported himself at the locksmith's.
"Your key is all ready for you," said the smith. "I guess it will answer."
"How much is it?"
Humpy paid the money, and hurried to the house, anxious to make his experiment.
The locksmith's assurance was verified. The key did answer. The drawer opened, and the errand-boy's eyes sparkled with pleasure as they rested on the box. He snatched it, hastily relocked the drawer, and went up the stairs two at a time. He had the key of his attic room in his pocket. With this he opened the door of the chamber, and, entering triumphantly, displayed to Rufus the tin box.
"I've got it!" he ejaculated.
Rufus sprang to his feet, and hurried up to him.
"You're a trump!" he said. "How did you get hold of it?"
"I haven't time to tell you now. We must be goin', or Mr. Smith may come back and stop us."
"All right!" said Rufus; "I'm ready."
The two boys ran downstairs, and, opening the front door, made their egress into the street, Rufus with the tin box under his arm.
"Where will we go?" asked Humpy.
"Are you going with me?"
"Yes, I want that money."
"You shall have it. You have fairly earned it, and I'll see that you get it, if I have to pay it out of my own pocket."
"I shan't go back," said Humpy.
"He'll know I let you out. He'll murder me if I go back."
"I'll be your friend. I'll get you something to do," said Rufus.
"Will you?" said the hunchback, brightening up.
"Yes. I won't forget the service you have done me."
Rufus had hardly got out these words when Humpy clutched him violently by the arm, and pulled him into a passageway, the door of which was open to the street.
"What's that for?" demanded Rufus, inclined to be angry.
Humpy put his finger to his lip, and pointed to the street. On the opposite sidewalk Rufus saw Smith sauntering easily along with a cigar in his mouth.
HOW RUFUS GOT BACK.
It happened that Smith espied the man whom he wished to meet, from the car-window, just as it turned into Canal Street. He got out, therefore, and, adjourning to a whiskey saloon, the two discussed a matter of business in which they were jointly interested, and then separated. Thus Smith was enabled to return home sooner than he had anticipated. He little suspected that his prisoner had escaped, as he walked complacently by on the opposite sidewalk.
"It's lucky I saw him," said Humpy. "He might have nabbed us."
"He wouldn't have nabbed me," said Rufus, resolutely. "He'd have found it hard work to get me back."
"He's stronger than you," said Humpy, doubtfully.
"I'd have called a copp, then," said Rufus, using his old word for policeman.
"He'll kill me if he ever gets hold of me," said Humpy, shuddering. "He horsewhipped me yesterday."
"Then he's a brute," said Rufus, who could not help feeling a degree of sympathy for the deformed boy, who had done him such good service.
"He never did it before," said Humpy. "That's what made me turn against him."
"And you won't go back to him?"
"Never!" said Humpy, decidedly. "He'll know I let you out."
"What's your name?" asked Rufus, remembering that he had never heard the name of his guide.
"They call me Humpy," said the deformed boy, flushing a little. He had got hardened to the name, he thought; but now that Rufus asked him, he answered with a feeling of shame and reluctance.
"Haven't you another name? I don't like to call you that."
"My name is William Norton, but I've most forgot it, it's so long since anybody ever called me so."
"Then I'll call you so. I like it better than the other. Have you made up your mind what to do, now you've left your old place?"
"Yes, I'm going out West,—to Chicago maybe."
"Why do you leave New York?"
"I want to get away from him," said William, indicating his old employer by a backward jerk of his finger. "If I stay here, he'll get hold of me."
"Perhaps you are right; but you needn't go so far as Chicago. Philadelphia would do."
"He goes there sometimes."
"What will you do in Chicago?"
"I'll get along. There's a good many things I can do,—black boots, sell papers, smash baggage, and so on. Besides, I'll have some money."
"The fifty dollars I am to give you?"
"I've got more besides," said Humpy, lowering his voice. Looking around cautiously, lest he might be observed, he drew out the calico bag which contained his savings, and showed to Rufus.
"There's twenty dollars in that," he said, jingling the coins with an air of satisfaction. "That'll make seventy when you've paid me."
"I'm glad you've got so much, William. Where did you get it all?"
"I saved it up. He paid me fifty cents a week, and gave me an extra quarter or so sometimes when he felt good-natured. I saved it all up, and here it is."
"When did you begin saving?"
"Six months ago. I used to spend all my money for oysters and cigars, but somebody told me smokin' would stop me from growin', and I gave it up."
"You did right. I used to smoke sometimes; but I stopped. It don't do a boy any good."
"Are you rich?" asked Humpy.
"No. What makes you ask?"
"You wear nice clo'es. Besides, you are goin' to pay me fifty dollars."
"I'm worth five hundred dollars," said Rufus, with satisfaction.
"That's a good deal," said Humpy, enviously. "I'd feel rich if I had so much."
"You'll be worth a good deal more some time, I hope."
"I hope so, but it'll be a good while."
While this conversation had been going on, the boys had been walking leisurely. But Rufus, who was anxious to restore the tin box as soon as possible, now proposed to ride.
"We'll jump aboard the next car, William," he said. "I'll pay the fare."
"Where are you goin'?"
"To Mr. Turner's office, to return the box."
"He won't think I had anything to do with stealin' it, will he?"
"No; I'll take care he doesn't."
They jumped on board the next car, and before long reached the termination of the car route, at the junction of Vesey Street and Broadway.
"Where's the place you're goin' to?" asked Humpy.
"In Wall Street. We'll be there in ten minutes."
The boys proceeded down Broadway, and in rather less than ten minutes, Rufus, followed by Humpy, entered his employer's office.
His arrival created a sensation.
"I am glad to see you back, Rufus," said Mr. Turner, coming forward, and shaking his hand cordially.
The clerks left their desks, and greeted him in a friendly manner.
"I've brought back the tin box, Mr. Turner," said Rufus. "I told you I'd get it back, and I have," he added, with pardonable pride.
"How did you recover it? Tell me all about it."
"This boy helped me," said Rufus, directing attention to Humpy, who had kept himself in the background. "But for him I should still be a prisoner, closely confined and guarded."
"He shall be rewarded," said the banker. "What is his name?"
Mr. Turner took the boy's hand kindly, dirty though it was, and said, "I will bear you in mind, my lad," in a tone which made Humpy, who before felt awkward and uncertain of a welcome, quite at his ease.
"Now for your story, Rufus," said the banker. "I am curious to hear your adventures. So you were a prisoner?"
"Yes, sir," answered Rufus, and forthwith commenced a clear and straightforward account of his experiences, which need not be repeated. He wound up by saying that he had promised Humpy fifty dollars in return for his assistance.
"Your promise shall be kept," said Mr. Turner. "I will pay you the money now, if you wish," he added, turning to Humpy. "I would advise you to put most of it in a savings-bank, as you are liable to be robbed, or to lose it."
"I'll put it in as soon as I get to Chicago," said Humpy.
"Are you going there?"
Rufus explained why the boy wished to leave New York.
"Do you want to start at once?"
"I'd like to."
"Then, Rufus, I think you had better go with him, and buy his ticket. You may also buy him a suit of clothes at my expense."
"Thank you, sir," said Humpy, gratefully.
"If you can spare me, Mr. Turner," said Rufus, "I would like to go home first, and let them know that I am safe."
"Certainly. That reminds me that a lady—was it your aunt?—was in the office an hour ago, asking for you."
"It was Miss Manning."
"I promised to let you go home when you appeared, and I think you had better do so at once to relieve the anxiety of your friends."
"Thank you, sir;" and Rufus was about to leave the office, when a thought occurred to him, and he turned back.
"I didn't think to tell you that the money had been taken out," he said.
"So I supposed. I will open the box."
The box being opened, it was discovered also that the government bonds were missing.
"That's too much to lose," said the banker. "What is the number of the house in which you were confined?"
Rufus was able to give it, having judged that it would be wanted.
"I shall give information to the police, and see what can be done towards recovering the bonds."
"Shall I go to the police-office for you, Mr. Turner?"
"No, you can go home at once. Then accompany this boy to a clothing-store, and afterwards to the Erie Railroad Station, where you may buy him a through ticket to Chicago. Here is the necessary money;" and Mr. Turner placed a roll of bills in the hands of our hero.
"Am I to buy the railroad ticket, also, out of this?"
"Yes. William shall have his fifty dollars clear to start on when he gets there."
Miss Manning had nearly got through with the morning lessons, when a quick step was heard ascending the stairs two or three at a time. Rose let drop the arithmetic, from which she had been reciting, and exclaimed, in glad excitement, "That's Rufie, I know it is!"
The door opened, and she was proved to be correct.
"Where've you been, Rufie?" exclaimed his sister, throwing her arms around his neck.
"Mr. Martin carried me off, Rosy."
"I knew he would; but you said you was too big."
"He was smarter than I thought for. Sit down, Rosy, and I'll tell you all about it. Were you anxious about me, Miss Manning?"
"Yes, Rufus. I don't mind saying now that I was, though I would not confess it to Rose, who fretted enough for you without."
So the story had to be told again, and was listened to, I need not say, with breathless interest.
"You won't let him catch you again, will you, Rufie?" said Rose, anxiously, when it was finished.
"Not if I know myself, Rosy," answered Rufus. "That can't be done twice. But I've got to be going. I've got ever so much to do. I'll be back to dinner at six."
He hastened downstairs, and rejoined Humpy, who had been waiting for him in the street.
Smith did not go home immediately. He intended to do so, but happened to think of an errand, and this delayed him for an hour or two.
When he entered the house, he looked around for his errand-boy, but looked in vain.
"Humpy!" he called out in a voice which could be heard all over the house.
There was no answer. Smith, who was not remarkable for patience, began to grow angry.
"Very likely the young rascal is in his room," he said to himself. "I'll stir him up."
He took the whip and ascended the stairs two or three at a time. Arrived in the attic, he peered into Humpy's room, but, to his disappointment, saw nobody.
"The little villain got tired of waiting, and went out, thinking I couldn't find him out," he muttered. "He shall have a taste of the whip when he comes back."
He went downstairs more slowly than he ascended. He was considerably irritated, and in a state that required an object to vent his anger upon. Under these circumstances his prisoner naturally occurred to him. He had the proper key in his pocket, and, stopping on the second floor, he opened the door of the chamber in which our hero had been confined. His anger may be imagined when he found it untenanted. It was not very dignified, but Smith began to stamp in his vexation, and lash with his whip an unoffending chair in which Rufus ought to have been seated.
"I wish it was that young villain!" muttered Smith, scowling at the chair, and lashing it harder. "I'd teach him to run away! I'd make him howl!"
Smith was considerably discomposed. Things were going decidedly against him. Besides, the escape of Rufus might entail serious consequences, if he should give information to the police about the place of his captivity. A visit from these officials was an honor which Smith felt disposed respectfully, but firmly, to decline. Unfortunately, however, policemen are not sensitive, and are very apt to intrude where they are not wanted. A visit to Smith's abode might lead to unpleasant discoveries, as he very well knew, and he could not easily decide what course it would be best for him to pursue. He inferred at once that Humpy had been bought over, and had released the prisoner, otherwise he would, undoubtedly, have detected or frustrated our hero's attempt to escape. This did not inspire very amiable feelings towards Humpy, whom it would have yielded him great satisfaction to get into his power. But Humpy had disappeared, and that satisfaction was not to be had.
Mingled with Smith's anger was a feeling of surprise. Humpy had been a good while in his employ, and he had reposed entire confidence in his fidelity. He might have continued to do so but for the brutal assault upon the boy recorded in a previous chapter. He did not think of this, however, or guess the effect it had produced on the mind of the deformed errand-boy.
"I think I had better get out of the city a week or two till this blows over," thought Smith. "I guess I'll take the afternoon train for Philadelphia."
This was a wise resolution; but Smith made one mistake. He ought to have put it into effect at once. At that very moment information was lodged at the office of police, which threatened serious consequences to him; but of this he was ignorant. He had no idea that Rufus would act so promptly.
In spite of his anger Smith was hungry. His morning walk had given him an excellent appetite, and he began to think about dinner. As, on account of the unlawful occupation in which he was engaged, he did not think it prudent to employ a cook, who might gossip about his affairs, he generally devolved the task of preparing the dinner upon Humpy, whom he had taught to cook eggs, broil beef-steak, make coffee, fry potatoes, and perform other simple culinary duties. Now that Humpy was gone, he was obliged to do this work himself.
He looked into the pantry, and found half-a-dozen eggs, and a slice of steak. These he proceeded to cook. He had nearly finished his unaccustomed task when the door opened, and Martin returned, with his nose a little redder than usual, and his general appearance somewhat disordered by haste.
"What brings you here so soon?" asked Smith, in surprise. "What's the matter?"
"I came near gettin' nabbed; that's what's the matter," said Martin.
"How did that happen?"
"I went into a cigar-store near the ferry in Jersey City," said Martin, "and asked for a couple of cigars,—twenty-cent ones. I took 'em, and handed in one of your ten-dollar bills. The chap looked hard at it, and then at me, and said he'd have to go out and get it changed. I looked across the street, and saw him goin' to the police-office. I thought I'd better leave, and made for the ferry. The boat was just goin'. When we'd got a little ways out, I saw the cigar man standin' on the drop with a copp at his elbow."
"You'd better not go to Jersey City again," said Smith.
"I don't mean to," said Martin. "Have you got enough dinner for me? I'm as hungry as a dog."
"Yes, there's dinner enough for two, and that's all there is to eat it."
Something significant in his employer's tone struck Martin.
"There's the boy upstairs," he said.
"There isn't any boy upstairs."
"You haven't let him go?" queried Martin, staring open-mouthed at the speaker.
"No, he got away while I was out this morning,—the more fool I for leaving him."
"But there was Humpy. How did the boy get away without his seeing him?"
"Humpy's gone too."
"You don't say!" ejaculated Martin.
"Yes, I do."
"What you goin' to do about it?" inquired Martin, hopelessly.
"I'll half kill either of the little rascals when I get hold of them," said Smith, spitefully.
"I'd give something out of my own pocket to get that undootiful son of mine back," chimed in Martin.
"I'll say this for him," said Smith, "he's a good sight smarter than his father."
"I always was unlucky," grumbled Martin. "I aint been treated right."
"If you had been you'd be at Sing Sing," returned Smith, amiably.
"Smith," said Martin, with drunken dignity, for he was somewhat under the influence of a liberal morning dram, "you'd ought to respect the feelin's of a gentleman."
"Where's the gentleman? I don't see him," responded Smith, in a sarcastic tone. "If you aint too much of a gentleman to do your share of the work, just draw out the table and put the cloth on."
This Martin, who was hungry, did with equal alacrity and awkwardness, showing the latter by over-turning a pile of plates, which fell with a fatal crash upon the floor.
"Just like your awkwardness, you drunken brute!" exclaimed Smith, provoked.
Martin did not reply, but looked ruefully at the heap of broken crockery, which he attributed, like his other misfortunes, to the ill-treatment of the world, and meekly got upon his knees and gathered up the pieces.
At length dinner was ready. Martin, in spite of an ungrateful world, ate with an appetite truly surprising, so that his companion felt called upon to remonstrate.
"I hope you'll leave a little for me. It's just possible that I might like to eat a little something myself."
"I didn't eat much breakfast," said Martin, apologetically.
"You'd better lunch outside next time," said his employer. "It will give you a good chance to change money."
"I've tried it at several places," said Martin; "I could do it better if you'd give me some smaller bills. They don't like to change fives and tens."
After dinner was despatched, and the table pushed back, Smith unfolded his plans to Martin. He suggested that it might be a little unsafe to remain at their present quarters for a week or fortnight to come, and counselled Martin to go to Boston, while he would go to Philadelphia.
"That's the way we'll dodge them," he concluded.
"Just as you say," said Martin. "When do you want me back?"
"I will write you from Philadelphia. You can call at the post-office for a letter in a few days."
"When had I better sell the bond?"
"That reminds me," said Smith. "I will take the box with me."
He went and unlocked the drawer in which the box had been secreted. To his dismay he discovered that it was gone.
"Have you taken the tin box?" he demanded, turning upon Martin with sudden suspicion.
"Isn't it there?" gasped Martin.
"No, it isn't," said Smith, sternly. "Do you know anything about it?"
"I wish I may be killed if I do!" asserted Martin.
"Then what can have become of it?"
"It's my undootiful boy that took it,—I'm sure it is," exclaimed Martin, with sudden conviction.
"He had no key."
"Humpy got him one, then."
Just then Smith espied on the floor some scraps of wax. They told the story.
"You're right," he said, with an oath. "We've been taken in worse than I thought. The best thing we can do is to get away as soon as possible."
They made a few hurried preparations, and left the house in company. But they were too late. A couple of officers, who were waiting outside, stepped up to them, as they set foot on the sidewalk, and said, quietly, "You must come with us."
"What for?" demanded Smith, inclined to show fight.
"You'd better come quietly. You are charged with stealing a box containing valuables."
"That's the man that did it," said Smith, pointing to Martin. "He's the one you want."
"He put me up to it, and shared the money," retorted Martin.
"You're both wanted," said the officer. "You'll have a chance to tell your story hereafter."
As this winds up the connection of these two worthies with our story, it may be added here that they were found guilty, not only of the robbery, but of manufacturing and disseminating counterfeit money, and were sentenced to Sing Sing for a term of years. The bonds were found upon them, and restored to Mr. Vanderpool.
Thus the world persists in its ill-treatment of our friend, James Martin. Still I cannot help thinking that, if he had been a sober and industrious man, he would have had much less occasion to complain.
In the course of an hour Humpy was provided with a new suit, which considerably improved his appearance. Rufus accompanied him to the Erie Railway Station, where he purchased for him a through ticket to Chicago, and saw him enter the cars.
"Good-by, William, and good luck!" said Rufus.
"Good-by," said Humpy. "You're a trump. You're the first friend I ever had."
"I hope I shan't be the last," said Rufus. "Shall I give your love to Smith, if I see him?"
"Never mind about it."
Rufus was compelled to leave the station before the cars started, in order to hurry back to the office. Arrived there a new errand awaited him.
"Rufus," said Mr. Turner, "do you remember where Mr. Vanderpool lives?"
"The owner of the tin box? Yes, sir."
"You may go up at once, and let him know that his property is recovered."
This task Rufus undertook with alacrity. He had been pleased with what he saw of Mr. Vanderpool on his first visit, and was glad to be able to tell him that the box, for whose loss he felt partly to blame, was recovered.
He was soon ringing the bell of the house in Twenty-Seventh Street.
Mr. Vanderpool was at home, the servant told him, and he was ushered immediately into his presence.
The old gentleman, who had been writing, laid aside his pen, and, looking up, recognized Rufus.
"You're the boy that came to tell me about my property being stolen, are you not?" he asked.
"Yes, sir; but it's found."
"Bless my soul, you don't say so! Did the thief give it up?"
"No," said Rufus. "I took it from him."
"Is it possible? Why, you're only a boy," said Mr. Vanderpool, regarding him with interest.
"Boys can do something as well as men," said Rufus, with pardonable pride.
"Tell me all about it."
Rufus told his story as briefly as possible. When he described how he had been entrapped and imprisoned, Mr. Vanderpool said, "Bless my soul!" several times.
"You're a brave boy!" he said, when the story was finished.
"Thank you, sir," said Rufus, modestly.
"Were you not afraid when you were locked up by those bad men?"
"Not at all, sir."
"I should have been. I don't think I am very brave. You've behaved very well indeed, Master —— I don't remember your name."
"Master Rushton, I must make you a present."
"I have only done my duty, Mr. Vanderpool. I don't want any present for that."
"We'll talk about that afterwards. By the way, have you thought anything more about the question whether the planets are inhabited?"
"I can't say I have, sir. I've had so much else to think about."
"Very true, very true. I've written a few pages more, which I will read to you if you have time."
"I should like very much to hear them, sir; but I am afraid I must hurry back to the office."
"Ah, I am sorry for that," said the old gentleman, in a tone of disappointment, but he brightened up immediately.
"I'll tell you what, my young friend," he said; "you shall come and dine with me next Saturday at six, and then we will have the evening to ourselves. What do you say?"
"I shall be very happy to come, sir," said Rufus, not quite sure whether he would be happy or not.
When Saturday came he presented himself, and was very cordially received by the old gentleman. The dinner was a capital one, and served in excellent style. Mr. Vanderpool paid Rufus as much attention as if he were a guest of distinction,—read him his essay on the planets, and showed him some choice engravings. The evening passed very agreeably, and Rufus was urged to come again. He did so, and so won the favor of the old gentleman that at the end of two months he was invited to come and make his home permanently in the house in Twenty-Seventh Street.
"Thank you, Mr. Vanderpool," said our hero. "You are very kind; but I shouldn't like to leave Miss Manning and my little sister."
"Have you a little sister? Tell me about her."
"Her name is Rose, and she is a dear little girl," said Rufus, warmly.
"How old is she?"
"Eight years old."
"I am glad she is not a young lady. You can bring her too. I've got plenty of room. Who is Miss Manning?"
"She is a friend of mine, and teaches my sister."
"Why can't she come and look after my servants? I have no house-keeper."
"I will mention it to her," said Rufus.
Rufus did mention it to Miss Manning, who by appointment called upon the old gentleman. Mr. Vanderpool repeated the invitation, and offered her ten dollars per week for her services. Such an offer was not to be rejected. Miss Manning resigned her situation as governess to Mrs. Colman's children, greatly to that lady's disappointment, and removed with Rose to the house of Mr. Vanderpool. Elegant chambers were assigned to all three, and they found themselves living in fashionable style. As neither had any board to pay, Rufus felt justified in dressing both Rose and himself in a manner more befitting the style in which they now lived, while Miss Manning also, finding that she was expected to preside at the table, felt called upon to follow their example. It was such a change for all three that it seemed like a dream sometimes when they recalled the miserable attic in Leonard Street, and the humble lodging near the North River.
Rose was sent to school, and had a music-teacher at home. Miss Manning also, having considerable time at her disposal, took lessons in music and French, and soon acquired very respectable proficiency in both. The old gentleman, so long accustomed to solitude, seemed to renew his youth in the cheerful society he had gathered around him, and came to look upon Rufus and Rose as his own children. He was continually loading them with gifts, and his kindness won their gratitude and affection. He tried to induce Rufus to give up his situation with the banker; but our hero was of an independent turn, and had too active a temperament to be content with doing nothing. On the succeeding Christmas he received from Mr. Vanderpool a very costly gold watch, which I need not say was very acceptable.
About six months after her entrance into the house, Miss Manning was profoundly astonished by receiving from the old gentleman an offer of marriage.
"I don't ask for romantic love, my dear Miss Manning," said Mr. Vanderpool, "but I hope you will not find it hard to like me a little, and I'll try to make you happy. I don't want to hurry you. Take a week to think of it."
Miss Manning did take a week to think of it. She was not in love with Mr. Vanderpool,—that was hardly to be expected, as he was thirty years older than she,—but she did respect and esteem him, and she knew that he would be kind to her. So she said yes, after consulting with Rufus, and one morning, without any fuss or ostentation, she was quietly married, and transformed from plain Miss Manning into the rich Mrs. Vanderpool. I may say here that neither she nor her husband has seen cause to repent the match, so unexpectedly brought about, but live in harmony and mutual friendship, as I hope they may continue to do to the end of their days.
When Rufus reached the age of twenty-one, he was agreeably surprised by an offer from Mr. Turner to take him into partnership.
"But, Mr. Turner," he said, "I have very little capital,—far too little for a partner in such a large business."
"You have fifty thousand dollars. That will answer very well."
"I don't understand you, sir," said Rufus, suspecting that Mr. Turner was crazy, or was dreaming.
"You remember the tin box which you recovered five years ago?"
"Mr. Vanderpool has made it over with its contents to you as a free gift. Its value, as you remember, is fifty thousand dollars, or rather more now, some of the stocks having risen in value."
Rufus was quite affected by this munificent gift, and no longer objected to the plan proposed. Shortly after, the style of the firm was changed, and now, as you pass through Wall Street, if you will closely examine the signs on either side of the street, your eyes may light on this one:—
TURNER AND RUSHTON, BANKERS
You will have no trouble in conjecturing that the junior partner in this firm is the same who was first known to you as Rough and Ready. If you think that our young friend, the newsboy, has had rare luck, I hope you will also admit that, by his honesty, industry, and generous protection of his little sister, he has deserved the prosperity he has attained.
George Black has long since bought out his partner's interest in the periodical store, and now carries on quite a flourishing trade in his own name. Smith and Martin are still in prison, their term of confinement not yet having expired. What adventures yet remain in store for James Martin I am unable to say, but I doubt if he will ever turn over a new leaf. His habits of indolence and intemperance are too confirmed to give much hope of amendment.
* * * * *
The fortunes of Rough and Ready, so far as this record is concerned, are now ended, and with them is completed the sixth and concluding volume of the Ragged Dick Series. But the flattering interest which his young friends have taken in these pictures of street life leads the author to announce the initial volume of a new series of stories of similar character, which will soon be published under the name of
TATTERED TOM: OR, THE ADVENTURES OF A STREET ARAB.
FAMOUS ALGER BOOKS.
Horatio Alger, Jr., has attained distinction as one of the most popular writers of books for boys, and the following list comprises all of his best books.
RAGGED DICK SERIES.
Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York. Fame and Fortune; or, The Progress of Richard Hunter. Mark the Match Boy; or, Richard Hunter's Ward. Rough and Ready; or, Life among the New York Newsboys. Ben the Luggage Boy; or, Among the Wharves. Rufus and Rose; or, The Fortunes of Rough and Ready.
TATTERED TOM SERIES. (First Series.)
Tattered Tom; or, The Story of a Street Arab. Paul the Peddler; or, The Adventures of a Young Street Merchant. Phil the Fiddler; or, The Young Street Musician. Slow and Sure; or, From the Sidewalk to the Shop.
TATTERED TOM SERIES. (Second Series.)
Julius; or, The Street Boy Out West. The Young Outlaw; or, Adrift in the World. Sam's Chance and How He Improved it. The Telegraph Boy.
LUCK AND PLUCK SERIES. (First Series.)
Luck and Pluck; or, John Oakley's Inheritance. Sink or Swim; or, Harry Raymond's Resolve. Strong and Steady; or, Paddle Your Own Canoe. Strive and Succeed; or, The Progress of Walter Conrad.
LUCK AND PLUCK SERIES. (Second Series.)
Try and Trust; or, The Story of a Bound Boy. Bound to Rise; or, How Harry Walton Rose in the World. Risen from the Ranks; or, Harry Walton's Success. Herbert Carter's Legacy; or, The Inventor's Son.
BRAVE AND BOLD SERIES.
Brave and Bold; or, The Story of a Factory Boy. Jack's Ward; or, The Boy Guardian. Shifting for Himself; or, Gilbert Greyson's Fortunes. Wait and Hope; or, Ben Bradford's Motto.
Frank's Campaign; or, the Farm and the Camp. Paul Prescott's Charge. Charlie Codman's Cruise.
The Young Adventurer; or, Tom's Trip Across the Plains. The Young Miner; or, Tom Nelson in California. The Young Explorer; or, Among the Sierras. Ben's Nugget; or, A Boy's Search for Fortune. A Story of the Pacific Coast.
The Young Circus Rider; or, The Mystery of Robert Rudd. Do and Dare; or, A Brave Boy's Fight for Fortune. Hector's Inheritance; or, Boys of Smith Institute.
Famous Castlemon Books.
No author of the present day has become a greater favorite with boys than "Harry Castlemon," every book by him is sure to meet with hearty reception by young readers generally. His naturalness and vivacity leads his readers from page to page with breathless interest, and when one volume is finished the fascinated reader, like Oliver Twist, asks "for more."
By Harry Castlemon.
Frank the Young Naturalist. Frank in the Woods. Frank on the Prairie. Frank on a Gunboat. Frank before Vicksburg. Frank on the Lower Mississippi.