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Slow and Sure - The Story of Paul Hoffman the Young Street-Merchant
by Horatio Alger
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Julius walked up to the bar and called for a glass of lager.

"Here, Johnny," said the barkeeper.

While he was drinking, a miserable-looking man, whose outward appearance seemed to indicate that Fortune had not smiled upon him lately, sidled in, and without coming to the bar, walked up to the table where the free lunch was spread out.

"What'll you have to drink, my friend?" asked the barkeeper, pointedly.

The man looked rather abashed, and fumbled in his pockets.

"I'm out of money," he stammered.

"Then keep away from the lunch, if you please," said the proprietor of the establishment. "No lunch without a drink. That's my rule."

"I'm very hungry," faltered the man, in a weak voice. "I haven't tasted food for twenty-four hours."

"Why don't you work?"

"I can't get work."

"That's your lookout. My lunch is for those who drink first."

Julius had listened to this conversation with attention. He knew what it was to be hungry. More than once he had gone about with an empty stomach and no money to buy food. He saw that the man was weak and unnerved by hunger, and he spoke on the impulse of the moment, placing five cents in his hand.

"Take that and buy a drink."

"God bless you!" uttered the man, seizing the coin.

"What'll you have?" asked the barkeeper.

"Anything the money will buy."

A glass of lager was placed in his hands and eagerly quaffed. Then he went up to the table and ate almost ravenously, Julius bearing him company.

"God bless you, boy!" he said. "May you never know what it is to be hungry and without a penny in your pocket!"

"I've knowed it more'n once," said Julius.

"Have you—already? Poor boy! What do you do for a living?"

"Sometimes one thing—sometimes another," said Julius. "I'm blackin' boots now."

"So I am relieved by the charity of a bootblack," murmured the other, thoughtfully. "The boy has a heart."

"Can't you get nothin' to do?" asked Julius, out of curiosity.

"Yes, yes, enough to do, but no money," said the other.

"Look here," said the barkeeper, "don't you eat all there is on the table. That won't pay on a five-cent drink—that won't."

He had some cause for speaking, for the man, who was almost famished, had already eaten heartily. He desisted as he heard these words, and turned to go out.

"I feel better," he said. "I was very weak when I came in. Thank you, my boy," and he offered his hand to Julius, which the latter took readily.

"It ain't nothin'," he said, modestly.

"To me it is a great deal. I hope we shall meet again."

Street boy as he was, Julius had found some one more destitute than himself, and out of his own poverty he had relieved the pressing need of another. It made him feel lighter-hearted than usual. It was the consciousness of having done a good action, which generally brings its own reward, however trifling it may have been.

Though himself uneducated, he noticed that the man whom he had relieved used better language than was common among those with whom he was accustomed to associate, and he wondered how such a man should have become so poor.

"I don't want to see that man again," said the barkeeper. "He spends five cents and eats twenty cents' worth. If all my customers were like that, I should soon have to stop business. Do you know him?"

"Never seed him afore," said Julius.

He shouldered his box and ascended the steps to the sidewalk above. He resolved to look out for business for the next two hours, and then go around to the necktie stand of Paul Hoffman.



CHAPTER XII.

A GOOD ACTION MEETS ITS REWARD.

Paul Hoffman was standing beside his stock in trade, when all at once he heard the question, so common in that neighborhood, "Shine yer boots?"

"I guess not," said Paul, who felt that his income did not yet warrant a daily outlay of ten cents for what he could easily do himself.

"I'll shine 'em for nothin'," said the boy.

Such a novel proposition induced Paul to notice more particularly the boy who made it.

"Why for nothing?" he asked, in surprise, not recognizing Julius.

"You gave me a dinner yesterday," said Julius.

"Are you the boy?" asked Paul, with interest.

"I'm the one," answered Julius. "Will you have a shine?"

"I don't want any pay for the dinner," said Paul. "You're welcome to it."

"I'd rather give you a shine," persisted Julius.

"All right," said Paul, pleased by his grateful spirit, and he put out his foot.

"Won't you let me pay for it?" asked Paul, when the job was finished and his boots were resplendent with a first-class polish.

"No," said Julius, hastily drawing back.

"Thank you, then. Have you had good luck this morning?"

"I got four shines," said Julius.

"I once blacked boots myself, for a little while," said Paul.

"You're doin' better now."

"Yes, I'm doing better now. So will you some day, I hope."

"Do you live in a house on Madison avenue?" asked Julius, abruptly.

"Yes," said Paul, surprised. "Who told you?"

"You take care of the house for a gentleman as has gone to Europe, don't you?"

"How do you know it?" demanded Paul.

"I want to tell you something" said Julius, "only don't you never let on as I told you."

"All right. Go ahead!" said Paul, more and more mystified.

"Ain't there some gold and bonds kept in the house?"

"Why do you ask?" demanded Paul, eying the boy with suspicion.

"There's a couple of chaps that's plannin' to rob the house," said Julius, sinking his voice almost to a whisper, and looking cautiously about him to guard against being overheard.

"Who are they? How do you know it?" asked Paul, startled.

"One is Jack Morgan, the man I live with; the other is a friend of his, Tom Marlowe."

"Did you hear them talking about it?"

"Yes; last night."

"Did they tell you about it?"

"They wanted me to find out all about you—if you'd got any friends in Brooklyn, or anywheres round. They want to get you off the night they're goin' to break in."

"When is that?"

"Next Monday."

"What made you tell me all this?"

"'Cause you was good to me and give me a dinner when I was hungry."

"Give me your hand," said Paul, his heart warming toward the boy who exhibited so uncommon a feeling as gratitude.

"It's dirty," said Julius, showing his hand stained with blacking.

"Never mind," said Paul, grasping it warmly. "You're a good fellow, and I'd rather take your hand than a good many that's cleaner."

Julius, rough Arab as he was, looked gratified, and his face brightened. He felt that he was appreciated, and was glad he had revealed the plot.

"Now," said Paul, "you have told me about this man's plans; are you willing to help me further? Are you willing to let me know anything more that you find out about the robbery?"

"Yes, I will," said Julius, unhesitatingly.

"Then I'll depend upon you. What sort of a man is this that you live with? What's his name?"

"His name is Jack Morgan. He's a bad sort, he is. He's shut up most of the time."

"What makes you stay with him?"

"I'm used to him. There ain't nobody else I belong to."

"Is he your father?"

"No, he ain't."

"Any relation?"

"Sometimes he says he's my uncle, but maybe it ain't so—I dunno."

"Is he a strong man?"

"Yes; he's a hard customer in a fight."

"How about the other man?"

"That's Marlowe. He's the same sort. I like Jack best."

"Do you think they will try to break in next Monday night?"

"If they think you are away."

"What will you tell them?"

"What do you want me to tell them?" asked Julius, looking at him earnestly.

"I don't know," said Paul, thoughtfully. "If you should say I was going to be away, they'd want to know where, and how you found out. They might suspect something."

"That's so," said Julius.

"Suppose they heard that I would remain in the house, what would they do to prevent it?"

"They might get you took up on a false charge and put in the station-house over night, or maybe they'd seize you if they got a chance and lock you up somewhere."

"How could they have heard that Mr. Talbot left any valuables in the house?"

Julius shook his head. On that point he could give no information.

"You may tell them," said Paul, after a moment's thought, "that I have an aunt, Mrs. Green, living in Brooklyn."

"Whereabouts in Brooklyn?"

"No. 116 Third avenue," said Paul, at a venture. "Can you remember?"

"Yes."

"They will probably send a message from her late Monday evening for me to go over there."

"Will you go?"

"I will leave the house, for they will probably be watching; but I shall not go far, and I shall leave the house well guarded."

Julius nodded.

"I'll tell 'em," he said.

He was about to go, when Paul called him back.

"Won't you get yourself into trouble?" he said. "I should not want to have any harm come to you."

"They won't know I'm in the game," answered Julius.

"Will you come to-morrow and let me know what they say?"

"Yes."

Julius crossed Broadway and turned into Fulton street, leaving Paul full of thought. He felt what a great advantage it was to be forewarned of the impending danger, since being forewarned was forearmed, as with the help of the police he could prepare for his burglarious visitors. He saw that the money he had paid for a dinner for a hungry boy was likely to prove an excellent investment, and he determined that this should not be the last favor Julius received from him.

Meanwhile Julius returned to business. With the help of his blacking materials he succeeded in earning a dollar before the close of the day. Unluckily, half of this was to be given to the young capitalist who had supplied him with a box and brush; but still fifty cents was more than he would probably have earned if he had been compelled to depend upon chance jobs. At six o'clock he met his young employer and handed over fifty cents, which the other pocketed with much satisfaction.

"Do you want to take the box ag'in to-morrow?" he asked.

"Yes," said Julius.

"All right. You can keep it then. You can take it home with you and bring me the stamps to-morrow night at this same hour."

So the contract was continued, and Julius, having treated himself to some supper, went home.

Jack Morgan was already there. He looked up as Julius entered.

"Where'd you get that box?" he asked.

"I borrored it."

"Of a boy?"

"Yes; I give him half I makes."

"How much did you make to-day?"

"Ten shines. That was a dollar."

"And half of it went to you?"

"Yes, Jack."

"Where is it?"

"I had to get my dinner and supper. There's all that's left."

He handed Jack ten cents.

"Why didn't you keep the whole of the money?" grumbled Jack. "You needn't have paid the boy."

"He'd have licked me."

"Then I'd lick him."

Julius shook his head.

"That would be cheatin'," he said. "I wouldn't want to cheat him when he give me the box."

"Oh, you're gettin' mighty particular," sneered Jack, not very well satisfied at having so large a portion of the boy's earnings diverted from himself.

"If I had a box and brush of my own I could keep all the stamps I made," said Julius.

"I'm dead broke. I can't give you no money to buy one. Did you go to see that boy I told you of?"

"Paul Hoffman?"

"Yes, if that's his name."

"Yes, I went to see him."

"And did you find out anything?" asked Jack, with eagerness.

"Yes."

"Well, out with it, then. Don't let me do all the talking."

"He's got an aunt as lives in Brooklyn."

"Whereabouts?"

"No. 116 Third avenue."

"How did you find out?"

"I got 'him to talkin'."

"That's good. And did he suspect you?"

"No," said Julius.

"No. 116 Third avenue," repeated Jack. "I must put that down. Did he tell you the name?"

"Mrs. Green."

"That's good. We'll trump up a message from her late Monday evening. I wish I knew how things was arranged in the house."

"Maybe I could go there," said Julius.

"What, to the house?"

"Yes. I could go there in the evenin' and ask him if he'd let me have some old clothes. Maybe he'd invite me upstairs, and—"

"You could use your eyes. That's a good idea, but I don't believe you'd get a chance to go up."

"Shall I try?"

"Yes; you may try to-morrow night. If we make a haul, you shall have your share. Halloo, Marlowe!"

These last words were addressed to Marlowe, who entered unceremoniously without knocking.

"I'm in luck," said Marlowe. "Here's a fiver," and he displayed a five-dollar greenback. "Come out and we'll have a jolly supper."

Jack accepted the invitation with alacrity, communicating to his companion as they walked along the information Julius had picked up.



CHAPTER XIII.

PAUL MAKES A PURCHASE.

It is not very pleasant to be informed that your house is to be entered by burglars. Still, if such an event is in prospect, it is well to know it beforehand. While Paul felt himself fortunate in receiving the information which Julius gave him, he also felt anxious. However well he might be prepared to meet the attack, he did not like to have his mother and Jimmy in the house when it was made. Burglars in nearly every case are armed, and if brought to bay would doubtless use their arms, and the possible result of a chance shot was to be dreaded. On Monday night, therefore, if that should be the one decided upon by the burglars, he made up his mind that his mother and Jimmy should sleep out of the house. He lost no time in proposing this plan to his mother.

"Mother," said he on reaching home, "I have had some news to-day."

"Not bad, I hope?" said Mrs. Hoffman.

"I leave you to judge," answered Paul, with a smile. "We are to have visitors next Monday evening."

"Visitors, Paul? Who are they?"

"Mr. Jack Morgan and Mr. Marlowe."

"Are they friends of yours? I never heard you mention them."

"I never saw them that I know of."

"Then why did you invite them here?"

"They invited themselves."

"I don't understand it, Paul. If you don't know them, why should they invite themselves here?"

"Perhaps you'll understand me better, mother, when I tell you their business."

"What is it?"

"They are burglars."

"Burglars!" repeated Mrs. Hoffman, turning suddenly pale and sinking back into a chair, for she had been standing.

"Yes, mother. They have found out, though I can't tell how, that there are some bonds and plate in the safe upstairs, and that is their reason for coming."

"How did you find out, Paul? What a dreadful thing!" gasped Mrs. Hoffman.

"It will be worse for them than for us, I am thinking," said Paul. "It was a boy told me—a boy that lives with them. I'll tell you about it."

He gave his mother an account of what had already been communicated to him.

"Oh, dear, we shall be murdered in our beds!" exclaimed his mother, in dismal accents.

Upon this Jimmy began to cry, but Paul only laughed.

"I thought you were braver, Jimmy," he said. "If I buy you a pistol, will you promise to use it?"

"I don't know," said Jimmy, dubiously. "I should be afraid to shoot a great big man. Would he have a pistol, too?"

"Probably."

At this Jimmy began to cry again, and Paul hastened to say: "Don't be afraid; I don't mean to have you sleep in the house that night."

"Where can we go?"

"I think Mrs. Norton will let you stop with her that night."

"And you will come, too, Paul?" said Mrs. Hoffman.

"And let the house be robbed, mother? What would Mr. Talbot think of that?"

"But you will be killed. What can you do against such bad men?"

"What would you recommend, mother?" asked Paul.

"You might write a letter to them, telling them you knew all about their plan and you would have them arrested if they came."

"I don't think, mother," said Paul, laughing, "that that would be the best course. I want to get them here and catch them. Then they can be shut up, and we shall be safe from any further attempts. I am going to police headquarters, and they will tell me what to do. Probably two or three officers will be concealed in the house, and when the burglars are fairly in will arrest them."

"You needn't stay, Paul."

"It is my duty, mother. We are left by Mr. Talbot in charge of the house and what it contains. Some of us ought to be here at such a time. I will take care not to get into danger."

Mrs. Hoffman was a woman and a mother, and it was with difficulty that Paul could convince her that it was his duty to remain. At length, however, she acquiesced, and agreed to go and see Mrs. Norton the next day and ask permission to remain with her on Monday night.

The next day Julius came to Paul's stand.

"Is there any news, Julius?" asked Paul.

"Nothin' much," said Julius. "Jack wants me to call up to your house and find out where the gold is kept."

"How does he think you are going to do it without my suspecting?"

"He told me to go up and ask for some old clothes. Then, if you didn't let me into the house, I was to ask for something to eat."

"A good plan." said Paul. "When are you coming?"

"To-night."

"Very well; I'll be ready for you. Is there any change in the evening?"

"No. They're comin' Monday night."

"I'll be ready for them," said Paul.

"What are you goin' to do?" asked Julius, and he fixed a pair of sharp, black eyes on Paul.

"Can I trust you, Julius?" demanded Paul, with a keen glance at the boy.

"Yes," said Julius.

"Then," said Paul, "I mean to have them arrested. They'll walk into a trap."

Julius looked thoughtful.

"Don't you like it, Julius?"

"I dunno," said the boy, slowly.

"Do you like this man Morgan?"

"I don't like him. I'm used to him."

"And you don't like the idea of his being arrested through your means?"

Julius nodded.

"I know how you feel, but I don't see how it can be helped. If he didn't rob us he would rob somebody else. Did he ever do any honest work?"

"Not as I knows on."

"How does he live?"

"By stealin' and gamblin'."

"I hope he won't teach you to follow his example, Julius."

"I don't want to be like him."

"Why not?"

"I want to be respectable, like you."

"You know it's wrong to steal."

"Yes," said Julius, but without any great depth of conviction. The fact is, stealing was too familiar to his observation to excite in him detestation or horror. But he was a sharp boy. He knew that his guardian for the last five years had spent more than half the time in confinement. Even when free he lived from hand to mouth. Julius had made up his mind that it did not pay. He saw that an honest mechanic got a good deal more comfort and enjoyment out of life than Jack, and he had a vague wish to become respectable. This was encouraging, as far as it went. Higher considerations might come by and by.

"If you want to be respectable, Julius, I'll help you," said Paul.

"Will you?" said Julius.

"Yes; you are doing me a great favor. I shall be in your debt, and that's the way I will pay you. You mustn't grow up like the man you live with."

"I don't want to."

"We'll talk about that after Monday. We shall have more time then."

"Shall I come up to-night, then?"

"Yes, come."

Julius strolled away with his blacking-box, and Paul was left to his reflections.

"He'll make a good boy if he's only encouraged," said Paul to himself. "I don't know what would have become of me if I'd been brought up by burglars like him. There's nothing like having a good mother. There ain't any excuse for a boy going wrong if he's got a good mother."

Paul was right. Our destinies are decided more than we know by circumstances. If the street boys, brought up to a familiarity with poverty, and often with vice and crime, go astray, we should pity as well as condemn, and if we have it in our power to make the conditions of life more favorable for any, it is our duty, as the stewards of our common Father, to do what we can.

It occurred to Paul that he had no old clothes to give Julius, all his wardrobe, not very extensive at the best, having been burned up in the fire which consumed his old home. As he had told Julius to come up, it was necessary that he should have something to give him, and he therefore decided to provide himself at a second-hand clothing store. He knew well enough where they were to be found. His old street companions used to go to Chatham street and Baxter street in search of clothing, and these localities, though not distinguished for fashion, are at least reasonable in their scale of prices.

A little earlier than usual Paul closed his stand, and walked across the City Hall Park and up Chatham street to a store he had frequently seen. Like most of its class, it had a large portion of its stock displayed outside, where the proprietor stood, keen-eyed and watchful, on the lookout for customers.

"Can I sell you something this afternoon?" he asked, obsequiously, as Paul halted in front of his store.

"That depends upon whether I see anything that suits me," answered Paul.

Before he had finished, the dealer had seized his arm, and, hurrying him into the store, pulled down a coat, on the merits of which he began to expatiate with voluble tongue.

"I don't want anything for myself," said Paul. "I want to buy a coat for a boy of twelve. Have you got anything of the right size?"

Paul need not have asked. The trader was keen at a sale, and if Barnum's giant had called for a second-hand suit, would have sworn boldly that he had the very thing. In the present case Paul found a coat which, as well as he could judge, would about fit Julius. At any rate, the street boy was not likely to be fastidious as to the quality or exact fit of a coat, which, at all events, would be a decided improvement upon the one he was now wearing.

"What is the price of this?" asked Paul.

"Five dollars," was the reply.

Paul was too well accustomed to the ways of Chatham street to pay the first price demanded, or the second or third. Finally he succeeded in getting the coat for one dollar and a half, which was cheap, although the dealer made a fair profit even at this price. Before the bargain was concluded, a tall man strayed in, and watched the bargaining with slight interest. Paul would have been not a little surprised had he known that this man was one of the burglars against whom he was contriving measures of defense. It was, indeed, Marlowe, who, having dexterously picked the pocket of a passenger on the Third avenue cars an hour before, found himself thirty dollars richer by the operation, and being himself out at elbows, had entered this shop on an errand similar to Paul's.

"What can I sell you?" asked the shopkeeper, to his new customer.

"I want a coat," said Marlowe, roughly; "good and cheap. Don't try any of your swindling tricks on me, for I won't stand them."

With the details of the negotiation that followed we have nothing to do. It is enough to say that this chance meeting between Paul and Marlowe was not without its results, though neither knew the other.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE SPOT UPON THE COAT.

When Julius went home at six o'clock he found Marlowe and his guardian (if Jack Morgan deserves the title) sitting over a game of cards. They looked up as he entered the room.

"Well, Julius, how are you getting on?" asked Jack. "Have you found out anything more?"

"Not yet, Jack."

"Then it's time you did."

"I'm goin' up to the house to-night."

"Does he know it?"

"Yes; he told me to come."

"What made him do that?"

"I axed him for some old clothes. He told me to come up to-night and he'd give me some."

"That's good," said Jack, approvingly. "Mind you keep your eyes open when you're there. Find out where the swag is kept. It'll save me and Marlowe some trouble."

Julius nodded.

"I'll do my best," he said.

"What time are you going up?"

"In an hour or so."

"I hope we'll make a haul, Marlowe," said Jack. "I haven't been in luck lately. If I could raise a thousand or so I'd clear out of these diggings. The cops know me too well."

"Where would you go, supposin' you got the money?" asked his companion.

"I'd go to California. They don't know me there. Something might turn up for me."

"I'll go with you, Jack, if you go. I've got tired of New York, and, as you say, they know me too well hereabouts. Will you take the boy?"

"No," said Jack carelessly. "He knows how to take care of himself. He'll be better off here."

Julius listened to this conversation, thoughtfully watching the speaker as he spoke, and it helped him to a decision in a matter that had troubled him somewhat. He could not help seeing that Jack Morgan cared nothing for him, except so far as it suited his convenience to have his companionship. Looking back, he could not see that he owed him any gratitude. The balance of favors was on the other side. He had done more for Jack than Jack for him. He asked himself if he wanted to go with Jack Morgan on this journey, and he answered his own question in the negative. It was better that he should leave him now forever. With him he could only look forward to a future of shame and disgrace.

"What are you thinking about, boy?" asked Marlowe. "Do you want to go to California with Jack and me?"

"No," answered Julius.

"Why not?"

"I'd rather stay here," answered Julius shortly.

"When I was a lad I'd have liked to go off on a journey like that."

"I like stayin' here."

"He's used to the streets," said Jack. "He likes 'em. That's best, as he can't go."

"Can you take care of yourself?" asked Marlowe.

"I always has," said Julius.

"That's so," said Jack, laughing. "You ain't given me much trouble, Julius."

The men resumed their game, and the boy looked on silently. After awhile seven o'clock struck, and Julius rose from his seat.

"I'm goin'," he said.

"All right, Julius. Keep your eyes open."

"I know," said the boy.

He had saved enough money to pay for a ride uptown. He took the Fourth avenue cars, and in half an hour found that he had reached the cross street nearest to his destination. Five minutes later he rang the basement bell of the house in Madison avenue.

Paul saw him enter the area, and went himself to open the door.

"Come in, Julius," he said. "I have been expecting you. Have you had any supper?"

"I bought some coffee and cakes."

"I think you can eat a little more," said Paul, smiling. "Mother, can't you give Julius some dinner?"

"Is this the boy you expected, Paul?"

"Yes, mother."

"I saved some for him. Sit down at the table, Julius," she said hospitably.

Julius did as he was told, and directly Mrs. Hoffman took from the oven a plate of meat and vegetables, which had thus been kept warm, and poured out a cup of tea also. These were placed before the young Arab. His eyes lighted up with pleasure at the tempting feast, and the vigor of his assaults showed that the coffee and cakes which he had partaken had by no means destroyed his appetite. Mrs. Hoffman and Paul looked on with pleasure, glad that they had been able to give pleasure to their young visitor. Jimmy, who had heard them speak of Julius, hovered near, surveying him with curiosity. He wanted to "interview" Julius, but hardly knew how to begin. Finally he ventured to ask: "Are you the boy that lives with the robbers?"

"Jimmy!" said his mother reprovingly.

But Julius was not sensitive.

"Yes," he answered.

"Ain't you afraid of them?" continued Jimmy.

"What for?" asked Julius.

"Because robbers are bad men."

"They wouldn't hurt me," said the young Arab indifferently.

"You ain't a robber, are you?"

"No," said Julius in a matter-of-fact tone.

"What makes you live with them?"

"I haven't got anybody else to live with," said Julius.

"Are they going to rob this house?"

"Jimmy, you are talking too much," said Paul reprovingly. "I suppose they haven't changed their plans, have they, Julius?"

"No."

"They mean to come next Monday?"

"Yes."

"Did they know you were coming up here this evening?"

"Yes; I told 'em you were goin' to give me some clo'es."

"Yes," said Paul. "I've got a coat for you."

He opened a bundle and displayed the purchase he had made that afternoon in Chatham street.

"Try it on, Julius," he said.

Julius took off the ragged coat he had on and tried on the one Paul had purchased.

"It is an excellent fit," said Mrs. Hoffman.

"Look at yourself in the glass," said Paul.

Julius surveyed himself with satisfaction. Though second-hand, the coat was decidedly superior to the one he had taken off.

"It's a bully coat," he said. "Thank you."

"You are quite welcome, Julius. You may as well wear it. You can put your old one in a paper and take it back with you."

"Jack wanted me to find out where the money was kept," said Julius.

"You may tell him it is in a safe in the front room on the second floor. But how did he expect you would find out?"

"He left that to me."

"And what will you tell him?"

"I dunno. I'll think of something."

"He won't suspect you, will he?"

"I guess not."

"Suppose he did?"

"He'd kill me," said Julius.

"What a dreadful man he must be!" exclaimed Mrs. Hoffman, shuddering. "How do you dare to live with him?"

"I shan't live with him much longer," said Julius. "He said to-night he'd go to Californy if he got swag enough here."

"What is swag?" asked Mrs. Hoffman, bewildered.

"He means money, or articles of value," explained Paul. "I don't think he'll go to California, Julius. I think he'll go somewhere else."

"I guess I'll go," said Julius, moving toward the door.

"You need not be in a hurry. We should like to have you stay longer."

"He'll expect me," said Julius.

"Go, then, if you think it best. But it is a long distance downtown, and you must be tired. Here is money to pay your fare in the cars."

"Thank yer," said Julius.

He accepted the money, and went out, first, however, promising to call upon Paul the next day at his stand and let him know whether there was any change in Jack Morgan's plans.

"I pity the poor boy," said Mrs. Hoffman, after he went out. "What a dreadful thing it is to live with such a desperate man!"

"I will see what I can do to help him next week," said Paul. "We shall owe him something for letting us know of the robbery."

"I shudder to think what might have happened if we had been taken by surprise. We might have been murdered in our beds."

Jimmy looked so frightened at this suggestion that Paul laughed.

"It is no laughing matter, mother," he said; "but Jimmy looked so thoroughly scared that I couldn't help being amused. Don't be alarmed, Jimmy. We'll take good care of you."

Meanwhile Julius was returning to the miserable room which he called home. He was thinking how he could communicate the information agreed upon without arousing the suspicions of the two confederates. Finally he decided upon a story which seemed to him satisfactory.

It was nine o'clock when he entered the room where Jack Morgan and Marlowe, having got tired of playing cards, were leaning back against the wall in their chairs, smoking clay pipes. The room was full of the odor of a villainous quality of cheap tobacco when Julius reappeared.

"Well, Julius," said Jack, removing his pipe from his mouth and regarding him eagerly, "what luck?"

"Good," said Julius briefly

"What have you found out?"

"I found out that the swag is in a safe upstairs on the second floor."

"Good!" exclaimed Jack, admiringly. "Didn't I tell you he was a sharp one, Marlowe?"

"How did you find that out?" asked Marlowe keenly. "You didn't ask, did you?"

"I ain't a fool," answered Julius.

"You haven't answered my question."

"They give me some supper," said Julius, who had got his story ready, "and while I was eatin' I heard Mrs. Hoffman tell Paul that she had got some men to move the safe from the front room on the second floor into the bathroom. She didn't say what was in it, but it's likely the money's there."

"The boy's right, Marlowe," said Jack.

"Did they give you anything else besides supper?" asked Marlowe.

"Yes; they give me this coat," answered Julius, indicating the coat he had on. "Ain't it a bully fit?"

"Maybe they'd like to adopt you," said Jack jocosely. "If me and Marlowe go to Californy, you can go there."

Meanwhile Marlowe's attention had been drawn to the coat. It struck him that he had seen it before. He soon remembered. Surely it was the one that he had seen purchased in Chatham street the same afternoon. Coats in general are not easily distinguishable, but he had noticed a small round spot on the lapel of that, and the same reappeared on the coat which Julius brought home.



CHAPTER XV.

SUSPICION.

Julius had been about the streets all day, and felt tired. He threw himself down in the corner, and was soon asleep. Marlowe and Jack kept on with their game, the latter wholly unconscious of the thoughts that were passing through the mind of his companion.

Finally Marlowe, at the conclusion of a game, said: "I won't play any more to-night, Jack."

"Tired, eh?"

"Tired of playing, but I've got something to say to you."

"Out with it," said Morgan, tilting his chair back against the wall.

"Wait a minute."

Saying this, Marlowe rose from his seat, and advancing to the corner, leaned over the sleeping boy, and listened intently to his deep regular breathing.

"What's up?" asked Morgan, surprised.

"I wanted to make sure that the boy was asleep," answered Marlowe.

"Why? Don't you want him to hear?"

"No, I don't; for what I have to say is about him."

"Go ahead."

"I mistrust that he's going to sell us, Jack."

"What!" exclaimed Morgan.

"Don't speak so loud. You might wake him."

As he spoke, Marlowe came back and resumed his seat, bending over and speaking to Jack in a low tone.

"What have you got into your head, Marlowe?" said Jack incredulously. "Julius sell us! Impossible!"

"Why impossible?"

"He'd never think of such a thing. What put it into your head?"

"I'll tell you. Do you see that coat he brought home?"

"Yes. What of it?"

"The boy—Paul Hoffman—gave it to him. I saw him buy it this afternoon in a secondhand store in Chatham street."

"Are you sure the coat is the same?"

"Yes; I know it by a spot I noticed at the time. Now, what should he take the trouble to buy a coat for unless the boy had done him some service? It's different from giving him an old coat he had thrown aside."

"That's so," said Jack thoughtfully. "Perhaps he's took a fancy to Julius."

"Perhaps he has," repeated Marlowe incredulously. "You know he ain't rich enough to buy coats to give away."

"I can't think the boy would betray us," said Jack slowly.

"Perhaps he wouldn't; I ain't sure; but we must guard against it."

"How?"

"We must attack the house sooner than we meant. Suppose we say Saturday night?"

"The boy will be in the house."

"It can't be helped. If he makes trouble we must silence him."

"I'd rather have a clear field Monday night."

"So would I; but suppose the cops are waiting for us?"

"If I thought Julius would do that," said Jack, scowling at the sleeping boy, "I'd kill him myself."

"I don't see why we can't do it Saturday night. We can easily overpower young Hoffman. As for Julius, he'll be asleep. Of course, he mustn't know of our change of plan."

"If you think it best," said Morgan in a tone of indecision; "but I'm almost sure I can trust the boy."

"I trust nobody," said Marlowe. "I wouldn't trust my own brother, if he had an interest in goin' against me."

"Do you trust me?" asked Jack, smiling.

"Yes, I trust you, for we are both in the same boat. It wouldn't do you any good to betray me."

"Yes, we're both in the same boat, but you're steerin'. Well, Marlowe, just make your plans, and count me in. You always had a better headpiece than I."

"Then Saturday night let it be. To-day's Thursday."

"Then we have only two days to get ready."

"It will do."

"We'll lock the boy in that night, so he can't make mischief if he wakes up and finds that we are gone."

During this conversation Julius remained fast asleep. Jack soon lay down, and Marlowe also, the latter having taken up his quarters with his friend. The next morning Julius was the first to wake. He leaned on his elbow and looked carelessly at the sleepers. Big, bloated, with a coarse, ruffianly face, Jack lay back with his mouth open, anything but a sleeping beauty. Julius had never thought much of his appearance, but now that he had himself begun to cherish some faint aspirations to elevate himself above his present condition, he looked upon his associates with different eyes, and it struck him forcibly that his guardian had a decidedly disreputable look.

"I won't stay with him long," thought Julius. "If he's took by the cops, I'll set up for myself and never go back to him."

Marlowe lay alongside of his companion, not so disreputable as he in appearance, but not a whit better as regards character. He was the abler of the two mentally, and so was the more dangerous. As Julius looked at him carelessly, he was startled to hear Marlowe talk in his sleep. He was prompted by a natural curiosity to listen, and this was what he heard:

"Don't trust the boy! Make it Saturday night."

These words fastened the attention of Julius. His heart beat quicker as it was revealed to him that his want of fidelity was discovered, or at least suspected. He lay quite still, hoping to hear more. But Marlowe said nothing in addition. Indeed, these words were the precursor of his waking.

Julius saw the indications of this, and prudently closed his own eyes and counterfeited sleep. So when Marlowe in turn looked about him he saw, as he thought, that both his companions were asleep. He did not get up, for there was nothing to call him up early. He was not one of the toiling thousands who are interested in the passage of eight-hour laws. Eight hours of honest industry would not have been to his taste. He turned over, but did not again fall asleep.

Meanwhile Julius, after a sufficient interval, appeared to wake up. He rose from his couch, and gave himself a general shake. This was his way of making his morning toilet.

"Are you awake, Julius?" asked Marlowe.

"Yes."

"You sleep sound don't you?"

"Like a top."

"How did they treat you at that house in Madison avenue?"

"They was kind to me. They gave me some supper."

"Did they ask you if you had a father?"

"Yes."

"What did you tell 'em?"

"That I hadn't got none."

"Did they ask who you lived with?"

"Yes," said Julius, after a slight pause.

"And you told 'em?"

"I told 'em I lived with a friend some of the time, when he wasn't absent in the country," said Julius, grinning, as he referred to Jack's frequent terms of enforced seclusion.

"Was you ever at the Island, Julius?"

"No."

"That's odd! You don't do credit to Jack's teaching."

"Likely I'll go some time," said Julius, who, knowing that he was suspected, thought it would not do to seem too virtuous.

"It ain't so bad when you're used to it. Let me see that coat."

Julius tossed it over to Marlowe. It was the only part of his clothing which he had taken off when he went to bed.

"It's a good coat."

"Yes, a bully one."

"The boy—young Hoffman—used to wear it, didn't he?"

"Likely he did, but he's a good deal too big to wear it now."

"How big is he?"

"Most as tall as Jack," said Julius, Jack being considerably shorter than Marlowe.

"Big enough to make trouble. However, he'll get a telegram Monday, to go over to Brooklyn, that'll get him out of the way."

"That's a good plan, that is!" said Julius, knowing very well that it was only said to deceive him.

"Shall you see him to-day?"

"If you want me to."

"I don't know," said Marlowe. "Do you know where he sleeps?"

"No," said Julius. "You didn't tell me to ask."

"Of course not. It would only make him suspect something. But I didn't know but you heard something said, as you did about the safe."

He eyed Julius keenly as he spoke, and the boy perceiving it, concluded that this was the cause of the sudden suspicion which appeared to have been formed in Marlowe's mind. Of course he knew nothing of the coat, as Paul had not told him of having purchased it.

"I didn't hear nothin' said about it," he answered. "If he's away, you won't mind."

"That's true. I suppose you didn't find out where his mother sleeps."

"Yes, I did. It's the front basement. There was a bed in the room."

Marlowe asked no further questions, and the conversation dropped. Julius threw his blacking-box over his back, and opening the door went out. His mind was busily occupied with the revelation which he had unexpectedly overhead. It seemed clear that the plans of the burglars had been changed, and that the attack was to be made on Saturday night, and not on Monday night, as first proposed. He must tell Paul Hoffman, for he had made his choice between his new friend and his old guardian. On the one side was respectability; on the other a disreputable life, and Julius had seen enough of what it had brought to Jack not to relish the prospect in his own case. He determined to acquaint Paul with the change of plan, and went around to Broadway for that purpose. But Paul had not got opened for business. He had delayed in order to do an errand for his mother.

"I can go later," thought Julius. "It will do just as well."

In this he was mistaken, as we shall see.



CHAPTER XVI.

LOCKED UP FOR THE NIGHT.

About nine o'clock, after a comfortable breakfast, for which he had paid out of his morning's earnings, Julius went round again to Paul's necktie stand. He had just opened for business when the boy came up.

"You're late this mornin'," said Julius. "I was here before."

"Yes; I was detained at home. Is there anything new?"

"Yes, there is," said Julius.

"What is it?"

"They suspect somethin'."

"Who?"

"Jack and Marlowe. They think I ain't to be trusted."

"How do you know? Did they tell you so?" inquired Paul, with interest.

"No; Marlowe talked in his sleep."

"What did he say?"

"'Don't trust the boy! Make it Saturday night.'"

"Saturday night!" repeated Paul in excitement. "Why, that's to-morrow night."

Julius nodded.

"Do they know you overheard?"

"No."

"So you came and told me. You're a good fellow, Julius. You have done me a great favor."

"You've been good to me," said Julius. "That's why I did it."

"I shall be ready for them to-morrow night, then," said Paul.

This conference was watched, though neither Julius nor Paul was aware of it. Marlowe, on leaving the room some time after Julius, had come into the vicinity with the design of getting a view of Paul and ascertaining whether he was the boy whom he had seen purchasing the coat. He came up a moment after Julius reached the stand. Of course he identified Paul, and his suspicions as to the good understanding between him and Julius were confirmed by seeing them together. He listened intently, hoping to catch something of their conversation, but though not far off, the street noises were such as to render this impossible.

"The young viper!" he said to himself. "He's sold us, as sure as my name's Marlowe. I'll wring his neck for him. He'll find he's got into dangerous business."

He went back and reported to Jack what he had seen.

"If I thought the boy was playin' us a trick," growled Jack, "I'd strangle him; but I ain't sure. You didn't hear what he said?"

"No; I couldn't hear, but it stands to reason that he's sold us."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Nothing yet. The boy don't know that we have changed our plans. He thinks we trust him. Let him think so, and when we get ready to go out Saturday night, we'll tie him hand and foot, so he can't stir. Then we'll go up to the house and take 'em unprepared."

"All right," said Jack. "Your head's longer than mine, Marlowe. You know best."

"Of course I do," said Marlowe. "You've got the strength and I've got the brain."

Jack Morgan extended his arms, and watched his muscular development with satisfaction. He was not sensitive about the slight to his understanding. He was content to be thought what he was, a strong and dangerous animal.

What preparations were necessary to be made were made during that day and the next by the two confederates. They were made during the absence of Julius, that he might know nothing of what was going on. Further to mislead him, the two spoke two or three times on the previous evening of their expedition of Monday night. Julius fathomed their design, and was sharp enough not to appear particularly interested.

So Saturday night came. At six o'clock Julius entered the room and found the two seated together. He had had half a mind not to appear at all, but to cut loose from them forever; but this would lead to suspicion, and he changed his mind. Though he had not seen Paul since, he had reason to believe that he had made preparations to receive the two burglars. In all probability they would be arrested, and this would be their last meeting.

"How are you, Jack?" he said, as he entered the room, with a little qualm at the thought that this man, bad as he was, was so near falling into the hands of justice, and by his means.

Jack looked at him, but did not answer. His expression was menacing, as Julius perceived, and his heart beat more quickly, as he thought, "Has he found out anything?"

But luckily for him neither Jack nor Marlowe knew anything definite. Had it been so, the boy's life would have been in peril.

"Have you seen young Hoffman to-day?" asked Marlowe.

"No."

"He don't know we're going to call Monday night, does he?"

"No," said Julius, and he answered truly. "Where could he find out?"

"You might say something to let him know."

"What would make me do that?" said Julius boldly.

"You might think he'd pay you for telling him."

"He ain't rich," said Julius.

"Do you know what I'd do to you if I found out as you'd sold us," here broke in Jack Morgan, his dull eyes gleaming fiercely. "I'd kill you."

"What makes you say that to me, Jack?" said Julius, not showing the fear he felt.

"Oh, it ain't nothin' to you, then?"

"No, it isn't."

Of course this was a falsehood, but it would have been idle to expect the truth from one like Julius, under such circumstances. He knew Jack well enough to understand that he was quite capable of carrying out his threat, and it decided him, when the two went out, to go out himself and not to return. They might find out that he had been dealing falsely with them, and if so his life was in danger. It was yet early, and he decided to go out at once, as he usually did, for it was not very agreeable to pass an entire evening in the miserable tenement rooms.

"Where are you going?" asked Marlowe, as he lifted the latch of the door.

"I'm goin' out. I haven't had any supper."

"You can do without supper to-night, eh, Jack?"

"Yes, he can do without supper to-night."

"Why? What's up?" demanded the boy.

"Never mind what's up," answered Marlowe. "You ain't goin' out to-night."

"I'm hungry."

"We'll bring you some supper. We're goin' out ourselves."

"You never kept me in before," said Julius, who felt that it was best to show surprise at the action of the confederates, though it did not surprise him.

"That's neither here nor there. You ain't goin' out to-night."

"All right," said Julius, "if you say so; only bring a feller some grub."

"We'll bring you some," said Jack, who was not as fully convinced as his comrade of Julius' treachery.

They left the room, carefully locking the door behind them.

Julius sat down on the bed, and began to review the situation. Evidently he was to be locked up in the room through the night, while Jack and Marlowe were robbing the house on Madison avenue. In all probability they would be arrested, and prevented from returning. But suppose one or both escaped from the trap in which they were expected to fall. If their suspicions of his fidelity were aroused now they would be confirmed by the discovery of the police. Knowing the desperate character of both, Julius reflected with a shudder that his life would possibly be sacrificed. It would not do for him to remain here. He must escape by some means.

But how? This was a difficult question to answer. The room was on the third floor, with a solitary window looking out into a small, dirty court. It was too high up to jump with safety, and there was nothing in the room by which he could descend.

He was still considering this question an hour later, when the two returned.

Jack had in his hand a couple of apples.

"There," said he, tossing them to Julius. "That'll do you till mornin'."

"Thank you," said Julius.

It was true that he had had no supper, and he ate the apples with a good appetite. The two men sat down, and, producing the same old, greasy pack of cards which they had before used, began to play. It was not until a late hour that they could go about the business which they had planned. Twelve o'clock was as early as they could venture to attempt entering the house. To prime them for the task, they had brought in with them a plentiful supply of whisky, of which they partook at frequent intervals. They offered none to Julius.

By and by Julius went to bed. He knew they would not go out till eleven, probably, and he would like to have kept awake till then. But this would have been unusual, and perhaps have increased suspicion. So after awhile he lay quiet, and pretended to be asleep. The men kept on playing cards till half-past ten. Then Marlowe spoke:

"We'll hold up now. It's time to be goin'."

"What time is it?"

"Most eleven."

"The boy's asleep."

"Is he?"

Marlowe went to the bed and leaned over. Julius felt his breath on his face, but gave no sign that he was still awake. He was filled with curiosity to know whether Marlowe and Jack meant to carry out their plan this evening.

"He seems to be asleep," said Marlowe, "but we'll lock him in, to make sure. In three hours we'll be back, if all goes well, with plenty of swag."

"I hope so, Marlowe. I've got tired of livin' this way; we'll go to California if we come out right."

"I'm with you, Jack, on that. A pal of mine went out to the mines and got rich. Then he swore off and turned respectable."

"So would I, if I had plenty of tin."

"I've no objection myself, with plenty of money to back me. Money's what makes the difference between people in this world. Give me a hundred thousand, and instead of bein' Tom Marlowe I would be Thomas Marlowe, Esq., our eminent fellow-citizen, and you would be the Hon. John Morgan, eh, Jack?"

Jack laughed at the unfamiliar title, though possibly he was no more undeserving of it than some who flaunt it in the face of society.

"I'm the figger for an Honorable," he said. "But it's time to be goin'. Here's good luck!" and he poured down a glass of the whisky at one gulp.

They carefully locked the door behind them, and their heavy steps were heard descending the rickety stairs.

Julius listened till the sound was no longer heard. Then he jumped up from the pallet on which he had been counterfeiting sleep, and said to himself, "It ain't safe to stay here any longer. How shall I get out?"



CHAPTER XVII.

TRAPPED.

It was close upon midnight when Marlowe and Jack approached the house in Madison avenue. There was one thing connected with the position of the house, not before mentioned, which favored their attempt. It was a corner house, and in the rear a high wall separated the area from the street. The two confederates judged that this would be the most feasible way of entrance.

"Boost me up, Marlowe, first," said Jack Morgan. "You're lighter'n me, and can get up alone. I'm fat and clumsy, and I couldn't 'go it alone' to save my neck."

"All right, Jack. Are you ready?"

"Yes. Shove away."

Jack, raised by his companion, got firm hold of the top of the wall, and by an effort clambered over.

"I'm over, all right," he said, in a low voice. "Get over yourself."

Marlowe looked cautiously up and down the street, till he was satisfied no policeman was in sight, then, making a leap, seized the wall, and, by the exercise of his strength, drew himself up, and then, of course, easily descended into the area.

"Here we are," said Jack, in a tone of satisfaction. "Now for work."

"The lights are all out," said Marlowe, softly. "I hope they are all asleep."

"It's likely they are."

"Did Julius say whether any of them slept in the basement?"

"He didn't find out."

"Well, we must risk it. We'll reconnoiter a little and see what's the best way to get in."

At length it was decided that a particular window afforded the easiest ingress. Of course it was fastened inside; but they were not novices, and this presented not the slightest difficulty to their practiced hands. With an instrument pointed with a diamond, they cut out the pane of glass just beneath, and, thrusting in a hand, Marlowe turned back the fastening. Then the window was softly raised, and both entered.

They were now in the kitchen. It was dangerous to grope about in the dark, for some article of furniture might be overturned, and that would probably create an alarm which would be fatal to their plans. The first thing, therefore, was to strike a light.

They had a dark lantern with them, and this was speedily lighted. Then both removed their shoes, and one after the other filed into the entry.

"Take care, Jack," said Marlowe. "The woman may be sleeping in the front basement, and might hear you if you make the least noise."

"Suppose she does?"

"We must gag her. If it's the boy, I'll dispose of him pretty quick."

All was still as death. Neither had the slightest idea that their plan was known, and that preparations of a most unwelcome character had been made for their reception—that, in fact, they had ventured into a trap. But on the previous evening Paul had called at the nearest police station, and, communicating what he knew in regard to the intended attack, had asked for a guard. One of the force had been instructed to go back with him and carefully examine the house, the better to provide, not only for defense, but for the capture of the burglars.

"They will enter through the back area window," said the officer at once. "Where do you sleep?"

"My mother and little brother sleep in the front basement. I sleep upstairs."

"The basement must be left vacant."

"Certainly. I wouldn't trust mother and Jimmy there such a night."

"You had better all go upstairs—to the upper floor, if you like—and we will conceal ourselves on the second floor."

"We will do as you think best. I will stay with you."

"No, Paul," said Mrs. Hoffman, terrified.

"I can't think of your exposing yourself to so much danger."

"I'm not afraid, mother. I think it is my duty."

"You can do no good," said the officer. "There will be enough of us to take care of them."

With some reluctance Paul gave up his plan. He was bold and courageous, and, like most boys of his age, he was fond of adventure. An encounter with burglars promised no little excitement, and he wanted to be present, and have his share in it. But when he saw how uneasy and alarmed his mother was, he yielded his desire, as I am sure you, my boy reader, would have done in his place, even had your wish been as strong as his.

Jimmy was now fast asleep; but neither Mrs. Hoffman nor Paul could so readily compose themselves to slumber under the circumstances. They were standing at the head of the attic stairs, listening intently for the slightest sound from below which might indicate the arrival of the expected visitors. At length they heard a pistol shot, then a shriek, then confused noises of feet and voices, and they knew that the encounter had taken place. We must go back and explain what had happened. Carrying their shoes in their hands, the two burglars crept up the basement stairs. Their hopes were high. Their entrance had not yet been observed, and even if it were, they were two strong men against a woman and two boys, the oldest only half-grown. There seemed nothing to fear.

"Now for the safe," said Marlowe. "It's somewhere on the second floor."

"The door of the room may be locked."

"Then it'll take us longer, that's all."

But the door was not locked, and the safe was in the front room on the second floor. In the back room the police were concealed, and were listening intently to the movements of the burglars. Should the latter discover them they were ready for an immediate attack, but they hoped the visitors would get to work first. In this hope they were gratified.

By chance the two confederates entered the front room first.

"Here's the safe, Marlowe," whispered Jack, in tones of satisfaction. "Now, if luck's on our side, we'll make a raise."

"You talk too much," cautioned his companion. "Work first, and talk afterward."

They approached the safe, and Jack kneeled down before it and prepared to effect an entrance. Marlowe was about to follow his example, when his ear, made acute by necessity, distinguished a footstep outside.

"Jack," said he in a sharp whisper, "I hear a step outside."

Instantly Jack Morgan was on his feet.

"Do you think we are heard?"

"Perhaps so. If we are we must secure ourselves. It may be the boy. If it is, we'll quiet him pretty quickly."

They never dreamed of any opposition which they would be unable to withstand. Paul was, of course, no match for them, and as to Mrs. Hoffman, she might go into a fit of hysterics, or might give the alarm. It would be easy to dispose of her. Since, therefore, there was nothing to fear, the two confederates thought it best to face the enemy at once and put him hors de combat.

Thereupon Marlowe opened the door at once, and, to his dismay, found himself confronted by four stalwart policemen.

"The game's up, Jack!" he shouted. "Save yourself!"

He made a spring, eluding the grasp of the officers, and plunged downstairs at a breakneck rate. Meanwhile Jack had snapped a pistol at one of the policemen, but it missed fire. By a return shot he was wounded in the shoulder, and his right arm hung useless. He broke into a volley of execrations.

"Do you surrender?" demanded the officer, at whom he had fired.

"I must," said Jack, in a surly tone. "You're four to one."

Only one policeman had followed Marlowe downstairs. Circumstances favored the escape of this, the more dangerous villain of the two. At the foot of the basement stairs was a door, and on the outside was a bolt. This Marlowe had noticed on going up, and the knowledge stood him in good stead. He got downstairs sufficiently in advance of the policeman to bolt the door and so obstruct his progress. This gave him time, and time was all-important to him. While the officer was kicking at the door and trying to burst it open, as he finally did, Marlowe dashed through the kitchen and got out at the open window. Then he had to scale the wall; but this was easy to do on the inside, for there was a narrow ledge midway. In less than a minute he was on the pavement outside, and fleeing from the danger under cover of the darkness.

When he had got far enough to dare to slacken his pace time also came for thought, and he was able to consider how it happened that four officers were concealed in the house. There was but one possible explanation.

"It was that cursed boy!" he muttered, grinding his teeth in a fierce rage. "He betrayed us. He upset the likeliest plan I've joined in for years. He shall suffer for it, curse it! Before I go to sleep this night I'll give him a lesson. He won't need but one."

His soul thirsting for revenge, he hurried back to the miserable room in which Julius was confined. He had no doubt of finding him, for he was satisfied the boy could not get out.

Meanwhile Jack Morgan was compelled, by superior force, to surrender at discretion. The blood was trickling from the wound in his shoulder, and on the whole, he looked the burglar to perfection. While they were slipping on the handcuffs the officer who had pursued Marlowe returned and reported that he had escaped.

"Bully for him!" said Jack. "He's smart, Marlowe is!"

"So his name is Marlowe, is it?"

"You knew it before," said Jack, in a surly tone. "Who told you about our coming here to-night?"

"Never mind!" said the officer. "It was our business to find out, and we found out."

"I know well enough who blabbed," growled Jack. "Curse him! I'd like to strangle him."

"I don't know whom you suspect, my man," said the officer; "but I think it'll be some time before you'll have a chance to carry out your benevolent purpose."

"Perhaps it will," returned Jack; "but Marlowe ain't took yet. He'll attend to the business for both of us;" and there wis a look of malignant joy on his face as he thought of the sure retribution that would overtake Julius.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE VALUE OF A CLOTHES-LINE.

When Julius found himself alone and understood that his companions had actually started on their illegal expedition, he felt that there was pressing need of action. He must escape by some means. While the prospect was that they would be captured, and so prevented from returning, on the other hand, one or both might escape, and in that case he knew enough of their savage and brutal character to realize that he would be in the greatest danger. He rose from his bed, and began to devise ways and means of escape.

The first and most obvious outlet, of course, was the door. But this was locked, and the key was in Marlowe's possession. Then there was the solitary window. It was on the third floor, and looked out into a court. It was too high to jump from, and the only other way was by a rope, but there was no rope in the room. Had there been a bedstead of the right kind, the bedcord would have served his purpose, but there was no bedstead at all. With a democratic contempt for such a luxury, all three slept on the floor. The prospect was not encouraging.

"I wonder if I could hang out of the window?" thought Julius.

He looked out, and decided that he would run the risk of breaking a limb if he attempted it. So that plan had to be given up.

Julius sat down and reflected. It occurred to him that perhaps Mrs. O'Connor's key (she roomed just beneath) would open the door. At any rate it was worth trying.

He stamped on the floor with such force that, as he expected, it attracted the attention of those beneath. Listening intently, he heard the woman ascending the staircase. He began to jump up and down with renewed vigor.

"What's the matter wid ye?" called Mrs. O'Connor through the keyhole. "Are you drunk?"

"I'm sick," returned Julius.

"Is it the jumpin' toothache ye have?" asked the Irish woman.

"I'm awful sick. I don't know what it is."

"Open the door, and I'll come in."

"I can't. The door's locked, and Jack has gone away."

Here Julius began to groan again.

"Poor bye!" said the compassionate woman. "What will I do for ye?"

"Try the door with your key. Perhaps it will open it."

"I'll do that same."

She drew out a key, and tried to put it in the lock, but to no purpose. It would not fit.

"I can't open it," she said.

This was a severe disappointment to Julius, who saw his chances of success fade away one by one.

"Have you got a clothes-line, Mrs. O'Connor?" he asked, suddenly.

"Yes," said the good woman, rather astonished, with a vague idea that Julius expected to cure himself by means of it. "And what for do you want it?"

"If you will go down to the court and throw it up to me, I'll get out of the window."

"And what good will that do you?"

"I will go for the doctor."

"I'll go meself, and save you the trouble."

"But he can't get through the keyhole."

"Thrue for you. Wait a bit, and I'll do it."

Mrs. O'Connor descended, and, obtaining from her room a well-worn clothes-line, went below, and, after two or three futile attempts, succeeded in throwing it up so that Julius could seize it.

"Thank you, Mrs. O'Connor," said the boy in exultation. "I'll come down directly."

He soon had it secured, and then boldly got out of the window and swung off. In a minute he was by the side of his friend.

"How do ye feel now?" asked the good woman, in a tone of sympathy.

"Better," said Julius.

"What made them lock ye up?"

"They didn't think I'd want to go out till mornin'. Good-bye, Mrs. O'Connor; I'm goin' for the doctor. You can get your line in the mornin'."

He left the house with a quick, alert step, showing no further evidence of pain. Mrs. O'Connor noticed it, and wondered that he should have got over his sickness so soon. Julius had been tempted to take her into his confidence and explain the real state of the case, but in the uncertain issue of the burglary he decided that it would not be best.

"Good-bye, old house!" he said, looking back to it in the indistinct light; "I shall never come back and live here again. I'll go down to the wharves and find a place to sleep the rest of the night."

He turned his steps in the direction of the East River. He found an out-of-the-way corner on one of the piers, where he disposed himself for sleep. It was nothing new to him. Scores of times he had spent the night in similar places, and never found fault with the accommodations. They might be poor, but the best of it was there was nothing to pay, and he must be indeed unreasonable who could complain under such circumstances. He fell asleep, but the shadow of recent events was upon him. He dreamed that Marlowe had him by the throat, and woke up in terror to find a dock-hand shaking him by the shoulder.

"Avast there!" said the man, who had caught some phrases from the sailors; "wake up and pay for your lodgin's."

"All my money's in the bank," said Julius. "I can't get at it till the bank opens."

"Not then, either," said the dock-hand, good-humoredly. "Well, I'll let you off this time. Your wife's expectin' you home."

"Are you sure of that?" said Julius. "I told her I was goin' to a party, and she needn't expect me home till mornin'."

"Well, the party's broke up, and you'd better be going," returned the other, good-naturedly.

Meanwhile let us go back to Marlowe, whom we left hurrying home a little past midnight, intent upon wreaking his vengeance on Julius for his treachery. Had he found the boy it would have gone hard with him. The ruffianly instinct of the burglar was predominant, and he might have killed him in the intensity of his blind rage. But the foresight and prudent caution of Julius defeated his wrathful purpose, and when he reached the shabby room which he called home his intended victim had escaped.

Marlowe did not at once discover the boy's flight. He unlocked the door, but it was dark within, for the window looked out upon an inclosed court, and permitted only a scanty light to enter. Before striking a light he locked the door again and put the key in his pocket. This was to prevent the boy's escape on the one hand, and any outside interference on the other. Then he drew a match from his pocket and lighted a fragment of candle upon the table. This done he turned his eyes toward the bed with stern exultation. But this was quickly turned into angry surprise.

"The boy's gone!" he exclaimed, with an oath. "How could he have got out, with the door locked?"

The open window and the rope hanging from it revealed the method of escape.

Marlowe strode to the window with a feeling of keen disappointment. Was he to be robbed of his revenge, after all? He had depended upon this with certainty, and meant to have it, though he should be arrested the next minute, and he knew that, though he had escaped from the house of his meditated crime, he was still in great peril. Doubtless Julius had given full information to the police of his name and residence, and even now they might be in pursuit of him. He ground his teeth when he thought of this, and clinched his fist in the impotent desire for vengeance.

"If I had him here," he muttered, "I'd crush him as I would a spider," and he stamped angrily upon the floor.

But where could he have got the rope? that was the next question. He knew that there was none in the room, and how one could have been smuggled in with the door locked was something that puzzled him. Julius himself could not very well have brought one in, as on account of its bulk it would have attracted the attention either of Jack Morgan or himself. Perhaps the woman downstairs might know something about it, he reflected, and this led him to go down and knock at Mrs. O'Connor's door.

After a little pause Mrs. O'Connor came to the door and opened it.

"What's wanted?" she asked. Then, recognizing her visitor as one of the lodgers in the room above, she added, "Is it the boy?"

"Yes; where is he?" demanded Marlowe, abruptly.

"It's gone to the doctor he is."

"Gone to the doctor!" repeated Marlowe, mystified. "What do you mean?"

"He was taken sick jist after you wint away, and as he couldn't open the door which was locked, he pounded on the floor. My key wouldn't fit, so he asked me to throw up a clothes-line, which I did, and the poor crayther got out of the winder, and wint for the doctor. He'll be back soon, I'm thinkin'."

"No, he won't," growled Marlowe. "He's a thief and a villain, and he's run away."

"Did I iver hear the likes?" exclaimed Mrs. O'Connor. "Who'd have thought it, shure?"

"I've a good mind to wring your neck, for helping him off," said Marlowe, forgetting in his anger the politeness due to the fair sex.

"Would you, thin?" exclaimed Mrs. O'Connor, incensed. "Then my husband would do the same to you, you brute! I am glad the boy's gone, so I am, and I hope he'll never get into your clutches again, you monster! Tim, wake up there, and defind yer wife from the thafe that's insulted her!"

Before Tim O'Connor aroused from his sleep at his wife's call, Marlowe, with a smothered execration, retreated to his own room, and began to consider his position. He must fly. There was no doubt of that. Remaining in his old haunts, he would, unquestionably, fall into the hands of the police, now probably on his track. He must get away, and that very night. Any delay would be dangerous. He must leave the city and remain in hiding for the present.

While he was making hurried preparations steps were heard on the stairs, and there was a loud knocking on the door.

"Who's there?" demanded Marlowe.

"Open, in the name of the law!" was the reply of the officers, who had tracked him to his lair.

"Wait a minute," said Marlowe.

He rushed to the window and descended swiftly by the same rope which had given Julius deliverance (it had escaped the attention of the officers, on account of the darkness), and while the officers were waiting for the door to be opened he eluded their vigilance and made his escape.



CHAPTER XIX.

A CURIOSITY SHOP.

Marlowe realized that he had made the city too hot to hold him. The police, with whom he had a more intimate acquaintance than he desired, were already on his track, and it was doubtful if he could escape. The affair in which he was implicated was a serious one, and if arrested and tried he could hardly hope for less than ten years' imprisonment. This is rather a long term of confinement to be taken out of a man's life, and must be avoided if possible. But one way of escape seemed feasible, and this Marlowe tried, as a desperate experiment.

He made his way swiftly through the darkness to a tumble-down building not far from Baxter street. The front door was unlocked. He opened it, and feeling his way up—for there were no lights—knocked in a peculiar way at a door just at the head of the stairs. His knock was evidently heard, for shuffling steps were heard within, a bolt was drawn, and Marlowe confronted a little old man, of feeble frame and deeply furrowed face, who scanned the face of his visitor by the light of a candle which he held above his head.

"Why, it's Marlowe!" he said.

"Hush, Jacob! don't mention my name! I'm in trouble."

"What's in the wind now?"

"Shut the door and I'll tell you."

I may as well say that the conversation which ensued was interlarded with expressions common to the lawless class which Marlowe represented, but I prefer to translate them into common speech. The room which they entered seemed full of odds and ends of wearing apparel, and might have been taken for a pawnbroker's shop, or second-hand clothing store. Or it might have been taken for a dressing-room to a theatre, but that the articles displayed had long since seen their best days, with few exceptions.

"What have you been up to?" asked Jacob, varying the form of his question.

"Jack Morgan and I tried to break into a house on Madison avenue to-night."

"Couldn't you get in?"

"Yes; but the police were in waiting for us. They nabbed Jack, but I got away. They followed me to Jack's room, but I got out of the window. They're on my track now."

"They didn't see you come in here?" asked the old man, alarmed.

"No, I have given them the slip. But they'll have me unless you help me."

"My son, I'll do what I can. What is your plan?"

"To disguise myself so that my own mother wouldn't know me. See what you can do for me."

My reader will now understand the character of the old man's business. Thieves, and others who had rendered themselves amenable to the law, came to him for disguises, paying heavily for the use of what articles he supplied them. In many cases he was obliged to give them credit, but the old adage, "There is honor among thieves," was exemplified here, for he seldom failed, sooner or later, to receive full payment. It might be, and probably was, from motives of policy that his customers were so honorable; for if unfaithful to their agreements they could hardly expect to be accommodated a second time, and this was a serious consideration.

When appealed to by Marlowe, Jacob understood that the details of the disguise were left to his judgment. He raised his candle, and took a good look at his customer. Then he dove under a heap of clothing on the floor, and fished out a dirty sailor's dress. "Try it on," he said.

"I don't know about that," said Marlowe, hesitating. "I don't know any sailor's lingo."

"That's no matter. You can say, 'shiver 'my timbers,' can't you?"

"Yes, I can do that."

"That's enough. It's all I know myself. But it won't do any harm to pick up something else; the police won't never think of you as a sailor."

"I don't know but you're right, Jacob, shiver my timbers if I don't!" and he laughed as he used the expression.

"Try it on. I guess it'll be about right," said the old man.

Marlowe quickly stripped off the suit he wore, and arrayed himself in the strange and unfamiliar garb presented. By good luck it had originally been made for a man of about his size, and there was no discrepancy likely to excite suspicion.

"Let me look at myself," said he.

Jacob produced a small cracked glass, and the ex-burglar surveyed his transformed figure.

"What do you think of it?" asked the dealer.

"The dress is well enough, but they'll know my face."

"Sit down."

"What for?"

"I must cut your hair."

"What then?"

"I'll give you a red wig. There's nothing will disguise you so quick as different colored hair."

"Have you got a wig?"

"Yes, here it is."

"It's ugly enough."

"Better wear it than your own hair at Sing Sing."

"That's where you're right, old man! Go ahead. You understand your business. I'll put myself in your hands."

Marlowe sat down in a wooden chair with a broken back, and the old man proceeded, with trembling hands, to cut his black locks with a pair of large shears, which he kept for this and other purposes.

"You're cutting it pretty close, Jacob. I shall look like a scarecrow."

"All the better," said the old man, laconically.

When the operation was over, Marlowe surveyed his closely-cropped head in the cracked mirror with some disgust.

"You've made a beauty of me," he said. "However, it had to be done. Now where's that wig?"

He was adjusting it awkwardly, when Jacob took it from his hands and put it on properly.

"Now look at yourself," he said.

Marlowe did look, and, as the old man had predicted, found his looks so transformed that he hardly knew himself.

"That's good," he said, in a tone of satisfaction. "It don't improve my beauty, but then I ain't vain. I care more for my liberty. If it hadn't been for that cussed boy there wouldn't have been any need of this."

"What boy?"

"Jack Morgan's boy—Julius."

"What did he do?"

"He split on us—gave warning of our attempt. That's how we came to be taken. I'd give something to get at him."

"Maybe you will."

"I'll try, at any rate. If not now, my revenge will keep. Is that all?"

"Not quite. Sit down again."

The old man stained the face of his visitor so adroitly that he appeared to be deeply pitted with smallpox.

"Your own mother wouldn't know you now," he said with pride.

"That's so, Jacob! you're a regular genius," replied Marlowe. "I ain't sure about it's being me. You're sure about it?"

"Shiver your timbers!" said the old man.

"Shiver my timbers, but I forgot about it! Do you think I'll do?"

"Yes; but you mustn't wash your face till it is dry."

"I sometimes forget to do it now. I guess I can get along without it for a day or two. Now, how much are you going to ask for all this?"

"Seventy-five dollars."

"It's a good deal."

"How long would you get if you got took?" asked Jacob, significantly.

"You're right. It's worth the money. But I can't pay you now, Jacob."

"You won't forget it," said the old man, composedly, for he expected this, since Marlowe's attempt at burglary had been unsuccessful. "You'll pay me when you can."

"Shiver my timbers, messmate, but I will!"

"Good!" said the old man. "You're getting it."

"I don't think those landlubbers—the cops—will know me in this rig-out."

"Better. You'll do."

"Well, Jacob, I'll pay you as soon as I can. By the way, haven't you any place where you can stow me for the night? It won't do for me to go back to Jack's room; it's too hot for me."

"Lay down anywhere," said Jacob. "I haven't got any bed; I lie down on the clothes."

"That'll do; I ain't used to bridal-chambers or silk counterpanes. I am as tired as a dog. Here goes!"

He flung himself down in a corner on an indiscriminate pile of clothing, and in five minutes was breathing deeply, and fast asleep. Had he been a novice in his illegal profession, the two narrow escapes he had just had, and the risk which, in spite of his disguise he at present run, would have excited him and prevented his sleeping; but he was an old hand and used to danger. It was not the first time he had eluded the authorities, and was not likely to be the last, so he fell asleep upon his strange couch, and slept as unconcernedly as an infant. The old man did not immediately lie down. He held up and examined attentively the suit Marlowe had thrown oft, which, according to custom, became his perquisite, in addition to the cash payment demanded, and was gratified to find it in good condition. He next plunged his hands into the pockets, but Marlowe had transferred their contents to his new attire. However, Jacob would have been little richer had his visitor neglected to do so. Having finished his scrutiny the old man blew out the candle and lay down in the corner opposite Marlowe.



CHAPTER XX.

THE DISGUISED LISTENER.

On the Monday morning succeeding the attempt at burglary so happily defeated, Paul thought he ought to go round to the counting-room of Mr. Preston and acquaint him with the particulars. He accordingly deferred opening his place of business—if I may use so ambitious a phrase of the humble necktie stand over which he presided—and bent his steps toward Mr. Preston's counting-room. The latter had just arrived.

"Good-morning, Paul," said Mr. Preston, smiling. "I know all about it."

"About what, sir?" inquired Paul, surprised.

"About the burglary."

"Who told you?" our hero asked, in astonishment.

"Didn't you know it was in the papers?"

"No, sir."

"I read it on my way downtown. These reporters get hold of everything. Read that."

Mr. Preston put into Paul's hands a morning paper, pointing to the following paragraph:

"On Saturday evening an attempt was made to rob the house of Nathaniel Talbot, No. — Madison avenue. The attempt was made by two well-known burglars, familiarly known as Jack Morgan and Tom Marlowe. The enterprise promised to be successful, as Mr. Talbot is absent in Europe with his family. During his absence the house is taken care of by a Mrs. Hoffman, whose son Paul, a boy of sixteen, keeps a necktie stand below the Astor House. Paul, who seems to be possessed of courage and coolness, learned that the attempt was about to be made, and determined not only to frustrate it, but to get hold of the burglars. He gave information at police headquarters, and when the brace of worthies arrived they met a reception as unexpected as it was unwelcome. They were permitted to effect an entrance, and met with no drawback till they reached the second story. Then the police made their appearance on the scene and effected the capture of Morgan. Marlowe succeeded in effecting his escape, but the police are on his track, and his haunts in the city being known, there is every reason to believe that he will be captured. Great credit is due to the boy Paul, through whose bravery and good judgment Mr. Talbot's house has been saved from robbery, and probably two noted desperadoes captured."

Paul read this paragraph with pleasure, as may readily be supposed. He was glad to find that his efforts in Mr. Talbot's behalf were likely to secure recognition.

"I never thought of getting into the papers," he said, looking up. "I don't see how the reporters found out about it."

"Oh, the reporters are everywhere. Probably they call every evening at police quarters and obtain information of all such cases. You see, Paul, you are getting famous."

"I only did what I ought to do," said Paul, modestly.

"I agree to that, but that is more than many of us can say. If we all could say it with justice, we should have a very different world from what we have at present."

"Besides," said Paul, who, though he liked praise, wanted to be just, "there is some one else, a boy, too, who had more to do with the affair than I."

"Who was that?"

"The boy who told me the house was to be entered."

"Tell me all about it. I told you I knew all about it, but there is one thing the paper does not explain how you found out the plans of those villains."

"I will tell you, sir. One day I saw a boy in front of the eating-house where I usually dine, who looked hungry. I have known what it was to be hungry myself, and I pitied him. So I asked him in and gave him some dinner. I think it was the next day that he came round and asked me if I did not live in Mr. Talbot's house on Madison avenue. He said the man he lived with and another were intending to break into it and rob the safe. They seemed to know that my mother and myself were the only ones who occupied it."

"How old a boy was he?"

"I don't know his age. He looks about twelve, but he may be older."

"What do you suppose made him bring you the information?"

"I think he felt grateful for the dinner I gave him."

"Did you see him more than once?"

"Yes, several times. It seems the two men intended at first to make the attempt this evening, but for some reason they came to distrust the boy, who was acquainted with their plans, and fixed it for Saturday. They didn't intend to let him know of their change of plan, but he overheard one of them talking in his sleep. He came and told me. This was lucky, as otherwise I should not have been ready for them."

"What is the name of this boy?"

"Julius."

"He has certainly done you and Mr. Talbot great service. What is your opinion of him? Has he been spoiled by living with thieves?"

"I don't think he has. If he could have a chance to do better, I think he would."

"He shall have a chance. I suppose you will see him soon."

"I shouldn't wonder if he would come round to my stand to-day."

"If he does, bring him here."

"Yes, sir, I will."

"What you have told me, Paul," continued Mr. Preston, "does not lessen your own merits. But for your kindness to this poor boy you would have heard nothing of the intended burglary, and been unable to take the measures which have proved so happily successful."

"You are determined to praise me, Mr. Preston," said Paul.

"Because you deserve it. I shall take care to write particulars to Mr. Talbot, who will doubtless have seen the paragraph you have just read, and will be interested to hear more. I shall not forget your part in the affair."

"Thank you, sir. I shall be glad to have Mr. Talbot know that I am faithful to his interests."

"He shall know it."

A boy entered the office at this point, with a number of letters from the post office, and Mr. Preston began to read them. Paul saw that it was time to go, and bade him good-morning.

"Good-morning, Paul," said his patron. "Don't forget to bring me the boy, Julius."

"I won't forget, sir."

Paul was not likely to forget, for he, too, felt grateful to Julius, and was glad to think the poor boy was likely to receive a reward for his services. Through the arrest of Jack Morgan he would be thrown upon his own exertions, and aid would doubtless be welcome. Paul felt an honorable satisfaction in knowing that he was rising in the world, and he was unselfish enough to desire to see others prosper also.

He was not mistaken in supposing Julius would call upon him. About eleven o'clock he came up to the stand.

"Good-morning, Julius," said Paul, cordially.

"Good-morning," said the smaller boy. "Was Jack and Marlowe round to your house last night?"

"Yes."

"Was they took?" asked Julius, anxiously.

"Morgan was captured, but Marlowe escaped."

The boy's countenance fell, and he looked alarmed.

"Do you think they'll take him?"

"They are on his track. I don't think that he can escape."

"If he does he'll kill me," said Julius; "he suspected me afore. Now he'll know I let out about him and Jack."

"He won't dare to come near you."

"Why won't he?"

"He knows the police are after him; he'll hide somewhere."

"I don't know," said Julius, thoughtfully.

"He'll be awful mad with me. He'll try to do me some harm if he can."

"I should be sorry to have any harm come to you, Julius," said Paul, earnestly. "If Marlowe is arrested it will be all right."

"He shut me up last night before he went away; Jack and he did."

"How was that?"

Julius gave an account of his confinement, and how he escaped through the help of Mrs. O'Connor. He did not know of Marlowe's subsequent visit to the room, and his disappointment at finding the bird flown. He did not know of this, not having dared to go round there since, lest he should come upon Jack or Marlowe. Now he knew it was only the latter he had to fear.

"You managed it pretty well about getting away," said Paul. "It reminds me of something that happened to me—I was locked up in a hotel once the same way," and he gave Julius a little account of his adventure at Lovejoy's Hotel, with the jeweler from Syracuse, as narrated in an earlier volume of this series, "Paul the Peddler." Julius was interested in the story.

"Have you got any money, Julius?" asked Paul, when he had finished.

"I've got ten cents. I didn't have much luck this mornin'. I left my blackin'-box in the room, and I didn't dare to go after it, as I thought I might meet Marlowe or Jack."

"Haven't you had any breakfast, then?"

"Yes, I went down to the Long Branch boat and got a chance to carry a carpet-bag. The gentleman gave me a quarter; I spent fifteen cents for breakfast, and I've got ten left."

"You must stop and go to dinner with me, Julius. It is twenty minutes to eleven already. I shall go at twelve."

"You spend too much money on me," said Julius.

"Never mind that. Where would I be if you hadn't told me about this burglary? I should have known nothing about it, and I might have been murdered. I've told about you to Mr. Preston, a friend of Mr. Talbot, whose house I live in, and he wants me to bring you round to his counting-room. He is going to do something for you."

Julius brightened up. He had never had any friend excepting Jack Morgan, and the reader can form some idea of the value of such a friend as Jack.

"When does he want me to come to his room?" he asked.

"I'll go round with you after dinner. You want to rise in the world, don't you, Julius?"

"I'd like to, but I ain't had any chance."

"I think Mr. Preston will give you a chance. You can be thinking what you would like to do, and he will help you to it."

"I would like to go out West. I'm afraid to stay here. Marlowe might find me."

"I don't know but you are right, Julius. Out West there is more of a chance to rise. You can tell Mr. Preston what you wish."

While the boys were talking a man stood near by, who listened attentively to what was said, hearing every word. Neither Paul nor Julius remarked him. He was a tall man, with red hair, and a face marked by the smallpox. He was dressed in the garb of a sailor. Of course this was Marlowe. It was imprudent for him to post himself in so public a place, but he trusted to his disguise, and he wanted to hear for himself the conversation between the two boys. He learned, what he suspected before, that to the boy, Julius, he was indebted for the failure of his attempt at burglary. When the two boys went to dinner he followed them.



CHAPTER XXI.

A BRIGHTER PROSPECT FOR JULIUS.

After dinner Paul went again to Mr. Preston's place of business, accompanied by Julius. The disguised sailor, who had lingered outside the restaurant, followed the two at a safe distance. Had not Paul and Julius been so occupied with their own affairs, they might have noticed Marlowe. As it was, they were quite unconscious of being followed.

They were fortunate in finding Mr. Preston in his office, and at leisure.

"Mr. Preston," said Paul, "this is the boy I spoke to you about."

"What is your name, my lad?" asked the merchant.

"Julius," answered the street boy.

"My young friend, Paul, tells me that you have done him and his employer a great service. Did you live with the men who were engaged in the burglary?"

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