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´╗┐Title: Adrift in New York - Tom and Florence Braving the World
Author: Alger, Horatio, 1832-1899
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Adrift in New York - Tom and Florence Braving the World" ***

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ADRIFT IN NEW YORK

Or, Tom and Florence Braving the World

by

HORATIO ALGER, JR.

Author of "Mark Mason's Victory," "Ben Bruce," "Bernard Brook's
Adventures," "A Debt of Honor," etc., etc.



A. L. Burt Company, Publishers
New York
1900



ADRIFT IN NEW YORK.



Chapter I.
The Missing Heir.


"Uncle, you are not looking well to-night."

"I'm not well, Florence. I sometimes doubt if I shall ever be any
better."

"Surely, uncle, you cannot mean----"

"Yes, my child, I have reason to believe that I am nearing the end."

"I cannot bear to hear you speak so, uncle," said Florence Linden, in
irrepressible agitation. "You are not an old man. You are but
fifty-four."

"True, Florence, but it is not years only that make a man old. Two
great sorrows have embittered my life. First, the death of my dearly
beloved wife, and next, the loss of my boy, Harvey."

"It is long since I have heard you refer to my cousin's loss. I
thought you had become reconciled--no, I do not mean that,--I thought
your regret might be less poignant."

"I have not permitted myself to speak of it, but I have never ceased
to think of it day and night."

John Linden paused sadly, then resumed:

"If he had died, I might, as you say, have become reconciled; but he
was abducted at the age of four by a revengeful servant whom I had
discharged from my employment. Heaven knows whether he is living or
dead, but it is impressed upon my mind that he still lives, it may be
in misery, it may be as a criminal, while I, his unhappy father, live
on in luxury which I cannot enjoy, with no one to care for me----"

Florence Linden sank impulsively on her knees beside her uncle's
chair.

"Don't say that, uncle," she pleaded. "You know that I love you, Uncle
John."

"And I, too, uncle."

There was a shade of jealousy in the voice of Curtis Waring as he
entered the library through the open door, and approaching his uncle,
pressed his hand.

He was a tall, dark-complexioned man, of perhaps thirty-five, with
shifty, black eyes and thin lips, shaded by a dark mustache. It was
not a face to trust.

Even when he smiled the expression of his face did not soften. Yet he
could moderate his voice so as to express tenderness and sympathy.

He was the son of an elder sister of Mr. Linden, while Florence was
the daughter of a younger brother.

Both were orphans, and both formed a part of Mr. Linden's household,
and owed everything to his bounty.

Curtis was supposed to be in some business downtown; but he received a
liberal allowance from his uncle, and often drew upon him for outside
assistance.

As he stood with his uncle's hand in his, he was necessarily brought
near Florence, who instinctively drew a little away, with a slight
shudder indicating repugnance.

Slight as it was, Curtis detected it, and his face darkened.

John Linden looked from one to the other. "Yes," he said, "I must not
forget that I have a nephew and a niece. You are both dear to me, but
no one can take the place of the boy I have lost."

"But it is so long ago, uncle," said Curtis. "It must be fourteen
years."

"It is fourteen years."

"And the boy is long since dead!"

"No, no!" said John Linden, vehemently. "I do not, I will not, believe
it. He still lives, and I live only in the hope of one day clasping
him in my arms."

"That is very improbable, uncle," said Curtis, in a tone of annoyance.
"There isn't one chance in a hundred that my cousin still lives. The
grave has closed over him long since. The sooner you make up your mind
to accept the inevitable the better."

The drawn features of the old man showed that the words had a
depressing effect upon his mind, but Florence interrupted her cousin
with an indignant protest.

"How can you speak so, Curtis?" she exclaimed. "Leave Uncle John the
hope that he has so long cherished. I have a presentiment that Harvey
still lives."

John Linden's face brightened up

"You, too, believe it possible, Florence?" he said, eagerly.

"Yes, uncle. I not only believe it possible, but probable. How old
would Harvey be if he still lived?"

"Eighteen--nearly a year older than yourself."

"How strange! I always think of him as a little boy."

"And I, too, Florence. He rises before me in his little velvet suit,
as he was when I last saw him, with his sweet, boyish face, in which
his mother's looks were reflected."

"Yet, if still living," interrupted Curtis, harshly, "he is a rough
street boy, perchance serving his time at Blackwell's Island, and, a
hardened young ruffian, whom it would be bitter mortification to
recognize as your son."

"That's the sorrowful part of it," said his uncle, in a voice of
anguish. "That is what I most dread."

"Then, since even if he were living you would not care to recognize
him, why not cease to think of him, or else regard him as dead?"

"Curtis Waring, have you no heart?" demanded Florence, indignantly.

"Indeed, Florence, you ought to know," said Curtis, sinking his voice
into softly modulated accents.

"I know nothing of it," said Florence, coldly, rising from her
recumbent position, and drawing aloof from Curtis.

"You know that the dearest wish of my heart is to find favor in your
eyes. Uncle, you know my wish, and approve of it, do you not?"

"Yes, Curtis; you and Florence are equally dear to me, and it is my
hope that you may be united. In that case, there will be no division
of my fortune. It will be left to you jointly."

"Believe me, sir," said Curtis, with faltering voice, feigning an
emotion which he did not feel, "believe me, that I fully appreciate
your goodness. I am sure Florence joins with me----"

"Florence can speak for herself," said his cousin, coldly. "My uncle
needs no assurance from me. He is always kind, and I am always
grateful."

John Linden seemed absorbed in thought.

"I do not doubt your affection," he said; "and I have shown it by
making you my joint heirs in the event of your marriage; but it is
only fair to say that my property goes to my boy, if he still lives."

"But, sir," protested Curtis, "is not that likely to create
unnecessary trouble? It can never be known, and meanwhile----"

"You and Florence will hold the property in trust."

"Have you so specified in your will?" asked Curtis.

"I have made two wills. Both are in yonder secretary. By the first the
property is bequeathed to you and Florence. By the second and later,
it goes to my lost boy in the event of his recovery. Of course, you
and Florence are not forgotten, but the bulk of the property goes to
Harvey."

"I sincerely wish the boy might be restored to you," said Curtis; but
his tone belied his words. "Believe me, the loss of the property would
affect me little, if you could be made happy by realizing your warmest
desire; but, uncle, I think it only the part of a friend to point out
to you, as I have already done, the baselessness of any such
expectation."

"It may be as you say, Curtis," said his uncle, with a sigh. "If I
were thoroughly convinced of it, I would destroy the later will, and
leave my property absolutely to you and Florence."

"No, uncle," said Florence, impulsively, "make no change; let the will
stand."

Curtis, screened from his uncle's view, darted a glance of bitter
indignation at Florence.

"Is the girl mad?" he muttered to himself. "Must she forever balk me?"

"Let it be so for the present, then," said Mr. Linden, wearily.
"Curtis, will you ring the bell? I am tired, and shall retire to my
couch early."

"Let me help you, Uncle John," said Florence, eagerly.

"It is too much for your strength, my child. I am growing more and
more helpless."

"I, too, can help," said Curtis.

John Linden, supported on either side by his nephew and niece, left
the room, and was assisted to his chamber.

Curtis and Florence returned to the library.

"Florence," said her cousin, "my uncle's intentions, as expressed
to-night, make it desirable that there should be an understanding
between us. Take a seat beside me"--leading her to a sofa--"and let
us talk this matter over."

With a gesture of repulsion Florence declined the proffered seat, and
remained standing.

"As you please," she answered, coldly.

"Will you be seated?"

"No; our interview will be brief."

"Then I will come to the point. Uncle John wishes to see us united."

"It can never be!" said Florence, decidedly.

Curtis bit his lip in mortification, for her tone was cold and
scornful.

Mingled with this mortification was genuine regret, for, so far as he
was capable of loving any one, he loved his fair young cousin.

"You profess to love Uncle John, and yet you would disappoint his
cherished hope!" he returned.

"Is it his cherished hope?"

"There is no doubt about it. He has spoken to me more than once on the
subject. Feeling that his end is near, he wishes to leave you in
charge of a protector."

"I can protect myself," said Florence, proudly.

"You think so. You do not consider the hapless lot of a penniless girl
in a cold and selfish world."

"Penniless?" repeated Florence, in an accent of surprise.

"Yes, penniless. Our uncle's bequest to you is conditional upon your
acceptance of my hand."

"Has he said this?" asked Florence, sinking into an armchair, with a
helpless look.

"He has told me so more than once," returned Curtis, smoothly. "You
don't know how near to his heart this marriage is. I know what you
would say: If the property comes to me I could come to your
assistance, but I am expressly prohibited from doing so. I have
pleaded with my uncle in your behalf, but in vain."

Florence was too clear-sighted not to penetrate his falsehood.

"If my uncle's heart is hardened against me," she said, "I shall be
too wise to turn to you. I am to understand, then, that my choice lies
between poverty and a union with you?"

"You have stated it correctly, Florence."

"Then," said Florence, arising, "I will not hesitate. I shrink from
poverty, for I have been reared in luxury, but I will sooner live in
a hovel--"

"Or a tenement house," interjected Curtis, with a sneer.

"Yes, or a tenement house, than become the wife of one I loathe."

"Girl, you shall bitterly repent that word!" said Curtis, stung to
fury.

She did not reply, but, pale and sorrowful, glided from the room to
weep bitter tears in the seclusion of her chamber.



Chapter II.
A Stranger Visitor.


Curtis Waring followed the retreating form of his cousin with a
sardonic smile.

"She is in the toils! She cannot escape me!" he muttered. "But"--and
here his brow darkened--"it vexes me to see how she repels my
advances, as if I were some loathsome thing! If only she would return
my love--for I do love her, cold as she is--I should be happy. Can
there be a rival? But no! we live so quietly that she has met no one
who could win her affection. Why can she not turn to me? Surely, I am
not so ill-favored, and though twice her age, I am still a young man.
Nay, it is only a young girl's caprice. She shall yet come to my arms,
a willing captive."

His thoughts took a turn, as he arose from his seat, and walked over
to the secretary.

"So it is here that the two wills are deposited!" he said to himself;
"one making me a rich man, the other a beggar! While the last is in
existence I am not safe. The boy may be alive, and liable to turn up
at any moment. If only he were dead--or the will destroyed----" Here
he made a suggestive pause.

He took a bunch of keys from his pocket, and tried one after another,
but without success. He was so absorbed in his work that he did not
notice the entrance of a dark-browed, broad-shouldered man, dressed in
a shabby corduroy suit, till the intruder indulged in a short cough,
intended to draw attention.

Starting with guilty consciousness, Curtis turned sharply around, and
his glance fell on the intruder.

"Who are you?" he demanded, angrily. "And how dare you enter a
gentleman's house unbidden?"

"Are you the gentleman?" asked the intruder, with intentional
insolence.

"Yes."

"You own this house?"

"Not at present. It is my uncle's."

"And that secretary--pardon my curiosity--is his?"

"Yes; but what business is it of yours?"

"Not much. Only it makes me laugh to see a gentleman picking a lock.
You should leave such business to men like me!"

"You are an insolent fellow!" said Curtis, more embarrassed than he
liked to confess, for this rough-looking man had become possessed of a
dangerous secret. "I am my uncle's confidential agent, and it was on
business of his that I wished to open the desk."

"Why not go to him for the key?"

"Because he is sick. But, pshaw! why should I apologize or give any
explanation to you? What can you know of him or me?"

"More, perhaps, than you suspect," said the intruder, quietly.

"Then, you know, perhaps, that I am my uncle's heir?"

"Don't be too sure of that."

"Look here, fellow," said Curtis, thoroughly provoked, "I don't know
who you are nor what you mean, but let me inform you that your
presence here is an intrusion, and the sooner you leave the house the
better!"

"I will leave it when I get ready."

Curtis started to his feet, and advanced to his visitor with an air of
menace.

"Go at once," he exclaimed, angrily, "or I will kick you out of the
door!"

"What's the matter with the window?" returned the stranger, with an
insolent leer.

"That's as you prefer, but if you don't leave at once I will eject
you."

By way of reply, the rough visitor coolly seated himself in a
luxurious easy-chair, and, looking up into the angry face of Waring,
said:

"Oh, no, you won't."

"And why not, may I ask?" said Curtis, with a feeling of uneasiness
for which he could not account.

"Why not? Because, in that case, I should seek an interview with your
uncle, and tell him----"

"What?"

"That his son still lives; and that I can restore him to his----"

The face of Curtis Waring blanched; he staggered as if he had been
struck; and he cried out, hoarsely:

"It is a lie!"

"It is the truth, begging your pardon. Do you mind my smoking?" and he
coolly produced a common clay pipe, filled and lighted it.

"Who are you?" asked Curtis, scanning the man's features with painful
anxiety.

"Have you forgotten Tim Bolton?"

"Are you Tim Bolton?" faltered Curtis.

"Yes; but you don't seem glad to see me?"

"I thought you were----"

"In Australia. So I was three years since. Then I got homesick, and
came back to New York."

"You have been here three years?"

"Yes," chuckled Bolton. "You didn't suspect it, did you?"

"Where?" asked Curtis, in a hollow voice.

"I keep a saloon on the Bowery. There's my card. Call around when
convenient."

Curtis was about to throw the card into the grate, but on second
thought dropped it into his pocket.

"And the boy?" he asked, slowly.

"Is alive and well. He hasn't been starved. Though I dare say you
wouldn't have grieved if he had."

"And he is actually in this city?"

"Just so."

"Does he know anything of--you know what I mean."

"He doesn't know that he is the son of a rich man, and heir to the
property which you look upon as yours. That's what you mean, isn't
it?"

"Yes. What is he doing? Is he at work?"

"He helps me some in the saloon, sells papers in the evenings, and
makes himself generally useful."

"Has he any education?"

"Well, I haven't sent him to boarding school or college," answered
Tim. "He don't know no Greek, or Latin, or mathematics--phew, that's a
hard word. You didn't tell me you wanted him made a scholar of."

"I didn't. I wanted never to see or hear from him again. What made you
bring him back to New York?"

"Couldn't keep away, governor. I got homesick, I did. There ain't but
one Bowery in the world, and I hankered after that----"

"Didn't I pay you money to keep away, Tim Bolton?"

"I don't deny it; but what's three thousand dollars? Why, the kid's
cost me more than that. I've had the care of him for fourteen years,
and it's only about two hundred a year."

"You have broken your promise to me!" said Curtis, sternly.

"There's worse things than breaking your promise," retorted Bolton.

Scarcely had he spoken than a change came over his face, and he stared
open-mouthed behind him and beyond Curtis.

Startled himself, Curtis turned, and saw, with a feeling akin to
dismay, the tall figure of his uncle standing on the threshold of the
left portal, clad in a morning gown, with his eyes fixed inquiringly
upon Bolton and himself.



Chapter III.
An Unholy Compact.


"Who is that man, Curtis?" asked John Linden, pointing his thin finger
at Tim Bolton, who looked strangely out of place, as, with clay pipe,
he sat in the luxurious library on a sumptuous chair.

"That man?" stammered Curtis, quite at a loss what to say.

"Yes."

"He is a poor man out of luck, who has applied to me for assistance,"
answered Curtis, recovering his wits.

"That's it, governor," said Bolton, thinking it necessary to confirm
the statement. "I've got five small children at home almost starvin',
your honor."

"That is sad. What is your business, my man?"

It was Bolton's turn to be embarrassed.

"My business?" he repeated.

"That is what I said."

"I'm a blacksmith, but I'm willing to do any honest work."

"That is commendable; but don't you know that it is very ill-bred to
smoke a pipe in a gentleman's house?"

"Excuse me, governor!"

And Bolton extinguished his pipe, and put it away in a pocket of his
corduroy coat.

"I was just telling him the same thing," said Curtis. "Don't trouble
yourself any further, uncle. I will inquire into the man's
circumstances, and help him if I can."

"Very well, Curtis. I came down because I thought I heard voices."

John Linden slowly returned to his chamber, and left the two alone.

"The governor's getting old," said Bolton. "When I was butler here,
fifteen years ago, he looked like a young man. He didn't suspect that
he had ever seen me before."

"Nor that you had carried away his son, Bolton."

"Who hired me to do it? Who put me up to the job, as far as that
goes?"

"Hush! Walls have ears. Let us return to business."

"That suits me."

"Look here, Tim Bolton," said Curtis, drawing up a chair, and lowering
his voice to a confidential pitch, "you say you want money?"

"Of course I do."

"Well, I don't give money for nothing."

"I know that. What's wanted now?"

"You say the boy is alive?"

"He's very much alive."

"Is there any necessity for his living?" asked Curtis, in a sharp,
hissing tone, fixing his eyes searchingly on Bolton, to see how his
hint would be taken.

"You mean that you want me to murder him?" said Bolton, quickly.

"Why not? You don't look over scrupulous."

"I am a bad man, I admit it," said Bolton, with a gesture of
repugnance, "a thief, a low blackguard, perhaps, but, thank Heaven! I
am no murderer! And if I was, I wouldn't spill a drop of that boy's
blood for the fortune that is his by right."

"I didn't give you credit for so much sentiment, Bolton," said Curtis,
with a sneer. "You don't look like it, but appearances are deceitful.
We'll drop the subject. You can serve me in another way. Can you open
this secretary?"

"Yes; that's in my line."

"There is a paper in it that I want. It is my uncle's will. I have a
curiosity to read it."

"I understand. Well, I'm agreeable."

"If you find any money or valuables, you are welcome to them. I only
want the paper. When will you make the attempt?"

"To-morrow night. When will it be safe?"

"At eleven o'clock. We all retire early in this house. Can you force
an entrance?"

"Yes; but it will be better for you to leave the outer door unlocked."

"I have a better plan. Here is my latchkey."

"Good! I may not do the job myself, but I will see that it is done.
How shall I know the will?"

"It is in a big envelope, tied with a narrow tape. Probably it is
inscribed: 'My will.'"

"Suppose I succeed, when shall I see you?"

"I will come around to your place on the Bowery. Good-night!"

Curtis Waring saw Bolton to the door, and let him out. Returning, he
flung himself on a sofa.

"I can make that man useful!" he reflected. "There is an element of
danger in the boy's presence in New York; but it will go hard if I
can't get rid of him! Tim Bolton is unexpectedly squeamish, but there
are others to whom I can apply. With gold everything is possible. It's
time matters came to a finish. My uncle's health is rapidly failing--
the doctor hints that he has heart disease--and the fortune for which
I have been waiting so long will soon be mine, if I work my cards
right. I can't afford to make any mistakes now."



Chapter IV.
Florence.


Florence Linden sat in the library the following evening in an
attitude of depression. Her eyelids were swollen, and it was evident
she had been weeping. During the day she had had an interview with her
uncle, in which he harshly insisted upon her yielding to his wishes,
and marrying her cousin, Curtis.

"But, uncle," she objected, "I do not love him."

"Marry him, and love will come."

"Never!" she said, vehemently.

"You speak confidently, miss," said Mr. Linden, with irritation.

"Listen, Uncle John. It is not alone that I do not love him. I dislike
him--I loathe--him."

"Nonsense! that is a young girl's extravagant nonsense."

"No, uncle."

"There can be no reason for such a foolish dislike. What can you have
against him?"

"It is impressed upon me, uncle, that Curtis is a bad man. There is
something false--treacherous--about him."

"Pooh! child! you are more foolish than I thought. I don't say Curtis
is an angel. No man is; at least, I never met any such. But he is no
worse than the generality of men. In marrying him you will carry out
my cherished wish. Florence, I have not long to live. I shall be glad
to see you well established in life before I leave you. As the wife of
Curtis you will have a recognized position. You will go on living in
this house, and the old home will be maintained."

"But why is it necessary for me to marry at all, Uncle John?"

"You will be sure to marry some one. Should I divide my fortune
between you and Curtis, you would become the prey of some unscrupulous
fortune hunter."

"Better that than become the wife of Curtis Waring----"

"I see, you are incorrigible," said her uncle, angrily. "Do you refuse
obedience to my wishes?"

"Command me in anything else, Uncle John, and I will obey," pleaded
Florence.

"Indeed! You only thwart me in my cherished wish, but are willing to
obey me in unimportant matters. You forget the debt you owe me."

"I forget nothing, dear uncle. I do not forget that, when I was a poor
little child, helpless and destitute, you took me in your arms, gave
me a home, and have cared for me from that time to this as only a
parent could."

"You remember that, then?"

"Yes, uncle. I hope you will not consider me wholly ungrateful."

"It only makes matters worse. You own your obligations, yet refuse to
make the only return I desire. You refuse to comfort me in the closing
days of my life by marrying your cousin."

"Because that so nearly concerns my happiness that no one has a right
to ask me to sacrifice all I hold dear."

"I see you are incorrigible," said John Linden, stormily. "Do you know
what will be the consequences?"

"I am prepared for all."

"Then listen! If you persist in balking me, I shall leave the entire
estate to Curtis."

"Do with your money as you will, uncle. I have no claim to more than I
have received."

"You are right there; but that is not all."

Florence fixed upon him a mute look of inquiry.

"I will give you twenty-four hours more to come to your senses. Then,
if you persist in your ingratitude and disobedience, you must find
another home."

"Oh, uncle, you do not mean that?" exclaimed Florence, deeply moved.

"I do mean it, and I shall not allow your tears to move me. Not
another word, for I will not hear it. Take twenty-four hours to think
over what I have said."

Florence bowed her head on her hands, and gave herself up to sorrowful
thoughts. But she was interrupted by the entrance of the servant, who
announced:

"Mr. Percy de Brabazon."

An effeminate-looking young man, foppishly dressed, followed the
servant into the room, and made it impossible for Florence to deny
herself, as she wished to do.

"I hope I see you well, Miss Florence," he simpered.

"Thank you, Mr. de Brabazon," said Florence, coldly. "I have a slight
headache."

"I am awfully sorry, I am, upon my word, Miss Florence. My doctor
tells me it is only those whose bwains are vewy active that are
troubled with headaches."

"Then, I presume, Mr. de Brabazon," said Florence, with intentional
sarcasm, "that you never have a headache."

"Weally, Miss Florence, that is vewy clevah. You will have your joke."

"It was no joke, I assure you, Mr. de Brabazon."

"I--I thought it might be. Didn't I see you at the opewa last
evening?"

"Possibly. I was there."

"I often go to the opewa. It's so--so fashionable, don't you know?"

"Then you don't go to hear the music?"

"Oh, of course, but one can't always be listening to the music, don't
you know. I had a fwiend with me last evening--an Englishman--a
charming fellow, I assure you. He's the second cousin of a lord, and
yet--you'll hardly credit it--we're weally vewy intimate. He tells me,
Miss Florence, that I'm the perfect image of his cousin, Lord Fitz
Noodle."

"I am not at all surprised."

"Weally, you are vewy kind, Miss Florence. I thought it a great
compliment. I don't know how it is, but evewybody takes me for an
Englishman. Strange, isn't it?"

"I am very glad."

"May I ask why, Miss Florence?"

"Because---- Well, perhaps I had better not explain. It seems to give
you pleasure. You would, probably, prefer to be an Englishman."

"I admit that I have a great admiration for the English character.
It's a gweat pity we have no lords in America. Now, if you would only
allow me to bring my English fwiend here----

"I don't care to make any new acquaintances. Even if I did, I prefer
my own countrymen. Don't you like America, Mr. de Brabazon?"

"Oh, of courth, if we only had some lords here."

"We have plenty of flunkeys."

"That's awfully clevah, 'pon my word."

"Is it? I am afraid you are too complimentary. You are very
good-natured."

"I always feel good-natured in your company, Miss Florence. I--wish I
could always be with you."

"Really! Wouldn't that be a trifle monotonous?" asked Florence,
sarcastically.

"Not if we were married," said Percy, boldly breaking the ice.

"What do you mean, Mr. de Brabazon?"

"I hope you will excuse me, Miss Florence--Miss Linden, I mean; but
I'm awfully in love with you, and have been ever so long--but I never
dared to tell you so. I felt so nervous, don't you know? Will you
marry me? I'll be awfully obliged if you will."

Mr. de Brabazon rather awkwardly slipped from his chair, and sank on
one knee before Florence.

"Please arise, Mr. de Brabazon," said Florence, hurriedly. "It is
quite out of the question--what you ask--I assure you."

"Ah! I see how it is," said Percy, clasping his hands sadly. "You love
another."

"Not that I am aware of."

"Then I may still hope?"

"I cannot encourage you, Mr. de Brabazon. My heart is free, but it can
never be yours."

"Then," said Percy, gloomily, "there is only one thing for me to do."

"What is that?"

"I shall go to the Bwooklyn Bwidge, climb to the parapet, jump into
the water, and end my misewable life."

"You had better think twice before adopting such a desperate
resolution, Mr. de Brabazon. You will meet others who will be kinder
to you than I have been----"

"I can never love another. My heart is broken. Farewell, cruel girl.
When you read the papers tomorrow morning, think of the unhappy Percy
de Brabazon!"

Mr. de Brabazon folded his arms gloomily, and stalked out of the room.

"If my position were not so sad, I should be tempted to smile," said
Florence. "Mr. de Brabazon will not do this thing. His emotions are as
strong as those of a butterfly."

After a brief pause Florence seated herself at the table, and drew
toward her writing materials.

"It is I whose heart should be broken!" she murmured; "I who am driven
from the only home I have ever known. What can have turned against me
my uncle, usually so kind and considerate? It must be that Curtis has
exerted a baneful influence upon him. I cannot leave him without one
word of farewell."

She took up a sheet of paper, and wrote, rapidly:

    "Dear Uncle: You have told me to leave your house, and I
    obey. I cannot tell you how sad I feel, when I reflect that I
    have lost your love, and must go forth among strangers--I
    know not where. I was but a little girl when you gave me a
    home. I have grown up in an atmosphere of love, and I have
    felt very grateful to you for all you have done for me. I
    have tried to conform to your wishes, and I would obey you in
    all else--but I cannot marry Curtis; I think I would rather
    die. Let me still live with you as I have done. I do not care
    for any part of your money--leave it all to him, if you think
    best--but give me back my place in your heart. You are angry
    now, but you will some time pity and forgive your poor
    Florence, who will never cease to bless and pray for you.
    Good-bye!

                                                 "Florence."

She was about to sign herself Florence Linden, but reflected that she
was no longer entitled to use a name which would seem to carry with it
a claim upon her uncle.

The tears fell upon the paper as she was writing, but she heeded them
not. It was the saddest hour of her life. Hitherto she had been
shielded from all sorrow, and secure in the affection of her uncle,
had never dreamed that there would come a time when she would feel
obliged to leave all behind her, and go out into the world, friendless
and penniless, but poorest of all in the loss of that love which she
had hitherto enjoyed.

After completing the note, Florence let her head fall upon the table,
and sobbed herself to sleep.

An hour and a half passed, the servant looked in, but noticing that
her mistress was sleeping, contented herself with lowering the gas,
but refrained from waking her.

And so she slept on till the French clock upon the mantle struck
eleven.

Five minutes later and the door of the room slowly opened, and a boy
entered on tiptoe. He was roughly dressed. His figure was manly and
vigorous, and despite his stealthy step and suspicious movements his
face was prepossessing.

He started when he saw Florence.

"What, a sleeping gal!" he said to himself. "Tim told me I'd find the
coast clear, but I guess she's sound asleep, and won't hear nothing. I
don't half like this job, but I've got to do as Tim told me. He says
he's my father, so I s'pose it's all right. All the same, I shall be
nabbed some day, and then the family'll be disgraced. It's a queer
life I've led ever since I can remember. Sometimes I feel like leaving
Tim, and settin' up for myself. I wonder how 'twould seem to be
respectable."

The boy approached the secretary, and with some tools he had brought
essayed to open it. After a brief delay he succeeded, and lifted the
cover. He was about to explore it, according to Tim's directions, when
he heard a cry of fear, and turning swiftly saw Florence, her eyes
dilated with terror, gazing at him.

"Who are you?" she asked in alarm, "and what are you doing there?"



Chapter V.
Dodger.


The boy sprang to the side of Florence, and siezed her wrists in his
strong young grasp.

"Don't you alarm the house," he said, "or I'll----"

"What will you do?" gasped Florence, in alarm. The boy was evidently
softened by her beauty, and answered in a tone of hesitation:

"I don't know. I won't harm you if you keep quiet."

"What are you here for?" asked Florence, fixing her eyes on the boy's
face; "are you a thief?"

"I don't know--yes, I suppose I am."

"How sad, when you are so young."

"What! miss, do you pity me?"

"Yes, my poor boy, you must be very poor, or you wouldn't bring
yourself to steal."

"No. I ain't poor; leastways, I have enough to eat, and I have a place
to sleep."

"Then why don't you earn your living by honest means?"

"I can't; I must obey orders."

"Whose orders?"

"Why, the guv'nor's, to be sure."

"Did he tell you to open that secretary?"

"Yes."

"Who is the guv'nor, as you call him?"

"I can't tell; it wouldn't be square."

"He must be a very wicked man."

"Well, he ain't exactly what you call an angel, but I've seen wuss men
than the guv'nor."

"Do you mind telling me your own name?"

"No; for I know you won't peach on me. Tom Dodger."

"Dodger?"

"Yes."

"That isn't a surname."

"It's all I've got. That's what I'm always called."

"It is very singular," said Florence, fixing a glance of mingled
curiosity and perplexity upon the young visitor.

While the two were earnestly conversing in that subdued light,
afforded by the lowered gaslight, Tim Bolton crept in through the door
unobserved by either, tiptoed across the room to the secretary,
snatched the will and a roll of bills, and escaped without attracting
attention.

"Oh, I wish I could persuade you to give up this bad life," resumed
Florence, earnestly, "and become honest."

"Do you really care what becomes of me, miss?" asked Dodger, slowly.

"I do, indeed."

"That's very kind of you, miss; but I don't understand it. You are a
rich young lady, and I'm only a poor boy, livin' in a Bowery dive."

"What's that?"

"Never mind, miss, such as you wouldn't understand. Why, all my life
I've lived with thieves, and drunkards, and bunco men, and----"

"But I'm sure you don't like it. You are fit for something better."

"Do you really think so?" asked Dodger, doubtfullly.

"Yes; you have a good face. You were meant to be good and honest, I am
sure."

"Would you trust me?" asked the boy, earnestly, fixing his large, dark
eyes eloquently on the face of Florence.

"Yes, I would if you would only leave your evil companions, and become
true to your better nature."

"No one ever spoke to me like that before, miss," said Dodger, his
expressive features showing that he was strongly moved. "You think I
could be good if I tried hard, and grow up respectable?"

"I am sure you could," said Florence, confidently.

There was something in this boy, young outlaw though he was, that
moved her powerfully, and even fascinated her, though she hardly
realized it. It was something more than a feeling of compassion for a
wayward and misguided youth.

"I could if I was rich like you, and lived in a nice house, and
'sociated with swells. If you had a father like mine----"

"Is he a bad man?"

"Well, he don't belong to the church. He keeps a gin mill, and has
ever since I was a kid."

"Have you always lived with him?"

"Yes, but not in New York."

"Where then?"

"In Melbourne."

"That's in Australia."

"Yes, miss."

"How long since you came to New York?"

"I guess it's about three years."

"And you have always had this man as a guardian? Poor boy!"

"You've got a different father from me, miss?"

Tears forced themselves to the eyes of Florence, as this remark
brought forcibly to her mind the position in which she was placed.

"Alas!" she answered, impulsively, "I am alone in the world!"

"What! ain't the old gentleman that lives here your father?"

"He is my uncle; but he is very, very angry with me, and has this very
day ordered me to leave the house."

"Why, what a cantankerous old ruffian he is, to be sure!" exclaimed
the boy, indignantly.

"Hush! you must not talk against my uncle. He has always been kind to
me till now."

"Why, what's up? What's the old gentleman mad about?"

"He wants me to marry my cousin Curtis--a man I do not even like."

"That's a shame! Is it the dude I saw come out of the house a little
while ago?"

"Oh, no; that's a different gentleman. It's Mr. de Brabazon."

"You don't want to marry him, do you?"

"No, no!"

"I'm glad of that. He don't look as if he knew enough to come in when
it rained."

"The poor young man is not very brilliant, but I think I would rather
marry him than Curtis Waring."

"I've seen him, too. He's got dark hair and a dark complexion, and a
wicked look in his eye."

"You, too, have noticed that?"

"I've seen such as him before. He's a bad man."

"Do you know anything about him?" asked Florence, eagerly.

"Only his looks."

"I am not deceived," murmured Florence, "it's not wholly prejudice.
The boy distrusts him, too. So you see, Dodger," she added, aloud, "I
am not a rich young lady, as you suppose. I must leave this house, and
work for my living. I have no home any more."

"If you have no home," said Dodger, impulsively, "come home with me."

"To the home you have described, my poor boy? How could I do that?"

"No; I will hire a room for you in a quiet street, and you shall be my
sister. I will work for you, and give you my money."

"You are kind, and I am glad to think I have found a friend when I
need one most. But I could not accept stolen money. It would be as bad
as if I, too, were a thief."

"I am not a thief! That is, I won't be any more."

"And you will give up your plan of robbing my uncle?"

"Yes, I will; though I don't know what my guv'nor will say. He'll half
murder me, I expect. He'll be sure to cut up rough."

"Do right, Dodger, whatever happens. Promise me that you will never
steal again?"

"There's my hand, miss--I promise. Nobody ever talked to me like you.
I never thought much about bein' respectable, and growin' up to be
somebody, but if you take an interest in me, I'll try hard to do
right."

At this moment, Mr. Linden, clad in a long morning gown, and holding a
candle in his hand, entered the room, and started in astonishment when
he saw Florence clasping the hand of one whose appearance led him to
stamp as a young rough.

"Shameless girl!" he exclaimed, in stern reproof. "So this is the
company you keep when you think I am out of the way!"



Chapter VI.
A Tempest.


The charge was so strange and unexpected that Florence was
overwhelmed. She could only murmur:

"Oh, uncle!"

Her young companion was indignant. Already he felt that Florence had
consented to accept him as a friend, and he was resolved to stand by
her.

"I say, old man," he bristled up, "don't you go to insult her! She's
an angel!"

"No doubt you think so," rejoined Mr. Linden, in a tone of sarcasm.
"Upon my word, miss, I congratulate you on your elevated taste. So
this is your reason for not being willing to marry your Cousin
Curtis?"

"Indeed, uncle, you are mistaken. I never met this boy till to-night."

"Don't try to deceive me. Young man, did you open my secretary?"

"Yes, sir."

"And robbed it into the bargain," continued Linden, going to the
secretary, and examining it. He did not, however, miss the will, but
only the roll of bills. "Give me back the money you have taken from
me, you young rascal!"

"I took nothing, sir."

"It's a lie! The money is gone, and no one else could have taken it."

"I don't allow no one to call me a liar. Just take that back, old man,
or I----"

"Indeed, uncle, he took nothing, for he had only just opened the
secretary when I woke up and spoke to him."

"You stand by him, of course, shameless girl! I blush to think that
you are my niece. I am glad to think that my eyes are opened before it
is too late."

The old merchant rang the bell violently, and aroused the house.
Dodger made no attempt to escape, but stood beside Florence in the
attitude of a protector. But a short time elapsed before Curtis Waring
and the servants entered the room, and gazed with wonder at the
_tableau_ presented by the excited old man and the two young people.

"My friends," said John Linden, in a tone of excitement, "I call you
to witness that this girl, whom I blush to acknowledge as my niece,
has proved herself unworthy of my kindness. In your presence I cut her
off, and bid her never again darken my door."

"But what has she done, uncle?" asked Curtis. He was prepared for the
presence of Dodger, whom he rightly concluded to be the agent of Tim
Bolton, but he could not understand why Florence should be in the
library at this late hour. Nor was he able to understand the evidently
friendly relations between her and the young visitor.

"What has she done?" repeated John Linden. "She has introduced that
young ruffian into the house to rob me. Look at that secretary! He has
forced it open, and stolen a large sum of money."

"It is not true, sir," said Dodger, calmly, "about taking the money, I
mean. I haven't taken a cent."

"Then why did you open the secretary?"

"I did mean to take money, but she stopped me."

"Oh, she stopped you?" repeated Linden, with withering sarcasm. "Then,
perhaps, you will tell me where the money is gone?"

"He hasn't discovered about the will," thought Curtis, congratulating
himself; "if the boy has it, I must manage to give him a chance to
escape."

"You can search me if you want to," continued Dodger, proudly. "You
won't find no money on me."

"Do you think I am a fool, you young burglar?" exclaimed John Linden,
angrily.

"Uncle, let me speak to the boy," said Curtis, soothingly. "I think he
will tell me."

"As you like, Curtis; but I am convinced that he is a thief."

Curtis Waring beckoned Dodger into an adjoining room.

"Now, my boy," he said, smoothly, "give me what you took from the
secretary, and I will see that you are not arrested."

"But, sir, I didn't take nothing--it's just as I told the old duffer.
The girl waked up just as I'd got the secretary open, and I didn't
have a chance."

"But the money is gone," said Curtis, in an incredulous tone.

"I don't know nothing about that."

"Come, you'd better examine your pockets. In the hurry of the moment
you may have taken it without knowing it."

"No, I couldn't."

"Didn't you take a paper of any kind?" asked Curtis, eagerly.
"Sometimes papers are of more value than money."

"No, I didn't take no paper, though Tim told me to."

Curtis quietly ignored the allusion to Tim, for it did not suit his
purpose to get Tim into trouble. His unscrupulous agent knew too much
that would compromise his principal.

"Are you willing that I should examine you?"

"Yes, I am. Go ahead."

Curtis thrust his hand into the pockets of the boy, who, boy as he
was, was as tall as himself, but was not repaid by the discovery of
anything. He was very much perplexed.

"Didn't you throw the articles on the floor?" he demanded,
suspiciously.

"No, I didn't."

"You didn't give them to the young lady?"

"No; if I had she'd have said so."

"Humph! this is strange. What is your name?"

"Dodger."

"That's a queer name; have you no other?"

"Not as I know of."

"With whom do you live?"

"With my father. Leastways, he says he's my father."

There was a growing suspicion in the mind of Curtis Waring. He scanned
the boy's features with attention. Could this ill-dressed boy--a
street boy in appearance--be his long-lost and deeply wronged cousin?

"Who is it that says he is your father?" he demanded, abruptly.

"Do you want to get him into trouble?"

"No, I don't want to get him into trouble, or you either. Better tell
me all, and I will be your friend."

"You're a better sort than I thought at first," said Dodger. "The man
I live with is called Tim Bolton."

"I though so," quickly ejaculated Curtis. He had scarcely got out the
words before he was sensible that he had made a mistake.

"What! do you know Tim?" inquired Dodger, in surprise.

"I mean," replied Curtis, lamely, "that I have heard of this man
Bolton. He keeps a saloon on the Bowery, doesn't he?"

"Yes."

"I thought you would be living with some such man. Did he come to the
house with you tonight?"

"Yes."

"Where is he?"

"He stayed outside."

"Perhaps he is there now."

"Don't you go to having him arrested," said Dodger, suspiciously.

"I will keep my promise. Are you sure you didn't pass out the paper
and the money to him? Think now."

"No, I didn't. I didn't have a chance. When I came into the room
yonder I saw the gal asleep, and I thought she wouldn't hear me, but
when I got the desk open she spoke to me, and asked me what I was
doin'."

"And you took nothing?"

"No."

"It seems very strange. I cannot understand it. Yet my uncle says the
money is gone. Did anyone else enter the room while you were talking
with Miss Linden?"

"I didn't see any one."

"What were you talking about?"

"She said the old man wanted her to marry you, and she didn't want
to."

"She told you that?" exclaimed Curtis, in displeasure.

"Yes, she did. She said she'd rather marry the dude that was here
early this evenin'."

"Mr. de Brabazon!"

"Yes, that's the name."

"Upon my word, she was very confidential. You are a queer person for
her to select as a confidant."

"Maybe so, sir; but she knows I'm her friend."

"You like the young lady, then? Perhaps you would like to marry her
yourself?"

"As if she'd take any notice of a poor boy like me. I told her if her
uncle sent her away, I'd take care of her and be a brother to her."

"How would Mr. Tim Bolton--that's his name, isn't it?--like that?"

"I wouldn't take her to where he lives."

"I think, myself, it would hardly be a suitable home for a young lady
brought up on Madison Avenue. There is certainly no accounting for
tastes. Miss Florence----"

"That's her name, is it?"

"Yes; didn't she tell you?"

"No; but it's a nice name."

"She declines my hand, and accepts your protection. It will certainly
be a proud distinction to become Mrs. Dodger."

"Don't laugh at her!" said Dodger, suspiciously.

"I don't propose to. But I think we may as well return to the
library."

"Well," said Mr. Linden, as his nephew returned with Dodger.

"I have examined the boy, and found nothing on his person," said
Curtis; "I confess I am puzzled. He appears to have a high admiration
for Florence----"

"As I supposed."

"She has even confided to him her dislike for me, and he has offered
her his protection."

"Is this so, miss?" demanded Mr. Linden, sternly.

"Yes, uncle," faltered Florence.

"Then you can join the young person you have selected whenever you
please. For your sake I will not have him arrested for attempted
burglary. He is welcome to what he has taken, since he is likely to
marry into the family. You may stay here to-night, and he can call for
you in the morning."

John Linden closed the secretary, and left the room, leaving Florence
sobbing. The servants, too, retired, and Curtis was left alone with
her.

"Florence," he said, "accept my hand, and I will reconcile my uncle to
you. Say but the word, and----"

"I can never speak it, Curtis! I will take my uncle at his word.
Dodger, call for me to-morrow at eight, and I will accept your
friendly services in finding me a new home."

"I'll be on hand, miss. Good-night!"

"Be it so, obstinate girl!" said Curtis, angrily. "The time will come
when you will bitterly repent your mad decision."



Chapter VII.
Florence Leaves Home.


Florence passed a sleepless night. It had come upon her so suddenly,
this expulsion from the home of her childhood, that she could not
fully realize it. She could not feel that she was taking her last look
at the familiar room, and well-remembered dining-room, where she had
sat down for the last time for breakfast. She was alone at the
breakfast table, for the usual hour was half-past eight, and she had
appointed Dodger to call for her at eight.

"Is it true, Miss Florence, that you're going away?" asked Jane, the
warm-hearted table girl, as she waited upon Florence.

"Yes, Jane," answered Florence, sadly.

"It's a shame, so it is! I didn't think your uncle would be so
hard-hearted."

"He is disappointed because I won't marry my Cousin Curtis."

"I don't blame you for it, miss. I never liked Mr. Waring. He isn't
half good enough for you."

"I say nothing about that, Jane; but I will not marry a man I do not
love."

"Nor would I, miss. Where are you going, if I may make so bold?"

"I don't know, Jane," said Florence, despondently.

"But you can't walk about the streets."

"A trusty friend is going to call for me at eight o'clock; when he
comes admit him."

"It is a--a young gentleman?"

"You wouldn't call him such. He is a boy, a poor boy; but I think he
is a true friend. He says he will find me a comfortable room
somewhere, where I can settle down and look for work."

"Are you going to work for a living, Miss Florence?" asked Jane,
horrified.

"I must, Jane."

"It's a great shame--you, a lady born."

"No, Jane, I do not look upon it in that light. I shall be happier for
having my mind and my hands occupied."

"What work will you do?"

"I don't know yet. Dodger will advise me."

"Who, miss?"

"Dodger."

"Who is he?"

"It's the boy I spoke of."

"Shure, he's got a quare name."

"Yes; but names don't count for much. It's the heart I think of, and
this boy has a kind heart."

"Have you known him long?"

"I saw him yesterday for the first time."

"Is it the young fellow who was here last night?"

"Yes."

"He isn't fit company for the likes of you, Miss Florence."

"You forget, Jane, that I am no longer a rich young lady. I am poorer
than even you. This Dodger is kind, and I feel that I can trust him."

"If you are poor, Miss Florence," said Jane, hesitatingly, "would you
mind borrowing some money of me? I've got ten dollars upstairs in my
trunk, and I don't need it at all. It's proud I'll be to lend it to
you."

"Thank you, Jane," said Florence, gratefully. "I thought I had but one
friend. I find I have two----"

"Then you'll take the money? I'll go right up and get it."

"No, Jane; not at present. I have twenty dollars in my purse, and it
will last me till I can earn more."

"But, miss, twenty dollars will soon go," said Jane, disappointed.

"If I find that I need the sum you so kindly offer me, I will let you
know, I promise that."

"Thank you, miss."

At this point a bell rang from above.

"It's from Mr. Curtis' room," said Jane.

"Go and see what he wants."

Jane returned in a brief time with a note in her hand.

"Mr. Curtis asked me if you were still here," she explained, "and when
I told him you were he asked me to give you this."

Florence took the note, and, opening it, read these lines:

    "Florence: Now that you have had time to think over your plan
    of leaving your old home, I hope you have come to see how
    foolish it is. Reflect that, if carried out, a life of
    poverty and squalid wretchedness amid homely and uncongenial
    surroundings awaits you; while, as my wife, you will live a
    life of luxury and high social position. There are many young
    ladies who would be glad to accept the chance which you so
    recklessly reject. By accepting my hand you will gratify our
    excellent uncle, and make me the happiest of mortals. You
    will acquit me of mercenary motives, since you are now
    penniless, and your disobedience leaves me sole heir to Uncle
    John. I love you, and it will be my chief object, if you will
    permit it, to make you happy.

                                                 "Curtis Waring."

Florence ran her eyes rapidly over this note, but her heart did not
respond, and her resolution was not shaken.

"Tell Mr. Waring there is no answer, Jane, if he inquires," she said.

"Was he tryin' to wheedle you into marryin' him?" asked Jane.

"He wished me to change my decision."

"I'm glad you've given him the bounce," said Jane, whose expressions
were not always refined. "I wouldn't marry him myself."

Florence smiled. Jane was red haired, and her nose was what is
euphemistically called _retrousse_. Even in her own circles she was
not regarded as beautiful, and was hardly likely to lead a rich man to
overlook her humble station, and sue for her hand.

"Then, Jane, you at least will not blame me for refusing my cousin's
hand?"

"That I won't, miss. Do you know, Miss Florence"--and here Jane
lowered her voice--"I've a suspicion that Mr. Curtis is married
already?"

"What do you mean, Jane?" asked Florence, startled.

"There was a poor young woman called here last month and inquired for
Mr. Curtis. She was very sorrowful-like, and poorly dressed. He came
up when she was at the door, and he spoke harshlike, and told her to
walk away with him. What they said I couldn't hear, but I've a
suspicion that she was married to him, secretlike for I saw a wedding
ring upon her finger."

"But, Jane, it would be base and infamous for him to ask for my hand
when he was already married."

"I can't help it, miss. That's just what he wouldn't mind doin'. Oh,
he's a sly deceiver, Mr. Curtis. I'd like to see him foolin' around
me."

Jane nodded her head with emphasis, as if to intimate the kind of
reception Curtis Waring would get if he attempted to trifle with her
virgin affections.

"I hope what you suspect is not true," said Florence, gravely. "I do
not like or respect Curtis, but I don't like to think he would be so
base as that. If you ever see this young woman again, try to find out
where she lives. I would like to make her acquaintance, and be a
friend to her if she needs one."

"Shure, Miss Florence, you will be needin' a friend yourself."

"It is true, Jane. I forgot that I am no longer a young lady of
fortune, but a penniless girl, obliged to work for a living."

"What would your uncle say if he knew that Mr. Curtis had a wife?"

"We don't know that he has one, and till we do, it would not be
honorable to intimate such a thing to Uncle John."

"Shure, he wouldn't be particular. It's all his fault that you're
obliged to leave home, and go into the streets. Why couldn't he take
no for an answer, and marry somebody else, if he can find anybody to
have him?"

"I wish, indeed, that he had fixed his affections elsewhere,"
responded Florence, with a sigh.

"Shure, he's twice as old as you, Miss Florence, anyway."

"I shouldn't mind that so much, if that was the only objection."

"It'll be a great deal better marryin' a young man."

"I don't care to marry any one, Jane. I don't think I shall ever
marry."

"It's all very well to say that, Miss Florence. Lots of girls say so,
but they change their minds. I don't mean to live out always myself."

"Is there any young man you are interested in, Jane?"

"Maybe there is, and maybe there isn't, Miss Florence. If I ever do
get married I'll invite you to the wedding."

"And I'll promise to come if I can. But I hear the bell. I think my
friend Dodger has come."

"Shall I ask him in, miss?"

"No. Tell him I will be ready to accompany him at once."

She went out into the hall, and when the door was opened the visitor
proved to be Dodger. He had improved his appearance so far as his
limited means would allow. His hands and face were thoroughly clean;
he had bought a new collar and necktie; his shoes were polished, and
despite his shabby suit, he looked quite respectable. Getting a full
view of him, Florence saw that his face was frank and handsome, his
eyes bright, and his teeth like pearls.

"Shure, he's a great deal better lookin' than Mr. Curtis," whispered
Jane. "Here, Mr. Dodger, take Miss Florence's valise, and mind you
take good care of her."

"I will," answered Dodger, heartily. "Come, Miss Florence, if you
don't mind walking over to Fourth Avenue, we'll take the horse cars."

So, under strange guidance, Florence Linden left her luxurious home,
knowing not what awaited her. What haven of refuge she might find she
knew not. She, like Dodger, was adrift in New York.



Chapter VIII.
A Friendly Compact.


Florence, as she stepped on the sidewalk, turned, and fixed a last sad
look on the house that had been her home for so many years. She had
never anticipated such a sundering of home ties, and even now she
found it difficult to realize that the moment had come when her life
was to be rent in twain, and the sunlight of prosperity was to be
darkened and obscured by a gloomy and uncertain future.

She had hastily packed a few indispensable articles in a valise which
she carried in her hand.

"Let me take your bag, Miss Florence," said Dodger, reaching out his
hand.

"I don't want to trouble you, Dodger."

"It ain't no trouble, Miss Florence. I'm stronger than you, and it
looks better for me to carry it."

"You are very kind, Dodger. What would I do without you?"

"There's plenty that would be glad of the chance of helping you," said
Dodger, with a glance of admiration at the fair face of his companion.

"I don't know where to find them," said Florence, sadly. "Even my
uncle has turned against me."

"He's an old chump!" ejaculated Dodger, in a tone of disgust.

"Hush! I cannot hear a word against him. He has always been kind and
considerate till now. It is the evil influence of my Cousin Curtis
that has turned him against me. When he comes to himself I am sure he
will regret his cruelty."

"He would take you back if you would marry your cousin."

"Yes; but that I will never do!" exclaimed Florence, with energy.

"Bully for you!" said Dodger. "Excuse me," he said, apologetically. "I
ain't used to talkin' to young ladies, and perhaps that ain't proper
for me to say."

"I don't mind, Dodger; your heart is in the right place."

"Thank you, Miss Florence. I'm glad you've got confidence in me. I'll
try to deserve it."

"Where are we going?" asked the young lady, whose only thought up to
this moment had been to get away from the presence of Curtis and his
persecutions.

They had now reached Fourth Avenue, and a surface car was close at
hand.

"We're going to get aboard that car," said Dodger, signaling with his
free hand. "I'll tell you more when we're inside."

Florence entered the car, and Dodger, following, took a seat at her
side.

They presented a noticeable contrast, for Florence was dressed as
beseemed her station, while Dodger, in spite of his manly, attractive
face, was roughly attired, and looked like a working boy.

When the conductor came along, he drew out a dime, and tendered it in
payment of the double fare. The money was in the conductor's hand
before Florence was fully aware.

"You must not pay for me, Dodger," she said.

"Why not?" asked the boy. "Ain't we friends?"

"Yes, but you have no money to spare. Here, let me return the money."

And she offered him a dime from her own purse.

"You can pay next time, Miss Florence. It's all right. Now, I'll tell
you where we are goin'. A friend of mine, Mrs. O'Keefe, has a lodgin'
house, just off the Bowery. I saw her last night, and she says she's
got a good room that she can give you for two dollars a week--I don't
know how much you'd be willing to pay, but----"

"I can pay that for a time at least. I have a little money, and I must
find some work to do soon. Is this Mrs. O'Keefe a nice lady?"

"She ain't a lady at all," answered Dodger, bluntly. "She keeps an
apple-stand near the corner of Bowery and Grand Street; but she's a
good, respectable woman, and she's good-hearted. She'll be kind to
you, and try to make things pleasant; but if you ain't satisfied----"

"It will do for the present. Kindness is what I need, driven as I am
from the home of my childhood. But you, Dodger, where do you live?"

"I'm goin' to take a small room in the same house, Miss Florence."

"I shall be glad to have you near me."

"I am proud to hear you say that. I'm a poor boy, and you're a rich
lady, but----"

"Not rich, Dodger. I am as poor as yourself."

"You're a reg'lar lady, anyway. You ain't one of my kind, but I'm
going to improve and raise myself. I was readin' the other day of a
rich man that was once a poor boy, and sold papers like me. But
there's one thing in the way--I ain't got no eddication."

"You can read and write, can't you, Dodger?"

"Yes; I can read pretty well, but I can't write much."

"I will teach you in the evenings, when we are both at leisure."

"Will you?" asked the boy, with a glad smile. "You're very kind--I'd
like a teacher like you."

"Then it's a bargain, Dodger," and Florence's face for the first time
lost its sad look, as she saw an opportunity of helping one who had
befriended her. "But you must promise to study faithfully."

"That I will. If I don't, I'll give you leave to lick me."

"I shan't forget that," said Florence, amused. "I will buy a ruler of
good hard wood, and then you must look out. But, tell me, where have
you lived hitherto?"

"I don't like to tell you, Miss Florence. I've lived ever since I was
a kid with a man named Tim Bolton. He keeps a saloon on the Bowery,
near Houston Street. It's a tough place, I tell you. I've got a bed in
one corner--it's tucked away in a closet in the day."

"I suppose it is a drinking saloon?"

"Yes, that's what it is."

"And kept open very late?"

"Pretty much all night."

"Is this Tim Bolton any relation of yours?"

"He says he's my father; but I don't believe it."

"Have you always lived with him?"

"Ever since I was a small kid."

"Have you always lived in New York?"

"No; I was out in Australia. Tim was out in the country part of the
time, and part of the time he kept a saloon in Melbourne. There was
thieves and burglars used to come into his place. I knew what they
were, though they didn't think I did."

"How terrible for a boy to be subjected to such influences."

"But I've made up my mind I won't live with Tim no longer. I can earn
my own livin' sellin' papers, or smashin' baggage, and keep away from
Tim. I'd have done it before if I'd had a friend like you to care for
me."

"We will stand by each other, Dodger. Heaven knows I need a friend,
and if I can be a friend to you, and help you, I will."

"We'll get out here, Miss Florence. I told Mrs. O'Keefe I'd call at
her stand, and she'll go over and show you your room."

They left the car at the corner of Grand Street, and Dodger led the
way to an apple-stand, presided over by a lady of ample proportions,
whose broad, Celtic face seemed to indicate alike shrewd good sense
and a kindly spirit.

"Mrs. O'Keefe," said Dodger, "this is the young lady I spoke to you
about--Miss Florence Linden."

"It's welcome you are, my dear, and I'm very glad to make your
acquaintance. You look like a rale leddy, and I don't know how you'll
like the room I've got for you."

"I cannot afford to be particular, Mrs. O'Keefe. I have had a--a
reverse of circumstances, and I must be content with an humble home."

"Then I'll go over and show it to you. Here, Kitty, come and mind the
stand," she called to a girl about thirteen across the street, "and
don't let anybody steal the apples. Look out for Jimmy Mahone, he
stole a couple of apples right under my nose this mornin', the young
spalpeen!"

As they were crossing the street, a boy of fourteen ran up to Dodger.

"Dodger," said he, "you'd better go right over to Tim Bolton's. He's
in an awful stew--says he'll skin you alive if you don't come to the
s'loon right away."



Chapter IX.
The New Home.


"You can tell Tim Bolton," said Dodger, "that I don't intend to come
back at all."

"You don't mean it, Dodger?" said Ben Holt, incredulously.

"Yes, I do. I'm going to set up for myself."

"Oh, Dodger," said Florence, "I'm afraid you will get into trouble for
my sake!"

"Don't worry about that, Miss Florence. I'm old enough to take care of
myself, and I've got tired of livin' with Tim."

"But he may beat you!"

"He'll have to get hold of me first."

They had reached a four-story tenement of shabby brick, which was
evidently well filled up by a miscellaneous crowd of tenants; shop
girls, mechanics, laborers and widows, living by their daily toil.

Florence had never visited this part of the city, and her heart sank
within her as she followed Mrs. O'Keefe through a dirty hallway, up a
rickety staircase, to the second floor.

"One more flight of stairs, my dear," said Mrs. O'Keefe,
encouragingly. "I've got four rooms upstairs; one of them is for you,
and one for Dodger."

Florence did not reply. She began to understand at what cost she had
secured her freedom from a distasteful marriage.

In her Madison Avenue home all the rooms were light, clean and
luxuriously furnished. Here---- But words were inadequate to describe
the contrast.

Mrs. O'Keefe threw open the door of a back room about twelve feet
square, furnished in the plainest manner, uncarpeted, except for a
strip that was laid, like a rug, beside the bedstead.

There was a washstand, with a mirror, twelve by fifteen inches, placed
above it, a pine bureau, a couple of wooden chairs, and a cane-seated
rocking-chair.

"There, my dear, what do you say to that?" asked Mrs. O'Keefe,
complacently. "All nice and comfortable as you would wish to see."

"It is--very nice," said Florence, faintly, sacrificing truth to
politeness.

"And who do you think used to live here?" asked the apple-woman.

"I'm sure I don't know."

"The bearded woman in the dime museum," answered Mrs. O'Keefe, nodding
her head. "She lived with me three months, and she furnished the room
herself. When she went away she was hard up, and I bought the
furniture of her cheap. You remember Madam Berger, don't you, Dodger?"

"Oh, yes, I seen her often."

"She got twenty-five dollars a week, and she'd ought to have saved
money, but she had a good-for-nothin' husband that drank up all her
hard earnin's."

"I hope she didn't drink herself," said Florence, who shuddered at the
idea of succeeding a drunken tenant.

"Not a drop. She was a good, sober lady, if she did work in a dime
museum. She only left here two weeks ago. It isn't every one I'd be
willin' to take in her place, but I see you're a real leddy, let alone
that Dodger recommends you. I hope you'll like the room, and I'll do
all I can to make things pleasant. You can go into my room any hour,
my dear, and do your little cookin' on my stove. I s'pose you'll do
your own cookin'?"

"Well, not just at present," faltered Florence. "I am afraid I don't
know much about cooking."

"You'll find it a deal cheaper, and it's more quiet and gentale than
goin' to the eatin'-houses. I'll help you all I can, and glad to."

"Thank you, Mrs. O'Keefe, you are very kind," said Florence,
gratefully. "Perhaps just at first you wouldn't object to taking me as
a boarder, and letting me take my meals with you. I don't think I
would like to go to the eating-houses alone."

"To be sure, my dear, if you wish it, and I'll be glad of your
company. I'll make the terms satisfactory."

"I have no doubt of that," said Florence, feeling very much relieved.

"If I might be so bold, what kind of work are you going to do?"

"I hardly know. It has come upon me so suddenly. I shall have to do
something, for I haven't got much money. What I should like best would
be to write----"

"Is it for the papers you mean?"

"Oh, no; I mean for some author or lawyer."

"I don't know much about that," said Mrs. O'Keefe. "In fact, I don't
mind tellin' you, my dear, that I can't write myself, but I earn a
good livin' all the same by my apple-stand. I tell you, my dear," she
continued in a confidential tone, "there is a good dale of profit in
sellin' apples. It's better than sewin' or writin'. Of course, a young
leddy like you wouldn't like to go into the business."

Florence shook her head, with a smile.

"No, Mrs. O'Keefe," she said. "I am afraid I haven't a business turn,
and I should hardly like so public an employment."

"Lor', miss, it's nothin' if you get used to it. There's nothin' dull
about my business, unless it rains, and you get used to havin' people
look at you."

"It isn't all that are worth looking at like you, Mrs. O'Keefe," said
Dodger, slyly.

"Oh, go away wid your fun, Dodger," said the apple-woman,
good-naturedly. "I ain't much to look at, I know."

"I think there's a good deal of you to look at, Mrs. O'Keefe. You must
weigh near three hundred."

"I've a good mind to box your ears, Dodger. I only weigh a hundred and
ninety-five. But I can't be bothered wid your jokes. Can you sew, Miss
Florence?"

"Yes; but I would rather earn my living some other way, if possible."

"Small blame to you for that. I had a girl in Dodger's room last year
who used to sew for a livin'. Early and late she worked, poor thing,
and she couldn't make but two dollars a week."

"How could she live?" asked Florence, startled, for she knew very
little of the starvation wages paid to toiling women.

"She didn't live. She just faded away, and it's my belief the poor
thing didn't get enough to eat. Every day or two I'd make an excuse to
take her in something from my own table, a plate of meat, or a bit of
toast and a cup of tay, makin' belave she didn't get a chance to cook
for herself, but she got thinner and thinner, and her poor cheeks got
hollow, and she died in the hospital at last."

The warm-hearted apple-woman wiped away a tear with the corner of her
apron, as she thought of the poor girl whose sad fate she described.

"You won't die of consumption, Mrs. O'Keefe," said Dodger. "It'll take
a good while for you to fade away."

"Hear him now," said the apple-woman, laughing. "He will have his
joke, Miss Florence, but he's a good bye for all that, and I'm glad
he's goin' to lave Tim Bolton, that ould thafe of the worruld."

"Now, Mrs. O'Keefe, you know you'd marry Tim if he'd only ask you."

"Marry him, is it? I'd lay my broom over his head if he had the
impudence to ask me. When Maggie O'Keefe marries ag'in, she won't
marry a man wid a red nose."

"Break it gently to him, Mrs. O'Keefe. Tim is just the man to break
his heart for love of you."

Mrs. O'Keefe aimed a blow at Dodger, but he proved true to his name,
and skillfully evaded it.

"I must be goin'," he said. "I've got to work, or I can't pay room
rent when the week comes round."

"What are you going to do, Dodger?" asked Florence.

"It isn't time for the evenin' papers yet, so I shall go 'round to the
piers and see if I can't get a job at smashin' baggage."

"But I shouldn't think any one would want to do that," said Florence,
puzzled.

"It's what we boys call it. It's just carryin' valises and bundles.
Sometimes I show strangers the way to Broadway. Last week an old man
paid me a dollar to show him the way to the Cooper Institute. He was a
gentleman, he was. I'd like to meet him ag'in. Good-by, Miss Florence;
I'll be back some time this afternoon."

"And I must be goin', too," said Mrs. O'Keefe. "I can't depend on that
Kitty; she's a wild slip of a girl, and just as like as not I'll find
a dozen apples stole when I get back. I hope you won't feel lonely, my
dear."

"I think I will lie down a while," said Florence. "I have a headache."

She threw herself on the bed, and a feeling of loneliness and
desolation came over her.

Her new friends were kind, but they could not make up to her for her
uncle's love, so strangely lost, and the home she had left behind.



Chapter X.
The Arch Conspirator.


In the house on Madison Avenue, Curtis Waring was left in possession
of the field. Through his machinations Florence had been driven from
home and disinherited.

He was left sole heir to his uncle's large property with the prospect
of soon succeeding, for though only fifty-four, John Linden looked at
least ten years older, and was as feeble as many men past seventy.

Yet, as Curtis seated himself at the breakfast table an hour after
Florence had left the house, he looked far from happy or triumphant.

One thing he had not succeeded in, the conquest of his cousin's heart.
Though he loved himself best, he was really in love with Florence, so
far as he was capable of being in love with any one.

She was only half his age--scarcely that--but he persuaded himself
that the match was in every way suitable.

He liked to fancy her at the head of his table, after the death of his
uncle, which he anticipated in a few months at latest.

The more she appeared to dislike him, the more he determined to marry
her, even against her will.

She was the only one likely to inherit John Linden's wealth, and by
marrying her he would make sure of it.

Yet she had been willing to leave the home of her youth, to renounce
luxury for a life of poverty, rather than to marry him.

When he thought of this his face became set and its expression stern
and determined.

"Florence shall yet be mine," he declared, resolutely. "I will yet be
master of her fate, and bend her to my will. Foolish girl, how dare
she match her puny strength against the resolute will of Curtis
Waring?"

"Was there any one else whom she loved?" he asked himself, anxiously.
No, he could think of none. On account of his uncle's chronic
invalidism, they had neither gone into society, nor entertained
visitors, and in the midst of a great city Florence and her uncle had
practically led the lives of recluses.

There had been no opportunity to meet young men who might have proved
claimants for her hand.

"When did Miss Florence leave the house, Jane?" he inquired, as he
seated himself at the table.

"Most an hour since," the girl answered, coldly, for she disliked
Curtis as much as she loved and admired Florence.

"It is sad, very sad that she should be so headstrong," said Curtis,
with hypocritical sorrow.

"It is sad for her to go away from her own uncle's house," returned
Jane.

"And very--very foolish."

"I don't know about that, sir. She had her reasons," said Jane,
significantly.

Curtis coughed.

He had no doubt that Florence had talked over the matter with her
hand-maiden.

"Did she say where she was going, Jane?" he asked.

"I don't think the poor child knew herself, sir."

"Did she go alone?"

"No, sir; the boy that was here last night called for her."

"That ragamuffin!" said Curtis, scornfully. "She certainly shows
extraordinary taste for a young lady of family."

"The boy seems a very kind and respectable boy," said Jane, who had
been quite won by Dodger's kindness to her young mistress.

"He may be respectable, though I am not so sure of that; but his
position in life is very humble. He is probably a bootblack; a
singular person to select for the friend of a girl like Florence."

"There's them that stands higher that isn't half so good," retorted
Jane, with more zeal than good grammar.

"Did Miss Florence take a cab?"

"No; she just walked."

"But she took some clothing with her?"

"She took a handbag--that is all. She will send for her trunk."

"If you find out where she is living, just let me know, Jane."

"I will if she is willing to have me," answered Jane, independently.

"Look here, Jane," said Curtis, angrily, "don't forget that you are
not her servant, but my uncle's. It is to him you look for wages, not
to Miss Florence."

"I don't need to be told that, sir. I know that well enough."

"Then you know that it is to him that your faithful services are due,
not to Florence?"

"I'm faithful to both, Mr. Waring."

"You are aware that my uncle is justly displeased with my cousin?"

"I know he's displeased, but I am sure he has no good reason to be."

Curtis Waring bit his lips. The girl, servant as she was, seemed to be
openly defying him. His imperious temper could ill brook this.

"Take care!" he said, with a frown. "You seem to be lacking in respect
to me. You don't appear to understand my position in this house."

"Oh, yes, I do. I know you have schemed to get my poor young mistress
out of the house, and have succeeded."

"I have a great mind to discharge you, girl," said Curtis, with
lowering brow.

"I am not your servant, sir. You have nothing to do with me."

"You will see whether I have or not. I will let you remain for a time,
as it is your attachment to Miss Florence that has made you forget
yourself. You will find that it is for your interest to treat me
respectfully."

A feeble step was heard at the door, and John Linden entered the
breakfast-room. His face was sad, and he heaved a sigh as he glanced
mechanically at the head of the table, where Florence usually sat.

Curtis Waring sprang to his feet, and placing himself at his uncle's
side, led him to his seat.

"How do you feel this morning, uncle?" he asked, with feigned
solicitude.

"Ill, Curtis. I didn't sleep well last night."

"I don't wonder, sir. You had much to try you."

"Is--is Florence here?"

"No, sir," answered Jane, promptly. "She left the house an hour ago."

A look of pain appeared on John Linden's pale face.

"Did--did she leave a message for me?" he asked, slowly.

"She asked me to bid you good-by for her," answered Jane, quickly.

"Uncle, don't let yourself be disturbed now with painful thoughts. Eat
your breakfast first, and then we will speak of Florence."

John Linden ate a very light breakfast. He seemed to have lost his
appetite and merely toyed with his food.

When he arose from the table, Curtis supported him to the library.

"It is very painful to me--this conduct of Florence's, Curtis," he
said, as he sank into his armchair.

"I understand it fully, uncle," said Curtis. "When I think of it, it
makes me very angry with the misguided girl."

"Perhaps I have been too harsh--too stern!"

"You, uncle, too harsh! Why, you are the soul of gentleness. Florence
has shown herself very ungrateful."

"Yet, Curtis, I love that girl. Her mother seemed to live again in
her. Have I not acted cruelly in requiring her to obey me or leave the
house?"

"You have acted only for good. You are seeking her happiness."

"You really think this, Curtis?"

"I am sure of it."

"But how will it all end?" asked Linden, bending an anxious look upon
his wily nephew.

"By Florence yielding."

"You are sure of that?"

"Yes. Listen, uncle; Florence is only capricious, like most girls of
her age. She foolishly desires to have her own way. It is nothing more
serious, I can assure you."

"But she has left the house. That seems to show that she is in
earnest."

"She thinks, uncle, that by doing so she can bend you to her wishes.
She hasn't the slightest idea of any permanent separation. She is
merely experimenting upon your weakness. She expects you will recall
her in a week, at the latest. That is all of it."

Like most weak men, it made Mr. Linden angry to have his strength
doubted.

"You think that?" he said.

"I have no doubt of it."

"She shall find that I am resolute," he said, irritably. "I will not
recall her."

"Bravo, uncle! Only stick to that, and she will yield unconditionally
within a fortnight. A little patience, and you will carry your point.
Then all will be smooth sailing."

"I hope so, Curtis. Your words have cheered me. I will be patient. But
I hope I shan't have to wait long. Where is the morning paper?"

"I shall have to humor and deceive him," thought Curtis. "I shall have
a difficult part to play, but I am sure to succeed at last."



Chapter XI.
Florence Secures Employment.


For a few days after being installed in her new home Florence was like
one dazed.

She could not settle her mind to any plan of self-support.

She was too unhappy in her enforced exile from her home, and it
saddened her to think that the uncle who had always been so kind was
permanently estranged from her.

Though Mrs. O'Keefe was kind, and Dodger was her faithful friend, she
could not accustom herself to her poor surroundings.

She had not supposed luxury so essential to her happiness.

It was worse for her because she had nothing to do but give way to her
morbid fancies.

This Mrs. O'Keefe was clear-sighted enough to see.

"I am sorry to see you so downcast like, my dear young lady," she
said.

"How can I help it, Mrs. O'Keefe?" returned Florence.

"Try not to think of your wicked cousin, my dear."

"It isn't of him that I think--it is of my uncle. How could he be so
cruel, and turn against me after years of kindness?"

"It's that wicked Curtis that is settin' him against you, take my word
for it, Miss Florence. Shure, he must be wake-minded to let such a
spalpeen set him against a swate young leddy like you."

"He is weak in body, not in mind, Mrs. O'Keefe. You are right in
thinking that it is Curtis that is the cause of my misfortune."

"Your uncle will come to his right mind some day, never fear! And now,
my dear, shall I give you a bit of advice?"

"Go on, my kind friend. I will promise to consider whatever you say."

"Then you'd better get some kind of work to take up your mind--a bit
of sewin', or writin', or anything that comes to hand. I suppose you
wouldn't want to mind my apple-stand a couple of hours every day?"

"No," answered Florence. "I don't feel equal to that."

"It would do you no end of good to be out in the open air. It would
bring back the roses to your pale cheeks. If you coop yourself up in
this dark room, you'll fade away and get thin."

"You are right. I will make an effort and go out. Besides, I must see
about work."

Here Dodger entered the room in his usual breezy way. In his hand he
brandished a morning paper.

"How are you feelin', Florence?" he asked; he had given up saying Miss
Florence at her request. "Here's an advertisement that'll maybe suit
you."

"Show it to me, Dodger," said Florence, beginning to show some
interest.

The boy directed her attention to the following advertisement:

    "Wanted.--A governess for a girl of twelve. Must be a good
    performer on the piano, and able to instruct in French and
    the usual English branches. Terms must be moderate. Apply to
    Mrs. Leighton, at 127 W. ---- Street."

"There, Florence, what do you say to that? That's better than sewin'."

"I don't know, Dodger, whether I am competent."

"You play on the pianner, don't you?"

"Yes."

"Well enough to teach?"

"I think so; but I may not have the gift of teaching."

"Yes, you have. Haven't you been teachin' me every evenin'? You make
everything just as clear as mud--no, I don't mean that. You just
explain so that I can't help understandin'."

"Then," said Florence, "I suppose I am at liberty to refer to you."

"Yes; you can tell the lady to call at the office of Dodger, Esq., any
mornin' after sunrise, and he'll give her full particulars."

Florence did not immediately decide to apply for the situation, but
the more she thought of it the more she felt inclined to do so. The
little experience she had had with Dodger satisfied her that she
should enjoy teaching better than sewing or writing.

Accordingly, an hour later, she put on her street dress and went
uptown to the address given in the advertisement.

No. 127 was a handsome brown-stone house, not unlike the one in which
Florence had been accustomed to live. It was a refreshing contrast to
the poor tenement in which she lived at present.

"Is Mrs. Leighton at home?" inquired Florence. "Yes, miss," answered
the servant, respectfully. "Whom shall I say?"

"I have come to apply for the situation of governess," answered
Florence, feeling rather awkward as she made the statement.

"Ah," said the servant, with a perceptible decline in respect. "Won't
you step in?"

"Thank you."

"Well, she do dress fine for a governess," said Nancy to herself.
"It's likely she'll put on airs."

The fact was that Florence was dressed according to her past social
position--in a costly street attire--but it had never occurred to her
that she was too well dressed for a governess.

She took her seat in the drawing-room, and five minutes later there
was a rustling heard, and Mrs. Leighton walked into the room.

"Are you the applicant for the position of governess?" she asked,
surveying the elegantly attired young lady seated on the sofa.

"Yes, Mrs. Leighton," answered Florence, easily, for she felt more at
home in a house like this than in the tenement.

"Have you taught before?"

"Very little," answered Florence, smiling to herself, as she wondered
what Mrs. Leighton would say if she could see Dodger, the only pupil
she ever had. "However, I like teaching, and I like children."

"Pardon me, but you don't look like a governess, Miss----"

"Linden," suggested Florence, filling out the sentence. "Do
governesses have a peculiar look?"

"I mean as to dress. You are more expensively dressed than the average
governess can afford."

"It is only lately that my circumstances required me to support
myself. I should not be able to buy such a dress out of my present
earnings."

"I am glad to hear you say that, for I do not propose to give a large
salary."

"I do not expect one," said Florence, quietly. "You consider yourself
competent to instruct in music, French and the English branches?"

"Oh, yes."

"Do you speak French?"

"Yes, madam."

"Would you favor me with a specimen of your piano playing?"

There was a piano in the back parlor. Florence removed her gloves, and
taking a seat before it, dashed into a spirited selection from
Strauss.

Mrs. Leighton listened with surprised approval.

"Certainly you are a fine performer," she said. "What--if I should
engage you--would you expect in the way of compensation?"

"How much time would you expect me to give?"

"Three hours daily--from nine to twelve."

"I hardly know what to say. What did you expect to pay?"

"About fifty cents an hour."

Florence knew very well, from the sums that had been paid for her own
education, that this was miserably small pay; but it was much more
than she could earn by sewing.

"I will teach a month on those terms," she said, after a pause.

Mrs. Leighton looked well pleased. She knew that she was making a
great bargain.

"Oh, by the way," she said, "can you give references?"

"I can refer you to Madam Morrison," naming the head of a celebrated
female seminary. "She educated me."

"That will be quite satisfactory," said Mrs. Leighton, graciously.
"Can you begin to-morrow?"

"Yes, madam."

"You will then see your pupil. At present she is out."

Florence bowed and withdrew.

She had been afraid Mrs. Leighton would inquire where she lived, and
she would hardly dare to name the humble street which she called home.

She walked toward Fifth Avenue, when, just as she was turning the
corner, she met Mr. Percy de Brabazon, swinging a slender cane, and
dressed in the extreme of the fashion.

"Miss Linden!" he exclaimed, eagerly. "This is--aw--indeed a pleasure.
Where are you walking this fine morning? May I--aw--have the pleasure
of accompanying you?"

Florence stopped short in deep embarrassment.



Chapter XII.
A Friend, Though A Dude.


Percy de Brabazon looked sincerely glad to meet Florence, and she
herself felt some pleasure in meeting one who reminded her of her
former life.

But it was quite impossible that she should allow him to accompany her
to her poor home on the East Side.

"Thank you, Mr. de Brabazon, but my engagements this morning will
hardly permit me to accept your escort," she said.

"I suppose that means that you are going shopping; but I don't mind
it, I assure you, and I will carry your bundles," he added,
magnanimously.

"That would never do. What! the fashionable Mr. de Brabazon carrying
bundles? You would lose your social status."

"I don't mind, Miss Florence, as long as you give me--aw--an approving
smile."

"I will give it now, as I bid you good-morning."

"May I--aw--have the pleasure of calling upon you to-morrow evening,
Miss Linden?"

"It is evident that you have not heard that I am no longer residing
with my uncle."

Mr. de Brabazon looked surprised.

"No, I had not heard. May I ask--aw--where you are wesiding?"

"With friends," answered Florence, briefly. "As you are a friend and
will be likely to hear it, I may as well mention that my uncle is
displeased with me, and has practically disowned me."

"Then, Miss Florence," said Mr. de Brabazon, eagerly, "won't you
accept--aw--my heart and hand? My mother will be charmed to receive
you, and I--aw--will strive to make you happy."

"I appreciate your devotion, I do, indeed, Mr. de Brabazon," said
Florence, earnestly; "but I must decline your offer. I will not marry
without love."

"I don't mind that," said Percy, "if you'll agree to take a feller;
you'll learn in time to like him a little. I am wich--I know you don't
care for that--but I can give you as good a home as your uncle. If you
would give me hope--aw----"

"I am afraid I cannot, Mr. de Brabazon, but if you will allow me to
look upon you as a friend, I will call upon you if I have need of a
friend's services."

"Will you, weally?"

"Yes, there is my hand on it. I ought to tell you that I must now earn
my own living, and am to give lessons to a young pupil in West ----
Street, three hours daily."

"You don't mean to say you are actually poor?" said Mr. de Brabazon,
horrified.

"Yes, indeed, I am."

"Then, won't you let me lend you some money? I've got more than I
need, I have, 'pon my honor."

"Thank you, I promise to call upon you if I need it."

Mr. de Brabazon looked pleased.

"Would you mind telling me where you are going to teach, Miss
Florence?"

Florence hesitated, but there was something so sincere and friendly in
the young man's manner--dude though he was--that she consented to
grant his request.

"I am to teach the daughter of Mr. Robert Leighton."

"Why, Miss Leighton is my cousin," said Percy, in joyous excitement.

"Indeed! Had I known that I would hardly have told you."

"Don't be afwaid! I will be vewy discreet," said Mr. de Brabazon.

"Thank you, and good-morning."

Florence went on her way, cheered and encouraged in spite of herself,
by her success in obtaining employment, and by the friendly offers of
Mr. de Brabazon.

"It is wrong to get discouraged," she said to herself. "After all,
there are warm hearts in the world."

When she entered her humble home, she found Dodger already there.
There was an eagerness in his manner, and a light in his eye, that
seemed to indicate good news.

"Well, Dodger, what is it?"

"I've been waitin' half an hour to see you, Florence," he said. "I've
got some work for you."

"What is it--sewing on a button, or mending a coat?"

"No, I mean workin' for money. You can play on the pianner, can't
you?"

"Yes."

"They want a young lady to play the pianner at a dime museum, for nine
dollars a week. It's a bully chance. I just told the manager--he's a
friend of mine--that I had a young lady friend that was a stunnin'
player, and he wants you to come around and see him."

It was a preposterous idea--so Florence thought--that she should
consent to play at such a place; but she couldn't expect Dodger to
look at the matter in the same light, so she answered, very gently and
pleasantly:

"You are very kind, Dodger, to look out for me, but I shall not need
to accept your friend's offer. I have secured a chance to teach
uptown."

"You have? What'll you get?"

"I am to be employed three hours daily, at fifty cents an hour."

"Geewhillikens! that's good! You'd have to work as much as twelve
hours at the museum for the same pay."

"You see, therefore, that I am provided for--that is, if I suit."

Dodger was a little disappointed. Still, he could not help admitting
that it would be better for Florence to teach three hours, than to
work ten or twelve. As to her having any objection to appearing at a
dime museum, that never occurred to him.

Florence had sent for her trunk, and it was now in her room.

Dodger accompanied an expressman to the house, and luckily saw Jane,
who arranged everything for him.

"How's the old gentleman?" asked Dodger. "Florence wanted me to ask."

"He's feeble," said Jane, shaking her head.

"Does he miss Florence?"

"That he do."

"Why don't he send for her, then, to come back?" asked Dodger,
bluntly.

"Because Curtis Waring makes him believe she'll come around and ask
forgiveness, if he only holds out. I tell you, Dodger, that Curtis is
a viper."

"So he is," answered Dodger, who was not quite clear in his mind as to
what a viper was. "I'd like to step on his necktie."

"If it wasn't for him, my dear young mistress would be back in the
house within twenty-four hours."

"I don't see how the old gentleman can let him turn Florence out of
the house."

"He's a snake in the grass, Dodger. It may be wicked, but I just wish
something would happen to him. And how is Miss Florence lookin', poor
dear?"

"She's lookin' like a daisy."

"Does she worry much?"

"She did at first, but now she's workin' every day, and she looks more
cheerful-like."

"Miss Florence workin'! She that was always brought up like a lady!"

"She's teachin' a little girl three hours a day."

"Well, that isn't so bad!" said Jane, relieved. "Teachin' is genteel.
I wish I could see her some day. Will you tell her, Dodger, that next
Sunday is my day out, and I'll be in Central Park up by the menagerie
at three o'clock, if she'll only take the trouble to be up there?"

"I'll tell her, Jane, and I'm sure she'll be there."

A day or two afterward Curtis Waring asked: "Have you heard from my
Cousin Florence since she went away?"

"Yes, sir."

"Indeed! Where is she staying?"

"She didn't send me word."

"How, then, did you hear from her?"

"Dodger came with an expressman for her trunk."

Curtis Waring frowned.

"And you let him have it?" he demanded, sternly.

"Of course I did. Why shouldn't I?"

"You should have asked me."

"And what business have you with Miss Florence's trunk, I'd like to
know?" said Jane, independently.

"Never mind; you ought to have asked my permission."

"I didn't think you'd want to wear any of Miss Florence's things, Mr.
Waring."

"You are silly and impertinent," said Curtis, biting his lips. "Did
that boy tell you anything about her?"

"Only that she wasn't worryin' any for you, Mr. Curtis."

Curtis glanced angrily at his cousin's devoted friend, and then,
turning on his heel, left the room.

"I'll bring her to terms yet," he muttered. "No girl of seventeen
shall defy me!"



Chapter XIII.
Tim Bolton's Saloon.


Not far from Houston Street, on the west side of the Bowery, is an
underground saloon, with whose proprietor we are already acquainted.

It was kept by Tim Bolton, whose peculiar tastes and shady
characteristics well fitted him for such a business.

It was early evening, and the gas jets lighted up a characteristic
scene.

On the sanded floor were set several tables, around which were seated
a motley company, all of them with glasses of beer or whiskey before
them.

Tim, with a white apron on, was moving about behind the bar,
ministering to the wants of his patrons. There was a scowl upon his
face, for he was not fond of work, and he missed Dodger's assistance.

The boy understood the business of mixing drinks as well as he, and
often officiated for hours at a time, thus giving his guardian and
reputed father a chance to leave the place and meet outside
engagements.

A tall, erect gentleman entered the saloon, and walked up to the bar.

"Good-evening, colonel," said Tim.

"Good-evening, sir," said the newcomer, with a stately inclination of
the head.

He was really a colonel, having served in the Civil War at the head of
a Georgia regiment.

He had all the stately courtesy of a Southern gentleman, though not
above the weakness of a frequent indulgence in the strongest fluids
dispensed by Tim Bolton.

"What'll you have, colonel?"

"Whiskey straight, sir. It's the only drink fit for a gentleman. Will
you join me, Mr. Bolton?"

"Of course, I will," said Tim, as, pouring out a glass for himself, he
handed the bottle to the colonel.

"Your health, sir," said the colonel, bowing.

"Same to you, colonel," responded Tim, with a nod.

"Where's the boy?"

Col. Martin had always taken considerable notice of Dodger, being
naturally fond of boys, and having once had a son of his own, who was
killed in a railroad accident when about Dodger's age.

"Danged if I know!" answered Tim, crossly.

"He hasn't left you, has he?"

"Yes; he's cleared out, the ungrateful young imp! I'd like to lay my
hands on the young rascal."

"Was he your son?"

"He was my--stepson," answered Tim, hesitating.

"I see, you married his mother."

"Yes," said Tim, considering the explanation satisfactory, and
resolved to adopt it. "I've always treated him as if he was my own
flesh and blood, and I've raised him from a young kid. Now he's gone
and left me."

"Can you think of any reason for his leaving you?"

"Not one. I always treated him well. He's been a great expense to me,
and now he's got old enough to help me he must clear out. He's the
most ungrateful cub I ever seen."

"I am sorry he has gone--I used to like to have him serve me."

"And now what's the consequence? Here I am tied down to the bar day
and night."

"Can't you get some one in his place?"

"Yes, but I'd likely be robbed; I had a bartender once who robbed me
of two or three dollars a day."

"But you trusted the boy?"

"Yes, Dodger wouldn't steal--I can say that much for him."

"There's one thing I noticed about the boy," said the colonel,
reflectively. "He wouldn't drink. More than once I have asked him to
drink with me, but he would always say, 'Thank you, colonel, but I
don't like whiskey.' I never asked him to take anything else, for
whiskey's the only drink fit for a gentleman. Do you expect to get the
boy back?"

"If I could only get out for a day I'd hunt him up; but I'm tied down
here."

"I seed him yesterday, Tim," said a red-nosed man who had just entered
the saloon, in company with a friend of the same general appearance.
Both wore silk hats, dented and soiled with stains of dirt, coats long
since superannuated, and wore the general look of barroom loafers.

They seldom had any money, but lay in wait for any liberal stranger,
in the hope of securing a free drink.

"Where did you see him, Hooker?" asked Tim Bolton, with sudden
interest.

"Selling papers down by the Astor House."

"Think of that, colonel!" said Tim, disgusted. "Becomin' a common
newsboy, when he might be in a genteel employment! Did you speak to
him, Hooker?"

"Yes, I asked him if he had left you."

"What did he say?"

"That he had left you for good--that he was going to grow up
respectable!"

"Think of that!" said Tim, with renewed disgust. "Did he say where he
lived?"

"No."

"Did he ask after me?"

"No, except he said that you were no relation of his. He said he
expected you stole him when he was a kid, and he hoped some time to
find his relations."

Tim Bolton's face changed color, and he was evidently disturbed. Could
the boy have heard anything? he wondered, for his suspicions were very
near the truth.

"It's all nonsense!" he said, roughly. "Next time you see him, Hooker,
foller him home, and find out where he lives."

"All right, Tim. It ought to be worth something," he insinuated, with
a husky cough.

"That's so. What'll you take?"

"Whiskey," answered Hooker, with a look of pleased anticipation.

"You're a gentleman, Tim," he said, as he gulped down the contents of
a glass without winking.

Briggs, his dilapidated companion, had been looking on in thirsty
envy.

"I'll help Hooker to look for Dodger," he said.

"Very well, Briggs."

"Couldn't you stand a glass for me, too, Tim?" asked Briggs, eagerly.

"No," answered Bolton, irritably. "I've been at enough expense for
that young rascal already."

But the colonel noticed the pathetic look of disappointment on the
face of Briggs, and he was stirred to compassion.

"Drink with me, sir," he said, turning to the overjoyed Briggs.

"Thank you, colonel. You're a gentleman!"

"Two glasses, Tim."

So the colonel drained a second glass, and Briggs, pouring out with
trembling fingers as much as he dared, followed suit.

When the last drop was drunk, he breathed a deep sigh of measureless
enjoyment.

"If either of you bring that boy in here," said Tim, "I'll stand a
couple of glasses for both."

"We're your men, Tim," said Hooker. "Ain't we, Briggs?"

"That's so, Hooker. Shake!"

And the poor victims of drink shook hands energetically. Long since
they had sunk their manhood in the intoxicating cup, and henceforth
lived only to gratify their unnatural craving for what would sooner or
later bring them to a drunkard's grave.

As they left the saloon, the colonel turned to Tim, and said:

"I like whiskey, sir; but I'll be hanged if I can respect such men as
those."

"They're bums, colonel, that's what they are!"

"How do they live?"

"Don't know. They're in here about every day."

"If it's drink that's brought them where they are, I'm half inclined
to give it up; but, after all, it isn't necessary to make a beast of
yourself. I always drink like a gentleman, sir."

"So you do, colonel."

At that moment a poor woman, in a faded calico dress with a thin shawl
over her shoulders, descended the steps that led into the saloon, and
walked up to the bar.

"Has my husband been here to-night?" she asked.

Tim Bolton frowned.

"Who's your husband?" he asked, roughly.

"Wilson."

"No, Bill Wilson hasn't been here to-night. Even if he had you have no
business to come after him. I don't want any sniveling women here."

"I couldn't help it, Mr. Bolton," said the woman, putting her apron to
her eyes. "If Bill comes in, won't you tell him to come home? The
baby's dead, and we haven't a cent in the house!"

Even Tim was moved by this.

"I'll tell him," he said. "Take a drink yourself; you don't look
strong. It shan't cost you a cent."

"No," said the woman, "not a drop! It has ruined my happiness, and
broken up our home! Not a drop!"

"Here, my good lady," said the colonel, with chivalrous deference,
"you have no money. Take this," and he handed the astonished woman a
five-dollar bill.

"Heaven bless you, sir!" she exclaimed, fervently.

"Allow me to see you to the street," and the gallant Southern
gentleman escorted her up to the sidewalk.

"I'd like to horsewhip that woman's husband. Don't you sell him
another drop!" he said, when he returned.



Chapter XIV.
The Missing Will.


An hour after the depart of the colonel there was an unexpected
arrival.

A well-dressed gentleman descended the stairs gingerly, looked about
him with fastidious disdain, and walked up to the bar.

Tim Bolton was filling an order, and did not immediately observe him.

When at length he turned around he exclaimed, in some surprise:

"Mr. Waring!"

"Yes, Bolton, I have found my way here."

"I have been expecting you."

"I came to you for some information."

"Well, ask your questions: I don't know whether I can answer them."

"First, where is my Cousin Florence?"

"How should I know? She wasn't likely to place herself under my
protection."

"She's with that boy of yours--Dodger, I believe you call him. Where
is he?"

"Run away," answered Bolton, briefly.

"Do you mean that you don't know where he is?"

"Yes, I do mean that. I haven't set my eyes on him since that night."

"What do you mean by such negligence? Do you remember who he is?"

"Certainly I do."

"Then why do you let him get of your reach?"

"How could I help it? Here I am tied down to this bar day and night!
I'm nearly dead for want of sleep."

"It would be better to close up your place for a week and look after
him."

"Couldn't do it. I should lose all my trade. People would say I was
closed up."

"And have you done nothing toward his recovery?"

"Yes, I have sent out two men in search of him."

"Have you any idea where he is, or what he is doing?"

"Yes, he has been seen in front of the Astor House, selling papers. I
have authorized my agent, if he sees him again, to follow him home,
and find out where he lives."

"That is good! Astor House? I may see him myself."

"But why do you want to see him? Do you want to restore him to his
rights?"

"Hush!" said Curtis, glancing around him apprehensively. "What we say
may be overheard and excite suspicion. One thing may be secured by
finding him--the knowledge of Florence's whereabouts."

"What makes you think she and the boy are together?"

"He came for her trunk. I was away from home, or I would not have let
it go----"

"It is strange that they two are together, considering their
relationship."

"That is what I am afraid they will find out. She may tell him of the
mysterious disappearance of her cousin, and he----"

"That reminds me," interrupted Bolton. "He told Hooker--Hooker was the
man that saw him in front of the Astor House--that he didn't believe I
was his father. He said he thought I must have stolen him when he was
a young kid."

"Did he say that?" asked Curtis, in evident alarm.

"Yes, so Hooker says."

"If he has that idea in his head, he may put two and two together, and
guess that he is the long-lost cousin of Florence. Tim, the boy must
be got rid of."

"If you mean what I think you do, Mr. Waring, I'm not with you. I
won't consent to harm the boy."

"You said that before. I don't mean anything that will shock your
tender heart, Bolton," said Curtis, with a sneer. "I mean carried to a
distance--Europe or Australia, for instance. All I want is to keep him
out of New York till my uncle is dead. After that I don't care what
becomes of him."

"That's better. I've no objection to that. How is the old gentleman?"

"He grieved so much at first over the girl's loss, that I feared he
would insist on her being recalled at once. I soothed him by telling
him that he had only to remain firm, and she would come around, and
yield to his wishes."

"Do you think she will?" asked Tim, doubtfully.

"I intend she shall!" said Curtis, significantly. "Bolton, I love the
girl all the more for her obstinate refusal to wed me. I have made up
my mind to marry her with her consent, or without it."

"I thought it was only the estate you were after?"

"I want the estate and her with it. Mark my words, Bolton, I will have
both!"

"You will have the estate, no doubt; Mr. Linden has made his will in
your favor, has he not?" and Bolton looked intently in the face of his
visitor.

"Hark you, Bolton, there is a mystery I cannot fathom. My uncle made
two wills. In the earlier, he left the estate to Florence and myself,
if we married; otherwise, to me alone."

"That is satisfactory."

"Yes, but there was another, in which the estate goes to the son, if
living. That will has disappeared."

"Is it possible?" asked Bolton, in astonishment. "When was it missed?"

"On the night of the burglary."

"Then you think----"

"That the boy, Dodger, has it. Good Heavens! if he only knew that by
this will the estate goes to him!" and Waring wiped the perspiration
from his brow.

"You are sure he did not give you the will?" he demanded, eying Bolton
sharply.

"I have not seen him since the night of the robbery."

"If he has read the will, it may lead to dangerous suspicions."

"He would give it to your cousin, Florence, would he not?"

"Perhaps so. Bolton, you must get the boy back, and take the will from
him, if you can."

"I will do my best; but you must remember that Dodger is no longer a
small kid. He is a boy of eighteen, strong and well grown. He wouldn't
be easy to manage. Besides, as long as he doesn't know that he has any
interest in the will, his holding it won't do any harm. Is the old
gentleman likely to live long?"

"I don't know. I sometimes hope---- Pshaw! why should I play the
hypocrite when speaking to you? Surely it is no sin to wish him better
off, since he can't enjoy life!"

"He might if Florence and his son were restored to him."

"What do you mean, Bolton?" asked Curtis, suspiciously.

"What could I mean? It merely occurred to me," said Bolton,
innocently. "You say he is quiet, thinkin' the girl will come around?"

"Yes."

"Suppose time passes, and she doesn't? Won't he try to find her? As
she is in the city, that won't be hard."

"I shall represent that she has left the city."

"For any particular point?"

"No, that is not necessary."

"And then?"

"If he worries himself into the grave, so much the better for me."

"There is no halfway about you, Mr. Curtis Waring."

"Why should there be? Listen, Bolton; I have set my all on this cast.
I am now thirty-six, and still I am dependent upon my uncle's bounty.
I am in debt, and some of my creditors are disposed to trouble me. My
uncle is worth--I don't know how much, but I think half a million.
What does he get out of it? Food and clothes, but not happiness. If it
were mine, all the avenues of enjoyment would be open to me. That
estate I must have."

"Suppose you get it, what is there for me?" asked Bolton.

"I will see that you are recompensed if you help me to it."

"Will you put that in writing?"

"Do you take me for a fool? To put it in writing would be to place me
in your power! You can trust me."

"Well, perhaps so," said Tim Bolton, slowly.

"At any rate you will have to. Well, good-night. I will see you again.
In the meantime try to find the boy."

Tim Bolton followed him with his eyes, as he left the saloon.

"What would he say," said Bolton to himself, "if he knew that the will
he so much wishes to find is in my hands, and that I hold him in my
power already?"



Chapter XV.
The New Governess.


"Wish me luck, Dodger!"

"So I do, Florence. Are you goin' to begin teachin' this mornin'?"

"Yes; and I hope to produce a favorable impression. It is very
important to me to please Mrs. Leighton and my future pupil."

"I'm sure you'll suit. How nice you look!"

Florence smiled, and looked pleased. She had taken pains with her
dress and personal appearance, and, being luckily well provided with
handsome dresses, had no difficulty in making herself presentable. As
she stepped out of the shabby doorway upon the sidewalk no one
supposed her to be a tenant, but she was generally thought to be a
visitor, perhaps the agent of some charitable association.

"Perhaps all will not judge me as favorably as you do, Dodger," said
Florence, with a laugh.

"If you have the headache any day, Florence, I'll take your place."

"You would look rather young for a tutor, Dodger, and I am afraid you
would not be dignified. Good-morning! I shall be back to dinner."

"I am glad to find you punctual, Miss Linden," said Mrs. Leighton, as
Florence was ushered into her presence. "This is your pupil, my
daughter, Carrie."

Florence smiled and extended her hand.

"I hope we will like each other," she said.

The little girl eyed her with approval. This beautiful young lady was
a pleasant surprise to her, for, never having had a governess, she
expected to meet a stiff, elderly lady, of stern aspect. She readily
gave her hand to Florence, and looked relieved.

"Carrie," said Mrs. Leighton, "you may show Miss Linden the way to the
schoolroom."

"All right, mamma," and the little girl led the way upstairs to a back
room on the third floor.

"So this is to be our schoolroom, is it, Carrie?" said Florence. "It
is a very pleasant room."

"Yes; but I should have preferred the front chamber. Mamma thought
that I might be looking into the street too much. Here there is only a
back yard, and nothing to look at."

"Your mamma seems very judicious," said Florence, smiling. "Are you
fond of study?"

"Well, I ain't exactly fond, but I will do my best."

"That is all that can be expected."

"Do you know, Miss Linden, you don't look at all like I expected."

"Am I to be glad or sorry for that?"

"I thought you would be an old maid, stiff and starched, like May
Robinson's governess."

"I am not married, Carrie, so perhaps you may regard me as an old
maid."

"You'll never be an old maid," said Carrie, confidently. "You are too
young and pretty."

"Thank you, Carrie," said Florence, with a little blush. "You say
that, I hope, because you are going to like me."

"I like you already," said the little girl, impulsively. "I've got a
cousin that will like you, too."

"A young girl?"

"No; of course not. He is a young man. His name is Percy de Brabazon.
It is a funny name, isn't it? You see, his father was a Frenchman."

Florence was glad that she already knew from Percy's own mouth of the
relationship, as it saved her from showing a degree of surprise that
might have betrayed her acquaintance with the young man.

"What makes you think your cousin would like me, Carrie?"

"Because he always likes pretty girls. He is a masher."

"That's slang, Carrie. I am sure your mamma wouldn't approve your
using such a word."

"Don't tell her. It just slipped out. But about Percy--he wants very
much to be married."

Florence was not surprised to hear this, for she had the best reason
for knowing it to be true.

"Is he a handsome young man?" she asked, demurely.

"He's funny looking. He's awful good-natured, but he isn't the sort of
young man I would like," concluded Carrie, with amusing positiveness.

"I hope you don't let your mind run on such things. You are quite too
young."

"Oh, I don't think much about it. But Percy is a dude. He spends a
sight for clothes. He always looks as if he had just come out of a
bandbox."

"Is he in any business?"

"No; he has an independent fortune, so mamma says. He was in Europe
last year."

"I think, Carrie, we must give up talking and attend to business. I
should have checked you before, but I thought a little conversation
would help us to get acquainted. Now show me your books, and I will
assign your lessons."

"Don't give me too long lessons, please, Miss Linden."

"I will take care not to task you beyond your strength. I don't want
my pupil to grow sick on my hands."

"I hope you won't be too strict. When May Robinson makes two mistakes
her governess makes her learn her lessons over again."

"I will promise not to be too strict. Now let me see your books."

The rest of the forenoon was devoted to study.

Florence was not only an excellent scholar, but she had the art of
imparting knowledge, and, what is very important, she was able in a
few luminous words to explain difficulties and make clear what seemed
to her pupil obscure.

So the time slipped quickly and pleasantly away, and it was noon
before either she or her pupil realized it.

"It can't be twelve," said Carrie, surprised.

"Yes, it is. We must defer further study till to-morrow."

"Why, it is a great deal pleasanter than going to school, Miss Linden.
I dreaded studying at home, but now I like it."

"I hope you will continue to, Carrie. I can say that the time has
passed away pleasantly for me."

As Florence prepared to resume her street dress, Carrie said:

"Oh, I forgot! Mamma asked me to invite you to stay to lunch with me.
I take lunch as soon as school is out, at twelve o'clock, so I won't
detain you long."

"Thank you, Carrie; I will stay with pleasure."

"I am glad of that, for I don't like to sit down to the table alone.
Mamma is never here at this time. She goes out shopping or making
calls, so poor I have to sit down to the table alone. It will be ever
so much pleasure to have you with me."

Florence was by no means sorry to accept the invitation.

The meals she got at home were by no means luxurious, and the manner
of serving them was by no means what she enjoyed.

Mrs. O'Keefe, though a good friend and a kindhearted woman, was not a
model housekeeper, and Florence had been made fastidious by her early
training. Lunch was, of course, a plain meal, but what was furnished
was of the best quality, and the table service was such as might be
expected in a luxurious home.

Just as Florence was rising from the table, Mrs. Leighton entered the
room in street dress.

"I am glad you remained to lunch, Miss Linden," she said. "You will be
company for my little girl, who is very sociable. Carrie, I hope you
were a good girl, and gave Miss Linden no trouble."

"Ask Miss Linden, mamma," said Carrie, confidently.

"Indeed, she did very well," said Florence. "I foresee that we shall
get along admirably."

"I am glad to hear that. She is apt to be indolent."

"I won't be with Miss Linden, mamma. She makes the studies so
interesting."

After Florence left the house, Carrie pronounced an eulogium upon her
which led Mrs. Leighton to congratulate herself upon having secured a
governess who had produced so favorable an impression on her little
girl.

"Was you kept after school, Florence?" asked Dodger, as she entered
her humble home. "I am afraid you'll find your dinner cold."

"Never mind, Dodger. I am to take dinner--or lunch, rather--at the
house where I am teaching; so hereafter Mrs. O'Keefe need not wait for
me."

"And how do you like your place?"

"It is everything that is pleasant. You wished me good luck, Dodger,
and your wish has been granted."

"I was lucky, too, Florence. I've made a dollar and a quarter this
mornin'."

"Not by selling papers, surely?"

"Not all. A gentleman gave me fifty cents for takin' his valise to the
Long Branch boat."

"It seems we are both getting rich," said Florence, smiling.



Chapter XVI.
Dodger Becomes Ambitious.


"Ah, there, Dodger!"

Dodger, who had been busily and successfully selling evening papers in
front of the Astor House, turned quickly as he heard his name called.

His glance rested on two men, dressed in soiled white hats and shabby
suits, who were apparently holding each other up, having both been
imbibing.

He at once recognized Hooker and Briggs, for he had waited upon them
too many times in Tim's saloon not to recognize them.

"Well," he said, cautiously, "what do you want?"

"Tim has sent us for you!" answered the two, in unison.

"What does he want of me?"

"He wants you to come home. He says he can't get along without you."

"He will have to get along without me," said the boy, independently.
"Tell him I'm not goin' back!"

"You're wrong, Dodger," said Hooker, shaking his head, solemnly.
"Ain't he your father?"

"No, he ain't."

"He says he is," continued Hooker, looking puzzled.

"That don't make it so."

"He ought to know," put in Briggs.

"Yes; he ought to know!" chimed in Hooker.

"No doubt he does, but he can't make me believe he's any relation of
mine."

"Just go and argy the point with him," said Hooker, coaxingly.

"It wouldn't do no good."

"Maybe it would. Just go back with us, that's a good boy."

"What makes you so anxious about it?" asked Dodger, suspiciously.

"Well," said Hooker, coughing, "we're Tim's friends, don't you know."

"What's he goin' to give you if I go back with you?" asked the boy,
shrewdly.

"A glass of whiskey!" replied Hooker and Briggs in unison.

"Is that all?"

"Maybe he'd make it two."

"I won't go back with you," said Dodger, after a moment's thought;
"but I don't want you to lose anything by me. Here's a dime apiece,
and you can go and get a drink somewhere else."

"You're a trump, Dodger," said Hooker, eagerly holding out his hand.

"I always liked you, Dodger," said Briggs, with a similar motion.

"Now, don't let Tim know you've seen me," said the newsboy, warningly.

"We won't."

And the interesting pair ambled off in the direction of the Bowery.

"So Tim sent them fellers after me?" soliloqized Dodger. "I guess I'll
have to change my office, or maybe Tim himself will be droppin' down
on me some mornin'. It'll be harder to get rid of him than of them
chumps."

So it happened that he used to take down his morning papers to the
piers on the North River, and take his chance of selling them to
passengers from Boston and others ports arriving by the Fall River
boats, and others from different points.

The advantage of this was that he often got a chance to serve as guide
to strangers visiting the city for the first time, or as porter, to
carry their valise or other luggage.

Being a bright, wideawake boy, with a pleasant face and manner, he
found his services considerably in demand; and on counting up his
money at the end of the week, he found, much to his encouragement,
that he had received on an average about a dollar and twenty-five
cents per day.

"That's better than sellin' papers alone," thought he. "Besides, Tim
isn't likely to come across me here. I wonder I didn't think of
settin' up for myself before!"

In the evening he spent an hour, and sometimes more, pursuing his
studies, under the direction of Florence. At first his attention was
given chiefly to improving his reading and spelling, for Dodger was
far from fluent in the first, while his style of spelling many words
was strikingly original.

"Ain't I stupid, Florence?" he asked one day, after spelling a word of
three syllables with such ingenious incorrectness as to convulse his
young teacher with merriment.

"Not at all, Dodger. You are making excellent progress; but sometimes
you are so droll that I can't help laughing."

"I don't mind that if you think I am really gettin' on."

"Undoubtedly you are!"

"I make a great many mistakes," said Dodger, dubiously.

"Yes, you do; but you must remember that you have taken lessons only a
short time. Don't you think you can read a good deal more easily than
you did?"

"Yes; I don't trip up half so often as I did. I'm afraid you'll get
tired of teachin' me."

"No fear of that, Dodger. As long as I see that you are improving, I
shall feel encouraged to go on."

"I wish I knew as much as your other scholar."

"You will in time if you go on. You mustn't get discouraged."

"I won't!" said Dodger, stoutly. "If a little gal like her can learn,
I'd ought to be ashamed if I don't--a big boy of eighteen."

"It isn't the size of the boy that counts, Dodger."

"I know that, but I ain't goin' to give in, and let a little gal get
ahead of me!"

"Keep to that determination, Dodger, and you will succeed in time,
never fear."

On the whole, Florence enjoyed both her pupils. She had the faculty of
teaching, and she became very much interested in both.

As for Dodger, she thought, rough diamond as he was, that she saw in
him the making of a manly man, and she felt that it was a privilege to
assist in the development of his intellectual nature.

Again, he had picked up a good deal of slang from the nature of his
associates, and she set to work to improve his language, and teach him
refinement.

It was necessarily a slow process, but she began to find after a time
that a gradual change was coming over him.

"I want you to grow up a gentleman, Dodger," she said to him one day.

"I'm too rough for that, Florence. I'm only an ignorant street boy."

"You are not going to be an ignorant street boy all your life. I don't
see why you should not grow up a polished gentleman."

"I shall never be like that de Brabazon young man," said he.

"No, Dodger; I don't think you will," said Florence, laughing. "I
don't want you to become effeminate nor a dude. I think I would like
you less than I do now."

"Do you like me, Florence?" asked Dodger, brightening up.

"To be sure I do. I hope you don't doubt it."

"Why, it don't seem natural-like. You're a fashionable young lady----"

"Not very fashionable, Dodger, just at present."

"Well, a high-toned young lady--one of the tip-tops, and I am a rough
Bowery boy."

"You were once, but you are getting over that rapidly. Did you ever
hear of Andy Johnson?"

"Who was he?"

"He became President of the United States. Well, at the age of
twenty-one he could neither read nor write."

"At twenty-one?" repeated Dodger. "Why, I'm only eighteen, and I do
know something of readin' and writin'."

"To be sure! Well, Andy Johnson was taught to read and write by his
wife. He kept on improving himself till, in course of time, he became
a United States Senator, Vice-President, and afterward, President.
Now, I don't expect you to equal him, but I see no reason why you
should not become a well-educated man if you are content to work, and
keep on working."

"I will keep on, Florence," said Dodger, earnestly.

"If I ever find my relations I don't want them to be ashamed of me."

It was not the first time he had referred to his uncertain origin.

"Won't Tim Bolton tell you anything about your family?"

"No; I've asked him more'n once. He always says he's my father, and
that makes me mad."

"It is strange," said Florence, thoughtfully. "I had a young cousin
stolen many years ago."

"Was it the son of the old gentleman you lived with on Madison
Avenue?"

"Yes; it was the son of Uncle John. It quite broke him down. After my
cousin's loss he felt that he had nothing to live for."

"I wish I was your cousin, Florence," said Dodger, thoughtfully.

"Well, then, I will adopt you as my cousin, or brother, whichever you
prefer!"

"I would rather be your cousin."

"Then cousin let it be! Now we are bound to each other by strong and
near ties."

"But when your uncle takes you back you'll forget all about poor
Dodger."

"No, I won't, Dodger. There's my hand on it. Whatever comes, we are
friends forever."

"Then I'll try not to disgrace you, Florence. I'll learn as fast as I
can, and see if I don't grow up to be a gentleman."



Chapter XVII.
A Mysterious Adventure.


Several weeks passed without changing in any way the position or
employment of Dodger or Florence.

They had settled down to their respective forms of labor, and were
able not only to pay their modest expenses, but to save up something
for a rainy day.

Florence had but one source of regret.

She enjoyed her work, and did not now lament the luxurious home which
she had lost.

But she did feel sore at heart that her uncle made no sign of regret
for their separation.

From him she received no message of forgiveness or reconciliation.

"He has forgotten me!" she said to herself, bitterly. "He has cast me
utterly out of his heart. I do not care for his money, but I do not
like to think that my kind uncle--for he was always kind till the last
trouble--has steeled his heart against me forever."

But she learned through a chance meeting with Jane, that this was not
so.

"Mr. Linden is getting very nervous and low-spirited," said the girl,
"and sits hour after hour in the library looking into the fire,
a-fotchin' deep sighs every few minutes. Once I saw him with your
photograph--the one you had taken last spring--in his hands, and he
looked sad-like when he laid it down."

"My dear uncle! Then he does think of me sometimes?"

"It's my belief he'd send for you if Curtis would let him."

"Surely Curtis cannot exercise any restraint upon him?"

"He has frequent talks with the old gentleman. I don't know what he
says, but it's sure to be something wicked. I expect he does all he
can to set him against you. Oh, he's a cunning villain, he is, even if
he is your cousin, Miss Florence."

"And do you think my uncle is unhappy, Jane?" said Florence,
thoughtfully.

"That I do, miss."

"He never was very bright or cheerful, you know."

"But he never was like this. And I do think he's gettin' more and more
feeble."

"Do you think I ought to call upon him, and risk his sending me away?"

"It might be worth tryin', Miss Florence."

The result of this conversation was that Florence did make up her mind
the very next afternoon to seek her old home. She had just reached the
front steps, and was about to ascend, when the door opened and Curtis
appeared.

He started at sight of his cousin.

"Florence!" he said. "Tell me why you came here?"

"I am anxious about my uncle," she said. "Tell me, Curtis, how he is."

"You know he's never in vigorous health," said Curtis, evasively.

"But is he as well as usual?"

"He is about the same as ever. One thing would do more for him than
anything else."

"What's that?"

"Your agreement to marry me," and he fixed his eyes upon her face
eagerly.

Florence shook her head.

"I should be glad to help my uncle," she said, "but I cannot agree to
marry you."

"Why not?" he demanded, roughly.

"Because I do not love you, and never shall," she responded, firmly.

"In other words, you refuse to do the only thing that will restore our
uncle to health and happiness?"

"It is too much to ask." Then, fixing her eyes upon him keenly: "Why
should uncle insist upon this marriage? Is it not because you have
influenced him in the matter?"

"No," answered Curtis, falsely. "He has some secret reason, which he
will not disclose to me, for desiring it."

Florence had learned to distrust the words of her wily cousin.

"May I not see him?" she asked. "Perhaps he will tell me."

"No; I cannot permit it."

"You cannot permit it? Are you, then, our uncle's guardian?"

"No, and yes. I do not seek to control him, but I wish to save him
from serious agitation. Should he see you, and find that you are still
rebellious, the shock might kill him."

"I have reason to doubt your words," said Florence, coldly. "I think
you are resolved to keep us apart."

"Listen, and I will tell you a secret; Uncle John has heart disease,
so the doctor assures me. Any unwonted agitation might kill him
instantly. I am sure you would not like to expose him to such a risk."

He spoke with apparent sincerity, but Florence did not feel certain
that his words were truthful.

"Very well," she said. "Then I will give up seeing him."

"It is best, unless you are ready to accede to his wishes--and mine."

She did not answer, but walked away slowly.

"It would never do to have them meet!" muttered Curtis. "The old
gentleman would ask her to come back on any terms, and then all my
scheming would be upset. That was a happy invention of mine, about
heart disease," he continued, with a low laugh. "Though she only half
believed it, she will not dare to run the risk of giving him a shock."

It was about this time that the quiet tenor of Dodger's life was
interrupted by a startling event.

He still continued to visit the piers, and one afternoon about six
o'clock, he stood on the pier awaiting the arrival of the day boat
from Albany, with a small supply of evening papers under his arm.

He had sold all but half a dozen when the boat touched the pier. He
stood watching the various passengers as they left the boat and turned
their steps in different directions, when some one touched him on the
shoulder.

Looking up, he saw standing at his side a man of slender figure, with
gray hair and whiskers.

"Boy," he said, "I am a stranger in the city. Can I ask your
assistance?"

"Yes, sir; certainly," answered Dodger, briskly.

"Do you know where the nearest station of the elevated road is?"

"Yes, sir?"

"I want to go uptown, but I know very little about the city. Will you
accompany me as guide? I will pay you well."

"All right, sir," answered Dodger.

It was just the job he was seeking.

"We will have to walk a few blocks, unless you want to take a
carriage."

"It isn't necessary. I am strong, in spite of my gray hair."

And indeed he appeared to be.

Dodger noticed that he walked with the elastic step of a young man,
while his face certainly showed no trace of wrinkles.

"I live in the West," said the stranger, as they walked along. "I have
not been here for ten years."

"Then you have never ridden on the elevated road?" said Dodger.

"N-no," answered the stranger, with curious hesitation.

Yet when they reached the station he went up the staircase and
purchased his ticket with the air of a man who was thoroughly
accustomed to doing it.

"I suppose you don't want me any longer," said Dodger, preparing to
resign the valise he was carrying, and which, by the way, was
remarkably light considering the size.

"Yes, I shall need you," said the other hurriedly. "There may be some
distance to walk after we get uptown."

"All right, sir."

Dodger was glad that further service was required, for this would of
course increase the compensation which he would feel entitled to ask.

They entered one of the cars, and sat down side by side.

The old gentleman drew a paper from his pocket, and began to read,
while Dodger, left to his own devices, sat quiet and looked about him.

He was rather surprised that the old gentleman, who, according to his
own representation, was riding upon the elevated road for the first
time, seemed to feel no curiosity on the subject, but conducted
himself in all respects like an experienced traveler.

"He's a queer customer!" thought Dodger. "However, it's all one to me,
as long as he pays me well for the job."

They got out at One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, and struck down
toward the river, Dodger carrying the valise.

"I wonder where we're going?" he asked himself.

At length they reached a wooden house of three stories, standing by
itself, and here the stranger stopped.

He rang the bell, and the door was opened by a hump-backed negro, who
looked curiously at Dodger.

"Is the room ready, Julius?" asked the old man.

"Yes, sir."

"Boy, take the valise upstairs, and I will follow you."

Up two flights of stairs walked Dodger, followed by the old man and
the negro.

The latter opened the door of a back room, and Dodger, obedient to
directions, took the valise inside and deposited it on a chair.

He had hardly done so when the door closed behind him, and he heard
the slipping of a bolt.

"What does all this mean?" Dodger asked himself in amazement.



Chapter XVIII.
In A Trap.


"Hold on there! Open that door!" he exclaimed, aloud.

There was no answer.

"I say, let me out!" continued our hero, beginning to kick at the
panels.

This time there was an answer.

"Stop that kicking, boy! I will come back in fifteen minutes and
explain all."

"Well," thought Dodger, "this is about the strangest thing that ever
happened to me. However, I can wait fifteen minutes."

He sat down on a cane chair--there were two in the room--and looked
about him.

He was in an ordinary bedroom, furnished in the usual manner. There
was nothing at all singular in its appearance.

On a book shelf were a few books, and some old numbers of magazines.
There was one window looking into a back yard, but as the room was
small it was sufficient to light the apartment.

Dodger looked about in a cursory manner, not feeling any particular
interest in his surroundings, for he had but fifteen minutes to wait,
but he thought it rather queer that it should be thought necessary to
lock him in.

He waited impatiently for the time to pass.

Seventeen minutes had passed when he heard the bolt drawn. Fixing his
eyes eagerly on the door he saw it open, and two persons entered.

One was the hump-backed negro, carrying on a waiter a plate of
buttered bread, and a cup of tea; the other person was--not the old
man, but, to Dodger's great amazement, a person well-remembered,
though he had only seen him once--Curtis Waring.

"Set down the waiter on the table, Julius," said Waring.

Dodger looked on in stupefaction. He was getting more and more
bewildered.

"Now, you can go!" said Curtis, in a tone of authority.

The negro bowed, and after he had disposed of the waiter, withdrew.

"Do you know me, boy?" asked Curtis, turning now and addressing
Dodger.

"Yes; you are Mr. Waring."

"You remember where you last saw me?"

"Yes, sir. At your uncle's house on Madison Avenue."

"Quite right."

"How did you come here? Where is the old man whose valise I brought
from the Albany boat?"

Curtis smiled, and drew from his pocket a gray wig and whiskers.

"You understand now, don't you?"

"Yes, sir; I understand that I have been got here by a trick."

"Yes," answered Curtis, coolly. "I have deemed it wise to use a little
stratagem. But you must be hungry. Sit down and eat your supper while
I am talking to you."

Dodger was hungry, for it was past his usual supper time, and he saw
no reason why he should not accept the invitation.

Accordingly, he drew his chair up to the table and began to eat.
Curtis seated himself on the other chair.

"I have a few questions to ask you, and that is why I arranged this
interview. We are quite by ourselves," he added, significantly.

"Very well, sir; go ahead."

"Where is my Cousin Florence? I am right, I take it, in assuming that
you know where she is."

"Yes, sir; I know," answered Dodger, slowly.

"Very well, tell me."

"I don't think she wants you to know."

Curtis frowned.

"It is necessary I should know!" he said, emphatically.

"I will ask her if I may tell you."

"I can't wait for that. You must tell me at once."

"I can't do that."

"You are mistaken; you can do it."

"Then, I won't!" said Dodger, looking his companion full in the face.

Curtis Waring darted a wicked look at him, and seemed ready to attack
the boy who was audacious enough to thwart him, but he restrained
himself and said:

"Let that pass for the present. I have another question to ask. Where
is the document you took from my uncle's desk on the night of the
burglary?"

And he emphasized the last word.

Dodger looked surprised.

"I took no paper," he said.

"Do you deny that you opened the desk?" asked Curtis.

"No."

"When I came to examine the contents in the presence of my uncle, it
was found that a document--his will--had disappeared, and with it a
considerable sum of money."

And he looked sharply at Dodger.

"I don't know anything about it, sir. I took nothing."

"You can hardly make me believe that. Why did you open the desk if you
did not propose to take anything?"

"I did intend to take something. I was under orders to do so, for I
wouldn't have done it of my own free will; but the moment I got the
desk open I heard a cry, and looking around, I saw Miss Florence
looking at me."

"And then?"

"I was startled, and ran to her side."

"And then you went back and completed the robbery?"

"No, I didn't. She talked to me so that I felt ashamed of it. I never
stole before, and I wouldn't have tried to do it then, if--if some one
hadn't told me to."

"I know whom you mean--Tim Bolton."

"Yes, Tim Bolton, since you know."

"What did he tell you to take?"

"The will and the money."

"Eactly. Now we are coming to it. You took them, and gave them to
him?"

"No, I didn't. I haven't seen him since that night."

Curtis Waring regarded the boy thoughtfully. His story was
straightforward, and it agreed with the story told by Tim himself.
But, on the other hand, he denied taking the missing articles, and yet
they had disappeared.

Curtis decided that both he and Tim had lied, and that this story had
been concocted between them.

Probably Bolton had the will and the money--the latter he did not care
for--and this thought made him uneasy, for he knew that Tim Bolton was
an unscrupulous man, and quite capable of injuring him, if he saw the
way clear to do so.

"My young friend," he said, "your story is not even plausible. The
articles are missing, and there was no one but yourself and Florence
who were in a position to take them. Do you wish me to think that my
Cousin Florence robbed the desk?"

"No, sir; I don't. Florence wouldn't do such a thing," said Dodger,
warmly.

"Florence. Is that the way you speak of a young lady?"

"She tells me to call her Florence. I used to call her Miss Florence,
but she didn't care for it."

"It seems you two have become very intimate," said Curtis, with a
sneer.

"Florence is a good friend to me. I never had so good a friend
before."

"All that is very affecting; however, it isn't to the point. Do you
know," he continued, in a sterner tone, "that I could have you
arrested for entering and breaking open my uncle's desk with
burglarious intent?"

"I suppose you could," said Dodger; "but Florence would testify that I
took nothing."

"Am I to understand, then, that you refuse to give me any information
as to the will and the money?"

"No, sir; I don't refuse. I would tell you if I knew."

Curtis regarded the boy in some perplexity.

He had every appearance of telling the truth.

Dodger had one of those honest, truthful countenances which lend
confirmation to any words spoken. If the boy told the truth, what
could have become of the will--and the money? As to the former, it
might be possible that his uncle had destroyed it, but the
disappearance of the money presented an independent difficulty.

"The will is all I care for," he said, at length. "The thief is
welcome to the money, though there was a considerable sum."

"I would find the will for you if I could," said Dodger, earnestly.

"You are positive you didn't give it to Bolton?"

"Positive, sir. I haven't seen Tim since that night."

"You may be speaking the truth, or you may not. I will talk with you
again to-morrow," and Curtis arose from his chair.

"You don't mean to keep me here?" said Dodger, in alarm.

"I shall be obliged to do so."

"I won't stay!" exclaimed Dodger, in excitement, and he ran to the
door, meaning to get out; but Curtis drew a pistol from his pocket and
aimed it at the boy.

"Understand me, boy," he said, "I am in earnest, and I am not to be
trifled with."

Dodger drew back, and Curtis opened the door and went out, bolting it
after him.



Chapter XIX.
An Attempt To Escape.


While Dodger had no discomfort to complain of, it occurred to him that
Florence would be alarmed by his long absence, for now it seemed
certain that he would have to remain overnight.

If only he could escape he would take care not to fall into such a
trap again.

He went to the window and looked out, but the distance to the ground
was so great--for the room was on the third floor--that he did not
dare to imperil his life by attempting a descent.

If there had been a rope at hand he would not have felt afraid to make
the attempt.

He examined the bed to see if it rested upon cords, but there were
slats instead.

As has already been said, there were no houses near by.

That part of the city had not been much settled, and it was as
solitary as it is in the outskirts of a country village.

If he could only reveal his position to some person outside, so as to
insure interference, he might yet obtain his freedom.

With this thought he tore a blank leaf from one of the books in the
room, and hastily penciled the following lines:

    "I am kept a prisoner in this house. I was induced to come
    here by a trick. Please get some one to join you, and come
    and demand my release."

Some weeks before Dodger could not have written so creditable a note,
but he had greatly improved since he had been under the influence and
instruction of Florence.

Dodger now posted himself at the window and waited anxiously for some
one to pass, so that he might attract his attention and throw down the
paper.

He had to wait for fifteen minutes. Then he saw approaching a young
man, not far from twenty-one, who looked like a young mechanic,
returning from his daily work.

Now was Dodger's opportunity. He put his head out of the window and
called out:

"Hello, there!"

The young man looked and saw him at the window.

"What do you want?" he asked.

"Catch this paper, and read what there is on it." He threw down the
leaf, which, after fluttering in the gentle evening breeze, found its
way to the ground and was picked up.

After reading it, the young man looked up and said: "I'll go around to
the door and inquire."

He was as good as his word. He went to the outer door and rang the
bell.

Julius came to the door.

"What's wanted, boss?" he said.

"You've got a boy locked up in a room."

"Who told you, boss?"

"He threw down a paper to me, telling me he was kept a prisoner."

"What did he say?" asked Julius.

The young man read the note aloud.

"What have to say to that, you black imp?" he demanded, sternly.

The ready wit of Julius served him in this emergency.

"Dat boy is crazy as a loon, boss!" he answered, readily. "We have to
keep him shut up for fear he'll kill some of us."

"You don't say!" ejaculated the young mechanic. "He don't look like
it."

"No, he don't; dat's a fact, boss. Fact is, dat boy is the artfullest
lunytick you ever seed. He tried to kill his mother last week."

"Is that true?"

"Dat's so, boss. And all de while he looks as innocent as a baby. If I
was to let him out he'd kill somebody, sure."

"I never would have believed it," said the young man.

"If you want to take the risk, boss, you might go up and see him. I
believe he's got a carvin'-knife about him, but I don't dare to go up
and get it away. It would be as much as this niggah's life is worth."

"No," answered the young man, hastily. "I don't want to see him. I
never did like crazy folks. I'm sorry I gave you the trouble to come
to the door."

"Oh, no trouble, boss."

"I guess I've fixed dat boy!" chuckled Julius. "Ho, ho! he can't get
ahead of old Julius! Crazy as a loon, ho, ho!"

Dodger waited anxiously for the young man to get through his
interview. He hoped that he would force his way up to the third floor,
draw the bolt, and release him from his imprisonment.

He kept watch at the window, and when the young man reappeared, he
looked at him eagerly. "Did you ask them to let me out?" he shouted.
The other looked up at him with an odd expression of suspicion and
repulsion.

"You're better off where you are," he said, rather impatiently.

"But they have locked me up here."

"And reason enough, too!"

"What makes you say that?"

"Because you're crazy as a loon."

"Did the black man say that?" inquired Dodger, indignantly.

"Yes, he did--said you tried to kill your mother, and had a
carving-knife hidden in the room."

"It's a lie--an outrageous lie!" exclaimed Dodger, his eyes flashing.

"Don't go into one of your tantrums," said the man, rather alarmed;
"it won't do any good."

"But I want you to understand that I am no more crazy than you are."

"Sho? I know better. Where's your carving-knife?"

"I haven't got any; I never had any. That negro has been telling you
lies. Just go to the door again, and insist on seeing me."

"I wouldn't dast to. You'd stab me," said the man, fearfully.

"Listen to me!" said Dodger, getting out of patience. "I'm not crazy.
I'm a newsboy and baggage-smasher. An old man got me to bring his
valise here, and then locked me up. Won't you go around to the
station-house and send a policeman here?"

"I'll see about it," said the young man, who did not believe a word
that Dodger had said to him.

"He won't do it!" said Dodger to himself, in a tone of discouragement.
"That miserable nigger has made him believe I am a lunatic. I'll have
him up, anyway."

Forthwith he began to pound and kick so forcibly, that Julius came
upstairs on a run, half inclined to believe that Dodger had really
become insane.

"What do you want, boy?" he inquired from outside the door.

"I want you to unbolt the door and let me out."

"I couldn't do it, nohow," said Julius. "It would be as much as my
place is worth."

"I will give you a dollar--five dollars--if you will only let me out.
The man who brought me here is a bad man, who is trying to cheat his
cousin--a young lady--out of a fortune."

"Don't know nothin' 'bout that," said Julius.

"He has no right to keep me here."

"Don't know nothin' 'bout that, either. I'm actin' accordin' to
orders."

"Look here," said Dodger, bethinking himself of what had just
happened. "Did you tell that young man who called here just now that I
was crazy?"

Julius burst into a loud guffaw.

"I expect I did," he laughed. "Said you'd got a long carvin'-knife hid
in de room."

"What made you lie so?" demanded Dodger, sternly.

"Couldn't get rid of him no other way. Oh, how scared he looked when I
told him you tried to kill your mother."

And the negro burst into another hearty laugh which exasperated Dodger
exceedingly.

"How long is Mr. Waring going to keep me here? Did he tell you?"
Dodger asked, after a pause.

"No; he didn't say."

"When is he coming here again?"

"Said he'd come to-morrow most likely."

"Will you bring me a light?"

"Couldn't do it. You'd set the house on fire."

It seemed useless to prolong the conversation.

Dodger threw himself on the bed at an early hour, but he did not
undress, thinking there might possibly be a chance to escape during
the night.

But the morning came and found him still a prisoner, but not in the
solitary dwelling.



Chapter XX.
A Midnight Ride.


Curtis Waring had entrapped Dodger for a double purpose.

It was not merely that he thought it possible the boy had the will, or
knew where it was. He had begun to think of the boy's presence in New
York as dangerous to his plans.

John Linden might at any time learn that the son, for whose appearance
he had grieved so bitterly, was still living in the person of this
street boy. Then there would be an end of his hopes of inheriting the
estate.

Only a few months more and the danger would be over, for he felt
convinced that his uncle's tenure of life would be brief. The one
essential thing, then, seemed to be to get Dodger out of the city.

The first step had already been taken; what the next was will soon
appear.

Scarcely had Dodger failed in his attempt to obtain outside assistance
when an unaccountable drowsiness overcame him, considerably to his
surprise.

"I don't know what's come to me," he said to himself. "It can't be
more than seven or eight o'clock, and yet I feel so sleepy I can
hardly keep my eyes open. I haven't worked any harder than usual
to-day, and I can't understand it."

Dodger had reason to be surprised, for he didn't usually retire till
eleven o'clock.

In a city like New York, where many of the streets are tolerably well
filled even at midnight, people get in the way of sitting up much
later than in the country, and Dodger was no exception to this rule.

Yet here he was ready to drop off to sleep before eight o'clock. To
him it was a mystery, for he did not know that the cup of tea which he
had drunk at supper had been drugged by direction of Curtis Waring,
with an ulterior purpose, which will soon appear.

"I may as well lie down, as there is nothing else to do," thought
Dodger. "There isn't much fun sitting in the dark. If I can sleep, so
much the better."

Five minutes had scarcely passed after his head struck the pillow,
when our hero was fast asleep.

At eleven o'clock a hack stopped in front of the house, and Curtis
Waring descended from it.

"Stay here," he said to the driver. "There will be another passenger.
If you are detained I will make it right when I come to pay you."

"All right, sir," said the hackman. "I don't care how long it is if I
am paid for my time."

Curtis opened the door with a pass-key, and found Julius dozing in a
chair in the hall.

"Wake up, you sleepy-head," he said. "Has anything happened since I
left here?"

"Yes, sir; the boy tried to get away."

"Did he? I don't see how he could do that. You kept the door bolted,
didn't you?"

"Yes, sir; but he throwed a piece of paper out'n de window, sayin' he
was kep' a prisoner here. A young man picked it up, and came to de
house to ax about it."

Curtis looked alarmed.

"What did you say?" he inquired, apprehensively.

"Told him de boy was crazy as a loon--dat he tried to kill his mother
las' week, and had a carvin'-knife hid in his room."

"Good, Julius! I didn't give you credit for such a fertile
imagination.

"What's dat, massa?" asked Julius, looking puzzled.

"I didn't know you were such a skillful liar."

"Yah! yah!" laughed Julius, quite comprehending this compliment. "I
reckon I can twis' de trufe pretty well, Massa Curtis!"

"You have done well, Julius," said Curtis, approvingly. "Here's a
dollar!"

The negro was quite effusive in his gratitude.

"What did the young man say?"

"He looked scared. I tol' him he could go up and see de boy if he
wasn't afeared of the carvin'-knife, but he said he guessed he
wouldn't--he didn't like crazy folks."

Curtis laughed heartily.

"So it all ended as it should. Did the boy make any more trouble?"

"Yes; he pounded and kicked till I had to go up and see what was the
matter. I didn't give him no satisfaction, and I guess he went to
bed."

"He ought to be in a deep sleep by this time. I will go up and see. Go
up with me, Julius, for I may have to ask you to help me bring him
down."

Though Julius was naturally a coward, he felt quite brave when he had
company, and he at once went upstairs with Curtis Waring.

Curtis drew the bolt, and, entering the chamber, his glance fell upon
Dodger, fast asleep on the bed.

"I am glad the boy did not undress," he said. "It will save me a great
deal of trouble. Now, Julius, you can take his feet and I will lift
his head, and we will take him downstairs."

"S'pos'n he wakes up, Massa Curtis?"

"He won't wake up. I took care the sleeping potion should be strong
enough to produce profound slumber for eighteen hours."

"Seems as if he was dead," said Julius, nervously.

"Tush, you fool! He's no more dead than you or I."

The hackman looked curious when the two men appeared with their
sleeping burden, and Curtis felt that some explanation was required.

"The boy has a very painful disease," he said, "and the doctor gave
him a sleeping draught. He is going abroad for his health, and, under
the circumstances, I think it best not to wake him up. Drive slowly
and carefully to Pier No. --, as I don't want the boy aroused if it
can be helped."

"All right, sir."

"Julius, you may lock the door and come with me. I shall need your
help to get him on board the ship."

"All right, Massa Curtis."

"And, mind you, don't go to sleep in the carriage, you black rascal!"
added Curtis, as he saw that the negro found it hard to keep his eyes
open.

"All right, massa, I'll keep awake. How am I to get home?"

"I will instruct the hackman to take you home."

"Yah, yah; I'll be ridin' like a gentleman!"

The journey was successfully accomplished, but it took an hour, for,
according to directions, the hackman did not force his pace, but drove
slowly, till he reached the North River pier indicated.

At the pier was a large, stanch vessel--the _Columbia_--bound for San
Francisco, around Cape Horn.

All was dark, but the second officer was pacing the deck.

Curtis Waring hailed him.

"What time do you get off?"

"Early to-morrow morning."

"So the captain told me. I have brought you a passenger."

"The captain told me about him."

"Is his stateroom ready?"

"Yes, sir. You are rather late."

"True; and the boy is asleep, as you will see. He is going to make the
voyage for his health, and, as he has been suffering some pain, I
thought I would not wake him up. Who will direct me to his stateroom?"

The mate summoned the steward, and Dodger, still unconscious, was
brought on board and quietly transferred to the bunk that had been
prepared for him.

It was a critical moment for poor Dodger, but he was quite unconscious
of it.

"What is the boy's name?" asked the mate.

"Arthur Grant. The captain has it on his list. Is he on board?"

"Yes; but he is asleep."

"I do not need to see him. I have transacted all necessary business
with him--and paid the passage money. Julius, bring the valise."

Julius did so.

"This contains the boy's clothing. Take it to the stateroom, Julius."

"All right, Massa Curtis."

"What is your usual time between New York and San Francisco?" asked
Curtis, addressing the mate.

"From four to six months. Four months is very short, six months very
long. We ought to get there in five months, or perhaps a little
sooner, with average weather."

"Very well. I believe there is no more to be said. Good-night!"

"Good-night, sir."

"So he is well out of the way for five months!" soliloquized Curtis.
"In five months much may happen. Before that time I hope to be in
possession of my uncle's property. Then I can snap my fingers at
fate."



Chapter XXI.
A Seasick Passenger.


The good ship _Columbia_ had got fifty miles under way before Dodger
opened his eyes.

He looked about him languidly at first, but this feeling was succeeded
by the wildest amazement, as his eyes took in his unusual
surroundings.

He had gone to sleep on a bed--he found himself on awakening in a
ship's bunk.

He half arose in his birth, but the motion of the vessel and a slight
feeling of dizziness compelled him to resume a recumbent position.

"I must be dreaming," thought Dodger. "It's very queer. I am dreaming
I am at sea. I suppose that explains it."

He listened and heard the swish of the waters as they beat against the
sides of the vessel.

He noted the pitching of the ship, and there was an unsteady feeling
in his head, such as those who have gone to sea will readily recall.

Dodger became more and more bewildered.

"If it's a dream, it's the most real dream I ever had," he said to
himself.

"This seems like a ship's cabin," he continued, looking about him. "I
think if I got up I should be seasick. I wonder if people ever get
seasick in dreams?"

There was another pitch, and Dodger instinctively clung to the edge of
his berth, to save himself from being thrown out.

"Let me see," he said, trying to collect his scattered recollection.
"I went to sleep in a house uptown--a house to which Curtis Waring
lured me, and then made me a prisoner. The house was somewhere near
One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street. Now it seems as if I was on board
a ship. How could I get here? I wish somebody would come in that I
could ask."

As no one came in, Dodger got out of the berth, and tried to stand on
the cabin floor.

But before he knew it he was staggering like one intoxicated, and his
head began to feel bad, partly, no doubt, on account of the sleeping
potion which he had unconsciously taken.

At this moment the steward entered the cabin. "Hello, young man! Have
you got up?" he asked.

"Where am I?" asked Dodger, looking at him with a dazed expression.

"Where are you? You're on the good ship _Columbia_, to be sure?"

"Are we out to sea?"

"Of course you are."

"How far from land?"

"Well, about fifty miles, more or less, I should judge."

"How long have I been here?"

"It seems to me you have a poor memory. You came on board last
evening."

"I suppose Curtis Waring brought me," said Dodger, beginning to get
his bearings.

"There was a gentleman came with you--so the mate told me. I don't
know his name."

"Where is the ship bound?"

"To San Francisco, around Cape Horn. I supposed you knew that."

"I never heard of the ship _Columbia_ before, and I never had any idea
of making a sea voyage."

The steward looked surprised.

"I suppose your guardian arranged about that. Didn't he tell you?"

"I have no guardian."

"Well, you'll have to ask Capt. Barnes about that. I know nothing,
except that you are a passenger, and that your fare has been paid."

"My fare paid to San Francisco?" asked Dodger, more and more at sea,
both mentally and physically.

"Yes; we don't take any deadheads on the _Columbia_."

"Can you tell me what time it is?"

"About twelve o'clock. Do you feel hungry?"

"N--not very," returned Dodger, as a ghastly expression came over his
face, and he tumbled back into his berth, looking very pale.

The steward smiled.

"I see how it is," he said; "you are getting initiated."

"What's that?" muttered Dodger, feebly.

"You're going to be seasick. You'll hardly be able to appear at the
dinner table."

"It makes me sick to think of eating," said Dodger, feebly.

As he sank back into his berth, all thoughts of his unexpected
position gave way to an overpowering feeling of seasickness.

He had never been tried in this way before, and he found the sensation
far from agreeable.

"If only the vessel would stop pitching," he groaned. "Oh, how happy I
should be if I were on dry land."

But the vessel wouldn't stop--even for a minute.

The motion, on the other hand, seemed to increase, as was natural, for
they were getting farther and farther from land and were exposed to
the more violent winds that swept the open ocean.

There is something about seasickness that swallows up and draws away
all minor cares and anxieties, and Dodger was too much affected to
consider how or why it was that he so unexpectedly found himself a
passenger to California.

"Lie flat on your back," said the steward. "You will feel better if
you do."

"How long is it going to last?" groaned Dodger, feeling quite
miserable.

"Oh, you'll feel better to-morrow. I'll bring you some porridge
presently. You can get that clown, and it is better to have something
on your stomach."

He was right. The next day Dodger felt considerably better, and
ventured to go upon deck. He looked about him in surprise.

There had been a storm, and the waves were white with foam.

As far as the eye could see there was a tumult and an uproar.

The ship was tossed about like a cockle shell. But the sailors went
about their work unruffled. It was no new sight for them.

Though his head did not feel exactly right, the strong wind entered
Dodger's lungs, and he felt exhilarated. His eyes brightened, and he
began to share in the excitement of the scene.

Pacing the deck was a stout, bronzed seaman, whose dress made it clear
even to the inexperienced eyes of Dodger that he was the captain.

"Good-morning, Master Grant," he said, pleasantly. "Are you getting
your sea legs on?"

The name was unfamiliar to Dodger, but he could see that the remark
was addressed to him.

"Yes, sir," he answered.

"Ever been to sea before?"

"No, sir."

"You'll get used to it. Bless me, you'll stand it like an old sailor
before we get to 'Frisco."

"Is it a long voyage, captain?" asked Dodger.

"Five months, probably. We may get there a little sooner. It depends
on the winds and weather."

"Five months," said Dodger to himself, in a tone of dismay.

The captain laughed.

"It'll be a grand experience for a lad like you, Arthur!" said the
captain, encouragingly.

Arthur! So his name was Arthur! He had just been called Master Grant,
so Arthur Grant was his name on board ship.

Dodger was rather glad to have a name provided, for he had only been
known as Dodger heretofore, and this name would excite surprise. He
had recently felt the need of a name, and didn't see why this wouldn't
answer his purpose as well as any other.

"I must write it down so as not to forget it," he resolved. "It would
seem queer if I forgot my own name."

"I shouldn't enjoy it much if I were going to be seasick all the
time," he answered.

"Oh, a strong, healthy boy like you will soon be all right. You don't
look like an invalid."

"I never was sick in my life."

"But your guardian told me he was sending you on a sea voyage for your
health."

"Did Mr. Waring say that?"

"Yes; didn't you know the object of your sea trip?" asked Capt.
Barnes, in surprise.

"No."

"There may be some tendency to disease in your system--some hereditary
tendency," said the captain, after a pause.

"Were your parents healthy?"

"They--died young," answered Dodger, hesitatingly.

"That accounts for your guardian's anxiety. However, you look strong
enough, in all conscience; and if you're not healthy, you will be
before the voyage ends."

"I don't know what I am to do for clothes," said Dodger, as a new
source of perplexity presented itself. "I can't get along with one
shirt and collar for five months."

"You will find plenty of clothes in your valise. Hasn't it been given
you?"

"No, sir."

"You may ask the steward for it. You didn't think your guardian would
send you on a five-months' voyage without a change of clothing, did
you?"

And the captain laughed heartily.

"I don't know Mr. Waring very well," said Dodger, awkwardly.

As he went downstairs to inquire about his valise, this question
haunted him:

"Why did Curtis Waring send him on a sea voyage?"



Chapter XXII.
The Other Passenger.


Dodger sought the steward, and asked for his valise.

"Isn't it in your stateroom?" asked that functionary.

"I haven't seen it."

"I remember now. It was put with the luggage of the other passenger. I
will show it to you."

He took Dodger to a part of the ship where freight was stored, and
pointed to a sizable valise with a card attached to it on which was
inscribed the name: "Arthur Grant."

"This must be yours," he said.

"Yes, I suppose so," answered Dodger, glad to have found out the new
name which had been given him, otherwise he would have supposed the
valise belonged to some other person.

He took the valise to his stateroom, and, finding a key tied to the
handles, he opened it at once.

It proved to contain a very fair supply of underclothing, socks,
handkerchiefs, etc., with a tooth brush, a hair brush and comb, and a
sponge. Never in his life had Dodger been so well supplied with
clothing before. There were four white shirts, two tennis shirts, half
a dozen handkerchiefs and the same number of socks, with three changes
of underclothing.

"I begin to feel like a gentleman," said Dodger to himself,
complacently.

That was not all. At the bottom of the valise was an envelope, sealed,
on which was inscribed the name: "Dodger."

"That is for me, at any rate," thought our hero. "I suppose it is from
Curtis Waring."

He opened the envelope, and found inclosed twenty-five dollars in
bills, with a few lines written on a half-sheet of paper. These Dodger
read, with interest and curiosity. They were as follows:

    "Dodger:--The money inclosed is for you. When you reach
    California you will find it of use. I have sent you out there
    because you will find in a new country a better chance to
    rise than in the city of New York. I advise you to stay there
    and grow up with the country. In New York you were under the
    influence of a bad man, from whom it is best that you should
    be permanently separated. I know something of the early
    history of Tim Bolton. He was detected in a crime, and fled
    to escape the consequences. You are not his son, but his
    nephew. Your mother was his sister, but quite superior to
    himself. Your right name is Arthur Grant, and it will be well
    for you to assume it hereafter. I have entered you in the
    list of passengers under that name.

    "I thought you had taken the will from my uncle's desk, but I
    am inclined to think you had nothing to do with it. If you
    know where it is, or whether Bolton has it, I expect you to
    notify me in return for the money I have expended in your
    behalf. In that case you can write to me, No. -- Madison
    Avenue.

                                                 "Curtis Waring."

Dodger read the letter over twice, and it puzzled him.

"He seems from the letter to take an interest in me," he soliloquized.
"At any rate, he has given me money and clothes, and paid my passage
to California. What for, I wonder? I don't believe it is to get me
away from the bad influence of Tim. There must be some other reason."

There was another part of the letter with which Dodger did not agree.

Curtis asserted positively that he was the nephew of Tim Bolton, while
he was positive that there was no relationship between them.

In that case Curtis must have been an early acquaintance of Tim's. At
any rate, he seemed to know about his past life.

Dodger now comprehended his present situation fully. He was a
passenger on the ship _Columbia_, and there was no chance of leaving
it. He had ascertainel on inquiry that the vessel would not put in
anywhere, but would make the long voyage direct. It would be over four
months, at any rate, before he could communicate with Florence, and in
the meantime, she and Mrs. O'Keefe, whom he recognized as a good
friend, would conclude that he was dead.

It was very provoking to think that he could not even telegraph, as
that would relieve all anxiety, and he felt sure that Florence was
enough his friend to feel anxious about him.

He had just closed up his valise, when a young man of dark complexion
and of an attractive, intellectual expression, entered the cabin.

He nodded pleasantly to Dodger, and said:

"I suppose this is Arthur Grant?"

"Yes, sir," answered Dodger, for he had decided to adopt the name.

"We ought to become close friends, for we are, I believe, the only
passengers."

"Then you are a passenger, too?" said Dodger, deciding, after a brief
scrutiny, that he should like his new acquaintance.

"Yes. My name is Randolph Leslie. I have been, for the last five
years, a reporter on leading New York daily papers, and worked so
closely that my health has become somewhat affected. My doctor
recommended a sea voyage, and I have arranged for a pretty long one."

"What papers have you worked for?"

"Oh, all the leading ones--_Tribune, World, Herald,_ and _Sun_--
sometimes one, and sometimes another. Your reason for taking this trip
can hardly be the same as mine. You don't look as if your health
required you to travel."

"No," answered Dodger, smiling; "but I understand that the gentleman
who engaged my passage said I was going to sea for my health."

"If I were as robust as you, I shouldn't give much thought to my
health. Do you intend to remain in California?"

"I don't know what I do intend," replied Dodger. "I didn't know I was
going to California at all until I woke up in my stateroom."

The young man looked surprised.

"Didn't you know the destination of the vessel when you came on
board?" he asked.

"I was brought aboard in my sleep."

"This is curious. It looks to me as if you had a story to tell.

"Of course, I don't want to be curious, but if there is anyway in
which I can help you, by advice, or in any other way, I am quite ready
to do so."

Dodger paused, but only briefly. This young man looked friendly, and
might help him to penetrate the mystery which at present baffled him.

At any rate, his experience qualified him to give friendly advice, and
of this Dodger felt that he stood in need.

"I ought to tell you, to begin with," he said, "that I am a poor boy,
and made my living as best I could, by carrying baggage, selling
papers, etc."

"I don't think any the worse of you for that. Did you live at the
lodging houses?"

"No; until lately I lived with a man who keeps a saloon on the Bowery,
and tended bar for him."

"What was his name? As a reporter I know the Bowery pretty well."

"Tim Bolton."

"Tim Bolton? I know his place well. I think I must have seen you
there. Your face looked familiar to me as soon as I set eyes on you."

"Very likely. A good many people came into Tim's. I couldn't pretend
to remember them all."

"Was Tim a relative of yours?"

"I don't believe he was. I always thought that he got hold of me when
I was a kid. I don't remember the time when I wasn't with him."

"I suppose you have always lived in New York?"

"No; I lived for several years in Australia. Tim was in the same
business there. I came on with him a year or more since."

"Do you think you ever lived in New York before?"

"Yes; Tim has told me that I was born in New York."

"I understand that you have left Tim now?"

"Yes."

"Why, may I ask?"

"Because I didn't like the business he was in. But I liked it better
than the one he wanted me to go into."

"What was that?"

"Burglary."

The young reporter started in surprise.

"Well," he said, "this is a new tack for Tim. However, I never looked
upon him as a man who would shrink from any violation of the laws,
except murder. I don't think he would do that."

"No; Tim isn't quite so bad. He isn't the worst man alive, though he
is a rather hard customer. It was his wanting me to enter a house on
Madison Avenue and open a desk that led to me going on this trip."

"Tell me about it, if you don't mind."

Thus invited, Dodger told his story to Randolph Leslie, keeping
nothing back.

He finished by showing him the letter he had found in the valise.



Chapter XXIII.
Through The Golden Gate.


"Well, this is certainly a remarkable letter," said the reporter, as
he handed it back to Dodger. "I am at a loss to understand the
interest which this man appears to feel in you."

"I look upon him as my enemy," said Dodger. "But an enemy doesn't
spend so much money upon another as he has."

"Unless he has object in it," amended Leslie, shrewdly. "Do you know
of any connection this man has with you?"

"No; I never heard of him until I entered his house," and Dodger
flushed as he thought that his entrance into the mansion on Madison
Avenue had been as a burglar.

"It seems to me that he knows more about you than you do about him. It
also seems to me that he is anxious to get you out of New York, the
farther the better."

"But what harm could I do him in New York?" asked Dodger, puzzled.

"That is the question which I cannot answer. You say he was
instrumental in getting his Cousin Florence out of the house?"

"Yes; he wanted to marry her."

"And she would not consent?"

"No; I think she hates him."

"How old is she?"

"Seventeen."

"And he?"

"He looks about thirty-five."

"The difference in years isn't great enough to constitute an obstacle,
provided she loved him. I am thirty years old."

"I am sure Florence would prefer you to Curtis Waring."

"Don't flatter me. I am vain enough already. The time may come when I
may ask your good offices with Miss Linden. What I was about to ask
was: Is Miss Linden also entitled to a share in her uncle's estate?"

"She is just as nearly related to him as Mr. Waring."

"Then I can understand his wishing to get rid of her. I don't know why
he should want to send you to a distance. I suppose there can't be any
relationship?"

"Is it likely that I--a poor street boy--should be related to a rich
man like Mr. Linden?"

"It doesn't seem likely, I admit," said Leslie, musingly. "Well, I
suppose," he continued, after a pause, "there is no use in speculating
about the matter now. The important point is, what are we to do with
ourselves during the four or five months we must spend on shipboard?"

"I don't know what I can do," said Dodger. "I can't sell papers, and I
can't smash baggage."

"And there appears to be no need of your doing either, as you are
provided with board and lodging till we reach shore."

"That seems strange to me, for I've always had to hustle for a
living."

"I was about to make a proposal to you. But first let me ask you about
your education. I suppose you are not an accomplished scholar?"

"I'm about as ignorant as they make 'em," answered Dodger, drolly.
"Tim was afraid to send me to college, for fear I'd get to know too
much for my business."

"Tending bar does not require an acquaintance with Latin and Greek.
Would you like to know more?"

"I wish I did. Florence was teaching me nights when I was in New York.
Now I've got to give up all that."

"Not necessarily. Listen to me, Arthur. Before I came to New York to
go into journalism, I taught school for two years; and I believe I may
say that I was tolerably successful. Suppose I take you as a scholar?"

"I should like it very much, Mr. Leslie, but I'm afraid I haven't got
money enough to pay you."

"That is true. You will need all the money you have when you land in
California. Twenty-five dollars won't go far--still you have all the
money that is necessary, for I do not intend to charge you anything."

"You are very kind to me, Mr. Leslie, considerin' you don't know me,"
said Dodger, gratefully.

"On the contrary, I think I know you very well. But about the kindness
--my motives are somewhat mixed. I should like to do you a service,
but I should also like to find employment for myself that will make
the days less monotonous. I have a collection of books in my trunk,
enough for our needs, and if you will agree we will commence our
studies to-morrow."

"I should like it very much. I'd like to show Florence, when I see
her, that I have improved. Till I saw her I didn't care much, but when
I talk with her I feel awfully ignorant."

"In four months a great deal can be accomplished. I don't know how
quick you are to learn. After we have had one or two lessons I can
judge better."

Two days later Mr. Leslie pronounced his opinion, and a favorable one.

"You have not exaggerated your ignorance," he said to Dodger. "You
have a great deal to learn, but on the other hand you are quick, have
a retentive memory, and are very anxious to learn. I shall make
something of you."

"I learn faster with you than with Florence," said Dodger.

"Probably she would succeed better with girls, but I hold that a male
teacher is better for boys. How long are you willing to study every
day?"

"As long as you think best."

"Then we will say from two to three hours. I think you have talent for
arithmetic. I don't expect to make you fit for a bookkeeper, but I
hope to make you equal to most office boys by the time we reach San
Francisco. What do you intend to do in California?"

"I don't know. I should like to go back to New York, but I shall not
have money enough."

"No; twenty-five dollars would go but a little way toward the passage.
Evidently Mr. Waring did not intend to have you return, or he would
have provided you with more."

"That is just why I should like to go back. I am afraid he will do
some harm to Florence."

"And you would like to be on hand to protect her?"

"Yes."

Randolph Leslie smiled.

"You seem to take a great deal of interest in Florence, if I may make
as free with her name as you do."

"Yes; I do, Mr. Leslie."

"If you were only a little older I might suspect the nature of that
interest."

"I am older than she is."

"In years, yes. But a young lady of seventeen, brought up as she has
been, is older by years than a boy of eighteen. I don't think you need
apprehend any harm to Miss Linden, except that Mr. Waring may cheat
her out of her rightful share of the inheritance. Is her uncle in good
health?"

"No, sir; he is a very feeble man."

"Is he an old man?"

"Not so very old. I don't believe he is over sixty."

Really Mr. Linden was but fifty-four, but, being a confirmed invalid,
he looked older.

"Should you say that he was likely to live very long?"

"No," answered Dodger. "He looks as if you could knock him over with a
feather. Besides, I've heard Florence say that she was afraid her
uncle could not live long."

"Probably Curtis Waring is counting upon this. If he can keep Florence
and her uncle apart for a few months, Mr. Linden will die, and he will
inherit the whole estate. What is this will he speaks of in the letter
you showed me?"

"I don't know, sir."

"Whatever the provisions are, it is evident that he thinks it
important to get it into his possession. If favorable to him, he will
keep it carefully. If unfavorable, I think a man like him would not
hesitate to suppress it."

"No doubt you are right, sir. I don't know much about wills," said
Dodger.

"No; I suppose not. You never made any, I suppose," remarked the
reporter, with a smile.

"I never had nothing to leave," said Dodger.

"Anything would be a better expression. As your tutor I feel it
incumbent upon me to correct your grammar."

"I wish you would, Mr. Leslie. What do you mean to do when you get to
San Francisco?"

"I shall seek employment on one of the San Farncisco daily papers. Six
months or a year so spent will restore my health, and enable me to
live without drawing upon my moderate savings."

"I expect I shall have to work, too, to get money to take me back to
New York."

And now we must ask the reader to imagine four months and one week
passed.

There had been favorable weather on the whole, and the voyage was
unusually short.

Dodger and the reporter stood on deck, and with eager interest watched
the passage through the Golden Gate. A little later and the queen city
of the Pacific came in sight, crowning the hill on which a part of the
city is built, with the vast Palace Hotel a conspicuous object in the
foreground.



Chapter XXIV.
Florence In Suspense.


We must now return to New York to Dodger's old home.

When he did not return at the usual hour, neither Florence nor Mrs.
O'Keefe was particularly disturbed.

It was thought that he had gone on some errand of unusual length, and
would return an hour or two late.

Eight o'clock came, the hour at which the boy was accustomed to repair
to Florence's room to study, and still he didn't make his appearance.

"Dodger's late this evening, Mrs. O'Keefe," said Florence, going up to
the room of her landlady.

"Shure he is. It's likely he's gone to Brooklyn or up to Harlem, wid a
bundle. He'll be comin' in soon."

"I hope he will be well paid for the errand, since it keeps him so
long."

"I hope so, too, Florence, for he's a good boy, is Dodger. Did I tell
you how he served the rapscallion that tried to stale my apples the
other day?"

"No; I would like to hear it."

"A big, black-bearded man came along, and asked me for an apple.

"'You can have one for two pennies,' says I.

"'But I haven't got them,' says he.

"'Then you must go widout it,' says I.

"'We'll see about that,' says he.

"And what do you think?--the fellow picked out one of my biggest
apples, and was walkin' away! That made me mad.

"'Come back, you thafe of the worruld!' says I.

"'Silence, you old hag!' says he.

"Actilly he called me an old hag! I wanted to go after him, but there
was two hoodlums hangin' round, and I knew they'd carry off some of my
apples, when, just as I was at my wits' end, Dodger came round the
corner.

"'Dodger,' I screamed, 'go after that man! He's taken one of my
apples, widout lave or license!'

"Upon that, Dodger, brave as a lion, walked up to the man, and, says
he:

"'Give back that apple, or pay for it!'

"'What's that to you, you impudent young rascal?' says the man,
raisin' the apple to his mouth. But he didn't get a chance to bite it,
for Dodger, with a flip of his hand, knocked it on the sidewalk, and
picked it up.

"Wasn't the man mad just?"

"'I'll smash you, boy,' he growled.

"'I'm a baggage-smasher myself,' says Dodger, 'and I can smash as
well as you.'

"Wid that the man up with his fist and struck at Dodger, but he dodged
the blow, and gave him one for himself wid his right. Just then up
came a cop.

"'What's all this?' says he.

"'That man tried to run off wid one of my apples,' says I.

"'Come along,' says the cop. 'You're wanted at the station-house.'

"'It's a lie,' says the man. 'I paid the woman for the apple, and
that young rascal knocked it out of my hand.'

"'I know the boy,' says the cop, 'and he ain't one of that kind. I'll
let you go if you buy five apples from the lady, and pay for 'em.'

"The man made up an ugly face, but he didn't want to be locked up, and
so he paid me a dime for five apples."

"Dodger is very brave," said Florence. "Sometimes I think he is too
daring. He is liable to get into trouble."

"If he does he'll get himself out of it, never you fear. Dodger can
take care of himself."

Nine o'clock came, and Florence became alarmed. She had not been aware
how much she had depended upon the company of her faithful friend,
humble as his station was.

Again she went into Mrs. O'Keefe's room. The apple-woman had been out
to buy some groceries and had just returned.

"I am getting anxious about Dodger," said Florence. "It is nine
o'clock."

"And what's nine o'clock for a boy like him? Shure he's used to bein'
out at all hours of the night."

"I shall feel relieved when he comes home. What should I do without
him?"

"Shure I'd miss him myself; but it isn't the first time he has been
out late."

"Perhaps that terrible Tim Bolton has got hold of him," suggested
Florence.

"Tim isn't so bad, Florence. He isn't fit company for the likes of
you, but there's worse men nor Tim."

"Didn't he send out Dodger to commit a burglary?"

"And if he hadn't you'd never made Dodger's acquaintance."

"That's true; but it doesn't make burglary any more excusable. Don't
you really think Tim Bolton has got hold of him?"

"If he has, he won't keep him long, I'll make oath of that. He might
keep him over night, but Dodger would come back in the morning."

Florence was somewhat cheered by Mrs. O'Keefe's refusal to believe
that Dodger was in any serious trouble, but she could not wholly free
herself from uneasiness. When eleven o'clock came she went to bed very
unwillingly, and got very little rest during the night. Morning came,
and still Dodger did not show up. As we know, he was fairly started on
his long voyage, though he had not yet recovered consciousness.

Florence took a very light breakfast, and at the usual time went to
Mrs. Leighton's to meet her pupil. When the study hour was over, she
did not remain to lunch, but hurried back, stopping at Mrs. O'Keefe's
apple-stand just as that lady was preparing to go home to prepare
dinner.

"Have you seen anything of Dodger, Mrs. O'Keefe?" asked Florence,
breathlessly.

"No, I haven't, Florence. I've had my eye out watchin' for him, and he
hasn't showed up."

"Is there anything we can do?" asked Florence, anxiously.

"Well, we might go around and see Tim--and find out whether he's got
hold of him."

"Let us go at once."

"Shure I didn't know you cared so much for the boy," said Mrs.
O'Keefe, with a shrewd look at Florence's anxious face.

"Why shouldn't I care for him? He is my only friend."

"Is he now? And what's the matter wid Bridget O'Keefe?" asked the
apple-woman.

"Excuse me, Mrs. O'Keefe. I know very well you are my friend, and a
kind friend, too. I should not have forgotten you."

"It's all right, Florence. You're flustrated like, and that's why you
forget me."

"I have so few friends that I can't spare one," continued Florence.

"That's so. Come along wid me, and we'll see what Tim has to tell us."

A short walk brought the two strangely assorted companions to the
entrance of Tim Bolton's saloon. "I'm afraid to go in, Mrs. O'Keefe,"
said Florence.

"Come along wid me, my dear, I won't let anything harm you. You ain't
used to such a place, but I've been here more than once to fill the
growler. Be careful as you go down the steps, Florence."

Tim Bolton was standing behind the bar, and as he heard steps he
looked carelessly toward the entrance, but when he saw Florence, his
indifference vanished. He came from behind the bar, and advanced to
meet her.

"Miss Linden," he said.

Florence shrank back and clung to her companion's arm.

"Is there anything I can do for you? I am a rough man, but I'm not so
bad as you may think."

"That's what I told her, Tim," said Mrs. O'Keefe. "I told Florence
there was worse men than you."

"Thank you, Mrs. O'Keefe. Can I offer you a glass of whiskey?"

The apple-woman was about to accept, but she felt an alarmed tug at
her arm, and saw that Florence would be placed in an embarrassing
position if she accepted. So, by an exercise of self-denial--for Mrs.
O'Keefe was by no means insensible to the attractions of whiskey,
though she never drank to excess--she said:

"Thank you kindly, Mr. Bolton. I won't take any just now; but I'll
remind you of your offer another day."

"Have it your own way, Mrs. O'Keefe. And now, what can I do for you
and Miss Linden?"

"Oh, Mr. Bolton," broke in Florence, unable to bear the suspense
longer, "where is Dodger?"



Chapter XXV.
Finding The Clew.


Tim Bolton looked at Florence in undisguised astonishment.

"Dodger!" he repeated. "How should I know? I supposed that you had
lured him away from me."

"He didn't like the business you were in. He preferred to make a
living in some other way."

"Then why do you ask me where he is?"

"Because he did not come home last night. Shure he rooms at my house,"
put in Mrs. O'Keefe, "and he hasn't showed up since----"

"And you thought I might have got hold of him?" said Bolton,
inquiringly.

"Then you are mistaken. I haven't seen the boy for weeks."

Tim Bolton spoke so straightforwardly that there was no chance to
doubt his word.

"When he was living with you, Mr. Bolton," continued Florence, "did he
ever stay away like this?"

"No," answered Bolton. "Dodger was always very regular about comin'
home."

"Then something must have happened to him," said Florence, anxiously.

"He might have got run in," suggested the apple-woman. "Some of them
cops is mighty officious."

"Dodger would never do anything to deserve arrest," Florence said,
quickly.

"Thrue for you, Florence, but some innersent parties are nabbed. I
know of one young man who was standin' on a strate corner waitin' for
the cars, when a cop came up and arristed him for disorderly conduct."

"But that is shameful!" said Florence, indignantly.

"Thrue for you, my dear. We might go round to the police headquarters
and inquire if the boy's been run in."

"What do you think, Mr. Bolton?" asked Florence.

Tim Bolton seemed busy thinking. Finally he brought down his hand
forcibly on the bar, and said: "I begin to see through it."

Florence did not speak, but she fixed an eager look of inquiry on the
face of the saloon-keeper.

"I believe Curtis Waring is at the bottom of this," he said.

"My cousin!" exclaimed Florence, in astonishment.

"Yes, your cousin, Miss Linden."

"But what can he have against poor Dodger! Is it because the boy has
taken my part and is a friend to me?"

"He wouldn't like him any better on account of hat; but he has another
and a more powerful reason."

"Would you mind telling me what it is? I cannot conceive what it can
be."

"At present," answered Bolton, cautiously, "I prefer to say nothing on
the subject. I will only say the boy's disappearance interferes with
my plans, and I will see if I can't find out what has become of him."

"If you only will, Mr. Bolton, I shall be so grateful. I am afraid I
have misjudged you. I thought you were an enemy of Dodger's."

"Then you were mistaken. I have had the boy with me since he was a
kid, and though I've been rough with him at times, maybe, I like him,
and I may some time have a chance to show him that old Tim Bolton is
one of his best friends."

"I will believe it now, Mr. Bolton," said Florence, impulsively,
holding out her hand to the burly saloon-keeper.

He was surprised, but it was evident that he was pleased, also, and he
took the little hand respectfully in his own ample palm, and pressed
it in a friendly manner.

"There's one thing more I want you to believe, Miss Linden," he said,
"and that is, that I am your friend, also."

"Thank you, Mr. Bolton. And now let us all work together to find
Dodger."

"You can count on me, Miss Linden. If you'll tell me where you live
I'll send or bring you any news I may hear."

"I live with Mrs. O'Keefe, my good friend, here."

"I haven't my kyard with me, Tim," said the apple-woman, "but I'll
give you my strate and number. You know my place of business?"

"Yes."

"If you come to me there I'll let Florence know whatever you tell me.
She is not always at home."

The two went away relieved in mind, for, helpless and bewildered as
they were, they felt that Tim Bolton would make a valuable ally.

When they had gone Tim turned to Hooker and Briggs, who were lounging
at a table, waiting for some generous customer to invite them to the
bar.

"Boys," said Tim, "has either of you seen anything of Dodger lately?"

"No," answered the two in unison.

"Have you heard anything of him?"

"I heard that he was baggage-smashin' down by the steamboat landings,"
said Hooker.

"Go down there, both of you, and see if you can see or hear anything
of him."

"All right, Tim."

And the two left the saloon and took a westerly route toward the North
River piers.

Three hours later they returned.

"Have you heard anything?" asked Bolton. "Did you see Dodger?"

"No; we didn't see him."

"But you heard something?"

"Yes; we found a boy, a friend of his, that said the last he saw of
Dodger was last evenin'."

"Where did he see him?"

"Near the pier of the Albany boats."

"What was he doin'?"

"Carryin' a valise for a man."

"What kind of a man? How did he look?"

"He had gray hair and gray whiskers."

Tim was puzzled by the description.

If, as he suspected, Curtis were concerned in the abduction, this man
could not have been he.

"The man was a passenger by the Albany boat, I suppose?"

"No; that was what looked queer. Before the Albany boat came in the
man was lyin' round with his valise, and the boy thought he was goin'
off somewhere. But when the boat came in he just mixed in with the
passengers, and came up to the entrance of the pier. Two boys asked to
carry his valise, but he shook his head till Dodger came round, and he
engaged him right off."

Tim Bolton nodded knowingly.

"It was a plan," he said. "The man wanted to get hold of Dodger. What
puzzles me is, that you said he was an old man."

"His hair and beard were gray."

"And Curtis has no beard, and his hair is black."

"But the boy said he didn't look like an old man, except the hair. He
walked off like a young man."

Tim Bolton's face lighted up with sudden intelligence.

"I'll bet a hat it was Curtis in disguise," he soliloquized.

"That's all we could find out, Mr. Bolton," said Briggs, with another
longing look at the bar.

"It is enough! You have earned your whiskey. Walk up, gentlemen!"

Hooker and Briggs needed no second invitation.

"Will either of you take a note for me to Mrs. O'Keefe? For another
drink, of course."

"I will, Tim," said Hooker, eagerly.

"No; take me, Mr. Bolton," entreated Briggs.

"You can both go," said Tim, generously. "Wait a minute, and I'll have
it ready for you."

He found a half sheet of note paper, and scribbled on it this message:

    "Mrs. O'Keefe:--Tell Miss Linden that I have a clew. I am
    almost surtin her cozen has got away with Dodger. He won't
    hurt him, but he will get him out of the city. Wen I hear
    more I will right.

                                                 "T. Bolton."



Chapter XXVI.
Bolton Makes A Discovery.


"I see it all," Bolton said to himself, thoughtfully. "Curtis Waring
is afraid of the boy--and of me. He's circumvented me neatly, and the
game is his--so far my little plan is dished. I must find out for
certain whether he's had anything to do with gettin' Dodger out of the
way, and then, Tim Bolton, you must set your wits to work to spoil his
little game."

Bolton succeeded in securing the services of a young man who had
experience at tending bar, and about eight o'clock, after donning his
best attire, he hailed a Fourth Avenue surface car and got aboard.

Getting out at the proper street, he made his way to Madison Avenue,
and ascended the steps of John Linden's residence.

The door was opened by Jane, who eyed the visitor with no friendly
glance.

"What do you want?" she asked, in a hostile tone.

"Is Mr. Waring at home?"

"I don't know."

"Is Miss Florence at home?"

"Do you know her?" she asked.

"Yes; I am a friend of hers."

Jane evidently thought that Florence must have made some queer
friends.

"Have you seen her lately?" she asked eagerly.

"I saw her to-day."

"Is she well?"

"Yes; she is well, but she is in trouble."

"Is she---- Does she need any money?"

"No; it isn't that. The boy Dodger has disappeared, and she is afraid
something has happened to him."

"Oh, I am so sorry! He was a good friend of Miss Florence."

"I see you know him. I am trying to help him and her."

"But you asked for Mr. Waring?" said Jane, suspiciously.

"So I did. Shall I tell you why?"

"I wish you would."

"I think he has something to do with gettin' Dodger out of the way,
and I'm goin' to try to find out."

"He won't tell you."

"You don't understand. I shall make him think I am on his side. Was he
at home last night?"

"He went away at dinner time, and he didn't come home till after
twelve. I ought to know, for he forgot his latchkey, and I had to get
up and let him in. I won't do it again. I'll let him stay out first."

"I see; he was with Dodger, no doubt. Did you say he was in?"

"No, sir; but he will be in directly. Won't you step into the
library?"

"Shall I meet the old gentleman there?" asked Bolton, in a tone of
hesitation.

"No. He goes up to his chamber directly after dinner."

"How is he?"

"I think he's failing."

"I hope there is no immediate danger," said Bolton, anxiously.

"No; but he's worrying about Miss Florence. It's my belief that if she
were at home, he'd live a good while."

"Doesn't he ask for her?"

"Mr. Curtis tells him she'll come round soon if he'll only be firm. I
don't see, for my part, why Mr. Linden wants her to marry such a
disagreeable man. There's plenty better husbands she could get. Come
in, sir, and I'll tell him as soon as he comes in. Shall you see Miss
Florence soon?"

"I think so."

"Then tell her not to give up. Things will come right some time."

"I'll tell her."

Bolton was ushered into the library, where, amid the fashionable
furniture he looked quite out of place. He did not feel so, however,
for he drew a cigar out of his pocket and, lighting it nonchalantly,
leaned back in a luxurious armchair and began to smoke.

"Curtis Waring is well fixed--that's a fact!" he soliloquized. "I
suppose he is the master here, for the old man isn't likely to
interfere. Still he will like it better when his uncle is out of the
way."

He had to wait but fifteen minutes in solitude, for at the end of that
time Curtis Waring appeared.

He paused on the threshold, and frowned when he saw who it was that
awaited him.

"Jane told me that a gentleman was waiting to see me," he said.

"Well, she was right."

"And you, I suppose, are the gentleman?" said Curtis, in a sneering
tone.

"Yes; I am the gentleman," remarked Bolton, coolly.

"I am not in the habit of receiving visits from gentlemen of your
class. However, I suppose you have an object in calling."

"It shall go hard with me if I don't pay you for your sneers some
day," thought Bolton; but he remained outwardly unruffled.

"Well," he answered, "I can't say that I have any particular business
to see you about. I saw your cousin recently."

"Florence?" asked Curtis, eagerly.

"Yes."

"What did she say? Did you speak with her?"

"Yes. She doesn't seem any more willin' to marry you."

Curtis Waring frowned.

"She is a foolish girl," he said. "She doesn't know her own mind."

"She looks to me like a gal that knows her own mind particularly
well."

"Pshaw! what can you know about it?"

"Then you really expect to marry her some time, Mr. Waring?"

"Certainly I do."

"And to inherit your uncle's fortune?"

"Of course. Why not?"

"I was thinkin' of the boy."

"The boy is dead----"

"What!" exclaimed Bolton, jumping to his feet in irresistible
excitement.

"Don't be a fool. Wait till I finish my sentence. He is dead so far as
his prospects are concerned. Who is there that can identify him with
the lost child of John Linden?"

"I can."

"Yes; if any one would believe you. However, it is for your interest
to keep silent."

"That is just what I want to know. I suppose you can make it for my
interest."

"Yes, and will--after I get the property. I don't believe in counting
my chickens before they are hatched."

"Of course you know that the boy has left me?" said Bolton.

"Yes," answered Curtis, indifferently. "He is with my cousin, I
believe."

"Yes; and through her I can learn where he is, and get hold of him if
I desire."

A cynical smile played over the face of Curtis Waring.

"Do you propose to get him back?" he asked, shrugging his shoulders.

"I am right," thought Bolton, shrewdly. "From his manner it is easy to
see that Curtis is quite at ease as regards Dodger. He knows where he
is!"

"You asked me what business I came about, Mr. Waring," he said, after
a pause.

"Yes."

"Of course I am devoted to your interests, but is it quite fair to
make me wait till you come into your fortune before allowing me
anything?"

"I think so."

"You don't seem to consider that I can bring the boy here and make him
known to your uncle as the son he lost so long ago?"

"You are quite sure you can bring the boy here?" asked Curtis.

"Why not? I have only to go to Florence and ask her to send the boy to
me."

"You are quite at liberty to do so if you like, Tim Bolton," said
Curtis, with a mocking smile. "I am glad, at any rate, that you have
shown me what is in your mind. You are very sharp, but you are not
quite so sharp as I am."

"I don't understand you."

"Then I will be more explicit. It's out of your power to make use of
the boy against me, because----"

"Well?"

"Because he is not in the city."

"Where is he, then?"

"Where you are not likely to find him."

"If you have killed him----" Bolton began, but Curtis interrupted him.

"The boy is safe--I will tell you that much," he said; "but for
reasons which you can guess, I think it better that he should be out
of New York. When the proper time comes, and all is safe, he may come
back, but not in time to help you in your cunning plans, Mr. Tim
Bolton."

"Then, I suppose," said Bolton, assuming an air of mortification and
discomfiture, "it is no use for me to remain here any longer."

"You are quite right. I wish you a pleasant journey home. Give my love
to Florence when you see her."

"That man is a fiend!" soliloquized Bolton, as he walked back,
leisurely, to his place of business. "Let me get hold of Dodger and I
will foil him yet!"



Chapter XXVII.
Dodger Strikes Luck.


When Dodger landed in San Francisco, in spite of the fact that he had
made the journey against his will, he felt a natural exhilaration and
pleasure in the new and striking circumstances and scenes in which he
found himself placed.

It was in the year 1877, and the city was by no means what it is now.
Yet it probably contained not far from two hundred thousand people,
lively, earnest, enterprising. All seemed busy and hopeful, and Dodger
caught the contagion.

As he walked with the reporter to a modest hotel, where the rates were
a dollar and a half a day, not far from Montgomery Street, Randolph
Leslie asked:

"How do you like San Francisco thus far, Arthur?"

It will be remembered that Dodger, feeling that the name by which he
had hitherto been known was hardly likely to recommend him, adopted
the one given him by Curtis Waring.

"I think I shall like it ever so much," answered Dodger. "Everybody
seems to be wideawake."

"Do you think you will like it better than New York?"

"I think a poor boy will have more of a chance of making a living
here. In New York I was too well known. If I got a place anywhere some
one would recognize me as Tim Bolton's boy--accustomed to tend bar--or
some gentleman would remember that he had bought papers of me. Here
nobody knows me, and I can start fair."

"There is a great deal in what you say," returned Leslie. "What do you
think of trying to do?"

"First of all I will write a letter to Florence, and tell her I am all
right. How long does it take a letter to go from here to New York?"

"About seven days."

"And it took us over four months! That seems wonderful."

"Yes; there is a great difference between coming by sea around Cape
Horn and speeding across the country on an express train."

"If I could only know how Florence is getting along," Dodger said,
anxiously. "I suppose she thinks I am dead."

"You forget the letter you gave to the vessel we spoke off the coast
of Brazil."

"Yes; but do you think it went straight?"

"The chances are in favor of it. However, your idea is a good one.
Write, by all means, and then we will discuss future plans."

"What are your plans, Mr. Leslie?"

"I shall try to secure a reporter's berth on one of the daily papers--
the _Call_ or _Chronicle_. I will wait a few days, however, as I have
a few hundred dollars by me, and can afford to take a little time to
look around."

"I wish I were as well provided; but I have less than twenty-five
dollars."

"Don't worry about that, Arthur," said Randolph, laying his hand
affectionately on the boy's shoulder. "I shall not allow you to want."

"Thank you, Mr. Leslie," said Dodger, gratefully. "It's something new
to me to have a friend like you. But I don't want to be any expense to
you. I am large enough and strong enough to earn my own living."

"True; and I feel sure you will have a chance in this enterprising
city."

They bought copies of the day's papers, and Dodger looked eagerly over
the advertising columns.

At length he saw an advertisement that read as follows:

    WANTED--A young man of 18 or 20 to assist in the office of a
    local express. Inquire at No. -- ---- St."

"Do you think I would answer for such a place?" he asked.

"I don't see why not. At any rate, 'nothing venture, nothing gain.'
You may as well go around and inquire. And, by the way, as your suit
is rather shabby, let me lend you one of mine. We are of nearly the
same size."

"Thank you, Mr. Leslie."

"Fine feathers make fine birds, you know, and a neat dress always
increases the chances of an applicant for employment, though, when it
is carried too far, it is apt to excite suspicion. I remember a friend
of mine advertised for a bookkeeper. Among the applicants was a young
man wearing a sixty-dollar suit, a ruffled shirt, a handsome gold
watch and a diamond pin. He was a man of taste, and he was strongly
impressed with the young man's elegant appearance. So, largely upon
the strength of these, he engaged him, and in less than six months
discovered that he had been swindled to the extent of eight hundred
dollars by his aesthetic bookkeeper."

"Then I will leave my diamond pin at home," said Dodger, smiling.
"Suppose they ask me for recommendations?"

"I will go with you and indorse you. I happen to know one or two
prominent gentlemen in San Francisco--among them the president of a
bank--and I presume my indorsement will be sufficient."

Dodger went back to the hotel, put on a suit of Mr. Leslie's, got his
boots blacked, and then, in company with the young reporter, went to
the express office.

"I am afraid some one will have been engaged already," said the
reporter; "but if not, your chances will be good."

They entered a good-sized office on a prominent street, and Dodger
inquired for Mr. Tucker.

A small man of about forty, keen-eyed and alert, eyed him attentively.

"I am Mr. Tucker," he said.

"I saw your advertisement for an assistant, Mr. Tucker," said Dodger,
modestly; "have you filled the place?"

"Let me see," said Tucker, reflectively, "you are the ninth young man
who has applied--but the place is still open."

"Then I am afraid you won't want me, as you have rejected so many."

"I don't know. How long have you been in the city?"

"I only just arrived."

"Where from?"

"From New York."

"Have you any idea of going to the mines when you get money enough?"

"I think I would prefer to remain in the city."

"Good! How is your education?"

"I have never been to college," answered Dodger, with a smile.

"Good! I don't care for your college men. I am a practical man
myself."

"I am a poor scholar, but Mr. Leslie tells me I write a fair hand."

"Let me see a specimen of your writing."

Now Dodger had taken special pains on the voyage to improve his
penmanship, with excellent results.

So it happened that the specimen which he furnished had the good
fortune to please Mr. Tucker.

"Good!" he said. "You will, a part of the time, be taking orders. Your
handwriting is plain and will do. Never mind about Latin and Greek.
You won't need it. Chinese would be more serviceable to you here. When
can you go to work?"

"To-morrow morning. To-day, if necessary," answered Dodger, promptly.

Mr. Tucker seemed pleased with his answer.

"To-morrow morning let it be, then! Hours are from eight in the
morning till six at night."

"Very well, sir."

"Your wages will be fifteen dollars a week. How will that suit you?"

Dodger wanted to indulge in a loud whoop of exultation, for fifteen
dollars was beyond his wildest hopes; but he was too politic to
express his delight. So he contented himself with saying:

"I shall be quite satisfied with that."

"Oh, by the way, I suppose I ought to have some reference," said Mr.
Tucker, "though as a general thing I judge a good deal by outward
appearance."

"I can refer you to my friend, Mr. Leslie, here."

"And who will indorse him?" asked the expressman, shrewdly.

Leslie smiled.

"I see, Mr. Tucker, you are a thorough man of business. I can refer
you to Mr. ----, president of the ---- Bank in this city."

"That is sufficient, sir. I am sure you would not refer me to him
unless you felt satisfied that he would speak favorably of you. I
won't, therefore, take the trouble to inquire. Where are you staying?"

"At the Pacific Hotel; but we shall take a private apartment within a
day or two."

As they passed out of the office, Randolph Leslie said:

"You've done splendidly, Arthur."

"Haven't I? I feel like a millionaire."

"As you are to go to work to-morrow, we may as well take up a room at
once. It will be cheaper."

In a short time they had engaged a neat suite of rooms, two in number,
not far from the Palace Hotel, at twenty dollars per month.

The next day Leslie procured a position on the San Francisco
_Chronicle_, at twenty-five dollars per week.



Chapter XXVIII.
Florence Receives A Letter.


The discovery, through Tim Bolton, that Curtis Waring had a hand in
the disappearance of Dodger, partially relieved the anxiety of
Florence--but only partially.

He might be detained in captivity, but even that was far better than
an accident to life or limb.

She knew that he would try to get word to her at the earliest
opportunity, in order to relieve her fears.

But week after week passed, and no tidings came.

At length, at the end of ten weeks, a note came to her, written on a
rough sheet of paper, the envelope marked by a foreign stamp.

It ran thus:

    "Dear Florence:--I am sure you have worried over my
    disappearance. Perhaps you thought I was dead, but I was
    never better in my life. I am on the ship _Columbia_, bound
    for San Francisco, around Cape Horn; and just now, as one of
    the officers tells me, we are off the coast of Brazil.

    "There is a ship coming north, and we are going to hail her
    and give her letters to carry home, so I hope these few lines
    will reach you all right. I suppose I am in for it, and must
    keep on to San Francisco. But I haven't told you yet how I
    came here.

    "It was through a trick of your cousin, Curtis Waring. I
    haven't time to tell you about it; but I was drugged and
    brought aboard in my sleep; when I woke up I was forty miles
    at sea.

    "Don't worry about me, for I have a good friend on board, Mr.
    Randolph Leslie, who has been a reporter on one of the New
    York daily papers. He advises me to get something to do in
    San Francisco, and work till I have earned money enough to
    get home. He says I can do better there, where I am not
    known, and can get higher pay. He is giving me lessons every
    day, and he says I am learning fast.

    "The ship is almost here, and I must stop. Take good care of
    yourself, and remember me to Mrs. O'Keefe, and I will write
    you again as soon as I get to San Francisco.

                                                 "Dodger.

    "P. S.--Don't let on to Curtis that you have heard from me,
    or he might try to play me some trick in San Francisco."

Florence's face was radiant when she had read the letter.

Dodger was alive, well, and in good spirits. The letter arrived during
the afternoon, and she put on her street dress at once and went over
to the apple-stand and read the letter to Mrs. O'Keefe.

"Well, well!" ejaculated the apple-woman. "So it's that ould thafe of
the worruld, Curtis Waring, that has got hold of poor Dodger, just as
Tim told us. It seems mighty quare to me that he should want to stale
poor Dodger. If it was you, now, I could understand it."

"It seems strange to me, Mrs. O'Keefe," said Florence, thoughtfully.
"I thought it might be because Dodger was my friend, but that doesn't
seem to be sufficient explanation. Don't you think we ought to show
this letter to Mr. Bolton?"

"I was going to suggest that same. If you'll give it to me, Florence,
I'll get Mattie to tend my stand, and slip round wid it to Tim's right
off."

"I will go with you, Mrs. O'Keefe."

Mattie, who was playing around the corner, was summoned.

"Now, Mattie, just mind the stand, and don't be runnin' away, or them
boys will get away wid my whole mornin's profits. Do you hear?"

"Yes, mum."

"And don't you be eatin' all the while you are here. Here's one apple
you can have," and the apple-woman carefully picked out one that she
considered unsalable.

"That's specked, Mrs. O'Keefe," objected Mattie.

"And what if it is? Can't you bite out the specks? The rest of the
apple is good. You're gettin' mighty particular."

Mattie bit a piece out of the sound part of the apple, and, when Mrs.
O'Keefe was at a safe distance, gave the rest to a lame bootblack, and
picked out one of the best apples for her own eating.

"Bridget O'Keefe is awful mane wid her apples!" soliloquized Mattie,
"but I'm too smart for her. Tryin' to pass off one of her old specked
apples on me! If I don't take three good one I'm a sinner."

Arrived at the front of the saloon, Mrs. O'Keefe penetrated the
interior, and met Tim near the door.

"Have you come in for some whiskey, old lady?" asked Tim, in a jesting
tone.

"I'll take that by and by. Florence is outside, and we've got some
news for you."

"Won't she come in?"

"No; she don't like to be seen in a place like this. She's got a
letter from Dodger."

"You don't mean it!" ejaculated Tim, with sudden interest. "Where is
he?"

"Come out and see."

"Good afternoon, Miss Linden," said Tim, gallantly. "So you've news
from Dodger?"

"Yes; here is the letter."

Bolton read it through attentively.

"Curtis is smart," he said, as he handed it back. "He couldn't have
thought of a better plan for getting rid of the boy. It will take
several months for him to reach 'Frisco, and after that he can't get
back, for he won't have any money."

"Dodger says he will try to save money enough to pay his way back."

"It will take him a good while."

"It doesn't take long to come back by cars, does it?"

"No; but it costs a great deal of money. Why, it may take Dodger a
year to earn enough to pay his way back on the railroad."

"A year!" exclaimed Florence, in genuine dismay--"a year, in addition
to the time it takes to go out there! Where will we all be at the end
of that time?"

"Not in jail, I hope," answered Bolton, jocularly. "I am afraid your
uncle will no longer be in the land of the living."

A shadow came over Florence's face.

"Poor Uncle John!" she said, sadly. "It is terrible to think he may
die thinking hardly of me."

"Leavin' his whole fortune to Curtis," continued Tim.

"That is the least thing that troubles me," said Florence.

"A woman's a queer thing," said Tim, shrugging his shoulders. "Here's
a fortune of maybe half a million, and half of it rightfully yours,
and you don't give it a thought."

"Not compared with the loss of my uncle's affections."

"Money is a great deal more practical than affection."

"Perhaps so, from your standpoint, Mr. Bolton," said Florence, with
dignity.

"No offense, miss. When you've lived as long as I, you'll look at
things different. Well, I'm glad to hear from the lad. If Curtis had
done him any harm, I'd have got even with him if it sent me to jail."

A quiet, determined look replaced Tim Bolton's usual expression of
easy good humor. He could not have said anything that would have
ingratiated him more with Florence.

"Thank you, Mr. Bolton," she said, earnestly. "I shall always count
upon your help. I believe you are a true friend of Dodger----"

"And of yours, too, miss----"

"I believe it," she said, with a smile that quite captivated Tim.

"If it would be any satisfaction to you, Miss Florence," he continued,
"I'll give Curtis Waring a lickin'. He deserves it for persecutin' you
and gettin' you turned out of your uncle's house."

"Thank you, Mr. Bolton; it wouldn't be any satisfaction to me to see
Curtis injured in any way."

"You're too good a Christian, you are, Miss Florence."

"I wish I deserved your praise, but I can hardly lay claim to it. Now,
Mr. Bolton, tell me what can I do to help Dodger?"

"I don't see that you can do anything now, as it will be most three
months before he reaches 'Frisco. You might write to him toward the
time he gets there."

"I will."

"Direct to the post office. I think he'll have sense enough to ask for
letters."

"I wish I could send him some money. I am afraid he will land
penniless."

"If he lands in good health you can trust him for makin' a livin'. A
New York boy, brought up as he was, isn't goin' to starve where there
are papers to sell and errands to run. Why, he'll light on his feet in
'Frisco, take my word for it."

Florence felt a good deal encouraged by Tim's words of assurance, and
she went home with her heart perceptibly lightened.

But she was soon to have trials of her own, which for the time being
would make her forgetful of Dodger.



Chapter XXIX.
Mrs. Leighton's Party.


"Miss Linden," said Mrs. Leighton, one day in the fourth month of
Dodger's absence, "Carrie has perhaps told you that I give a party
next Thursday evening."

"She told me," answered the governess.

"I expected Prof. Bouvier to furnish dancing music--in fact, I had
engaged him--but I have just received a note stating that he is
unwell, and I am left unprovided. It is very inconsiderate on his
part," added the lady, in a tone of annoyance.

Florence did not reply. She took rather a different view of the
professor's letter, and did not care to offend Mrs. Leighton.

"Under the circumstances," continued the lady, "it has occurred to me
that, as you are really quite a nice performer, you might fill his
place. I shall be willing to allow you a dollar for the evening. What
do you say?"

Florence felt embarrassed. She shrank from appearing in society in her
present separation from her family, yet could think of no good excuse.
Noticing her hesitation, Mrs. Leighton added, patronizingly:

"On second thought, I will pay you a dollar and a half"--Prof. Bouvier
was to have charged ten dollars--"and you will be kind enough to come
in your best attire. You seem to be well provided with dresses."

"Yes, madam, there will be no difficulty on that score."

"Nor on any other, I hope. As governess in my family, I think I have a
right to command your services."

"I will come," said Florence, meekly. She felt that it would not do to
refuse after this.

As she entered the handsomely decorated rooms on the night of the
party, she looked around her nervously, fearing to see some one whom
she had known in earlier days. She noticed one only--Percy de
Brabazon, whose face lighted up when he saw her, for he had been
expecting to see her.

She managed to convey a caution by a quiet movement, as it would not
be wise for Mrs. Leighton to know of their previous acquaintance. But
Percy was determined to get an opportunity to speak to her.

"Who is that young lady, Aunt Mary?" he asked. "The one standing near
the piano."

"That is Carrie's governess," answered Mrs. Leighton, carelessly.

"She seems quite a ladylike person."

"Yes. I understand she has seen better days. She is to play for us in
the absence of Prof. Bouvier."

"Will you introduce me, aunt?"

"Why?" asked Mrs. Leighton, with a searching look.

"I should like to inquire about Carrie's progress in her studies,"
said the cunning Percy.

"Oh, certainly," answered the aunt, quite deceived by his words.

"Miss Linden," she said, "let me introduce my nephew, Mr. de Brabazon.
He wishes to inquire about Carrie's progress in her studies."

And the lady sailed off to another part of the room.

"I can assure you, Mr. de Brabazon," said Florence, "that my young
charge is making excellent progress."

"I can easily believe it, under your instruction," said Percy.

"I am very glad you take such an interest in your cousin," added
Florence, with a smile. "It does you great credit."

"It's only an excuse, you know, to get a chance to talk with you, Miss
Linden. May I say Miss Florence?"

"No," answered Florence, decidedly. "It won't do. You must be very
formal."

"Then tell me how you like teaching."

"Very well, indeed."

"It must be an awful bore, I think."

"I don't think so. Carrie is a warm-hearted, affectionate girl.
Besides, she is very bright and gives me very little trouble."

"Don't you think you could take another pupil, Miss Linden?"

"A young girl?"

"No, a young man. In fact, myself."

"What could I teach you, Mr. de Brabazon?"

"Lots of things. I am not very sound in--in spelling and grammar."

"What a pity!" answered Florence, with mock seriousness. "I am afraid
your aunt would hardly consent to have a boy of your size in the
schoolroom."

"Then perhaps you could give me some private lessons in the
afternoon?"

"That would not be possible."

Just then Mrs. Leighton came up.

"Well," she said, "what does Miss Linden say of Carrie?"

"She has quite satisfied my mind about her," answered Percy, with
excusable duplicity. "I think her methods are excellent. I was telling
her that I might be able to procure her another pupil."

"I have no objection, as long as it does not interfere with Carrie's
hours. Miss Linden, there is a call for music. Will you go to the
piano and play a Stauss waltz?"

Florence inclined her head obediently.

"Let me escort you to the piano, Miss Linden," said Percy.

"Thank you," answered Florence, in a formal tone.

For an hour Florence was engaged in playing waltzes, gallops and
lanciers music. Then a lady who was proud of her daughter's
proficiency volunteered her services to relieve Florence.

"Now you can dance yourself," said Percy, in a low tone. "Will you
give me a waltz?"

"Not at once. Wait till the second dance."

Percy de Brabazon was prompt in presenting himself as soon as
permitted, and he led Florence out for a dance.

Both were excellent dancers, and attracted general attention.

Florence really enjoyed dancing, and forgot for a time that she was
only a guest on sufferance, as she moved with rhythmic grace about the
handsome rooms.

Percy was disposed to prolong the dance, but Florence was cautious.

"I think I will rest now, Mr. de Brabazon," she said.

"You will favor me again later in the evening?" he pleaded.

"I hardly think it will be wise."

But when, half an hour later, he asked her again, Florence could not
find it in her heart to say no. It would have been wise if she had
done so. A pair of jealous eyes was fixed upon her. Miss Emily Carter
had for a considerable time tried to fascinate Mr. de Brabazon, whose
wealth made him a very desirable match, and she viewed his decided
penchant for Florence with alarm and indignation.

"To be thrown in the shade by a governess is really too humiliating!"
she murmured to herself in vexation. "If it were a girl in my own
station I should not care so much," and she eyed Florence with marked
hostility.

"Mamma," she said, "do you see how Mr. de Barbazon is carrying on with
Mrs. Leighton's governess? Really, I think it very discreditable."

Mrs. Carter looked through her gold eye-glasses at the couple.

"Is the girl really a governess?" she added. "She is very well
dressed."

"I don't know where she got her dress, but she is really a governess."

"She seems very bold."

"So she does."

Poor Florence! She was far from deserving their unkindly remarks.

"I suppose she is trying to ensnare young de Brabazon," said Emily,
spitefully. "People of her class are very artful. Don't you think it
would be well to call Mrs. Leighton's attention? Percy de Brabazon is
her nephew, you know."

"True. The suggestion is a good one, Emily."

Mrs. Carter was quite as desirous as her daughter of bringing about an
alliance with Percy, and she readily agreed to second her plans.

She looked about for Mrs. Leighton, and took a seat at her side.

"Your nephew seems quite attentive to your governess," she commenced.

"Indeed! In what way?"

"He has danced with her three or four times, I believe. It looks
rather marked."

"So it does," said Mrs. Leighton. "He is quite inconsiderate."

"Oh, well, it is of no great consequence. She is quite stylish for a
governess, and doubtless your nephew is taken with her."

"That will not suit my views at all," said Mrs. Leighton, coldly. "I
shall speak to her to-morrow."

"Pray don't. It really is a matter of small consequence--quite
natural, in fact."

"Leave the matter with me. You have done quite right in mentioning
it."

At twelve o'clock the next day, when Florence had just completed her
lessons with Carrie, Mrs. Leighton entered the room.

"Please remain a moment, Miss Linden," she said. "I have a few words
to say to you."

Mrs. Leighton's tone was cold and unfriendly, and Florence felt that
something unpleasant was coming.



Chapter XXX.
Florence Is Followed Home.


"I am listening, madam," said Florence, inclining her head.

"I wish to speak to you about last evening, Miss Linden."

"I hope my playing was satisfactory, Mrs. Leighton. I did my best."

"I have no fault to find with your music. It came up to my
expectations."

"I am glad of that, madam."

"I referred, rather, to your behavior, Miss Linden."

"I don't understand you, Mrs. Leighton," Florence responded, in
unaffected surprise. "Please explain."

"You danced several times with my nephew, Mr. Percy de Brabazon."

"Twice, madam."

"I understood it was oftener. However, that is immaterial. You hardly
seemed conscious of your position."

"What was my position, Mrs. Leighton?" asked Florence, quietly,
looking her employer in the face. "Well--ahem!" answered Mrs.
Leighton, a little ill at ease, "you were a hired musician."

"Well?"

"And you acted as if you were an invited guest."

"I am sorry you did not give me instructions as to my conduct," said
the governess, coldly. "I should not have danced if I had been aware
that it was prohibited."

"I am sorry, Miss Linden, that you persist in misunderstanding me. Mr.
de Brabazon, being in a different social position from yourself, it
looked hardly proper that he should have devoted himself to you more
than to any other lady."

"Did he? I was not aware of it. Don't you think, under the
circumstances, that he is the one whom you should take to task? I
didn't invite his attentions."

"You seemed glad to receive them."

"I was. He is undoubtedly a gentleman."

"Certainly he is. He is my nephew."

"It was not my part to instruct him as to what was proper, surely."

"You are very plausible. Miss Linden, I think it right to tell you
that your conduct was commented upon by one of my lady guests as
unbecoming. However, I will remember, in extenuation, that you are
unaccustomed to society, and doubtless erred ignorantly."

Florence bowed, but forbore to make any remark.

"Do you wish to speak further to me, Mrs. Leighton?"

"No, I think not."

"Then I will bid you good-morning."

When the governess had left the house, Mrs. Leighton asked herself
whether in her encounter with her governess the victory rested with
her, and she was forced to acknowledge that it was at least a matter
of doubt.

"Miss Linden is a faithful teacher, but she does not appear to
appreciate the difference that exists between her and my guests. I
think, however, that upon reflection, she will see that I am right in
my stricture upon her conduct."

Florence left the house indignant and mortified. It was something new
to her to be regarded as a social inferior, and she felt sure that
there were many in Mrs. Leighton's position who would have seen no
harm in her behavior on the previous evening.

Four days afterward, when Florence entered the Madison Avenue car to
ride downtown, she had scarcely reached her seat when an eager voice
addressed her:

"Miss Linden, how fortunate I am in meeting you!"

Florence looked up and saw Mr. de Brabazon sitting nearly opposite
her.

Though she felt an esteem for him, she was sorry to see him, for, with
Mrs. Leighton's rebuke fresh in her mind, it could only be a source of
embarrassment, and, if discovered, subject her in all probability to a
fresh reprimand.

"You are kind to say so, Mr. de Brabazon."

"Not at all. I hoped I might meet you again soon. What a pleasant time
we had at the party."

"I thought so at the time, but the next day I changed my mind."

"Why, may I ask?"

"Because your aunt, Mrs. Leighton, took me to task for dancing with
you twice."

"Was she so absurd?" ejaculated Percy.

"It is not necessarily absurd. She said our social positions were so
different that it was unbecoming for me to receive attention from
you."

"Rubbish!" exclaimed Percy, warmly.

"I am afraid I ought not to listen to such strictures upon the words
of my employer."

"I wish you didn't have to teach."

"I can't join you in that wish. I enjoy my work."

"But you ought to be relieved from the necessity."

"We must accept things as we find them," said Florence, gravely.

"There is a way out of it," said Percy, quickly. "You understand me,
do you not?"

"I think I do, Mr. de Brabazon, and I am grateful to you, but I am
afraid it can never be."

Percy remained silent.

"How far are you going?" asked Florence, uneasily, for she did not
care to have her companion learn where she lived.

"I intend to get out at Fourteenth Street."

"Then I must bid you good-afternoon, for we are already at Fifteenth
Street."

"If I can be of any service to you, I will ride farther."

"Thank you," said Florence, hastily, "but it is quite unnecessary."

"Then, good morning!"

And Percy descended from the car.

In another part of the car sat a young lady, who listened with
sensations far from pleasant to the conversation that had taken place
between Florence and Mr. de Brabazon.

It was Emily Carter, whose jealousy had been excited on the evening of
the party. She dropped her veil, fearing to be recognized by Mr. de
Brabazon, with whom she was well acquainted. She, too, had intended
getting off at Fourteenth Street, but decided to remain longer in the
car.

"I will find out where that girl lives," she resolved. "Her conduct
with Percy de Brabazon is positively disgraceful. She is evidently
doing her best to captivate him. I feel that it is due to Mrs.
Leighton, who would be shocked at the thought of her nephew's making a
low alliance, to find out all I can, and put her on her guard."

She kept her seat, still keeping her veil down, for it was possible
that Florence might recognize her; and the car moved steadily onward
till it turned into the Bowery.

"Where on earth is she leading me?" Miss Carter asked herself. "I have
never been in this neighborhood before. However, it won't do to give
up, when I am, perhaps, on the verge of some important discoveries."

Still the car sped on. Not far from Grand Street, Florence left the
car, followed, though she was unconscious of it, by her aristocratic
fellow-passenger.

Florence stopped a moment to speak to Mrs. O'Keefe at her apple-stand.

"So you're through wid your work, Florence. Are you goin' home?"

"Yes, Mrs. O'Keefe."

"Then I'll go wid you, for I've got a nasty headache, and I'll lie
down for an hour."

They crossed the street, not noticing the veiled young lady, who
followed within ear shot, and listened to their conversation. At
length they reached the tenement house--Florence's humble home--and
went in.

"I've learned more than I bargained for," said Emily Carter, in
malicious exultation. "I am well repaid for coming to this horrid part
of the city. I wonder if Mr. de Brabazon knows where his charmer
lives? I will see that Mrs. Leighton knows, at any rate."



Chapter XXXI.
Florence Is Discharged.


Mrs. Leighton sat in her boudoir with a stern face and tightly
compressed lips. Miss Carter had called the previous afternoon and
informed her of the astounding discoveries she had made respecting the
governess.

She rang the bell.

"Janet," she said, "when the governess comes you may bring her up here
to me."

"Yes, ma'am."

"She's going to catch it--I wonder what for?" thought Janet, as she
noted the grim visage of her employer.

So when Florence entered the house she was told that Mrs. Leighton
wished to see her at once.

"I wonder what's the matter now?" she asked herself. "Has she heard of
my meeting her nephew in the car?"

When she entered the room she saw at once that something was wrong.

"You wished to see me, Mrs. Leighton?" she said.

"Yes," answered Mrs. Leighton, grimly. "Will you be seated?"

Florence sat down a few feet from her employer and waited for an
explanation.

She certainly was not prepared for Mrs. Leighton's first words:

"Miss Linden, where do you live?"

Florence started, and her face flushed.

"I live in the lower part of the city," she answered, with hesitation.

"That is not sufficiently definite."

"I live at No. 27 -- Street."

"I think that is east of the Bowery."

"You are right, madam."

"You lodge with an apple-woman, do you not?"

"I do," answered Florence, calmly.

"In a tenement house?"

"Yes, madam."

"And you actually come from such a squalid home to instruct my
daughter!" exclaimed Mrs. Leighton, indignantly. "It is a wonder you
have not brought some terrible disease into the house."

"There has been no case of disease in the humble dwelling in which I
make my home. I should be as sorry to expose your daughter to any
danger of that kind as you would be to have me."

"It is a merciful dispensation of Providence, for which I ought to be
truly thankful. But the idea of receiving in my house an inmate of a
tenement house! I am truly shocked. Is this apple-woman your mother?"

"I assure you that she is not," answered Florence, with a smile which
she could not repress.

"Or your aunt?"

"She is in no way related to me. She is an humble friend.

"Miss Linden, your tastes must be low to select such a home and such a
friend."

"The state of my purse had something to do with the selection, and the
kindness shown me by Mrs. O'Keefe, when I needed a friend, will
explain my location further."

"That is not all. You met in the Madison Avenue car yesterday my
nephew, Mr. Percy de Brabazon."

"It is coming," thought Florence. "Who could have seen us?" Then
aloud:

"Yes, madam."

"Was it by appointment?"

"Do you mean to insult me, Mrs. Leighton?" demanded Florence, rising
and looking at the lady with flashing eyes.

"I never insult anybody," replied Mrs. Leighton. "Pray, resume your
seat."

Florence did so.

"Then I may assume that it was accidental. You talked together with
the freedom of old friends?"

"You are correctly informed."

"You seem to make acquaintances very readily, Miss Linden. It seems
singular, to say the least, that after meeting my nephew for a single
evening, you should become such intimate friends."

"You will be surprised, Mrs. Leighton, when I say that Mr. de Brabazon
and I are old friends. We have met frequently."

"Where, in Heaven's name?" ejaculated Mrs. Leighton.

"At my residence."

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed the scandalized lady. "Does my nephew Percy
visit at the house of this apple-woman?"

"No, madam. He does not know where I live."

"Then you will explain your previous statement?" said Mrs. Leighton,
haughtily.

"I am at present suffering reversed circumstances. It is but a short
time since I was very differently situated."

"I won't inquire into your change of circumstances. I feel compelled
to perform an unpleasant duty."

Florence did not feel called upon to make any reply, but waited for
Mrs. Leighton to finish speaking.

"I shall be obliged to dispense with your services as my daughter's
governess. It is quite out of the question for me to employ a person
who lives in a tenement-house."

Florence bowed acquiescence, but she felt very sad. She had become
attached to her young charge, and it cost her a pang to part from her.

Besides, how was she to supply the income of which this would deprive
her?

"I bow to your decision, madam," she said, with proud humility.

"You will find here the sum that I owe you, with payment for an extra
week in lieu of notice."

"Thank you. May I bid Carrie good-by, Mrs. Leighton?"

"It is better not to do so, I think. The more quietly we dissolve our
unfortunate connection the better!"

Florence's heart swelled, and the tears came to her eyes, but she
could not press her request.

She was destined, however, to obtain the privilege which Mrs. Leighton
denied her. Carrie, who had become impatient, came downstairs and
burst into the room.

"What keeps you so long, Miss Linden?" she said. "Is mamma keeping
you?"

Florence was silent, leaving the explanations to Mrs. Leighton.

"Miss Linden has resigned her position as your governess, Carrie."

"Miss Linden going away! I won't have her go! What makes you go, Miss
Linden?"

"Your mamma thinks it best," answered Florence, with moistened eyes.

"Well, I don't!" exclaimed Carrie, stamping her foot, angrily. "I
won't have any other governess but you."

"Carrie, you are behaving very unbecomingly," said her mother.

"Will you tell me, mamma, why you are sending Miss Linden away?"

"I will tell you some other time."

"But I want to know now."

"I am very much displeased with you, Carrie."

"And I am very much displeased with you, mamma."

I do not pretend to defend Carrie, whose conduct was hardly respectful
enough to her mother; but with all her faults she had a warm heart,
while her mother had always been cold and selfish.

"I am getting tired of this," said Mrs. Leighton. "Miss Linden, as you
are here to-day, you may give Carrie the usual lessons. As I shall be
out when you get through, I bid you good-by now."

"Good-by, Mrs. Leighton."

Carrie and Florence went to the schoolroom for the last time.

Florence gave her young pupil a partial explanation of the cause which
had led to her discharge.

"What do I care if you live in a poor house, Miss Linden?" said
Carrie, impetuously. "I will make mamma take you back!"

Florence smiled; but she knew that there would be no return for her.

When she reached her humble home she had a severe headache and lay
down. Mrs. O'Keefe came in later to see her.

"And what's the matter with you, Florence?" she asked.

"I have a bad headache, Mrs. O'Keefe."

"You work too hard, Florence, wid your teacher. That is what gives you
the headache."

"Then I shan't have it again, for I have got through with my
teaching."

"What's that you say?"

"I am discharged."

"And what's it all about?"

Florence explained matters. Mrs. O'Keefe became indignant.

"She's a mean trollop, that Mrs. Leighton!" she exclaimed, "and I'd
like to tell her so to her face. Where does she live?"

"It will do no good to interfere, my good friend. She is not willing
to receive a governess from a tenement house."

"Shure you used to live in as grand a house as herself."

"But I don't now."

"Don't mind it too much, mavoureen. You'll soon be gettin' another
scholar. Go to sleep now, and you'll sleep the headache away."

Florence finally succeeded in following the advice of her humble
friend.

She resolved to leave till the morrow the cares of the morrow.

She had twelve dollars, and before that was spent she hoped to be in a
position to earn some more.



Chapter XXXII.
An Exciting Adventure.


Dodger soon became accustomed to his duties at Tucker's express
office, in his new San Francisco home. He found Mr. Tucker an
exacting, but not an unreasonable, man. He watched his new assistant
closely for the first few days, and was quietly taking his measure.

At the end of the first week he paid the salary agreed upon--fifteen
dollars.

"You have been with me a week, Arthur," he said.

"Yes, sir."

"And I have been making up my mind about you."

"Yes, sir," said Dodger, looking up inquiringly. "I hope you are
satisfied with me?"

"Yes, I think I may say that I am. You don't seem to be afraid of
work."

"I have always been accustomed to work."

"That is well. I was once induced to take the son of a rich man in the
place you now occupy. He had never done a stroke of work, having
always been at school. He didn't take kindly to work, and seemed
afraid that he would be called upon to do more than he had bargained
for. One evening I was particularly busy, and asked him to remain an
hour overtime.

"'It will be very inconvenient, Mr. Tucker,' said the young man, 'as
I have an engagement with a friend.'

"He left me to do all the extra work, and--I suppose you know what
happened the next Saturday evening?"

"I can guess," returned Dodger, with a smile.

"I told him that I thought the duties were too heavy for his
constitution, and he had better seek an easier place. Let me see--I
kept you an hour and a half overtime last Wednesday."

"Yes, sir."

"You made no objection, but worked on just as if you liked it."

"Yes, sir; I am always willing to stay when you need me."

"Good! I shan't forget it."

Dodger felt proud of his success, and put away the fifteen dollars
with a feeling of satisfaction. He had never saved half that sum in
the same time before.

"Curtis Waring did me a favor when he sent me out here," he reflected;
"but as he didn't mean it, I have no occasion to feel grateful."

Dodger found that he could live for eight dollars a week, and he began
to lay by seven dollars a week with the view of securing funds
sufficient to take him back to New York.

He was in no hurry to leave San Francisco, but he felt that Florence
might need a friend. But he found that he was making progress slowly.

At that time the price of a first-class ticket to New York was one
hundred and twenty-eight dollars, besides the expense of sleeping
berths, amounting then, as now, to twenty-two dollars extra. So it
looked as if Dodger would be compelled to wait at least six months
before he should be in a position to set out on the return journey.

About this time Dodger received a letter from Florence, in which she
spoke of her discharge by Mrs. Leighton.

"I shall try to obtain another position as teacher," she said,
concealing her anxiety. "I am sure, in a large city, I can find
something to do."

But Dodger knew better than she the difficulties that beset the path
of an applicant for work, and he could not help feeling anxious for
Florence.

"If I were only in New York," he said to himself, "I would see that
Florence didn't suffer. I will write her to let me know if she is in
need, and I will send her some money."

About this time he met with an adventure which deserves to be noted.

It was about seven o'clock one evening that he found himself in
Mission Street.

At a street corner his attention was drawn to a woman poorly dressed,
who held by the hand a child of three.

Her clothing was shabby, and her attitude was one of despondency. It
was clear that she was ill and in trouble.

Dodger possessed quick sympathies, and his own experience made him
quick to understand and feel for the troubles of others.

Though the woman made no appeal, he felt instinctively that she needed
help.

"I beg your pardon," he said, with as much deference as if he were
addressing one favored by fortune, "but you seem to be in need of
help?"

"God knows, I am!" said the woman, sadly.

"Perhaps I can be of service to you. Will you tell me how?"

"Neither I nor my child has tasted food since yesterday."

"Well, that can be easily remedied," said Dodger, cheerfully. "There
is a restaurant close by. I was about to eat supper. Will you come in
with me?"

"I am ashamed to impose upon the kindness of a stranger," murmured the
woman.

"Don't mention it. I shall be very glad of company," said Dodger,
heartily.

"But you are a poor boy. You may be ill able to afford the expense."

"I am not a millionaire," said Dodger, "and I don't see any immediate
prospect of my building a palace on Nob Hill"--where live some of San
Francisco's wealthiest citizens--"but I am very well supplied with
money."

"Then I will accept your kind invitation."

It was a small restaurant, but neat in its appointments, and, as in
most San Francisco restaurants, the prices were remarkably moderate.

At an expense of twenty-five cents each, the three obtained a
satisfactory meal.

The woman and child both seemed to enjoy it, and Dodger was glad to
see that the former became more cheerful as time went on.

There was something in the child's face that looked familiar to
Dodger. It was a resemblance to some one that he had seen, but he
could not for the life of him decide who it was.

"How can I ever thank you for your kindness?" said the lady, as she
arose from the table. "You don't know what it is to be famished----"

"Don't I?" asked Dodger. "I have been hungry more than once, without
money enough to buy a meal."

"You don't look it," she said.

"No, for now I have a good place and am earning a good salary."

"Are you a native of San Francisco?"

"No, madam. I can't tell you where I was born, for I know little or
nothing of my family. I have only been here a short time. I came from
New York."

"So did I," said the woman, with a sigh. "I wish I were back there
again."

"How came you to be here? Don't answer if you prefer not to," Dodger
added, hastily.

"I have no objection. My husband deserted me, and left me to shift for
myself and support my child."

"How have you done it?"

"By taking in sewing. But that is a hard way of earning money. There
are too many poor women who are ready to work for starvation wages,
and so we all suffer."

"I know that," answered Dodger. "Do you live near here?"

The woman mentioned a street near by.

"I have one poor back room on the third floor," she explained; "but I
should be glad if I were sure to stay there."

"Is there any danger of your being ejected?"

"I am owing for two weeks' rent, and this is the middle of the third
week. Unless I can pay up at the end of this week I shall be forced to
go out into the streets with my poor child."

"How much rent do you pay?"

"A dollar a week."

"Then three dollars will relieve you for the present?"

"Yes; but it might as well be three hundred," said the woman,
bitterly.

"Not quite; I can supply you with three dollars, but three hundred
would be rather beyond my means."

"You are too kind, too generous! I ought not to accept such a liberal
gift."

"Mamma, I am tired. Take me up in your arms," said the child.

"Poor child! He has been on his feet all day," sighed the mother.

She tried to lift the child, but her own strength had been undermined
by privation, and she was clearly unable to do so.

"Let me take him!" said Dodger. "Here, little one, jump up!"

He raised the child easily, and despite the mother's protest, carried
him in his arms.

"I will see you home, madam," he said.

"I fear the child will be too heavy for you."

"I hope not. Why, I could carry a child twice as heavy."

They reached the room at last--a poor one, but a welcome repose from
the streets.

"Don't you ever expect to see your husband again?" asked Dodger.
"Can't you compel him to support you?"

"I don't know where he is," answered the woman, despondently.

"If you will tell me his name, I may come across him some day."

"His name," said the woman, "is Curtis Waring."

Dodger stared at her, overwhelmed with surprise.



Chapter XXXIII.
An Important Discovery.


"Curtis Waring!" ejaculated Dodger, his face showing intense surprise.
"Is that the name of your husband?"

"Yes. Is it possible that you know him?" asked the woman, struck by
Dodger's tone.

"I know a man by that name. I will describe him, and you can tell me
whether it is he. He is rather tall, dark hair, sallow complexion,
black eyes, and a long, thin nose."

"It is like him in every particular. Oh, tell me where he is to be
found?"

"He lives in New York. He is the nephew of a rich man, and is
expecting to inherit his wealth. Through his influence a cousin of
his, a young lady, has been driven from home."

"Was he afraid she would deprive him of the estate?"

"That was partly the reason. But it was partly to revenge himself on
her because she would not agree to marry him."

"But how could he marry her," exclaimed the unfortunate woman, "when
he is already married to me?"

"Neither she nor any one of his family or friends knew that he was
already married. I don't think it would trouble him much."

"But it must be stopped!" she exclaimed, wildly. "He is my husband. I
shall not give him up to any one else."

"So far as Florence is concerned--she is the cousin--she has no wish
to deprive you of him. But is it possible that you are attached to a
man who has treated you so meanly?" asked Dodger, in surprise.

"There was a time when he treated me well, when he appeared to love
me," was the murmured reply. "I cannot forget that he is the father of
my child."

Dodger did not understand the nature of women or the mysteries of the
female heart, and he evidently thought this poor woman very foolish to
cling with such pertinacity to a man like Curtis Waring.

"Do you mind telling me how you came to marry him?" he asked.

"It was over four years ago that I met him in this city," was the
reply. "I am a San Francisco girl. I had never been out of California.
I was considered pretty then," she added, with a remnant of pride,
"faded as I am to-day."

Looking closely in her face, Dodger was ready to believe this.

Grief and privation had changed her appearance, but it had not
altogether effaced the bloom and beauty of youth.

"At any rate, he seemed to think so. He was living at the Palace
Hotel, and I made his acquaintance at a small social gathering at the
house of my uncle. I am an orphan, and was perhaps the more ready to
marry on that account."

"Did Mr. Waring represent himself as wealthy?"

"He said he had expectations from a wealthy relative, but did not
mention where he lived."

"He told the truth, then."

"We married, securing apartments on Kearney Street. We lived together
till my child was born, and for three months afterward. Then Mr.
Waring claimed to be called away from San Francisco on business. He
said he might be absent six weeks. He left me a hundred dollars, and
urged me to be careful of it, as he was short of money, and needed
considerable for the expenses of the journey. He left me, and I have
never seen or heard from him since."

"Did he tell you where he was going, Mrs. Waring?"

"No; he said he would be obliged to visit several places--among
others, Colorado, where he claimed to have some mining property. He
told me that he hoped to bring back considerable money."

"Do you think he meant to stay away altogether?"

"I don't know what to think. Well, I lived on patiently, for I had
perfect confidence in my husband. I made the money last me ten weeks
instead of six, but then I found myself penniless."

"Did you receive any letters in that time?"

"No, and it was that that worried me. When at last the money gave out,
I began to pawn my things--more than once I was tempted to pawn my
wedding-ring, but I could not bring my mind to do that. I do not like
to think ill of my husband, and was forced, as the only alternative,
to conclude that he had met with some accident, perhaps had died. I
have not felt certain that this was not so till you told me this
evening that you know him."

"I can hardly say that I know him well, yet I know him a good deal
better than I wish I did. But for him I would not now be in San
Francisco."

"How is that? Please explain."

Dodger told her briefly the story of his abduction.

"But what motive could he have in getting you out of New York? I
cannot understand."

"I don't understand myself, except that I am the friend of Florence."

"His cousin?"

"Yes."

"But why should she be compelled to leave her uncle's home?"

"Because Curtis Waring made him set his heart upon the match. She had
her choice to marry Curtis or to leave the house, and forfeit all
chance of the estate. She chose to leave the house."

"She ought to know that he has no right to marry," said the poor
woman, who, not understanding the dislike of Florence for the man whom
she herself loved, feared that she might yet be induced to marry him.

"She ought to know, and her uncle ought to know," said Dodger. "Mrs.
Waring, I can't see my way clear yet. If I were in New York I would
know just what to do. Will you agree to stand by me, and help me?"

"Yes, I will," answered the woman, earnestly.

"I will see you again to-morrow evening. Here is some money to help
you along for the present. Good-night."

Dodger, as he walked away, pondered over the remarkable discovery he
had made.

It was likely to prove of the utmost importance to Florence.

Her uncle's displeasure was wholly based upon her refusal to marry
Curtis Waring, but if it should be proved to him that Curtis was
already a married man, there would seem no bar to reconciliation.

Moreover--and thas was particularly satisfactory--it would bring
Curtis himself into disfavor.

Florence would be reinstated in her rightful place in her uncle's
family, and once more be recognized as heiress to at least a portion
of his large fortune.

This last consideration might not weigh so much with Florence, but
Dodger was more practical, and he wished to restore her to the social
position which she had lost through the knavery of her cousin.

But in San Francisco--at a distance of over three thousand miles--
Dodger felt at a loss how to act.

Even if Mr. Linden was informed that his nephew had a wife living in
San Francisco, the statement would no doubt be denied by Curtis, who
would brand the woman as an impudent adventuress.

"The absent are always in the wrong," says a French proverb.

At all events, they are very much at a disadvantage, and therefore it
seemed imperatively necessary, not only that Dodger, but that Curtis
Waring's wife should go to New York to confront the unprincipled man
whose schemes had brought sorrow to so many.

It was easy to decide what plan was best, but how to carry it out
presented a difficulty which seemed insurmountable.

The expenses of a journey to New York for Dodger, Mrs. Waring and her
child would not be very far from five hundred dollars, and where to
obtain this money was a problem.

Randolph Leslie probably had that sum, but Dodger could not in
conscience ask him to lend it, being unable to furnish adequate
security, or to insure repayment.

"If I could only find a nugget," thought Dodger, knitting his brows,
"everything would be easy." But nuggets are rare enough in the gold
fields, and still rarer in city streets.

He who trusts wholly to luck trusts to a will-o'-the-wisp, and is
about as sure of success as one who owns a castle in Spain.

The time might come when Dodger, by his own efforts, could accumulate
the needed sum, but it would require a year at least, and in that time
Mr. Linden would probably be dead.

Absorbed and disturbed by these reflections, Dodger walked slowly
through the darkened streets till he heard a stifled cry, and looking
up, beheld a sight that startled him.

On the sidewalk lay the prostrate figure of a man. Over him, bludgeon
in hand, bent a ruffian, whose purpose was only too clearly evident.



Chapter XXXIV.
Just In Time.


Dodger, who was a strong, stout boy, gathered himself up and dashed
against the ruffian with such impetuosity that he fell over his
intended victim, and his bludgeon fell from his hand.

It was the work of an instant to lift it, and raise it in a menacing
position.

The discomfited villain broke into a volley of oaths, and proceeded to
pick himself up.

He was a brutal-looking fellow, but was no larger than Dodger, who was
as tall as the majority of men.

"Give me that stick," he exclaimed, furiously.

"Come and take it," returned Dodger, undaunted.

The fellow took him at his word, and made a rush at our hero, but a
vigorous blow from the bludgeon made him cautious about repeating the
attack.

"Curse you!" he cried, between his teeth. "I'd like to chaw you up."

"I have no doubt you would," answered Dodger; "but I don't think you
will. Were you going to rob this man?"

"None of your business!"

"I shall make it my business. You'd better go, or you may be locked
up."

"Give me that stick, then."

"You'll have to do without it."

He made another rush, and Dodger struck him such a blow on his arm
that he winced with pain.

"Now I shall summon the police, and you can do as you please about
going."

Dodger struck the stick sharply on the sidewalk three times, and the
ruffian, apprehensive of arrest, ran around the corner just in time to
rush into the arms of a policeman.

"What has this man been doing?" asked the city guardian, turning to
Dodger.

"He was about to rob this man."

"Is the man hurt?"

"Where am I?" asked the prostrate man, in a bewildered tone.

"I will take care of him, if you will take charge of that fellow."

"Can you get up, sir?" asked Dodger, bending over the fallen man.

The latter answered by struggling to his feet and looking about him in
a confused way.

"Where am I?" he asked. "What has happened?"

"You were attacked by a ruffian. I found you on the sidewalk, with him
bending over you with this club in his hand."

"He must have followed me. I was imprudent enough to show a
well-filled pocketbook in a saloon where I stopped to take a drink. No
doubt he planned to relieve me of it."

"You have had a narrow escape, sir."

"I have no doubt of it. I presume the fellow was ready to take my
life, if he found it necessary."

"I will leave you now, sir, if you think you can manage."

"No, stay with me. I feel rather upset."

"Where are you staying, sir?"

"At the Palace Hotel. Of course you know where that is?"

"Certainly. Will you take my arm?"

"Thank you."

Little was said till they found themselves in the sumptuous hotel,
which hardly has an equal in America.

"Come to my room, young man; I want to speak to you."

It was still early in the evening, and Dodger's time was his own.

He had no hesitation, therefore, in accepting the stranger's
invitation.

On the third floor the stranger produced a key and opened the door of
a large, handsomely-furnished room.

"If you have a match, please light the gas."

Dodger proceeded to do so, and now, for the first time, obtained a
good view of the man he had rescued. He was a man of about the average
height, probably not far from fifty, dressed in a neat business suit,
and looked like a substantial merchant.

"Please be seated."

Dodger sat down in an easy-chair conveniently near him.

"Young man," said the stranger, impressively, "you have done me a
great favor."

Dodger felt that this was true, and did not disclaim it.

"I am very glad I came up just as I did," he said.

"How large a sum of money do you think I had about me?" asked his
companion.

"Five hundred dollars?"

"Five hundred dollars! Why, that would be a mere trifle."

"It wouldn't be a trifle to me, sir," said Dodger.

"Are you poor?" asked the man, earnestly.

"I have a good situation that pays me fifteen dollars a week, so I
ought not to consider myself poor."

"Suppose you had a considerable sum of money given you, what would you
do with it?"

"If I had five hundred dollars, I should be able to defeat the schemes
of a villain, and restore a young lady to her rights."

"That seems interesting. Tell me the circumstances."

Dodger told the story as briefly as he could. He was encouraged to
find that the stranger listened to him with attention.

"Do you know," he said, reflectively, "you have done for me what I
once did for another--a rich man? The case was very similar. I was a
poor boy at the time. Do you know what he gave me?"

"What was it, sir?"

"A dollar! What do you think of that for generosity?"

"Well, sir, it wasn't exactly liberal. Did you accept it?"

"No. I told him that I didn't wish to inconvenience him. But I asked
you how much money you supposed I had. I will tell you. In a wallet I
have eleven thousand dollars in bank notes and securities."

"That is a fortune," said Dodger, dazzled at the mention of such a
sum.

"If I had lost it, I have plenty more, but the most serious peril was
to my life. Through your opportune assistance I have escaped without
loss. I fully appreciate the magnitude of the service you have done
me. As an evidence of it, please accept these bills."

He drew from the roll two bills and handed them to Dodger.

The boy, glancing at them mechanically, started in amazement. Each
bill was for five hundred dollars.

"You have given me a thousand dollars!" he gasped.

"I am aware of it. I consider my life worth that, at least. James
Swinton never fails to pay his debts."

"But, sir, a thousand dollars----"

"It's no more than you deserve. When I tell my wife, on my return to
Chicago, about this affair, she will blame me for not giving you
more."

"You seem to belong to a liberal family, sir."

"I detest meanness, and would rather err on the side of liberality.
Now, if agreeable to you, I will order a bottle of champagne, and
solace ourselves for this little incident."

"Thank you, Mr. Swinton, but I have made up my mind not to drink
anything stronger than water. I have tended bar in New York, and what
I have seen has given me a dislike for liquor of any kind."

"You are a sensible young man. You are right, and I won't urge you.
There is my card, and if you ever come to Chicago, call upon me."

"I will, sir."

When Dodger left the Palace Hotel he felt that he was a favorite of
fortune.

It is not always that the money we need is so quickly supplied.

He resolved to return to New York as soon as he could manage it, and
take with him the wife and child of Curtis Waring.

This would cost him about five hundred dollars, and he would have the
same amount left.

Mr. Tucker was reluctant to part with Dodger.

"You are the best assistant I ever had," he said. "I will pay you
twenty dollars a week, if that will induce you to stay."

"I would stay if it were not very important for me to return to New
York, Mr. Tucker. I do not expect to get a place in New York as good."

"If you come back to San Francisco at any time, I will make a place
for you."

"Thank you, sir."

Mrs. Waring was overjoyed when Dodger called upon her and offered to
take her back to New York.

"I shall see Curtis again," she said. "How can I ever thank you?"

But Dodger, though unwilling to disturb her dreams of happiness,
thought it exceedingly doubtful if her husband would be equally glad
to see her.



Chapter XXXV.
The Darkest Day.


When Florence left the employ of Mrs. Leighton she had a few dollars
as a reserve fund. As this would not last long, she at once made an
effort to obtain employment.

She desired another position as governess, and made application in
answer to an advertisement.

Her ladylike manner evidently impressed the lady to whom she applied.

"I suppose you have taught before?" she said.

"Yes, madam."

"In whose family?"

"I taught the daughter of Mrs. Leighton, of West -- Street."

"I have heard of the lady. Of course you are at liberty to refer to
her?"

"Yes, madam," but there was a hesitation in her tone that excited
suspicion.

"Very well; I will call upon her and make inquiries. If you will call
to-morrow morning, I can give you a decisive answer."

Florence fervently hoped that this might prove favorable; but was
apprehensive, and with good reason, it appeared.

When she presented herself the next day, Mrs. Cole said:

"I am afraid, Miss Linden, you will not suit me."

"May I ask why?" Florence inquired, schooling herself to calmness.

"I called on Mrs. Leighton," was the answer. "She speaks well of you
as a teacher, but--she told me some things which make it seem
inexpedient to engage you."

"What did she say of me?"

"That, perhaps, you had better not inquire."

"I prefer to know the worst."

"She said you encouraged the attentions of her nephew, forgetting the
difference in social position, and also that your connections were not
of a sort to recommend you. I admit, Miss Linden, that you are very
ladylike in appearance, but, I can hardly be expected to admit into my
house, in the important position of governess to my child, the
daughter or niece of an apple-woman."

"Did Mrs. Leighton say that I was related to an apple-woman?"

"Yes, Miss Linden. I own I was surprised."

"It is not true, Mrs. Cole."

"You live in the house of such a person, do you not?"

"Yes, she is an humble friend of mine, and has been kind to me."

"You cannot be very fastidious. However, that is your own affair. I am
sorry to disappoint you, Miss Linden, but it will be quite impossible
for me to employ you."

"Then I will bid you good-morning, Mrs. Cole," said Florence, sore at
heart.

"Good-morning. You will, I think, understand my position. If you
applied for a position in one of the public schools, I don't think
that your residence would be an objection."

Florence left the house, sad and despondent. She saw that Mrs.
Leighton, by her unfriendly representations, would prevent her from
getting any opportunity to teach. She must seek some more humble
employment.

"Well, Florence, did you get a place?" asked Mrs. O'Keefe, as she
passed that lady's stand.

"No, Mrs. O'Keefe," answered Florence, wearily.

"And why not? Did the woman think you didn't know enough?"

"She objected to me because I was not living in a fashionable quarter
--at least that was one of her objections."

"I'm sure you've got a nate, clane home, and it looks as nate as wax
all the time."

"It isn't exactly stylish," said Florence, with a faint smile.

"You are, at any rate. What does the woman want, I'd like to know?"

"She doesn't want me. It seems Mrs. Leighton did not speak very highly
of me."

"The trollop! I'd like to give her a box on the ear, drat her
impudence!" said the irate apple-woman. "And what will you be doin'
now?"

"Do you think I can get some sewing to do, Mrs. O'Keefe?"

"Yes, Miss Florence--I'll get you some vests to make; but it's hard
work and poor pay."

"I must take what I can get," sighed Florence. "I cannot choose."

"If you'd only tend an apple-stand, Miss Florence! There's Mrs. Brady
wants to sell out on account of the rheumatics, and I've got a trifle
in the savings bank--enough to buy it. You'd make a dollar a day,
easy."

"It isn't to be thought of, Mrs. O'Keefe. If you will kindly see about
getting me some sewing, I will see how I can get along."

The result was that Mrs. O'Keefe brought Florence in the course of the
day half a dozen vests, for which she was to be paid the munificent
sum of twenty-five cents each.

Florence had very little idea of what she was undertaking.

She was an expert needlewoman, and proved adequate to the work, but
with her utmust industry she could only make one vest in a day, and
that would barely pay her rent.

True, she had some money laid aside on which she could draw, but that
would soon be expended, and then what was to become of her?

"Shure, I won't let you starve, Florence," said the warm-hearted
apple-woman.

"But, Mrs. O'Keefe, I can't consent to live on you."

"And why not? I'm well and strong, and I'm makin' more money than I
nade."

"I couldn't think of it, though I thank you for your kindness."

"Shure, you might write a letter to your uncle, Florence."

"He would expect me, in that case, to consent to a marriage with
Curtis. You wouldn't advise me to do that?"

"No; he's a mane blackguard, and I'd say it to his face."

Weeks rolled by, and Florence began to show the effects of hard work
and confinement.

She grew pale and thin, and her face was habitually sad.

She had husbanded her savings as a governess as closely as she could,
but in spite of all her economy it dwindled till she had none left.

Henceforth, she must depend on twenty-five cents a day, and this
seemed well-nigh impossible.

In this emergency the pawnbroker occurred to her.

She had a variety of nice dresses, and she had also a handsome ring,
given her by her uncle on her last birthday.

This she felt sure must have cost fifty dollars.

It was a trial to part with it, but there seemed to be no alternative.

"If my uncle has withdrawn his affection from me," she said to
herself, "why should I scruple to pawn the ring? It is the symbol of a
love that no longer exists."

So she entered the pawnbrowker's--the first that attracted her
attention--and held out the ring.

"How much will you lend me on this?" she asked, half frightened at
finding herself in such a place.

The pawnbroker examined it carefully. His practiced eye at once
detected its value, but it was not professional to admit this.

"Rings is a drug in the market, young lady," he said. "I've got more
than I know what to do with. I'll give you four--four dollars."

"Four dollars!" repeated Florence, in dismay. "Why, it must have cost
fifty. It was bought in Tiffany's."

"You are mistaken, my dear. Did you buy it yourself there?"

"No, my uncle gave it to me."

"He may have said he paid fifty dollars for it," said the pawnbroker,
wagging his head, "but we know better."

"But what will you give?" asked Florence, desperately.

"I'll give you five dollars, and not a penny more," said the broker,
surveying her distressed face, shrewdly. "You can take it or not."

What could Florence do?

She must have money, and feared that no other pawnbroker would give
her more.

"Make out the ticket, then," she said, wearily, with a sigh.

This was done, and she left the place, half timid, half ashamed, and
wholly discouraged.

But the darkest hour is sometimes nearest the dawn. A great
overwhelming surprise awaited her. She had scarcely left the shop when
a glad voice cried:

"I have found you at last, Florence!"

She looked up and saw--Dodger.

But not the old Dodger. She saw a nicely dressed young gentleman,
larger than the friend she had parted with six months before, with a
brighter, more intelligent, and manly look.

"Dodger!" she faltered.

"Yes, it is Dodger."

"Where did you come from?"

"From San Francisco. But what have you been doing there?"

And Dodger pointed in the direction of the pawnbroker's shop.

"I pawned my ring."

"Then I shall get it back at once. How much did you get on it?"

"Five dollars."

"Give me the ticket, and go in with me."

The pawnbroker was very reluctant to part with the ring, which he made
sure would not be reclaimed; but there was no help for it.

As they emerged into the street, Dodger said: "I've come back to
restore you to your rights, and give Curtis Waring the most
disagreeable surprise he ever had. Come home, and I'll tell you all
about it. I've struck luck, Florence, and you're going to share it."



Chapter XXXVI.
Mrs. O'Keefe In A New Role.


No time was lost in seeing Bolton and arranging a plan of campaign.

Curtis Waring, nearing the accomplishment of his plans, was far from
anticipating impending disaster.

His uncle's health had become so poor, and his strength had been so
far undermined, that it was thought desirable to employ a sick nurse.
An advertisement was inserted in a morning paper, which luckily
attracted the attention of Bolton.

"You must go, Mrs. O'Keefe," he said to the apple-woman. "It is
important that we have some one in the house--some friend of Florence
and the boy--to watch what is going on."

"Bridget O'Keefe is no fool. Leave her to manage."

The result was that among a large number of applicants Mrs. O'Keefe
was selected by Curtis as Mr. Linden's nurse, as she expressed herself
willing to work for four dollars a week, while the lowest outside
demand was seven.

We will now enter the house, in which the last scenes of our story are
to take place.

Mr. Linden, weak and emaciated, was sitting in an easy-chair in his
library.

"How do you feel this morning, uncle?" asked Curtis, entering the
room.

"I am very weak, Curtis. I don't think I shall ever be any better."

"I have engaged a nurse, uncle, as you desired, and I expect her this
morning."

"That is well, Curtis. I do not wish to confine you to my bedside."

"The nurse is below," said Jane, the servant, entering.

"Send her up."

Mrs. O'Keefe entered in the sober attire of a nurse. She dropped a
curtsey.

"Are you the nurse I engaged?" said Curtis.

"Yes, sir."

"Your name, please."

"Mrs. Barnes, sir."

"Have you experience as a nurse?"

"Plenty, sir."

"Uncle, this is Mrs. Barnes, your new nurse. I hope you will find her
satisfactory."

"She looks like a good woman," said Mr. Linden, feebly. "I think she
will suit me."

"Indade, sir, I'll try."

"Uncle," said Curtis, "I have to go downtown. I have some business to
attend to. I leave you in the care of Mrs. Barnes."

"Shure, I'll take care of him, sir."

"Is there anything I can do for you, Mr. Linden?" asked the new nurse,
in a tone of sympathy.

"Can you minister to a mind diseased?"

"I'll take the best care of you, Mr. Linden, but it isn't as if you
had a wife or daughter."

"Ah, that is a sore thought! I have no wife or daughter; but I have a
niece."

"And where is she, sir?"

"I don't know. I drove her from me by my unkindness. I repent
bitterly, but it's now too late."

"And why don't you send for her to come home?"

"I would gladly do so, but I don't know where she is. Curtis has tried
to find her, but in vain. He says she is in Chicago."

"And what should take her to Chicago?"

"He says she is there as a governess in a family."

"By the brow of St. Patrick!" thought Mrs. O'Keefe, "if that Curtis
isn't a natural-born liar. I'm sure she'd come back if you'd send for
her, sir," said she, aloud.

"Do you think so?" asked Linden, eagerly.

"I'm sure of it."

"But I don't know where to send."

"I know of a party that would be sure to find her."

"Who is it?"

"It's a young man. They call him Dodger. If any one can find Miss
Florence, he can."

"You know my niece's name?"

"I have heard it somewhere. From Mr. Waring, I think."

"And you think this young man would agree to go to Chicago and find
her?"

"Yes, sir, I make bold to say he will."

"Tell him to go at once. He will need money. In yonder desk you will
find a picture of my niece and a roll of bills. Give them to him and
send him at once."

"Yes, sir, I will. But if you'll take my advice, you won't say
anything to Mr. Curtis. He might think it foolish."

"True! If your friend succeeds, we'll give Curtis a surprise."

"And a mighty disagreeable one, I'll be bound," soliloquized Mrs.
O'Keefe.

"I think, Mrs. Barnes, I will retire to my chamber, if you will assist
me."

She assisted Mr. Linden to his room, and then returned to the library.

"Mrs. Barnes, there's a young man inquiring for you," said Jane,
entering.

"Send him in, Jane."

The visitor was Dodger, neatly dressed.

"How are things going, Mrs. O'Keefe?" he asked.

"Splendid, Dodger. Here's some money for you."

"What for?"

"You're to go to Chicago and bring back Florence."

"But she isn't there."

"Nivir mind. You're to pretend to go."

"But that won't take money."

"Give it to Florence, then. It's hers by rights. Won't we give Curtis
a surprise? Where's his wife?"

"I have found a comfortable boarding house for her. When had we better
carry out this programme? She's very anxious to see her husband."

"The more fool she. Kape her at home and out of his sight, or there's
no knowin' what he'll do. And, Dodger, dear, kape an eye on the
apple-stand. I mistrust Mrs. Burke that's runnin' it."

"I will. Does the old gentleman seem to be very sick?"

"He's wake as a rat. Curtis would kill him soon if we didn't
interfere. But we'll soon circumvent him, the snake in the grass! Miss
Florence will soon come to her own, and Curtis Waring will be out in
the cold."

"The most I have against him is that he tried to marry Florence when
he had a wife already."

"He's as bad as they make 'em, Dodger. It won't be my fault if Mr.
Linden's eyes are not opened to his wickedness."



Chapter XXXVII.
The Diplomacy Of Mrs. O'Keefe.


Mrs. O'Keefe was a warm-hearted woman, and the sad, drawn face of Mr.
Linden appealed to her pity.

"Why should I let the poor man suffer when I can relieve him?" she
asked herself.

So the next morning, after Curtis had, according to his custom, gone
downtown, being in the invalid's sick chamber, she began to act in a
mysterious manner. She tiptoed to the door, closed it and approached
Mr. Linden's bedside with the air of one about to unfold a strange
story.

"Whist now," she said, with her finger on her lips.

"What is the matter?" asked the invalid, rather alarmed.

"Can you bear a surprise, sir?"

"Have you any bad news for me?"

"No; it's good news, but you must promise not to tell Curtis."

"Is it about Florence? Your messenger can hardly have reached
Chicago."

"He isn't going there, sir."

"But you promised that he should," said Mr. Linden, disturbed.

"I'll tell you why, sir. Florence is not in Chicago."

"I--I don't understand. You said she was there."

"Begging your pardon, sir, it was Curtis that said so, though he knew
she was in New York."

"But what motive could he have had for thus misrepresenting matters?"

"He doesn't want you to take her back."

"I can't believe you, Mrs. Barnes. He loves her, and wants to marry
her."

"He couldn't marry her if she consented to take him."

"Why not? Mrs. Barnes, you confuse me."

"I won't deceive you as he has done. There's rason in plinty. He's
married already."

"Is this true?" demanded Mr. Linden, in excitement.

"It's true enough; more by token, to-morrow, whin he's out, his wife
will come here and tell you so herself."

"But who are you who seem to know so much about my family?"

"I'm a friend of the pore girl you've driven from the house, because
she would not marry a rascally spalpeen that's been schemin' to get
your property into his hands."

"You're a friend of Florence? Where is she?"

"She's in my house, and has been there ever since she left her home."

"Is she--well?"

"As well as she can be whin she's been workin' her fingers to the bone
wid sewin' to keep from starvin'."

"My God! what have I done?"

"You've let Curtis Waring wind you around his little finger--that's
what you've done, Mr. Linden."

"How soon can I see Florence?"

"How soon can you bear it?"

"The sooner the better."

"Then it'll be to-morrow, I'm thinkin', that is if you won't tell
Curtis."

"No, no; I promise."

"I'll manage everything, sir. Don't worry now."

Mr. Linden's face lost its anxious look--so that when, later in the
day, Curtis looked into the room he was surprised.

"My uncle looks better," he said.

"Yes, sir," answered the nurse. "I've soothed him like."

"Indeed! You seem to be a very accomplished nurse."

"Faith, that I am, sir, though it isn't I that should say it."

"May I ask how you soothed him?" inquired Curtis, anxiously.

"I told him that Miss Florence would soon be home."

"I do not think it right to hold out hopes that may prove
ill-founded."

"I know what I am about, Mr. Curtis."

"I dare say you understand your business, Mrs. Barnes, but if my uncle
should be disappointed, I am afraid the consequences will be
lamentable."

"Do you think he'll live long, sir?"

Curtis shrugged his shoulders.

"It is very hard to tell. My uncle is a very feeble man."

"And if he dies, I suppose the property goes to you?"

"I suppose so."

"But where does Florence come in?"

"It seems to me, Mrs. Barnes, that you take a good deal of interest in
our family affairs," said Curtis, suspiciously.

"That's true, sir. Why shouldn't I take an interest in a nice
gentleman like you?"

Curtis smiled.

"I am doing my best to find Florence. Then our marriage will take
place, and it matters little to whom the property is left."

"But I thought Miss Florence didn't care to marry you?"

"It is only because she thinks cousins ought not to marry. It's a
foolish fancy, and she'll get over it."

"Thrue for you, sir. My first husband was my cousin, and we always
agreed, barrin' an occasional fight----"

"I don't think Florence and I will ever fight, Mrs. Barnes."

"What surprises me, Mr. Curtis, is that a nice-lookin' gentleman like
you hasn't been married before."

Curtis eyed her keenly, but her face told him nothing.

"I never saw one I wanted to marry till my cousin grew up," he said.

"I belave in marryin', meself. I was first married at sivinteen."

"How long ago was that, Mrs. Barnes?"

"It's long ago, Mr. Curtis. I'm an old woman now. I was thirty-five
last birthday."

Curtis came near laughing outright, for he suspected--what was true--
that the nurse would never see her fiftieth birthday again.

"Then you are just my age," he said.

"If I make him laugh he won't suspect nothing," soliloquized the wily
nurse. "That's a pretty big lie, even for me."

"Shure I look older, Mr. Curtis," she said, aloud. "What wid the worry
of losin' two fond husbands, I look much older than you."

"Oh, your are very well preserved, Mrs. Barnes."

Curtis went into his uncle's chamber.

"How are you feeling, uncle?" he asked.

"I think I am better," answered Mr. Linden, coldly, for he had not
forgotten Mrs. Barnes' revelations.

"That is right. Only make an effort, and you will soon be strong
again."

"I think I may. I may live ten years to annoy you."

"I fervently hope so," said Curtis, but there was a false ring in his
voice that his uncle detected. "How do you like the new nurse?"

"She is helping me wonderfully. You made a good selection."

"I will see that she is soon discharged," Curtis inwardly resolved.
"If her being here is to prolong my uncle's life, and keep me still
waiting for the estate, I must clear the house of her."

"You must not allow her to buoy you up with unfounded hopes. She has
been telling you that Florence will soon return."

"Yes; she seems convinced of it."

"Of course she knows nothing of it. She may return, but I doubt
whether she is in Chicago now. I think the family she was with has
gone to Europe."

"Where did you hear that, Curtis?" asked Mr. Linden, with unwonted
sharpness.

"I have sources of information which at present I do not care to
impart. Rest assured that I am doing all I can to get her back."

"You still want to marry her, Curtis?"

"I do, most certainly."

"I shall not insist upon it. I should not have done so before."

"Have you changed your mind, uncle?"

"Yes; I have made a mistake, and I have decided to correct it."

"What has come over him?" Curtis asked himself. "Some influence
hostile to me has been brought to bear. It must be that nurse. I will
quietly dismiss her to-morrow, paying her a week's wages, in lieu of
warning. She's evidently a meddler."



Chapter XXXVIII.
The Closing Scene.


The next day Tim Bolton, dressed in a jaunty style, walked up the
steps of the Linden mansion.

"Is Mr. Waring at home?" he asked.

"No, sir; he has gone downtown."

"I'll step in and wait for him. Please show me to the library."

Jane, who had been taken into confidence by the nurse, showed him at
once into the room mentioned.

Half an hour later Curtis entered.

"How long have you been here, Bolton?"

"But a short time. You sent for me?"

"I did."

"On business?"

"Well, yes."

"Is there anything new?"

"Yes, my uncle is failing fast."

"Is he likely to die soon?"

"I shouldn't be surprised if he died within a week."

"I suspect Curtis means to help him! Well, what has that to do with
me?" he asked. "You will step into the property, of course?"

"There is a little difficulty in the way which I can overcome with
your help."

"What is it?"

"I can't get him to give up the foolish notion that the boy he lost is
still alive."

"It happens to be true."

"Yes; but he must not know it. Before he dies I want him to make a new
will, revoking all others, leaving all the property to me."

"Will he do it?"

"I don't know. As long as he thinks the boy is living, I don't believe
he will. You see what a drawback that is."

"I see. What can I do to improve the situation?"

"I want you to sign a paper confessing that you abducted the boy----"

"At your instigation?"

"That must not be mentioned. You will go on to say that a year or two
later--the time is not material--he died of typhoid fever. You can say
that you did not dare to reveal this before, but do so now, impelled
by remorse."

"Have you got it written out? I can't remember all them words."

"Yes; here it is."

"All right," said Bolton, taking the paper and tucking it into an
inside pocket. "I'll copy it out in my own handwriting. How much are
you going to give me for doing this?"

"A thousand dollars."

"Cash?"

"I can't do that. I have met with losses at the gaming table, and I
don't dare ask money from my uncle at this time. He thinks I am
thoroughly steady."

"At how much do you value the estate?"

"At four hundred thousand dollars. I wormed it out of my uncle's
lawyer the other day."

"And you expect me to help you to that amount for only a thousand
dollars?"

"A thousand dollars is a good deal of money."

"And so is four hundred thousand. After all, your uncle may not die."

"He is sure to."

"You seem very confident."

"And with good reason. Leave that to me. I promise you, on my honor,
to pay you two thousand dollars when I get the estate."

"But what is going to happen to poor Dodger, the rightful heir?"

"Well, let it be three hundred dollars a year, then."

"Where is he now?"

"I don't mind telling you, as it can do no harm. He is in California."

"Whew! That was smart. How did you get him there?"

"I drugged him, and had him sent on board a ship bound for San
Francisco, around Cape Horn. The fact is, I was getting a little
suspicious of you, and I wanted to put you beyond the reach of
temptation."

"You are a clever rascal, Curtis. After all, suppose the prize should
slip through your fingers?"

"It won't. I have taken every precaution."

"When do you want this document?"

"Bring it back to me this afternoon, copied and signed. That is all
you have to do; I will attend to the rest."

While this conversation was going on there were unseen listeners.

Behind a portiere Mrs. Barnes, the nurse, and John Linden heard every
word that was said.

"And what do you think now, sir?" whispered Mrs. O'Keefe (to give her
real name).

"It is terrible. I would not have believed Curtis capable of such a
crime. But is it really true, Mrs. Barnes? Is my lost boy alive?"

"To be sure he is."

"Have you seen him?"

"I know him as well as I know you, sir, and better, too."

"Is he--tell me, is he a good boy? Curtis told me that he might be a
criminal."

"He might, but he isn't. He's as dacent and honest a boy as iver trod
shoe leather. You'll be proud of him, sir."

"But he's in California."

"He was; but he's got back. You shall see him to-day, and Florence,
too. Hark! I hear the door bell. They're here now. I think you had
better go in and confront Curtis."

"I feel weak, Mrs. Barnes. Let me lean on you."

"You can do that, and welcome, sir."

The nurse pushed aside the portiere, and the two entered the library--
Mrs. Barnes rotund and smiling, Mr. Linden gaunt and spectral looking,
like one risen from the grave.

Curtis eyed the pair with a startled look.

"Mrs. Barnes," he said, angrily, "what do you mean by taking my uncle
from his bed and bringing him down here? It is as much as his life is
worth. You seem unfit for your duties as nurse. You will leave the
house to-morrow, and I will engage a substitute."

"I shall lave whin I git ready, Mr. Curtis Waring," said the nurse,
her arms akimbo. "Maybe somebody else will lave the house. Me and Mr.
Linden have been behind the curtain for twenty minutes, and he has
heard every word you said."

Curtis turned livid, and his heart sank.

"It's true, Curtis," said John Linden's hollow voice. "I have heard
all. It was you who abducted my boy, and have made my life a lonely
one all these years. Oh, man! man! how could you have the heart to do
it?"

Curtis stared at him with parched lips, unable to speak.

"Not content with this, you drove from the house my dear niece,
Florence. You made me act cruelly toward her. I fear she will not
forgive me."

But just then the door opened, and Florence, rushing into the room,
sank at her uncle's feet.

"Oh, uncle," she said, "will you take me back?"

"Yes, Florence, never again to leave me. And who is this?" he asked,
fixing his eyes on Dodger, who stood shyly in the doorway.

"I'll tell you, sir," said Tim Bolton. "That is your own son, whom I
stole away from you when he was a kid, being hired to do it by Curtis
Waring."

"It's a lie," said Curtis, hoarsely.

"Come to me, my boy," said Mr. Linden, with a glad light in his eyes.

"At last Heaven has heard my prayers," he ejaculated. "We will never
be separated. I was ready to die, but now I hope to live for many
years. I feel that I have a new lease of life."

With a baffled growl Curtis Waring darted a furious look at the three.

"That boy is an impostor," he said. "They are deceiving you."

"He is my son. I see his mother's look in his face. As for you, Curtis
Waring, my eyes are open at last to your villainy. You deserve nothing
at my hands; but I will make some provision for you."

There was another surprise.

Curtis Waring's deserted wife, brought from California by Dodger,
entered the room, leading by the hand a young child.

"Oh, Curtis," she said, reproachfully. "How could you leave me? I have
come to you, my husband, with our little child."

"Begone! woman!" said Curtis, furiously. "I will never receive or
recognize you!"

"Oh, sir!" she said, turning to Mr. Linden, "what shall I do?"

"Curtis Waring," said Mr. Linden, sternly, "unless you receive this
woman and treat her properly, you shall receive nothing from me."

"And if I do?"

"You will receive an income of two thousand dollars a year, payable
quarterly. Mrs. Waring, you will remain here with your child till your
husband provides another home for you."

Curtis slunk out of the room, but he was too wise to refuse his
uncle's offer.

He and his wife are living in Chicago, and he treats her fairly well,
fearing that, otherwise, he will lose his income.

Mr. Linden looks ten years younger than he did at the opening of the
story.

Florence and Dodger--now known as Harvey Linden--live with him.

Dodger, under a competent private tutor, is making up the deficiencies
in his education.

It is early yet to speak of marriage, but it is possible that Florence
may marry a cousin, after all.

Tim Bolton has turned over a new leaf, given up his saloon, and is
carrying on a country hotel within fifty miles of New York.

He has five thousand dollars in the bank, presented by Dodger, with
his father's sanction, and is considered quite a reputable citizen.

As for Mrs. O'Keefe, she still keeps the apple-stand, being unwilling
to give it up; but she, too, has a handsome sum in the bank, and calls
often upon her two children, as she calls them.

In the midst of their prosperity Florence and Dodger will never forget
the time when they were adrift in New York.



The end.



*  *  *  *  *



A. L. Burt's Catalogue of Books for Young People by Popular Writers,
52-58 Duane Street, New York

BOOKS FOR BOYS.

Joe's Luck: A Boy's Adventures in California. By Horatio Alger, Jr.
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Tony the Hero: A Brave Boy's Adventure with a Tramp. By Horatio
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12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.

Tony, a sturdy bright-eyed boy of fourteen, is under the control of
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  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by
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  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *


BOOKS FOR BOYS.

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Tom Thatcher's Fortune. By Horatio Alger, Jr.
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  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by
the publisher, A. L. BURT, 52-58 Duane Street, New York.



  *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *



Transcriber's Notes

   Typographical errors have been left as found, including:

    "I do not love him," ending with a comma in chapter 4.
    "siezed" and "doubtfullly" in chapter 5.
    "soliloqized" in chapter 16.
    "Eactly" in chapter 18.
    "ascertainel" in chapter 22.
    "San Farncisco" in chapter 23.
    "Stauss" in chapter 29.
    "thas" in chapter 33.
    "utmust" in chapter 35.

   Dialect has been left as printed, even where inconsistent.

   Accented letters and ligatures have been removed in the plain
   text version.





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