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Title: Crowded Out o' Crofield - or, The Boy who made his Way
Author: Stoddard, William Osborn, 1835-1925
Language: English
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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 "Crowded Out o' Crofield - or, The Boy who made his Way" ***

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[Frontispiece: _The Sorrel Mare was tugging hard at the Rein_.]



CROWDED OUT O' CROFIELD

OR

THE BOY WHO MADE HIS WAY


BY

WILLIAM O. STODDARD



_SIXTH EDITION_



NEW YORK

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

1897



COPYRIGHT, 1890,

BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.



PREFACE.

Only a few of the kindly reviewers of the earlier editions of Crowded
Out o' Crofield have suggested that it has at all exaggerated the
possible career of its boy and girl actors.  If any others have
silently agreed with them, it may be worth while to say that the
pictures of places and the doings of older and younger people are
pretty accurately historical.  The story and the writing of it were
suggested in a conversation with an energetic American boy who was
crowded out of his own village into a career which led to something
much more surprising than a profitable junior partnership.

W. O. S.

NEW YORK, 1893.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER

     I.--THE BLACKSMITH'S BOY
    II.--THE FISH WERE THERE
   III.--I AM ONLY A GIRL
    IV.--CAPTAIN MARY
     V.--JACK OGDEN'S RIDE
    VI.--OUT INTO THE WORLD
   VII.--MARY AND THE _EAGLE_
  VIII.--CAUGHT FOR A BURGLAR
    IX.--NEARER THE CITY
     X.--THE STATE-HOUSE AND THE STEAMBOAT
    XI.--DOWN THE HUDSON
   XII.--IN A NEW WORLD
  XIII.--A WONDERFUL SUNDAY
   XIV.--FRIENDS AND ENEMIES
    XV.--NO BOY WANTED
   XVI.--JACK'S FAMINE
  XVII.--JACK-AT-ALL-TRADES
 XVIII.--THE DRUMMER BOY
   XIX.--COMPLETE SUCCESS



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


The Sorrel Mare was tugging hard at the Rein . . . _Frontispiece_

The Runaway

Along the Water's Edge

Fighting the Fire

"Run for Home"

He listened in silence

"There won't be any _Eagle_ this week"

Just out

"I'm the Editor, sir"

"There," said Mr. Murdoch, "jump right in"

"Your map's all wrong," said Jack

The hotel clerk looked at Jack

His traveler friend was sound asleep

On Broadway, at last!

"How would he get in?"

Coffee and clams

Jack is homesick

"I've lost my pocket-book"

"Ten cents left"

Jack dines with Mr. Keifelheimer

Buying a new hat

Jack speaks to the General

The return home



CROWDED OUT O' CROFIELD.


CHAPTER I.

THE BLACKSMITH'S BOY.

"I'm going to the city!"

He stood in the wide door of the blacksmith-shop, with his hands in his
pockets, looking down the street, toward the rickety old bridge over
the Cocahutchie.  He was a sandy-haired, freckled-faced boy, and if he
was really only about fifteen, he was tall for his age.  Across the top
of the door, over his head, stretched a cracked and faded sign, with a
horseshoe painted on one end and a hammer on the other, and the name
"John Ogden," almost faded out, between them.

The blacksmith-shop was a great, rusty, grimy clutter of work-benches,
vises, tools, iron in bars and rods, and all sorts of old iron scraps
and things that looked as if they needed making over.

The forge was in the middle, on one side, and near it was hitched a
horse, pawing the ground with a hoof that bore a new shoe.  On the
anvil was a brilliant, yellow-red loop of iron, that was not quite yet
a new shoe, and it was sending out bright sparks as a hammer fell upon
it--"thud, thud, thud," and a clatter.  Over the anvil leaned a tall,
muscular, dark-haired, grimy man.  His face wore a disturbed and
anxious look, and it was covered with charcoal dust.  There was
altogether too much charcoal along the high bridge of his Roman nose
and over his jutting eyebrows.

The boy in the door also had some charcoal on his cheeks and forehead,
but none upon his nose.  His nose was not precisely like the
blacksmith's.  It was high and Roman half-way down, but just there was
a little dent, and the rest of the nose was straight.  His complexion,
excepting the freckles and charcoal, was chiefly sunburn, down to the
neckband of his blue checked shirt.  He was a tough, wiry-looking boy,
and there was a kind of smiling, self-confident expression in his
blue-gray eyes and around his firm mouth.

"I'm going to the city!" he said, again, in a low but positive voice.
"I'll get there, somehow."

Just then a short, thick-set man came hurrying past him into the shop.
He was probably the whitest man going into that or any other shop, and
he spoke out at once, very fast, but with a voice that sounded as if it
came through a bag of meal.

"Ogden," said he, "got him shod?  If you have, I'll take him.  What do
you say about that trade?"

"I don't want any more room than there is here," said the blacksmith,
"and I don't care to move my shop."

"There's nigh onto two acres, mebbe more, all along the creek from
below the mill to Deacon Hawkins's line, below the bridge," wheezed the
mealy, floury, dusty man, rapidly.  "I'll get two hundred for it some
day, ground or no ground.  Best place for a shop."

"This lot suits me," said the smith, hammering away.  "'Twouldn't pay
me to move--not in these times."

The miller had more to say, while he unhitched his horse, but he led
him out without getting any more favorable reply about the trade.

"Come and blow, Jack," said the smith, and the boy in the door turned
promptly to take the handle of the bellows.

The little heap of charcoal and coke in the forge brightened and sent
up fiery tongues, as the great leathern lungs wheezed and sighed, and
Jack himself began to puff.

"I've got to have a bigger man than you are, for a blower and striker,"
said the smith.  "He's coming Monday morning.  It's time you were doing
something, Jack."

"Why, father," said Jack, as he ceased pulling on the bellows, and the
shoe came out of the fire, "I've been doing something ever since I was
twelve.  Been working here since May, and lots o' times before that.
Learned the trade, too."

"You can make a nail, but you can't make a shoe," said his father, as
he sizzed the bit of bent iron in the water-tub and then threw it on
the ground.  "Seven.  That's all the shoes I'll make this morning, and
there are seven of you at home.  Your mother can't spare Molly, but
you'll have to do something.  It is Saturday, and you can go fishing,
after dinner, if you'd like to.  There's nothin' to ketch 'round here,
either.  Worst times there ever were in Crofield."

There was gloom as well as charcoal on the face of the blacksmith, but
Jack's expression was only respectfully serious as he walked away,
without speaking, and again stood in the door for a moment.

"I could catch something in the city.  I know I could," he said, to
himself.  "How on earth shall I get there?"

The bridge, at the lower end of the sloping side-street on which the
shop stood, was long and high.  It was made to fit the road and was a
number of sizes too large for the stream of water rippling under it.
The side-street climbed about twenty rods the other way into what was
evidently the Main Street of Crofield.  There was a tavern on one
corner, and across the street from that there was a drug store and in
it was the post-office.  On the two opposite corners were shops, and
all along Main Street were all sorts of business establishments,
sandwiched in among the dwellings.

It was not yet noon, but Crofield had a sleepy look, as if all its work
for the whole week were done.  Even the horses of the farmers' teams,
hitched in front of the stores, looked sleepy.  Jack Ogden took his
longest look, this time, at a neat, white-painted frame-house across
the way.

"Seems to me there isn't nearly so much room in it as there used to
be," he said to himself.  "It's just packed and crowded.  I'm going!"

He turned and walked on up toward Main Street, as if that were the best
thing he could do till dinner time.  Not many minutes later, a girl
plainly but neatly dressed came slowly along in front of the village
green, away up Main Street.  She was tall and slender, and her hair and
eyes were as dark as those of John Ogden, the blacksmith.  Her nose was
like his, too, except that it was finer and not so high, and she wore
very much the same anxious, discontented look upon her face.  She was
walking slowly, because she saw, coming toward her, a portly lady, with
hair so flaxy that no gray would show in it.  She was elegantly
dressed.  She stopped and smiled and looked very condescending.

"Good-morning, Mary Ogden," she said.

"Good-morning, Miss Glidden," said Mary, the anxious look in her eyes
changing to a gleam that made them seem very wide awake.

"It's a fine morning, Mary Ogden, but so very warm.  Is your mother
well?"

"Very well, thank you," said Mary.

"And is your aunt well--and your father, and all the children?  I'm so
glad they are well.  Elder Holloway's to be here to-morrow.  Hope
you'll all come.  I shall be there myself.  You've had my class a
number of times.  Much obliged to you.  I'll be there to-morrow.  You
must hear the Elder.  He's to inspect the Sunday-school."

"Your class, Miss Glidden?" began Mary; and her face suggested that
somebody was blowing upon a kind of fire inside her cheeks, and that
they would be very red in a minute.

"Yes; don't fail to be there to-morrow, Mary.  The choir'll be full, of
course.  I shall be there myself."

"I hope you will, Miss Glidden--"

The portly lady saw something up the street at that moment.

"Oh my!  What is it?  Dear me!  It's coming!  Run!  We'll all be
killed!  Oh my!"

She had turned quite around, while she was speaking, and was once more
looking up the street; but the dark-haired girl had neither flinched
nor wavered.  She had only sent a curious, inquiring glance in the
direction of the shouts and the rattle and the cloud of dust that were
coming swiftly toward them.

"A runaway team," she said, quietly.  "Nobody's in the wagon."

"Dear me!" exclaimed Miss Glidden; but Mary began to move away, looking
not at her but at the runaway, and she did not hear the rest.  "Mary
Ogden's too uppish.--Somebody'll be killed, I know they will!--She's
got to be taken down.--There they come!--Dressed too well for a
blacksmith's daughter.  Doesn't know her place.--Oh dear!  I'm so
frightened!"

Perhaps she had been wise in getting behind the nearest tree.  It was a
young maple, two inches through, lately set out, but it might have
stopped a pair of very small horses.  Those in the road were
large--almost too large to run well.  They were well-matched grays, and
they came thundering along in a way that was really fine to behold;
heads down, necks arched, nostrils wide, reins flying, the wagon behind
them banging and swerving--no wonder everybody stood still and, except
Mary Ogden, shouted, "Stop 'em!"  One young fellow, across the street,
stood still only until the runaways were all but close by him.  Then he
darted out into the street, not ahead of them but behind them.  No man
on earth could have stopped those horses by standing in front of them.
They could have charged through a regiment.  Their heavy, furious
gallop was fast, too, and the boy who was now following them, must have
been as light of foot as a young deer.

"Hurrah!  Hurrah!  Go it, Jack!  Catch 'em!  Bully for you!" arose from
a score of people along the sidewalk, as he bounded forward.

"It's Jack!  Oh dear me!  But it's just like him!  There!  He's in!"
exclaimed Mary Ogden, her dark eyes dancing proudly.

"Why, it's that good-for-nothing brother of Mary Ogden.  He's the
blacksmith's boy.  I'm afraid he will be hurt," remarked Miss Glidden,
kindly and benevolently; but all the rest shouted "Hurrah!" again.

Fierce was the strain upon the young runner, for a moment, and then his
hands were on the back-board of the bouncing wagon.  A tug, a spring, a
swerve of the wagon, and Jack Ogden was in it, and in a second more the
loosely flying reins were in his hands.

The strong arms of his father, were they twice as strong, could not at
once have pulled in those horses, and one man on the sidewalk seemed to
be entirely correct when he said, "He's a plucky little fellow, but he
can't do a thing, now he's there."

[Illustration: _The Runaway_.]

His sister was trembling all over, but she was repeating: "He did it
splendidly!  He can do anything!"

Jack, in the wagon, was thinking only: "I know 'em.  They're old
Hammond's team.  They'll try to go home to the mill.  They'll smash
everything, if I don't look out!"

It is something, even to a greatly frightened horse, to feel a hand on
the rein.  The team intended to turn out of Main Street, at the corner,
and they made the turn, but they did not crash the wagon to pieces
against the corner post, because of the desperate guiding that was done
by Jack.  The wagon swung around without upsetting.  It tilted
fearfully, and the nigh wheel was in the air for a moment, until Jack's
weight helped bring it down again.  There was a short, sharp scream
across the street, when the wagon swung and the wheel went up.

Down the slope toward the bridge thundered the galloping team, and the
blacksmith ran out of his shop to see it pass.

"Turn them into the creek, Jack!" he shouted, but there was no time for
any answer.

"They'd smash through the bridge," thought Jack.  "I know what I'm
about."

There were wheel-marks down from the street, at the left of the bridge,
where many a team had descended to drink the water of the Cocahutchie,
but it required all Jack's strength on one rein to make his runaways
take that direction.  They had thought of going toward the mill, but
they knew the watering-place.

Not many rods below the bridge stood a clump of half a dozen gigantic
trees, remnants of the old forest which had been replaced by the
streets of Crofield and the farms around it.  Jack's pull on the left
rein was obeyed only too well, and it looked, for some seconds, as if
the plunging beasts were about to wind up their maddened dash by a
wreck among those gnarled trunks and projecting roots.  Jack drew his
breath hard, and there was almost a chill at his young heart, but he
held hard and said nothing.

Forward--one plunge more--hard on the right rein--

"That was close!" he said.  "If we didn't go right between the big
maple and the cherry!  Now I've got 'em!"

Splash, crash, rattle!  Spattering and plunging, but cooling fast, the
gray team galloped along the shallow bed of the Cocahutchie.

"I wish the old swimming-hole was deeper," said Jack, "but the water's
very low.  Whoa, boys!  Whoa, there!  Almost up to the hub--over the
hub!  Whoa, now!"

And the gray team ceased its plunging and stood still in water three
feet deep.

"I mustn't let 'em drink too much," said Jack; "but a little won't hurt
'em."

The horses were trembling all over, but one after the other they put
their noses into the water, and then raised their heads to prick their
ears back and forth and look round.

"Don't bring 'em ashore till they're quiet, Jack," called out the deep,
ringing voice of his father from the bank.

There he stood, and other men were coming on the run.  The tall
blacksmith's black eyes were flashing with pride over the daring feat
his son had performed.

"I daren't tell him, though," he said to himself.  "He's set up enough
a'ready.  He thinks he can do 'most anything."

"Jack," wheezed a mealy voice at his side, "that's my team--"

"I know it," said Jack.  "They 're all right now.  Pretty close shave
through the trees, that was!"

"I owe ye fifty dollars for a-savin' them and the wagin," said the
miller.  "It's wuth it, and I'll pay it; but I've got to owe it to ye,
jest now.  Times are awful hard in Crofield.  If I'd ha' lost them
hosses and that wagin--"

He stopped short, as if he could not exactly say how disastrous it
would have been for him.

There was a running fire of praise and of questions poured at Jack, by
the gathering knot of people on the shore, and it was several minutes
before his father spoke again.

"They're cool now," he said.  "Turn 'em, Jack, and walk 'em out by the
bridge, and up to the mill.  Then come home to dinner."

Jack pretended not to see quite a different kind of group gathered
under the clump of tall trees.  Not a voice had come to him from that
group of lookers-on, and yet the fact that they were there made him
tingle all over.

Two large, freckle-faced, sandy-haired women were hugging each other,
and wiping their eyes; and a very small girl was tugging at their
dresses and crying, while a pair of girls of from twelve to fourteen,
close by them, seemed very much inclined to dance.  Two small boys, who
at first belonged to the party, had quickly rolled up their trousers
and waded out as far as they could into the Cocahutchie.  Just in front
of the group, under the trees, stood Mary Ogden, straight as an arrow,
her dark eyes flashing and her cheeks glowing while she looked silently
at the boy on the wagon in the stream, until she saw him wheel the
grays.  Even then she did not say anything, but turned and walked away.
It was as if she had so much to say that she felt she could not say it.

"Aunt Melinda!  Mother!" said one of the girls, "Jack isn't hurt a
mite.  They'd all ha' been drowned, though, if there was water enough."

"Hush, Bessie," said one of the large women, and the other at once
echoed, "Hush, Bessie."

They were very nearly alike, these women, and they both had long
straight noses, such as Jack's would have been, if half-way down it had
not been Roman, like his father's.

"Mary Ann," said the first woman, "we mustn't say too much to him about
it.  He can only just be held in, now."

"Hush, Melinda," said Jack's mother.  "I thought I'd seen the last of
him when the gray critters came a-powderin' down the road past the
house"--and then she wiped her eyes again, and so did Aunt Melinda, and
they both stooped down at the same moment, saying, "Jack's safe,
Sally," and picked up the small girl, who was crying, and kissed her.

The gray team was surrendered to its owner as soon as it reached the
road at the foot of the bridge, and again Jack was loudly praised by
the miller.  The rest of the Ogden family seemed to be disposed to keep
away, but the tall blacksmith himself was there.

"Jack," said he, as they turned away homeward, "you can go fishing this
afternoon, just as I said.  I was thinking of your doing something else
afterward, but you've done about enough for one day."

He had more to say, concerning what would have happened to the miller's
horses, and the number of pieces the wagon would have been knocked
into, but for the manner in which the whole team had been saved.

When they reached the house the front door was open, but nobody was to
be seen.  Bob and Jim, the two small boys, had not yet returned from
seeing the gray span taken to the mill, and the women and girls had
gone through to the kitchen.

"Jack," said his father, as they went in, "old Hammond'll owe you that
fifty dollars long enough.  He never really pays anything."

"Course he doesn't--not if he can help it," said Jack.  "I worked for
him three months, and you know we had to take it out in feed.  I
learned the mill trade, though, and that was something."

Just then he was suddenly embarrassed.  Mrs. Ogden had gone through the
house and out at the back door, and Aunt Melinda had followed her, and
so had the girls.  Molly had suddenly gone up-stairs to her own room.
Aunt Melinda had taken everything off the kitchen stove and put
everything back again, and here now was Mrs. Ogden back again, hugging
her son.

"Jack," she said, "don't you ever, ever, do such a thing again.  You
might ha' been knocked into slivers!"

Molly had gone up the back stairs only to come down the front way, and
she was now a little behind them.

"Mother!" she exclaimed, as if her pent-up admiration for her brother
was exploding, "you ought to have seen him jump in, and you ought to
have seen that wagon go around the corner!"

"Jack," broke in the half-choked voice of Aunt Melinda from the kitchen
doorway, "come and eat something.  I felt as if I knew you were killed,
sure.  If you haven't earned your dinner, nobody has."

"Why, I know how to drive," said Jack.  "I wasn't afraid of 'em after I
got hold of the reins."

He seemed even in a hurry to get through his dinner, and some minutes
later he was out in the garden, digging for bait.  The rest of the
family remained at the table longer than usual, especially Bob and Jim;
but, for some reason known to herself, Mary did not say a word about
her meeting with Miss Glidden.  Perhaps the miller's gray team had run
away with all her interest in that, but she did not even tell how
carefully Miss Glidden had inquired after the family.

"There goes Jack," she said at last, and they all turned to look.

He did not say anything as he passed the kitchen door, but he had his
long cane fishing-pole over his shoulder.  It had a line wound around
it, ready for use.  He went out of the gate and down the road toward
the bridge, and gave only a glance across at the shop.

"I didn't get many worms," he said to himself, at the bridge, "but I
can dig some more if the fish bite.  Sometimes they do, and sometimes
they don't."

Over the bridge he went, and up a wagon track on the opposite bank, but
he paused for one moment, in the very middle of the bridge, to look up
stream.

"There's just enough water to run the mill," he said.  "There isn't any
coming over the dam.  The pond's even full, though, and it may be a
good day for fish.  I wish I was in the city!"



CHAPTER II.

THE FISH WERE THERE.

Saturday afternoon was before Jack Ogden, when he came out at the
water's edge, near the dam, across from the mill.  That was there, big
and red and rusty-looking; and the dam was there; and above them was
the mill-pond, spreading out over a number of acres, and ornamented
with stumps, old logs, pond-lilies, and weeds.  It was a fairly good
pond, the best that Cocahutchie Creek could do for Crofield, but Jack's
face fell a little as he looked at it.

"There are more fellows than fish here," he said to himself, with an
air of disgust.

There was a boy at the end of the dam near him, and a boy in the middle
of it, and two boys at the flume, near the mill.  There were three
punts out on the water, and one of them had in it a man and two boys,
while the second boat held but one man, and the third contained four.
A big stump near the north shore supported a boy, and the old snag
jutting out from the south shore held a boy and a man.

There they all were, sitting perfectly still, until, one after another,
each rod and line came up to have its hook and bait examined, to see
whether or not there had really been a bite.

"I'm fairly crowded out," remarked Jack.  "Those fellows have all the
good places.  I'll have to go somewhere else; where'll I go?"

He studied that problem for a full minute, while every fisherman there
turned to look at him, and then turned back to watch his line.

"I guess I'll try down stream," said Jack.  "Nobody ever caught
anything down there, and nobody ever goes there, but I s'pose I might
as well try it, just for once."

He turned away along the track over which he had come.  He did not
pause at the road and bridge, but went on down the further bank of the
Cocahutchie.  It was a pretty stream of water, and it spread out wide
and shallow, and rippled merrily among stones and bowlders and clumps
of willow and alder for nearly half a mile.  Gradually, then, it grew
narrower, quieter, deeper, and wore a sleepy look which made it seem
more in keeping with quiet old Crofield.

"The hay's about ready to cut," said Jack, as he plodded along the
path, near the water's edge, through a thriving meadow of clover and
timothy.  "There's always plenty of work in haying time.  Hullo!  What
grasshoppers!  Jingo!"

As he made the last exclamation, he clapped his hand upon his trousers
pocket.

"If I didn't forget to go in and get my sinker!  Never did such a thing
before in all my life.  What's the use of trying to fish without a
sinker?"

The luck seemed to be going directly against him.  Even the
Cocahutchie, at his left, had dwindled to a mere crack between bushes
and high grass, as if to show that it had no room to let for fish to
live in--that is, for fish accustomed to having plenty of room, such as
they could find when living in a mill-pond, lined around the edges with
boys and fish-poles.

"That's a whopper!" suddenly exclaimed Jack, with a quick snatch at
something that alighted upon his left arm.  "I've caught him!
Grasshoppers are the best kind of bait, too.  I'll try him on, sinker
or no sinker.  Hope there are some fish, down here."

The line he unwound from his rod was somewhat coarse, but it was
strong, and so was his hook, as if the fishing around Crofield called
for stout tackle as well as for a large number of sportsmen.  The big,
long-limbed, green-coated jumper was placed in position on the hook,
and then, with several more grumbling regrets over the absence of any
sinker, Jack searched along the bank for a place whence he could throw
his bait into the water.

"This'll do," he said, at last, and the breeze helped him to swing out
his line until the grasshopper at the end of it dropped lightly and
naturally into a dark little eddy, almost across that narrow ribbon of
the Cocahutchie.

Splash--tug--splash again--

"Jingo!  What's that?  I declare--if he isn't pulling!  He'll break the
line--no, he won't.  See that pole bend!  Steady--here he comes.
Hurrah!"

Out he came, indeed, for the rude, strong tackle held, even against the
game struggling of that vigorous trout.  There he lay now, on the
grass, with Jack Ogden bending over him in a fever of exultation and
amazement.

"I never could have caught him with a worm and a sinker," he said,
aloud.  "This is the way to catch 'em.  Isn't he a big fellow!  I'll
try some more grasshoppers."

There was not likely to be another two-pound brook-trout very near the
hole out of which that one had been pulled.  There would not have been
any at all, perhaps, but for the prevailing superstition that there
were no fish there.  Everybody knew that there were bullheads, suckers,
perch, and "pumpkin-seeds" in the mill-pond, and eels, with now and
then a pickerel, but the trout were a profound secret.  It was easy to
catch another big grasshopper, but the young sportsman knew very well
that he knew nothing at all of that kind of fishing.  He had made his
first cast perfectly, because it was about the only way in which it
could have been made, and now he was so very nervous and excited and
cautious that he did very well again, aided as before by the breeze.
Not in the same place, but at a little distance down, and close to
where Jack captured his second bait, there was a crook in the
Cocahutchie, with a steep, overhanging, bushy bank.  Into the glassy
shadow under that bank the sinkerless line carried and dropped its
little green prisoner, and there was a hungry fellow in there, waiting
for foolish grasshoppers in the meadow to spring too far and come down
upon the water instead of upon the grass.  As the grasshopper alighted
on the water, there was a rush, a plunge, a strong hard pull, and then
Jack Ogden said to himself:

"I've heard how they do it.  They wait and tire 'em out.  I won't be in
too much of a hurry.  He'll get away if I am."

That is probably what the fish would have done, for he was a fish with
what army men call "tactics."  He was able to pull very hard, and he
was also wise enough to rush in under the bank and to sulkily stay
there.

"Feels as if I'd hooked a snag," said Jack.  "May be I've lost the fish
and he's hitched me into a 'cod-lamper' eel of some kind.  Steady--no,
I mustn't pull harder than the fish."

He was breathless, but not with any exertion that he was making.  His
hat fell off upon the grass, as he leaned forward through the alder
bushes, and his sandy hair was tangled for a moment in some stubby
twigs.  He loosened his head, still holding firmly his bent and
straining rod.  One step farther, a slip of his left foot, an
unsuccessful grasp at a bush, and then Jack went over and down into a
pool deeper than he had thought the Cocahutchie afforded so near
Crofield.

There was a very fine splash, as the grasshopper fly-fisherman went
under, and there was a coughing and spluttering a moment afterward,
when his eager, excited, anxious face came up again.  He could swim
extremely well, and he was not thinking of his ducking--only of his
game.

"I hope I haven't lost him!" he exclaimed, as he tried to pull upon the
line.

It did not tug at all, just then, for the fish on the hook had been
rudely startled out from under the bank and was on his way up the
Cocahutchie, with the hook in his mouth.

"There' he is!  I've got him yet!  Glad I can swim--" cried Jack; and
it did seem as if he and this fish were very well matched, except that
Jack had to give one of his hands to the rod while his captive could
use every fin.

Down stream floated Jack, passing the rod back through his hands until
he could grasp the line, and all the while the fish was darting madly
about to get away.

"There, I've touched bottom.  Now for him!  Here he comes.  I'll draw
him ashore easy--that's it!  Hurrah! biggest fish ever was caught in
the Cocahutchie!"

That might or might not be so, but Jack Ogden had a three-pound trout,
flopping angrily upon the grass at his feet.

"I know how to do it now," he almost shouted.  "I can catch 'em!  I
won't let anybody else know how it's done, either."

He had learned something, no doubt, but he had not learned how to make
a large fish out of a small one.  All the rest of that afternoon he
caught grasshoppers and cast them daintily into what seemed to be good
places, but he did not have another occasion to tumble in.  When at
last he was tired out and decided to go home, he had a dozen more of
trout, not one of them weighing over six ounces, with a pair of very
good yellow perch, one very large perch, a sucker, and three bullheads,
that bit when his bait happened to sink to the bottom without any lead
to help it.  Take it all in all, it was a great string of fish to be
caught on a Saturday afternoon, when all that the Crofield sportsmen
around the mill-pond could show was six bullheads, a dozen small perch,
a lot of "pumpkin-seeds" not much larger than dollars, five small eels,
and a very vicious snapping-turtle.

Jack stood for a moment looking down at the results of his experiment
in fly-fishing.  He felt, really, as if he could not more than half
believe it.

"Fishing doesn't pay," he said.  "It doesn't pay cash, any way.  There
isn't anything around Crofield that does pay.  Well, it must be time
for me to go home."



CHAPTER III.

I AM ONLY A GIRL.

Jack was dry enough, but anybody could see that he had had a ducking,
when he marched down the main street.  He was carrying his prizes in
two strings, one in each hand, and he was looking and feeling taller
than he ever felt before.  It was just the right hour to meet people,
and he had to answer curious questions from some women, and from twice
as many men, and from three times as many boys, all the way from above
the green, where he came out into the street, down to the front of the
Washington Hotel.

"Yes; I caught 'em all in the Cocahutchie."

He had had to say that any number of times, and he had also explained,
apparently without trying to conceal anything:

"I had to swim for 'em.  Caught 'em all under water.  Those big
speckled fellows are trout.  They pulled me clean under.  All that kind
of fish live under water."  And he told half a dozen inquiring boys:
"I've found the best fish-hole you ever saw.  Deep water all 'round it.
I'm going there again."  And then every one asked: "Take me with you,
Jack?"

He had to come to a halt at the tavern, for every man in the arm-chairs
on the piazza brought his feet down from the railing.

"Hold on!  I want to look at those fish!" shouted old Livermore, the
landlord.  "Where'd you catch 'em?"

"Down the Cocahutchie," said Jack once more.  "I caught 'em under
water."

"Those are just what I'm looking for," replied Livermore, rubbing his
sides, while nearly a dozen men crowded around to admire, and to guess
at the weights.

"Traout's a-sellin' at a dollar a paound, over to Mertonville,"
squealed old Deacon Hawkins; "and traout o' that size is wuth more'n
small traout.  Don't ye let old Livermore cheat ye, Jack."

"I won't cheat him, Deacon," said the big landlord.  "I don't want any
thing but the trout.  There's a Sunday crowd coming over from
Mertonville, to-morrer, to hear Elder Holloway.  I'll give ye two
dollars, Jack."

"That's enough for one fish," said Jack.  "Don't you want the big one?
I had to dive for him.  He'll weigh more'n three pounds."

"No, he won't!" said the landlord, becoming more and more eager.  "Say
three dollars for the lot."

"I daon't know but what I want some o' them traout myself," began
Deacon Hawkins, peering more closely at the largest prize.  "It's hard
times,--and a dollar a paound.  I've got some folks comin' and Elder
Holloway's to be at my haouse.  I don't know but I oughter--"

"I'll take 'em, Jack," interrupted the landlord, testily.  "I spoke
first.  Three pounds, and two is five pounds, and--"

"I'll give another dollar for the small traout," exclaimed Deacon
Hawkins.  "He can't have 'em all."

The landlord might have hesitated even then, but the excitement was
catching, and Squire Jones was actually, but slowly, taking out his
pocket-book.

"Five!  There's your five, Jack.  The big fish are mine.  Take your
money.  Fetch 'em in," broke out old Livermore.

"There's my dollar,--and there's my traout,--" squealed the deacon.

"I was just a-goin' to saay--" at that moment growled the deep, heavy
bass voice of Squire Jones.

"Too late," said the landlord.  "He's taken my money.  Come in, Jack.
Come in and get yours, Deacon," and Jack walked on into the Washington
House with six dollars in his hand, just as a boy he knew stuck his
head under Squire Jones's arm and shouted:

"Jack!--Jack!  Why didn't yer put 'em up at auction?"

It took but a minute to get rid of the very fine fish he had sold, and
then the uncommonly successful angler made his way out of the
Washington Hotel through the side door.

"I don't intend to answer any more questions," he said to himself; "and
all that crowd is out there yet."

There was another reason that he did not give, for his perch, good as
they were, and the wide-mouthed sucker, and the great, clumsy
bullheads, looked mean and common, now that their elegant companions
were gone.  He felt almost ashamed of them until just as he reached the
back yard of his own home.

A tall, grimy man, with his head under the pump, was vigorously
scrubbing charcoal and iron dust from his face and hands and hair.
"Jack," he shouted, "where'd you get that string o' fish?  Best I've
seen round here for ever so long."

Another voice came from the kitchen door, and in half a second it
seemed to belong to a chorus of voices.

"Why, Jack Ogden!  What a string of fish!"

"I caught 'em 'way down the Cocahutchie, Mother," said Jack.  "I caught
'em all under water.  Had to go right in after some of 'em."

"I should say you did," growled his father, almost jocosely, and then
he and Mrs. Ogden and Aunt Melinda and the children crowded around to
examine the fish, on the pump platform.

"Jack must do something better'n that," said his father, rubbing his
face hard with the kitchen towel; "but he's had the best kind o' luck
this time."

"He caught a team of runaway horses this morning, too," said Mary,
looking proudly at the fish.  "I wish I could do something worth
talking about, but I'm only a girl."

Jack's clothes had not suffered much from their ducking, mainly because
the checked shirt and linen trousers, of which his suit consisted, had
been frequently soaked before.  His straw hat was dry, for it had been
lying on the grass when he went into the water, and so were his shoes
and stockings, which had been under the bed in his bedroom, waiting for
Sunday.

It was not until the family was gathered at the table that Jack came
out with the whole tremendous story of his afternoon's sport, and of
its cash results.

"Now I've learned all about fly-fishing," he said, with confidence, "I
can catch fish anywhere.  I sha'n't have to go to fish out of that old
mill-pond again."

"Six dollars!" exclaimed his mother, from behind the tea-pot.  "What
awful extravagance there is in this wicked world!  But what'll you do
with six dollars?"

"It's high time he began to earn something," said the tall blacksmith,
gloomily.  "It's hard times in Crofield.  There's almost nothing for
him to do here."

"That's why I'm going somewhere else," said Jack, with a sudden burst
of energy, and showing a very red face.  "Now I've got some money to
pay my way, I'm going to New York."

"No, you're not," said his father, and then there was a silence for a
moment.

"What on earth could you do in New York?" said his mother, staring at
him as if he had said something dreadful.  She was not a small woman,
but she had an air of trying to be larger, and her face quickly began
to recover its ordinary smile of self-confident hope, so much like that
of Jack.  She added, before anybody else could speak: "There are
thousands and thousands of folks there already.  Well--I suppose you
could get along there, if they can."

"It's too full," said her husband.  "It's fuller'n Crofield.  He
couldn't do anything in a city.  Besides, it isn't any use; he couldn't
get there, or anywhere near there, on six dollars."

"If he only could go somewhere, and do something, and be somebody,"
said Mary, staring hard at her plate.

She had echoed Jack's thought, perfectly.  "That's you, Molly," he
said, "and I'm going to do it, too."

"You're going to work a-haying, all next week, I guess," said his
father, "if there's anybody wants ye.  All the money you earn you can
give to your mother.  You ain't going a-fishing again, right away.
Nobody ever caught the same fish twice."

Slowly, glumly, but promptly, Jack handed over his two greenbacks to
his mother, but he only remarked:

"If I work for anybody 'round here, they'll want me to take my pay in
hay.  They won't pay cash."

"Hay's just as good," said his father; and then he changed the subject
and told his wife how the miller had again urged him to trade for the
strip of land along the creek, above and below the bridge.  "It comes
right up to the line of my lot," he said, "and to Hawkins's fence.  The
whole of it isn't worth as much as mine is, but I don't see what he
wants to trade for."

She agreed with him, and so did Aunt Melinda; but Jack and Mary
finished their suppers and went out to the front door.  She stood still
for a moment, with her hands clasped behind her, looking across the
street, as if she were reading the sign on the shop.  The discontented,
despondent expression on her face made her more and more like a very
young and pretty copy of her father.

"I don't care, Molly," said Jack.  "If they take away every cent I get,
I'm going to the city, some time."

"I'd go, too, if I were a boy," she said.  "I've got to stay at home
and wash dishes and sweep.  You can go right out and make your fortune.
I've read of lots of boys that went away from home and worked their way
up.  Some of 'em got to be Presidents."

"Some girls amount to something, too," said Jack.  "You've been through
the Academy.  I had to stop, when I was twelve, and go to work in a
store.  Been in every store in Crofield.  They didn't pay me a cent in
cash, but I learned the grocery business, and the dry-goods business,
and all about crockery.  That was something.  I could keep a store.
Some of the stores in New York 'd hold all the stores in Crofield."

"Some of 'em are owned and run by women, too," said Mary; "but there's
no use of my thinking of any such thing."

Before he could tell her what he thought about it, her mother called
her in, and then he, too, stood still and seemed to study the sign over
the door of the blacksmith-shop.

"I'll do it!" he exclaimed at last, shaking his fist at the sign.  "It
isn't the end of July yet, and I'm going to get to the city before
Christmas; you see 'f I don't."

After Mary Ogden left him and went in, Jack walked down to the bridge.
It seemed as if the Cocahutchie had a special attraction for him, now
that he knew what might be in it.

There were three boys leaning over the rail on the lower side of the
bridge, and four on the upper side, and all were fishing.  Jack did not
know, and they did not tell him, that all their hooks were baited with
"flies" of one kind or another instead of worms.  Two had grasshoppers,
and one had a big bumblebee, and they were after such trout as Jack
Ogden had caught and been paid so much money for.  One told another
that Jack had five dollars apiece for those fish, and that even the
bullheads were so heavy it tired him to carry them home.

Jack did not go upon the bridge.  He strolled down along the water's
edge.

[Illustration: _Along the Water's Edge_.]

"It's all sand and gravel," he said; "but I'd hate to leave it."

It was curious, but not until that very moment had he been at all aware
of any real affection for Crofield.  He was only dimly aware of it
then, and he forgot it all to answer a hail from two men under the
clump of giant trees which had so nearly wrecked the miller's wagon.

The men had been looking up at the trees, and Jack heard part of what
they said about them, as he came near.  They had called him to talk
about his trout-fishing, but they had aroused his curiosity upon
another subject.

"Mr. Bannerman," he said, as soon as he had an opportunity between
"fish" questions, "did you say you'd give a hundred dollars for those
trees, just as they stand?  What are they good for?"

"Jack," exclaimed the sharp-looking man he spoke to, "don't you tell
anybody I said that.  You won't, will you?  Come, now, didn't I treat
you well while you were in my shop?"

"Yes, you did," said Jack, "but you kept me there only four months.
What are those trees good for?  You don't use anything but pine."

"Why, Jack," said Bannerman, "it isn't for carpenter work.  Three of
'em are curly maples, and that one there's the straightest-grained,
biggest, cleanest old cherry!  They're for j'iner-work, Jack.  But you
said you wouldn't tell?"

"I won't tell," said Jack.  "Old Hammond owns 'em.  I stayed in your
shop just long enough to learn the carpenter's trade.  I didn't learn
j'iner-work.  Don't you want me again?"

"Not just now, Jack; but Sam and I've got a bargain coming with
Hammond, and he owes us some, now, and you mustn't put in and spile the
trade for us.  I'll do ye a good turn, some day.  Don't you tell."

Jack promised again and the carpenters walked away, leaving him looking
up at the trees and thinking how it would seem to see them topple over
and come crashing down into the Cocahutchie, to be made up into chairs
and tables.  Just as long as he could remember anything he had seen the
old trees standing guard there, summer and winter, leafy or bare, and
they were like old friends to him.

"I'll go home," he said, at last.  "There hasn't been a house built in
Crofield for years and years.  It isn't any kind of place for
carpentering, or for anything else that I know how to do."

Then he took a long, silent, thoughtful look up stream, and another
down stream, and instead of the gravel and bushes and grass, in one
direction, and the rickety bridge and the slippery dam and the dingy
old red mill, in the other direction, he seemed to see a vision of
great buildings and streets and crowds of busy men, while the swishing
ripple of the Cocahutchie changed into the rush and roar of the great
city he was setting his heart upon.  He gave it up for that evening,
and went home and went to bed, but even then it seemed to him as if he
were about to let go of something and take hold of something else.

"I've done that often enough," he said to himself.  "I'll have to leave
the blacksmith's trade now, but I'm kind o' glad I learned it.  I'm
glad I didn't have my shoes on when I went into the water, though.
Soaking isn't good for that kind of shoes.  Don't I know?  I've worked
in every shoe-shop in Crofield, some.  Didn't get any pay, except in
shoes; but then I learned the trade, and that's something.  I never had
an opportunity to stay long in any one place, but I could stay in the
city."

Then another kind of dreaming set in, and the next thing he knew it was
Sunday morning, with a promise of a sunny, sultry, sleepy kind of day.

It was not easy for the Ogden family to shut out all talk about
fishing, while they were eating Jack's fish for breakfast, but they
avoided the subject until Jack went to dress.  Jack was quite another
boy by the time he was ready for church.  He was skillful with the
shoe-brush, and from his shoes upward he was a surprise.

"You do look well," said Mary, as he and she were on their way to
church.  "But how you did look when you came home last night!"

There was little opportunity for conversation, for the walk before the
Ogden family from their gate to the church-door was not long.

The little processions toward the village green did not divide fairly
after reaching there that morning.  The larger part of each aimed
itself at the middle of the green, although the building there was no
larger than either of the two that stood at its right and left.

"Everybody's coming to hear Elder Holloway," said Jack.  "They say it
takes a fellow a good while to learn how to preach."

Mrs. Ogden and Aunt Melinda led their part of the procession, and Jack
and his father followed them in.  There were ten Ogdens, and the family
pew held six.  Just as they were going in, some one asked Mary to go
into the choir.  Little Sally nestled in her mother's lap; Bob and Jim
were small and thin and only counted for one; Bessie and Sue went in,
and so did their father, and then Jack remarked:

"I'm crowded out, father.  I'll find a place, somewhere."

"There isn't any," said the blacksmith.  "Every place is full."

He shook his head until the points of his Sunday collar scratched him,
but off went Jack, and that was the last that was seen of him until
they were all at home again.

Mary Ogden had her reasons for not expecting to sing in the choir that
day, but she went when sent for.  The gallery was what Jack called a
"coop," and would hold just eighteen persons, squeezed in.  Usually it
was only half full, but on a great day, what was called the "old choir"
was sure to turn out.  There were no girls nor boys in the "old choir."
There had been three seats yet to fill when Mary was sent for, but Miss
Glidden and Miss Roberts and her elder sister from Mertonville came in
just then.  So, when Mary reached the gallery, Miss Glidden leaned
over, smiled, and said very benevolently:

"You will not be needed to-day, Mary Ogden.  The choir is filled."

The organ began to play at that moment, somewhat as if it had lost its
temper.  Mr. Simmons, the choir-leader (whenever he could get there),
flushed and seemed about to say something.  He was the one who had sent
for Mary, and it was said that he had been heard to say that it would
be good to have "some music, outside of the organ."  Before he could
speak, however, Mary was downstairs again.  Seats were offered her in
several of the back pews, and she took one under the gallery.  She
might as well have had a sounding-board behind her, arranged so as to
send her voice right at the pulpit.  Perhaps her temper was a little
aroused, and she did not know how very full her voice was when she
began the first hymn.  All were singing, and they could hear the organ
and the choir, but through, over, and above them all sounded the clear,
ringing notes of Mary Ogden's soprano.  Elder Holloway, sitting in the
pulpit, put up a hand to one ear, as half-deaf men do, and sat up
straight, looking as if he was hearing some good news.  He said
afterward that it helped him preach; but then Mary did not know it.
When all the services were over, she slipped out into the vestibule to
wait for the rest.  She stood there when Miss Glidden came downstairs.
The portly lady was trying her best to smile and look sweet.

"Splendid sermon, Mary Ogden," said she.  "I hope you'll profit by it.
I sha'n't ask you to take my class this afternoon.  Elder Holloway's
going to inspect the school.  I'll be glad to have you present, though,
as one of my best scholars."

Mary went home as quickly as she could, and the first remark she made
was to Aunt Melinda.

"_Her_ class!" she said.  "Why she hasn't been there in six weeks.  She
had only four in it when she left, and there's a dozen now."

The Ogden procession homeward had been longer than when it went to
church.  Jack understood the matter the moment he came into the
dining-room, for both extra leaves had been put into the
extension-table.

"There's company," he said aloud.  "You couldn't stretch that table any
farther, unless you stretched the room."

"Jack," said his mother, "you must come afterward.  You can help Mary
wait on the table."

Jack was as hungry as a young pickerel, but there was no help for it,
and he tried to reply cheerfully:

"I'm getting used to being crowded out.  I can stand it."

"Where'd you sit in church?" asked his mother.

"Out on the stoop," said Jack, "but I didn't go till after I'd sat in
five pews inside."

"Sorry you missed the sermon," said his mother.  "It was about
Jerusalem."

"I heard him," said Jack; "you could hear him halfway across the green.
It kept me thinking about the city, all the while.  I'm going, somehow."

Just then the talk was interrupted by the others, who came in from the
parlor.

"I declare, Ogden," said the editor, "we shall quite fill your table.
I'm glad I came, though.  I'll print a full report of it all in the
Mertonville _Eagle_."

"That's Murdoch, the editor," said Jack to himself.  "That's his paper.
Ours was a _Standard_,--but it's bu'sted."

"There's no room for a newspaper in Crofield," said the blacksmith.
"They tried one, and it lasted six months, and my son worked on it all
the time it ran."

Mr. Murdoch turned and looked inquisitively at Jack through a huge pair
of tortoise-shell-rimmed glasses.

"That's so," said Jack; "I learned to set type and helped edit the
paper.  Molly and I did all the clipping and most of the writing, one
week."

"Did you?" said the editor emphatically.  "Then you did well.  I
remember there was one strong number."

"Molly," said Jack, as soon as they were out in the kitchen, "there's
five besides our family.  They won't leave a thing for us."

"There's hardly enough for them, even," said Mary.  "What'll we do?"

"We can cook!" said Jack, with energy.  "We'll cook while they're
eating.  You know how, and so do I."

"You can wait on table as well as I can," said Mary.

There was something cronyish and also self-helpful, in the way Jack and
Molly boiled eggs and toasted bread and fried bacon and made coffee,
and took swift turns at eating and at waiting on the table.

The editor of the _Eagle_ heard the whole of the trout item, and about
the runaway, and told Jack to send him the next big trout he caught.

There was another item of news that was soon to be ready for Mr.
Murdoch.  Jack was conscious of a restless, excited state of mind, and
Mary said things that made him worse.

"You want to get somewhere else as badly as I do," he remarked, just as
they came back from taking in the pies to the dinner-table.

"I feel, sometimes, as if I could fly!" exclaimed Mary.  Jack walked
out through the hall to the front door, and stood there thinking, with
a hard-boiled egg in one hand and a piece of toast in the other.

The street he looked into was silent and deserted, from the bridge to
the hotel corner.  He looked down to the creek, for a moment, and then
he looked the other way.

"I believe Molly could do 'most anything I could do," he said to
himself; "unless it was catching a runaway team.  She couldn't ha'
caught that wagon.  Hullo, what's that?  Jingo!  The hotel cook must
have made a regular bonfire to fry my trout!"

He wheeled as he spoke, and dashed back through the house, shouting:

"Father, the Washington Hotel's on fire!--over the kitchen!"

"Ladder, Jack.  Rope.  Bucket," cried the tall blacksmith, coolly
rising from the table, and following.  As for the rest, beginning with
the editor of the _Eagle_, it was almost as if they had been told that
they were themselves on fire.  Even Aunt Melinda exclaimed: "He ought
to have told us more about it!  Where is it?  How'd it ever catch?  Oh,
dear me!  It's the oldest part of the hotel.  It's as dry as a bone,
and it'll burn like tinder!"

Everybody else was saying something as all jumped and ran, but Jack and
his father were silent.  Ladder, rope, water-pails, were caught up, as
if they were going to work in the shop, but the moment they were in the
street again it seemed as if John Ogden's lungs must be as deep as the
bellows of his forge.

"Fire!  Fire!  Fire!"  His full, resonant voice sent out the sudden
warning.

[Illustration: _Fighting the Fire_.]

"Fire!  Fire!  Fire!" shouted Jack, and every child of the Ogden
family, except Mary, echoed with such voice as belonged to each.

Through the wide gate of the hotel barn-yard dashed the blacksmith and
his son, with their ladder, at the moment when Mrs. Livermore came out
at the kitchen door, wiping a plate.  All the other inmates of the
hotel were gathered around the long table in the dining-hall, and they
were too busy with pie and different kinds of pudding, to notice
anything outdoors.

"Where is the fire, Mr. Ogden?" she said, in a fatigued tone.

"The fire's on your roof, close to the chimney," said the blacksmith.
"May be we can put it out, if we're quick about it.  Call everybody to
hand up water."

Up went a pair of hands, and out came a great scream.  Another shrill
scream and another, followed in quick succession, and the plate she had
held, fell and was shivered into fragments on the stone door-step.

"Foi-re!  Foi-re!  Foi-re-re-re!" yelled the hotel cook.  "The house is
a-bur-rnin'!  Wa-ter!  Waw-aw-ter!"

The doors to passage-ways of the hotel were open, and in a second more
her cry was taken up by voices that sent the substance of it ringing
through the dining-hall.

Plates fell from the hands of waiters, coffee-cups were upset, chairs
were overturned, all manner of voices caught up the alarm.

It would have been a very serious matter but for the promptness of Jack
Ogden and his very cool father.  The ladder was planted and climbed,
there was a quick dash along the low but high-ridged roof of the
kitchen addition of the hotel,--the rope was put around Jack's waist,
and then he was able safely to use both hands in pouring water from the
pails around the foot of the chimney.  Other feet came fast to the foot
of the ladder.  More went tramping into the rooms under the roof.  The
pumps in the kitchen and in the barn-yard were worked with frantic
energy; pail after pail was carried upstairs and up the ladder; water
was thrown in all directions; nothing was left undone that could be
done, and a great many things were done that seemed hardly possible.

"Hot work, Jack," said his father.  "It's a-gaining on us.  Glad they'd
all about got through dinner,--though Livermore tells me he's insured."

"I can stand it," said Jack.  "They have steam fire-engines in the
city, though.  Oh, but wouldn't I like to see one at work, once.  I'd
like to be a fireman!"

"That's about what you are, just now," said his father, and then he
turned toward the ladder and shouted:

"Hurry up that water!  Quick, now!  Bring an axe!  I want to smash the
roof in.  Bear it, Jack.  We've got to beat this fire."

The main building of the Washington Hotel was long, rather than high,
with an open veranda along Main Street.  The third story was mainly
steep roof and dormer-windows, and the kitchen addition had only a
story and a half.  It was an easy building to get into or out of.  Very
quickly, after the cry of "Fire!" was heard, the only people in it,
upstairs, were such of the guests as had the pluck to go and pack their
trunks.  The lower floor was very well crowded, and it was almost a
relief to the men actually at work as firemen that so many other men
kept well back because they were in their "Sunday-go-to-meeting"
clothes.

Everybody was inclined to praise Jack Ogden and his father, who were
making so brave a fight on the roof within only a few feet of the smoke
and blaze.  It was heroic to look a burning house straight in the face
and conquer it.  During fully half an hour there seemed to be doubt
about the victory, but the pails of water came up rapidly, a line of
men and boys along the roof conveyed them to the hands of Jack, and the
fire had a damp time of it, with no wind to help.  The blacksmith had
chopped a hole in the roof, and Tom and Sam Bannerman, the carpenters,
were already calculating what they would charge old Livermore to put
the addition in order again.

"There, Jack," said his father, at last, "we can quit, now.  The fire's
under.  Somebody else can take a turn.  It's the hottest kind of work.
Come along.  We've done our share, and a little more, too."

Jack had just swallowed a puff of smoke, but as soon as he could stop
coughing, he said:

"I've had enough.  I'm coming."

Other people seemed to agree with them; but there would have been less
said about it if little Joe Hawkins had not called out:

"Three cheers for the Ogdens!"

The cheers were given as the two volunteer firemen came down the
ladder, but there were no speeches made in reply.  Jack hurried back
home at once, but his father had to stop and talk with the Bannermans
and old Hammond, the miller.

"Jack," said his mother, looking at him, proudly, from head to foot,
"you're always doing something or other.  We were looking at you, all
the while."

"He hasn't hurt his Sunday clothes a bit," said Aunt Melinda, but there
was quite a crowd around the gate, and she did not hug him.

He was a little damp, his face was smoky, his shirt-collar was wilted,
and his shoes would require a little work, but otherwise he was none
the worse.

Jack went into the house, saying that he must brush his clothes; but,
really it was because he wished to get away.  He did not care to talk
to anybody.

"I never felt so, in all my life, as I did when sitting on that roof,
fighting that fire," he said aloud, as he went upstairs; and he did not
know, even then, how excited he had been, silent and cool as he had
seemed.  In that short time, he had dreamed of more cities than he was
ever likely to see, and of doing more great things than he could ever
possibly do, and when he came down the ladder he felt older than when
he went up.  He had no idea that much the same thoughts had come to
Mary, nor did he know how fully she believed that he could do anything,
and that she was as capable as he.

"Father's splendid, too," she said, "but then he never had any chance,
here, and Mother didn't either.  Jack ought to have a chance."



CHAPTER IV.

CAPTAIN MARY.

Mr. Murdoch had stood on the main street corner; taking notes for the
_Eagle_, but now he came back to say the fire was out and it was nearly
time for Sunday-school.

It seemed strange to have Sunday-school just after a fire, but the
Ogden family and its visitors at once made ready.

It was a quarterly meeting, with general exercises and singing, and a
review of the quarter's lessons.  The church was full by the hour for
opening, and the school had a very prosperous look.  Elder Holloway and
Mr. Murdoch and two other important men sat in the pulpit, and Joab
Spokes, the superintendent, stood in front of them to conduct the
exercises.  The elder seemed to be glancing benevolently around the
room, through his spectacles, but there were some things there which
could be seen without glasses, and he must have seen those also.

Miss Glidden looked particularly well and very stately, as she sat in
the pew in front of her class (if it were hers), with Mary Ogden.  Her
first words, on coming in to take command, had been:

"Mary, dear, don't go.  I really wish you to stay.  You may be of
assistance."

Mary flushed a little, but she said nothing in reply.  She remained,
and she certainly did assist, for the girls looked at her almost all
the while, and Miss Glidden had no trouble whatever, and nothing to do
but to look pleased and beaming and dignified.  The elder, it was
noticed, seemed to feel special interest in the part taken in the
exercises by the class with two teachers, one for show and one for
work.  He even seemed to see something comical in the situation, and
there was positive admiration in a remark he made to Mr. Murdoch:

"She's a true teacher.  There's really only one teacher to that class.
She must have been born with a knack for it!"

Elder Holloway, with all his years and experience, had not understood
the case of Miss Glidden's class more perfectly than had one young
observer at the other end of the church.  Jack Ogden could not see so
well as those great men in the pulpit, but then he could hear much and
surmise the rest.

"All those girls will stand by Molly!" he said to himself.  "I hope it
won't be long before school's dismissed," he added.

He had reasons for this hope.  He was a little late through lingering
to take a curious look at what was left of the fire.  The street had a
littered look.  The barns and stables were wide open, and deserted, for
the horses had been led to places of safety.  There seemed to be an
impression that the hotel was half destroyed; but the damage had not
been very great.

A faint, thin film of blue was eddying along the ridgepole of the
kitchen addition.  Jack noticed it, but did not know what it meant.  A
more practiced observer would have known that, hidden from sight,
buried in the punk of the dry-rotted timber, was a vicious spark of
fire, stealthily eating its way through the punk of the resinous pine.

Jack paid little attention to the tiny smoke-wreath, but he was
compelled to pay some attention to the weather.  It had been hot from
sunrise until noon, and the air had grown heavier since.

"I know what that haze means," said Jack to himself, as he looked
toward the Cocahutchie.  "There's a thunderstorm coming by and by, and
nobody knows just when.  I'll be on the lookout for it."

For this reason he was glad that he was compelled to find a seat not
far from the door of the church.  Twice he went out to look at the sky,
and the second time he saw banks of lead-colored clouds forming on the
northwestern horizon.  Returning he said to several of the boys near
the vestibule:

"You've just time to get home, if you don't want a ducking."

Each boy passed along the warning; and when the school stood up to sing
the last hymn, even the girls and the older people knew of the coming
storm.  There was a brief silence before the first note of the organ,
and through that silence nearly everybody could catch the shrill squeak
in which little Joe Hawkins tried to speak very low and secretly.

"Deakin Cobb, we want to git aout!  We've just time to git home if we
don't want a duckin'."

The hymn started raggedly and in a wrong pitch; and just then the great
room grew suddenly darker, and there was a low rumble of thunder.

"Mary Ogden!" exclaimed Miss Glidden, "what are you doing?  They can't
go yet!"

Mary was singing as loudly and correctly as usual, but she was out in
the aisle, and the girls of that class were promptly obeying the motion
of hand and head with which she summoned them to walk out of the church.

Elder Holloway may have been only keeping time when he nodded his head,
but he was looking at Miss Glidden's class.

So was Miss Glidden, in a bewildered way, as if she, like little
Bo-peep, were losing her sheep.  Mary was following a strong and sudden
impulse.  Nevertheless, by the time that class was out of its pews the
next caught the idea, and believed it a prudent thing to do.  They
followed in good order, singing as they went.

"The girls out first,--then the boys," said Elder Holloway, between two
stanzas.  "One class at a time.  No hurry."

Darker grew the air.  Jack, out in front of the church, was watching
the blackest cloud he had ever seen, as it came sweeping across the sky.

The people walked out calmly enough, but all stopped singing at the
door and ran their best.

"Run, Molly!  Run for home!" shouted Jack, seeing Mary coming.  "It's
going to be an awful storm."

[Illustration: _"Run for Home."_]

Inside the church there was much hesitation, for a moment; but Miss
Glidden followed her class without delay, and all the rest followed as
fast as they could, and were out in half the usual time.  Joe Hawkins
heard Jack's words to Molly.

"Run, boys," he echoed.  "Cut for home!  There's a fearful storm
coming!"

He was right.  Great drops were already falling now and then, and there
was promise of a torrent to follow.

"I don't want to spoil these clothes," said Jack, uneasily.  "I need
these to wear in the city.  The storm isn't here yet, though.  I'll
wait a minute."  He was holding his hat on and looking up at the
steeple when he said that.  It was a very old, wooden steeple, tall,
slender, and somewhat rheumatic, and he knew there must be more wind up
so high than there was nearer the ground.  "It's swinging!" he said
suddenly.  "I can see it bend!  Glad they're all getting out.  There
come Elder Holloway and Mr. Murdoch.  See the elder run!  I hope he
won't try to get to Hawkins's.  He'd better run for our house."

That was precisely the counsel given the good man by the editor, and
the elder said:

"I'd like to go there.  I'd like to see that clever girl again.  Come,
Murdoch; no time to lose!"

The blast was now coming lower, and the gloom was deepening.

Flash--rattle--boom--crash! came a glitter of lightning and a great
peal of thunder.

"Here it is!" cried Jack.  "If it isn't a dry blast!"

It was something like the first hot breath of a hurricane.  To and fro
swung the tottering old steeple for a moment, and then there was
another crash--a loud, grinding, splintering, roaring crash--as the
spire reeled heavily down, lengthwise, through the shattered roof of
the meeting-house!  Except for Mary Ogden's cleverness, the ruins might
have fallen upon the crowded Sunday-school.  Jack turned and ran for
home.  He was a good runner, but he only just escaped the deluge
following that thunderbolt.

Jack turned upon reaching the house, and as he looked back he uttered a
loud exclamation, and out from the house rushed all the people who were
gathered there.

"Jingo!" Jack shouted.  "The old hotel's gone, sure, this time!"

The burrowing spark had smoldered slowly along, until it felt the first
fanning of the rising gale.  In another minute it flared as if under a
blowpipe, and soon a fierce sheet of flame came bursting through the
roof.

Down poured the rain; but the hottest of that blaze was roofed over,
and the fire had its own way with the empty addition.

"We couldn't help if we should try," exclaimed Mr. Ogden.

"I'll put on my old clothes, any way," said Jack.  "Nobody knows what's
coming."

"I will, too," said his father.

Jack paused a moment, and said, from the foot of the stairs:

"The steeple's down,--right through the meeting-house.  It has smashed
the whole church!"

The sight of the fire had made him withhold that news for a minute; but
now, for another minute, the fire was almost forgotten.

Elder Holloway began to say something in praise of Mary Ogden about her
leading out the class, but she darted away.

"Let me get by, Jack," she said.  "Let me pass, please.  They all would
have been killed if they had waited!  But I was thinking only of my
class and the rain."

She ran up-stairs and Jack followed.  Then the elder made a number of
improving remarks about discipline and presence of mind, and the
natural fitness of some people for doing the right thing in an
emergency.  He might have said more, but all were drawn to the windows
to watch the strife between the fire and the rain.

The fierce wind drove the smoke through the building, compelling the
landlord and his wife to escape as best they could, and, for the time
being, the victory seemed to be with the fire.

"Seems to me," said the blacksmith, somberly, "as if Crofield was going
to pieces.  This is the worst storm we ever had.  The meeting-house is
gone, and the hotel's going!"

Mary, at her window, was looking out in silence, but her face was
bright rather than gloomy.  Even if she was "only a girl," she had
found an opportunity for once, and she had not proved unequal to it.



CHAPTER V.

JACK OGDEN'S RIDE.

Jack needed only a few minutes to put on the suit he had worn when
fishing.

"There, now," he said; "if there's going to be a big flood in the creek
I'm going down to see it, rain or no rain.  There's no telling how high
it'll rise if this pour keeps on long enough.  It rattles on the roof
like buckshot!"

"That's the end of the old tavern," said Jack to Mary, as he stood in
the front room looking out.

He was barefooted, and had come so silently that she was startled.

"Jack!" she exclaimed, turning around, "they might have all been killed
when the steeple came down.  I heard what Joe Hawkins said, and I led
out the class."

"Good for Joe!" said Jack.  "We need a new meeting-house, any way.  I
heard the elder say so.  Less steeple, next time, and more church!"

"I'd like to see a real big church," said Mary,--"a city church."

"You'd like to go to the city as much as I would," said Jack.

"Yes, I would," she replied emphatically.  "Just you get there and I'll
come afterward, if I can.  I've been studying twice as hard since I
left the academy, but I don't know why."

"I know it," said Jack; "but I've had no time for books."

"Jack!  Molly!" the voice of Aunt Melinda came up the stairway.  "Are
you ever coming down-stairs?"

"What will the elder say to my coming down barefoot?" said Jack; "but I
don't want shoes if I'm going out into the mud."

"He won't care at such a time as this," said Mary.  "Let's go."

It was not yet supper-time, but it was almost dark enough to light the
lamps.  Jack felt better satisfied about his appearance when he found
how dark and shadowy the parlor was; and he felt still better when he
saw his father dressed as if he were going over to work at the forge,
all but the leather apron.

The elder did not seem disturbed.  He and Mr. Murdoch were talking
about all sorts of great disasters, and Mary did not know just when she
was drawn into the talk, or how she came to acknowledge having read
about so many different things all over the world.

"Jack," whispered his mother, at last, "you'll have to go to the barn
and gather eggs, or we sha'n't have enough for supper."

"I'll bring the eggs if I don't get drowned before I get back," said
Jack; and he found a basket and an umbrella and set out.

He took advantage of a little lull in the rain, and ran to the
barn-yard gate.

"Hullo!" he exclaimed.  "Now I'll have to wade.  Why it's nearly a foot
deep!  There'll be the biggest kind of a freshet in the Cocahutchie.
Isn't this jolly?"

The rain pattered on the roof as if it had been the head of a drum.  If
the house was gloomy, the old barn was darker and gloomier.  Jack
turned over a half-bushel measure and sat down on it.

"I want to think," he said.  "I want to get out of this.  Seems to me I
never felt it so before.  I'd as lief live in this barn as stay in
Crofield."

He suddenly sprang up and shook off his blues, exclaiming: "I'll go and
see the freshet, anyhow!"

He carried the eggs into the house.

All the time he had been gone, Elder Holloway had been asking Mary very
particularly about the Crofield Academy.

"I don't wonder she says what she does about the trustees," remarked
Aunt Melinda.  "She took the primary room twice, for 'most a month each
time, when the teacher was sick, and all the thanks she had was that
they didn't like it when they found it out."

The gutter in front of the house had now become a small torrent.

"All the other gutters are just like that," said Jack.  "So are the
brooks all over the country, and it all runs into the Cocahutchie!"

"Father," said Jack, after supper, "I'm going down to the creek."

"I wish you would," said his father.  "Come back and tell us how it's
looking."

"Could a freshet here do any damage?" asked Mr. Murdoch.

"There's a big dam up at Four Corners," said the blacksmith.  "If
anything should happen there, we'd have trouble here, and you'd have it
in Mertonville, too."

Jack heard that as he was going out of the door.  He carried an
umbrella; but the first thing he noticed was that the force of the rain
seemed to have slackened as soon as he was out of doors.  It was now
more like mist or a warm sleet, as if Crofield were drifting through a
cloud.

"The Washington House needs all the rain it can get," said Jack, as he
went along; "but half the roof is caved in.  I'm glad Livermore's
insured."

When Jack reached the creek he felt his heart fairly jump with
excitement.  The Cocahutchie was no longer a thin ribbon rippling along
in a wide stretch of sand and gravel.  It was a turbid, swollen,
roaring flood, already filling all the space under its bridge; and the
clump of old trees was in the water instead of on dry land.

"Hurrah!" shouted Jack.  "As high as that already, and the worst is to
come!"

He could not see the dam at first, but the gusts of wind were making
openings in the mist, and he soon caught glimpses of a great sheet of
foaming brown water.

"I'll go and take a look at the dam," he said; and he ran to the mill.

"It's just level with the dam," he said, after one swift glance.  "I
never thought of that.  I must go and tell old Hammond what's coming."

The miller's house was not far away, and he and his family were at
supper when there came a bang at the door.  Then it opened and Mrs.
Hammond exclaimed:

"Why, John Ogden!"

"I'm out o' breath," said Jack excitedly.  "You tell him that the
water's 'most up to the lower floor of the mill.  If he's got anything
there that'd be hurt by getting wet--"

"Goodness, yes!" shouted the miller, getting up from the table, "enough
to ruin me.  There are sacks of flour, meal, grain,--all sorts of
stuff.  It must all go up to the second floor.  I'll call all the
hands."

"But," said his wife, "it's Sunday!"

"Can't help it!" he exclaimed; "the Cocahutchie's coming right up into
the mill.  Jack, tell every man you see that I want him!"

Off went Jack homeward, but he spoke to half a dozen men on the way.
He did not run, but he went quickly enough; and when he reached the
house there was something waiting for him.

It was a horse with a blanket strapped on instead of a saddle; and by
it stood his father, and near him stood his mother and Aunt Melinda and
Mary, bareheaded, for it was not raining, now.

"Mount, Jack," said the blacksmith quietly.  "I've seen the creek.
It's only four and a half miles to the Four Corners.  Ride fast.  See
how that dam looks and come back and tell me.  Mr. Murdoch will have
his buggy ready to start when you get back.  See how many logs there
are in the saw-mill boom."

"Oh, Jack!" exclaimed Mary, in a low suppressed voice.  "I wish that I
were you!  It's a great day for you!"

He had sprung to the saddle while his father was speaking, and he felt
it was out of his power to utter a word in reply.  He did not need to
speak to the horse, for the moment Mr. Ogden released the bit there was
a quick bound forward.

"This horse is ready to go," said Jack to himself, as he felt that
motion.  "I've seen her before.  I wonder what's made her so excited?"

There was no need for wonder.  The trim, light-limbed sorrel mare he
was riding had been kept in the hotel stables until that day.  She had
been taken out to a neighboring stable, at the morning alarm of fire,
and when the blacksmith went to borrow her he found her laboring under
a strong impression that things in Crofield were going wrong.  She was
therefore inclined to go fast, and all that Jack had to do was to hold
her in.  The blacksmith's son was at home in the saddle.  It was not
yet dark, and he knew the road to the Four Corners.  It was a muddy
road, and there was a little stream of water along each side of it.
Spattered and splashed from head to foot were rider and horse, but the
miles vanished rapidly and the Four Corners was reached.

A smaller village than Crofield, further up among the hills, it had a
higher dam, a three times larger pond, a bigger grist-mill, and a large
saw-mill.  That was because there were forests of timbers among the yet
higher hills beyond, and Mr. Ogden had been thinking seriously about
the logs from those forests.

"I know what father means," said Jack aloud, as he galloped into the
village.

There were hardly any people stirring about its one long street; but
there was a reason for that and Jack found out what it was when he
pulled up near the mill.

"Everybody has come to watch the dam," he exclaimed.  "No use asking
about the logs, though; there they are."

The crowd was evidently excited, and the air was filled with shouts and
answers.

"The boom got unhitched and swung round 'cross the dam," said one eager
speaker; "and there's all the logs, now,--hundreds on 'em,--just
a-pilin' up and a-heapin' up on the dam; and when that breaks, the
dam'll go, mill and all, bridge and all, and the valley below'll be
flooded!"

The moon was up, and the clouds which had hidden it were breaking away
as Jack looked at the threatening spectacle before him.

The sorrel mare was tugging hard at the rein and pawing the mud under
her feet, while Jack listened to the talk.

"Stand it?  No!" he heard a man say.  "That dam wasn't built to stand
any such crowdin' as that.  Hark!"

A groaning, straining, cracking sound came from the barrier behind
which the foaming flood was widening and deepening the pond.

"There it goes!  It's breaking!"

Jack wheeled the sorrel, as a dull, thunderous report was answered by a
great cry from the crowd; and then he dashed away down the homeward
road.

"I must get to Crofield before the water does," he said.  "Glad the
creek's so crooked; it has twice as far to travel as I have."

Not quite, considering how a flood will sweep over a bend instead of
following it.  Still, Jack and the sorrel had the start, and nearly all
the way it was a downhill road.

The Crofield people gathered fast, after the sky cleared, for a rumor
went around that there was something wrong with the dam, and that a man
had gone to the Four Comers to warn the people there.

All the men that could crowd into the mill had helped Mr. Hammond get
his grain up into the second story, but the water was a hand-breadth
deep on the lower floor by the time it was done.

There came a moment when all was silent except the roar of the water,
and through that silence the thud of hoofs was heard coming down from
Main Street.  Then a shrill, excited voice shouted:

"All of you get off that bridge!  The Four Corners dam's gone.  The
boom's broken, and the logs are coming!"

There was a tumult of questioning, as men gathered around the sorrel,
and there was a swift clearing of people from the bridge.

"Why, it's shaking now!" said the blacksmith to Mr. Murdoch.  "It'll go
down with the first log that strikes it.  You drive your best home to
Mertonville and warn them.  You may be just in time."

Away went the editor, carrying with him an extraordinary treasure of
news for the next number of his journal.  Jack dismounted, and her
owner took the sorrel to her stable; she was very muddy but none the
worse for the service she had rendered.

The crowd stood waiting for what was sure to come.  Miller Hammond was
anxiously watching his threatened and already damaged property.  Jack
came and stood beside him.

"Mr. Hammond," he said, "all the gravel that you were going to sell to
father is lying under water."

"More than two acres of it," said the miller.  "The water'll run off,
though.  I'll tell you what I'll do, Jack.  I'll sell it for two
hundred dollars, considering the flood."

"If father'll take it, will you count in the fifty you said you owed
me?" inquired Jack.

The miller made a wry face for a moment, but then responded, smiling:

"Well!  After what you've done to-night, too: saved all there was on
the first floor,--yes, I will.  Tell him I'll do it."

They all turned suddenly toward the dam.  A high ridge of water was
sweeping down across the pond.  It carried a crest of foam, logs,
planks, and rubbish, shining white in the moonlight, and it rolled on
toward the mill and the dam as if it had an errand.

Crash--roar--crash--and a plunging sound,--and it seemed as if the
Crofield dam had vanished.  But it had not.  Only a section of its top
work, in the middle, had been knocked away by the rushing stroke of
those logs.

A frightened shout went up from the spectators, and it had hardly died
away before there followed another splintering crash.

"The bridge!" shouted Jack.

The frail supports of the bridge, brittle with age and weather, already
straining hard against the furious water, needed only the battering of
the first heavy logs from the boom, and down they went.

"Gone!" exclaimed Mr. Ogden.  "The hotel's gone, and the meeting-house,
and the dam, and the bridge.  There won't be anything left of Crofield,
at this rate."

"I'm going to get out of it," said Jack.

"I'll never refuse you again," replied his father, with energy.  "You
may get out any way you can, and take your chances anywhere you please.
I won't stand in your way."

The roar of the surging Cocahutchie was the only sound heard for a full
minute, and then the miller spoke.

"The mill's safe," he said, with a very long breath of relief; "the
breaking of that hole in the dam let the water and logs through, and
the pond isn't rising.  Hurrah!"

There was a very faint and scattering cheer, and Jack Ogden did not
join in it.  He had turned suddenly and walked away homeward, along the
narrow strip of land that remained between the wide, swollen
Cocahutchie and the fence.

At the end of the fence, where he came into his own street, away above
where the head of the bridge had been, there was a large gathering.
That around the mill had been nearly all of men and boys.  Here were
women and girls, and the smaller boys, whose mothers and aunts held
them and kept them from going nearer the water.  Jack found it of no
use to say, "Oh, mother, I'm too muddy!"  She didn't care how muddy he
was, and Aunt Melinda cared even less, apparently.  Bessie and Sue had
evidently been crying; but Mary had not; and it was her hand on Jack's
arm that led him away, up the street, toward their gate.

"Oh, Jack!" she exclaimed, "I'm so proud!  Did you ride fast?  I'm glad
I can ride!  I could have done it, too.  It was splendid!"

"Molly," said Jack, "I don't mind telling you.  The sorrel mare
galloped all the way, going and coming, up hill and down; and Molly, I
kept wishing and thinking every jump she gave,--wishing I was galloping
to New York, instead of to the Four Corners!

"Molly," he added quickly, "father gives it up and says I may go!"



CHAPTER VI.

OUT INTO THE WORLD.

Monday morning came, bright and sunshiny; and it hardly reached
Crofield before the people began to get up and look about them.

Jack went down to the river and did not get back very soon.  His mind
was full of something besides the flood, and he did not linger long at
the mill.

But he looked long and hard at all the pieces of land below the mill,
down to Deacon Hawkins's line.  He knew where that was, although the
fence was gone.

"The freshet didn't wash away a foot of it," he said.  "I'll tell
father what Mr. Hammond said about selling it."

A pair of well-dressed men drove down from Main Street in a buggy and
halted near him.

"Brady," said one of these men, "the engineer is right.  We can't
change the railroad line.  We can say to the Crofield people that if
they'll give us the right of way through the village we'll build them a
new bridge.  They'll do it.  Right here's the spot for the station."

"Exactly," said the other man, "and the less we say about it the
better.  Keep mum."

"That's just what I'll do, too," said Jack to himself, as they drove
away.  "I don't know what they mean, but it'll come out some day."

Jack went home at once, and found the family at breakfast.  After
breakfast his father went to the shop, and Jack followed him to speak
about the land purchase.

When Jack explained the miller's offer, Mr. Ogden went with him to see
Mr. Hammond.  After a short interview, Mr. Ogden and Jack secured the
land in settlement of the amount already promised Jack, and of an old
debt owed by the miller to the blacksmith, and also in consideration of
their consenting to a previous sale of the trees for cash to the
Bannermans, who had made their offer that morning.  Mr. Hammond seemed
very glad to make the sale upon these terms, as he was in need of ready
money.

When Jack returned to his father's shop, he remembered the men he had
seen at the river, and he told his father what they had said.

"Station?--right of way?" exclaimed Mr. Ogden.  "That's the new
railroad through Mertonville.  They'll use up that land, and we won't
get a cent.  Well, it didn't cost anything.  I'd about given up
collecting that bill."

Later that day, Jack came in to dinner with a smile on his face.  It
was the old smile, too; a smile of good-humored self-confidence, which
flickered over his lips from side to side, and twisted them, and shut
his mouth tight.  Just as he was about to speak, his father took a
long, neatly folded paper out of his coat pocket and laid it on the
table.

"Look at that, Jack," he said; "and show it to your mother."

"Warranty deed!" exclaimed Jack, reading the print on the outside.
"Father! you didn't turn it over to me, did you?  Mother, it's to John
Ogden, Jr.!"

"Oh, John--" she began and stopped.

"Why, my dear," laughed the blacksmith, cheerfully, "it's his gravel,
not mine.  I'll hold it for him, for a while, but it is Jack's whenever
I chose to record that deed."

"I'm afraid I couldn't farm it there," said Jack; and then the smile on
his face flickered fast.  "But I knew Father wanted that land."

"It isn't worth much, but it's a beginning," said Mary.  "I'd like to
own something or other, or to go somewhere."

"Well, Molly," answered Jack, smiling, "you can go to Mertonville.
Livermore says there's a team here, horses and open carriage.  It came
over on Friday.  The driver has cleared out, and somebody must take
them home, and he wants me to drive over.  Can't I take Molly, Mother?"

"You'd have to walk back," said his father, "but that's nothing much.
It's less than nine miles--"

"Father," said Jack, "you said, last night, I needn't come back to
Crofield, right away.  And Mertonville's nine miles nearer the city--"

"And a good many times nine miles yet to go," exclaimed the blacksmith;
but then he added, smiling: "Go ahead, Jack.  I do believe that if any
boy can get there, you can."

"I'll do it somehow," said Jack, with a determined nod.

"Of course you will," said Mary.

Jack felt as if circumstances were changing pretty fast, so far as he
was concerned; and so did Mary, for she had about given up all hope of
seeing her friends in Mertonville.

"We'll get you ready, right away," said Aunt Melinda.  "You can give
Jack your traveling bag,--he won't mind the key's being lost,--and I'll
let you take my trunk, and we'll fit you out so you can enjoy it."

"Jack," said his father, "tell Livermore you can go, and then I want to
see you at the shop."

Jack was so glad he could hardly speak; for he felt it was the first
step.  But a part of his feeling was that he had never before loved
Crofield and all the people in it, especially his own family, so much
as at that minute.

He went over to the ruined hotel, where he found the landlord at work
saving all sorts of things and seeming to feel reasonably cheerful over
his misfortunes.

"Jack," he said, as soon as he was told that Jack was ready to go, "you
and Molly will have company.  Miss Glidden sent to know how she could
best get over to Mertonville, and I said she could go with you.
There's a visitor, too, who must go back with her.

"I'll take 'em," said Jack.

Upon going to the shop he found his father shoeing a horse.  The
blacksmith beckoned his son to the further end of the shop.  He heard
about Miss Glidden, and listened in silence to several hopeful things
Jack had to say about what he meant to do sooner or later.

[Illustration: _He listened in silence_.]

"Well," he said, at last, "I was right not to let you go before, and
I've doubts about it now, but something must be done.  I'm making less
and less, and not much of it's cash, and it costs more to live, and
they're all growing up.  I don't want you to make me any promises.
They are broken too easily.  You needn't form good resolutions.  They
won't hold water.  There's one thing I want you to do, though.  Your
mother and I have brought you up as straight as a string, and you know
what's right and what's wrong."

"That's true," said Jack.

"Well, then, don't you promise nor form any resolutions, but if you're
tempted to do wrong, or to be a fool in any kind of way, just don't do
it that's all."

"I won't, Father," said Jack earnestly.

"There," said his father, "I feel better satisfied than I should feel
if you'd promised a hundred things.  It's a great deal better not to do
anything that you know to be wrong or foolish."

"I think so," said Jack, "and I won't."

"Go home now and get ready," said his father; "and I'll see you off."

"This is very sudden, Jack,", said his mother, with much feeling, when
he made his appearance.

"Why, Mother," said Jack, "Molly'll be back soon, and the city isn't so
far away after all."

Jack felt as if he had only about enough head left to change his
clothes and drive the team.

"It's just as Mother says," he thought; "I've been wishing and hoping
for it, but it's come very suddenly."

His black traveling-bag was quickly ready.  He had closed it and was
walking to the door when his mother came in.

"Jack," she said, "you'll send me a postal card every day or two?"

"Of course I will," said he bravely.

"And I know you'll be back in a few weeks, at most," she went on; "but
I feel as sad as if you were really going away from home.  Why, you're
almost a child!  You can't really be going away!"

That was where the talk stopped for a while, except some last words
that Jack could never forget.  Then she dried her eyes, and he dried
his, and they went down-stairs together.  It was hard to say good-by to
all the family, and he was glad his father was not there.  He got away
from them as soon as he could, and went over to the stables after his
team.  It was a bay team, with a fine harness, and the open carriage
was almost new.

"Stylish!" said Jack.  "I'll take Molly on the front seat with me,--no,
the trunk,--and Miss Glidden's trunk,--well, I'll get 'em all in
somehow!"

When he drove up in front of the house his father was there to put the
baggage in and to help Mary into the carriage and to shake hands with
Jack.

The blacksmith's grimy face looked less gloomy for a moment.

"Jack," he said, "good-by.  May be you'll really get to the city after
all."

"I think I shall," said Jack, with an effort to speak calmly.

"Well," said the blacksmith, slowly, "I hope you will, somehow; but
don't you forget that there's another city."

Jack knew what he meant.  They shook hands, and in another moment the
bays were trotting briskly on their way to Miss Glidden's.  Her house
was one of the finest in Crofield, with lawn and shrubbery.  Mary Ogden
had never been inside of it, but she had heard that it was beautifully
furnished.  There was Miss Glidden and her friend on the piazza, and
out at the sidewalk, by the gate, was a pile of baggage, at the sight
of which Jack exclaimed:

"Trunks!  They're young houses!  How'll I get 'em all in?  I can strap
and rope one on the back of the carriage, but then--!"

Miss Glidden frowned at first, when the carriage pulled up, but she
came out to the gate, smiling, and so did the other lady.

"Why, Mary Ogden, my dear," she said, "Mrs. Potter and I did not know
you were going with us.  It's quite a surprise."

"So it is to Jack and me," replied Mary quietly.  "We were very glad to
have you come, though, if we can find room for your trunks."

"I can manage 'em," said Jack.  "Miss Glidden, you and Mrs. Potter get
in, and Pat and I'll pack the trunks on somehow."

Pat was the man who had brought out the luggage, and he was waiting to
help.  He was needed.  It was a very full carriage when he and Jack
finished their work.  There was room made for the passengers by putting
Mary's small trunk down in front, so that Jack's feet sprawled over it
from the nook where he sat.

"I can manage the team," Jack said to himself.  "They won't run away
with this load."

Mary sat behind him, the other two on the back seat, and all the rest
of the carriage was trunks; not to speak of what Jack called a "young
house," moored behind.

It all helped Jack to recover his usual composure, nevertheless, and he
drove out of Crofield, on the Mertonville road, confidently.

"We shall discern traces of the devastation occasioned by the recent
inundation, as we progress," remarked Mrs. Potter.

Jack replied: "Oh, no!  The creek takes a great swoop, below Crofield,
and the road's a short cut.  There'll be some mud, though."

He was right and wrong.  There was mud that forced the heavily laden
carriage to travel slowly, here and there, but there was nothing seen
of the Cocahutchie for several miles.

"Hullo!" exclaimed Jack suddenly.  "It looks like a kind of lake.  It
doesn't come up over the road, though.  I wonder what dam has given out
now!"

There was the road, safe enough, but all the country to the right of it
seemed to have been turned into water.  On rolled the carriage, the
horses now and then allowing signs of fear and distrust, and the two
older passengers expressing ten times as much.

"Now, Molly," said Jack, at last, "there's a bridge across the creek, a
little ahead of this.  I'd forgotten about that.  Hope it's there yet."

"Oh, dear me!" exclaimed Miss Glidden.

"Don't prognosticate disaster," said Mrs. Potter earnestly; and it
occurred to Jack that he had heard more long words during that drive
than any one boy could hope to remember.

"Hurrah!" he shouted, a few minutes later.  "Link's bridge is there!
There's water on both sides of the road, though."

It was an old bridge, like that at Crofield, and it was narrow, and it
trembled and shook while the snorting bays pranced and shied their
frightened way across it.  They went down the slope on the other side
with a dash that would have been a bolt if Jack had not been ready for
them.  Jack was holding them with a hard pull upon the reins, but he
was also looking up the Cocahutchie.

"I see what's the matter," he said.  "The logs got stuck in a narrow
place, and made a dam of their own, and set the water back over the
flat.  The freshet hasn't reached Mertonville yet.  Jingo!"

Bang, crack, crash!--came a sharp sound behind him.

"The bridge is down!" he shouted.  "We were only just in time.  Some of
the logs have been carried down, and one of them knocked it endwise."

That was precisely the truth of the matter; and away went the bays, as
if they meant to race with the freshet to see which would first arrive
in Mertonville.

"I'm on my way to the city, any how," thought Jack, with deep
satisfaction.



CHAPTER VII.

MARY AND THE _EAGLE_.

The bay team traveled well, but it was late in the afternoon when Jack
drove into the town.  Having been in Mertonville before, Jack knew
where to take Miss Glidden and Mrs. Potter.

Mertonville was a thriving place, calling itself a town, and ambitious
of some day becoming a city.

Not long after entering the village, Miss Glidden touched Jack's arm.

"Stop, please!" exclaimed Miss Glidden.  "There are our friends.  The
very people we're going to see.  Mrs. Edwards and the Judge, and all!"

The party on foot had also halted, and were waiting to greet the
visitors.  After welcomes had been exchanged, Mrs. Edwards, a tall,
dignified lady, with gray hair, turned to Mary and offered her hand.

"I'm delighted to see you, Miss Ogden," she exclaimed, "and your
brother John.  I've heard so much about you both, from Elder Holloway
and the Murdochs.  They are expecting you."

"We're going to the Murdochs'," said Mary, a little embarrassed by the
warmth of the greeting.

"You will come to see me before you go home?" said Mrs. Edwards.  "I
don't wonder Miss Glidden is so fond of you and so proud of you.  Make
her come, Miss Glidden."

"I should be very happy," said Miss Glidden benevolently, "but Mary has
so many friends."

"Oh, she'll come," said the Judge himself, very heartily.  "If she
doesn't, I'll come after her."

"Shall I drive to your house now, Judge Edwards?" Jack said at last.

The party separated, and Jack started the bay team again.

The house of Judge Edwards was only a short distance farther, and that
of Mrs. Potter was just beyond.

"Mary Ogden," said Miss Glidden in parting, "you must surely accept
Mrs. Edwards's invitation.  She is the kindest of women."

"Yes, Miss Glidden," said Mary, demurely.

Jack broke in: "Of course you will.  You'll have a real good time, too."

"And you'll come and see me?" said Mrs. Potter, and Mary promised.
Then Jack and the Judge's coachman lowered to the sidewalk Miss
Glidden's enormous trunk.

As Mrs. Potter alighted, a few minutes later, she declared to Mary:

"I'm confident, my dear, that you will experience enthusiastic
hospitality."

"What shall I do?" asked Mary, as they drove away.  "Miss Glidden
didn't mean what she said.  She is not fond of me."

"The Judge meant it," said Jack.  "They liked you.  None of them
pressed me to come visiting, I noticed.  I'll leave you at Murdoch's
and take the team to the stable, and then go to the office of the
_Eagle_ and see the editor."

But when they reached the Murdochs', good Mrs. Murdoch came to the
door.  She kissed Mary, and then said:

"I'm so glad to see you!  So glad you've come!  Poor Mr. Murdoch--"

"Jack's going to the office to see him," said Mary.

"He needn't go there," said the editor's wife; "Mr. Murdoch is ill at
home.  The storm and the excitement and the exposure have broken him
down.  Come right in, dear.  Come back, Jack, as soon as you have taken
care of the horses."

"It's a pity," said Jack as he drove away.  "The _Eagle_ will have a
hard time of it without any editor."

He was still considering that matter when he reached the livery-stable,
but he was abruptly aroused from his thoughts by the owner of the team,
who cried excitedly:

"Hurrah!  Here's my team!  I say, young man, how did you cross Link's
bridge?  A man on horseback just came here and told us it was down.  I
was afraid I'd lost my team for a week."

"Well, here they are," said Jack, smiling.  "They're both good
swimmers, and as for the carriage, it floated like a boat."

"Oh, it did?" laughed the stable-keeper, as he examined his property.
"Livermore sent you with them, I suppose.  I was losing five dollars a
day by not having those horses here.  What's your name?  Do you live in
Crofield?"

"Jack Ogden."

"Oh! you're the blacksmith's son.  Old Murdoch told me about you.  My
name's Prodger.  I know your father, and I've known him twenty years.
How did you get over the creek--tell me about it?"

Jack told him, and Mr. Prodger drew a long breath at the end of the
story.

"You didn't know the risk you were running," he said; "but you did
first-rate, and if I needed another driver I'd be glad to hire you.
What did Livermore say I was to pay you?"

"He didn't say," said Jack.  "I wasn't thinking about being paid."

"So much the better.  I think the more of you, my boy.  But it was
plucky to drive that team over Link's bridge just before it went down.
I'll tell you what I'll do.  I'll pay you what they'll earn me
to-night--it will be about three dollars--and we'll call it square.
How will that do?"

"It's more than I've earned," said Jack, gratefully.

"I'm satisfied, if you are," said Mr. Prodger as Jack jumped down.
"Come and see me again if you're to be in town.  You're fond of horses
and have a knack with them."

"Three dollars!" said Jack, after the money had been paid him, and he
was on his way back to the Murdochs'.  "Mother let me have the six
dollars they gave me for the fish.  And this makes nine dollars.  Why,
it will take me the rest of the way to the city--but I wouldn't have a
cent when I got there."

When he reached the editor's house, Jack noticed that the house was on
the same square with the block of wooden buildings containing the
_Eagle_ office, and that the editor could go to his work through his
own garden, if he chose, instead of around by the street.  He was again
welcomed by Mrs. Murdoch, and then led at once into Mr. Murdoch's room,
where the editor was in bed, groaning and complaining in a way that
indicated much distress.

"I'm very sorry you're sick, Mr. Murdoch," said Jack.

"Thank you, Jack.  It's just my luck.  It's the very worst time for me
to be on the sick-list.  Nobody to get out the _Eagle_.  Lost my
'devil' to-day, too!"

"Lost your 'devil'?" exclaimed Jack.

"Yes," said Mr. Murdoch in despair.  "No 'devil'!  No editor!  Nobody
but a wooden foreman and a pair of lead-headed type-stickers.  The man
that does the mailing has more than he can do, too.  There won't be any
_Eagle_ this week, and perhaps none next week.  Plenty of 'copy' nearly
ready, too.  It's too bad!"

[Illustration: _"There won't be any Eagle this week."_]

"You needn't feel so discouraged," said Jack, deeply touched by the
distress of the groaning editor.  "Molly and I know what to do.  She
can manage the copy, just as she did for the _Standard_ once.  So can
I.  We'll go right to work."

"Oh, yes, I'd forgotten," said Mr. Murdoch.  "You've worked a while at
printing.  I'm willing you should see what you can do.  I'd like to
speak to Mary.  I'm sorry to say that you'll have to sleep in the
office, Jack, for we've only one spare room in this nutshell of a
house."

"I don't mind that," said Jack.

"I hope I'll be out in a day or so," added the editor.  "But, Jack, the
press is run by a pony steam-engine, and that foreman couldn't run it
to save his life," he added hopelessly.

"Why, it's nothing to do," exclaimed Jack.  "I've helped run an engine
for a steam thrashing-machine.  Don't you be worried about the engine."

Mr. Murdoch was able to be up a little while in the evening, and Mary
came in to see him.  From what he said to her, it seemed as if there
was really very little to do in editing the remainder of the next
number of the _Eagle_.

"I'm so glad you're here," said Mrs. Murdoch, when Mary came out to
supper.  "I never read a newspaper myself, and I don't know the first
thing about putting one together.  It's too bad that you should be
bothered with it though."

"Why, Mrs. Murdoch," exclaimed Mary, laughing, "I shall be delighted.
I'd rather do it than not."

The truth was that it was not easy for either Mary or her brother to be
very sorry that Mr. Murdoch was not able to work.  They did not feel
anxious about him, for his wife had told them it was not a serious
attack, and they enjoyed the prospect of editing the newspaper.

After supper Jack and Mary went through the garden to the _Eagle_
office.  The pony-engine was in a sort of woodshed, the press was in
the "kitchen," as Mary called it, and the front room of the little old
dwelling-house was the business office.  The editor's office and the
type-setting room were up-stairs.

Jack took a look at the engine.

"Any one could run that," he said.  "I know just how to set it going.
Come on, Molly.  This is going to be great fun."

The editor's room was only large enough for a table and a chair and a
few heaps of exchange newspapers.  The table was littered and piled
with scraps of writing and printing.

"See!" exclaimed Jack, picking up a sheet of paper.  "The last thing
Mr. Murdoch did was to finish an account of his visit to Crofield, and
the flood.  We'll put that in first thing to-morrow.  It's easy to edit
a newspaper.  Where are the scissors?"

"We needn't bother to write new editorials," said Mary.  "Here are all
these papers full of them."

"Of course," said Jack.  "But we must pick out good ones."

Their tastes differed somewhat, and Mary condemned a number of articles
that seemed to Jack excellent.  However, she selected a story and some
poems and a bright letter from Europe, and Jack found an account of an
exciting horse-race, a horrible railway accident, a base-ball match, a
fight with Indians, an explosion of dynamite, and several long strips
of jokes and conundrums.

"These are splendid editorials!" said Mary, looking up from her
reading.  "We can cut them down to fit the _Eagle_, and nobody will
suspect that Mr. Murdoch has been away."

"Oh, they'll do," said Jack.  "They're all lively.  Mr. Murdoch is sure
to be satisfied.  I don't think he can write better editorials himself."

The young editors were much excited over their work, and soon became so
absorbed in their duties that it was ten o'clock before they knew it.

"Now, Molly," said Jack, "we'll go to the house and tell him it's all
right.  We'll set the _Eagle_ a-going in the morning.  I knew we could
edit it."

Mary had very little to say; her fingers ached from plying the
scissors, her eyes burned from reading so much and so fast, and her
head was in a whirl.

At the house they met Mrs. Murdoch.

"Oh, my dear children!" exclaimed she to Mary, "Mr. Murdoch is
delirious.  The doctor's been here, and says he won't be able to think
of work--not for days and days.  Can you,--_can_ you run the _Eagle_?
You won't let it stop."

"No, indeed!" said Mary.  "There's plenty of 'copy' ready, and Jack can
run the engine."

"I'm so glad," said Mrs. Murdoch.  "I'd never dare to clip anything.  I
might make serious mistakes.  He's so careful not to attack anything
nor to offend anybody.  All sorts of people take the _Eagle_, and Mr.
Murdoch says he has to steer clear of almost everything."

"We won't write anything," said Jack; "we'll just select the best there
is and put it right in.  Those city editors on the big papers know what
to write."

The editor's wife was convinced; and, after Mary had gone to her room,
Jack returned to a room prepared for him in the _Eagle_ office.

"I sha'n't wear my Sunday clothes to-morrow," said Jack; "I'll put on a
hickory shirt and old trousers; then I'll be ready to work."

The last thing he remembered saying to himself was:

"Well, I'm nine miles nearer to New York."


Morning came, and Jack was busy before breakfast, but he went to the
house early.

"I must be there when the 'hands' come," he said to Mrs. Murdoch.
"Molly ought to be in the office, too--"

"I've told Mr. Murdoch," she said, "but he has a severe headache.  He
can't bear to talk."

"He needn't talk if he doesn't feel able," replied Jack.  "The _Eagle_
will come out all right!"

Mary could hardly wait to finish her cup of coffee, but she tried hard
to appear calm.  She was ready as soon as Jack, but she did not have
quite so much confidence in her ability to do whatever might be
necessary.

There was to be some press-work done that forenoon, and the pony-engine
had steam up when the foreman and the two type-setters reached the
office.

"Good-morning, Mr. Black," said Jack, as he came into the engine-room.
"It's all right.  I'm Jack Ogden, a friend of Mr. Murdoch's.  The new
editor's upstairs.  There's some copy ready.  Mr. Murdoch will not be
at the office for a week."

"Bless me!" said Mr. Black.  "I reckoned that we'd have to strike work.
What we need most is a 'devil'--"

"I can be 'devil,'" said Jack.  "I used to run the _Standard_."

"Boys," said the foreman, without the change of a muscle in his
pasty-looking face, "Murdoch's hired a proxy.  I'll go up for copy."

He stumped upstairs to what he called the "sanctum."  The door stood
open.  Mr. Black's eyes blinked rapidly when he saw Mary at the
editor's table; but he did not utter a word.

"Good-morning, Mr. Black," said Mary, holding out Mr. Murdoch's
manuscript and a number of printed clippings.  She rapidly told him
what they were, and how each of them was to be printed.  Mr. Black
heard her to the end, and then he said:

"Good-morning, ma'am.  Is your name Murdoch, ma'am?"

"No, sir.  Miss Ogden," said Mary.  "But no one need be told that Mr.
Murdoch is not here.  I do not care to see anybody, unless it's
necessary."

"Yes, ma'am," said Mr. Black.  "We'll go right along, ma'am.  We're
glad the _Eagle_ is to come out on time, ma'am."

He was very respectful, as if the idea of having a young girl as editor
awed him; and he backed out of the office, with both hands full of
copy, to stump down-stairs and tell his two journeymen:

"It's all right, boys.  Bless me!  I never saw the like before."

He explained the state of affairs, and each in turn soon managed to
make an errand up-stairs, and then to come down again almost as awed as
Mr. Black had been.

"She's a driver," said the foreman.  "She was made for a boss.  She has
it in her eye."

Even Jack, when he was sent up after copy, was a little astonished.

"That's the way father looks," he thought, "whenever he begins to lose
his temper.  The men mind him then, too; but he has to be waked up
first.  I know how she feels.  She's bound the _Eagle_ shall come out
on time!"

Even Jack did not appreciate how responsibility was waking up Mary
Ogden, or how much older she felt than when she left Crofield; but he
had an idea that she was taller, and that her eyes had become darker.

Mr. Bones, the man of all work in the front office below, was of the
opinion that she was very tall, and that her eyes were very black, and
that he did not care to go up-stairs again; for he had blundered into
the sanctum, supposing that Mr. Murdoch was there, and remarking as he
came:

"Sa-ay, that there underdone gawk that helps edit the _Inquirer_, he
was jist in, lookin' for--yes, ma'am!  Beg pardon, ma'am!  I'm only
Bones--"

"What did the gentleman want, Mr. Bones?" asked Mary, with much
dignity.  "Mr. Murdoch is at home.  He is ill.  Is it anything I can
attend to?"

"Oh, no, ma'am; nothing, ma'am.  He's a blower.  We don't mind him,
ma'am.  I'll go down right away, ma'am.  I'll see Mr. Black, ma'am.
Thank you, ma'am."

He withdrew with many bows; and while down-stairs he saw Jack, and he
not only saw, but felt, that something very new and queer had happened
to the Mertonville _Eagle_.

Both Mary and Jack were aware that there was a rival newspaper, but it
had not occurred to them that they were at all interested in the
_Inquirer_, or in its editors, beyond the fact that both papers were
published on Thursdays, and that the _Eagle_ was the larger.

The printers worked fast that day, as if something spurred them on, and
Mr. Black was almost bright when he reported to Mary how much they had
done during the day.

"The new boy's the best 'devil' we ever had, ma'am," said he.  "Please
say to Mr. Murdoch we'd better keep him."

"Thank you, Mr. Black," said she.  "I hope Mr. Murdoch will soon be
well."

He stumped away, and it seemed to her as if her dignity barely lasted
until she and Jack found themselves in Mr. Murdoch's garden, on their
way home.  It broke completely down as they were going between the
sweet-corn and the tomatoes, and there they both stopped and laughed
heartily.

"But, Molly," Jack exclaimed, when he recovered his breath, "we'll have
to print the liveliest kind of an _Eagle_, or the _Inquirer_ will get
ahead of us.  I'm going out, after supper, all over town, to pick up
news.  If I can only find some boys I know here, they could tell me a
lot of good items.  The boys know more of what's going on than anybody."

"I'd like to go with you," said Mary.  "Stir around and find out all
you can."

"I know what to do," said Jack, with energy, and if he had really
undertaken to do all he proceeded to tell her, it would have kept him
out all night.



CHAPTER VIII.

CAUGHT FOR A BURGLAR.

Supper was ready when Jack and Mary went into the house, and Mrs.
Murdoch was eager that they should eat at once.  She seemed very
placidly to take it for granted that things were going properly in the
_Eagle_ office.  Her husband had been ill before, and the paper had
somehow lived along, and she was not the kind of woman to fret about it.

"He's been worrying," she said to Mary, "principally about town news.
He's afraid the _Inquirer_ 'll get ahead of you.  It might be good to
see him."

"I'll see him," said Mary.

"Mary!  Mary!" came faintly in reply to her kindly greeting.  "Local
items, Mary.  Society Notes--the flood--logs--bridges--dams--fires.
Brief Mention.  Town Improvement Society--the Sociable--anything!"

"Jack will be out after news as soon as he eats his supper," said Mary.
"He'll find all there is to find.  The printers did a splendid day's
work."

"The doctor says not to tell me about anything," said the sick man,
despondently.  "You'll fill the paper somehow.  Do the best you can,
till I get well."

She did not linger, for Mrs. Murdoch was already pulling her sleeve.
The three were soon seated at the table, and hardly was a cup of tea
poured before Mrs. Murdoch remarked:

"Mary," she said, "Miss Glidden called here to-day, with Mrs. Judge
Edwards, in her carriage.  They were sorry to find you out.  So did
Mrs. Mason, and so did Mrs. Lansing, and Mrs. Potter.  They wanted you
to go riding, and there's a lawn-tennis party coming.  I told them all
that Mr. Murdoch was sick, and you were editing the _Eagle_, and Jack
was, too.  Miss Glidden's very fond of you, you know.  So is Mrs.
Potter.  Her husband wishes he knew what to send Jack for saving his
wife from being drowned."

This was delivered steadily but not rapidly, and Mary needed only to
say she would have been glad to see them all.

"I didn't save anybody," said Jack.  "If the logs had hit the bridge
while we were on it, nothing could have saved us."

Mary was particularly glad that none of her new friends were coming in
to spend the evening, for she felt she had done enough for one day.
Mrs. Murdoch, however, told her of a "Union Church Sociable," to be
held at the house of Mrs. Edwards, the next Thursday evening, and said
she had promised to bring Miss Ogden.  Of course Mary said she would
go, but Jack declined.

After supper, Jack was eager to set out upon his hunt after news-items.

"I mustn't let a soul know what I'm doing," he said to Mary.  "We'll
see whether I can't find out as much as the _Inquirer's_ man can."

He hurried away from the house, but soon ceased to walk fast and began
to peer sharply about.

"There's a new building going up," he said, as he turned a corner;
"I'll find out about it."

So he did, but it was only "by the way"; he really had a plan, and the
next step took him to Mr. Prodger's livery-stable.

"Well, Ogden," said Prodger, when he came in.  "That bay team has
earned eight dollars and fifty cents to-day.  I'm glad you brought them
over.  How long are you going to be in town?"

"I can't tell," said Jack.  "I'm staying at Murdoch's."

"The editor's?  He's a good fellow, but the _Eagle_ is slow.  All dry
fodder.  No vinegar.  No pickles.  He needs waking up.  Tell him about
Link's bridge!"

That was a good beginning, and Jack soon knew just how high the water
had risen in the creek at Mertonville; how high it had ever risen
before; how many logs had been saved; how near Sam Hutchins and three
other men came to being carried over the dam; and what people talked
about doing to prevent another flood, and other matters of interest.
Then he went among the stable-men, who had been driving all day, and
they gave him a number of items.  Jack relied mainly upon his memory,
but he soon gathered such a budget of facts that he had to go to the
public reading-room and work a while with pencil and paper, for fear of
forgetting his treasures.

Out he went again, and it was curious how he managed to slip in among
knots of idlers, and set them to talking, and make them tell all they
knew.

"I'm getting the news," he said to himself; "only there isn't much
worth the time."  After a few moments he exclaimed, "This is the
darkest, meanest part of all Mertonville!"

It was the oldest part of the village, near the canal and the railway
station, and many of the houses were dilapidated.  Jack was thinking
that Mary might write something about improving such a neglected,
squalid quarter, when he heard a shriek from the door of a house near
by.

"Robbers!--thieves!--fire!--murder!--rob-bers!--villains!"

It was the voice of a woman, and had a crack in it that made it sound
as if two voices were trying to choke each other.

"Robbers!" shouted Jack springing forward, just as two very short men
dashed through the gate and disappeared in the darkness.

If they were robbers they were likely to get away, for they ran well.

Jack Ogden did not run very far.  He heard other footsteps.  There were
people coming from the opposite direction, but he paid no attention to
them, until just as he was passing the gate.

Then he felt a hand on his left shoulder, and another hand on his right
shoulder, and suddenly he found himself lying flat on his back upon the
sidewalk.

"Hold him, boys!"

"We've got him!"

"Hold him down!"

"Tie him!  We needn't gag him.  Tie him tight!  We've got him!"

There were no less than four men, and two held his legs, while the
other two pinioned his arms, all the while threatening him with
terrible things if he resisted.

It was in vain to struggle, and every time he tried to speak they
silenced him.  Besides, he was too much astonished to talk easily, and
all the while an unceasing torrent of abuse was poured upon him, over
the gate, by the voice that had given the alarm.

"We've got him, Mrs. McNamara!  He can't get away this time.  The young
villain!"

"They were goin' to brek into me house, indade," said Mrs. McNamara.
"The murdherin' vagabones!"

"What'll we do with him now, boys?" asked one of his captors.  "I don't
know where to take him--do you, Deacon Abrams?"

"What's your name, you young thief?" sternly demanded another.

Jack had begun to think.  One of his first thoughts was that a gang of
desperate robbers had seized him.  The next idea was, that he never met
four more stupid-looking men in Mertonville, nor anywhere else.  He
resolved that he would not tell his name, to have it printed in the
_Inquirer_, and so made no answer.

"That's the way of thim," said Mrs. McNamara.  "He's game, and he won't
pache.  The joodge'll have to mak him spake.  Ye'd betther lock him up,
and kape him till day."

"That's it, Deacon Abrams."

"That's just it," said the man spoken to.  "We can lock him up in the
back room of my house, while we go and find the constable."

Away they went, guarding their prisoner on the way as if they were
afraid of him.

They soon came to the dwelling of Deacon Abrams.

It was hard for Jack Ogden, but he bore it like a young Mohawk Indian.
It would have been harder if it had not been so late, and if more of
the household had been there to see him.  As it was, doors opened,
candles flared, old voices and young voices asked questions, a baby
cried, and then Jack heard a very sharp voice.

"Sakes alive, Deacon!  You can't have that ruffian here!  We shall all
be murdered!"

"Only till I go and find the constable, Jerusha," said the deacon,
pleadingly.  "We'll lock him in the back room, and Barney and
Pettigrew'll stand guard at the gate, with clubs, while Smith and I are
gone."

There was another protest, and two more children began to cry, but Jack
was led on into his prison-cell.

It was a comfortable room, containing a bed and a chair.  There was
real ingenuity in the way they secured Jack Ogden.  They backed a chair
against a bedpost and made him sit down, and then they tied the chair,
and the wicked young robber in it, to the post.

"There!" said Deacon Abrams.  "He can't get away now!" and in a moment
more Jack heard the key turn in the lock, and he was left in the dark,
alone and bound,--a prisoner under a charge of burglary.

"I never thought of this thing happening to me," he said to himself,
gritting his teeth and squirming on his chair.  "It's pretty hard.  May
be I can get away, though.  They thought they pulled the ropes tight,
but then--"

The hempen fetters really hurt him a little, but it was partly because
of the chair.

"May be I can kick it out from under me," he said to himself, "and
loosen the ropes."

Out it came, after a tug, and then Jack could stand up.

"I might climb on the bed, now the ropes are loose," he said, "and lift
the loops over the post.  Then I could crawl out of 'em."

He was excited, and worked quickly.  In a moment he was standing in the
middle of the room, with only his hands tied behind him.

"I can cut that cord," he thought, "if I can find a nail in the wall."

He easily found several, and one of them had a rough edge on the head
of it, and after a few minutes of hard sawing, the cord was severed.

"It's easy to saw twine," said he.  "Now for the next thing."

He went to the window and looked out into the darkness.

"I'm over the roof of the kitchen," he said, "and that tree's close to
it."

Up went the window--slowly, carefully, noiselessly--and out crept Jack
upon that roof.  It was steep, but he stole along the ridge.  Now he
could reach the tree.

"It's an apple-tree," he said.  "I can reach that longest branch, and
swing off, and go down it hand over hand."

At an ordinary time, few boys would have thought it could be done, and
Jack had to gather all his courage to make the attempt; but he slid
down and reached for that small, frail limb, from his perilous perch in
the gutter of the roof.

"Now!" said Jack to himself.

Off he went with a quick grasp, and then another lower along the
branch, before it had time to break, but his third grip was on a larger
limb, below, and he believed he was safe.

"I must be quick!" he said.  "Somebody is striking a light in that
room!"

Hand over hand for a moment, and then he was astride of a limb.  Soon
he was going down the trunk; and then the window (which he had closed
behind him) went up, and he heard Deacon Abrams exclaiming:

"He couldn't have got out this way, could he?  Stop thief!  Stop thief!"

"Let 'em chase!" muttered Jack, as his feet reached the ground.  "This
is the liveliest kind of news-item!"

Jack vaulted over the nearest fence, ran across a garden, climbed over
another fence, ran through a lot, and came out into a street on the
other side of the square.

"I've got a good start, now," he thought, "but I'll keep right on.
They don't expect me at Murdoch's to-night.  If I can only get to the
_Eagle_ office!  Nobody'll hunt for me there!"

He heard the sound of feet, at that moment, around the next corner.
Open went the nearest gate, and in went Jack, and before long he was
scaling more fences.

"It's just like playing 'Hare-and-Hounds,'" remarked Jack, as he once
more came out into a street.  "Now for the _Eagle_, and it won't do to
run.  I'm safe."

He heard some running and shouting after that, however, and he did not
really feel secure until he was on his bed, with the doors below locked
and barred.

"Now they can hunt all night!" he said to himself, laughing.  "I've
made plenty of news for Mary."

So she thought next morning; and the last "news-item" brought out the
color in her cheeks and the brightness in her eyes.

"I'll write it out," she said, "just as if you were the real robber,
and we'll print it!"

"Of course," said Jack; "but I'd better keep shady for a day or so.  I
wish I was on my way to New York!"

"Seems to me as if you were," said Mary.  "They won't come here after
you.  The paper's nearly full, now, and it'll be out to-morrow!"

Mr. Murdoch would have been gratified to see how Mary and Jack worked
that day.  Even Mr. Black and the type-setters worked with energy, and
so did Mr. Bones, and there was no longer any doubt that the _Eagle_
would be printed on time.  Mr. Murdoch felt better the moment he was
told by Mary, at tea-time, that she had found editing no trouble at
all.  He was glad, he said, that all had been so quiet, and that nobody
had called at the editor's office, and that people did not know he was
sick.  As to that, however, Mr. Bones had not told Mary how much he and
Mr. Black had done to protect her from intrusion.  They had been like a
pair of watch-dogs, and it was hardly possible for any outsider to pass
them.  As for Jack, he was not seen outside of the _Eagle_ all that day.

"If any of Deacon Abram's posse should come in," he remarked to Mary,
"they wouldn't know me with all the ink that's on my face."

"Mother would have to look twice," laughed Mary.  "Don't I wish I knew
what people will think of the paper!"

She did not find out at once, even on Thursday.  Jack had the engine
going on time, and as fast as papers were printed, the distribution of
them followed.  It was a very creditable _Eagle_, but Mary blushed when
she read in print the account Mr. Murdoch had written of the doings in
Crofield.

"They'll think Jack's a hero," she said, "and what will they think of
me?--and what will Miss Glidden say?  But then he has complimented her."

Jack, too, was much pleased to read the vivid accounts she had written
of the capture and escape of the daring young burglar who had broken
into the house of Mrs. McNamara, and of the falling of Link's bridge.
Neither of them, however, had an idea of how some articles in the paper
would affect other people.  Before noon, there was such a rush for
_Eagles_, at the front office, that Mr. Black got out another ream of
paper to print a second edition, and Mr. Bones had almost to fight to
keep the excited crowd from going up-stairs to see for themselves
whether the editor was there.  Before night, poor Mrs. Murdoch went to
the door thirty times to say to eager inquirers that Mr. Murdoch was in
bed, and that Dr. Follet had forbidden him to see anybody, or to talk
one word, or to get himself excited.

"What's the matter with the people?" she said wearily.  "Can it be
possible that anything's the matter with the _Eagle_?  Mary Ogden said
she'd taken the very best editorials from the city papers."

The _Inquirer_ was nowhere that Thursday, and the excitement over the
_Eagle_ increased all the afternoon.

[Illustration: _Just out_.]

"It's all right, Mrs. Murdoch," said Jack, at supper.  "Bones says he
has sold more than two hundred extra copies."

"I'm glad of that," she said, "and I'll tell Mr. Murdoch; but he
mustn't read it."

When she did so, he smiled faintly and with an effort feebly responded:

"Thank Mary for me.  I suppose they wanted to read about the flood."

Mr. Bones had not seen fit to report to Mary that a baker's dozen of
old subscribers had ordered their paper stopped; nor that one angry man
with a big club in his hand had inquired for the editor; nor that
Deacon Abrams, and the Town Constable, and three other men, and a
lawyer had called to see the editor about the robbery at Mrs.
McNamara's; nor that the same worthy woman, with her arms akimbo and
her bonnet falling back, had fiercely demanded of him:

"Fwhat for did yez print all that about me howlin'?  Wudn't ony woman
spake, was she bein' robbed and murdhered?"

Bones had pacified Mrs. McNamara only by sitting still and hearing her
out, and he would not for anything have mentioned it to Miss Ogden.
She therefore had only good news to tell at the house, and Mrs.
Murdoch's replies related chiefly to the Union Church Sociable at Judge
Edwards's.

"Mr. Murdoch is quiet," she said, "and he may sleep all the time we're
gone."

"I'll be on hand to look out for him," said Jack, "I'm not going
anywhere."

That reassured them as to leaving home, and Mrs. Murdoch and Mary
departed without anxiety; but they had hardly entered the Edwards's
house before they found that many other people were very much less
placid.

The first person to come forward, after Mrs. Edwards had welcomed them,
was Miss Glidden.

"Oh, Mary Ogden!" she exclaimed, very sweetly and benevolently.  "My
dear!  Why did you say so much about me in the _Eagle_?"

"That was Mr. Murdoch's work," said Mary.  "I had nothing to do with
it."

"And that robbery and escape was really shocking."

"Exactly!"  They heard a sharp, decided voice near them, and it came
from a thin little man in a white cravat.  "You are right, Elder
Holloway!  When a leading journal like the _Eagle_ finds it needful to
denounce so sternly the state of the public streets in Mertonville, it
is time for the people to act.  We ministers must hold a council right
away."

Mary remembered a political editorial she had taken from a New York
paper, and had cut down to fit the _Eagle_; but its effect was
something unexpected.

A deeper voice on her left spoke next.

"There was serious talk among the hotel-men and innkeepers of mobbing
the _Eagle_ office to-day!"

"That," thought Mary, "must be the high-license editorial from that
Philadelphia weekly."

"We must _act_, Judge Edwards!" exclaimed another voice.  "Nobody knows
Murdoch's politics, but his denunciation of the prevailing corruption
is terrible.  There's a storm rising.  The Republican Committee has
called a special meeting to consider the matter, and we Democrats must
do the same.  The _Eagle_ is right about it, too; but it was a daring
step for him to take."

"That's the editorial from the Chicago daily," thought Mary; "the last
part was from that Boston paper!  Oh, dear me!  What have I done?"

She had to ask herself that question a dozen times that evening, and
she wished Jack had been there to hear what was said.

The sociable went gayly on, nevertheless, and all the while Jack sat in
Mrs. Murdoch's dining-room, his face fairly glowing red with the
interest he took in something spread out upon the table before him.  It
was a large map of New York city that he had found in the _Eagle_
office and brought to the house.



CHAPTER IX.

NEARER THE CITY.

Mary Ogden would have withdrawn into some quiet corner, at the
sociable, if it had not been for Elder Holloway and Miss Glidden, who
seemed determined to prevent her from being overlooked.  All those who
had called upon Mrs. Murdoch knew that Mary had had something to do
with that extraordinary number of the _Eagle_, and they told others,
but Mrs. Murdoch escaped all discussion about the _Eagle_ by saying she
had not read it, and referring every one to Miss Ogden.

Mary was glad when the evening was over.  After hearing the comments of
the public, there was something about their way of editing the paper
that seemed almost dishonest.

Jack was still up when she came home.

"I've used my time better than if I'd gone to the party," he said.
"I've studied the map of New York.  I'd know just how to go around, if
I was there.  I am going to study it all the time I'm here."

Mr. Murdoch was better.  He had had a comfortable night, and felt able
to think of business again.

"Now, my dear," he said to his wife, "I'm ready to take a look at the
_Eagle_.  I am glad it was a good number."

"They talked about it all last evening at the sociable," she answered,
as she handed him a copy.

He was even cheerful, when he began; and he studied the paper as Jack
had studied the map.  It was a long time before he said a word.

"My account of the flood is really capital," he said, at last, "and all
that about Crofield matters.  The report of things in Mertonville is
good; that about the logs, the dam, the burglary--a very extraordinary
occurrence, by the way--it's a blessing they didn't kill Mrs. McNamara.
The story is good; funny-column good.  But--oh, gracious!  Oh, Mary
Ogden!  Oh my stars!  What's this?"

He had begun on the editorials, and he groaned and rolled about while
he was reading them.

"They'll mob the _Eagle_!" he said at last.  "I must get up!  Oh, but
this is dreadful!  She's pitched into everything there is!  I must get
up at once!"

Those editorials were a strong tonic, or else Mr. Murdoch's illness was
over.  He dressed himself, and walked out into the kitchen.  His wife
had not heard him say he would get up, but she seemed almost to have
expected it.

"It's the way you always do," she said.  "I'm never much scared about
you.  You'll never die till your time comes.  I think Mary is over at
the office."

"I'm going there, now," he said, excitedly.  "If this work goes on, I
shall have the whole town about my ears."

He was right.  Mary had been at her table promptly that morning to make
a beginning on the next number; Jack was down in the engine-room; Mr.
Black was busy, and Mr. Bones was out, when a party of very red-faced
men filed in, went through the front office, and climbed the stairs.

"We'll show him!" said one.

"It'll be a lesson he won't forget!" remarked another, fiercely.

"He'll take it back, or there will be broken bones!" added another; and
these spoke for the rest.  They had sticks, and they tramped heavily as
they marched to the "sanctum."  The foremost opened the door, without
knocking, and his voice was deep, threatening, and husky as he began:

"Now, Mr. Editor--"

"I'm the editor, sir.  What do you wish of me?"

[Illustration: _"I'm the Editor, sir."_]

Mary Ogden stood before him, looking him straight in the face without a
quiver.

He was a big man; but, oddly enough, it occurred to him that Mary
seemed larger than he was.

"Bob!" exclaimed a harsh whisper behind him, "howld yer tongue! it's
only a gir-rl!  Don't ye say a har-rd word to the loikes o' her!"

Other whispers and growls came from the hall, but the big man stood
like a stone post for several seconds.

"You're the editor?" he gasped.  "Is old Murdoch dead,--or has he run
away?"

"He's at home, and ill," said Mary.  "What is your errand?"

"I keep a decent hotel, sir,--ma'am--madam--I do,--we all do,--it's the
_Eagle_, you know,--and there's no kind of disorder,--and there was
never any complaint in Mertonville--"

"Howld on, Bob!" exclaimed the prompter behind him.  "You're no good at
all; coom along, b'ys.  Be civil,--Mike Flaherty will never have it
said he brought a shillalah to argy wid a colleen.  I'm aff!"

Away he went, stick and all, and the other five followed promptly,
leaving Mary Ogden standing still in amazement.  She was trying to
collect her thoughts when Mr. Black marched in from the other room,
followed by the two typesetters; and Mr. Bones tumbled up-stairs, out
of breath.

Mary had hardly any explanation to make about what Mr. Bones
frantically described as "the riot," and she was inclined to laugh at
it.  Just then Mr. Murdoch himself came to the door.

Jack stopped the engine, exclaiming, "Mr. Murdoch! you here?"

"What is it?  What is it?" he exclaimed.  "I saw them go out.  Did they
break anything?"

"Miss Ogden scared 'em off in no time," said Mr. Black.

Mary resigned the editorial chair to Mr. Murdoch.  Bones brought in two
office chairs; Mr. Black appeared with a very high stool that usually
stood before one of his typecases; Mary preferred one of the office
chairs, and there she sat a long time, replying to Mr. Murdoch's
questions and remarks.  She had plenty to tell, after all she had heard
at the sociable, and Mr. Murdoch groaned at times, but still he thanked
her for her efforts.  Meanwhile Mr. Black went to the engine-room with
an errand for Jack that sent him over to the other side of the village.
Jack looked in the little cracked mirror in the front room as he went
out.

"Ink enough; they'll never know me," said Jack.  "I'm safe enough.
Besides, Mrs. McNamara wasn't robbed at all.  She was yelling because
she thought robbers were coming."

He loitered along on his way back, with his eyes open and his ears
ready to catch any bit of stray news, and paused a moment to peer into
a small shoe-shop.

It was only a momentary glance, but a hammer ceased tapping upon a
lapstone, and a tall man straightened up suddenly and very straight, as
he untied his leather apron.

"That's the fellow!" he exclaimed under his breath, but Jack heard him.

"He knew me!  He knew me!  I can't stay in Mertonville!" thought Jack.
"There'll be trouble now."

He started at a run, but it was so early that he attracted little
attention.

His return to the _Eagle_ office was so quick that Mr. Black opened his
eyes in surprise.

"I've got to see Mr. Murdoch," Jack said hurriedly, and up-stairs he
darted, to break right in upon the conference between the editors.

Jack told his story, and Mr. Murdoch felt it was only another blow
added to the many already fallen upon him and his _Eagle_.  "Perhaps
you will be better satisfied to leave town," said Mr. Murdoch, uneasily.

"I've enough money to take me to the city, and I'll go.  I'm off for
New York!" said Jack, eagerly.

"New York?" exclaimed Mr. Murdoch.  "That's the thing!  Go to the house
and get ready.  I'll buy you a ticket to Albany, and you can go down on
the night boat.  They're taking passengers for half a dollar.  You
mustn't be caught!  No doubt they are hunting for you now."

Mr. Murdoch was right.  At that very moment the cobbler was in the
grocery kept by Deacon Abrams, shouting, "We've got him again, Deacon!
He's in town.  He works in a paint shop--had paint on his face.  Or
else he's a blacksmith, or he works in coal, or something black--or
dusty.  We can run him down now."

While they went for the two others who knew Jack's face, he was putting
on his Sunday clothes and packing up.  When he came down, there was no
ink upon his face, his collar was clean, his hair was brushed, and he
was a complete surprise to Mr. Black and the rest.

"I can get a new boy," said Mr. Murdoch, as if he were beginning to
recover his spirits; "and I can run the engine myself now I'm well.  I
can say in the next _Eagle_ that you are gone to the city, and that
will help me out of my troubles."

Neither Jack nor Mary quite understood what he meant, and, in fact,
they were not thinking about him just then.  Mr. Murdoch had said that
there was only time to catch the express-train, and they were saying
good-by.  Mary was crying for the moment, and Jack was telling her what
to write to his mother and father and those at home in Crofield.

"It's so sudden, Jack!" said Mary.  "But I'm glad you're going.  I wish
I could go, too."

"I wish you could," said Jack, heartily; "but I'll write.  I'll tell
you everything.  Good-by, Mr. Murdoch's waiting.  Good-by!"

The _Eagle_ editor was indeed waiting, and he was very uneasy.  "What a
calamity it would be," he thought, "to have my own 'devil' arrested for
burglary.  The _Inquirer_ would enjoy that!  It isn't Jack's fault, but
I can't bear everything!"

Meanwhile Mary sat at the table and pretended to look among the papers
for a new story, but really she was trying to keep from crying over
Jack's departure.  Mr. Murdoch and Jack had gone to the station.

There was cunning in the plans of the pursuers of Mrs. McNamara's
burglar this time.  Three of them, each aided by several eager
volunteers, dashed around Mertonville, searching every shop in which
any sort of face-blacking might be used, and Deacon Abrams himself went
to the station with a justice of the peace, a notary-public, a
constable, and the man that kept the village pound.

"He won't get by _me_," said the deacon wisely, as Mr. Murdoch and a
neatly dressed young gentleman passed him, arm in arm.

"Good morning, Mr. Murdoch.  The _Eagle's_ improving.  You did me
justice.  We're after that same villain now.  We'll get him this time,
too."

"Deacon," said the editor, gripping Jack's arm hard, "I'll mention your
courage and public spirit again.  Tie him tighter next time."

"We will," said the deacon; "and I've got some new subscribers for you,
and a column advertisement."

Mr. Murdoch hurried to the ticket-window, and Jack patiently looked
away from Deacon Abrams all the while.

"There," said Mr. Murdoch, "jump right in.  Keep your satchel with you.
I'm going back to the office."

[Illustration: _"There," said Mr. Murdoch, "jump right in."_]

"Good-by," said Jack, pocketing his ticket and entering the car.

He took a seat by the open window, just as the train started.

"Jack's gone, Mary," exclaimed Mr. Murdoch, under his breath, as he
re-entered the _Eagle_ office.  "Have those men been here again?"

"No," said Mary.  "But the chairmen of the two central committees have
both been here.  Elder Holloway said they would.  They will call again."

"What did you say?" the editor asked.

"Why," replied Mary, "I told them you were just getting well."

"So I am," said Mr. Murdoch.  "There's a great demand for that number
of the _Eagle_.  Forty-six old subscribers have stopped their papers,
but a hundred and twenty-seven new ones have come in.  I can't guess
where this will end.  Are you going to the house?"

"I think I'd better," said Mary.  "If there's anything more I can do--"

"No, no, no!  Don't spoil your visit," said he, hastily.  "You've had
work enough.  Now you must be free to rest a little, and meet your
friends."

He would not say he was afraid to have her in the _Eagle_ office, to
stir up storms for him.  But Mary made no objection--she was very
willing to give up the work.

Mr. Murdoch came home in a more hopeful state of mind, but soon went to
his room and lay down.

"My dear," he said to his wife, "the paper's going right along; but I'm
too much exhausted to see anybody.  Tell 'em all I'm not well."

Mary was uneasy about Jack, but she need not have worried.  The moment
the train was in motion, he forgot even Deacon Abrams and Mrs. McNamara
in the grand thought that he was actually on his way to the city.

"This train's an express train," he said to himself.  "Doesn't she go!
I said I'd get there some day, and now I'm really going!  Hurrah for
New York!  It's good I learned something about the streets--I'll know
what to do when I get there."

He had nine dollars in his pocket for capital, but he knew more or less
of several businesses and trades.

In the seat in front of him were two gentlemen, who must have been
railway men, he thought, from what they said, and it occurred to Jack
that he would like to learn how to build a railway.

The train stopped at last, after a long journey, and a well-dressed man
got in, came straight to Jack's seat, took the hitherto empty half of
it, and began to talk with the men in front as if he had come on board
for the purpose.  At first Jack paid little attention, but soon they
began to mention places he knew.

"So far, so good," remarked the man at his side; "but we're going to
have trouble in getting the right of way through Crofield.  We'll have
to pay a big price for that hotel if we can't use the street."

"I think not," said Jack, with a smile.  "There isn't much hotel left
in Crofield, now.  It was burned down last Sunday."

"What?" exclaimed one of the gentlemen in front.  "Are you from
Crofield?"

"I live there," said Jack.  "Your engineer was there about the time of
the fire.  The old bridge is down.  I heard him say that your line
would cross just below it."

The three gentlemen were all attention, and the one who had not before
spoken said:

"I know.  Through the old Hammond property."

"It used to belong to Mr. Hammond," replied Jack, "but it belongs to my
father now."

"Can you give me a list of the other owners of property?" asked the
railway man with some interest.

"I can tell you who owns every acre around Crofield, boundary lines and
all," answered Jack.  "I was born there.  You don't know about the
people, though.  They'll do almost anything to have the road there.  My
father will help all he can.  He says the place is dead now."

"What's his name?" asked the first speaker, with a notebook and a
pencil in his hand.

"His is John Ogden.  Mine's Jack Ogden.  My father knows every man in
the county," replied Jack.

"Ogden," said the gentleman in the forward seat, next the window.  "My
name's Magruder; we three are directors in the new road.  I'm a
director in this road.  Are you to stay in Albany?"

"I go by the night boat to New York," said Jack, almost proudly.

"Can you stay over a day?  We'll entertain you at the Delavan House if
you'll give us some information."

"Certainly; I'll be glad to," said Jack; and so when the train stopped
at Albany, Jack was talking familiarly enough with the three railway
directors.


Mary Ogden had a very clear idea that Mr. Murdoch preferred to make up
the next paper without any help from her, and even Mrs. Murdoch was
almost glad to know that her young friend was to spend the next week
with Mrs. Edwards.

One peculiar occurrence of that day had not been reported at the
_Eagle_ office, and it had consequences.  The Committee of Six, who had
visited the sanctum so threateningly, went away beaten, but recounted
their experience.  They did so in the office of the Mertonville Hotel,
and Mike Flaherty had more than a little to say about "that gurril,"
and about "the black eyes of her," and the plucky way in which she had
faced them.

One little old gentleman whose eyes were still bright, in spite of his
gray hair, stood in the door and listened, with his hand behind his ear.

"Gentlemen," exclaimed this little old man, turning to the men behind
him.  "Did you hear 'em?  I guess I know what we ought to do.  Come on
into Crozier's with me--all of you.  We must give her a testimonial for
her pluck."

"Crozier's?" asked a portly, well-dressed man.  "Nothing there but
dry-goods."

"Come, Jeroliman.  You're a banker and you're needed.  I dare you to
come!" said the little old man, jokingly, leading the way.

Seven of them reached the dress-goods counter of the largest store in
Mertonville, and here the little old gentleman bought black silk for a
dress.

"You brought your friends, I see, General Smith," said the merchant,
laughing.  "One of your jokes, eh?"

"No joke at all, Crozier; a testimonial of esteem,"--and three
gentlemen helped one another to tell the story.

"I'll make a good reduction, for my share," exclaimed the merchant, as
he added up the figures of the bill.  "Will that do, General?"

"I'll join in," promptly interposed Mr. Jeroliman, the banker,
laughing.  "I won't take a dare from General Smith.  Come, boys."

They were old enough boys, but they all "chipped in," and General
Smith's dare did not cost him much, after all.

Mary Ogden had the map of New York out upon the table that evening, and
was examining it, when there came a ring at the door-bell.

"It's a boy from Crozier's with a package," said Mrs. Murdoch; "and
Mary, it's for you!"

"For me?" said Mary, in blank astonishment.

It was indeed addressed to her, and contained a short note:


"The girl who was not afraid of six angry men is requested to accept
this silk dress, with the compliments of her admiring friends,

"SEVEN OLD MEN OF MERTONVILLE."


"Oh, but, Mrs. Murdoch," said Mary, in confusion, "I don't know what to
say or do.  It's very kind of them!--but ought I to take it?"

This testimonial pleased Mr. Murdoch even more than it pleased Mary.
He insisted Mary should keep it, and she at last consented.

But not even the new dress made Mary forget to wonder how Jack was
faring.


The lightning express made short work of the trip to Albany, and Jack
was glad of it, for he had not had any dinner.  His new acquaintances
invited him to accompany them to the Delavan House.

As they left the station, Mr. Magruder took from his pocket a small
pamphlet.

"Humph!" he said.  "Guide-book to the New York City and Hudson River.
I had forgotten that I had it.  Don't you want it, Ogden?  It'll be
something to read on the boat."

"Won't you keep it?" asked Jack, hesitating.

"Oh, no," said Mr. Magruder.  "I was going to throw it away."

So Jack put the book into his pocket.  It was a short walk to the
Delavan House, but it was through more bustle and business, considering
how quiet everybody was, Jack thought, than he ever saw before.  He
went with the rest to the hotel office, and heard Mr. Magruder give
directions about Jack's room and bill.

"He's going to pay for me for one day," Jack said to himself, "and
until the evening boat goes to-morrow."

"Ogden," said Mr. Magruder, "I can't ask you to dine with us.  It's a
private party--have your dinner, and then wait for me here."

"All right," said Jack, and then he stood still and tried to think what
to do.

"I must go to my room, now, and leave my satchel there," he said to
himself.  "I don't want anybody to know I never was in a big hotel
before."

He managed to get to his room without making a single blunder, but the
moment he closed the door he felt awed and put down.

"It's the finest room I was ever in in all my life!" he exclaimed.
"They must have made a mistake.  Perhaps I'll have a bedroom like this
in my own house some day."

Jack made himself look as neat as if he had come out of a bandbox,
before he went down-stairs.

The dining-room was easily found, and he was shown to a seat at one of
the tables, and a bill of fare was handed him; but that was only one
more puzzle.

"I don't know what some of these are," he said to himself.  "I'll try
things I couldn't get in Crofield.  I'll begin on those clams with
little necks."

So the waiter set before him a plate of six raw clams.

That was a good beginning; for every one of them seemed to speak to him
of the salt ocean.

After that he went farther down the bill of fare and selected such
dishes as, he said, "nobody ever saw in Crofield."

It was a grand dinner, and Jack was almost afraid he had been too long
over it.

He went out to the office and looked around, and asked the clerk if Mr.
Magruder had been inquiring for him.

"Not yet, Mr. Ogden," said the clerk.  "He is not yet through dinner.
Did you find your room all right?"

"All right," said Jack.  "I'll sit down and wait for Mr. Magruder."

It was an hour before the railway gentlemen returned.  There were twice
as many of them now, however, and Mr. Magruder remarked:

"Come, Ogden, we won't detain you long.  After that you can do what you
like.  Thank you very much, too."

Jack followed them into a private sitting-room, which seemed to him so
richly furnished that he really wished it had been plainer; but he
found the men very straightforward about their business.

They all sat down around the table in the middle of the room.

"We'll finish Ogden first, and let him go," said Mr. Magruder,
laughing.  "Ogden, here's a map of Crofield and all the country from
there to Mertonville.  I want to ask some questions."

He knew what to ask, too; but Jack's first remark was not an answer.

"Your map's all wrong," said he.  "There isn't sand and gravel in that
hill across the Cocahutchie, beyond the bridge."

[Illustration: _"Your map's all wrong," said Jack._]

"What is there, then?" asked a gentleman, who seemed to be one of the
civil engineers, pettishly.  "I say it's earth and gravel, mainly."

"Clear granite," said Jack.  "Go down stream a little and you'll see."

"All right," exclaimed Mr. Magruder; "it will be costly cutting it, but
we shall want the stone.  Go ahead now.  You're just the man we needed."

Jack thought so before they got through, for he had to tell all there
was to tell about the country, away down to Link's bridge.

"Look here," said one of them, quizzically.  "Ogden, have you lived all
your life in every house in Crofield and in Mertonville and everywhere?
You know even the melon-patches and hen-roosts!"

"Well, I know some of 'em," said Jack, coloring and trying to join in
the general laugh.  "I wouldn't talk so much, but Mr. Magruder asked me
to stay over and tell what you didn't know."

Then the laughter broke out again, and it was not at Jack's expense.

They had learned all they expected from him, however, and Mr. Magruder
thanked him very heartily.

"I hope you'll have a good time to-morrow," he said.  "Look at the
city.  I'll see that you have a ticket ready for the boat."

"I didn't expect--" began Jack.

"Nonsense, Ogden," said Mr. Magruder.  "We owe you a great deal, my
boy.  I wouldn't have missed knowing about that granite ledge.  It's
worth something to us.  The ticket will be handed you by the clerk.
Good-evening, Jack Ogden.  I hope I'll see you again, some day."

"I hope so," said Jack.  "Good-evening, sir.  Good-evening, gentlemen."

Out he walked, and as the door closed behind him the engineer remarked:

"He ought to be a railway contractor.  Brightest young fellow I've seen
in a long time."

Jack felt strange.  The old, grown-up feeling seemed to have been
questioned out of him, by those keen, peremptory, clear-headed business
men, and he appeared to himself to be a very small, green, poor,
uneducated boy, who hardly knew where he was going next, or what he was
going to do when he got there.  "I don't know about that either," he
said to himself, when he reached the office.  "I know I'm going to bed,
next, and I believe that I'll go to sleep when I get there!"

Weary, very weary, and almost blue, in spite of everything, was Jack
Ogden that night, when he crept into bed.

"'Tisn't like that old cot in the _Eagle_ office," he thought.  "I'm
glad it isn't to be paid for out of my nine dollars."

Jack was tired all over, and in a few minutes he was sound asleep.

He had gone to bed quite early, and he awoke with the first sunshine
that came pouring into his room.

"It isn't time to get up," he said.  "It'll be ever so long before
breakfast, but I can't stay here in bed."

As he put on his coat something swung against his side, and he said:

"There!  I'd forgotten that pamphlet.  I'll see what's in it."

The excitement of getting to the Delavan House, and the dinner and the
talk afterward, had driven the pamphlet out of his mind until then, but
he opened it eagerly.

"Good!" he said, as he turned the leaves.  "Maps and pictures, all the
way down.  Everything about the Hudson.  Pictures of all the places
worth seeing in New York.  Tells all about them.  Where to go when you
get there.  Just what I wanted!"

Down he sat, and he came near forgetting his breakfast, so intensely
was he absorbed by that guide-book.  He shut it up, at last, however,
remarking: "I'll have breakfast, and then I'll go out and see Albany.
It's all I've got to do till the boat leaves this evening.  First city
I ever saw."  He ate with all the more satisfaction because he knew
that he was not eating up any part of his nine dollars, and it did not
seem like so much money as it would have seemed in Crofield.  He was in
no haste, for he had no idea where to go, and did not mean to tell
anybody how ignorant he was.  He walked out of the Delavan House, and
strolled away to the right.  Even the poorer buildings were far better
than anything in Crofield or Mertonville, and he soon had a bit of a
surprise.  He reached a corner where a very broad street opened, at the
right, and went up a steep hill.  It was not a very long street, and it
ended at the crest of the hill, where there were some trees, and above
them towered what seemed to be a magnificent palace of a building.

"I'll go and see that," said Jack.  "I'll know what it is when I see
the sign,--or I'll ask somebody."

His interest in that piece of architecture grew as he walked on up the
hill; and he was a little warm and out of breath when he reached the
street corner, at the top.  Upon the corner, with his hands folded
behind him and his hat pushed back on his head, stood a well-dressed
man, somewhat above middle height, heavily built and portly, who seemed
to be gazing at the same object.

"Mister," said Jack, "will you please tell me what that building is?"

"Certainly," replied the gentleman, turning to him with a bow and a
smile.  "That's the New York State Miracle; one of the wonders of the
world."

"The State Miracle?" said Jack.

"What's your name?" asked the gentleman, with another bow and smile.

"Ogden--Jack Ogden."

"Yes, Jack Ogden; thank you.  My name's 'Guvner.'  That's a miracle.
It can never be finished.  There's magic in it.  Do you know what that
is?"

"That's one of the things I don't know, Mr. Guvner," said Jack.

"I don't know what it is either," smiled Mr. Guvner.  "When they built
it they put in twenty tons of pure, solid gold, my lad.  Didn't you
ever hear of it?  Where do you live when you're at home?"

"My home's in Crofield," said Jack, not aware of a group of gentlemen
and ladies who were standing still, a few yards away, looking at them.
"I'm on my way to New York, but I wanted to see Albany."

Mr. Guvner put a large hand on his shoulder, and smiled in his face.

"Jack, my son," he said, "go up and look all over the State Miracle.
Many other States have other similar miracles.  Don't stay in it too
long, though."

"Is it unhealthy?" asked Jack, with a smile.

The portly gentleman was smiling also.

"No, no; not unhealthy, my boy; but they persuade some men to stay
there a long time, and they're never the same men again.  Come out as
soon as you've had a good view of it."

"I'll take a look at it any way," said Jack, turning away.  "Thank you,
Mr. Guvner.  I'll see the Miracle."

He had gone but a few paces, and the others were stepping forward, when
he was called by Mr. Guvner.

"Jack, come back a moment!"

"What is it, Mr. Guvner?" asked Jack.

"I'm almost sorry you're going to the city.  It's as bad as the Capitol
itself.  You'll never be the same man again.  Don't get to be the wrong
kind of man."

"I'll remember, Mr. Guvner," said Jack, and he walked away again; but
as he did so he heard a lady laughing, and a solemn-faced gentlemen
saying:

"Good morning, Gov-er-nor.  A very fine morning?"

"I declare!" exclaimed Jack, with almost a shiver.  "I've been talking
with the Governor of the State himself, and I'm going to see the
Capitol.  I couldn't have done that in Crofield.  And I'll be in New
York City to-morrow!"



CHAPTER X.

THE STATE-HOUSE AND THE STEAMBOAT.

Mary Ogden had three dresses, one quite pretty, but none were of silk.
Aunt Melinda was always telling Mary what she ought not to wear at her
age, and with hair and eyes as dark as hers.  Mary felt very proud,
therefore, when she saw on the table in her room the parcel containing
the black silk and trimmings.

"It must have been expensive," she said, and she unfolded it as if
afraid it would break.

"What will mother say?" she thought.  "And Aunt Melinda!  I'm too young
for it--I know I am!"

The whole Murdoch family arose early, and the editor, after looking at
the black silk, said that he felt pretty well.

"So you ought," said his wife.  "You had more new subscribers yesterday
than you ever had before in your life in any one day."

"That makes me think," said Mr. Murdoch.  "I owe Mary Ogden five
dollars--there it is--for getting out that number of the _Eagle_."

"Oh, no!" exclaimed Mary.  "I did that, and Jack did it, only because--"

He put the bank-note into her hand.

"I'd rather you'd take it," he said.  "You'll never be a good editor
till you learn to work on a business basis."

As he insisted, she put the bill into her pocket-book, thanking him
gratefully.

"I had two dollars when I came," she thought, "and I haven't spent a
cent; but I may need something.  Besides, I'll have to pay for making
up my new dress."

But she was wrong.  Mrs. Murdoch went out to see a neighbor after
breakfast, and before noon it was certain that if seven old men of
Mertonville had paid for the silk, at least seven elderly women could
be found who were very willing to make it up.

About that time Jack was walking up to the door of the Senate Chamber,
in the Capitol, at Albany, after having astonished himself by long
walks and gazings through the halls and side passages.

"It's true enough," he said to himself.  "The Governor's right.  No
fellow could go through this and come out just as he came in."

He understood about the "twenty tons of pure gold" in the building, but
nevertheless he could not keep from looking all around after signs of
it.

"There's plenty of gilding," he said, "but it's very thin.  It's all
finished, too.  I don't see what more they could do, now the roof's on
and it's all painted.  He must have been joking when he said that."

Jack roamed all over the Capitol, for the Legislature was not in
session, and the building was open to sight-seers.  There were many of
them, and from visitors, workmen, and some boys whom he met, Jack
managed to find out many interesting things.

The Assembly Chamber seemed to him a truly wonderful room, and upon the
floor were several groups of people admiring it.

He saw one visitor seat himself in the Speaker's chair.  "There's room
in that chair for two or three small men," said Jack; "I'll try it by
and by."

So he did.

"The Speaker was a boy once, too, and so was the Governor," he said to
himself aloud.

"Yes, my boy," said a lady, who was near enough to hear him; "so they
were.  So were all the presidents, and some went barefoot and lived in
log-cabins."

"Well, I've often gone barefoot," said Jack, laughing.

"Many boys go barefoot, but they can't all become governors," she said,
pleasantly.

She looked at Jack for a moment, and then said with a smile, "You look
like a bright young man, though.  Do you suppose you could ever be
Governor?"

"Perhaps I could," he said.  "It can't be harder to learn than any
other business."

The lady laughed, and her friends laughed, and Jack arose from the
Speaker's chair and walked away.

He had seen enough of that vast State House.  It wearied him, there was
so much of it, and it was so fine.

"To build this house cost twenty tons of gold!" he said, as he went out
through the lofty doorway.  "I wish I had some of it.  I've kept my
nine dollars yet, anyway.  The Governor's right.  I don't know what he
meant, but I'll never be just the same fellow again."

It was so.  But it was not merely seeing the Capitol that had changed
him.  He was changing from a boy who had never seen anything outside of
Crofield and Mertonville, into a boy who was walking right out into the
world to learn what is in it.

"I'll go to the hotel and write to father and mother," he said; "and I
have something to tell them."

It was the first real letter he had ever written, and it seemed a great
thing to do--ten times more important than writing a composition, and
almost equal to editing the _Eagle_.

"I'll just put in everything," he thought, "just as it came along, and
they'll know what I've been doing."

It took a long time to write the letter, but it was done at last, and
when he put down his pen he exclaimed:

"Hard work always makes me hungry!  I wonder if it isn't dinner-time?
They said it was always dinner-time here after twelve o'clock.  I'll go
see."  It was long after twelve when he went down to the office to
stamp and mail his letter.

"Mr. Ogden," said the clerk, giving Jack an envelope, "here's a note
from Mr. Magruder.  He left--"

"Ogden," said a deep, full voice just behind him, "didn't you stay
there too long?  I am told you sat in the Speaker's chair."

Jack wheeled about, blushing crimson.  The Governor was not standing
still, but was walking steadily through the office, surrounded by a
group of dignified men.  It was necessary to walk with them in order to
reply to the question, and Jack did so.

"I sat there half a minute," he answered.  "I hope it didn't hurt me."

"I'm glad you got out so soon, Jack," replied the Governor approvingly.

"But I heard also that you think of learning the Governor business,"
went on the great man.  "Now, don't you do it.  It is not large pay,
and you'd be out of work most of the time.  Be a blacksmith, or a
carpenter, or a tailor, or a printer."

"Well, Governor," said Jack, "I was brought up a blacksmith; and I've
worked at carpentering, and printing too; and I've edited a newspaper;
but--"

There he was cut short by the laughter from those dignified men.

"Good-bye, Jack," said the Governor, shaking hands with him.  "I hope
you'll have a good time in the city.  You'll be sent back to the
Capitol some day, perhaps."

Jack returned to the clerk's counter to mail his letter, and found that
gentleman looking at him as if he wondered what sort of a boy he might
be.

[Illustration: _The hotel clerk looked at Jack_.]

"That young fellow knows all the politicians," said the clerk to one of
the hotel proprietors.  "He can't be so countrified as he looks."

After dinner, Jack returned to his room for a long look at the
guide-book.  He went through it rapidly to the last leaf, and then
threw it down, remarking:

"I never was so tired!  I'll take a walk around and see Albany a little
more; and I'll not be sorry when the boat goes.  I'd like to see Mary
and the rest for an hour or two.  I think they'd like to see me coming
in, too."

Jack sauntered on through street after street, getting a clearer idea
of what a city was.

He walked so far that he had some difficulty in returning to the hotel,
but finally he found it without asking directions.

Soon after, Jack brought down his satchel, said good-bye to the very
polite clerk, and walked out.

He had learned the way to the steamboat-wharf; and he had already taken
one brief look at the river and the railway bridge.

"There's the 'Columbia,'" he said, aloud, as he turned a street corner
and came in sight of her.  "What a boat!  Why, if her nose was at the
Main Street corner, by the Washington Hotel, her rudder would be
half-way across the Cocahutchie!"

He walked the wharf, staring at her from end to end, before he went on
board.  He had put Mr. Magruder's note into his pocket without reading
it.

"I won't open it here," he had said then.  "There's nothing in it but a
ticket."

He found, however, that he must show the ticket at the gangway, and so
he opened the envelope.

"Three tickets?" he said.  "And two are in one piece.  This one is for
a stateroom.  That's the bunk I'm to sleep in.  Hulloo!  Supper ticket!
I have supper on board the steamer, do I?  Well, I'm not sorry.  I'll
have to hurry, too.  It's about time for her to start."

Jack went on board, and soon was hunting for his stateroom, almost
bewildered by the rushing crowd in the great saloon.

He had his key, and knew the number, but it seemed that there were
about a thousand of the little doors.

"One hundred and seventy-six is mine," he said; "and I'm going to put
away my satchel and go on deck and see the river.  Here it is at last.
Why, it's a kind of little bedroom!  It's as good as a floating hotel.
Now I'm all right."

Suddenly he was aware, with a great thrill of pleasure, that the
Columbia was in motion.  He left his satchel in a corner, locked the
door of the stateroom behind him, and set out to find his way to the
deck.  He went down-stairs and up-stairs, ran against people, and was
run against by them; and it occurred to him that all the passengers
were hunting for something they could not find.

"Looking for staterooms, I guess," he remarked aloud; but he himself
should not have been staring behind him, for at that moment he felt the
whack of a collision, and a pair of heavy arms grasped him.

"What you looks vor yourself, poy?  You knocks my breath out!  You find
somebody you looks vor--eh?"

The tremendous man who held him was not tall, but very heavy, and had a
broad face and long black beard and shaggy gray eyebrows.

"Beg pardon!" exclaimed Jack, with a glance at a lady holding one of
the man's long arms, and at two other ladies following them.

"You vas got your stateroom?" asked his round-faced captor
good-humoredly.

"Oh, yes!" said Jack.  "I've got one."

"You haf luck.  Dell you vot, poy, it ees a beeg schvindle.  Dey say
'passage feefty cent,' und you comes aboard, und you find it is choost
so.  Dot's von passage.  Den it ees von dollar more to go in to supper,
und von dollar to eat some tings, und von dollar to come out of supper,
und some more dollars to go to sleep, und maybe dey sharges you more
dollars to vake up in de morning.  Dot is not all.  Dey haf no more
shtateroom left, und ve all got to zeet up all night.  Eh?  How you
like dot, poy?"

Jack replied as politely as he knew how:

"Oh, you will find a stateroom.  They can't be full."

"Dey _ees_ full.  Dey ees more as full.  Dere vill be no room to sleep
on de floor, und ve haf to shtand oop all night.  How you likes dot,
eh?"

The ladies looked genuinely distressed, and said a number of things to
each other in some tongue that Jack did not understand.  He had been
proud enough of his stateroom up to that moment, but he felt his heart
melting.  Besides, he had intended to sit up a long while to see the
river.

"I can fix it," he suddenly exclaimed.  "Let the ladies take my
stateroom.  It's big enough."

"Poy!" said the German solemnly, "dot is vot you run into my arms for.
My name is Guilderaufenberg.  Dis lady ees Mrs. Guilderaufenberg.  Dis
ees Mees Hildebrand.  She's Mees Poogmistchgski, and she is a Bolish
lady vis my wife."

Jack caught all the names but the last, but he was not half sure about
that.  He bowed to each.

"Come with me; I'll show you the room," he said.  "Then I'm going out
on deck."

"Ve comes," said the wide German; and the three ladies all tried to
express their thanks at the same time, as Jack led the way.  Jack was
proud of his success in actually finding his own door again.

"I puts um all een," said Mr. Guilderaufenberg; "den I valks mit you on
deck.  Dose vommens belifs you vas a fine poy.  So you vas, ven I dells
de troof."

They all talked a great deal, and Jack managed to reduce the Polish
lady's name to Miss "Podgoomski," but he felt uneasily that he had left
out a part of it.  Mrs. Guilderaufenberg and the others were loaded up
with more parcels and baggage than Jack had ever seen three women carry.

"Dey dakes care of dot shtateroom," said his friend.  "Ve goes on deck.
I bitty anypoddy vot dries to get dot shtateroom avay from Mrs.
Guilderaufenberg and Mees Hildebrand and Mees Pod----ski;" but again
Jack had failed to hear that Polish lady's name.



CHAPTER XI.

DOWN THE HUDSON.

Jack already felt well acquainted with Mr. Guilderaufenberg.

The broad and bearded German knew all about steamboats, and found his
way out upon the forward deck without any difficulty.  Jack had lost
his way entirely in his first hunting for that spot, and he was glad to
find himself under the awning and gazing down the river.

"Ve only shtays here a leetle vile," said his friend.  "Den ve goes and
takes de ladies down to eat some supper.  Vas you hongry?"

Jack was not really hungry for anything but the Hudson, but he said he
would gladly join the supper-party.

"I never saw the Hudson before," he said.  "I'd rather sit up than not."

"I seet up all de vay to New York and not care," said his friend.  "I
seet up a great deal.  My vife, dot ees Mrs. Guilderaufenberg, she keep
a beeg boarding-house in Vashington.  Dot ees de ceety to lif in!  Vas
you ever in Vashington?  No?"

"Never was anywhere," said Jack.  "Never was in New York--"

"Yon nefer vas dere?  Den you petter goes mit me und Mrs.
Guilderaufenberg.  Dot ees goot.  So!  You nefer vas in Vashington.
You nefer vas in New York.  So!  Den you nefer vas in Lonton?  I vas
dere.  You lose youself in Lonton so easy.  I lose myself twice vile I
vas dere."

"You weren't lost long, I know," said Jack, laughing at the droll shake
of the German's head.

"No, I vas find.  I vas shoost going to advertise myself ven I finds a
street I remember.  Den I gets to my hotel.  You nefer vas dere?  Und
you nefer vas in Vashington.  You come some day.  Dot ees de ceety, mit
de Capitol und de great men!  Und you vas nefer in Paris, nor in
Berlin, nor in Vienna, nor in Amsterdam?  No?  I haf all of dem seen,
und dose oder cities.  I dravel, but dere ees doo much boleece, so I
comes to dis country, vere dere ees few boleece."

Jack was startled for a moment.  The bland, good-humored face of his
German acquaintance had suddenly changed.  His white teeth showed
through his mushtaches, and his beard seemed to wave and curl as he
spoke of the police.  For one moment Jack thought of Deacon Abram and
Mrs. McNamara, of the dark room and the ropes and the window.

"He may not have done anything," he said to himself, aloud, "any more
than I did; and they were after me."

"Dot ees not so!" Mr. Guilderaufenberg growled.  "I dell dem de troof
too mosh.  Den I vas a volf, a vild peest, dot mus' be hoonted, und dey
hoonted me; put I got avay.  I vas in St. Beetersburg, vonce, vile dey
hoont somevere else.  Den I vas in Constantinople, mit de Turks--"

Jack's brain was in a whirl.  He had read about all of those cities,
and here was a man who had really been in them.  It was even more
wonderful than talking with the Governor or looking at the Hudson.

But in a moment his new friend's face assumed a quieter expression.

"Come along," he said.  "De ladies ees ready by dees time.  Ve goes.
Den I dells you some dings you nefer hear."

He seemed to know all about the Columbia, for he led Jack straight to
the stateroom door, through all the crowds of passengers.

"I might not have found it in less than an hour," said Jack to himself.
"They're waiting for us.  I can't talk with them much."

But he found out that Mrs. Guilderaufenberg spoke English with but
little accent, Miss Hildebrand only knocked over a letter here and
there, and the Polish lady's fluent English astonished him so much that
he complimented her upon it.

"Dot ees so," remarked Mr. Guilderaufenberg.  "She talks dem all so
vell dey say she vas born dere.  Dell you vat, my poy, ven you talks
Bolish or Russian, den you vas exercise your tongue so you shpeaks all
de oder lankwitches easy."

The ladies were in good humor, and disposed to laugh at anything,
especially after they reached the supper-room; and Mrs.
Guilderaufenberg at once took a strong interest in Jack because he had
never been anywhere.

For convenience, perhaps, the ladies frequently spoke to one another in
German, but Jack, without understanding a word of it, listened
earnestly to what they were saying.

They often, however, talked in English, and to him, and he learned that
they had been making a summer-vacation trip through Canada, and were
now on their way home.  It was evident that Mr. Guilderaufenberg was a
man who did not lack money, and that none of the others were poor.
Besides hearing them, Jack was busy in looking around the long,
glittering supper-room of the Columbia, noticing how many different
kinds of people there were in it.  They seemed to be of all nations,
ages, colors, and kinds, and Jack would not have missed the sight for
anything.

"I'm beginning to see the world," he said to himself, and then he had
to reply to Mrs. Guilderaufenberg for about the twentieth time:

"Oh, not at all.  You're welcome to the stateroom.  I'd rather sit up
and look at the river than go to bed."

"Den, Mr. Ogden," she said, "you comes to Vashington, and you comes to
my house.  I can den repay your kindness.  You vill see senators,
congressmen, generals, fine men--great men, in Vashington."

After supper the party found seats under the awning forward, and for a
while Jack's eyes were so busy with the beauties of the Hudson that his
ears heard little.

The moonlight was very bright and clear, and showed the shores plainly.
Jack found his memory of the guidebook was excellent.  The villages and
towns along the shores were so many collections of twinkling, changing
glimmers, and between them lay long reaches of moonshine and shadow.

"I'd like to write home about it," thought Jack, "but I couldn't begin
to tell 'em how it looks."

Jack was not sorry when the three ladies said good-night.  He had never
before been so long upon his careful good behavior in one evening, and
it made him feel constrained, till he almost wished he was back in
Crofield.

"Mr. Guilderaufenberg," he said as soon as they were alone, "this is
the first big river I ever saw."

"So?" said the German.  "Den I beats you.  I see goot many rifers, ven
I drafels.  Dell you vat, poy; verefer dere vas big rifers, anyvere,
dere vas mosh fighting.  Some leetle rifer do choost as vell,
sometimes, but de beeg rifers vas alvays battlefields."

"Not the Hudson?" said Jack inquiringly.

"You ees American poy," said the German; "you should know de heestory
of your country.  Up to Vest Point, de Hudson vas full of fights.  All
along shore, too.  I vas on de Mississippi, and it is fights all de vay
down to his mout'.  So mit some oder American rifers, but de vorst of
all is the Potomac, by Vashington.  Eet ees not so fine as de Hudson,
but eet is battle-grounds all along shore.  I vas on de Danube, and eet
ees vorse for fights dan de Potomac.  I see so many oder rifers, all
ofer, eferyvere, but de fighting rifer of de vorld is de Rhine.  It is
so fine as de Hudson, and eet ees even better looking by day.--Ve gets
into de Caatskeel Mountains now.  Look at dem by dis moonlight, and you
ees like on de Rhine.  You see de Rhine some day, and ven you comes to
Vashington you see de Potomac."

On, on, steamed the Columbia, with what almost seemed a slow motion, it
was so ponderous, dignified, and stately, while the moonlit heights and
hollows rolled by on either hand.  On, at the same time, went Mr.
Guilderaufenberg with his stories of rivers and cities and countries
that he had seen, and of battles fought along rivers and across them.
Then, suddenly, the gruff voice grew deep and savage, like the growl of
an angry bear, and he exclaimed:

"I haf seen some men, too, of de kind I run avay from--"

"Policemen?" said Jack.

"Yah; dat is de name I gif dem," growled the angry German.  "De Tsar of
Russia, I vas see him, and he vas noding but a chief of boleece.  De
old Kaiser of Germany, he vas a goot man, but he vas too mosh chief of
boleece.  So vas de Emperor of Austria; I vas see him.  So vas de
Sultan of Turkey, but he vas more a humpug dan anyting else.  Dere ees
leetle boleece in Turkey.  I see de Emperor Napoleon before he toomble
down.  He vas noding but a boleeceman.  I vas so vild glad ven he comes
down.  De leetle kings, I care not so mosh for.  You comes to
Vashington, and I show you some leetle kings--" and Mr.
Guilderaufenberg grew good-humored and began to laugh.

"What kind of kings?" asked Jack.

"Leetle congressman dot is choost come de first time, und leetle beeg
man choost put into office.  Dey got ofer it bretty soon, und de fun is
gone."

There was a long silence after that.  The broad German sat in an
arm-chair, and pretty soon he slipped forward a little with his knees
very near the network below the rail of the Columbia.  Then Jack heard
a snore, and knew that his traveler friend was sound asleep.

[Illustration: _His traveler friend was sound asleep_.]

"I wish I had a chair to sleep on, instead of this campstool," thought
Jack.  "I'll have a look all around the boat and come back."

It took a long while to see the boat, and the first thing he discovered
was that a great many people had failed to secure staterooms or berths.
They sat in chairs, and they lounged on sofas, and they were curled up
on the floor; for the Columbia had received a flood of tourists who
were going home, and a large part of the passengers of another boat
that had been detained on account of an accident at Albany; so the
steamer was decidedly overcrowded.

"There are more people aboard," thought Jack, "than would make two such
villages as Crofield, unless you should count in the farms and farmers.
I'm glad I came, if it's only to know what a steamboat is.  I haven't
spent a cent of my nine dollars yet, either."

Here and there he wandered, until he came out at the stern, and had a
look at the foaming wake of the boat, and at the river and the heights
behind, and at the grand spectacle of another great steamboat, full of
lights, on her way up the river.  He had seen any number of smaller
boats, and of white-sailed sloops and schooners, and now, along the
eastern bank, he heard and saw the whizzing rush of several railway
trains.

"I'd rather be here," he thought.  "The people there can't see half so
much as I can."

Not one of them, moreover, had been traveling all over the world with
Mr. Guilderaufenberg, and hearing and about kings and their "police."

Getting back to his old place was easier, now that he began to
understand the plan of the Columbia; but, when Jack returned, his
camp-stool was gone, and he had to sit down on the bare deck or to
stand up.  He did both, by turns, and he was beginning to feel very
weary of sight-seeing, and to wish that he were sound asleep, or that
to-morrow had come.

"It's a warm night," he said to himself, "and it isn't so very dark,
even now the moon has gone down.  Why--it's getting lighter!  Is it
morning?  Can we be so near the city as that?"

There was a growing rose-tint upon a few clouds in the western sky, as
the sun began to look at them from below the range of heights,
eastward, but the sun had not yet risen.

Jack was all but breathless.  He walked as far forward as he could go,
and forgot all about being sleepy or tired.

"There," he said, after a little, "those must be the Palisades."

Out came his guide-book, and he tried to fit names to the places along
shore.

"More sailing-vessels," he said, "and there goes another train.  We
must be almost there."

He was right, and he was all one tingle of excitement as the Columbia
swept steadily on down the widening river.

There came a pressure of a hand upon his shoulder.

"Goot-morning, my poy.  De city ees coming.  How you feels?"

"First-rate," said Jack.  "It won't be long, now, will it?"

"You wait a leetle.  I sleep some.  It vas a goot varm night.  De
varmest night I efer had vas in Egypt, and de coldest vas in Moscow.
De shtove it went out, and ve vas cold, I dell you, dill dot shtove vas
kindle up again!  Dere vas dwenty-two peoples in dot room, and dot safe
us.  Ye keep von another varm.  Dot ees de trouble mit Russia.  De
finest vedder in all the vorlt is een America,--and dere ees more
vedder of all kinds."

On, on, and now Jack's blood tingled more sharply, to his very fingers
and toes, for they swept beyond Spuyten Duyvil Creek, which his friend
pointed out, and the city began to make its appearance.

"It's on both sides," said Jack.  "No, that's New Jersey"--and he read
the names on that side from his guidebook.

Masts, wharves, buildings, and beyond them spires, and--and Jack grew
dizzy trying to think of that endless wilderness of streets and houses.
He heard what Mr. Guilderaufenberg said about the islands in the
harbor, the forts, the ferries, and yet he did not hear it plainly,
because it was too much to take in all at once.

"Now I brings de ladies," said Mr. Guilderaufenberg, "an' ve eats
breakfast, ven ve all gets to de Hotel Dantzic.  Come!"

Jack took one long, sweeping look at the city, so grand and so
beautiful under the newly risen sun, and followed.


At that same hour a dark-haired girl sat by an open window in the
village of Mertonville.  She had arisen and dressed herself, early as
it was, and she held in her hand a postal-card, which had arrived for
her from Albany the night before.

"By this time," she said, "Jack is in the city.  Oh, how I wish I were
with him!"

She was silent after that, but she had hardly said it before one of two
small boys, who had been pounding one another with pillows in a very
small bedroom in Crofield, suddenly threw his pillow at the other, and
exclaimed:

"I s'pose Jack's there by this time, Jimmy!"



CHAPTER XII.

IN A NEW WORLD.

Jack Ogden stood like a boy in a dream, as the "Columbia" swept
gracefully into her dock and was made fast.  Her swing about was helped
by the outgoing tide, that foamed and swirled around the projecting
piers.

A hurrying crowd of people was thronging out of the "Columbia," but
Jack's German friend did not join them.

"De ceety vill not roon avay," he said, calmly.  "You comes mit me."

They went to the cabin for the ladies, and Jack noticed how much
baggage the rest were carrying.  He took a satchel from Miss
Hildebrand, and then the Polish lady, with a grateful smile, allowed
him to take another.

"Dose crowds ees gone," remarked Mr. Guilderaufenberg.  "Ve haf our
chances now."

Afterward, Jack had a confused memory of walking over a wide gang-plank
that led into a babel.  Miss Hildebrand held him by his left arm while
the two other ladies went with Mr. Guilderaufenberg.  They came out
into a street, between two files of men who shook their whips, shouted,
and pointed at a line of carriages.  Miss Hildebrand told Jack that
they could reach their hotel sooner by the elevated railway.

"He look pale," she thought, considerately.  "He did not sleep all
night.  He never before travel on a steamboat!"

Jack meanwhile had a new sensation.

"This is the city!" he was saying to himself.  "I'm really here.  There
are no crowds, because it's Sunday,--but then!"

After walking a few minutes they came to a corner, where Mr.
Guilderaufenberg turned and said to Jack:

"Dees ees Proadvay.  Dere ees no oder street in de vorlt dat ees so
long.  Look dees vay und den look dat vay!  So!  Eh?  Dot ees Proadvay.
Dere ees no oder city in de vorlt vere a beeg street keep Soonday!"

It was indeed a wonderful street to the boy from Crofield, and he felt
the wonder of it; and he felt the wonder of the Sunday quiet and of the
closed places of business.

[Illustration: _On Broadway, at last!_]

"There's a policeman," he remarked to Mr. Guilderaufenberg.

"So!" said the German, smiling; "but he ees a beople's boleeceman.  Eef
he vas a king's boleeceman, I vas not here.  I roon avay, or I vas lock
up.  Jack, ven you haf dodge some king's boleecemen, like me, you vish
you vas American, choost like me now, und vas safe!"

"I believe I should," said Jack, politely; but his head was not still
for an instant.  His eyes and his thoughts were busily at work.  He had
expected to see tall and splendid buildings, and had even dreamed of
them.  How he had longed and hoped and planned to get to this very
place!  He had seen pictures of the city, but the reality was
nevertheless a delightful surprise.

Miss Hildebrand pointed out Trinity Church, and afterward St. Paul's.

"Maybe I'll go to one of those big churches, to-day," said Jack.

"Oh, no," said Miss Hildebrand.  "You find plenty churches up-town.
Not come back so far."

"I shall know where these are, any way," Jack replied.

After a short walk they came to City Hall Square.

"There!" Jack exclaimed.  "I know this place!  It's just like the
pictures in my guide-book.  There's the Post-office, the City
Hall,--everything!"

"Come," said Mr. Guilderaufenberg, beginning to cross the street.  "Ve
must go ofer und take de elevated railvay."

"Come along, Meester Jack Ogden," added Mrs. Guilderaufenberg.

"There are enough people here now," said Jack, as they walked
along--"Sunday or no Sunday!"

"Of course," said Miss Hildebrand, pointing with a hand that lifted a
small satchel.  "That's the elevated railway station over there, across
both streets.  There, too, is where you go to the suspension bridge to
Brooklyn, over the East River.  You see, when we go by.  You see
to-morrow.  Not much, now.  I am so hungry!"

"I want to see everything," said Jack; "but I'm hungry, too.  Why,
we're going upstairs!"

In a minute more Jack was sitting by an open window of an elevated
railway car.  This was another entirely new experience, and Jack found
it hard to rid himself of the notion that possibly the whole
long-legged railway might tumble down or the train suddenly shoot off
from the track and drop into the street.

"Dees ees bretty moch American," said Mr. Guilderaufenberg, as Jack
stared out at the third-story windows of the buildings.  "You nefer vas
here before?  So!  Den you nefer feels again choost like now.  You ees
fery moch a poy.  I dell you, dere is not soch railvays in Europe; I
vonce feel like you now.  Dot vas ven I first come here.  It vas not
Soonday; it vas a day for de flags.  I dell you vat it ees: ven dot
American feels goot, he hang out hees flag.  Shtars und shtripes--I
like dot flag!  I look at some boleece, und den I like dot flag again,
for dey vas not hoont, hoont, hoont, for poor Fritz von
Guilderaufenberg, for dot he talk too moch!"

"It's pretty quiet all along.  All the stores seem to be closed," said
Jack, looking down at the street below.

"Eet ees so shtill!" remarked Mr. Guilderaufenberg.  "I drafel de vorlt
ofer und I find not dees Soonday.  In Europe, it vas not dere to keep.
I dell you, ven dere ees no more Soonday, den dere ees no more America!
So!  Choost you remember dot, my poy, from a man dot vas hoonted all
ofer Europe!"

Jack was quite ready to believe Mr. Guilderaufenberg.  He had been used
to even greater quiet, in Crofield, for after all there seemed to be a
great deal going on.

The train they were in made frequent stops, and it did not seem long to
Jack before Mrs. Guilderaufenberg and the other ladies got up and began
to gather their parcels and satchels.  Jack was ready when his friends
led the way to the door.

"I'll be glad to get off," he thought.  "I am afraid Aunt Melinda would
say I was traveling on Sunday."

The conductor threw open the car door and shouted, and Mr.
Guilderaufenberg hurried forward exclaiming: "Come!  Dees ees our
station!"

Jack had taken even more than his share of the luggage; and now his arm
was once more grasped by Miss Hildebrand.

"I'll take good care of her," he said to himself, as she pushed along
out of the cars.  "All I need to do is to follow the rest."

He did not understand what she said to the others in German, but it
was: "I'll bring Mr. Ogden.  He will know how to look out for himself,
very soon."

She meant to see him safely to the Hotel Dantzic, that morning; and the
next thing Jack knew he was going down a long flight of stairs, to the
sidewalk, while Miss Hildebrand was explaining that part of the city
they were in.  Even while she was talking, and while he was looking in
all directions, she wheeled him suddenly to the left, and they came to
a halt.

"Hotel Dantzic," read Jack aloud, from the sign.  "It's a tall
building; but it's very thin."

The ladies went into the waiting-room, while Jack followed Mr.
Guilderaufenberg into the office.  The German was welcomed by the
proprietor as if he were an old acquaintance.

A moment afterward, Mr. Guilderaufenberg turned away from the desk and
said to Jack:

"My poy, I haf a room for you.  Eet ees high oop, but eet ees goot; und
you bays only feefty cent a day.  You bay for von veek, now.  You puys
vot you eats vere you blease in de ceety."

The three dollars and a half paid for the first week made the first
break in Jack's capital of nine dollars.

"Any way," he thought, when he paid it, "I have found a place to sleep
in.  Money'll go fast in the city, and I must look out.  I'll put my
baggage in my room and then come down to breakfast."

"You breakfast mit us dees time," said Mr. Guilderaufenberg, kindly.
"Den you not see us more, maybe, till you comes to Vashington."

Jack got his key and the number of his room and was making his way to
the foot of a stairway when a very polite man said to him:

"This way, sir.  This way to the elevator.  Seventh floor, sir."

Jack had heard and read of elevators, but it was startling to ride in
one for the first time.  It was all but full when he got in, and after
it started, his first thought was:

"How it's loaded!  What if the rope should break!"

It stopped to let a man out, and started and stopped again and again,
but it seemed only a few long, breathless moments before the man in
charge of it said; "Seventh, sir!"

The moment Jack was in his room he exclaimed:

"Isn't this grand, though?  It's only about twice as big as that
stateroom on the steamboat.  I can feel at home here."

It was a pleasant little room, and Jack began at once to make ready for
breakfast.

He was brushing his hair when he went to the window, and as he looked
out he actually dropped the brush in his surprise.

"Where's my guide-book?" he said.  "I know where I am, though.  That
must be the East River.  Away off there is Long Island.  Looks as if it
was all city.  Maybe that is Brooklyn,--I don't know.  Isn't this a
high house?  I can look down on all the other roofs.  Jingo!"

He hurried through his toilet, meanwhile taking swift glances out of
the window.  When he went out to the elevator, he said to himself:

"I'll go down by the stairs some day, just to see how it seems.  A
storm would whistle like anything, round the top of this building!"

When he got down, Mr. Guilderaufenberg was waiting for him, and the
party of ladies went in to breakfast, in a restaurant which occupied
nearly all of the lower floor of the hotel.

"I understand," said Jack, good-humoredly, in reply to an explanation
from Miss Hildebrand.  "You pay for just what you order, and no more,
and they charge high for everything but bread.  I'm beginning to learn
something of city ways."

During all that morning, anybody who knew Jack Ogden would have had to
look at him twice, he had been so quiet and sedate; but the old,
self-confident look gradually returned during breakfast.

"Ve see you again at supper," said Mr. Guilderaufenberg, as they arose.
"Den ve goes to Vashington.  You valks out und looks about.  You easy
finds your vay back.  Goot-bye till den."

Jack shook hands with his friends, and walked out into the street.

"Well, here I am!" he thought.  "This is the city.  I'm all alone in
it, too, and I must find my own way.  I can do it, though.  I'm glad
it's Sunday, so that I needn't go straight to work."


At that moment, the nine o'clock bells were ringing in two wooden
steeples in the village of Crofield; but the bell of the third steeple
was silent, down among the splinters of what had been the pulpit of its
own meeting-house.  The village was very still, but there was something
peculiar in the quiet in the Ogden homestead.  Even the children went
about as if they missed something or were listening for somebody they
expected.

There were nine o'clock bells, also, in Mertonville, and there was a
ring at the door-bell of the house of Mr. Murdoch, the editor.

"Why, Elder Holloway!" exclaimed Mrs. Murdoch, when she opened the
door.  "Please to walk in."

"Thank you, Mrs. Murdoch, but I can't," he said, speaking as if
hurried, "Please tell Miss Ogden there's a class of sixteen girls in
our Sunday school, and the teacher's gone; and I've taken the liberty
of promising for her that she'll take charge of it."

"I'll call her," said Mrs. Murdoch.

"No, no," replied the elder.  "Just tell her it's a nice class, and
that the girls expect her to come, and we'll be ever go much obliged to
her.  Good-morning!"--and he was gone.

"Oh, Mrs. Murdoch!" exclaimed Mary, when the elder's message was given.
"I can't!  I don't know them!  I suppose I ought; but I'd have said no,
if I had seen him."

The elder had thought of that, perhaps, and had provided against any
refusal by retreating.  As he went away he said to himself:

"She can do it, I know; if she does, it'll help me carry out my plan."

He looked, just then, as if it were a very good plan, but he did not
reveal it.

Mary Ogden persuaded Mrs. Murdoch to take her to another church that
morning, so that she need not meet any of her new class.

"I hope Jack will go to church in the city," she said; and her mother
said the same thing to Aunt Melinda over in Crofield.

Jack could not have given any reason why his feet turned westward, but
he went slowly along for several blocks, while he stared at the rows of
buildings, at the sidewalks, at the pavements, and at everything else,
great and small.  He was actually leaving the world in which he had
been brought up--the Crofield world--and taking a first stroll around
in a world of quite another sort.  He met some people on the streets,
but not many.

"They're all getting ready for church," he thought, and his next
thought was expressed aloud.

"Whew! what street's this, I wonder?"

He had passed row after row of fine buildings, but suddenly he had
turned into a wide avenue which seemed a street of palaces.  Forward he
went, faster and faster, staring eagerly at one after another of those
elegant mansions of stone, of marble, or of brick.

"See here, Johnny," he suddenly heard in a sharp voice close to him,
"what number do you want?"

"Hallo," said Jack, halting and turning.  "What street's this?"

He was looking up into the good-natured face of a tall man in a neat
blue uniform.

"What are you looking for?" began the policeman again.  But, without
waiting for Jack's answer, he went on, "Oh, I see!  You're a greeny
lookin' at Fifth Avenue.  Mind where you're going, or you'll run into
somebody!"

"Is this Fifth Avenue?" Jack asked.  "I wish I knew who owned these
houses."

"You do, do you?" laughed the man in blue.  "Well, I can tell you some
of them.  That house belongs to--" and the policeman went on giving
name after name, and pointing out the finest houses.

Some of the names were familiar to Jack.  He had read about these men
in newspapers, and it was pleasant to see where they lived.

"See that house?" asked the policeman, pointing at one of the finest
residences.  "Well, the man that owns it came to New York as poor as
you, maybe poorer.  Not quite so green, of course!  But you'll soon get
over that.  See that big house yonder, on the corner?  Well, the cash
for that was gathered by a chap who began as a deck-hand.  Most of the
big guns came up from nearly nothing.  Now you walk along and look out;
but mind you don't run over anybody."

"Much obliged," said Jack, and as he walked on, he kept his eyes open,
but his thoughts were busy with what the policeman had told him.

That was the very idea he had while he was in Crofield.  That was what
had made him long to break away from the village and find his way to
the city.  His imagination had busied itself with stories of poor
boys,--as poor and green as he, scores of them,--born and brought up in
country homes, who, refusing to stay at home and be nobodies, had
become successful men.  All the great buildings he saw seemed to tell
the same story.  Still he did say to himself once:

"Some of their fathers must have been rich enough to give them a good
start.  Some were born rich, too.  I don't care for that, though.  I
don't know as I want so big a house.  I am going to get along somehow.
My chances are as good as some of these fellows had."

Just then he came to a halt, for right ahead of him were open grounds,
and beyond were grass and trees.  To the right and left were buildings.

"I know what this is!" exclaimed Jack.  "It must be Central Park.  Some
day I'm going there, all over it.  But I'll turn around now, and find a
place to go to church.  I've passed a dozen churches on the way."



CHAPTER XIII.

A WONDERFUL SUNDAY.

When Jack turned away from the entrance to Central Park, he found much
of the Sunday quiet gone.  It was nearly half-past ten o'clock; the
sidewalks were covered with people, and the street resounded with the
rattle of carriage-wheels.

There was some uneasiness in the mind of the boy from Crofield.  The
policeman had impressed upon Jack the idea that he was not at home in
the city, and that he did not seem at home there.  He did not know one
church from another, and part of his uneasiness was about how city
people managed their churches.  Perhaps they sold tickets, he thought;
or perhaps you paid at the door; or possibly it didn't cost anything,
as in Crofield.

[Illustration: _"How would he get in?"_]

"I'll ask," he decided, as he paused in front of what seemed to him a
very imposing church.  He stood still, for a moment, as the steady
procession passed him, part of it going by, but much of it turning into
the church.

"Mister--," he said bashfully to four well-dressed men in quick
succession; but not one of them paused to answer him.  Two did not so
much as look at him, and the glances given him by the other two made
his cheeks burn--he hardly knew why.

"There's a man I'll try," thought Jack.  "I'm getting mad!"  The man of
whom Jack spoke came up the street.  He seemed an unlikely subject.  He
was so straight he almost leaned backward; he was rather slender than
thin; and was uncommonly well dressed.  In fact, Jack said to himself:
"He looks as if he had bought the meeting-house, and was not pleased
with his bargain."

Proud, even haughty, as was the manner of the stranger, Jack stepped
boldly forward and again said:

"Mister?"

"Well, my boy, what is it?"

The response came with a halt and almost a bow.

"If a fellow wished to go to this church, how would he get in?" asked
Jack.

"Do you live in the city?"  There was a frown of stern inquiry on the
broad forehead; but the head was bending farther forward.

"No," said Jack, "I live in Crofield."

"Where's that?"

"Away up on the Cocahutchie River.  I came here early this morning."

"What's your name?"

"John Ogden."

"Come with me, John Ogden.  You may have a seat in my pew.  Come."

Into the church and up the middle aisle Jack followed his leader, with
a sense of awe almost stifling him; then, too, he felt drowned in the
thunderous flood of music from the organ.  He saw the man stop, open a
pew-door, step back, smile and bow, and then wait until the boy from
Crofield had passed in and taken his seat.

"He's a gentleman," thought Jack, hardly aware that he himself had
bowed low as he went in, and that a smile of grim approval had followed
him.

In the pew behind them sat another man, as haughty looking, but just
now wearing the same kind of smile as he leaned forward and asked in an
audible whisper:

"General, who's your friend?"

"Mr. John Ogden, of Crofield, away up on the Cookyhutchie River.  I
netted him at the door," was the reply, in the same tone.

"Good catch?" asked the other.

"Just as good as I was, Judge, forty years ago.  I'll tell you how that
was some day."

"Decidedly raw material, I should say."

"Well, so was I.  I was no more knowing than he is.  I remember what it
is to be far away from home."

The hoarse, subdued whispers ceased; the two gentle men looked grim and
severe again.  Then there was a grand burst of music from the organ,
the vast congregation stood up, and Jack rose with them.

He felt solemn enough, there was no doubt of that; but what he said to
himself unconsciously took this shape:

"Jingo!  If this isn't the greatest going to church _I_ ever did!  Hear
that voice!  The organ too--what music!  Don't I wish Molly was here!
I wish all the family were here."

The service went on and Jack listened attentively, in spite of a strong
tendency in his eyes to wander among the pillars to the galleries, up
into the lofty vault above him, or around among the pews full of
people.  He knew it was a good sermon and that the music was good,
singing and all--especially when the congregation joined in "Old
Hundred" and another old hymn that he knew.  Still he had an increasing
sense of being a very small fellow in a very large place.  When he
raised his head, after the benediction, he saw the owner of the pew
turn toward him, bow low, and hold out his hand.  Jack shook hands, of
course.

"Good-morning, Mr. Ogden," said the gentleman gravely, with almost a
frown on his face, but very politely, and then he turned and walked out
of the pew.  Jack also bowed as he shook hands, and said,
"Good-morning.  Thank you, sir.  I hope you enjoyed the sermon."

"General," said the gentleman in the pew behind them, "pretty good for
raw material.  Keep an eye on him."

"No, I won't," said the general.  "I've spoiled four or five in that
very way."

"Well, I believe you're right," said the judge, after a moment.  "It's
best for that kind of boy to fight his own battles.  I had to."

"So did I," said the general, "and I was well pounded for a while."

Jack did not hear all of the conversation, but he had a clear idea that
they were talking about him; and as he walked slowly out of the church,
packed in among the crowd in the aisle, he had a very rosy face indeed.

Jack had in mind a thought that had often come to him in the church at
Crofield, near the end of the sermon:--he was conscious that it was
dinner-time.

Of course he thought, with a little homesickness, of the home
dinner-table.

"I wish I could sit right down with them," he thought, "and tell them
what Sunday is in the city.  Then my dinner wouldn't cost me a cent
there, either.  No matter, I'm here, and now I can begin to make more
money right away.  I have five dollars and fifty cents left anyway."

Then he thought of the bill of fare at the Hotel Dantzic, and many of
the prices on it, and remembered Mr. Guilderaufenberg's instructions
about going to some cheaper place for his meals.

"I didn't tell him that I had only nine dollars," he said to himself,
"but I'll follow his advice.  He's a traveler."

Jack had been too proud to explain how little money he had, but his
German friend had really done well by him in making him take the little
room at the top of the Hotel Dantzic.  He had said to his wife:

"Dot poy!  Vell, I see him again some day.  He got a place to shleep,
anyhow, vile he looks around und see de ceety.  No oder poy I efer
meets know at de same time so moch and so leetle."

With every step from the church door Jack felt hungrier, but he did not
turn his steps toward the Hotel Dantzic.  He walked on down to the
lower part of the city, on the lookout for hotels and restaurants.  It
was not long before he came to a hotel, and then he passed another and
another; and he passed a number of places where the signs told him of
dinners to be had within, but all looked too fine.

"They're for rich people," he said, shaking his head, "like the people
in that church.  What stacks of money they must have?  That organ maybe
cost more than all the meeting-houses in Crofield!"

After going a little farther Jack exclaimed;

"I don't care!  I've just got to eat!"

He was getting farther and farther from the Hotel Dantzic, and suddenly
his eyes were caught by a very taking sign, at the top of some neat
steps leading down into a basement:

"DINNER.  ROAST BEEF.  TWENTY-FIVE CENTS."

"That'll do."  said Jack eagerly.  "I can stand that.  Roost beef alone
is forty cents at the Dantzic."

Down he went and found himself in a wide comfortable room, containing
two long dining tables, and a number of small oblong tables, and some
round tables, all as neat as wax.  It was a very pleasant place, and a
great many other hungry people were there already.

Jack sat down at one of the small tables, and a waiter came to him at
once.

"Dinner sir?  Yessir.  Roast beef, sir?  Yessir.  Vegetables?
Potatoes?  Lima-beans?  Sweet corn?"

"Yes, please," said Jack.  "Beef, potatoes, beans, and corn?" and the
waiter was gone.

It seemed to be a long time before the beef and vegetables came, but
they were not long in disappearing after they were on the table.

The waiter had other people to serve, but he was an attentive fellow.

"Pie sir?" he said, naming five kinds without a pause.

"Custard-pie," said Jack.

"Coffee, sir?  Yessir," and he darted away again.

"This beats the Hotel Dantzic all to pieces," remarked Jack, as he went
on with his pie and coffee; but the waiter was scribbling something
upon a slip of paper, and when it was done he put it down by Jack's
plate.

"Jingo!" said Jack in a horrified tone, a moment later.  "What's this?
'Roast beef, 25; potatoes, 10; Lima-beans, 10; corn, 10; bread, 5;
coffee, 10; pie, 10: $0.80.'  Eighty cents!  Jingo!  How like smoke it
does cost to live in New York!  This can't be one of the cheap places
Mr. Guilderaufenberg meant."

Jack felt much chagrined, but he finished his pie and coffee bravely.
"It's a sell," he said, "--but then it _was_ a good dinner!"

He went to the cashier with an effort to act as if it was an old story
to him.  He gave the cashier a dollar, received his change, and turned
away, as the man behind the counter remarked to a friend at his elbow:

"I knew it.  He had the cash.  His face was all right."

"Clothes will fool anybody," said the other man.

Jack heard it, and he looked at the men sitting at the tables.

"They're all wearing Sunday clothes," he thought, "but some are no
better than mine.  But there's a difference.  I've noticed it all
along."

So had others, for Jack had not seen one in that restaurant who had on
at all such a suit of clothes as had been made for him by the Crofield
tailor.

"Four dollars and seventy cents left," said Jack thoughtfully, as he
went up into the street; and then he turned to go down-town without any
reason for choosing that direction.

An hour later, Mr. Gilderaufenberg and his wife and their friends were
standing near the front door of the Hotel Dantzic, talking with the
proprietor.  Around them lay their baggage, and in front of the door
was a carriage.  Evidently they were going away earlier than they had
intended.

"Dot poy!" exclaimed the broad and bearded German.  "He find us not
here ven he come.  You pe goot to dot poy, Mr. Keifelheimer."

"So!" said the hotel proprietor, and at once three other voices chimed
in with good-bye messages to Jack Ogden.  Mr. Keifelheimer responded:

"I see to him.  He will come to Vashington to see you.  So!"

Then they entered the carriage, and away they went.


After walking for a few blocks, Jack found that he did not know exactly
where he was.  But suddenly he exclaimed:

"Why, if there isn't City Hall Square!  I've come all the way down
Broadway."

He had stared at building after building for a time without thinking
much about them, and then he had begun to read the signs.

"I'll come down this way again to-morrow," he said.  "It's good there
are so many places to work in.  I wish I knew exactly what I would like
to do, and which of them it is best to go to.  I know!  I can do as I
did in Crofield.  I can try one for a while, and then, if I don't like
it, I can try another.  It is lucky that I know how to do 'most
anything."

The confident smile had come back.  He had entirely recovered from the
shock of his eighty-cent expenditure.  He had not met many people, all
the way down, and the stores were shut; but for that very reason he had
bad more time to study the signs.

"Very nearly every kind of business is done on Broadway," he said,
"except groceries and hardware,--but they sell more clothing than
anything else.  I'll look round everywhere before I settle down; but I
must look out not to spend too much money till I begin to make some."

"It's not far now," he said, a little while after, "to the lower end of
the city and to the Battery.  I'll take a look at the Battery before I
go back to the Hotel Dantzic."

Taller and more majestic grew the buildings as he went on, but he was
not now so dazed and confused as he had been in the morning.

"Here is Trinity Church, again," he said.  "I remember about that.  And
that's Wall Street.  I'll see that as I come back; but now I'll go
right along and see the Battery.  Of course there isn't any battery
there, but Mr. Guilderaufenberg said that from it I could see the fort
on Governor's Island."

Jack did not see much of the Battery, for he followed the left-hand
sidewalk at the Bowling Green, where Broadway turns into Whitehall
Street.  He had so long been staring at great buildings whose very
height made him dizzy, that he was glad to see beside them some which
looked small and old.

"I'll find my way without asking," he remarked to himself.  "I'm pretty
near the end now.  There are some gates, and one of them is open.  I'll
walk right in behind that carriage.  That must be the gate to the
Battery."

The place he was really looking for was at some distance to the right,
and the carriage he was following so confidently, had a very different
destination.

The wide gateway was guarded by watchful men, not to mention two
policemen, and they would have caught and stopped any boy who had
knowingly tried to do what Jack did so innocently.  Their backs must
have been turned, for the carriage passed in, and so did Jack, without
any one's trying to stop him.  He was as bold as a lion about it,
because he did not know any better.  A number of people were at the
same time crowding through a narrower gateway at one side, and they may
have distracted the attention of the gatemen.

"I'd just as lief go in at the wagon-gate," said Jack, and he did not
notice that each one stopped and paid something before going through.
Jack went on behind the carriage.  The carriage crossed what seemed to
Jack a kind of bridge housed over.  Nobody but a boy straight from
Crofield could have gone so far as that without suspecting something;
but the carriage stopped behind a line of other vehicles, and Jack
walked unconcernedly past them.

"Jingo!" he suddenly exclaimed.  "What's this?  I do believe the end of
this street is moving!"

He bounded forward, much startled by a thing so strange and
unaccountable, and in a moment more he was looking out upon a great
expanse of water, dotted here and there with canal-boats, ships, and
steamers.

"Mister," he asked excitedly of a little man leaning against a post,
"what's this?"

"Have ye missed your way and got onto the wrong ferry-boat?" replied
the little man gleefully.  "I did it once myself.  All right, my boy.
You've got to go to Staten Island this time.  Take it coolly."

"Ferry-boat?" said Jack.  "Staten Island?  I thought it was the end of
the street, going into the Battery!"

"Oh, you're a greenhorn!" laughed the little man "Well, it won't hurt
ye; only there's no boat back from the island, on Sunday, till after
supper.  I'll tell ye all about it.  Where'd you come from?"

"From Crofield," said Jack, "and I got here only this morning."

The little man eyed him half-suspiciously for a moment, and then led
him to the rail of the boat.

"Look back there," he said.  "Yonder's the Battery.  You ought to have
kept on.  It's too much for me how you ever got aboard of this 'ere
boat without knowing it!"  And he went on with a long string of
explanations, of which Jack understood about half, with the help of
what he recalled from his guide-book.  All the while, however, they
were having a sail across the beautiful bay, and little by little Jack
made up his mind not to care.

"I've made a mistake and slipped right out of the city," he said to
himself, "about as soon as I got in!  But maybe I can slip back again
this evening."

"About the greenest bumpkin I've seen for an age," thought the little
man, as he stood and looked at Jack.  "It'll take all sorts of blunders
to teach him.  He is younger than he looks, too.  Anyway, this sail
won't hurt him a bit."

That was precisely Jack's conclusion long before the swift voyage ended
and he walked off the ferry-boat upon the solid ground of Staten Island.



CHAPTER XIV.

FRIENDS AND ENEMIES.

When Jack Ogden left the Staten Island ferry-boat, he felt somewhat as
if he had made an unexpected voyage to China, and perhaps might never
return to his own country.  It was late in the afternoon, and he had
been told by the little man that the ferry-boat would wait an hour and
a half before the return voyage.

"I won't lose sight of her," said Jack, thoughtfully.  "No running
around for me this time!"

He did not move about at all.  He sat upon an old box, in front of a
closed grocery store, near the ferry-house, deciding to watch and wait
until the boat started.

"Dullest time I ever had!" he thought; "and it will cost me six cents
to get back.  You have to pay something everywhere you go.  I wish that
boat was ready to go now."

It was not ready, and it seemed as if it never would be; meanwhile the
Crofield boy sat there on the box and studied the ferry-boat business.
He had learned something of it from his guide-book, but he understood
it all before the gates opened.

He had not learned much concerning any part of Staten Island, beyond
what he already knew from the map; but shortly after he had paid his
fare, he began to learn something about the bay and the lower end of
New York.

"I'm glad to be on board again," he said, as he walked through the long
cabin to the open deck forward.  In a few minutes more he drew a long
breath and exclaimed:

"She's starting!   I know I'm on the right boat, too.  But I'm hungry
and I wish I had something to eat."

There was nothing to be had on board the boat, but, although hungry,
Jack could see enough to keep him from thinking about it.

"It's all city; and all wharves and houses and steeples,--every way you
look," he said.  "I'm glad to have seen it from the outside, after all."

Jack stared, but did not say a word to anybody until the ferry-boat ran
into its dock.

"If I only had a piece of pie and a cup of coffee!" Jack was thinking,
as he walked along by the wharves, ashore.  Then he caught sight of the
smallest restaurant he had ever seen.  It was a hand-cart with an
awning over it, standing on a corner.  A placard hanging from the
awning read:

"Clams, one cent apiece; coffee, five cents a cup."

"That's plain enough!" exclaimed Jack.  "She can't put on a cent more
for anything."

A stout, black-eyed woman stood behind a kind of table, at the end of
the cart; and on the table there were bottles of vinegar and
pepper-sauce, some crackers, and a big tin coffee-heater.

[Illustration: _Coffee and clams._]

"Clams?" she repeated.  "Half-dozen, on the shell?  Coffee?  All right."

"That's all I want, thank you," said Jack, and she at once filled a cup
from the coffee-urn and began to open shellfish for him.

"These are the smallest clams I ever saw," thought Jack; "but they're
good."

They seemed better and better as he went on eating; and the woman
willingly supplied them.  He drank his coffee and ate crackers freely,
and he was just thinking that it was time for him to stop when the
black-eyed woman remarked, with an air of pride,

"Nice and fresh, ain't they?  You seem to like them,--thirteen's a
dozen; seventeen cents."

"Have I swallowed a dozen already?" said Jack, looking at the pile of
shells.  "Yes, ma'am, they're tiptop!"

After paying for his supper, there were only some coppers left, besides
four one-dollar bills, in his pocket-book.

"Which way's the Battery, ma'am?" Jack asked, as she began to open
clams for another customer.

"Back there a way.  Keep straight on till you see it," she answered;
adding kindly, "It's like a little park; I didn't know you were from
the country."

"Pretty good supper, after all," he said.  "Cheap, too; but my money's
leaking away!  Well, it isn't dark yet.  I must see all I can before I
go to the hotel."

He followed the woman's directions, and he was glad he had done so.  He
had studied his guide-book faithfully as to all that end of New York,
and in spite of his recent blunder did not now need to ask anybody
which was the starting place of the elevated railways and which was
Castle Garden, where the immigrants were landed.  There were little
groups of these foreigners scattered over the great open space before
him.

"They've come from all over the world," he said, looking at group after
group.  "Some of those men will have a harder time than I have had
trying to get started in New York."

It occurred to him, nevertheless, that he was a long way from Crofield,
and that he was not yet at all at home in the city.

"I know some things that they don't know, anyway--if I _am_ green!" he
was thinking.  "I'll cut across and take a nearer look at Castle
Garden--"

"Stop there!  Stop, you fellow in the light hat!  Hold on!" Jack heard
some one cry out, as he started to cross the turfed inclosures.

"What do you want of me?" Jack asked, as he turned around.

"Don't you see the sign there, 'Keep off the grass'?  Look!  You're on
the grass now!  Come off!  Anyway, I'll fine you fifty cents!"

Jack looked as the man pointed, and saw a little board on a short post;
and there was the sign, in plain letters; and here before him was a
tall, thin, sharp-eyed, lantern-jawed young man, looking him fiercely
in the face and holding out his hand.

"Fifty cents!  Quick, now,--or go with me to the police station."

Jack was a little bewildered for a moment.  He felt like a cat in a
very strange garret.  His first thought of the police made him remember
part of what Mr. Guilderaufenberg had told him about keeping away from
them; but he remembered only the wrong part, and his hand went
unwillingly into his pocket.

"Right off, now!  No skulking!" exclaimed the sharp eyed man.

"I haven't fifty cents in change," said Jack, dolefully, taking a
dollar bill from his pocket-book.

"Hand me that, then.  I'll go and get it changed;" and the man reached
out a claw-like hand and took the bill from Jack's fingers, without
waiting for his consent.  "I'll be right back.  You stand right there
where you are till I come--"

"Hold on!" shouted Jack.  "I didn't say you could.  Give me back that
bill!"

"You wait.  I'll bring your change as soon as I can get it," called the
sharp-eyed man, as he darted away; but Jack's hesitation was over in
about ten seconds.

"I'll follow him, anyhow!" he exclaimed; and he did so at a run.

"Halt!"--it was a man in a neat gray uniform and gilt buttons who spoke
this time; and Jack halted just as the fleeing man vanished into a
crowd on one of the broad walks.

"He's got my dollar!"

"Tell me what it is, quick!" said the policeman, with a sudden
expression of interest.

Jack almost spluttered as he related how the fellow had collected the
fine; but the man in gray only shook his head.

"I thought I saw him putting up something," he said.  "It's well he
didn't get your pocket-book, too!  He won't show himself here again
to-night.  He's safe by this time."

"Do you know him?" asked Jack, greatly excited; but more than a little
in dread of the helmet-hat, buttons, and club.

"Know him?  'Jimmy the Sneak?'  Of course I do.  He's only about two
weeks out of Sing Sing.  It won't be long before he's back there again.
When did you come to town?  What's your name?  Where'd you come from?
Where are you staying?  Do you know anybody in town?"

He had a pencil and a little blank-book, and he rapidly wrote out
Jack's answers.

"You'll get your eyes open pretty fast, at this rate," he said.
"That's all I want of you, now.  If I lay a hand on Jimmy, I'll know
where to find you.  You'd better go home.  If any other thief asks you
for fifty cents, you call for the nearest policeman.  That's what we're
here for."

"A whole dollar gone, and nothing to show for it!" groaned Jack, as he
walked away.  "Only three dollars and a few cents left!  I'll walk all
the way up to the Hotel Dantzic, instead of paying five cents for a car
ride.  I'll have to save money now."

He felt more kindly toward all the policemen he met, and he was glad
there were so many of them.

"The police at Central Park," he remarked to himself, "and that fellow
at the Battery, were all in gray, and the street police wear blue; but
they're a good-looking set of men.  I hope they will nab Jimmy the
Sneak and get back my dollar for me."

The farther he went, however, the clearer became his conviction that
dollars paid to thieves seldom come back; and that an evening walk of
more than three miles over the stone sidewalks of New York is a long
stroll for a very tired and somewhat homesick country boy.  He cared
less and less, all the way, how strangely and how splendidly the
gas-lights and the electric lights lit up the tall buildings.

"One light's white," he said, "and the other's yellowish, and that's
about all there is of it.  Well, I'm not quite so green, for I know
more than I did this morning!"

It was late for him when he reached the hotel, but it seemed to be
early enough for everybody else.  Many people were coming and going,
and among them all he did not see a face that he knew or cared for.
The tired-out, homesick feeling grew upon him, and he walked very
dolefully to the elevator.  Up it went in a minute, and when he reached
his room he threw his hat upon the table, and sat down to think over
the long and eventful day.

[Illustration: _Jack is homesick._]

"This is the toughest day's work I ever did!  I'd like to see the folks
in Crofield and tell 'em about it, though," he said.

He went to bed, intending to consider his plans for Monday, but he made
one mistake.  He happened to close his eyes.

The next thing he knew, there was a ray of warm sunshine striking his
face from the open window, for he had slept soundly, and it was nearly
seven o'clock on Monday morning.

Jack looked around his room, and then sprang out of bed.

"Hurrah for New York!" he said, cheerfully.  "I know what to do now.
I'm glad I'm here!  I'll write a letter home, first thing, and then
I'll pitch in and go to work!"

He felt better.  All the hopes he had cherished so long began to stir
within him.  He brushed his clothes thoroughly, and put on his best
necktie; and then he walked out of that room with hardly a doubt that
all the business in the great city was ready and waiting for him to
come and take part in it.  He went down the elevator, after a glance at
the stairway and a shake of his head.

"Stairs are too slow," he thought.  "I'll try them some time when I am
not so busy."

As he stepped out upon the lower floor he met Mr. Keifelheimer, the
proprietor.

"You come in to preakfast mit me," he said.  "I promise Mr.
Guilderaufenberg and de ladies, too, I keep an eye on you.  Some
letters in de box for you.  You get dem ven you come out.  Come mit me."

Jack was very glad to hear of his friends, what had become of them, and
what they had said about him, and of course he was quite ready for
breakfast.  Mr. Keifelheimer talked, while they were eating, in the
most friendly and protecting way.  Jack felt that he could speak
freely; and so he told the whole story of his adventures on
Sunday,--Staten Island, Jimmy the Sneak, and all.  Mr. Keifelheimer
listened with deep interest, making appreciative remarks every now and
then; but he seemed to be most deeply touched by the account of the
eighty-cent dinner.

"Dot vas too much!" he said, at last.  "It vas a schvindle!  Dose
Broadvay restaurants rob a man efery time.  Now, I only charge you
feefty-five cents for all dis beautiful breakfast; and you haf had de
finest beefsteak and two cups of splendid coffee.  So, you make money
ven you eat mit me!"

Jack could but admit that the Hotel Dantzic price was lower than the
other; but he paid it with an uneasy feeling that while he must have
misunderstood Mr. Keifelheimer's invitation it was impossible to say so.

"Get dose letter," said the kindly and thoughtful proprietor.  "Den you
write in de office.  It is better dan go avay up to your room."

Jack thanked him and went for his mail, full of wonder as to how any
letters could have come to him.

"A whole handful!" he said, in yet greater wonder, when the clerk
handed them out.  "Who could have known I was here?
Nine,--ten,--eleven,--twelve.  A dozen!"

One after another Jack found the envelops full of nicely printed cards
and circulars, telling him how and where to find different kinds of
goods.

"That makes eight," he said; "and every one a sell.  But,--jingo!"

It was a blue envelope, and when he opened it his fingers came upon a
dollar bill.

"Mr. Guilderaufenberg's a trump!" he exclaimed; and he added,
gratefully, "I'd only about two dollars and a half left.  He's only
written three lines."

They were kindly words, however, ending with:


I have not tell the ladies; but you should be pay for the stateroom.

I hope you have a good time.

F. VON GUILDERAUFENBERG.


The next envelope was white and square; and when it came open Jack
found another dollar bill.

"She's a real good woman!" he said, when he read his name and these
words:


I say nothing to anybody; but you should have pay for your stateroom.
You was so kind.  In haste,

GERTRUDE VON GUILDERAUFENBERG.


"I'll go and see them some day," said Jack.

He had opened the eleventh envelope, which was square and pink, and out
came another dollar bill.  Jack read his own name again, followed by:


We go this minute.  I have not told them.  You should have pay for your
stateroom.  Thanks.  You was so kind.

MARIE HILDEBRAND.


"Now, if she isn't one of the most thoughtful women in the world!" said
Jack; "and what's this?"

Square, gray, with an ornamental seal, was the twelfth envelope, and
out of it came a fourth dollar bill, and this note:


For the stateroom.  I have told not the others.  With thanks of

DOLISKA POD----SKI.


It was a fine, small, pointed, and wandering handwriting, and Jack in
vain strove to make out the letters in the middle of the Polish lady's
name.

"I don't care!" he said.  "She's kind, too.  So are all the rest of
them; and Mr. Guilderaufenberg's one of the best fellows I ever met.
Now I've got over six dollars, and I can make some more right away."

He pocketed his money, and felt more confident than ever; and he walked
out of the Hotel Dantzic just as his father, at home in Crofield, was
reading to Mrs. Ogden and Aunt Melinda and the children the letter he
had written in Albany, on Saturday.

They all had their comments to make, but at the end of it the tall
blacksmith said to his wife:

"There's one thing certain, Mary.  I won't let go of any of that land
till after they've run the railway through it."

"Land?" said Aunt Melinda.  "Why, it's nothing but gravel.  They can't
do anything with it."

"It joins mine," said Mr. Ogden; "and I own more than an acre behind
the shop.  We'll see whether the railroad will make any difference.
Well, the boy's reached the city long before this!"

There was silence for a moment after that, and then Mr. Ogden went over
to the shop.  He was not very cheerful, for he began to feel that Jack
was really gone from home.

In Mertonville, Mary Ogden was helping Mrs. Murdoch in her housework,
and seemed to be disposed to look out of the window, rather than to
talk.

"Now, Mary," said the editor's wife, "you needn't look so peaked, and
feel so blue about the way you got along with that class of girls--"

"Girls?" said Mary.  "Why, Mrs. Murdoch!  Only half of them were
younger than I; they said there would be only sixteen, and there were
twenty-one.  Some of the scholars were twice as old as I am, and one
had gray hair and wore spectacles!"

"I don't care," said Mrs. Murdoch, "the Elder said you did well.  Now,
dear, dress yourself, and be ready for Mrs. Edwards; she's coming after
you, and I hope you'll enjoy your visit.  Come in and see me as often
as you can and tell me the news."

Mary finished the dishes and went upstairs, saying, "And they want me
to take that class again next Sunday!"



CHAPTER XV.

NO BOY WANTED.

After leaving the Hotel Dantzic, with his unexpected supply of money,
Jack walked smilingly down toward the business part of the city.  For a
while he only studied signs and looked into great show-windows; and he
became more and more confident as he thought how many different ways
there were for a really smart boy to make a fortune in New York.  He
decided to try one way at just about nine o'clock.

"The city's a busy place!" thought Jack, as he walked along.  "Some
difference between the way they rush along on Monday and the way they
loitered all day Sunday!"

He even walked faster because the stream of men carried him along.  It
made him think of the Cocahutchie.

"I'll try one of these big clothing places," he said, about nine
o'clock.  "I'll see what wages they're giving.  I know something about
tailoring."

He paused in front of a wide and showy-looking store on Broadway.  He
drew a long breath and went in.  The moment he entered he was
confronted by a very fat, smiling gentleman, who bowed and asked:

"What can we do for you, sir?"

"I'd like to know if you want a boy," said Jack, "and what wages you're
giving.  I know--"

"After a place?  Oh, yes.  That's the man you ought to see," said the
jocose floor-walker, pointing to a spruce salesman behind a counter,
and winking at him from behind Jack.

The business of the day had hardly begun, and the idle salesman saw the
wink.  Jack walked up to him and repeated his inquiry.

"Want a place, eh?  Where are you from?  Been long in the business?"

Jack told him about Crofield, and about the "merchant tailors" there,
and gave a number of particulars before the very dignified and
sober-faced salesman's love of fun was satisfied; and then the salesman
said:

"I can't say.  You'd better talk with that man yonder."

There was another wink, and Jack went to "that man," to answer another
string of questions, some of which related to his family, and the
Sunday-school he attended; and then he was sent on to another man, and
another, and to as many more, until at last he heard a gruff voice
behind him asking, "What does that fellow want?  Send him to me!"

Jack turned toward the voice, and saw a glass "coop," as he called it,
all glass panes up to above his head, excepting one wide, semicircular
opening in the middle.  The clerk to whom Jack was talking at that
moment suddenly became very sober.

"Head of the house!" he exclaimed to himself.  "Whew!  I didn't know
he'd come;"  Then he said to Jack: "The head partner is at the
cashier's desk.  Speak to him."

Jack stepped forward, his cheeks burning with the sudden perception
that he had been ridiculed.  He saw a sharp-eyed lady counting money,
just inside the little window, but she moved away, and Jack was
confronted by a very stern, white-whiskered gentleman.

"What do you want?" the man asked.

"I'd like to know if you'll hire another boy, and what you're paying?"
said Jack, bravely.

"No; I don't want any boy," replied the man in the coop, savagely.
"You get right out."

"Tell you what you _do_ want," said Jack, for his temper was rising
fast, "you'd better get a politer set of clerks!"

"I will, if there is any more of this nonsense," said the head of the
house, sharply.  "Now, that's enough.  No more impertinence."

Jack was all but choking with mortification, and he wheeled and marched
out of the store.

"I wasn't afraid of him," he thought, "and I ought to have spoken to
him first thing.  I might have known better than to have asked those
fellows.  I sha'n't be green enough to do that again.  I'll ask the
head man next time."

That was what he tried to do in six clothing-stores, one after another;
but in each case he made a failure.  In two of them, they said the
managing partner was out; and then, when he tried to find out whether
they wanted a boy, the man he asked became angry and showed him the
door.  In three more, he was at first treated politely, and then
informed that they already had hundreds of applications.  To enter the
sixth store was an effort, but he went in.

"One of the firm?  Yes, sir," said the floor-walker.  "There he is."

Only a few feet from him stood a man so like the one whose face had
glowered at him through that cashier's window in the first store that
Jack hesitated a moment, but the clerk spoke out:

"Wishes to speak to you, Mr. Hubbard."

"This way, my boy.  What is it?"

Jack was surprised by the full, mellow, benevolent voice that came from
under the white moustaches.

"Do you want to hire a boy, sir?" he inquired.

"I do not, my son.  Where are you from?" asked Mr. Hubbard, with a
kindlier expression than before.

Jack told him, and answered two or three other questions.

"From up in the country, eh?" he said.  "Have you money enough to get
home again?"

"I could get home," stammered Jack, "but there isn't any chance for a
boy up in Crofield."

"Ten chances there for every one there is in the city, my boy," said
Mr. Hubbard.  "One hundred boys here for every place that's vacant.
You go home.  Dig potatoes.  Make hay.  Drive cows.  Feed pigs.  Do
_anything_ honest, but get out of New York.  It's one great
pauper-house, now, with men and boys who can't find anything to do."

"Thank you, sir," said Jack, with a tightening around his heart.  "But
I'll find something.  You see if I don't--"

"Take my advice, and go home!" replied Mr. Hubbard, kindly.
"Good-morning."

"Good-morning," said Jack, and while going out of that store he had the
vividest recollections of all the country around Crofield.

"I'll keep on trying, anyway," he said.  "There's a place for me
somewhere.  I'll try some other trade.  I'll do _anything_."

So he did, until one man said to him:

"Everybody is at luncheon just now.  Begin again by and by; but I'm
afraid you'll find there are no stores needing boys."

"I need some dinner myself," thought Jack.  "I feel faint.  Mister," he
added aloud, "I must buy some luncheon, too.  Where's a good place?"

He was directed to a restaurant, and he seated himself at a table and
ordered roast beef in a sort of desperation.

"I don't care what it costs!" he said.  "I've got some money yet."

Beef, potatoes, bread and butter, all of the best, came, and were eaten
with excellent appetite.

Jack was half afraid of the consequences when the waiter put a bright
red check down beside his plate.

"Thirty cents?" exclaimed he joyfully, picking it up.  "Why, that's the
cheapest dinner I've had in New York."

"All right, sir.  Come again, sir," said the waiter, smiling; and then
Jack sat still for a moment.

"Six dollars, and, more too," he said to himself; "and my room's paid
for besides.  I can go right on looking up a place, for days and days,
if I'm careful about my money.  I mustn't be discouraged."

He certainly felt more courageous, now that he had eaten dinner, and he
at once resumed his hunt for a place; but there was very little left of
his smile.  He went into store after store with almost the same result
in each, until one good-humored gentleman remarked to him:

"My boy, why don't you go to a Mercantile Agency?"

"What's that?" asked Jack, and the man explained what it was.

"I'll go to one right away," Jack said hopefully.

"That's the address of a safe place," said the gentleman writing a few
words.  "Look out for sharpers, though.  Plenty of such people in that
business.  I wish you good luck."

Before long Jack Ogden stood before the desk of the "Mercantile Agency"
to which he had been directed, answering questions and registering his
name.  He had paid a fee of one dollar, and had made the office-clerk
laugh by his confidence.

"You seem to think you can take hold of nearly anything," he said.
"Well, your chance is as good as anybody's.  Some men prefer boys from
the country, even if they can't give references."

"When do you think you can get me a place?" asked Jack.

"Can't tell.  We've only between four hundred and five hundred on the
books now; and sometimes we get two or three dozen fixed in a day."

"Five hundred!" exclaimed Jack, with a clouding face.  "Why, it may be
a month before my turn comes!"

"A month?" said the clerk.  "Well, I hope not much longer, but it may
be.  I wouldn't like to promise you anything so soon as that."

Jack went out of that place with yet another idea concerning "business
in the city," but he again began to make inquiries for himself.  It was
the weariest kind of work, and at last he was heartily sick of it.

"I've done enough for one day," he said to himself.  "I've been into I
don't know how many stores.  I know more about it than I did this
morning."

There was no doubt of that.  Jack had been getting wiser all the while;
and he did not even look so rural as when he set out.  He was really
beginning to get into city ways, and he was thinking hard and fast.

The first thing he did, after reaching the Hotel Dantzic, was to go up
to his room.  He felt as if he would like to talk with his sister Mary,
and so he sat down and wrote her a long letter.

He told her about his trip, all through, and about his German friends,
and his Sunday; but it was anything but easy to write about Monday's
experiences.  He did it after a fashion, but he wrote much more
cheerfully than he felt.

Then he went down to the supper-room for some tea.  It seemed to him
that he had ordered almost nothing, but it cost him twenty-five cents.

It would have done him good if he could have known how Mary's thoughts
were at that same hour turning to him.

At home, Jack's father and Mr. Magruder were talking about Jack's land,
arranging about the right of way and what it was worth, while he sat in
his little room in the Hotel Dantzic, thinking over his long, weary day
of snubs, blunders, insults and disappointments.

"Hunting for a place in the city is just the meanest kind of work," he
said at last.  "Well, I'll go to bed, and try it again to-morrow."

That was what he did; but Tuesday's work was "meaner" than Monday's.
There did not seem to be even so much as a variation.  It was all one
dull, monotonous, miserable hunt for something he could not find.  It
was just so on Wednesday, and all the while, as he said, "Money will
just melt away; and somehow you can't help it."

When he counted up, on Wednesday evening, however, he still had four
dollars and one cent; and he had found a place where they sold bread
and milk, or bread and coffee, for ten cents.

"I can get along on that," he said; "and it's only thirty-cents a day,
if I eat three times.  I wish I'd known about it when I first came
here.  I'm learning something new all the time."

Thursday morning came, and with it a long, gossipy letter from Mary,
and an envelope from Crofield, containing a letter from his mother and
a message from his father written by her, saying how he had talked a
little--only a little--with Mr. Magruder.  There was a postscript from
Aunt Melinda, and a separate sheet written by his younger sisters, with
scrawly postscripts from the little boys to tell Jack how the workmen
had dug down and found the old church bell, and that there was a crack
in it, and the clapper was broken off.

Jack felt queer over those letters.

"I won't answer them right away," he said.  "Not till I get into some
business.  I'll go farther down town today, and try there."


At ten o'clock that morning, a solemn party of seven men met in the
back room of the Mertonville Bank.

"Gentlemen of the Board of Trustees, please come to order.  I suppose
we all agree?  We need a teacher of experience.  The academy's not
doing well.  The lady principal can't do everything.  She must have a
good assistant."

"Who's your candidate, Squire Crowninshield?" asked Judge Edwards.
"I'm trustee as Judge of the County Court.  I've had thirty-one
applications for my vote."

"I've had more than that," said the Squire good humoredly.  "I won't
name my choice till after the first ballot.  I want to know who are the
other candidates first."

"So do I," said Judge Edwards.  "I won't name mine at once, either.
Who is yours, Elder Holloway?"

"We'd better have a nominating ballot," remarked the Elder, handing a
folded slip of paper to Mr. Murdoch, the editor of the _Eagle_.  "Who
is yours, Mr. Jeroliman?"

"I haven't any candidate," replied the bank-president, with a worried
look.  "I won't name any, but I'll put a ballot in."

"Try that, then," said General Smith, who was standing instead of
sitting down at the long table.  "Just a suggestion."

Every trustee had something to say as to how he had been besieged by
applicants, until the seventh, who remarked:

"I've just returned from Europe, gentlemen.  I'll vote for the
candidate having the most votes on this ballot.  I don't care who wins."

"I agree to that," quickly responded General Smith, handing him a
folded paper.  "Put it in, Dr. Dillingham.  It's better that none of us
should do any log-rolling or try to influence others.  I'll adopt your
idea."

"I won't then," said Squire Crowninshield, pleasantly but very
positively.  "Murdoch, what's the name of that young woman who edited
the _Eagle_ for a week?"

"Miss Mary Ogden," said the editor, with a slight smile.

"A clever girl," said the Squire, as he wrote on a paper, folded it,
and threw it into a hat in the middle of the table.  He had not heard
Judge Edwards's whispered exclamation:

"That reminds me!  I promised my wife that I'd mention Mary for the
place; but then there wasn't the ghost of a chance!"

In went all the papers, and the hat was turned over.

"Now, gentlemen," said General Smith, "before the ballots are opened
and counted, I wish to ask: Is this vote to be considered regular and
formal?  Shall we stand by the result?"

"Certainly, certainly," said the trustees in chorus.

"Count the ballots!" said the Elder.

The hat was lifted and the count began.

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven--for Mary Ogden," said Elder
Holloway calmly.

"I declare!" said General Smith.  "Unanimous?  Why, gentlemen, we were
agreed!  There really was no difference of opinion whatever."

"I'm glad she is such a favorite," said Judge Edwards; "but we can't
raise the salary on that account.  It'll have to remain at forty
dollars a month."

"I'm glad she's got it!" said Mr. Murdoch.  "And a unanimous vote is a
high testimonial!"

And so Mary was elected.

Each of them had other business to attend to, and it was not until
Judge Edwards went home, at noon, that the news was known to Mary, for
the Judge carried the pleasant tidings to Mary Ogden at the
dinner-table.

"Oh, Judge Edwards!" exclaimed Mary, turning pale.  "I?  At my age--to
be assistant principal of the academy?"

"There's only the Primary Department to teach," said the Judge
encouragingly.  "Not half so hard as that big, overgrown Sunday-school
class.  Only it never had a good teacher yet, and you'll have hard work
to get it into order."

"What will they say in Crofield!" said Mary uneasily.  "They'll say I'm
not fit for it."

"I'm sure Miss Glidden will not," said Mrs. Edwards, proudly.  "I'm
glad it was unanimous.  It shows what they all thought of you."

Perhaps it did; but perhaps it was as well for Mary Ogden's temper that
she could not hear all that was said when the other trustees went home
to announce their action.

It was a great hour for Mary, but her brother Jack was at that same
time beginning to think that New York City was united against him,--a
million and a half to one.

He had been fairly turned out of the last store he had entered.



CHAPTER XVI.

JACK'S FAMINE.

At Crofield, the morning mail brought a letter from Mary, telling of
her election.

There was not so very much comment, but Mrs. Ogden cried a little, and
said:

"I feel as if we were beginning to lose the children."

"I must go to work," said the tall blacksmith after a time; "but I
don't feel like it.  So Mary's to teach, is she?  She seems very young.
I wish I knew about Jack."

Meanwhile, poor Jack was half hopelessly inquiring, of man after man,
whether or not another boy was wanted in his store.  It was only one
long, flat, monotony of "No, sir," and at last he once more turned his
weary footsteps up-town, and hardly had he done so before he waked up a
little and stood still, and looked around him.

"Hullo!" he exclaimed, "I never was here before.  This must be Chatham
Square and the Bowery.  I've read about them in the guide-book.  I can
go home this way.  It's not much like Broadway."

So he thought, as he went along.  And it did not at all resemble
Broadway.  It seemed to swarm with people; they appeared to be
attending to their own business, and they were all behaving very well,
so far as Jack could see.

"Never saw such a jam," said Jack, as he pushed into a small throng on
a street corner, trying to get through; but at the word "jam" something
came down upon the top of his hat and forced it forward over his eyes.

Up went both of his hands, instinctively, and at that moment each arm
was at once caught and held up for a second or two.  It was all done in
a flash.  Jack knew that some boisterous fellow had jammed his hat over
his eyes, and that others had hustled him a little; but he had not been
hurt, and he did not feel like quarreling, just then.  He pushed along
through the throng, and was getting out to where the crowd was thinner,
when he suddenly felt a chill and a weak feeling at his heart.  He had
thrust his hand into his pocket.

"My pocket-book!" he said, faintly.  "It's gone!  Where could I have
lost it?  I haven't taken it out anywhere.  And there was more than
three dollars in it I'd saved to pay for my room!"

He leaned heavily against a lamp-post for a moment, and all the bright
ideas he had ever had about the city became very dim and far away.  He
put up one hand before his eyes, and at that moment his arm was firmly
grasped.

"Here, boy!  What's the matter?"

He looked up, and saw a blue uniform and a hand with a club in it, but
he could not say a word in reply.

"You seem all right.  Are you sick?"

"I've lost my pocket-book," said Jack.  "Every cent I had except some
change."

[Illustration: _"I've lost my pocket-book."_]

"That's bad," and the keen-eyed officer understood the matter at a
glance, for he added:

"You were caught in a crowd, and had your pocket picked?  I can't do
anything for you, my boy.  It's gone, and that's all there is of it.
Never push into crowds if you've any money about you.  You'd better go
home now."

"Only sixty-five cents left," Jack said, as he walked away, "for this
evening, and Saturday, and Sunday, and for all next week, till I get
something to do and am paid for doing it!"

He had eaten ten cents' worth of bread and milk at noon; but he was a
strong and healthy boy and he was again hungry.  Counting his change
made him hungrier, and he thought longingly of the brilliant
supper-room at the Hotel Dantzic.

"That won't do," he thought.  "I must keep away from Keifelheimer and
his restaurant.  There, now, that's something like."

It was a small stand, close by a dark-looking cellar way.  Half was
covered with apples, candy, peanuts, bananas, oranges, and cocoa-nuts.
The other half was a pay-counter, a newspaper stand, and an
eating-house.  Jack's interest centered on a basket, marked, "Ham
Sanwiges Five Cents."

"I can afford a sandwich," he said, "and I've got to eat something!"

At the moment when he leaned over and picked up a sandwich, a small old
woman, behind the counter, reached out her hand toward him; and another
small old woman stretched her hand out to a boy who was testing the
oranges; and a third small old woman sang out very shrilly:

"Here's your sanwiges!  Ham sanwiges!  Only five cents!  Benannies!
Oranges!  Sanwiges!"

Jack put five cents into the woman's hand, and he was surprised to find
how much good bread and boiled ham he had bought.

"It's all the supper I'll have," he said, as he walked away.  "I could
eat a loaf of bread and a whole ham, it seems to me!"

All the way to the Hotel Dantzic he studied over the loss of his
pocket-book.

"The policeman was right," he said to himself, at last.  "I didn't know
when they took it, but it must have been when my hat was jammed down."

When Jack met Mr. Keifelheimer in the hotel office, he asked him what
he thought about it.  An expression of strong indignation, if not of
horror, crossed the face of the hotel proprietor.

"Dey get you pocket-book?" he exclaimed.  "You vas rob choost de same
vay I vas; but mine vas a votch und shain.  It vas two year ago, und I
nefer get him back.  Your friend, Mr. Guilderaufenberg, he vas rob dot
vay, vonce, but den he vas ashleep in a railvay car und not know ven it
vas done!"

Jack was glad of so much sympathy, but just then business called Mr.
Keifelheimer away.

"I won't go upstairs," thought Jack.  "I'll sit in the reading-room."

No letters were awaiting him, but there were plenty of newspapers, and
nearly a score of men were reading or talking.  Jack did not really
care to read, nor to talk, nor even to listen; but two gentlemen near
him were discussing a subject that reminded him of the farms around
Crofield.

"Yes," he heard one of them say, "we must buy every potato we can
secure.  At the rate they're spoiling now, the price will be doubled
before December."

"Curious, how little the market knows about it yet," said the other,
and they continued discussing letters and reports about potatoes, from
place after place, and State after State, and all the while Jack
listened, glad to be reminded of Crofield.

"It was just so with our potatoes at home," he said to himself.  "Some
farmers didn't get back what they planted."

This talk helped him to forget his pocket-book for a while; then, after
trying to read the newspapers, he went to bed.

A very tired boy can always sleep.  Jack Ogden awoke, on Saturday
morning, with a clear idea that sleep was all he had had for
supper,--excepting one ham sandwich.

"It's not enough," he said, as he dressed himself.  "I must make some
money.  Oh, my pocket-book!  And I shall have to pay for my room,
Monday."

He slipped out of the Hotel Dantzic very quietly, and he had a fine
sunshiny walk of two and a half miles to the down-town restaurant where
he ate his ten cents' worth of bread and milk.

"It's enough for a while," he said, "but it doesn't last.  If I was at
home, now, I'd have more bread and another bowl of milk.  I'll come
here again, at noon, if I don't find a place somewhere."

Blue, blue, blue, was that Saturday for poor Jack Ogden!  All the
forenoon he stood up manfully to hear the "No, we don't want a boy,"
and he met that same answer, expressed in almost identical words,
everywhere.

When he came out from his luncheon of bread and milk, he began to find
that many places closed at twelve or one o'clock; that even more were
to close at three, and that on Saturday all men were either tired and
cross or in a hurry.  Jack's courage failed him until he could hardly
look a man in the face and ask him a question.  One whole week had gone
since Jack reached the city, and it seemed about a year.  Here he was,
without any way of making money, and almost without a hope of finding
any way.

"I'll go to the hotel," he said, at about four o'clock.  "I'll go up
the Bowery way.  It won't pay anybody to pick my pocket this time!"

He had a reason for going up the Bowery.  It was no shorter than the
other way.  The real explanation was in his pocket.

"Forty cents left!" he said.  "I'll eat one sandwich for supper, and
I'll buy three more to eat in my room to-morrow."

He reached the stand kept by the three small old women, and found each
in turn calling out, "Here you are!  Sanwiges!--" and all the rest of
their list of commodities.

"Four," said Jack.  "Put up three of 'em in a paper, please.  I'll eat
one."

It was good.  In fact, it was too good, and Jack wished it was ten
times as large; but the last morsel of it vanished speedily and after
looking with longing eyes at the others, he shut his teeth firmly.

"I won't eat another!" he said to himself.  "I'll starve it out till
Monday, anyway!"

It took all the courage Jack had to carry those three sandwiches to the
Hotel Dantzic and to put them away, untouched, in his traveling-bag.
After a while he went down to the reading-room and read; but he went to
bed thinking of the excellent meals he had eaten at the Albany hotel on
his way to New York.


Mary Ogden's second Sunday in Mertonville was a peculiar trial to her,
for several young ladies who expected to be in the Academy next term,
came and added themselves to that remarkable Sunday-school class.  So
did some friends of the younger Academy girls; and the class had to be
divided, to the disappointment of those excluded.

"Mary Ogden didn't need to improve," said Elder Holloway to the
Superintendent, "but she is doing better than ever!"

How Jack did long to see Mary, or some of the family in Crofield, and
Crofield itself!  As soon as he was dressed he opened the bag and took
out one of his sandwiches and looked at it.

"Why, they're smaller than I thought they were!" he said ruefully; "but
I can't expect too much for five cents!  I've just twenty cents left.
That sandwich tastes good if it is small!"

So soon was it all gone that Jack found his breakfast very
unsatisfactory.

"I don't feel like going to church," he said, "but I might as well.  I
can't sit cooped up here all day.  I'll go into the first church I come
to, as soon as it's time."

He did not care where he went when he left the hotel, and perhaps it
did not really make much difference, considering how he felt; but he
found a church and went in.  A young man showed him to a seat under the
gallery.  Not until the minister in the pulpit came forward to give out
a hymn, did Jack notice anything peculiar, but the first sonorous,
rolling cadences of that hymn startled the boy from Crofield.

"Whew!" he said to himself.  "It's Dutch or something.  I can't
understand a word of it!  I'll stay, though, now I'm here."

German hymns, and German prayers, and a tolerably long sermon in
German, left Jack Ogden free to think of all sorts of things, and his
spirits went down, down, down, as he recalled all the famines of which
he had heard or read and all the delicacies invented to tempt the
appetite.  He sat very still, however, until the last hymn was sung,
and then he walked slowly back to the Hotel Dantzic.

"I don't care to see Mr. Keifelheimer," he thought.  "He'll ask me to
come and eat at a big Sunday dinner,--and to pay for it.  I'll dodge
him."

He watched at the front door of the hotel for fully three minutes,
until he was sure that the hall was empty.  Then he slipped into the
reading-room and through that into the rear passageway leading to the
elevator; but he did not feel safe until on his way to his room.

"One sandwich for dinner," he groaned, as he opened his bag.  "I never
knew what real hunger was till I came to the city!  Maybe it won't last
long, though.  I'm not the first fellow who's had a hard time before he
made a start."

Jack thought that both the bread and the ham were cut too thin, and
that the sandwich did not last long enough.

"I'll keep my last twenty cents, though," thought Jack, and he tried to
be satisfied.

Before that afternoon was over, the guide-book had been again read
through, and a long home letter was written.

"I'll mail it," he said, "as soon as I get some money for stamps.  I
haven't said a word to them about famine.  It must be time to eat that
third sandwich; and then I'll go out and take a walk."

The sandwich was somewhat dry, but every crumb of it seemed to be
valuable.  After eating it, Jack once more walked over and looked at
the fine houses on Fifth Avenue; but now it seemed to the hungry lad an
utter absurdity to think of ever owning one of them.  He stared and
wondered and walked, however, and returned to the hotel tired out.


On Monday morning, the Ogden family were at breakfast, when a neat
looking farm-wagon stopped before the door.  The driver sprang to the
ground, carefully helped out a young woman, and then lifted down a
trunk.  Just as the trunk came down upon the ground there was a loud
cry in the open doorway.

"Mother!  Molly's come home!" and out sprang little Bob.

"Mercy on us!" Mrs. Ogden exclaimed, and the whole family were on their
feet.

Mary met her father as she was coming in.  Then, picking up little
Sally and kissing her, she said:

"There was a way for me to come over, this morning.  I've brought my
books home, to study till term begins.  Oh, mother, I'm so glad to get
back!"

The blacksmith went out to thank the farmer who had brought her; but
the rest went into the house to get Mary some breakfast and to look at
her and to hear her story.

Mrs. Ogden said several times:

"I do wish Jack was here, too!"

That very moment her son was leaving the Hotel Dantzic behind him, with
two and a half miles to walk before getting his breakfast--a bowl of
bread and milk.



CHAPTER XVII.

JACK-AT-ALL-TRADES.

Jack Ogden, that Monday morning, had an idea that New York was a very
long city.

He had eaten nothing since Saturday noon, excepting the sandwiches, and
he felt that he should not be good for much until after he had had
breakfast.  His mind was full of unpleasant memories of the stores and
offices he had entered during his last week's hunt, and he did not
relish renewing it.

"I must go ahead though," he thought.  "Something must be done, or I'll
starve."

Every moment Jack felt better, and he arose from the table a little
more like himself.

"Ten cents left," he said, as he went out into the street.  "That'll
buy me one more bowl of bread and milk.  What shall I do then?"

[Illustration: _"Ten cents left."_]

It was a serious question, and demanded attention.  It was still very
early for the city, but stores were beginning to open, and groups of
men were hurrying along the sidewalks on their way to business.  Jack
went on, thinking and thinking, and a fit of depression was upon him
when he entered a street turning out from Broadway.  He had not tried
this street before.  It was not wide, and it was beginning to look
busy.  At the end of two blocks, Jack uttered an exclamation:

"That's queer!" he said.  "They all sell coffee, tea, groceries, and
that sort of thing.  Big stores, too.  I'll try here."

His heart sank a little, as he paused in front of a very bustling
establishment, bearing every appearance of prosperity.  Some men were
bringing out tea-chests and bags of coffee to pile around the doorway,
as if to ask passers-by to walk in and buy some.  The show-windows were
already filled with samples of sugar, coffee, and a dozen other kinds
of goods.  Just beyond one window Jack could see the first of a row of
three huge coffee-grinders painted red, and back of the other window
was more machinery.

"I'll go in, anyway," he said, setting his teeth.  "Only ten cents
left!"

That small coin, because it was all alone in his pocket, drove him into
the door.  Two thirds down the broad store there stood a black-eyed,
wiry, busy-looking man, giving various directions to the clerks and
other men.  Jack thought, "He's the 'boss.'  He looks as if he'd say
no, right away."

Although Jack's heart was beating fast, he walked boldly up to this man:

"Mister," he said, "do you want to hire another boy?"

"You are the hundred and eleventh boy who has asked that same question
within a week.  No," responded the black-eyed man, sharply but good
naturedly.

"Gifford," came at that moment from a very cheerful voice over Jack's
left shoulder, "I've cleaned out that lot of potatoes.  Sold two
thousand barrels on my way down, at a dollar and a half a barrel."

Jack remembered that some uncommonly heavy footsteps had followed him
when he came in, and found that he had to look upward to see the face
of the speaker, who was unusually tall.  The man leaned forward, too,
so that Jack's face was almost under his.

Mr. Gifford's answer had disappointed Jack and irritated him.

"You did well!" said Mr. Gifford.

Before he had time to think Jack said:

"A dollar and a half?  Well, if you knew anything about potatoes, you
wouldn't have let them go for a dollar and a half a barrel!"

"What do you know about potatoes?" growled the tall man, leaning an
inch lower, and frowning at Jack's interruption.

"More than you or Mr. Gifford seems to," said Jack desperately.  "The
crop's going to be short.  I know how it is up _our_ way."

"Tell us what you know!" said the tall man sharply; and Mr. Gifford
drew nearer with an expression of keen interest upon his face.

"They're all poor," said Jack, and then he remembered and repeated,
better than he could have done if he had made ready beforehand, all he
had heard the two men say in the Hotel Dantzic reading-room, and all he
had heard in Crofield and Mertonville.  He had heard the two men call
each other by name, and he ended with:

"Didn't you sell your lot to Murphy & Scales?  They're buying
everywhere."

"That's just what I did," said the tall man.  "I wish I hadn't; I'll go
right out and buy!" and away he went.

"Buy some on my account," said Mr. Gifford, as the other man left the
store.  "See here, my boy, I don't want to hire anybody.  But you seem
to know about potatoes.  Probably you're just from a farm.  What else
do you know?  What can you do?"

"A good many things," said Jack, and to his own astonishment he spoke
out clearly and confidently.

"Oh, you can?" laughed Mr. Gifford.  "Well, I don't need you, but I
need an engineer.  I wish you knew enough to run a small steam-engine."

"Why, I can run a steam-engine," said Jack.  "That's nothing.  May I
see it?"

Mr. Gifford pointed at some machinery behind the counter, near where he
stood, and at the apparatus in the show-window.

"It's a little one that runs the coffee-mills and the printing-press,"
he said.  "You can't do anything with it until a machinist mends
it--it's all out of order, I'm told."

"Perhaps I can," said Jack.  "A boy who's learned the blacksmith's
trade ought to be able to put it to rights."

Without another word, Jack went to work.

"Nothing wrong here, Mr. Gifford," he said in a minute.  "Where are the
screw-driver, and the monkey-wrench, and an oil-can?"

"Well, well!" exclaimed Mr. Gifford, as he sent a man for the tools.
"Do you think you can do it?"

Jack said nothing aloud, but he told himself:

"Why, it's a smaller size but like the one in the _Eagle_ office.  They
get out of order easily, but then it's easy to regulate them."

"You do know something," said Mr. Gifford, laughing, a few minutes
later, when Jack said to him:

"She'll do now."

"She won't do very well," added Mr. Gifford, shaking his head.  "That
engine never was exactly the thing.  It lacks power."

"It may be the pulley-belt's too loose," said Jack, after studying the
mechanism for a moment.

"I'll send for a man to fix it, then."

"No, you needn't," said Jack.  "I can tighten it so she'll run all the
machinery you have.  May I have an awl?"

"Of course," said Mr. Gifford.  "Put it to rights.  There's plenty of
coffee waiting to be ground."

Jack went to work at the loose belt.

"He's a bright fellow," said Mr. Gifford to his head-clerk.  "If we
wanted another boy--but we don't."

"Too many now," was the short, decisive reply.

It was not long before the machinery began to move.

"Good!" said Mr. Gifford.  "I almost wish I had something more for you
to do, but I really haven't.  If you could run that good-for-nothing
old printing-press--"

"Printing-press?" exclaimed Jack.

"Over in the other window," said Mr. Gifford.  "We thought of printing
all our own circulars, cards, and paper bags.  But it's a failure,
unless we should hire a regular printer.  We shall have to, I suppose.
If you were a printer, now."

"I've worked at a press," said Jack.  "I'm something of a printer.  I'm
sure I can do that work.  It's like a press I used to run when I worked
in that business."

Jack at once went to the show-window.

"An 'Alligator' press," he said, "like the one in the _Standard_
office.  It ought to be oiled, though.  It needs adjusting, too.  No
wonder it would not work.  I can make it go."

The business of the store was beginning.  Steam was up in the engine,
and the coffee-mills were grinding merrily.  Mr. Gifford and all his
clerks were busied with other matters, and Jack was left to tinker away
at the Alligator press.  "She's ready to run.  I'll start her," he said
at last.

He took an impression of the form of type that was in the press and
read it.

"I see," he said.  "They print that on their paper bags for an
advertisement.  I'll show it to Mr. Gifford.  There are plenty of blank
ones lying around here, all ready to print."

He walked up to the desk and handed in the proof, asking:

"Is that all right?"

"No," said Mr. Gifford.  "We let our stock of bags run down because the
name of the firm was changed.  I want to add several things.  I'll send
for somebody to have the proof corrections made."

"You needn't," said Jack.  "Tell me what you want.  Any boy who's ever
worked in a newspaper office can do a little thing like that."

"How do you come to know so much about machinery?" asked Mr. Gifford,
trying not to laugh.

"Oh," said Jack, "I was brought up a blacksmith, but I've worked at
other trades, and it was easy enough to adjust those things."

"That's what you've been up to is it?" said Mr. Gifford.  "I saw you
hammering and filing, and I wondered what you'd accomplished.  I want
the new paper bags to be,"--and he told Jack what changes were
required, and added:

"Then, of course, I shall need some circulars--three kinds--and some
cards."

"That press will run over a thousand an hour when it's geared right.
You'll see," said Jack, positively.

"Well, here's a true Jack-at-all-trades!" exclaimed Mr. Gifford,
opening his eyes.  "I begin to wish we had a place for you!"

It was nearly noon before Jack had another sample of printing ready to
show.  There was a good supply of type, to be sure, but he was not much
of a printer, and type-setting did not come easily to him.  He worked
almost desperately, however, and meanwhile his brains were as busy as
the coffee-mills.  He succeeded finally, and it was time, for a
salesman was just reporting:

"Mr. Gifford, we're out of paper bags."

"We must have some right away," said Mr. Gifford.  "I wish that
youngster really knew how to print them.  He's tinkering at it over
there."

"Is that right?" asked Jack only a second later, holding out a printed
bag.

"Why, yes, that's the thing.  Go ahead," said the surprised
coffee-dealer.  "I thought you'd failed this time."

"I'll run off a lot," said Jack, "and then I'll go out and get
something to eat."

"No, you won't," said Mr. Gifford promptly.  "No going out, during
business hours, in _this_ house.  I'll have a luncheon brought to you.
I'll try you to-day, anyhow."

Back went Jack without another word, but he thought silently, "That
saves me ten cents."

The Alligator press was started, and Jack fed it with the blank paper
bags the salesmen needed, and he began to feel happy.  He was even
happier when his luncheon was brought; for the firm of Gifford &
Company saw that their employees fared well.

"I declare!" said Jack to himself, "it's the first full meal I've had
since last week Wednesday!  I was starved."

On went the press, and the young pressman sat doggedly at his task; but
he was all the while watching things in the store and hearing whatever
there was to hear.

"I know their prices pretty well," he thought.  "Most of the things are
marked--ever so much lower than Crofield prices, too."

He had piles of printed bags of different sizes ready for use, now
lying around him.

"Time to get at some of those circulars," he was saying, as he arose
from his seat at the press and stepped out behind the counter.

"Five pounds of coffee," said a lady, before the counter, in a tone of
vexation.  "I've waited long enough.  Mocha and Java, mixed."

"Thirty-five cents," said Jack.

"Quick, then," said she, and he darted away to fill her order.

"Three and a half pounds of powdered sugar," said another lady, as he
passed her.

"Yes, ma'am," said Jack.

"How much is this soap?" asked a stout old woman, and Jack remembered
that price too.

He was not at all aware that anybody was watching him; but he was just
telling another customer about tea and baking-soda when he felt a hand
upon his shoulder.

"See here," demanded Mr. Gifford, "what are you doing behind the
counter?"

"I was afraid they'd get tired of waiting and go somewhere else," said
Jack.  "I know something about waiting on customers.  Yes, ma'am,
that's a fine tea.  Forty-eight cents.  Half pound?  Yes ma'am.  In a
jiffy, Mr. Gifford;--there are bags enough for to-day."

"I think you may stay," said the head of the house.  "I didn't need
another boy; but I begin to think I do need a blacksmith, a carpenter,
a printer, and a good sharp salesman."  As he was turning away he
added, "It's surprising how quickly he has picked up our prices."

Jack's fingers were trembling nervously, but his face brightened as he
did up that package.

Mr. Gifford waited while the Crofield boy answered yet another customer
and sold some coffee, and told Jack to go right on.

"Come to the desk," he then said.  "I don't even know your name.  Come."

Very hot and yet a little shaky was Jack as he followed; but Mr.
Gifford was not a verbose man.

"Mr. Jones," he said to the head clerk, "please take down his
name;--what is it?"

"John Ogden, sir," and after other questions and answers, Mr. Gifford
said:

"Find a cheaper boarding-place.  You can get good board for five
dollars a week.  Your pay is only ten dollars a week to begin, and you
must live on that.  We'll see that you earn it, too.  You can begin
printing circulars and cards."

Jack went, and Mr. Gifford added:

"Why, Mr. Jones, he's saved sending for three different workmen since
he came in.  He'll make a good salesman, too.  He's a boy--but he isn't
only a boy.  I'll keep him."

Jack went to the press as if in a dream.

"A place!" he said to himself.  "Well, yes.  I've got a place.  Good
wages, too; but I suppose they won't pay until Saturday night.  How am
I to keep going until then?  I have to pay my bill at the Hotel
Dantzic, too--now I've begun on a new week.  I'll go without my supper,
and buy a sandwich in the morning, and then--I'll get along somehow."

He worked all that afternoon with an uneasy feeling that he was being
watched.  The paper bags were finished, a fair supply of them; and then
the type for the circular needed only a few changes, and he began on
that.  Each new job made him remember things he had learned in the
_Standard_ office, or had gathered from Mr. Black, the wooden foreman
of the _Eagle_.  It was just as well, however, that things needed only
fixing up and not setting anew, for that might have been a little
beyond him.  As it was, he overcame all difficulties, besides leaving
the press three times to act as salesman.

Gifford & Co. kept open to accommodate customers who purchased goods on
their way home; and it was after nearly all other business houses,
excepting such as theirs, were closed, that the very tall man leaned in
at the door and then came striding down the store to the desk.

"Gifford," he said, "that clerk of yours was right.  There's almost a
panic in potatoes.  I've got five thousand barrels for you, and five
thousand for myself, at a dollar and sixty, and the price just jumped.
They will bring two dollars.  If they do, we'll make two thousand
apiece."

"I'm glad you did so well," said Mr. Gifford dryly, "but don't say much
to him about it.  Let him alone--"

"Well, yes;--but I want to do something for him.  Give him this ten
dollar bill from me."

"Very well," said Mr. Gifford, "you owe the profit to him.  I'll take
care of my side of the matter.  Ogden, come here a moment!"

Jack stopped the press and came to the desk.  The money was handed to
him.

"It's just a bit of luck," said the tall man; "but your information was
valuable to me."

"Thank you," said Jack, after he had in vain refused the money.

"You've done enough," said Mr. Gifford; "this will do for your first
day.  Eight o'clock in the morning, remember.  Good-night!"

"I'm glad I belong here," Jack said to himself.  "If I'd had my pick of
the city I would have chosen this very store.  Ten dollars!  I can pay
Mr. Keifelheimer now, and I sha'n't have to starve to death."

Jack felt so prosperous that he walked only to the nearest station of
the elevated railway, and cheerfully paid five cents for a ride up-town.

When the Hotel Dantzic was reached, it seemed a much more cheerful and
home-like building than it had appeared when he left it in the morning;
and Jack had now no notion of dodging Mr. Keifelheimer.  There he stood
on the doorstep, looking stern and dignified.  He was almost too polite
when Jack said:

"Good-evening, Mr. Keifelheimer."

"Goot-efening," he replied, with a bow.  "I hope you gets along vell
mit your beezness?"

"Pretty well," said Jack cheerfully.

"Vere vas you feexed?" asked Mr. Keifelheimer, doubtfully.

Jack held out one of the business cards of Gifford & Company, and
replied:

"That's where I am.  I guess I'll pay for my room here till the end of
this week, and then I'll find a place farther down town."

"I vas so sorry dey peek your pocket," said Mr. Keifelheimer, looking
at the card.  "Tell you vat, Mr. Ogden, you take supper mit me.  It
cost you not'ing.  I haf to talk some mit you."

[Illustration: _Jack dines with Mr. Keifelheimer_.]

"All right," said Jack.  "I'll pay up at the desk, and then I'll get
ready for dinner."

When he came down Mr. Keifelheimer was waiting for him, very smiling,
but not nearly so polite and dignified.  Hardly were they seated at the
supper-table, before the proprietor coughed twice affectedly, and then
remarked:

"You not leaf de Hotel Dantzic, Mr. Ogden.  I use up pounds and boxes
of tea und sugar und coffee, und all dose sometings dey sell at Gifford
und Company's.  You get me de best prices mit dem, und you safe me a
great heap of money.  I get schwindled, schwindled, all de times!  You
vas keep your room, und you pays for vat you eats.  De room is a goot
room, but it shall cost you not vun cent.  So?  If I find you safe me
money, I go on mit you."

"I'll do my best," said Jack.  "Let me know what you're paying now."

"Ve go all ofer de leest after ve eat someting," said Mr. Keifelheimer.
"Mr. Guilderaufenberg say goot deal about you.  So did de ladies.  I
vas sorry dot dey peek your pocket."

Probably he had now forgotten just what he had thought of saying to
Jack in case the boy had not been able to pay for his room, and had
been out of employment; but Jack was enjoying a fine illustration of
that wise proverb which says: "Nothing succeeds like success."



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE DRUMMER BOY.

The Ogden family had said very little, outside of their own house,
about the news of Mary's success in Mertonville, but on that Monday
morning Miss Glidden received no less than four letters, and each of
them congratulated her over the election of her dear young friend, and
commented on how glad she must be.  "Well," she said to herself, "of
course I'm glad.  And I did all I could for her.  She owes it all to
me.  I'll go and see her."

Mary Ogden had so much talking to do and so many questions to answer,
at the breakfast table, that her cup of coffee was cold before she
could drink it, and then she and her mother and her aunt went into the
parlor to continue their talk.

John Ogden himself waited there a long time before going over to the
shop.  His helper had the forge ready, and the tall blacksmith at once
put a rod of iron into the fire and began to blow the bellows.  The rod
was at white heat and was out on the anvil in no time, and the hammer
began to ring upon it to flatten it out when John heard somebody speak
to him:

"Mr. Ogden, what are you making?  I've been watching you--and I can't
imagine!"

"Well, Deacon Hawkins," said the blacksmith, "you'll have to tell.  The
fact is I was thinking--well--my daughter has just come home."

"I'm glad to hear it and to hear of her success," answered the Deacon.
"Miss Glidden told us.  If you're not busy, I wish you'd put a shoe on
my mare's off hind foot."

The blacksmith then went to work in earnest: and meanwhile Mary, at the
house, was receiving the congratulations of her friends.  "Why, Mary
Ogden, my dear!  Are you here?" exclaimed Miss Glidden.  "I'm so glad!
I'm sure I did all I could for you."  "My dear Mary!" exclaimed
another.  And Mary shook hands heartily with both her callers, and
expressed her gratitude to Miss Glidden.

It was a day of triumph for Mary, and it must have been for Miss
Glidden, for she seemed to be continually persuading herself that much
of the credit of Mary's advancement was hers.  The neighbors came and
went, and more than one of Mary's old school-fellows said to her: "I'm
glad you are so fortunate.  I wish _I_ could find something to do."
When the visitors were gone and Mary tried to help with the housework,
her mother said positively, "Now, Molly, don't touch a thing; you go
upstairs to your books, and don't think of anything else; I'm afraid
you won't have half time enough, even then."

Her aunt gave the same advice, and Mary was grateful, being unusually
eager to begin her studies; and even little Sally was compelled to keep
out of Mary's room.

During the latter part of that Monday afternoon John Ogden had an
important conference with Mr. Magruder, the railway director; and the
blacksmith came home, at night, in a thoughtful state of mind.


His son Jack, at about the same time sat in his room, at the Hotel
Dantzic, in the far-away city he had struggled so hard to reach; and
he, too, was in a thoughtful mood.

"I'll write and tell the family at home, and Mary," he said after a
while.  "I wonder whether every fellow who makes a start in New York
has to almost starve at the beginning!"

He was tired enough to sleep well when bed-time came; but,
nevertheless, he was downstairs Tuesday morning long before Mr.
Keifelheimer's hour for appearing.  Hotel-men who have to sit up late
often rise late also.

"For this once," said Jack, "I'll have a prime Dantzic Hotel breakfast.
After this week, my room won't cost me anything, and I can begin to lay
up money.  I won't ride down town, though; except in the very worst
kind of winter weather."

It delighted him to walk down that morning, and to know just where he
was going and what work he had before him.

"I'm sure," he thought, "that I know every building, big and little,
all the way along.  I've been ordered out of most of these stores.  But
I've found the place that I was looking for, at last."

The porters of Gifford & Company had the store open when Jack got
there, and Mr. Gifford was just coming in.

"Ogden," he said, in his usual peremptory way, "put that press-work on
the paper-bags right through, to-day."

"One moment, please, Mr. Gifford," said Jack.

"I've hardly a moment to spare," answered Mr. Gifford.  "What is it?"

"A customer," said Jack; "the Hotel Dantzic.  I can find more of the
same kind, perhaps."

"Tell me," was the answer, with a look of greater interest, but also a
look of incredulity.

Jack told him, shortly, the substance of his talk with Mr.
Keifelheimer, and Mr. Gifford listened attentively.

"His steward and buyers have been robbing him, have they?" he remarked.
"Well, he's right about it.  No doubt we can save him from ten to
twenty per cent.  It's a good idea.  I'll go up and see him, by and by.
Now hurry with your printing!"

Jack turned to the waiting "Alligator," and Mr. Gifford went on to his
desk.

"Jones," he said, to his head clerk, "Ogden has drummed us a good hotel
customer," and then he told Mr. Jones about it.

"Mr. Gifford," said Mr. Jones, shrewdly, "can we afford to keep a sharp
salesman and drummer behind that little printing-press?"

"Of course not," said Mr. Gifford.  "Not after a week or so.  But we
must wait and see how he wears.  He's very young, and a stranger."

"Young fellows soon grow," said Mr. Jones.  "He'll grow.  He'll pick up
everything that comes along.  I believe you'll find him a valuable
salesman."

"Very likely," said Mr. Gifford, "but I sha'n't tell him so.  He has
plenty of confidence as it is."

"It's not impudence," said Mr. Jones.  "If he hadn't been
pushing--well, he wouldn't have found this place with us.  It's energy."

"Yes," said Mr. Gifford; "if it was impudence we should waste no time
with him.  If there is anything I despise out and out, it's what is
often called cheek."

Next, he hated laziness, or anything resembling it, and Jack sat behind
the Alligator that day, working hard himself and taking note of how Mr.
Gifford kept his employees busy.

"No wonder he didn't need another boy," he thought.  "He gets all the
work possible out of every one he employs.  That's why he's so
successful."

It was a long, dull, hot day.  The luncheon came at noon; and the
customers came all the time, but Jack was forbidden to meddle with them
until his printing was done.

"Mr. Gifford's eyes are everywhere," said he, "but I hope he hasn't
seen anything out of the way in me.  There are bags enough to last a
month--yes, two months.  I'll begin on the circulars and cards
to-morrow.  I'm glad it's six o'clock."

Mr. Gifford was standing near the door, giving orders to the porters,
and as the Alligator stopped, Jack said to him: "I think I will go
visiting among the other hotels, this evening."

"Very well," said Mr. Gifford quietly.  "I saw Mr. Keifelheimer to-day,
and made arrangements with him.  If you're going out to the hotels in
our interest, buy another hat, put on a stand-up collar with a new
necktie; the rest of your clothing is well enough.  Don't try to look
dandyish, though."

"Of course not," said Jack, smiling; "but I was thinking about making
some improvements in my suit."

He made several purchases on his way up town, and put each article on
as he bought it.  The last "improvement" was a neat straw hat, from a
lot that were selling cheaply, and he looked into a long looking glass
to see what the effect was.

[Illustration: _Jack buys a new hat_.]

"There!" he exclaimed.  "There's very little of the 'green' left.  It's
not altogether the hat and the collar, either.  Nor the necktie.  Maybe
some of it was starved out!"

He was a different looking boy, at all events, and the cashier at the
desk of the Hotel Dantzic looked twice at him when he came in, and Mr.
Keifelheimer remarked:

"Dot vas a smart boy!  His boss vas here, und I haf safe money.  Mr.
Guilderaufenberg vas right about dot boy."

Jack was eager to begin his "drumming," but he ate a hearty supper
before he went out.

"I must learn something about hotels," he remarked thoughtfully.  "I'll
take a look at some of them."

The Hotel Dantzic was not small, but it was small compared to some of
the larger hotels that Jack was now to investigate.  He walked into the
first one he found, and he looked about it, and then he walked out, and
went into another and looked that over, and then he thought he would
try another.  He strolled around through the halls, and offices, and
reading-rooms, and all the public places; but the more he saw, the more
he wondered what good it would do him to study them.

It was about eight o'clock in the evening when he stood in front of the
office of the great Equatorial Hotel, feeling very keenly that he was
still only a country boy, with very little knowledge of the men and
things he saw around him.

A broad, heavy hand came down upon his shoulder, and a voice he had
heard before asked, heartily:

"John Ogden?  You here?  Didn't I tell you not to stay too long in the
city?"

"Yes, you did, Governor," said Jack, turning quickly.  "But I had to
stay here.  I've gone into the wholesale and retail grocery business."

Jack already knew that the Governor could laugh merrily, and that any
other men who might happen to be standing by were more than likely to
join with him in his mirth, but the color came at once to his cheeks
when the Governor began to smile.

"In the grocery business?" laughed the Governor.  "Do you supply the
Equatorial?"

"No, not yet; but I'd like to," said Jack.  "I think our house could
give them what they need."

"Let me have your card then," said one of the gentlemen who had joined
in the Governor's merriment; "for the Governor has no time to spare--"

Jack handed him the card of Gifford & Company.

"Take it, Boulder, take it," said the Governor.  "Mr. Ogden and I are
old acquaintances."

"He's a protégé of yours, eh?" said Boulder.  "Well, I mean business.
Write your own name there, Mr. Ogden.  I'll send our buyer down there,
to-morrow, and we'll see what can be done.  Shall we go in, Governor?"

Jack understood, at once, that Mr. Boulder was one of the proprietors
of the Equatorial Hotel.

"I'm called for, Jack," said the Governor.  "You will be in the city
awhile, will you not?  Well, don't stay here too long.  I came here
once, when I was about your age.  I staid a year, and then I went away.
A year in the city will be of great benefit to you, I hope.  Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Governor," said Jack, seriously.  "We'll do the right thing
by Mr. Boulder;" and there was another laugh as Jack shook hands with
the Governor, and then with the very dignified manager of the
Equatorial Hotel.

"That will do, for one evening," thought Jack, as the distinguished
party of gentlemen walked away.  "I'd better go right home and go to
bed.  The Governor's a brick anyhow!"

Back he went to the Hotel Dantzic, and he was soon asleep.

The Alligator press in Gifford & Company's was opening and shutting its
black jaws regularly over the sheets of paper it was turning into
circulars, about the middle of Wednesday forenoon, when a dapper
gentleman with a rather prominent scarf-pin walked briskly into the
store and up to the desk.

"Mr. Gifford?" he asked.

"Yes, sir."

"I'm Mr. Barnes," said the dapper man.  "General buyer for the
Equatorial Hotel.  Your Mr. Ogden was up with us, last night, to see
some of his friends, and I've come down to look at your price-list, and
so forth."

"Oh!" quietly remarked Mr. Gifford, "our Mr. Ogden.  Oh, quite right!
I think we can satisfy you.  We'll do our best, certainly.  Mr. Jones,
please confer with Mr. Barnes--I'll be back in a minute."

Up toward the door walked Mr. Gifford, but not too fast.  He stood
still when he arrived at the Alligator press.

"Ogden," he said, "you can leave that work.  I've another printing hand
coming."

Jack's heart beat quickly, for a moment.  What,--could he be discharged
so suddenly?  He was dismayed.  But Mr. Gifford went on:

"Wash your hands, Ogden, and stand behind the counter there.  I'll see
you again, by and by.  The buyer is here from the Equatorial."

"I promised them you'd give them all they wanted, and as good prices as
could be had anywhere," said Jack, with a great sense of relief, and
recovering his courage.

"We will," said Mr. Gifford, as he turned away, and he did not think he
must explain to Jack that it would not do for Mr. Barnes to find
Gifford & Company's salesman, "Mr. Ogden," running an Alligator press.

Mr. Barnes was in the store for some time, but Jack was not called up
to talk with him.  Mr. Gifford was the right man for that part of the
affair, and in the course of his conversation with Mr. Barnes he
learned further particulars concerning the intimacy between "your Mr.
Ogden" and the Governor, with the addition that "Mr. Boulder thinks
well of Mr. Ogden too."

Jack waited upon customers as they came, and he did well, for "a new
hand."   But he felt very ignorant of both articles and prices, and the
first thing he said, when Mr. Gifford again came near him, was:

"Mr. Gifford, I ought to know more than I do about the stock and
prices."

"Of course you ought," said Mr. Gifford.  "I don't care to have you try
any more 'drumming' till you do.  You must stay a few months behind the
counter and learn all you can.  You must dress neatly, too.  I wonder
you've looked as well as you have.  We'll make your salary fifteen
dollars a week.  You'll need more money as a salesman."

Jack flushed with pleasure, but a customer was at hand, and the
interruption prevented him from making an answer.

"Jones," remarked Mr. Gifford to his head clerk, "Ogden is going to
become a fine salesman!"

"I thought so," said Jones.

They both were confirmed in this opinion, about three weeks later.
Jack was two hours behind time, one morning; but when he did come, he
brought with him Mr. Guilderaufenberg of Washington, with reference to
a whole winter's supplies for a "peeg poarding-house," and two United
States Army contractors.  Jack had convinced these gentlemen that they
were paying too much for several articles that could be found on the
list of Gifford & Company in better quality and at cheaper rates.

"Meester Giffort," said the German gentleman, "I haf drafel de vorlt
over, und I haf nefer met a better boy dan dot Jack Ogden.  He knows
not mooch yet, alretty, but den he ees a very goot boy."

"We like him," said Mr. Gifford, smiling.

"So do I, und so does Mrs. Guilderaufenberg, und Miss Hildebrand, und
Miss Podgr-ms-chski," said the German.  "Some day you lets him visit us
in Vashington?  So?"

"I don't know.  Perhaps I will," said Mr. Gifford; but he afterward
remarked grimly to Mr. Jones: "If I should, and he should meet the
President, Ogden would never let him go until he bought some of our tea
and coffee!"

That day was a notable one in both Crofield and Mertonville.  Jack's
first long letter, telling that he was in the grocery business, had
been almost a damper to the Ogden family.  They had kept alive a small
hope that he would come back soon, until Aunt Melinda opened an
envelope that morning and held up samples of paper bags, cards, and
circulars of Gifford & Company, while Mrs. Ogden read the letter that
came with them.  Bob and Jim claimed the bags next, while Susie and
Bessie read the circulars, and the tall blacksmith himself straightened
up as if he had suddenly grown prouder.

"Mary!" he exclaimed.  "Jack always said he'd get to the city.  And
he's there--and earning his living!"

"Yes, but--Father," she said, with a small shake in her voice, "I--wish
he was back again.  There'd be almost room for him to work in Crofield,
now."

"Maybe so, maybe so," he replied.  "There'll be crowds of people coming
in when they begin work on the new rail way and the bridge.  I signed
the deeds yesterday for all the land they're buying of Jack and me.  I
won't tell him about it quite yet, though.  I don't wish to unsettle
his mind.  Let him stay where he is."

"This will be a trying day for Mary," said Aunt Melinda, thoughtfully.
"The Academy will open at nine o'clock.  Just think of what that child
has to go through!  There'll be a crowd there, too,--oh, dear me!"


Mary Ogden sat upon the stage, by previous orders from the Academy
principals, awaiting the opening exercises; but the principals
themselves had not yet arrived.  She looked rather pale, and she was
intently watching the nickel-plated gong on the table and the hands of
the clock which hung upon the opposite wall.

"Perhaps the principals are here," Mary thought as the clock hands
crept along.  "But they said to strike the bell at nine, precisely, and
if they're not here I must do it!"

At the second of time, up stood Mary and the gong sounded sharply.

That was for "Silence!" and it was very silent, all over the hall, and
all the scholars looked at Mary and waited.

"Clang," went the gong again, and every boy and girl arose, as if they
had been trained to it.

Poor Mary was thinking, "I hope nobody sees how scared I am!" but the
Academy term was well opened, and Dr. Dillingham was speaking, when the
Reverend Lysander Pettigrew and Mrs. Henderson, the tardy principals,
came hurrying in to explain that an accident had delayed them.



CHAPTER XIX.

COMPLETE SUCCESS.

Two years passed.  There was a great change in the outward aspect of
Crofield.  The new bridge over the Cocahutchie was of iron, resting on
stone piers, and the village street crossed it.  The railroad bridge
was just below, but was covered in with a shed, so that the trains
might not frighten horses.  The mill was still in its place, but the
dam was two feet higher and the pond was wider.  Between the mill and
the bridge was a large building of brick and stone that looked like a
factory.  Between the street and the railway, the space was filled by
the station-house and freight depot, which extended to Main Street; and
there were more railway buildings on the other side of the Cocahutchie.
Just below the railroad and along the bank of the creek, the ground was
covered by wooden buildings, and there was a strong smell of leather
and tan-bark.  Of course, the old Washington Hotel was gone; but across
the street, on the corner to the left, there was a great brick
building, four stories high, with "Washington Hotel" painted across the
front of it.  The stores in that building were just finished.  Looking
up Main Street, or looking down, it did not seem the same village.  The
new church in the middle of the green was built of stone; and both of
the other churches were rapidly being demolished, as if new ones also
were to take their places.

It was plain, at a glance, that if this improvement was general, the
village must be extending its bounds rapidly, for there never had been
too much room in it, for even the old buildings with which Jack had
been familiar.

Jack Ogden had not been in Crofield while all this work was going on.
His first week with Gifford & Company seemed the most exciting week
that he had ever known, and the second was no less busy and
interesting.  He did not go to the German church the second Sunday, but
later he did somehow drift into another place of worship where the
sermon was preached in Welsh.

"Well!" said Jack, when he came out, at the close of the service, "I
think I'll go back to the church I went to first.  I don't look so
green now as I did then, but I'm sure the General will remember me."

He carried out this determination the next Sunday.  The sexton gave him
a seat, and he took it, remarking to himself:

"A fellow feels more at home in a place where he's been before.
There's the General!  I wish I was in his pew.  I'll speak to him when
he comes out."

The great man appeared, in due season, and as he passed down the aisle
he came to a boy who was just leaving a pew.  With a smile on his face,
the boy held out his hand and bowed.

"Good-morning," said the General, shaking hands promptly and bowing
graciously in return.  Then he added, "I hope you'll come here every
Sunday."

[Illustration: _Jack speaks to the General_.]

That was all, but Jack received at least a bow, every Sunday, for four
weeks.  On the Monday after the fourth Sunday, the door of Gifford &
Company's store was shadowed by the entrance of a very proud-looking
man who stalked straight on to the desk, where he was greeted cordially
by Mr. Gifford, for he seemed to be an old friend.

"You have a boy here named John Ogden?" asked the General.

"Yes, General," said Mr. Gifford.  "A fine young fellow."

"Is he doing well?" asked the General.

"We've no fault to find with him," was the answer.  "Do you care to see
him?  He's out on business, just now."

"No, I don't care to see him," said the General.  "Tell him, please,
that I called.  I feel interested in his progress, that's all.
Good-morning, Mr. Gifford."

The head of the firm bowed the general out, and came back to say to Mr.
Jones: "That youngster beats me!  He can pick up a millionaire, or a
governor, as easily as he can measure a pound of coffee."

"Some might think him rather bold," said Jones, "but I don't.  He is
absorbed in his work, and he puts it through.  He's the kind of boy we
want, no doubt of that."

"See what he's up to, this morning!" said Mr. Gifford.  "It's all
right.  He asked leave, and I told him he might go."

Jack had missed seeing the General because he did not know enough of
the grocery business.  He had said to Mr. Gifford:

"I think, Mr. Gifford, I ought to know more about this business from
its very beginnings.  If you'll let me, I'd like to see where we get
supplies."

That meant a toilsome round among the great sugar refineries, on the
Long Island side of the East River; and then another among the tea and
coffee merchants and brokers, away down town, looking at samples of all
sorts and finding out how cargoes were unloaded from ships and were
bought and sold among the dealers.  He brought to the store, that
afternoon, before six o'clock, about forty samples of all kinds of
grocery goods, all labeled with prices and places, and he was going on
to talk about them when Mr. Gifford stopped him.

"There, Ogden," he said.  "I know all about these myself,--but where
did you find that coffee?  I want some.  And this tea?--It is two cents
lower than I'm paying.  Jones, he's found just the tea you and I were
talking of--" and so he went on carefully examining the other samples,
and out of them all there were seven different articles that Gifford &
Company bought largely next day.

"Jones," said Mr. Gifford, when he came back from buying them, "they
had our card in each place, and told me, 'Your Mr. Ogden was in here
yesterday.  We took him for a boy at first.'--I'm beginning to think
there are some things that only that kind of boy can do.  I'll just let
him go ahead in his own way."


Mary had told Jack all about her daily experiences in her letters to
him, and he said to himself more than once:

"Dudley Edwards must be a tip-top fellow.  It's good of him to drive
Mary over to Crofield and back every Saturday.  And they have had such
good sleighing all winter.  I wish I could try some of it."

There was no going to Crofield for him.  When Thanksgiving Day came, he
could not afford it, and before the Christmas holidays Mr. Gifford told
him:

"We can't spare you at Christmas, Ogden.  It's the busiest time for us
in the whole year."

Mr. Gifford was an exacting master, and he kept Jack at it all through
the following spring and summer.  Mary had a good rest during the hot
weather, but Jack did not.  One thing that seemed strange to her was
that so many of the Crofield ladies called to see her, and that Miss
Glidden was more and more inclined to suggest that Mary's election had
been mainly due to her own influence in Mertonville.

On the other hand, it seemed to Jack that summer, as if everybody he
knew was out of the city.  Business kept pressing him harder and
harder, and all the plans he made to get a leave of absence for that
second year's Thanksgiving Day failed to work successfully.

The Christmas holidays came again, but throughout the week, Gifford &
Company's store kept open until eight o'clock, every evening, with Jack
Ogden behind the counter.  He got so tired that he hardly cared about
it when they raised his salary to twenty-five dollars a week, just
after Mr. Gifford saw him come down town with another coffee and tea
dealer, whose store was in the same street.

"We mustn't let him leave us, Jones," Mr. Gifford had said to his head
clerk.  "I am going to send him to Washington next week."

Not many days later, Mrs. Guilderaufenberg in her home at Washington
was told by her maid servant that, "There's a strange b'y below, ma'am,
who sez he's a-wantin' to spake wid yez."

Down went the landlady into the parlor, and then up went her hands.

"Oh, Mr. Jack_og_den!  How glad I am to see you!  You haf come!  I gif
you the best stateroom in my house."

"I believe I'm here," said Jack, shaking hands heartily.  "How is Mr.
Guilderaufenberg and how is Miss--"

"Oh, Miss Hildebrand," she said, "she will be so glad, and so will Mrs.
Smith.  She avay with her husband.  He is a Congressman from far vest.
You will call to see her."

"Mrs. Smith?" exclaimed Jack, but in another second he understood it,
and asked after his old friend with the unpronounceable name as well as
after Miss Hildebrand.

"She has a name, now, that I can speak!  I'm glad Smith isn't a Polish
name," he said to himself.

"Oh, Mr. Jack_og_den!" exclaimed Mrs. Guilderaufenberg, a moment later.
"How haf you learned to speak German?  She will be so astonish!"

That was one use he had made of his evenings, and he had improved by
speaking to all the Germans he had met down town; and his German was a
great delight to Mr. Guilderaufenberg, and to Miss Hildebrand, and to
Mrs. Smith (formerly Miss Pod----ski) when he called to see them.

"So!" said Mr. Guilderaufenberg, "you takes my advice and you comes.
Dis ees de ceety!  Ve shows you eet all ofer.  All de beeg buildings
and all de beeg men.  You shtay mit Mrs. Guilderaufenberg and me till
you sees all Vashington."

Jack did so, but he had business errands also, and he somehow managed
to accomplish his commissions so that Mr. Gifford was quite satisfied
when he returned to New York.

"I haven't sold so many goods," said Jack, "but then I've seen the city
of Washington, and I've shaken hands with the President and with
Senators and Congressmen.  Mr. Gifford, how soon can I make a visit to
Crofield?"

"We'll arrange that as soon as warm weather comes," said his employer.
"Make it your summer vacation."

Jack had to be satisfied.  He knew that more was going on in the old
village than had been told him in any of his letters from home.  His
father was a man who dreaded to write letters, and Mary and the rest of
them were either too busy, or else did not know just what news would be
most interesting to Jack.

"I'm going to see Crofield!" said he, a hundred times, after the days
began to grow longer.  "I want to see the trees and the grass and I
want to see corn growing and wheat harvesting.  I'd even like to be
stung by a bumblebee!"

He became so eager about it, at last, that he went home by rail all the
way, in a night train, and he arrived at Crofield, over the new
railroad, just as the sun was rising, one bright June morning.

"Goodness!" he exclaimed, as he walked out of the station.  "It's not
the same village!  I won't go over to the house and wake the family
until I've looked around."

From where he stood, he gazed at the new hotel, and took a long look up
and down Main Street.  Then he walked eagerly down toward the bridge.

"Hullo!" he said in amazement.  "Our house isn't there!  Why, what is
the meaning of this?  I knew that the shop had been moved up to the
back lot.  They're building houses along the road across the
Cocahutchie!  Why haven't they written and told me of all this?"

He saw the bridge, the factory, the tannery, and many other buildings,
but he did not see the familiar old blacksmith shop on the back lot.

"I don't know where we live nor where to find my home!" he said, almost
dejectedly.  "They know I'm coming, though, and they must have meant to
surprise me.  Mary's at home, too, for her vacation."

He walked up Main Street, leaving his baggage at the station.
New--new--new,--all the buildings for several blocks, and then he came
to houses that were just as they used to be.  One pretty white house
stood back among some trees, on a corner, and, as Jack walked nearer, a
tall man in the door of it stepped quickly out to the gate.  He seemed
to be trying to say something, but all he did, for a moment, was to
beckon with his hand.

[Illustration: _Jack returns home_.]

"Father!" shouted Jack, as he sprang forward.

"Jack, my son, how are you?"

"Is this our house?" asked Jack.

"Yes, this is our house.  They're all getting up early, too, because
you're coming.  There are some things I want to talk about, though,
before they know you're actually here.  Walk along with me a little
way."

On, back, down Main Street, walked Jack with his father, until they
came to what was now labeled Bridge Street.  When Jack lived in
Crofield the road had no name.

"See that store on the corner?" asked Mr. Ogden.  "It's a fine-looking
store, isn't it?"

"Very," said Jack.

"Well, now," said his father, "I'm going to run that store, and I do
wish you were to be in it with me."

"There will be none too much room in it for Bob and Jim," said Jack.
"They're growing up, you know!"

"You listen to me," continued the tall blacksmith, trying to be calm.
"The railway company paid me quite a snug sum of money for what they
needed of your land and mine.  Mr. Magruder did it for you.  I bought
with the money thirty acres of land, just across the Cocahutchie, to
the left of the bridge.  Half of it was yours to begin with, and now
I've traded you the other half.  Don't speak.  Listen to me.  Most of
it was rocky, but the railway company opened a quarry on it, getting
out their stone, and it's paying handsomely.  Livermore has built that
hotel block.  I put in the stone and our old house lot, and I own the
corner store, except that Livermore can use the upper stories for his
hotel.  The factory company traded me ten shares of their stock for
part of your land on which they built.  I traded that stock for ten
acres of rocky land along the road, across the Cocahutchie, up by the
mill.  That makes forty acres there."

"Father!" exclaimed Jack.  "All it cost me was catching a runaway team,
and your bill against the miller!  Crofield is better than the grocery
business in New York!"

"Listen!" said his father, smiling.  "The tannery company traded me a
lot of their stock for the rest of my back lot and for the rest of your
gravel, and they tore down the blacksmith shop, and I traded their
stock and some other things for the house where we live.  I made your
part good to you, with the land across the creek, and that's where the
new village of Crofield is to be."

"I didn't see a cent of money in any of those trades, but I've a
thousand dollars laid up, and I'm only working in the railroad shop
now, but I'm going into the hardware business.  I wish you'd come back
and come in with me.  There's the store--rent free.  We can sell plenty
of tools, now that Crofield is booming!"

"I've saved up seven hundred and fifty dollars," said Jack, "from my
salary and commissions.  I'll put that in.  Gifford & Company'll send
you things cheap.  But, Father,--I belong in the city.  I've seen
hundreds of boys there who didn't belong there, but I do.  Let's go
back to the house.  Bob and Jim--"

"Well, maybe you're right," said his father, slowly.  "Come, let us go
home.  Your mother has hardly been able to wait to see you."

When they came in sight of the house, the stoop and the front gate were
thronged with home-folk, but Jack could not see clearly for a moment.
The sunshine, or something else, got into his eyes.  Then there were
pairs of arms, large and small, embracing him, and,--well, it was a
happy time, and Mary was there and his mother, and the family were all
together once more.

"How you have grown!" said his aunt.  "_How_ you have grown!"

"I do wish you'd come home to stay!" exclaimed his mother.

"Perhaps he will," said his father, and Mary had hardly said a word
till then, but now it seemed to burst out in spite of her.

"Oh Jack!" she said.  "If I could go back with you, when you go!  I
could live with a sister of Mrs. Edwards.  She's invited me to live
with her for a whole year.  And I could finish my education, and be
really fit to teach.  I've saved some money."

"Mary!" answered Jack, "I can pay all the other expenses.  Do come!"

"Yes, you'd better go, Jack," said his father, thoughtfully.  "I am
sure that you are a city boy."

That was a great vacation, but no trout were now to be caught in the
Cocahutchie.  The new store on the corner was to be opened in the
autumn, and Jack insisted upon having it painted a bright red about the
windows.  There were visits to Mertonville, and there were endless
talks about what Jack's land was going to be worth, some day.  But the
days flew by, and soon his time was up and he had to go back to the
city.  He and Mary went together, and they went down the Hudson River
in the steamer "Columbia."

Mr. Dudley Edwards, of Mertonville, went at the same time to attend to
some law business, he said, in New York.

Jack told Mr. Gifford all about the Crofield town-lots, and his
employer answered:

"That is the thing for you, Ogden; you'll have some capital, when you
come of age, and then we can take you in as a junior partner.  You
belong in the city.  I couldn't take you in any sooner, you know.  We
don't want a boy."

"That's just what you told me," said Jack roguishly, "the first time I
came into this store; but you took me then.  Well, I shall always do my
best."



THE END.





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