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´╗┐Title: Hector's Inheritance, Or, the Boys of Smith Institute
Author: Alger, Horatio, 1832-1899
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hector's Inheritance, Or, the Boys of Smith Institute" ***

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HECTOR'S INHERITANCE

OR

THE BOYS OF SMITH INSTITUTE


By Horatio Alger, Jr.

Author of "Eric Train Boy" "Young Acrobat," "Only an Irish Boy," "Bound
to Rise," "The Young Outlaw," "Driven from Home" etc.

NEW YORK



HECTOR'S INHERITANCE.



CHAPTER I. MR. ROSCOE RECEIVES TWO LETTERS.



Mr. Roscoe rang the bell, and, in answer, a servant entered the library,
where he sat before a large and commodious desk.

"Has the mail yet arrived?" he asked.

"Yes, sir; John has just come back from the village."

"Go at once and bring me the letters and papers, if there are any."

John bowed and withdrew.

Mr. Roscoe walked to the window, and looked thoughtfully out upon a
smooth, luxuriant lawn and an avenue of magnificent trees, through which
carriages were driven to what was popularly known as Castle Roscoe.
Everything, even to the luxuriously appointed room in which he sat,
indicated wealth and the ease which comes from affluence.

Mr. Roscoe looked around him with exultation.

"And all this may be mine," he said to himself, "if I am only bold. What
is it old Pindar says? 'Boldness is the beginning of victory.' I have
forgotten nearly all I learned in school, but I remember that. There is
some risk, perhaps, but not much, and I owe something to my son---"

He was interrupted by the entrance of the servant with a small leather
bag, which was used to hold mail matter, going from or coming to the
house.

The servant unlocked the bag, and emptied the contents on the desk.
There were three or four papers and two letters. It was the last which
attracted Mr. Roscoe's attention.

We will take the liberty of looking over Mr. Roscoe's shoulder as he
reads the first. It ran as follows:

"DEAR SIR:-I am in receipt of your favor, asking my terms for boarding
pupils. For pupils of fifteen or over, I charge five hundred dollars per
year, which is not a large sum considering the exceptional advantages
presented by Inglewood School. My pupils are from the best families,
and enjoy a liberal table. Moreover, I employ competent teachers, and
guarantee rapid progress, when the student is of good, natural capacity,
and willing to work.

"I think you will agree with me that it is unwise to economize when the
proper training of a youth is in question, and that a cheap school is
little better than no school at all.

"I have only to add that I shall be most happy to receive your young
nephew, if you decide to send him to me, and will take personal pains to
promote his advancement. I remain, dear sir, your obedient servant,

"DIONYSIUS KADIX."

Mr. Roscoe threw the letter down upon the desk with an impatient
gesture.

"Five hundred dollars a year!" he exclaimed. "What can the man be
thinking of? Why, when I went to school, twenty-five years since, less
than half this sum was charged. The man is evidently rapacious. Let me
see what this other letter says."

The second letter was contained in a yellow envelope, of cheap texture,
and was much more plebeian in appearance than the first.

Again we will look over Mr. Roscoe's shoulder, and read what it
contains. It was postmarked Smithville, and the envelope was disfigured
by a blot. It commenced:

"DEAR SIR:-It gives me pleasure to answer your inquiries respecting
my school. I have about fifty pupils, part of whom, say one-third, are
boarders. Though I say it myself, it will be hard to find any school
where more thorough instruction is given. I look upon my pupils as my
children, and treat them as such. My system of government is, therefore,
kind and parental, and my pupils are often homesick in vacation, longing
for the time to come when they can return to their studies at Smith
Institute. It is the dearest wish of Mrs. Smith and myself to make our
young charges happy, and to advance them, by pleasant roads over flowery
meads, to the inner courts of knowledge.

"Humbug!" muttered Mr. Roscoe. "I understand what all that means." He
continued:

"I hope you will not consider three hundred dollars per annum too
much for such parental care. Considering the present high price of
provisions, it is really as low a price as we can afford to receive.

"I shall be glad if you consider my letter favorable and decide to place
your nephew under my charge. Yours respectfully,

"SOCRATES SMITH, A. M."

"That is more reasonable," said Mr. Roscoe, to himself, as he laid down
the letter. "Three hundred dollars I consider a fair price. At any rate,
I do not propose to pay any more for Hector. I suppose the table is
plain enough, but I don't believe in pampering the appetites of boys.
If he were the master of Roscoe Hall, as he thinks he is, there might be
some propriety in it; but upon that head I shall soon undeceive him. I
will let him understand that I am the proprietor of the estate, and that
he is only a dependent on my bounty. I wonder how he will take it. I
dare say he will make a fuss, but he shall soon be made to understand
that it is of no use. Now to answer these letters."

Mr. Roscoe sat down in a luxurious armchair, and, drawing pen and paper
toward him, wrote first to Dr. Radix. I subjoin the letter, as it throws
some light upon the character of the writer:

"ROSCOE HALL, Sept. 10th. DR. DIONYSIUS RADIX.

"My DEAR SIR:-I am in receipt of your letter of the 8th instant,
answering my inquiries in regard to your school. Let me say at once that
I find your terms too high. Five hundred dollars a year for forty weeks'
board and schooling seems to me an exorbitant price to ask. Really, at
this rate, education will soon become a luxury open only to the wealthy.

"You are probably under a misapprehension in reference to my young ward.
Nephew he is not, in a strict sense of the term. He was adopted--not
legally, but practically--by my brother, when he was only a year old,
and his origin has been concealed from him. My brother, being childless,
has allowed him to suppose that he was his own son. Undoubtedly he
meant to provide for him in his will, but, as often happens, put off
will-making till it was too late. The estate, therefore, goes to me,
and the boy is unprovided for. This does not so much matter, since I am
willing to educate him, and give him a fair start in life, if he acts
in a manner to suit me. I do not, however, feel called upon to pay an
exorbitant price for his tuition, and, therefore, shall be obliged to
forego placing him at Inglewood School. Yours, etc.,

"ALLAN ROSCOE."

"When this letter is sent, I shall have taken the decisive step,"
thought Mr. Roscoe. "I must then adhere to my story, at whatever cost.
Now for the other."

His reply to the letter of Socrates Smith, A. M., was briefer, but
likely to be more satisfactory to the recipient. It ran thus;

"SOCRATES SMITH, A. M.

"DEAR Sir:-Your letter is at hand, and I find it, on the whole,
satisfactory. The price you charge-three hundred dollars per annum--is
about right. I hope you are a firm disciplinarian. I do not want Hector
too much indulged or pampered, though he may expect it, my poor brother
having been indulgent to excess.

"Let me add, by the bye, that Hector is not my nephew, though I may
inadvertently have mentioned him as such, and had no real claims upon my
brother, though he has been brought up in that belief. He was adopted,
in an informal way, by my brother, when he was but, an infant. Under the
circumstances, I am willing to take care of him, and prepare him to earn
his own living when his education is completed.

"You may expect to see me early next week. I will bring the boy with me,
and enter him at once as a pupil in your school.

"Yours, etc., ALLAN ROSCOE."

"There, that clinches it!" said Mr. Roscoe, in a tone of satisfaction.
"Now for an interview with the boy."



CHAPTER II. RESENTING AN INSULT.



A stone's throw from the mansion was a neat and spacious carriage house.
The late master of Castle Roscoe had been fond of driving, and kept
three horses and two carriages. One of the latter was an old-fashioned
coach; while there was, besides, a light buggy, which Hector was
accustomed to consider his own. It was he, generally, who used this,
for his father preferred to take a driver, and generally took an airing,
either alone or with Hector, in the more stately carriage, drawn by two
horses.

Hector walked across the lawn and entered the carriage house, where
Edward, the coachman, was washing the carriage. As the former is to be
our hero, we may pause to describe him.

He was fifteen, slenderly but strongly made, with a clear skin and dark
eyes and a straightforward look. He had a winning smile, that attracted
all who saw it, but his face could assume a different expression if
need be. There were strong lines about his mouth that indicated calm
resolution and strength of purpose. He was not a boy who would permit
himself to be imposed upon, but was properly tenacious of his rights.

As he entered the carriage house, he looked about him in some surprise.

"Where is the buggy, Edward?" he asked.

"Master Guy is driving out in it."

"How is that?" said Hector. "Doesn't he know that it is mine? He might,
at least, have asked whether I intended to use it."

"That is what I told him."

"And what did he say?"

"That it was just as much his as yours, and perhaps more so."

"What could he mean?"

"He said his father had promised to give it to him."

"Promised to give him my buggy!" exclaimed Hector, his eyes flashing.

"It's a shame, Master Hector, so it is," said Edward, sympathetically.
He had known Hector since he was a boy of five, and liked him far better
than Guy, who was a newcomer, and a boy disposed to domineer over those
whom he considered his inferiors.

"I don't intend to submit to it," said Hector, trying, ineffectually, to
curb his anger.

"I don't blame you, Master Hector, but I'm afraid you will have a hard
time. As your uncle is your guardian, of course he has power over you,
and he thinks everything of that boy of his, though, to my mind, he is
an unmannerly cub."

"I don't know how much power he has over me, but he mustn't expect me
to play second fiddle to his son. I am willing that Guy should enjoy
as many privileges as I do, though the estate is mine; but he mustn't
interfere with my rights."

"That's right, Master Hector. Why don't you speak to your uncle about
it? I would, if I were you."

"So I will, if it is necessary. I will speak to Guy first, and that may
be sufficient. I don't want to enter complaint against him if I can help
it."

"You didn't see Master Guy ride out, did you?"

"'No; I was reading. If I had seen him, I would have stopped him."

"I am afraid it wouldn't have done any good."

"Do you mean that he would have taken the buggy in spite of me?" asked
Hector, indignantly.

"I think he would have tried. To tell the truth, Master Hector, I
refused to get the buggy ready for him, till he brought out a paper from
his father commanding me to do it. Then, of course, I had no choice."

Hector was staggered by this.

"Have you got the paper?" he asked.

"Yes," answered Edward, fumbling in his vest pocket.

He drew out a small scrap of notepaper, on which was written, "My son,
Guy, has my permission to ride out in the buggy. You will obey me rather
than Hector."

This was signed, "Allan Roscoe."

"So it seems my uncle is the trespasser," said Hector. "It is he who
takes the responsibility. I will go and speak to him at once."

"Wait a minute! There comes Master Guy, returning from his ride. You can
have it out with him first."

In fact, Hector had only to look down the avenue to see the rapid
approach of the buggy. Guy held the reins, and was seated in the
driver's seat with all the air of a master. The sight aggravated Hector,
and not without reason. He waited until Guy, flinging the reins to
Edward, leaped from the buggy, then he thought it time to speak.

"Guy," he said, calmly, "it seems to me that you owe me an apology."

"Oh, I do, do I?" sneered Guy. "What for, let me ask?"

"You have driven out in my buggy, without asking my permission."

"Oh, it's your buggy, is it?" said Guy, with another sneer.

"Of course it is. You know that as well as I do."

"I don't know it at all."

"Then I inform you of it. I don't want to be selfish; I am willing that
you should ride out in it occasionally; but I insist upon your asking my
permission."

Guy listened to these words with a sneer upon his face. He was about
the same age and size as Hector, but his features were mean and
insignificant, and there was a shifty look in his eye that stamped him
as unreliable. He did not look like the Roscoes, though in many respects
he was in disposition and character similar to his father.

"It strikes me," he said, with an unpleasant smile, "that you're taking
a little too much upon yourself, Hector Roscoe. The buggy is no more
yours than mine."

"What do you say, Edward?" said Hector, appealing to the coachman.

"I say that the buggy is yours, and the horse is yours, and so I told
Master Guy, but he wouldn't take no notice of it."

"Do you hear that, Guy?"

"Yes, I do; and that's what I think of it," answered Guy, snapping his
fingers. "My father gave me permission to ride out in it, and I've got
just as much right to it as you, and perhaps more."

"You know better, Guy," said Hector, indignantly; "and I warn you not to
interfere with my rights hereafter."

"Suppose I do?" sneered Guy.

"Then I shall be under the necessity of giving you a lesson," said
Hector, calmly.

"You will, will you? You'll give me a lesson?" repeated Guy, nodding
vigorously. "Who are you, I'd like to know?"

"If you don't know, I can tell you."

"Tell me, then."

"I am Hector Roscoe, the owner of Roscoe Hall. Whether your father is to
be my guardian or not, I don't know; but there are limits to the power
of a guardian, and I hope he won't go too far."

"Hear the boy talk!" said Guy, contemptuously.

"I wish to treat my uncle with becoming respect; but he is a newcomer
here--I never saw him till three months since--and he has no right to
come here, and take from me all my privileges. We can all live at peace
together, and I hope we shall; but he must treat me well."

"You are quite sure Roscoe Castle belongs to you, are you, Hector?"

"That's the law. Father left no will, and so the estate comes to me."

"Ho! ho!" laughed Guy, with malicious glee.

"If you only knew what I know, you wouldn't crow quite so loud. It's a
splendid joke."

There was something in this that attracted Hector's attention, though he
was not disposed to attach much importance to what Guy said.

"If I only knew what you know!" he repeated.

"Yes; that's what I said."

"What is it?"

"You'll know it soon enough, and I can tell you one thing, it'll
surprise you. It'll take down your pride a peg or two."

Hector stared at his cousin in unaffected surprise. What could Guy
possibly mean? Had his father perhaps made a will, and left the estate
to some one else--his uncle, for example? Was this the meaning of Guy's
malicious mirth?

"I don't know to what you refer," he said; "but if it's anything that is
of importance to me, I ought to know it. What is it?"

"Go and ask father," said Guy, with a tantalizing grin.

"I will," answered Hector, "and without delay."

He turned to enter the house, but Guy had not exhausted his malice. He
was in a hurry to triumph over Hector, whom he disliked heartily.

"I don't mind telling you myself," he said.

"You are not what you suppose. You're a lowborn beggar!"

He had no sooner uttered these words, than Hector resented the insult.
Seizing the whip from Guy, he grasped him by the collar, flung him to
the ground and lashed him with it.

"There," said he, with eyes aflame, "take that, Guy Roscoe, and look out
how you insult me in future!"

Guy rose slowly from the ground, pale with fury, and, as he brushed the
dust from his clothes, ejaculated:

"You'll pay dearly for this, Hector!"

"I'll take the consequences," said Hector, as coldly as his anger would
allow. "Now, I shall go to your father and ask the meaning of this."



CHAPTER III. HECTOR LEARNS A SECRET.



Hector entered the library with some impetuosity. Usually he was quiet
and orderly, but he had been excited by the insinuations of Guy, and he
was impatient to know what he meant--if he meant anything.

Allan Roscoe looked up, and remarked, with slight sarcasm:

"This is not a bear garden, Hector. You appear to think you are on the
playground, judging by your hasty motions."

"I beg your pardon, uncle," said Hector, who never took amiss a rebuke
which he thought deserved. "I suppose I forgot myself, being excited. I
beg your pardon."

"What is the cause of your excitement?" asked Mr. Roscoe, surveying the
boy keenly.

"Guy has said something that I don't understand."

"He must have said something very profound, then," returned Allan
Roscoe, with light raillery.

"Indeed, Uncle Allan, it is no laughing matter," said Hector, earnestly.

"Then let me hear what it is."

"He intimates that he knows something that would let down my pride a peg
or two. He hints that I am not the heir of Castle Roscoe."

The boy used the term by which the house was usually known.

Allan Roscoe knit his brow in pretended vexation.

"Inconsiderate boy!" he murmured. "Why need he say this?"

"But," said Hector, startled, "is it true?"

"My boy," said his uncle, with simulated feeling, "my son has spoken to
you of a secret which I would willingly keep from you if I could. Yet,
perhaps, it is as well that you should be told now."

"Told what?" exclaimed Hector, quite at sea.

"Can you bear to hear, Hector, that it is indeed true? You are not the
owner of this estate."

"Who is then?" ejaculated the astonished boy.

"I am; and Guy after me."

"What! Did my father leave the estate away from me? I thought he did not
leave a will?"

"Nor did he."

"Then how can anyone else except his son inherit?"

"Your question is a natural one. If you were his son you would inherit
under the law."

"If I were his son!" repeated Hector, slowly, his head swimming. "What
do you mean by that? Of course I am your brother's son."

"It is very painful for me to tell, Hector. It will be distressing for
you to hear. No tie of blood connects you with the late owner of Castle
Roscoe."

"I don't believe you, Uncle Allan," said Hector, bluntly.

"Of course, therefore, I am not your uncle," added Allan Roscoe, dryly.

"I beg your pardon; I should have said Mr. Allan Roscoe," said Hector,
bowing proudly, for his heart was sore, and he was deeply indignant with
the man who sat, smooth and sleek, in his father's chair, harrowing up
his feelings without himself being ruffled.

"That is immaterial. Call me uncle, if you like, since the truth is
understood. But I must explain."

"I would like to know what is your authority for so surprising a
statement, Mr. Roscoe. You cannot expect me to believe that I have been
deceived all my life."

"I make the statement on your father's authority--I should say, on my
brother's authority."

"Can you prove it, Mr. Roscoe?"

"I can. I will presently put into your hands a letter, written me by my
brother some months since, which explains the whole matter. To save you
suspense, however, I will recapitulate. Where were you born?"

"In California."

"That is probably true. It was there that my brother found you."

"Found me?"

"Perhaps that is not the word. My brother and his wife were boarding
in Sacramento in the winter of 1859. In the same boarding house was a
widow, with a child of some months old. You were that child. Your mother
died suddenly, and it was ascertained that she left nothing. Her child
was, therefore, left destitute. It was a fine, promising boy--give me
credit for the compliment--and my brother, having no children of his
own, proposed to his wife to adopt it. She was fond of children, and
readily consented. No formalities were necessary, for there was no one
to claim you. You were at once taken in charge by my brother and his
wife, therefore, and very soon they came to look upon you with as much
affection as if you were their own child. They wished you to consider
them your real parents, and to you the secret was never made known, nor
was it known to the world. When my brother returned to this State, three
years after, not one of his friends doubted that the little Hector was
his own boy.

"When you were six years old your mother died--that is, my brother's
wife. All the more, perhaps, because he was left alone, my brother
became attached to you, and, I think, he came to love you as much as if
you were his own son."

"I think he did," said Hector, with emotion. "Never was there a kinder,
more indulgent father."

"Yet he was not your father," said Allan Roscoe, with sharp emphasis.

"So you say, Mr. Roscoe."

"So my brother says in his letter to me."

"Do you think it probable that, with all this affection for me, he would
have left me penniless?" asked the boy.

"No; it was his intention to make a will. By that will he would no doubt
have provided for you in a satisfactory manner. But I think my poor
brother had a superstitious fear of will making, lest it might hasten
death. At any rate, he omitted it till it was too late."

"It was a cruel omission, if your story is a true one."

"Your--my brother, did what he could to remedy matters. In his last
sickness, when too weak to sign his name, he asked me, as the legal heir
of his estate, to see that you were well provided for. He wished me to
see your education finished, and I promised to do so. I could see that
this promise relieved his mind. Of one thing you may be assured, Hector,
he never lost his affection for you."

"Thank Heaven for that!" murmured the boy, who had been deeply and
devotedly attached to the man whom, all his life long, he had looked
upon as his father.

"I can only add, Hector," said Mr. Roscoe, "that I feel for your natural
disappointment. It is, indeed, hard to be brought up to regard yourself
as the heir of a great estate, and to make the discovery that you have
been mistaken."

"I don't mind that so much, Mr. Roscoe," said Hector, slowly. "It is the
hardest thing to think of myself as having no claim upon one whom I have
loved as a father--to think myself as a boy of unknown parentage. But,"
he added, suddenly, "I have it only on your word. Why should I believe
it?"

"I will give you conclusive proof, Hector. Read this."

Allan Roscoe took from his pocket a letter, without an envelope. One
glance served to show Hector that it was in the handwriting of his late
father, or, at any rate, in a handwriting surprisingly like it.

He began to read it with feverish haste.

The letter need not find a place here. The substance of it had been
accurately given by Mr. Allan Roscoe. Apparently, it corroborated his
every statement.

The boy looked up from its perusal, his face pale and stricken.

"You see that I have good authority for my statement," said Mr. Roscoe.

"I can't understand it," said Hector, slowly.

"I need only add," said Mr. Roscoe, apparently relieved by the
revelation, "that my brother did not repose confidence in me in vain. I
accept, as a sacred charge, the duty he imposed upon me. I shall provide
for you and look after your education. I wish to put you in a way to
prepare yourself for a useful and honorable career. As a first step, I
intend, on Monday next, to place you in an excellent boarding school,
where you will have exceptional privileges."

Hector listened, but his mind was occupied by sad thoughts, and he made
no comment.

"I have even selected the school with great care," said Mr. Roscoe. "It
is situated at Smithville, and is under the charge of Socrates Smith, A.
M., a learned and distinguished educator. You may go now. I will speak
with you on this subject later."

Hector bowed. After what he had heard, his interest in other matters was
but faint.

"I shall be glad to get him out of the house," thought Allan Roscoe. "I
never liked him."



CHAPTER IV. A SKIRMISH.



Hector walked out of the house in a state of mental bewilderment not
easily described. Was he not Hector Roscoe, after all? Had he been all
his life under a mistake? If this story were true, who was he, who were
his parents, what was his name? Why had the man whom he had supposed to
be his father not imparted to him this secret? He had always been kind
and indulgent; he had never appeared to regard the boy as an alien in
blood, but as a dearly loved son. Yet, if he had, after all, left him
unprovided for, he had certainly treated Hector with great cruelty.

"I won't believe it," said Hector, to himself.

"I won't so wrong my dear father's memory at the bidding of this man,
whose interest it is to trump up this story, since he and his son become
the owners of a great estate in my place."

Just then Guy advanced toward Hector with a malicious smile upon his
face. He knew very well what a blow poor Hector had received, for he
was in his father's confidence, and he was mean enough, and malicious
enough, to rejoice at it.

"What's the matter with you, Hector?" he asked, with a grin. "You look
as if you had lost your last friend."

Hector stopped short and regarded Guy fixedly.

"Do you know what your father has been saying to me?" he asked.

"Well, I can guess," answered Guy. "Ho! ho! It's a great joke that you
have all the time fancied yourself the heir of Castle Roscoe, when you
have no claim to it at all. I am the heir!" he added, drawing himself up
proudly; "and you are a poor dependent, and a nobody. It's funny!"

"Perhaps you won't think it so funny after this!" said Hector, coolly,
exasperated beyond endurance. As he spoke he drew off, and in an instant
Guy measured his length upon the greensward.

Guy rose, his face livid with passion, in a frame of mind far from
funny. He clinched his fists and looked at Hector as if he wished to
annihilate him. "You'll pay for this," he screamed. "You'll repent it,
bitterly, you poor, nameless dependent, low-born, very likely--"

"Hold, there!" said Hector, advancing resolutely, and sternly facing the
angry boy. "Be careful what you say. If this story of your father's is
true, which I don't believe, you might have the decency to let me
alone, even if you don't sympathize with me. If you dare to say or hint
anything against my birth, I'll treat you worse than I have yet."

"You'll suffer for this!" almost shrieked Guy.

"I am ready to suffer now, if you are able to make me," said Hector.
"Come on, and we'll settle it now."

But Guy had no desire for the contest to which he was invited. He had a
wholesome fear of Hector's strong, muscular arms, aided, as they were,
by some knowledge of boxing. Hector had never taken regular lessons, but
a private tutor, whom his father had employed, a graduate of Yale, had
instructed him in the rudiments of the "manly art of self-defense," and
Hector was very well able to take care of himself against any boy of his
own size and strength. In size, Guy was his equal, but in strength he
was quite inferior. This Guy knew full well, and, angry as he was, he by
no means lost sight of prudence.

"I don't choose to dirty my hands with you," he said. "I shall tell my
father, and it would serve you right if he sent you adrift."

In Hector's present mood, he would not, perhaps, have cared much if
this threat had been carried into execution, but he was not altogether
reckless, and he felt that it was best to remain under Mr. Roscoe's
protection until he had had time to investigate the remarkable story
which he suspected his reputed uncle had trumped up to serve his own
interests.

"Tell your father, if you like," said Hector, quietly. "I don't know
whether he will sustain you or not in your insults, but if he does, then
I shall have two opponents instead of one."

"Does that mean that you will attack my father?" demanded Guy, hoping
for an affirmative answer, as it would help him to prejudice his father
against our hero.

"No," answered Hector, smiling, "I don't apprehend there will be any
necessity, for he won't insult me as you have done."

Guy lost no time in seeking his father, and laying the matter before him,
inveighing against Hector with great bitterness.

"So he knocked you down, did he, Guy?" asked Allan Roscoe, thoughtfully.

"Yes; he took me unawares, or he couldn't have done it," answered Guy, a
little ashamed at the avowal.

"What did you do?"

"I--I told him he should suffer for it."

"Why did he attack you?"

"It was on account of something I said."

"What was it?"

Guy reluctantly answered this question, and with correctness.

"It was your fault for speaking to him when he was feeling sore at
making a painful discovery."

"Do you justify him in pitching into me like a big brute?" asked Guy,
hastily.

"No; but still, I think it, was natural, under the circumstances. You
should have kept out of his way, and let him alone."

"Won't you punish him for attacking me?" demanded Guy, indignantly.

"I will speak to him on the subject," said Allan Roscoe; "and will tell
him my opinion of his act."

"Then shan't I be revenged upon him?" asked Guy, disappointed.

"Listen, Guy," said his father. "Is it no punishment that the boy
is stripped of all his possessions, while you step into his place?
Henceforth he will be dependent upon me, and later, upon you. He has
been hurled down from his proud place as owner of Castle Roscoe, and I
have taken his place, as you will hereafter do."

"Yes," said Guy, gleefully; "it will be a proud day when I become master
of the estate."

Allan Roscoe was not a specially sensitive man, but this remark of his
son jarred upon him.

"You seem to forget, Guy, that you do not succeed till I am dead!"

"Yes, I suppose so," answered Guy, slowly.

"It almost seems as if you were in a hurry for me to die."

"I didn't mean that, but it's natural to suppose that I shall live
longer than you do, isn't it?"

"I suppose so," returned Allan Roscoe, shortly.

"Of course that's what I mean."

"Then, since you are so much better off than Hector, you had better be
more considerate, and leave him to get over his disappointment as well
as he can."

"Shall I send in Hector to see you?" asked Guy, as he at length turned
to leave the room.

"Yes."

"You're to go in to my father," said Guy, reappearing on the lawn; "he's
going to give it to you."

Hector anticipated some such summons, and he had remained in the same
spot, too proud to have it supposed that he shrank from the interview.

With a firm, resolute step, he entered the presence of Allan Roscoe.

"I hear you wish to see me, Mr. Roscoe," he said, manfully.

"Yes, Hector; Guy has come to me with complaints of you."

"If he says I knocked him down for insulting me, he has told you the
truth," said Hector, sturdily.

"That was the substance of what he said, though he did not admit the
insult."

"But for that I should not have attacked him."

"I do not care to interfere in boys' quarrels, except in extreme
cases," said Mr. Roscoe. "I am afraid Guy was aggravating, and you were
unnecessarily violent."

"It doesn't seem to me so," said Hector.

"So I regard it. I have warned him not to add by taunts to the poignancy
of your disappointment. I request you to remember that Guy is my son,
and that I am disposed to follow my brother's directions, and provide
for and educate you."

Hector bowed and retired. He went out with a more favorable opinion of
Allan Roscoe, who had treated the difficulty in a reasonable manner.

Allan Roscoe looked after him as he went out.

"I hate that boy," he said, to himself; "I temporize from motives of
policy, but I mean to tame his haughty spirit yet."



CHAPTER V. PREPARING TO LEAVE HOME.



Allan Roscoe's remonstrance with the two boys had the effect of keeping
the peace between them for the remainder of the week. Guy did not think
it prudent to taunt Hector, unless backed up by his father, and he felt
that the change in their relative positions was satisfaction enough at
present. Besides, his father, in a subsequent conversation, had told Guy
that it was his purpose to place Hector in a boarding school, where the
discipline would be strict, and where he would be thrashed if he proved
rebellious.

"I shall tell Mr. Smith," he added, "that the boy needs a strong hand,
and that I am not only perfectly willing that he should be punished
whenever occasion may call for it, but really desire it."

"Good, good!" commended Guy, gleefully. "I hope old Smith'll lay it on
good."

"I presume he will," said Allan Roscoe, smiling in sympathy with his
son's exuberance. "I am told by a man who knows him that he is a tall
man, strong enough to keep order, and determined to do it."

"I should like to be there to see Hector's first flogging," remarked the
amiable Guy. "I'd rather see it than go to the theater any time."

"I don't see how you can, unless you also enter the school."

"No, thank you," answered Guy. "No boarding school for me. That isn't
my idea of enjoyment. I'd rather stay at home with you. Hector won't be
here to interfere with my using his horse and buggy."

"They are his no longer. I give them to you."

"Thank you, father," said Guy, very much gratified.

"But I would rather you would not use them till after Hector is gone. It
might disturb him."

"That's just why I want to do it."

"But it might make trouble. He might refuse to go to school."

"You'd make him go, wouldn't you, father?"

"Yes; but I wish to avoid forcible measures, if possible. Come, Guy,
it's only till Monday; then Hector will be out of the way, and you can
do as you please without fear of interference."

"All right, father. I'll postpone my fun till he is out of the way.
You'll go with him, won't you?"

"Yes, Guy."

"Just tell old Smith how to treat him. Tell him to show him no mercy, if
he doesn't behave himself."

"You seem to dislike Hector very much. You shouldn't feel so. It isn't
Christian."

Guy looked at his father queerly out of the corner of his eye. He
understood him better than Allan Roscoe supposed.

"I hope you won't insist on my loving him, father," he said. "I leave
that to you."

"I only wish you to avoid coming into collision with him. As for love,
that is something not within our power."

"Will you be ready to go with me to boarding school on Monday morning,
Hector?" asked Allan Roscoe, on Saturday afternoon.

"Yes, sir."

Indeed, Hector felt that it would be a relief to get away from the
house which he had been taught to look upon as his--first by right of
inheritance, and later as actual owner. As long as he remained he was
unpleasantly reminded of the great loss he had experienced. Again,
his relations with Guy were unfriendly, and he knew that if they were
permanently together it wouldn't be long before there would be another
collision. Though in such a case he was sure to come off victorious, he
did not care to contend, especially as no advantage could come of it in
the end.

Of the boarding school kept by Mr. Socrates Smith he had never heard,
but felt that he would, at any rate, prefer to find himself amid new
scenes. If the school were a good one, he meant to derive benefit from
it, for he was fond of books and study, and thought school duties no
task.

"I have carefully selected a school for you," continued Allan Roscoe,
"because I wish to follow out my poor brother's wishes to the letter.
A good education will fit you to maintain yourself, and attain a
creditable station in life, which is very important, since you will have
to carve your own future."

There was no objection to make to all this. Still, it did grate upon
Hector's feelings, to be so often reminded of his penniless position,
when till recently he had regarded himself, and had been regarded by
others, as a boy of large property.

Smithville was accessible by railroad, being on the same line as the
town of Plympton in which Roscoe Castle was situated. There was a train
starting at seven o'clock, which reached Smithville at half-past, eight.
This was felt to be the proper train to take, as it would enable Hector
to reach school before the morning session began. Allan Roscoe, who was
not an early riser, made an effort to rise in time, and succeeded. In
truth, he was anxious to get Hector out of the house. It might be
that the boy's presence was a tacit reproach, it might be that he had
contracted a dislike for him. At any rate, when Hector descended to the
breakfast room, he found Mr. Roscoe already there.

"You are in time, Hector," said Mr. Roscoe. "I don't know how early they
will get up at school, but I hope it won't be earlier than this."

"I have no objection to early rising," said Hector.

"I have," said Allan Roscoe, gaping.

"I am sorry to have inconvenienced you," said Hector, politely. "I could
have gone to school alone."

"No doubt; but I wished an interview with Mr. Socrates Smith myself. I
look upon myself in the light of your guardian, though you are not my
nephew, as was originally supposed."

"I'd give a good deal to know whether this is true," thought Hector,
fixing his eyes attentively upon his uncle's face.

I have written "uncle" inadvertently, that being the character in which
Mr. Roscoe appeared to the world.

"By the way, Hector," said Allan Roscoe, "there is one matter which we
have not yet settled."

"What is that, sir?"

"About your name."

"My name is Hector Roscoe."

"I beg your pardon. Assuming by brother's communication to be true, and
I think you will not question his word, you have no claim to the name."

"To what name have I a claim, then?" asked Hector, pointedly.

"To the name of your father--the last name, I mean. I have no objection
to your retaining the name of Hector."

"What was the name of my father?" asked the boy.

"Ahem! My brother did not mention that in his letter. Quite an omission,
I must observe."

"Then it is clear that he meant to have me retain his own name," said
Hector, decisively.

"That does not follow."

"As I know no other name to which I have a claim, I shall certainly keep
the name of the kindest friend I ever had, whether he was my father or
not," said Hector, firmly.

Allan Roscoe looked annoyed.

"Really," he said, "I think this ill-judged, very ill-judged. It will
lead to misapprehension. It will deceive people into the belief that you
are a real Roscoe."

"I don't know but I am," answered Hector, with a calm look of defiance,
which aggravated Allan Roscoe.

"Have I not told you you are not?" he said, frowning.

"You have; but you have not proved it," said Hector.

"I am surprised that you should cling to a foolish delusion. You are
only preparing trouble for yourself. If my word is not sufficient--"

"You are an interested party. This story, if true, gives you my
property."

"At any rate, you may take your father's--I mean my brother's--word for
it."

"If he had told me so, I would believe it," said Hector.

"You have it in black and white, in the paper I showed you. What more do
you want?"

"I want to be sure that that document is genuine. However, I won't argue
the question now. I have only been giving you my reasons for keeping the
name I have always regarded as mine."

Allan Roscoe thought it best to drop the subject; but the boy's
persistency disturbed him.



CHAPTER VI. SMITH INSTITUTE.



Socrates Smith, A. M., was not always known by the philosophic name
by which he challenged the world's respect as a man of learning and
distinguished attainments. When a boy in his teens, and an academy
student, he was known simply as Shadrach Smith. His boy companions used
to address him familiarly as Shad. It was clear that no pedagogue could
retain the respect of his pupils who might readily be metamorphosed into
Old Shad. By the advice of a brother preacher, he dropped the plebeian
name, and bloomed forth as Socrates Smith, A. M.

I may say, in confidence, that no one knew from what college Mr. Smith
obtained the degree of Master of Arts. He always evaded the question
himself, saying that it was given him by a Western university causa
honoris.

It might be, or it might not. At any rate, he was allowed to wear
the title, since no one thought it worth while to make the necessary
examination into its genuineness. Nor, again, had anyone been able to
discover at what college the distinguished Socrates had studied. In
truth, he had never even entered college, but he had offered himself as
a candidate for admission to a college in Ohio, and been rejected. This
did not, however, prevent his getting up a school, and advertising to
instruct others in the branches of learning of which his own knowledge
was so incomplete.

He was able to hide his own deficiencies, having generally in his employ
some college graduate, whose poverty compelled him to accept the scanty
wages which Socrates doled out to him. These young men were generally
poor scholars in more than one sense of the word, as Mr. Smith did not
care to pay the high salary demanded by a first-class scholar. Mr. Smith
was shrewd enough not to attempt to instruct the classes in advanced
classics or mathematics, as he did not care to have his deficiencies
understood by his pupils.

It pleased him best to sit in state and rule the school, administering
reproofs and castigations where he thought fit, and, best of all, to
manage the finances. Though his price was less than that of many other
schools, his profits were liberal, as he kept down expenses. His table
was exceedingly frugal, as his boarding pupils could have testified, and
the salaries he paid to under teachers were pitifully small.

So it was that, year by year, Socrates Smith, A. M., found himself
growing richer, while his teachers grew more shabby, and his pupils
rarely became fat.

Allan Roscoe took a carriage from the depot to the school.

Arrived at the gate, he descended, and Hector followed him.

The school building was a long, rambling, irregular structure, of no
known order of architecture, bearing some resemblance to a factory. The
ornament of architecture Mr. Smith did not regard. He was strictly of a
utilitarian cast of mind. So long as the institute, as he often called
it, afforded room for the school and scholars he did not understand what
more was wanted.

"Is Mr. Smith at leisure?" Mr. Roscoe asked of a bare-arm servant girl
who answered the bell.

"I guess he's in his office," was the reply.

"Take him this card," said Mr. Roscoe. The girl inspected the card with
some curiosity, and carried it to the eminent principal. When Socrates
Smith read upon the card the name

ALLAN ROSCOE,

and, penciled in the corner, "with a pupil," he said, briskly:

"Bring the gentleman in at once, Bridget."

As Mr. Roscoe entered, Mr. Smith beamed upon him genially. It was thus
he always received those who brought to him new scholars. As he always
asked half a term's tuition and board in advance, every such visitor
represented to him so much ready cash, and for ready cash Socrates had a
weakness.

"I am glad to see you, Mr. Roscoe," said the learned principal,
advancing to meet his visitor. "And this is the young lad. Dear me! he
is very well grown, and looks like he was fond of his books."

This was not exactly the way in which a learned scholar might be
expected to talk; but Mr. Smith's speech was not always elegant, or even
grammatically correct.

"I believe he is reasonably fond of study," said Mr. Roscoe. "Hector,
this is your future instructor, Prof. Socrates Smith."

At the name of professor, which he much affected, Socrates Smith looked
positively benignant.

"My young friend," he said, "we will try to make you happy. Smith
Institute is a regular beehive, full of busy workers, who are preparing
themselves for the duties and responsibilities of life. I aim to be a
father to my pupils, and Mrs. Smith is a mother to them. I am truly glad
to receive you into my happy family."

Hector scanned attentively the face of his new teacher. He was not
altogether prepossessed in his favor. That the reader may judge whether
he had reason to be, let me describe Mr. Smith.

He was a trifle over six feet in height, with yellowish, sandy hair,
high cheek bones, a rough and mottled skin, a high but narrow forehead,
a pair of eyes somewhat like those of a ferret, long, ungainly limbs,
and a shambling walk. A coat of rusty black, with very long tails,
magnified his apparent height, and nothing that he wore seemed made for
him.

Perhaps, as the first Socrates was said to have been the homeliest of
all the Athenians, it was fitting that the man who assumed his name
should also have the slightest possible claim to beauty.

"He may be a learned man," thought Hector, "but he is certainly plain
enough. It is well that he has something to compensate for his looks."

"I hope you are glad to come here, my boy," said Socrates, affably. "I
sincerely trust that you will be contented at the institute."

"I hope so, too," said Hector, but he evidently spoke doubtfully.

"I should like a little conversation with you, Professor Smith," said
Allan Roscoe. "I don't know that it is necessary to keep Hector here
during our interview."

Socrates took the hint.

He rang a hand bell, and a lank boy, of fifteen, appeared.

"Wilkius," said Mr. Smith, "this is a new scholar, Hector Roscoe. Take
him to the playground, and introduce him to Mr. Crabb."

"All right, sir. Come along."

This last was addressed to Hector, who went out with the new boy.

"I thought it best to speak with you briefly about Hector, Professor
Smith," commenced Allan Roscoe.

"Very appropriate and gratifying, Mr. Roscoe. I can assure you he will
be happy here."

"I dare say," returned Mr. Roscoe, carelessly. "I wish to guard you
against misinterpreting my wishes. I don't want the boy pampered, or too
much indulged."

"We never pamper our boarding pupils," said Socrates, and it is quite
certain that he spoke the truth.

"It spoils boys to be too well treated."

"So it does," said Socrates, eagerly. "Plain, wholesome diet, without
luxury, and a kind, but strict discipline--such are the features of
Smith Institute."

"Quite right and judicious, professor. I may remark that the boy, though
reared in luxury by my brother, is really penniless."

"You don't say so?"

"Yes, he is solely dependent upon my generosity. I propose, however, to
give him a good education at my own expense, and prepare him to earn his
living in some useful way."

"Kind philanthropist!" exclaimed Socrates. "He ought, indeed, to be
grateful."

"I doubt if he will," said Mr. Roscoe, shrugging his shoulders. "He has
a proud spirit, and a high idea of his own position, though he is of
unknown parentage, and has nothing of his own."

"Indeed!"

"I merely wish to say that you do not need to treat him as if he were
my nephew. It is best to be strict with him, and make him conform to the
rules."

"I will, indeed, Mr. Roscoe. Would that all guardians of youth were as
judicious! Your wishes shall be regarded."

After a little more conversation, Allan Roscoe took his leave.

So, under auspices not the most pleasant, Hector's school life began.



CHAPTER VII. THE TYRANT OF THE PLAYGROUND.



Under the guidance of the lank boy, named Wilkins, Hector left Mr.
Smith's office, and walked to a barren-looking plot of ground behind the
house, which served as a playground for the pupils of Smith Institute.

Wilkins scanned the new arrival closely.

"I say, Roscoe," he commenced, "what made you come here?"

"Why do boys generally come to school?" returned Hector.

"Because they have to, I suppose," answered Wilkins.

"I thought they came to study."

"Oh, you're one of that sort, are you?" asked Wilkins, curiously.

"I hope to learn something here."

"You'll get over that soon," answered Wilkins, in the tone of one who
could boast of a large experience.

"I hope not. I shall want to leave school if I find I can't learn here."

"Who is it that brought you here--your father?"

"No, indeed!" answered Hector, quickly, for he had no desire to be
considered the son of Allan Roscoe.

"Uncle, then?"

"He is my guardian," answered Hector, briefly.

They were by this time in the playground. Some dozen boys were playing
baseball. They were of different ages and sizes, ranging from ten to
nineteen. The oldest and largest bore such a strong personal resemblance
to Socrates Smith, that Hector asked if he were his son.

"No," answered Wilkins; "he is old Sock's nephew."

"Who is old Sock?"

"Smith, of course. His name is Socrates, you know. Don't let him catch
you calling him that, though."

"What sort of a fellow is this nephew?" asked Hector.

"He's a bully. He bosses the boys. It's best to keep on the right side
of Jim."

"Oh, is it?" inquired Hector, smiling slightly.

"Well, I should say so."

"Suppose you don't?"

"He'll give you a thrashing."

"Does his uncle allow that?"

"Yes; I think he rather likes it."

"Don't the boys resist?"

"It won't do any good. You see, Jim's bigger than any of us."

Hector took a good look at this redoubtable Jim Smith.

He was rather loosely made, painfully homely, and about five feet nine
inches in height. Nothing more need be said, as, in appearance, he
closely resembled his uncle.

Jim Smith soon gave Hector an opportunity of verifying the description
given of him by Wilkins.

The boy at the bat had struck a ball to the extreme boundary of the
field. The fielder at that point didn't go so fast as Jim, who was
pitcher, thought satisfactory, and he called out in a rough, brutal
tone:

"If you don't go quicker, Archer, I'll kick you all round the field."

Hector looked at Wilkins inquiringly.

"Does he mean that?" he asked.

"Yes, he does."

"Does he ever make such a brute of himself?"

"Often."

"And the boys allow it?"

"They can't help it."

"So, it seems, you have a tyrant of the school?"

"That's just it."

"Isn't there any boy among you to teach the fellow better manners? You
must be cowards to submit."

"Oh, you'll find out soon that you must submit, too," said Wilkins.

Hector smiled.

"You don't know me yet," he said.

"What could you do against Jim? He's three or four inches taller than
you. How old are you?"

"I shall be sixteen next month."

"And he is nineteen."

"That may be; but he'd better not try to order me round."

"You'll sing a different tune in a day or two," said Wilkins.

By this time Jim Smith had observed the new arrival.

"What's that you've got with you, Wilkins?" he demanded, pausing in his
play.

"The new boy."

"Who's he?"

"His name is Roscoe."

"Ho! Hasn't he got any other name?" asked Jim, meaningly.

Wilkins had forgotten the new arrival's first name, and said so.

"What's your name, Roscoe?" asked Jim, in the tone of a superior.

Hector resented this tone, and, though he had no objection, under
ordinary circumstances, to answering the question, he did not choose to
gratify his present questioner.

"I don't happen to have a card with me," he answered, coldly.

"Oh, that's your answer, is it?" retorted Jim, scenting insubordination
with undisguised pleasure, for he always liked the task of subduing a
new boy.

"Yes."

"I guess you don't know who I am," said Jim, blustering.

"Oh, yes, I do."

"Well, who am I, then?"

"The bully of the school, I should suppose, from your style of
behavior."

"Do you hear that, boys?" demanded Jim, in a theatrical tone, turning to
the other boys.

There was a little murmur in response, but whether of approval or
reprobation, it was not easy to judge.

"That boy calls me a bully! He actually has the audacity to insult me!
What do you say to that?"

The boys looked uneasy. Possibly, in their secret hearts, they admired
the audacity that Jim complained of; but, seeing the difference between
the two boys in size and apparent strength, it did not seem to them
prudent to espouse the side of Hector.

"Don't you think I ought to teach him a lesson?"

"Yes!" cried several of the smaller boys, who stood in awe of the bully.

Hector smiled slightly, but did not seem in the least intimidated.

"Jim," said Wilkins, "the boy's guardian is inside with your uncle."

This was meant as a warning, and received as such. A boy's guardian is
presumed to be his friend, and it would not be exactly prudent, while
the guardian was closeted with the principal, to make an assault upon
the pupil.

"Very well," said Jim; "we'll postpone Roscoe's case. This afternoon
will do as well. Come, boys, let us go on with the game."

"What made you speak to Jim in that way?" expostulated Wilkins. "I'm
afraid you've got into hot water."

"Didn't I tell the truth about him?"

"Yes," answered Wilkins, cautiously; "but you've made an enemy of him."

"I was sure to do that, sooner or later," said Hector, unconcernedly.
"It might as well be now as any time."

"Do you know what he'll do this afternoon?"

"What will he do?"

"He'll give you a thrashing."

"Without asking my permission?" asked Hector, smiling.

"You're a queer boy! Of course, he won't trouble himself about that. You
don't seem to mind it," he continued, eying Hector curiously.

"Oh, no."

"Perhaps you think Jim can't hurt. I know better than that."

"Did he ever thrash you, then?"

"Half a dozen times."

"Why didn't you tell his uncle?"

"It would be no use. Jim would tell his story, and old Sock would
believe him. But here's Mr. Crabb, the usher, the man I was to introduce
you to."

Hector looked up, and saw advancing a young man, dressed in rusty black,
with a meek and long-suffering expression, as one who was used to being
browbeaten. He was very shortsighted, and wore eyeglasses.



CHAPTER XIII. IN THE SCHOOLROOM.



"Mr. Crabb," said Wilkins, "this is the new scholar, Roscoe. Mr. Smith
asked me to bring him to you."

"Ah, indeed!" said Crabb, adjusting his glasses, which seemed to sit
uneasily on his nose. "I hope you are well, Roscoe?"

"Thank you, sir; my health is good."

"The schoolbell will ring directly. Perhaps you had better come into the
schoolroom and select a desk."

"Very well, sir."

"Are you a classical scholar, Roscoe?"

"Yes, sir."

"And how far may you have gone now?" queried Crabb.

"I was reading the fifth book of Virgil when I left off study."

"Really, you are quite a scholar. I suppose you don't know any Greek?"

"I was in the second book of the Anabasis."

"You will go into the first class, then. I hope you will become one of
the ornaments of the institute."

"Thank you. Is the first class under Mr. Smith?"

"No; I teach the first class," said Crabb, with a modest cough.

"I thought the principal usually took the first class himself?"

"Mr. Smith comes into the room occasionally and supervises, but he has
too much business on hand to teach regularly himself."

"Is Mr. Smith a good scholar?" asked Hector.

"Ahem!" answered Mr. Crabb, evidently embarrassed; "I presume so. You
should not ask Ahem! irrelevant questions."

In fact, Mr. Crabb had serious doubts as to the fact assumed. He knew
that whenever a pupil went to the principal to ask a question in
Latin or Greek, he was always referred to Crabb himself, or some other
teacher. This, to be sure, proved nothing, but in an unguarded moment,
Mr. Smith had ventured to answer a question himself, and his answer was
ludicrously incorrect.

The schoolroom was a moderate-sized, dreary-looking room, with another
smaller room opening out of it, which was used as a separate recitation
room.

"Here is a vacant desk," said Mr. Crabb, pointing out one centrally
situated.

"I think that will do. Who sits at the next desk?"

"Mr. Smith's nephew."

"Oh, that big bully I saw on the playground?"

"Hush!" said Crabb, apprehensively. "Mr. Smith would not like to have
you speak so of his nephew."

"So, Mr. Crabb is afraid of the cad," soliloquized Hector. "I suppose I
may think what I please about him," he added, smiling pleasantly.

"Ye-es, of course; but, Master Roscoe, let me advise you to be prudent."

"Is he in your class?"

"Yes."

"Is he much of a scholar?"

"I don't think he cares much for Latin and Greek," answered Mr. Crabb.
"But I must ring the bell. I see that it wants but five minutes of
nine."

"About my desk?"

"Here is another vacant desk, but it is not as well located."

"Never mind. I will take it. I shall probably have a better neighbor."

The bell was rung. Another teacher appeared, an elderly man, who
looked as if all his vitality had been expended on his thirty years
of teaching. He, too, was shabbily dressed--his coat being shiny and
napless, and his vest lacking two out of the five original buttons.

"I guess Smith doesn't pay very high salaries," thought Hector. "Poor
fellows. His teachers look decidedly seedy."

The boys began to pour in, not only those on the playground, but as many
more who lived in the village, and were merely day scholars. Jim
Smith stalked in with an independent manner and dropped into his seat
carelessly. He looked around him patronizingly. He felt that he was
master of the situation. Both ushers and all the pupils stood in fear of
him, as he well knew. Only to his uncle did he look up as his superior,
and he took care to be on good terms with him, as it was essential to
the maintenance of his personal authority.

Last of all, Mr. Smith, the learned principal, walked into the
schoolroom with the air of a commanding general, followed by Allan
Roscoe, who he had invited to see the school in operation.

Socrates Smith stood upright behind his desk, and waved his hand
majestically.

"My young friends," he said; "this is a marked day. We have with us a
new boy, who is henceforth to be one of us, to be a member of our happy
family, to share in the estimable advantages which you all enjoy. Need I
say that I refer to Master Roscoe, the ward of our distinguished friend,
Mr. Allan Roscoe, who sits beside me, and with interest, I am sure,
surveys our institute?"

As he spoke he turned towards Mr. Roscoe, who nodded an acknowledgment.

"I may say to Mr. Roscoe that I am proud of my pupils, and the progress
they have made under my charge. (The principal quietly ignored the two
ushers who did all the teaching.) When these boys have reached a high
position in the world, it will be my proudest boast that they were
prepared for the duties of life at Smith Institute. Compared with this
proud satisfaction, the few paltry dollars I exact as my honorarium are
nothing--absolutely nothing."

Socrates looked virtuous and disinterested as he gave utterance to this
sentiment.

"And now, boys, you will commence your daily exercises, under the
direction of my learned associates, Mr. Crabb and Mr. Jones."

Mr. Crabb looked feebly complacent at this compliment, though he knew it
was only because a visitor was present. In private, Socrates was rather
apt to speak slightingly of his attainments.

"While I am absent with my distinguished friend, Mr. Roscoe, I expect
you to pursue your studies diligently, and preserve the most perfect
order."

With these words, the stately figure of Socrates passed through the
door, followed by Mr. Roscoe.

"A pleasant sight, Mr. Roscoe," said the principal; "this company of
ambitious, aspiring students, all pressing forward eagerly in pursuit of
learning?"

"Quite true, sir," answered Allan Roscoe.

"I wish you could stay with us for a whole day, to inspect at your
leisure the workings of our educational system."

"Thank you, Mr. Smith," answered Mr. Roscoe, with an inward shudder;
"but I have important engagements that call me away immediately."

"Then we must reluctantly take leave of you. I hope you will feel easy
about your nephew--"

"My ward," corrected Allan Roscoe.

"I beg your pardon--I should have remembered--your ward."

"I leave him, with confidence, in your hands, my dear sir."

So Allan Roscoe took his leave.

Let us look in upon the aspiring and ambitious scholars, after Mr. Smith
left them in charge of the ushers.

Jim Smith signalized his devotion to study by producing an apple core,
and throwing it with such skillful aim that it struck Mr. Crabb in the
back of the head.

The usher turned quickly, his face flushed with wild indignation.

"Who threw that missile?" he asked, in a vexed tone.

Of course no one answered.

"I hope no personal disrespect was intended," continued the usher.

Again no answer.

"Does anyone know who threw it?" asked Mr. Crabb.

"I think it was the new scholar," said Jim Smith, with a malicious look
at Hector.

"Master Roscoe," said Mr. Crabb, with a pained look, "I hope you have
not started so discreditably in your school life."

"No, sir," answered Hector; "I hope I am not so ungentlemanly. I don't
like to be an informer, but I saw Smith himself throw it at you. As he
has chosen to lay it to me, I have no hesitation in exposing him."

Jim Smith's face flushed with anger.

"I'll get even with you, you young muff!" he said.

"Whenever you please!" said Hector, disdainfully.

"Really, young gentlemen, these proceedings are very irregular!" said
Mr. Crabb, feebly.

With Jim Smith he did not remonstrate at all, though he had no doubt
that Hector's charge was rightly made.



CHAPTER IX. THE CLASS IN VIRGIL.



Presently the class in Virgil was called up. To this class Hector had
been assigned, though it had only advanced about half through the third
book of the AEneid, while Hector was in the fifth.

"As there is no other class in Virgil, Roscoe, you had better join the
one we have. It will do you no harm to review."

"Very well, sir," said Hector.

The class consisted of five boys, including Hector. Besides Jim Smith,
Wilkins, Bates and Johnson belonged to it. As twenty-five lines had been
assigned for a lesson, Hector had no difficulty in preparing himself,
and that in a brief time. The other boys were understood to have studied
the lesson out of school.

Bates read first, and did very fairly. Next came Jim Smith, who did
not seem quite so much at home in Latin poetry as on the playground.
He pronounced the Latin words in flagrant violation of all the rules of
quantity, and when he came to give the English meaning, his translation
was a ludicrous farrago of nonsense. Yet, poor Mr. Crabb did not dare,
apparently, to characterize it as it deserved.

"I don't think you have quite caught the author's meaning, Mr. Smith,"
he said. By the way, Jim was the only pupil to whose name he prefixed
the title "Mr."

"I couldn't make anything else out of it," muttered Jim.

"Perhaps some other member of the class may have been more successful!
Johnson, how do you read it?"

"I don't understand it very well, sir."

"Wilkins, were you more successful?"

"No, sir."

"Roscoe, can you translate the passage?"

"I think so, sir."

"Proceed, then."

Hector at once gave a clear and luminous rendering of the passage, and
his version was not only correct, but was expressed in decent English.
This is a point in which young classical scholars are apt to fail.

Mr. Crabb was not in the habit of hearing such good translations, and he
was surprised and gratified.

"Very well! Very well, indeed, Roscoe," he said, approvingly. "Mr.
Smith, you may go on."

"He'd better go ahead and finish it," said Smith, sulkily. "He probably
got it out of a pony."

My young readers who are in college or classical schools, will
understand that a "pony" is an English translation of a classical
author.

"He is mistaken!" said Hector, quietly. "I have never seen a translation
of Virgil."

Mr. Smith shrugged his shoulders, and drew down the corners of his
mouth, intending thereby to express his incredulity.

"I hope no boy will use a translation," said the usher; "it will make
his work easier for the time being, but in the end it will embarrass
him. Roscoe, as you have commenced, you may continue. Translate the
remainder of the passage."

Hector did so, exhibiting equal readiness.

The other boys took their turns, and then words were given out to parse.
Here Jim Smith showed himself quite at sea; though the usher, as it was
evident, selected the easiest words for him, he made a mistake in every
one. Apparently he was by no means certain which of the words were
nouns, and which verbs, and as to the relations which they sustained to
other words in the sentence he appeared to have very little conception.

At length the recitation was over. It had demonstrated one thing, that
in Latin scholarship Hector was far more accurate and proficient than
any of his classmates, while Jim Smith stood far below all the rest.

"What in the world can the teacher be thinking of, to keep such an
ignoramus in the class?" thought Hector. "He doesn't know enough to join
a class in the Latin Reader."

The fact was, that Jim Smith was unwilling to give up his place as a
member of the highest class in Latin, because he knew it would detract
from his rank in the school. Mr. Crabb, to whom every recitation was a
torture, had one day ventured to suggest that it would be better to
drop into the Caesar class; but he never ventured to make the suggestion
again, so unfavorably was it received by his backward pupil. He might,
in the case of a different pupil, have referred the matter to the
principal, but Socrates Smith was sure to decide according to the wishes
of his nephew, and did not himself possess knowledge enough of the Latin
tongue to detect his gross mistakes.

After a time came recess. Hector wished to arrange the books in his
desk, and did not go out.

Mr. Crabb came up to his desk and said: "Roscoe, I must compliment you
on your scholarship. You enter at the head. You are in advance of all
the other members of the class."

"Thank you, sir," said Hector, gratified.

"There is one member of the class who is not competent to remain in it."

"Yes, sir; I observed that."

"But he is unwilling to join a lower class. It is a trial to me to hear
his daily failures, but, perhaps, he would do no better anywhere else.
He would be as incompetent to interpret Caesar as Virgil, I am afraid."

"So I should suppose, sir."

"By the way, Roscoe," said the usher, hurriedly; "let me caution you
against irritating Smith. He is the principal's nephew, and so we give
him more scope."

"He seems to me a bully," said Hector.

"So he is."

"I can't understand why the boys should give in to him as they do."

"He is taller and stronger than the other boys. Besides, he is backed up
by the principal. I hope you won't get into difficulty with him."

"Thank you, Mr. Crabb. Your caution is kindly meant, but I am not afraid
of this Jim--Smith. I am quite able to defend myself if attacked."

"I hope so," said the usher; but he scanned Hector's physical
proportions doubtfully, and it was very clear that he did not think him
a match for the young tyrant of the school.

Meanwhile, Jim Smith and his schoolfellows were amusing themselves in
the playground.

"Where's that new fellow?" asked Jim, looking back to see whether he had
come out.

"He didn't come out," said Bates.

Jim nodded his head vigorously:

"Just as I expected," he said. "He knows where he is well off."

"Do you think he was afraid to come?" asked Bates.

"To be sure he was. He knew what to expect."

"Are you going to thrash him?" asked Johnson.

"I should say I might."

"He's a very good Latin scholar," remarked Wilkins.

"He thinks he is!" sneered Jim.

"So Mr. Crabb appears to think."

"That for old Crabb!" said Jim, contemptuously, snapping his fingers.
"He don't know much himself. I've caught him in plenty of mistakes."

This was certainly very amusing, considering Smith's absolute ignorance
of even the Latin rudiments, but the boys around him did not venture to
contradict him.

"But it don't make any difference whether he knows Latin or not,"
proceeded Jim. "He has been impudent to me, and he shall suffer for it.
I was hoping to get a chance at him this recess, but it'll keep."

"You might spoil his appetite for dinner," said Bates, who was rather a
toady to Jim.

"That's just exactly what I expect to do; at any rate, for supper. I've
got to have a reckoning with that young muff."

The recess lasted fifteen minutes. At the end of that time the
schoolbell rang, and the boys trooped back into the schoolroom.

Hector sat at his desk looking tranquil and at ease. He alone seemed
unaware of the fate that was destined for him.



CHAPTER X. DINNER AT SMITH INSTITUTE.



At twelve o'clock the morning session closed. Then came an intermission
of an hour, during which the day scholars either ate lunch brought with
them, or went to their homes in the village to partake of a warm repast.

At ten minutes past twelve, a red-armed servant girl made her appearance
at the back door looking out on the playground, and rang a huge dinner
bell. The boys dropped their games, and made what haste they could to
the dining room.

"Now for a feast!" said Wilkins to Hector, significantly.

"Does Mr. Smith furnish good board?" asked Hector, for he felt the
hunger of a healthy boy who had taken an early breakfast.

"Good grub?" said Wilkins, making a face. "Wait till you see. Old Sock
isn't going to ruin himself providing his pupils with the delicacies of
the season."

"I'm sorry for that. I am confoundedly hungry."

"Hungry!" exclaimed Wilkins. "I've been I hungry ever since I came
here."

"Is it as bad as that?" asked Hector, rather alarmed.

"I should say so. I haven't had a square meal--what I call a square
meal--for four weeks, and that's just the time since I left home."

They had reached the door of the dining-room by this time.

In the center stood a long table, but there didn't seem to be much on it
except empty plates. At a side table stood Mrs. Smith, ladling out soup
from a large tureen.

"That's the first course," whispered Wilkins. "I hope you'll like it."

The boys filed in and took seats. The servant girl already referred to
began to bring plates of soup and set before the boys. It was a thin,
unwholesome-looking mixture, with one or two small pieces of meat, about
the size of a chestnut, in each plate, and fragments of potatoes and
carrots. A small, triangular wedge of dry bread was furnished with each
portion of soup.

"We all begin to eat together. Don't be in a hurry," said Wilkins, in a
low tone.

When all the boys were served, Socrates Smith, who sat in an armchair at
the head of the table, said:

"Boys, we are now about to partake of the bounties of Providence, let me
hope, with grateful hearts."

He touched a hand bell, and the boys took up their soup spoons.

Hector put a spoonful gingerly into his mouth, and then, stopping short,
looked at Wilkins. His face was evidently struggling not to express
disgust.

"Is it always as bad?" he asked, in a whisper.

"Yes," answered Wilkins, shrugging his shoulders.

"But you eat it!"

Wilkins had already swallowed his third spoonful.

"I don't want to starve," answered Wilkins, significantly. "You'll get
used to it in time."

Hector tried to dispose of a second spoonful, but he had to give it up.
At home he was accustomed to a luxurious table, and this meal seemed to
be a mere mockery. Yet he felt hungry. So he took up the piece of bread
at the side of his plate, and, though it was dry, he succeeded in eating
it.

By this time his left-hand neighbor, a boy named Colburn, had finished
his soup. He looked longingly at Hector's almost untasted plate.

"Ain't you going to eat your soup?" he asked, in a hoarse whisper

"No."

"Give it to me?"

"Yes."

In a trice, Colburn had appropriated Hector's plate and put his own
empty one in its place. Just after this transfer had been made, Mr.
Smith looked over to where Hector was sitting. He observed the empty
plate, and said to himself: "That new boy has been gorging himself. He
must have a terrible appetite. Well, that's one good thing, he ain't
dainty. Some boys turn up their noses at plain, wholesome diet. I didn't
know but he might."

Presently the hand bell rang again, and the soup plates were removed. In
their places were set dinner plates, containing a small section each of
corned beef, with a consumptive-looking potato, very probably "soggy."
At any rate, this was the case with Hector's. He succeeded in eating the
meat, but not the potato.

"Give me your potato?" asked his left-hand neighbor.

"Yes."

It was quickly appropriated. Hector looked with some curiosity at the
boy who did so much justice to boarding-school fare. He was a thin, pale
boy, who looked as if he had been growing rapidly, as, indeed, he had.
This, perhaps, it was that stimulated his appetite. Afterward Hector
asked him if he really liked his meals.

"No," he said; "they're nasty."

He was an English boy, which accounted for his use of the last word.

"You eat them as if you liked them," remarked Hector.

"I'm so hungry," apologized Colburn, mournfully. "I'm always hungry. I
eat to fill up, not 'cause I like it. I could eat anything."

"I believe he could," said Wilkins, who overheard this conversation.
"Could you eat fried cat, now?" he asked.

"Yes," answered Colburn, honestly. "There would be something hearty and
filling about fried cat. I ain't half full now."

It was just after dinner.

Hector might have said the same thing at the end of his first dinner.
There was, indeed, another course. It consisted of some pale, flabby
apple pie, about half baked. The slices given were about half the size
of those that are ordinarily supplied at private tables and restaurants.
Hector managed to eat the apple, but the crust he was obliged to leave.
He noticed, however, that his fellow pupils were not so fastidious.

When the last fragment of pie had disappeared, Mr. Smith again rang the
hand bell.

"Boys," he said, "we have now satisfied our appetites."

"I haven't," thought Hector.

"We have once more experienced the bountiful goodness of Providence in
supplying our material wants. As we sit down to our plain but wholesome
diet, I wonder how many of us are sensible of our good fortune. I wonder
how many of us think of the thousands of poor children, scattered about
the world, who know not where to get their daily bread. You have been
refreshed, and have reinforced your strength; you will soon be ready to
resume your studies, and thus, also, take in a supply of mental food,
for, as you are all aware, or ought to be aware, the mind needs to be
fed as well as the body. There will first be a short season for games
and out-of-door amusements. Mr. Crabb, will you accompany the boys to
the playground and superintend their sports?"

Mr. Crabb also had participated in the rich feast, and rose with the
same unsatisfied but resigned look which characterized the rest. He led
the way to the playground, and the boys trooped after him.

"Really, Wilkins," said Hector, in a low tone, "this is getting serious.
Isn't there any place outside where one can get something to eat?"

"There's a baker's half a mile away, but you can't go till after
afternoon session."

"Show me the way there, then, and I'll buy something for both of us."

"All right," said Wilkins, brightening up.

"By the way, I didn't see Jim Smith at the table."

"No; he eats with his uncle and aunt afterward. You noticed that old
Sock didn't eat just now."

"Yes, I wondered at it."

"He has something a good deal better afterward. He wouldn't like our
dinner any better than we did; but he is better off, for he needn't eat
it."

"So Jim fares better than the rest of us, does he?"

"Yes, he's one of the family, you know."

Just then pleasant fumes were wafted to the boys' nostrils, and they saw
through the open window, with feelings that cannot well be described, a
pair of roast chickens carried from the kitchen to the dining-room.

"See what old Sock and Ma'am Sock are going to have for dinner?" said
Wilkins, enviously.

"I don't like to look at it. It is too tantalizing," said Hector.



CHAPTER XI. HECTOR RECEIVES A SUMMONS.



It so happened that Hector was well provided with money. During the
life of Mr. Roscoe, whom he regarded as his father, he had a liberal
allowance--liberal beyond his needs--and out of it had put by somewhat
over a hundred dollars. The greater part of this was deposited for
safe-keeping in a savings bank, but he had twenty-five dollars in his
possession.

At the time he was saving his money, he regarded himself as the heir and
future possessor of the estate, and had no expectation of ever needing
it. It had been in his mind that it would give him an opportunity of
helping, out of his private funds, any deserving poor person who might
apply to him. When the unexpected revelation had been made to him
that he had no claim to the estate, he was glad that he was not quite
penniless. He did not care to apply for money to Allan Roscoe. It would
have been a confession of dependence, and very humiliating to him.

No sooner was school out, than he asked Wilkins to accompany him to
the baker's, that he might make up for the deficiencies of Mr. Smith's
meager table.

"I suppose, if I guide you, you'll stand treat, Roscoe?" said Wilkins.

"Of course."

"Then let us go," said his schoolfellow, with alacrity. "I'd like to get
the taste of that beastly dinner out of my mouth."

They found the baker's, but close beside it was a restaurant, where more
substantial fare could be obtained.

"Wilkins," said Hector, "I think I would rather have a plate of meat."

"All right! I'm with you."

So the two boys went into the restaurant, and ordered plates of roast
beef, which they ate with evident enjoyment.

"I guess," said the waiter, grinning, "you two chaps come from the
institute."

"Yes," answered Hector. "What makes you think so?"

"The way you eat. They do say old Smith half starves the boys."

"You're not far from right," said Wilkins; "but it isn't alone the
quantity, but the quality that's amiss."

They ate their dinner, leaving not a crumb, and then rose refreshed.

"I feel splendid," said Wilkins. "I just wish I boarded at the
restaurant instead of the doctor's. Thank you, Roscoe, for inviting me."

"All right, Wilkins! We'll come again some day."

Somehow the extra dinner seemed to warm the heart of Wilkins, and
inspire in him a feeling of friendly interest for Hector.

"I say, Hector, I'll tell you something."

"Go ahead."

"You've got to keep your eyes open."

"I generally do," answered Hector, smiling, "except at night."

"I mean when Jim Smith's round."

"Why particularly when he is around?"

"Because he means to thrash you."

"What for?"

"You are too independent. You don't bow down to him, and look up to
him."

"I don't mean to," said Hector, promptly.

"If you don't you'll see trouble, and that very soon."

"Let it come!" said Hector, rather contemptuously.

"You don't seem afraid!" said Wilkins, regarding him curiously.

"Because I am not afraid. Isn't that a good reason?"

"You don't think you can stand up against Jim, do you?"

"I will see when the time comes."

"I shouldn't be a bit surprised if he were looking out for you at this
very moment, and wondering where you are."

It seemed that Wilkins was right. As they approached the school grounds,
John Bates came running to meet them.

"Where have you been, you two?" he said.

"To the village," answered Wilkins.

"What for?"

"For a walk," answered Wilkins, with a warning glance at Hector. It
would have been awkward if the principal had heard that they had been
compelled to eke out their meager dinner at a restaurant.

"Well, Jim wants you. Leastways, he wants Roscoe."

Bates looked as if he expected Roscoe would immediately hasten to comply
with the wishes of the redoubtable Jim.

"If he wants me, he can come to me," said Hector, independently.

"But I say, that won't do. Jim won't be satisfied."

"Won't he? I don't know that that particularly concerns me."

"Shall I tell him that?"

"If you choose."

Bates looked as if Hector had been guilty of some enormity. What, defy
the wishes, the mandates, of Jim Smith, the king of the school and the
tyrant of all the small boys! He felt that Hector Roscoe was rushing on
his fate.

"I advise you to come," he said, "Jim's mad with you already, and he'll
lick you worse if you send him a message like that."

"He will probably have to take blows, as well as give them," said
Hector.

"Then I am to tell him what you said?"

"Of course."

With a look that seemed to say, "Your fate be on your own head!" Bates
walked away.

"John Bates is always toadying to Jim," said Wilkins. "So he's prime
favorite when Jim is good-natured--when he's cross, I've seen him kick
Bates."

"And Bates didn't resent it?"

"He didn't dare to. He'd come round him the next day the same as ever."

"Has the boy no self-respect?" asked Hector, in a tone of disgust.

"He doesn't seem to have."

As soon as school was out, Jim Smith had looked round for the new boy,
who seemed disposed to defy his authority. On account of eating at
different tables, they had not met during the noon intermission. At any
rate, there had not been time to settle the question of subserviency.
Through the afternoon session Jim had been anticipating the signal
punishment which he intended to inflict upon the newcomer.

"I'll show him!" he said to himself. "Tomorrow he'll be singing a
different tune, or I am mistaken."

This was the way Jim had been accustomed to break in refractory new
arrivals. The logic of his fist usually proved a convincing argument,
and thus far his supremacy had never been successfully resisted. He
was confident that he would not be interfered with. Secretly, his Uncle
Socrates sympathized with him, and relished the thought that his
nephew, who so strongly resembled him in mind and person, should be
the undisputed boss--to use a word common in political circles--of the
school. He discreetly ignored the conflicts which he knew took place,
and if any luckless boy, the victim of Jim's brutality, ventured to
appeal to him, the boy soon found that he himself was arraigned, and not
the one who had abused him.

"Where's that new boy?" asked Jim, as he left the schoolroom.

He had not seen our hero's departure--but his ready tool, Bates, had.

"I saw him sneaking off with Wilkins," said Bates.

"Where did they go?"

"To the Village, I guess."

"They seemed to be in a hurry," said Jim, with a sneer.

"They wanted to get out of your way--that is, the new boy did,"
suggested Bates.

Jim nodded.

"Likely he did," he answered. "So he went to the village, did he?"

"Yes; I saw him."

"Well, he's put it off a little. That boy's cranky. I'm goin' to give
him a lesson he won't forget very soon."

"So you will, so you will, Jim," chuckled Bates.

"That's the way I generally take down these boys that put on airs,"
said Jim, complacently. "This Roscoe's the worst case I've had yet. So
Wilkins went off with him, did he?"

"Yes; I saw them go off together."

"I'll have to give Wilkins a little reminder, then. It won't be safe to
take up with them that defy me. I'll just give him a kick to help his
memory."

"He won't like that much, oh, my!" chuckled Bates.

"When you see them coming, Bates, go and tell Roscoe I want to see him,"
said Jim, with the air of an autocrat.

"All right, Jim," said Bates, obediently.

So he went on his errand, and we know what success he met with.



CHAPTER XII. THE IMPENDING CONFLICT.



Jim Smith stood leaning indolently against a post, when his emissary,
Bates, returned from his errand. He was experiencing "that stern joy"
which bullies feel just before an encounter with a foeman inferior in
strength, whom they expect easily to master. Several of the boys were
near by--sycophantic followers of Jim, who were enjoying in advance the
rumpus they expected. I am afraid schoolboys do not always sympathize
with the weaker side. In the present instance, there was hardly a boy
who had not at some time or other felt the weight of Jim's fist, and, as
there is an old saying that "misery loves company," it was not, perhaps,
a matter of wonder that they looked forward with interest to seeing
another suffer the same ill-treatment which they had on former occasions
received!

Presently Bates came back.

Jim looked over his head for the boy whom he expected to see in his
company.

"Where's the new boy?" he demanded, with a frown.

"He won't come."

"Won't come?" repeated Jim, with an ominous frown. "Did you tell him I
wanted him?"

"Yes, I did."

"And what did he say?"

"That if you wanted to see him, you could come to him."

All the boys regarded each other with looks of surprise. Was it possible
that any boy in Smith Institute could have the boldness to send such a
message to Jim! Most of all, Jim was moved by such a bold defiance of
his authority. For the moment, he could not think of any adequate terms
in which to express his feelings.

"Did the new boy say that?" he asked, hoarsely.

"Yes, he did."

Jim nodded his head vigorously two or three times.

"You fellows," he said, appealing to the boys around him, "did you ever
hear such impudence?"

"No!" "Never!" exclaimed the boys in concert, Bates being the loudest
and most emphatic.

"I have never been so insulted since I was at the institute," said Jim,
again looking about him for a confirmation of his statement.

"It's because he's a new boy. He don't understand," suggested one.

"That's no excuse," said Jim, sternly. "He needn't think I'll let him
off on that account."

"Of course not," answered Bates.

"What would you advise me to do, boys?" asked Jim, with the air of a
monarch asking the opinion of his counselors.

"Thrash him till he can't stand!" said the subservient Bates. He was
always ready to go farther than anyone else in supporting and defending
the authority of the tyrant of the playground.

"Bates, you are right. I shall follow your advice," said Jim. "Where is
the young reprobate?"

"He is over in Carver's field."

"Is anyone with him?"

"Yes, Wilkins."

"Ha! Wilkins and I will have an account to settle. If he is going to
side with this young rascal he must take the consequences. So, he's over
in the field, is he? What's he doing?"

"I think he was going to walk down to the brook."

Carver's field was a tract, several acres in extent, of pasture land,
sloping down to one corner, where a brook trickled along quietly. Here
three large trees were located, under whose spreading branches the boys,
in the intervals of study, used often to stretch themselves for a chat
or engage in some schoolboy games, such as nimble peg or quoits. The
owner of the field was an easy-going man, who did not appear to be
troubled by the visits of the boys, as long as they did not maltreat the
peaceful cows who gathered their subsistence from the scanty grass that
grew there.

"He wants to keep out of your way, I guess," volunteered Bates.

As this suggestion was flattering to the pride of the "boss," it was
graciously received.

"Very likely," he said; "but he'll find that isn't so easy. Boys, follow
me, if you want to see some fun."

Jim started with his loose stride for the field, where he expected to
meet his adversary, or, rather, victim, for so he considered him, and
the smaller boys followed him with alacrity. There was going to be a
scrimmage, and they all wanted to see it.

Jim and his followers issued from the gate, and, crossing the street,
scaled the bars that separated Carver's field from the highway. Already
they could see the two boys--Roscoe and Wilkins-slowly walking, and
nearly arrived at the brook in the lower part of the field.

"He doesn't seem much afraid," remarked Talbot, one of the recent
comers, incautiously.

Upon him immediately Jim frowned ominously.

"So you are taking sides with him, Talbot, are you?" he said,
imperiously.

"No, Jim," answered Talbot, hurriedly, for he now saw that he had been
guilty of an imprudence.

"What made you say he wasn't scared, then?"

"I only said he didn't seem afraid," answered Talbot, apologetically.

"Be careful what you say in future, young fellow!" said Jim, sternly;
"that is, if you are a friend of mine. If you are going over to Roscoe,
you can go, and I shall know how to treat you."

"But I am not going over to him. I don't like him," said the cowardly
boy.

"Very well; I accept your apology this time. In future be careful what
you say."

By this time Wilkins and Roscoe had reached the clump of big trees, and
had seated themselves under their ample branches. Then, for the first
time, glancing backward toward the school, they became aware of the
advancing troop of boys. Wilkins saw them first.

"There's Jim coming!" he exclaimed. "Now you are in a pickle. He means
business."

"I suppose," said Hector, coolly, "he has decided to accept my
invitation, and come to see me."

"You'll find he has," said Wilkins, significantly.

"He seems to have considerable company," remarked Hector, scanning the
approaching party with tranquillity.

"They're coming to see the fun!" said Wilkins.

"I suppose you mean the fight between Jim Smith and myself."

"Well, not exactly. They've come to see you thrashed."

Hector smiled.

"Suppose they should see Jim thrashed instead--what then?"

"They might be surprised: but I don't think they will be," answered
Wilkins, dryly. He was, on the whole, well disposed toward Hector, and
he certainly disliked Jim heartily, but he did not allow his judgment to
be swayed by his preferences, and he could foresee but one issue to the
impending conflict. There was one thing that puzzled him exceedingly,
and that was Hector's coolness on the brink of a severe thrashing, such
as Jim was sure to give him for his daring defiance and disregard of his
authority.

"You're a queer boy, Hector," he said. "You don't seem in the least
alarmed."

"I am not in the least alarmed," answered Hector. "Why should I be?"

"You don't mind being thrashed, then?"

"I might mind; but I don't mean to be thrashed if I can help it."

"But you can't help it, you know."

"Well, that will soon be decided."

There was no time for any further conversation, for Jim and his
followers were close at hand.

Jim opened the campaign by calling Hector to account.

"Look here, you new boy," he said, "didn't Bates tell you that I wanted
to see you?"

"Yes," answered Hector, looking up, indifferently.

"Well, why didn't you come to me at once, hey?"

"Because I didn't choose to. I sent word if you wished to see me, to
come where I was."

"What do you mean by such impudence, hey?"

"I mean this, Jim Smith, that you have no authority over me and never
will have. I have not been here long, but I have been here long enough
to find out that you are a cowardly bully and ruffian. How all these
boys can give in to you, I can't understand."

Jim Smith almost foamed at the mouth with rage.

"You'll pay for this," he howled, pulling off his coat, in furious
haste.



CHAPTER XIII. WHO SHALL BE VICTOR?



Hector was not slow to accept the challenge conveyed by his antagonist's
action. He, too, sprang to his feet, flung off his coat, and stood
facing the bully.

Hector was three inches shorter, and more than as many years younger,
than Jim. But his figure was well proportioned and strongly put
together, as the boys could see. On the other hand; Jim Smith was
loosely put together, and, though tall, he was not well proportioned.
His arms were long and his movements were clumsy. His frame, however,
was large, and he had considerable strength, but it had never been
disciplined. He had never learned to box, and was ignorant of the first
rudiments of the art of self-defense. But he was larger and stronger
than any of his school-fellows, and he had thus far had no difficulty in
overcoming opposition to his despotic rule.

The boys regarded the two combatants with intense interest. They could
see that Hector was not alarmed, and meant to defend himself. So there
was likely to be a contest, although they could not but anticipate an
easy victory for the hitherto champion of the school.

Hector did not propose to make the attack. He walked forward to a
favorable place and took his stand. The position he assumed would have
assured the casual observer that he knew something of the art in which
his larger antagonist was deficient.

"So you are ready to fight, are you?" said Jim.

"You can see for yourself."

Jim rushed forward, intending to bear down all opposition. He was
whirling his long arms awkwardly, and it was clear to see that he
intended to seize Hector about the body and fling him to the earth. Had
he managed to secure the grip he desired, opposition would have been
vain, and he would have compassed his design. But Hector was far too
wary to allow anything of this kind. He evaded Jim's grasp by jumping
backward, then dashing forward while his opponent was somewhat unsteady
from the failure of his attempt, he dealt him a powerful blow in the
face.

Jim Smith was unprepared for such prompt action. He reeled, and came
near falling. It may safely be said, also, that his astonishment was as
great as his indignation, and that was unbounded.

"So that's your game, is it?" he exclaimed, furiously. "I'll pay you for
this, see if I don't."

Hector did not reply. He did not propose to carry on the battle by
words. Already the matter had come to a sterner arbitrament, and he
stood on the alert, all his senses under absolute control, watching his
big antagonist, and, from the expression of his face, seeking to divine
his next mode of attack. He had this advantage over Jim, that he was
cool and collected, while Jim was angry and rendered imprudent by his
anger. Notwithstanding his first repulse, he did not fully understand
that the new boy was a much more formidable opponent than he
anticipated. Nor did he appreciate the advantage which science gives
over brute force. He, therefore, rushed forward again, with the same
impetuosity as before, and was received in precisely the same way.
This time the blood started from his nose and coursed over his inflamed
countenance, while Hector was still absolutely unhurt.

Meanwhile the boys looked on in decided amazement. It had been as far
as possible from their thoughts that Hector could stand up successfully
against the bully even for an instant. Yet here two attacks had been
made, and the champion was decidedly worsted. They could not believe the
testimony of their eyes.

Carried away by the excitement of the moment, Wilkins, who, as we have
said, was disposed to espouse the side of Hector, broke into a shout of
encouragement.

"Good boy, Roscoe!" he exclaimed. "You're doing well!"

Two or three of the other boys, those who were least under the
domination of Jim, and were only waiting for an opportunity of breaking
away from their allegiance, echoed the words of Wilkins. If there was
anything that could increase the anger and mortification of the tyrant
it was these signs of failing allegiance. What! was he to lose his hold
over these boys, and that because he was unable to cope with a boy much
smaller and younger than himself? Perish the thought! It nerved him to
desperation, and he prepared for a still more impetuous assault.

Somewhere in his Greek reader, Hector had met with a saying attributed
to Pindar, that "boldness is the beginning of victory." He felt that
the time had now come for a decisive stroke. He did not content
himself, therefore, with parrying, or simply repelling the blow of his
antagonist, but he on his part assumed the offensive. He dealt his blows
with bewildering rapidity, pressed upon Jim, skillfully evading the
grasp of his long arms, and in a trice the champion measured his length
upon the greensward.

Of course, he did not remain there. He sprang to his feet, and renewed
the attack. But he had lost his confidence. He was bewildered, and, to
confess the truth, panic-stricken, and the second skirmish was briefer
than the first.

When, for the third time, he fell back, with his young opponent standing
erect and vigorous, the enthusiasm of the boys overcame the limits of
prudence. There was a shout of approval, and the fallen champion, to
add to his discomfiture, was forced to listen to his own hitherto
subservient followers shouting, "Hurrah for the new boy! Hurrah for
Hector Roscoe!"

This was too much for Jim.

He rose from the ground sullenly, looked about him with indignation
which he could not control, and, shaking his fist, not at one boy in
particular, but at the whole company, exclaimed: "You'll be sorry for
this, you fellows! You can leave me, and stand by the new boy if you
want to, but you'll be sorry for it. I'll thrash you one by one, as I
have often done before."

"Try Roscoe first!" said one boy, jeeringly.

"I'll try you first!" said Jim; and too angry to postpone his intention,
he made a rush for the offender.

The latter, who knew he was no match for the angry bully, turned and
fled. Jim prepared to follow him, when he was brought to by Hector
placing himself in his path.

"Let that boy alone!" he said, sternly.

"What business is it of yours?" demanded Jim, doggedly; but he did not
offer to renew the attack, however.

"It will be my business to put an end to your tyranny and bullying,"
said Hector, undauntedly. "If you dare to touch one of these boys, you
will have to meet me as well."

Jim had had enough of encountering Hector. He did not care to make a
humiliating spectacle of himself any more before his old flatterers. But
his resources were not at an end.

"You think yourself mighty smart!" he said, with what was intended to be
withering sarcasm. "You haven't got through with me yet."

He did not, however, offer to pursue the boy who had been the first to
break away from his allegiance. He put on his coat, and turned to walk
toward the school, saying, "You'll hear from me again, and that pretty
soon!"

None of his late followers offered to accompany him. He had come to the
contest with a band of friends and supporters. He left it alone. Even
Bates, his most devoted adherent, remained behind, and did not offer to
accompany the discrowned and dethroned monarch.

"What's Jim going to do?" asked Talbot.

"He's going to tell old Sock, and get us all into trouble."

"It'll be a cowardly thing to do!" said Wilkins. "He's been fairly
beaten in battle, and he ought to submit to it."

"He won't if he can help it."

"I say, boys, three cheers for the new boy!" exclaimed Wilkins.

They were given with a will, and the boys pressed forward to shake the
hand of the boy whose prowess they admired.

"Thank you, boys!" said Hector, "but I'd rather be congratulated on
something else. I would rather be a good scholar than a good fighter."

But the boys were evidently of a different opinion, and elevated Hector
straightway to the rank of a hero.



CHAPTER XIV. SOCRATES CALLS HECTOR TO ACCOUNT.



Jim Smith, as he walked back to the institute, nursing his wrath, felt
very much like a dethroned king. He was very anxious to be revenged upon
Hector, but the lesson he had received made him cautious. He must get
him into trouble by some means. Should he complain to his uncle? It
would involve the necessity of admitting his defeat, unless he could
gloss over the story in some way.

This he decided to do.

On reaching the school he sought his dormitory, and carefully wiped away
the blood from his face. Then he combed his hair and arranged his dress,
and sought his uncle.

Mr. Smith was at his desk, looking over his accounts, and estimating the
profits of the half year, when his nephew made his appearance.

"Uncle Socrates, I'd like to speak to you."

"Very well, James. Proceed."

"I want to complain of the new boy who came this morning."

Socrates Smith looked up in genuine surprise. As a general thing,
his nephew brought few complaints, for he took the responsibility of
punishing boys he did not like himself.

"What! Roscoe?" inquired the principal.

"Yes."

"Is he in any mischief?"

"Mischief? I should say so! Why, he's a regular young Turk."

"A young Turk? I don't think I understand you, James."

"I mean, he's a young ruffian."

"What has he been doing?" asked Socrates, in surprise.

"He pitched into me a short time ago," said Jim, in some embarrassment.

"Pitched into you! You don't mean to say that he attacked you?"

"Yes, I do."

"But he's a considerably smaller boy than you, James. I am surprised
that he should have dared to attack you."

"Yes, he is small, but he's a regular fighter."

"I suppose you gave him a lesson?"

"Ye-es, of course."

"So that he won't be very likely to renew the attack."

"Well, I don't know about that. He's tough and wiry, and understands
boxing. I found it hard work to thrash him."

"But you did thrash him?" said Socrates, puzzled.

"Yes."

"Then what do you want me to do?"

"I thought you might punish him for being quarrelsome."

"It may be a good idea. I remember now that his uncle warned me that he
would need restraining."

"Just so, uncle," said Jim, eagerly. "His uncle was right."

"Well, I will give him a lecture. He will find that he cannot behave as
he pleases at Smith Institute," said Socrates, pompously. "He will find
that I do not tolerate any defiance of authority. I will speak of it
after vespers."

"Thank you, uncle."

"He'll get a raking down!" thought Jim, with gratification. "I'll make
it hot for him here, he may be sure of that."

Half an hour after supper was read a brief evening service called
vespers, and then the boys' study hours commenced. During this time they
were expected to be preparing their lessons for the next day.

The service was generally read by Socrates Smith, A. M., in person. It
was one of the few official duties he performed, and he was generally
very imposing in his manner on this occasion.

When the service had been read on that particular evening, the principal
did not immediately give the signal for study to be commenced. Instead,
he cleared his throat, saying:

"Boys, I have a few words to say to you. This morning a new boy made his
appearance among us. His uncle, or perhaps I should say his guardian,
attracted by the well-deserved fame of Smith Institute, came hither to
enter him among my pupils. I received him cordially, and promised
that he should share with you the rich, the inestimable educational
advantages which our humble seminary affords. I hoped he would be an
acquisition, that by his obedience and his fidelity to duty he would
shed luster on our school."

Here Socrates blew his nose sonorously, and resumed:

"But what has happened? On the very first day of his residence here he
brutally assaults one of our numbers, my nephew, and displays the savage
instincts of a barbarian. His uncle did well to warn me that he would
need salutary restraint."

Hector, who had been amused by the solemn and impressive remarks of
Socrates, looked up in surprise. Had Allan Roscoe really traduced him
in this manner, after robbing him of his inheritance, as Hector felt
convinced that he had done?

"Hector Roscoe!" said Socrates, severely; "stand up, and let me hear
what you have to say for yourself."

Hector rose calmly, and faced the principal, by no means awe-stricken at
the grave arraignment to which he had listened.

"I say this, Mr. Smith," he answered, "that I did not attack your
nephew till he had first attacked me. This he did without the slightest
provocation, and I defended myself, as I had a right to do."

"It's a lie!" muttered Jim, in a tone audible to his uncle.

"My nephew's report is of a different character. I am disposed to
believe him."

"I regret to say, sir, that he has made a false statement. I will give
you an account of what actually occurred. On my return from a walk he
sent a boy summoning me to his presence. As he was not a teacher, and
had no more authority over me than I over him, I declined to obey, but
sent word that if he wished to see me he could come where I was. I then
walked down to the brook in Carver's field. He followed me, as soon
as he had received my message, and, charging me with impertinence,
challenged me to a fight. Well, we had a fight; but he attacked me
first."

"I don't know whether this account is correct or not," said Socrates, a
little nonplused by this new version of the affair.

"I am ready to accept the decision of any one of the boys," said Hector.

"Bates," said Socrates, who knew that this boy was an adherent of his
nephew, "is this account of Roscoe's true?"

Bates hesitated a moment. He was still afraid of Jim, but when he
thought of Hector's prowess, he concluded that he had better tell the
truth.

"Yes, sir," he answered.

Jim Smith darted an angry and menacing glance at his failing adherent.

"Ahem!" said Socrates, looking puzzled: "it is not quite so bad as I
supposed. I regret, however, that you have exhibited such a quarrelsome
disposition."

"I don't think I am quarrelsome, sir," said Hector.

"Silence, sir! I have Mr. Allan Roscoe's word for it."

"It appears to me," said Hector, undauntedly, "that your nephew is at
least as quarrelsome as I am. He forced the fight upon me."

"Probably you will not be in a hurry to attack him again," said
Socrates, under the impression that Hector had got the worst of it.

Some of the boys smiled, but Socrates did not see it.

"As you have probably received a lesson, I will not punish you as I had
anticipated. I will sentence you, however, to commit to memory the first
fifty lines of Virgil's 'AEneid.' Mr. Crabb, will you see that Roscoe
performs his penance?"

"Yes, sir," said Crabb, faintly.

"Is your nephew also to perform a penance?" asked Hector, undaunted.

"Silence, sir! What right have you to question me on this subject?"

"Because, sir, he is more to blame than I."

"I don't know that. I am not at all sure that your story is correct."

Mr. Crabb, meek as he was, was indignant at this flagrant partiality.

"Mr. Smith," he said, "I happen to know that Roscoe's story is strictly
correct, and that your nephew made an unprovoked attack upon him."

Hector looked grateful, and Jim Smith furious.

"Mr. Crabb," said Socrates, angrily, "I did not ask your opinion. So far
as my nephew is concerned, I will deal with him privately. Boys, you may
begin your studies."

All the boys understood that Jim was to be let off, and they thought it
a shame. But Mr. Crabb took care to make Hector's penance as light as
possible.

And thus passed the first day at Smith Institute.



CHAPTER XV. THE USHER CONFIDES IN HECTOR.



Mr. Crabb acted rashly in siding with Hector, and speaking against Mr.
Smith's nephew. Socrates showed his displeasure by a frigid demeanor,
and by seeking occasions for snubbing his assistant. On the other hand,
Hector felt grateful for his intercession, and an intimacy sprang up
between them.

A few days afterward, on a half holiday, Mr. Crabb said: "Roscoe, I am
going out for a walk. Do you care to accompany me?"

"I will do so with pleasure," said Hector, sincerely.

"Mr. Crabb," he said, after they were fairly on their way, "I am sorry
to see that Mr. Smith has not forgiven you for taking my part against
Jim."

"I would do it again, Roscoe," said the usher. "I could not sit silent
while so great an injustice was being done."

"Do you think Jim was punished?"

"I am sure he was not. He is a boy after Mr. Smith's own heart, that
is, he possesses the same mean and disagreeable qualities, perhaps in a
greater degree. Has he interfered with you since?"

"No," answered Hector, smiling; "he probably found that I object to
being bullied."

"You are fortunate in being strong enough to withstand his attacks."

"Yes," said Hector, quietly; "I am not afraid of him."

"Bullies are generally cowards," said the usher.

"I wonder, Mr. Crabb, you are willing to stay at Smith Institute, as
usher to such a man as Mr. Smith."

"Ah, Roscoe!" said Mr. Crabb, sighing; "it is not of my own free will
that I stay. Poverty is a hard task-master. I must teach for a living."

"But surely you could get a better position?"

"Perhaps so; but how could I live while I was seeking for it. My lad,"
he said, after a pause, "I have a great mind to confide in you; I want
one friend to whom I can talk unreservedly."

"Mr. Crabb," said Hector, earnestly, "I shall feel flattered by your
confidence."

"Thank you, Roscoe; or, rather, since we are going to be friends, let me
distinguish you from the other boys and call you Hector."

"I wish you would, sir."

"I need not tell you that I am poor," continued Mr. Crabb; "you can read
it in my shabby clothes. I sometimes see the boys looking at my poor
suit, as if they wondered why I dressed so badly. Smith has more than
once cast insulting looks at my rusty coat. It is not penuriousness, as
some of the boys may think--it is poverty that prevents me from attiring
myself more becomingly."

"Mr. Crabb, I sympathize with you," said Hector.

"Thank you, Hector. Of that I am sure."

"Mr. Smith ought to pay you enough to clothe yourself neatly. He makes
you work hard enough."

"He pays me twenty dollars a month," said the usher; "twenty dollars and
my board."

"Is that all?" asked Hector, in amazement. "Why, the girl in the kitchen
earns nearly that."

"To be sure," answered the usher, bitterly; "but in Mr. Smith's
estimation, I stand very little higher. He does not value education, not
possessing it himself. However, you may wonder why, even with this
sum, I cannot dress better. It is because I have another than myself to
support."

"You are not married?" asked Hector, in surprise.

"No; but I have an invalid sister, who is wholly dependent upon me. To
her I devote three-quarters of my salary, and this leaves me very little
for myself. My poor sister is quite unable to earn anything for herself,
so it is a matter of necessity."

"Yes, I understand," said Hector, in a tone of sympathy.

"You now see why I do not dare to leave this position, poor as it is.
For myself, I might take the risk, but I should not feel justified in
exposing my sister to the hazard of possible want."

"You are right, Mr. Crabb. I am very sorry now that you spoke up for me.
It has prejudiced Mr. Smith against you."

"No, no; I won't regret that. Indeed, he would hesitate to turn me
adrift, for he would not be sure of getting another teacher to take my
place for the same beggarly salary."

"Something may turn up for you yet, Mr. Crabb," said Hector, hopefully.

"Perhaps so," answered the usher, but his tone was far from sanguine.

When they returned to the school, Hector carried out a plan which had
suggested itself to him in the interest of Mr. Crabb. He wrote to a boy
of his acquaintance, living in New York, who, he had heard, was in want
of a private tutor, and recommended Mr. Crabb, in strong terms, for that
position. He did this sincerely, for he had found the usher to be a good
teacher, and well versed in the studies preparatory to college. He did
not think it best to mention this to Mr. Crabb, for the answer might be
unfavorable, and then his hopes would have been raised only to be dashed
to the earth.

Later in the day, Hector fell in with Bates, already referred to as a
special friend of Jim Smith. The intimacy, however, had been diminished
since the contest in which Hector gained the victory. Bates was not
quite so subservient to the fallen champion, and Jim resented it.

"I saw you walking out with old Crabb," said Bates.

"He isn't particularly old," said Hector.

"Oh, you know what I mean. Did you ever see such a scarecrow?"

"Do you refer to his dress?" asked Hector.

"Yes; he'll soon be in rags. I shouldn't wonder at all if that old suit
of his was worn by one of Noah's sons in the ark."

"You don't suppose he wears it from choice, do you?"

"I don't know. He's stingy, I suppose--afraid to spend a cent."

"You are mistaken. He has a sister to support, and his salary is very
small."

"I can believe that. Old Sock is mean with his teachers. How much does
he pay Crabb?"

"It is very little, but I don't know that I ought to tell."

"I say, though, Roscoe, I wouldn't go to walk with him again."

"Why not?"

"The boys will say that, you are trying to get into his good graces, so
he'll let you off easy in your lessons."

"I don't want him to let me off easy; I generally intend to be
prepared."

"I know, but that's what they will say."

"Let them say what they please, and I will do what I please," said
Hector, independently.

"Old Sock ain't any too fond of Crabb since he took your part the other
day. Jim says the old man means to bounce him before long."

"I suppose that means discharge him."

"It means giving him his walking papers. Jim will see that he does it,
too."

Hector did not reply, but he felt more than ever glad that he had
written a letter which might possibly bring the poor usher more
profitable and, at the same time, agreeable employment.

"Jim doesn't like you, either," added Bates.

"I never supposed he did. I can do without his favor."

"He will get you into a scrape if he can."

"I have no doubt whatever of his benevolent intentions toward me. I
shall not let it interfere with my happiness."

Just then a sharp cry was heard, as of a boy in pain. It came from the
school yard, which the two boys were approaching on their return from a
walk.

"What's that?" asked Hector, quickly.

"I expect it's the new boy."

One had arrived the day before.

"Is he hurt, I wonder?" asked Hector, quickening his steps.

"Jim's got hold of him, probably," said Bates; "he said this morning
he was going to give the little chap a lesson to break him into school
ways."

"He did, did he?" said Hector, compressing his lips. "I shall have
something to say to that," and he quickened his steps.



CHAPTER XVI. TOSSED IN A BLANKET.



The last new boy was a little fellow only eleven years old. His name was
Tommy Cooper, as he was called at home. It was his first absence from
the sheltering care of his mother, and he felt lonesome in the great,
dreary school building, where he was called "Cooper," and "you little
chap." He missed the atmosphere of home, and the tenderness of his
mother and sister. In fact, the poor boy was suffering from that most
distressing malady, homesickness.

Had Mrs. Socrates Smith been a kind, motherly woman, she might have done
much to reconcile the boy to his new home; but she was a tall, gaunt,
bony woman, more masculine than feminine, not unlike Miss Sally Brass,
whom all readers of Dickens will remember.

I am sorry to say that a homesick boy in a boarding school does not meet
with much sympathy. Even those boys who have once experienced the same
malady are half ashamed of it, and, if they remember it at all, remember
it as a mark of weakness. There was but one boy who made friendly
approaches to Tommy, and this was Hector Roscoe.

Hector had seen the little fellow sitting by himself with a sad face,
and he had gone up to him, and asked him in a pleasant tone some
questions about himself and his home.

"So you have never been away from home before, Tommy," he said.

"No, sir," answered the boy, timidly.

"Don't call me sir. I am only a boy like you. Call me Hector."

"That is a strange name. I never heard it before."

"No, it is not a common name. I suppose you don't like school very
much?"

"I never shall be happy here," sighed Tommy.

"You think so now, but you will get used to it."

"I don't think I shall."

"Oh, yes, you will. It will never seem like home, of course, but you
will get acquainted with some of the boys, and will join in their games,
and then time will pass more pleasantly."

"I think the boys are very rough," said the little boy.

"Yes, they are rough, but they don't mean unkindly. Some of them were
homesick when they came here, just like you."

"Were you homesick?" asked Tommy, looking up, with interest.

"I didn't like the school very well; but I was much older than you when
I came here, and, besides, I didn't leave behind me so pleasant a home.
I am not so rich as you, Tommy. I have no father nor mother," and for
the moment Hector, too, looked sad.

The little fellow became more cheerful under the influence of Hector's
kind and sympathetic words. Our hero, however, was catechised about his
sudden intimacy with the new scholar.

"I see you've got a new situation, Roscoe," said Bates, when Hector was
walking away.

"What do you mean?"

"You've secured the position of nurse to that little cry baby."

"You mean Tommy Cooper?"

"Yes, if that's his name."

"I was cheering up the little fellow a bit. He's made rather a bad
exchange in leaving a happy home for Smith Institute."

"That's so. This is a dreary hole, but there's no need of crying about
it."

"You might if you were as young as Tommy, and had just come."

"Shall you take him under your wing?"

"Yes, if he needs it."

We now come to the few minutes preceding the return of Hector from his
walk, as indicated in the last chapter.

Tommy Cooper was sitting in the school yard, with a disconsolate look,
when Jim Smith, who was never happier than when he was bullying other
boys, espied him.

"What's the matter with you, young one?" he said, roughly, "Is your
grandmother dead?"

"No," answered Tommy, briefly.

"Come here and play."

"I would rather not."

"I am not going to have you sulking round here. Do you hear me?"

"Are you one of the teachers?" asked Tommy, innocently.

"You'll find out who I am," answered Jim, roughly. "Here, Palmer, do you
want a little fun with this young one?"

Palmer and Bates were Jim Smith's most devoted adherents.

"What are you going to do, Jim?" questioned Palmer.

"I'm going to stir him up a little," said Jim, with a malicious smile.
"Go and get a blanket."

"All right!" said Palmer.

"We'll toss him in a blanket. He won't look so sulky after we get
through with him."

There were two or three other boys standing by, who heard these words.

"It's a shame!" said one, in a low voice. "See the poor little chap, how
sad he looks! I felt just as he does when I first came to school."

"Jim ought not to do it," said the second. "It's a mean thing to do."

"Tell him so."

"No, thank you. He'd treat me the same way."

The two speakers were among the smaller boys, neither being over
fourteen, and though they sympathized with Tommy, their sympathy was not
likely to do him any good.

Out came Palmer with the blanket.

"Are there any teachers about?" asked Jim.

"No."

"That's good. We shan't be interfered with. Here, young one, come here."

"What for?" asked Tommy, looking frightened.

"Come here, and you'll find out."

But Tommy had already guessed. He had read a story of English school
life, in which a boy had been tossed in a blanket, and he was not slow
in comprehending the situation.

"Oh, don't toss me in a blanket!" said the poor boy, clasping his hands.

"Sorry to disturb you, but it's got to be done, young one," said Jim.
"Here, jump in. It'll do you good."

"Oh, don't!" sobbed the poor boy. "It'll hurt me."

"No, it won't! Don't be a cry baby. We'll make a man of you."

But Tommy was not persuaded. He jumped up, and tried to make his escape.
But, of course, there was no chance for him. Jim Smith overtook him in a
couple of strides, and seizing him roughly by the collar, dragged him
to the blanket, which by this time Palmer and one of the other boys, who
had been impressed into the service reluctantly, were holding.

Jim Smith, taking up Tommy bodily, threw him into the blanket, and then
seizing one end, gave it a violent toss. Up went the boy into the air,
and tumbling back again into the blanket was raised again.

"Raise him, boys!" shouted Jim. "Give him a hoist!"

Then it was that Tommy screamed, and Hector heard his cry for help.

He came rushing round the corner of the building, and comprehended, at a
glance, what was going on.

Naturally his hot indignation was much stirred.

"For shame, you brutes!" he cried. "Stop that!"

If there was anyone whom Jim Smith did not want to see at this moment,
it was Hector Roscoe. He would much rather have seen one of the ushers.
He saw that he was in a scrape, but his pride would not allow him to
back out.

"Keep on, boys!" he cried. "It's none of Roscoe's business. He'd better
clear out, or we'll toss him."

As he spoke he gave another toss.

"Save me, Hector!" cried Tommy, espying his friend's arrival with joy.

Hector was not the boy to let such an appeal go unheeded. He sprang
forward, dealt Jim Smith a powerful blow, that made him stagger, and let
go the blanket, and then helped Tommy to his feet.

"Run into the house. Tommy!" he said. "There may be some rough work
here."

He faced round just in time to fend off partially a blow from the angry
bully.

"Take that for your impudence!" shouted Jim Smith. "I'll teach you to
meddle with, me."

But Jim reckoned without his host. The blow was returned with interest,
and, in the heat of his indignation, Hector followed it up with such
a volley that the bully retreated in discomfiture, and was glad to
withdraw from the contest.

"I'll pay you for this, you scoundrel!" he said, venomously.

"Whenever you please, you big brute!" returned Hector, contemptuously.
"It is just like you to tease small boys. If you annoy Tommy Cooper
again, you'll hear from me."

"I'd like to choke that fellow!" muttered Jim. "Either he or I will have
to leave this school."



CHAPTER XVII. JIM SMITH'S REVENGE.



It would be natural to suppose that Jim Smith, relying upon his
influence with his uncle, would have reported this last "outrage," as he
chose to consider it, to the principal, thus securing the punishment of
Hector. But he was crafty, and considered that no punishment Hector was
likely to receive would satisfy him. Corporal punishment for taking the
part of an ill-used boy, Hector was probably too spirited to submit to,
and, under these circumstances, it would hardly have been inflicted.
Besides, Jim was aware that the offense for which Hector had attacked
him was not likely, if made known, to secure sympathy. Even his uncle
would be against him, for he was fond of money, and had no wish to lose
the new pupil, whose friends were well able to pay for him.

No! He decided that what he wanted was to bring Hector into disgrace.
The method did not immediately occur to him, but after a while he saw
his way clear.

His uncle's bedchamber was on the second floor, and Jim's directly over
it on the third story. Some of the other boys, including Hector, had
rooms also on the third floor.

Jim was going upstairs one day when, through the door of his uncle's
chamber, which chanced to be open, he saw a wallet lying on the bureau.
On the impulse of the moment, he walked in on tiptoes, secured the
wallet, and slipped it hurriedly into his pocket. Then he made all haste
upstairs, and bolted himself into his own room. Two other boys slept
there, but both were downstairs in the playground.

Jim took the wallet from his pocket and eagerly scanned the contents.
There were eight five-dollar bills and ten dollars in small bills,
besides a few papers, which may be accurately described as of no value
to anyone but the owner.

The boy's face assumed a covetous look. He, as well as his uncle, was
fond of money--a taste which, unfortunately, as he regarded it, he was
unable to gratify. His family was poor, and he was received at half
price by Socrates Smith on the score of relationship, but his allowance
of pocket money was less than that of many of the small boys. He made
up the deficiency, in part, by compelling them to contribute to his
pleasures. If any boy purchased candy, or any other delicacy, Jim, if he
learned the fact, required him to give him a portion, just as the feudal
lords exacted tribute from their serfs and dependents. Still, this was
not wholly satisfactory, and Jim longed, instead, for a supply of money
to spend as he chose.

So the thought came to him, as he scanned the contents of the wallet:
"Why shouldn't I take out one or two of these bills before disposing of
it? No one will lay it to me."

The temptation proved too strong for Jim's power of resistance. He
selected a five-dollar bill and five dollars in small bills, and
reluctantly replaced the rest of the money in the wallet.

"So far, so good!" he thought. "That's a good idea."

Then, unlocking the door, he passed along the entry till he came to the
room occupied by Hector. As he or one of the two boys who roomed with
him might be in the room, he looked first through the keyhole.

"The coast is clear!" he said to himself, in a tone of satisfaction.

Still, he opened the door cautiously, and stepped with catlike tread
into the room. Then he looked about the room. Hanging on nails were
several garments belonging to the inmates of the room. Jim selected a
pair of pants which he knew belonged to Hector, and hurrying forward,
thrust the wallet into one of the side pockets. Then, with a look of
satisfaction, he left the room, shutting the door carefully behind him.

"There," he said to himself, with exultation. "That'll fix him! Perhaps
he'll wish he hadn't put on quite so many airs."

He was rather annoyed, as he walked along the corridor, back to his
own room, to encounter Wilkins. He had artfully chosen a time when he
thought all the boys would be out, and he heartily wished that some
untoward chance had not brought Wilkins in.

"Where are you going, Jim?" asked Wilkins.

"I went to Bates' room, thinking he might be in, but he wasn't."

"Do you want him? I left him out on the playground."

"Oh, it's no matter! It'll keep!" said Jim, indifferently.

"I got out of that pretty well!" he reflected complacently.

Perhaps Jim Smith would not have felt quite so complacent, if he had
known that at the time he entered Hector's room it was occupied, though
he could not see the occupant. It so chanced that Ben Platt, one of
Hector's roommates, was in the closet, concealed from the view of anyone
entering the room, yet so placed that he could see through the partially
open door what wras passing in the room.

When he saw Jim Smith enter he was surprised, for he knew that that
young man was not on visiting terms with the boy who had discomfited and
humiliated him.

"What on earth can Jim want?" he asked himself.

He did not have long to wait for an answer though not a real one; but
actions, as men have often heard, speak louder than words.

When he saw Jim steal up to Hector's pants, and producing a wallet,
hastily thrust it into one of the pockets, he could hardly believe the
testimony of his eyes.

"Well!" he ejaculated, inwardly, "I would not have believed it if I
hadn't seen it. I knew Jim was a bully and a tyrant, but I didn't think
he was as contemptible as all that."

The wallet he recognized at once, for he had more than once seen
Socrates take it out of his pocket.

"It's old Sock's wallet!" he said to himself. "It's clear that Jim has
taken it, and means to have it found in Roscoe's possession. That's as
mean a trick as I ever heard of."

Just then Wilkins entered the room. Wilkins and Ben Platt were Hector's
two roommates.

"Hello, Wilkins! I'm glad you've come just as you have."

"What for, Platt? Do you want to borrow some money?"

"No; there is more money in this room now than there has been for a long
time."

"What do you mean? The governor hasn't sent you a remittance, has he?"

"No."

"Expound your meaning, then, most learned and mysterious chum."

"I will. Within five minutes Jim Smith has been here and left a wallet
of money."

"Jim been here? I met him in the corridor."

"I warrant he didn't say he had been here."

"No; he said he had been to Bates' room, but didn't find him there."

"That's all gammon! Wilkins, what will you say when I tell you that old
Sock's wallet is in this very room!"

"I won't believe it!"

"Look here, then!"

As he spoke, Ben went to Hector's pants and drew out the wallet.

Wilkins started in surprise and dismay.

"How did Roscoe come by that?" he asked; "surely he didn't take it?"

"Of course he didn't. You might know Roscoe better. Didn't you hear me
say just now that Jim brought it here?"

"And put it in Roscoe's pocket?"

"Yes."

"In your presence?"

"Yes; only he didn't know that I was present," said Platt.

"Where were you?"

"In the closet. The door was partly open, and I saw everything."

"What does it all mean?"

"Can't you see? It's Jim's way of coming up with Roscoe. You know he
threatened that he'd fix him."

"All I can say is, that it's a very mean way," said Wilkins in disgust.

He was not a model boy--far from it, indeed!--but he had a sentiment of
honor that made him dislike and denounce a conspiracy like this.

"It's a dirty trick," he said, warmly.

"I agree with you on that point." "What shall we do about it?"

"Lay low, and wait till the whole thing comes out. When Sock discovers
his loss, Jim will be on hand to tell him where his wallet is. Then we
can up and tell all we know."

"Good! There's a jolly row coming!" said Wilkins, smacking his lips.



CHAPTER XVIII. THE MISSING WALLET IS FOUND.



Socrates Smith was, ordinarily, so careful of his money, that it was a
very remarkable inadvertence to leave it on the bureau. Nor was it long
before he ascertained his loss. He was sitting at his desk when his
wife looked in at the door, and called for a small sum for some domestic
expenditure.

With an ill grace--for Socrates hated to part with his money--he put his
hand into the pocket where he usually kept his wallet.

"Really, Mrs. Smith," he was saying, "it seems to me you are always
wanting money--why, bless my soul!" and such an expression of
consternation and dismay swept over his face, that his wife hurriedly
inquired:

"What is the matter, Mr. Smith?"

"Matter enough!" he gasped. "My wallet is gone!"

"Gone!" echoed his wife, in alarm. "Where can you have left it?"

Mr. Smith pressed his hand to his head in painful reflection.

"How much money was there in it, Socrates?" asked his wife.

"Between forty and fifty dollars!" groaned Mr. Smith. "If I don't find
it, Sophronia, I am a ruined man!"

This was, of course, an exaggeration, but it showed the poignancy of the
loser's regret.

"Can't you think where you left it?"

Suddenly Mr. Smith's face lighted up.

"I remember where I left it, now," he said; "I was up in the chamber an
hour since, and, while changing my coat, took out my wallet, and laid it
on the bureau. I'll go right up and look for it."

"Do, Socrates."

Mr. Smith bounded up the staircase with the agility of a man of half
his years, and hopefully opened the door of his chamber, which Jim had
carefully closed after him. His first glance was directed at the bureau,
but despair again settled down sadly upon his heart when he saw that it
was bare. There was no trace of the missing wallet.

"It may have fallen on the carpet," said Socrates, hope reviving
faintly.

There was not a square inch of the cheap Kidderminster carpet that he
did not scan earnestly, greedily, but, alas! the wallet, if it had ever
been there, had mysteriously taken to itself locomotive powers, and
wandered away into the realm of the unknown and the inaccessible.

Yet, searching in the chambers of his memory, Mr. Smith felt sure that
he had left the wallet on the bureau. He could recall the exact moment
when he laid it down, and he recollected that he had not taken it again.

"Some one has taken it!" he decided; and wrath arose in his heart, He
snapped his teeth together in stern anger, as he determined that
he would ferret out the miserable thief, and subject him to condign
punishment.

Mrs. Smith, tired of waiting for the appearance of her husband, ascended
the stairs and entered his presence.

"Well?" she said.

"I haven't found it," answered Socrates, tragically. "Mrs. Smith, the
wallet has been stolen!"

"Are you sure that you left it here?" asked his wife.

"Sure!" he repeated, in a hollow tone. "I am as sure as that the sun
rose to-morrow--I mean yesterday."

"Was the door open?"

"No; but that signifies nothing. It wasn't locked, and anyone could
enter."

"Is it possible that we have a thief in the institute?" said Mrs. Smith,
nervously. "Socrates, I shan't sleep nights. Think of the spoons!"

"They're only plated."

"And my earrings."

"You could live without earrings. Think, rather, of the wallet, with
nearly fifty dollars in bills."

"Who do you think took it, Socrates?"

"I have no idea; but I will find out. Yes, I will find out. Come
downstairs, Mrs. Smith; we will institute inquiries."

When Mr. Smith had descended to the lower floor, and was about entering
the office, it chanced that his nephew was just entering the house.

"What's the matter, Uncle Socrates?" he asked; "you look troubled."

"And a good reason why, James; I have met with a loss."

"You don't say so!" exclaimed Jim, in innocent wonder; "what is it?"

"A wallet, with a large amount of money in it!"

"Perhaps there is a hole in your pocket," suggested Jim.

"A hole--large enough for my big wallet to fall through! Don't be such a
fool!"

"Excuse me, uncle," said Jim, meekly; "of course that is impossible.
When do you remember having it last?"

Of course Socrates told the story, now familiar to us, and already
familiar to his nephew, though he did not suspect that.

Jim struck his forehead, as if a sudden thought had occurred to him.

"Could it be?" he said, slowly, as if to himself; "no, I can't believe
it."

"Can't believe what?" demanded Socrates, impatiently; "if you have any
clew, out with it!"

"I hardly like to tell, Uncle Socrates, for it implicates one of the
boys."

"Which?" asked Mr. Smith, eagerly.

"I will tell you, though I don't like to. Half an hour since, I was
coming upstairs, when I heard a door close, as I thought, and, directly
afterward, saw Hector Roscoe hurrying up the stairs to the third floor.
I was going up there myself, and followed him. Five minutes later
he came out of his room, looking nervous and excited. I didn't think
anything of it at the time, but I now think that he entered your room,
took the wallet, and then carried it up to his own chamber and secreted
it."

"Hector Roscoe!" repeated Mr. Smith, in amazement. "I wouldn't have
supposed that he was a thief."

"Nor I; and perhaps he isn't. It might be well, however, to search his
room."

"I will!" answered Socrates, with eagerness, "Come up, James, and you,
Mrs. Smith, come up, too!"

The trio went upstairs, and entered poor Hector's room. It was not
unoccupied, for Ben Platt and Wilkins were there. They anticipated a
visit, and awaited it with curious interest. They rose to their feet
when the distinguished visitors arrived.

"Business of importance brings us here," said Socrates. "Platt and
Wilkins, you may leave the room."

The boys exchanged glances, and obeyed.

"Wilkins," said Ben, when they were in the corridor, "it is just as I
thought. Jim has set a trap for Roscoe."

"He may get caught himself," said Wilkins. "I ain't oversqueamish, but
that is too confounded mean! Of course you'll tell all you know?"

"Yes; and I fancy it will rather surprise Mr. Jim. I wish they had let
us stay in there."

Meanwhile, Jim skillfully directed the search.

"He may have put it under the mattress," suggested Jim.

Socrates darted to the bed, and lifted up the mattress, but no wallet
revealed itself to his searching eyes.

"No; it is not here!" he said, in a tone of disappointment; "the boy may
have it about him. I will send for him."

"Wait a moment, Uncle Socrates," said Jim; "there is a pair of pants
which I recognize as his."

Mr. Smith immediately thrust his hand into one of the pockets and drew
out the wallet!

"Here it is!" he exclaimed, joyfully. "Here it is!"

"Then Roscoe is a thief! I wouldn't have thought it!" said Jim.

"Nor I. I thought the boy was of too good family to stoop to such a
thing. But now I remember, Mr. Allan Roscoe told me he was only adopted
by his brother. He is, perhaps, the son of a criminal."

"Very likely!" answered Jim, who was glad to believe anything derogatory
to Hector.

"What are you going to do about it, uncle?"

"I shall bring the matter before the school. I will disgrace the boy
publicly," answered Socrates Smith, sternly. "He deserves the exposure."

"Aha, Master Roscoe!" said Jim, gleefully, to himself; "I rather think I
shall get even with you, and that very soon."



CHAPTER XIX. A DRAMATIC SCENE.



It was generally after vespers that Mr. Smith communicated to the school
anything which he desired to call to their attention. This was to be the
occasion of bringing our hero into disgrace.

The boys assembled, most of them quite ignorant that anything
exceptional was to occur. Hector himself, the person chiefly interested,
was entirely unconscious that he was to be made "a shining mark" for
the arrows of suspicion and obloquy. If he had noticed the peculiar and
triumphantly malicious looks with which Jim Smith, the bully and tyrant,
whom he had humiliated and deposed, regarded him, he might have been led
to infer that some misfortune was in store for him. But these looks he
did not chance to notice.

There were two other boys, however, who did notice them. These were Ben
Platt and Wil-kins, who had very good reasons, as we know, for doing so.

"I believe old Sock is going to pitch into Roscoe at vespers," said Ben,
in a whisper, to his roommate.

"So do I. There's a look about him like that of a tiger about to pounce
on his prey."

"Or a cat with murderous designs on a mouse."

"We must expose the whole thing."

"Of course."

"Won't Jim be mad?"

"Let him! He won't dare to thrash us while Roscoe is round."

There was, indeed, about Socrates Smith an air of mystery, portentous
and suggestive. He looked like one meditating a coup d'etat, or,
perhaps, it might better be said, a coup de main, as the hand is with
schoolmasters, generally, the instrument of attack.

When the proper time arrived, Mr. Smith cleared his throat, as he always
did before beginning to speak.

"Boys," he said, "I have an important, and I may say, a painful,
communication to make to you."

All the boys looked at each other in curiosity, except the three who
were already in the secret.

"You know, boys," continued Socrates, "how proud I am of this institute,
how zealous I am for its good reputation, how unwearied I am in my
efforts for your progress and welfare."

Mr. Smith's unwearied efforts were largely in the line of making out and
receipting bills for tuition, and it may be said that this was to him by
far the most agreeable of the duties he undertook to perform.

"I have been proud of my pupils," continued the principal, "and it has
given me pleasure to reflect that you all reflected credit, more or
less, upon my teaching. I have, also, sought to form your manners, to
train you to fill the positions which Providence may have in store for
you. In a word, while from time to time you may have indulged in little
escapades, slightly-culpable, I have felt that you were all gentlemen."

"What in the world does he mean?" thought more than one puzzled boy.
"What is all this leading to?"

Among those to whom this thought occurred, was Hector Roscoe, who was
very far from conjecturing that all this long preamble was to introduce
an attack upon him.

"But," proceeded Socrates, after a pause, "I have this afternoon been
painfully undeceived. I have learned, with inexpressible pain, that
Smith Institute has received an ineffaceable stigma."

"Old Sock is getting eloquent!" whispered Ben Platt.

"I have learned," continued Socrates, with tragic intensity, "that I
have nourished a viper in my bosom! I have learned that we have a thief
among us!"

This declaration was greeted with a buzz of astonishment. Each boy
looked at his next door neighbor as if to inquire, "Is it you?"

Each one, except the three who were behind the scenes. Of these, Jim
Smith, with an air of supreme satisfaction, looked in a sidelong way at
Hector, unconscious the while that two pairs of eyes--those of Wilkins
and Ben Platt--were fixed upon him.

"I thought you would be surprised," said the principal, "except, of
course, the miserable criminal. But I will not keep you in suspense.
To-day, by inadvertence, I left my wallet, containing a considerable
sum of money, on the bureau in my chamber. An hour later, discovering
my loss, I went upstairs, but the wallet was gone. It had mysteriously
disappeared. I was at a loss to understand this at first, but I soon
found a clew. I ascertained that a boy--a boy who is presently one of
the pupils of Smith Institute--had entered my chamber, had appropriated
the wallet, had carried it to his dormitory, and there had slyly
concealed it in the pocket of a pair of pants. Doubtless, he thought his
theft would not be discovered, but it was, and I myself discovered the
missing wallet in its place of concealment."

Here Mr. Smith paused, and it is needless to say that the schoolroom
was a scene of great excitement. His tone was so impressive, and
his statement so detailed, that no one could doubt that he had most
convincing evidence of the absolute accuracy of what he said.

"Who was it?" every boy had it on his lips to inquire.

"Three hours have elapsed since my discovery," continued Mr. Smith.
"During that time I have felt unnerved. I have, however, written and
posted an account of this terrible discovery to the friends of the pupil
who has so disgraced himself and the school."

Ben Platt and Wilkins exchanged glances of indignation. They felt that
Mr. Smith had been guilty of a piece of outrageous injustice in acting
thus before he had apprised the supposed offender of the charge against
him, and heard his defense. Both boys decided that they would not spare
Jim Smith, but at all hazards expose the contemptible plot which he had
contrived against his schoolfellow.

"I waited, however, till I was somewhat more calm before laying the
matter before you. I know you will all be anxious to know the name of
the boy who has brought disgrace upon the school to which you belong,
and I am prepared to reveal it to you. Hector Roscoe, stand up!"

If a flash of lightning had struck him where he sat, Hector could not
have been more astonished. For a moment he was struck dumb, and did not
move.

"Stand up, Hector Roscoe!" repeated the principal. "No wonder you sit
there as if paralyzed. You did not expect that so soon your sin would
find you out."

Then Hector recovered completely his self-possession. He sprang to his
feet, and not only that, but he strode forward, blazing with passion,
till he stood before Mr. Smith's desk and confronted him.

"Mr. Smith!" he said, in a ringing tone, "do I understand you to charge
me with stealing a wallet of yours containing money?"

"I do so charge you, and I have complete evidence of the truth of my
charge. What have you to say?"

"What have I to say?" repeated Hector, looking around him proudly and
scornfully. "I have to say that it is an infamous lie!"

"Hold, sir!" exclaimed Socrates, angrily. "Shameless boy, do you intend
to brazen it out? Did I not tell you that I had complete proof of the
truth of the charge?"

"I don't care what fancied proof you have. I denounce the charge as a
lie."

"That won't do, sir! I myself took the wallet from the pocket of your
pantaloons, hanging in the chamber. Mrs. Smith was with me and witnessed
my discovery, and there was another present, one of the pupils of this
institute, who also can testify to the fact. It is useless for you to
deny it!"

"You found the wallet in the pocket of my pantaloons?" asked Hector,
slowly.

"Yes. There can be no doubt about that."

"Who put it there?" demanded Hector, quickly.

Socrates Smith was staggered, for he had not expected this query from
the accused.

"Who put it there?" he repeated.

"Yes, sir," continued Hector, firmly. "If the matter is as you state it,
some one has been mean enough to put the wallet into my pocket in order
to implicate me in a theft."

"Of course you put it there yourself, Roscoe. Your defense is very
lame."

Hector turned round to his fellow-scholars.

"Boys," he said, "you have heard the charge that has been made against
me. You know me pretty well by this time. Is there any one of you that
believes it to be true?"

"No! No!" shouted the boys, with one exception. Jim Smith was heard to
say distinctly, "I believe it!"

"Silence in the school!" shouted Socrates. "This is altogether
irregular, and I won't have it."

Hector turned to the principal, and said, calmly:

"You see, Mr. Smith, that, in spite of your proof, these boys will not
believe that your charge is well founded."

"That is neither here nor there, Roscoe. Will anyone step up and prove
your innocence?"

There was another sensation. In the second row back a boy was seen to
rise.

"Mr. Smith," said Ben Platt, "I can prove Roscoe's innocence!"



CHAPTER XX. HECTOR GAINS A VICTORY.



There were two persons on whom Ben Platt's declaration made a profound
impression. These were Jim Smith and his uncle, the learned Socrates.
The latter was surprised, for he was fully persuaded that the charge
he had made was a true one, and Hector was a thief. As for Jim, his
surprise was of a very disagreeable nature. Knowing as he did that, he
himself had taken the money, he was alarmed lest his offense was to
be made known, and that the pit which he had digged for another should
prove to be provided for himself.

Socrates was the first to speak after taking time to recover himself
from his surprise.

"This is a very extraordinary statement, Platt," he said. "You say you
can prove Roscoe's innocence?"

"Yes, sir," answered Platt, firmly.

"I wish no trifling here, sir," said the principal, sharply. "I myself
found the wallet in Roscoe's pocket."

"Yes, sir," answered Ben Platt, "I know it was there."

"You knew it was there!" repeated Socrates. "How did you know it was
there?"

"Because I saw it put in."

Here Jim Smith's face turned from red to pale, and he moved about
uneasily in his seat. "Could Ben Platt have been hidden somewhere in the
room?" he asked himself, "If so, what was he to do?" There was but one
answer to this question. He must brazen it out, and boldly contradict
the witness. But he would bide his time. He would wait to hear what Ben
had to say.

"Did you put it in yourself?" asked Socrates, savagely.

"No, Mr. Smith, I didn't put it in," answered Ben, indignantly.

"None of your impudence, sir!" said the schoolmaster, irritated.

"I merely answered your question and defended myself," answered Ben.

There was a little murmur among the pupils, showing that their sympathy
was with the boy who had been so causelessly accused by the principal.

"Silence!" exclaimed Socrates, annoyed. "Now," he continued, turning
to Ben, "since you know who put the wallet into Roscoe's pocket--a very
remarkable statement, by the way--will you deign to inform me who did
it?"

"James Smith did it!" said Ben, looking over to the principal's nephew,
who was half expecting such an attack.

"It's a base lie!" cried Jim, but his face was blanched, his manner was
nervous and confused, and he looked guilty, if he were not so.

"My nephew?" asked Socrates, flurried.

"Yes, sir."

"It isn't so, Uncle Socrates," said Jim, excited. "I'll lick you, Ben
Platt, when we get out of school."

"You forget yourself, James," said Socrates, with a mildness he would
not have employed with any other pupil.

"I beg your pardon, Uncle Socrates," said Jim, with contrition, "but I
can't be silent when I am accused of things I don't do."

"To be sure, you have some excuse, but you should remember the respect
you owe to me. Then you did not do it?"

"Certainly not, sir."

"So it appears, Platt, that you have brought a false charge against
your fellow-pupil," said Mr. Smith, severely. "I can conceive of nothing
meaner."

"Mr. Smith," said Hector, "what right have you to say that the charge is
false? Is it the denial of your nephew? If he took the wallet he would,
of course, deny it."

"So would you!" retorted Socrates.

"No one saw me conceal it," said Hector, significantly.

Then Wilkins rose.

"Mr. Smith," he said, "I have some evidence to offer."

"Out with it, sir," said the principal, angrily, for he was fighting
against an inward conviction that his nephew was really the guilty
party.

"I was walking along the corridor about the time Platt speaks of Smith's
visit to Roscoe's room, and I met your nephew walking in the opposite
direction. When I entered the room, Platt told me that, half-concealed
by the closet door, he had seen Jim Smith enter and thrust the wallet
into Roscoe's pocket. Soon after, you and Mrs. Smith came into the
room, guided by your nephew, who let you know just where the wallet was
hidden. He had very good reasons for knowing," added Wilkins.

If a look would have annihilated Wilkins, the look directed towards him
by Jim Smith would have had that effect.

"It's a conspiracy against me, Uncle Socrates," said Jim, intent upon
brazening it out. "They're all in league together."

"The testimony of Wilkins doesn't amount to much!" said Mr. Smith. "He
may have seen James in the corridor, but that is by no means a part of
his complicity in this affair."

"Just so!" said Jim, eagerly.

"Ben Platt's evidence ought to count for something," said Hector. "He
saw your nephew putting the wallet into the pocket of my pants."

Socrates was clearly perplexed. In spite of his partiality for his
nephew, the case against him certainly looked very strong.

Hector, however, determined to make his defense even stronger.

"I would like to ask Platt," he said, "at what time this took place?"

"At three o'clock."

"How do you know it was three?" asked the principal, sharply.

"Because I heard the clock on the village church strike three."

"I would like to ask another boy--Frank Lewis--if he heard the clock
strike three?"

Lewis answered in the affirmative.

"Where were you at the time?"

"In the playground."

"What were you doing?"

"Playing ball."

"Was I in the game?"

"Yes."

"How long had the game been going on?"

"Half an hour."

"How long had the game been going on, do you know?"

"From half to three-quarters of an hour."

"Can you remember whether I was with you all the time?"

"You were."

"Now, Platt, will you tell me how long after the wallet was put into my
pocket before Mr. Smith appeared in search of it?"

"Not over half an hour."

"I submit, then," said Hector, in a matter-of-fact manner, "that I was
absent in the playground during the entire time when it was found in
my room. I believe this is what lawyers call an alibi that I have,
fortunately, been able to prove."

"You are a very smart lawyer!" sneered the principal.

The boys were by this time so incensed at Mr. Smith's evident effort to
clear his nephew at the expense of Roscoe, that there was a very audible
hiss, in which at least half a dozen joined.

"Is this rebellion?" asked Socrates, furiously.

"No, sir," said Ben Platt, firmly. "We want justice done; that is all."

"You shall have justice--all of you!" exclaimed Socrates, carried beyond
the limits of prudence.

"I am glad to hear that, sir," said Hector. "If you do not at once
exonerate me from this charge, which you know to be false, and write to
my guardian retracting it, I will bring the matter before the nearest
magistrate."

This was more than Socrates had bargained for. He saw that he had gone
too far, and was likely to wreck his prospects and those of the school.

"I will look into the matter," he said, hurriedly, "and report to the
school hereafter. You may now apply yourselves to your studies."



CHAPTER XXI. THE USHER IS DISCHARGED.



Among the boys of Smith Institute there was but one opinion on the
subject of the principal's wallet. All acquitted Roscoe of having any
part in the theft, and they were equally unanimous in the belief that
Jim Smith had contrived a mean plot against the boy whom he could not
conquer by fair means. There was a little informal consultation as
to how Jim should be treated. It was finally decided to "send him to
Coventry."

As this phrase, which is well understood in English schools, may not be
so clear to my readers, I will explain that Jim was to be refused notice
by his schoolfellows, unless he should become aggressive, when he was to
be noticed in a manner far from agreeable.

Jim could not help observing the cold looks of the boys, who but lately
were glad enough to receive notice from him, and he became very angry.
As to being ashamed of the exposure, he was not sensitive, nor did
he often have any feeling of that kind. Naturally vindictive, he
felt especially angry with the two boys, Ben Platt and Wilkins, whose
testimony had proved so uncomfortable for him.

"I'll thrash those boys if I never thrash another," he said to himself.
"So they have turned against me, have they? They're only fit to black my
boots anyway. I'll give 'em a lesson."

Platt and Wilkins were expecting an attack. They knew that Jim would
seize the opportunity of attacking them singly, and in the absence of
Hector, of whom he was afraid, and with good reason. They concerted
measures, accordingly, for defeating the common enemy.

Jim was stalking about the next day, looking sullen and feeling ugly.
He could not help observing that whenever he approached a group of boys
they immediately scattered and walked away in various directions. This
naturally chafed him, for, having no intellectual resources, he found
solitude oppressive. Besides, he had been accustomed to the role of
boss, and where is a boss without followers?

Tired of the schoolroom precincts, Jim went to walk. In a rustic lane,
much to his delight, he saw approaching him one of the boys who had so
seriously offended him.

It was Ben Platt.

Ben was sauntering along in idle mood when he came face to face with the
dethroned boss.

"So it's you, Platt, is it?" said Jim, grimly.

"I believe it is," answered Ben, coolly.

"I've got a word or two to say to you," said Jim, significantly.

"Say them quick," said Ben, "for I'm in a hurry."

"I'm not," said Jim, in his old tone, "and it makes no difference
whether you are or not."

"Indeed! you are as polite as usual," returned Ben.

"Look here, you young whelp!" Jim broke forth, unable any longer to
restrain his wrath, "what, did you mean by lying about me last evening?"

"I didn't lie about you," said Ben, boldly.

"Yes, you did. What made you say you saw me put that wallet into
Roscoe's pocket?"

"I can't think of any reason, unless because it was true," said Ben.

"Even if it were, how dared you turn against me? First you play the spy,
and then informer. Paugh!"

"I see you admit it," said Ben. "Well, if you want an answer I will give
you one. You laid a plot for Hector Roscoe--one of the meanest, dirtiest
plots I ever heard of, and I wasn't going to see you lie him into a
scrape while I could prevent it."

"That's enough, Platt!" exclaimed Jim, furiously. "Now, do you know what
I am going to do?"

"I don't feel particularly interested in the matter."

"You will be, then. I am going to thrash you."

"You wouldn't if Hector Roscoe were here," said Ben, not appearing to be
much frightened.

"Well, he isn't here, though if he were it wouldn't make any difference.
I'll whip you so you can't stand."

Ben's reply was to call "Wilkins!"

From a clump of bushes, where he had lurked, unobserved hitherto, sprang
Wilkins, and joined his friend.

"There are two of us, Smith!" said Ben Platt.

"I can thrash you both," answered Jim, whose blood was up.

Before the advent of Hector no two boys would have ventured to engage
Jim in combat, but his defeat by a boy considerably smaller had lost him
his prestige, and the boys had become more independent. He still fancied
himself a match for both, however, and the conflict began. But both of
his antagonists were in earnest, and Jim had a hard time.

Now, it so happened that Mr. Crabb, the usher, was taking a solitary
walk, and had approached the scene of conflict unobserved by any of the
participants. He arrived at an opportune time. Jim had managed to draw
Wilkins away, and by a quick movement threw him. He was about to deal
his prostrate foe a savage kick, which might have hurt him seriously,
when the usher, quiet and peaceful as he was by nature, could restrain
himself no longer. He rushed up, seized him by the collar, dragged him
back and shook him with a strength he did not suppose he possessed,
saying:

"Leave that boy alone, you brute!"

Jim turned quickly, and was very much surprised when he saw the meek
usher, whom he had always despised, because he looked upon him as a Miss
Nancy.

"So it's you, is it?" he said, with a wicked glance.

"Yes, it is I," answered the usher, manfully; "come up just in time to
stop your brutality."

"Is it any of your business?" demanded Jim, looking as if he would like
to thrash the usher.

"I have made it my business. Platt and Wilkins, I advise you to join
me, and leave this fellow, who has so disgraced himself as to be beneath
your notice."

"We will accompany you with pleasure, sir," said the boys.

They regarded the usher with new respect for this display of courage,
for which they had not given him credit.

"I'll fix you, Crabb," said Jim Smith, insolently, "and don't you forget
it!"

Mr. Crabb did not deign to answer him.

Jim Smith was as good as his word.

An hour later Mr. Crabb was summoned to the presence of the principal.

Socrates received him with marked coldness.

"Mr. Crabb," he said, "I cannot conceal the amazement I feel at a
complaint which has just been made by my nephew."

"Well, sir?"

Mr. Crabb had nerved himself for the worst, and did not cower or show
signs of fear, as Socrates expected he would.

"James tells me that you attacked him savagely this afternoon when he
was having a little sport with two of his schoolfellows."

"Is that what he says, Mr. Smith?"

"Yes, sir, and I require an explanation."

"You shall have it. The sport in which your nephew was engaged was
attempting to thrash Wilkins. He had him down, and was about to deal him
a savage kick when I fortunately came up."

"And joined in the fight," sneered Socrates.

"Yes, if you choose to put it so. Would you have had me stand by, and
see Wilkins brutally used?"

"Of course, you color the affair to suit yourself," said Socrates,
coldly. "The fact is that you, an usher, have lowered yourself by taking
part in a playful schoolboy contest."

"Playful!" repeated Mr. Crabb.

"Yes, and I shall show how I regard it by giving you notice that I no
longer require your services in my school. I shall pay you up at the end
of the week and then discharge you."

"Mr. Smith," said the usher, "permit me to say that anything more
disgraceful than your own conduct within the last twenty-four hours I
have never witnessed. You have joined your nephew in a plot to disgrace
an innocent boy, declining to do justice, and now you have capped the
climax by censuring me for stopping an act of brutality, merely because
your nephew was implicated in it!"

"This to me?" exclaimed Socrates Smith, hardly crediting the testimony
of his ears.

"Yes, sir, and more! I predict that the stupid folly which has
characterized your course will, within six months, drive from you every
scholar you have in your school!"

"Mr. Crabb," gasped Socrates, never more surprised in his life than
he was at the sudden spirit exhibited by the usher, "I will not be so
insulted. Leave me, and to-morrow morning leave my service."

"I will, sir. I have no desire to remain here longer."

But when Mr. Crabb had walked away his spirit sank within him. How was
he to obtain another situation? He must consult immediately with Hector
Roscoe, in whose judgment, boy as he was, he reposed great confidence.



CHAPTER XXII. THE WELCOME LETTER.



"Hector," said Mr. Crabb, nervously, "I am going to leave the institute
at the end of the week."

"Have you secured another situation, Mr. Crabb?" asked Hector,
hopefully.

"No," answered the usher, shaking his head. "I have been discharged."

"For what reason?"

"For interfering with Mr. Smith's nephew when he was brutally abusing
Wilkins."

"Did Mr. Smith fully understand the circumstances?"

"Yes; but he stands by his nephew right or wrong. He blamed me for
checking his nephew's brutality."

"This is shameful!" said Hector, warmly. "May I ask, Mr. Crabb, if you
have formed any plans?"

"No, except to seek a new position!" answered Crabb. "I fear," he
added, despondently, "that it may be some time before I am so fortunate.
Roscoe, I don't know what to do when I leave the school. I shall barely
have five dollars, and you know I have not only myself, but another to
support."

"Keep up your courage, Mr. Crabb! It is nearly time for me to hear from
the friend in New York to whom I wrote is your behalf. If you can secure
the position of his private tutor--"

"If I can, I will hail it as providential. It will relieve me at once
from all anxiety."

"I don't think I shall long remain here myself, Mr. Crabb," said
Hector. "I came here with the full intention of making the most of the
facilities the institute affords for education, but I find the principal
incompetent, and disposed to connive at injustice and brutality. The
only good I have got here has been derived from your instructions."

"Thank you, Roscoe. Such a tribute is, indeed, welcome," said the usher,
warmly.

"It is quite sincere, Mr. Crabb, and I hope my good wishes may bring you
the advantage which I have in view."

"Thank you, Roscoe. I don't blame you for being disgusted with the
management of the school. You have yourself suffered injustice."

"Yes; in writing home, and charging me with theft, before he had
investigated the circumstances, Mr. Smith did me a great injustice. I
doubt whether he has since written to correct the false charge, as
I required him to do. If not, I shall owe it to myself to leave the
school."

"You will be justified in doing so." The next day brought Hector two
letters. One was from Allan Roscoe, and read as follows:

"HECTOR: I have received from your worthy teacher a letter which has
filled me with grief and displeasure. I knew you had great faults, but
I did not dream that you would stoop so low as to purloin money, as it
seems you have done. Mr. Smith writes me that there is no room to doubt
your guilt. He himself discovered in the pocket of your pantaloons a
wallet containing a large sum of money, which he had missed only a short
time before. He learned that you had entered his chamber, and taken the
money, being tempted by your own dishonest and depraved heart.

"I cannot express the shame I feel at this revelation of baseness. I
am truly glad that you are not connected with me by blood. Yet I cannot
forget that my poor brother treated you as a son; and took pains to
train you up in right ideas. It would give him deep pain could he know
how the boy whom he so heaped with benefits has turned out! I may say
that Guy is as much shocked as I am, but he, it seems, had a better
knowledge of you than I; for he tells me he is not surprised to hear it.
I confess I am, for I thought better of you.

"Under the circumstances I shall not feel justified in doing for you as
much as I intended. I proposed to keep you at school for two years more,
but I have now to announce that this is your last term, and I advise you
to make the most of it. I will try, when the term closes, to find some
situation for you, where your employer's money will not pass through
your hands. ALLAN ROSCOE."

Hector read the letter with conflicting feelings, the most prominent
being indignation and contempt for the man who so easily allowed himself
to think evil of him.

The other letter he found more satisfactory.

It was from his young friend in New York, Walter Boss. As it is short, I
subjoin it:

"DEAR HECTOR: I am ever so glad to hear from you, but I should like much
better to see you. I read to papa what you said of Mr. Crabb, and he
says it is very apropos, as he had made up his mind to get me a tutor.
I am rather backward, you see, not having your taste for study, and papa
thinks I need special attention. He says that your recommendation is
sufficient, and he will engage Mr. Crabb without any further inquiry;
and he says he can come at once. He will give him sixty dollars a month
and board, and he will have considerable time for himself, if he wants
to study law or any other profession. I don't know but a cousin may join
me in my studies, in which case he will pay a hundred dollars per month,
if that will be sastisfactory.

"Why can't you come and make me a visit? We'll have jolly fun. Come
and stay a month, old chap. There is no one I should like better. Your
friend, WALTER Boss."

Hector read this letter with genuine delight. It offered a way of
escape, both for the unfortunate usher and himself. Nothing could be
more "apropos" to quote Walter's expression.

Our hero lost no time in seeking out Mr. Crabb.

"You seem in good spirits, Roscoe," said the usher, his careworn face
contrasting with the beaming countenance of his pupil.

"Yes, Mr. Crabb, I have reason to be, and so have you."

"Have you heard from your friend?" asked the usher, hopefully.

"Yes, and it's all right."

Mr. Crabb looked ten years younger.

"Is it really true?" he asked.

"It is true that you are engaged as private tutor to my friend, Walter.
You'll find him a splendid fellow, but I don't know if the pay is
sufficient," continued Hector, gravely.

"I am willing to take less pay than I get here," said the usher, "for
the sake of getting away."

"How much do you receive here?"

"Twenty dollar a month and board. I might, perhaps, get along on a
little less," he added doubtfully.

"You won't have to, Mr. Crabb. You are offered sixty dollars a month and
a home."

"You are not in earnest, Roscoe?" asked the usher, who could not believe
in his good fortune.

"I will read you the letter, Mr. Crabb."

When it was read the usher looked radiant. "Roscoe," he said, "you come
to me like an angel from heaven. Just now I was sad and depressed; now
it seems to me that the whole future is radiant. Sixty dollars a month!
Why, it will make me a rich man."

"Mr. Crabb," said Hector, with a lurking spirit of fun, "can you really
make up your mind to leave Smith Institute, and its kind and benevolent
principal?"

"I don't think any prisoner ever welcomed his release with deeper
thankfulness," said the usher. "To be in the employ of a man whom you
despise, yet to feel yourself a helpless and hopeless dependent on him
is, I assure you, Roscoe, a position by no means to be envied. For two
years that has been my lot."

"But it will soon be over."

"Yes, thanks to you. Why can't you accompany me, Hector? I ought not,
perhaps, to draw you away, but--"

"But listen to the letter I have received from my kind and considerate
guardian, as he styles himself," said Hector.

He read Allan Roscoe's letter to the usher.

"He seems in a great hurry to condemn you," said Mr. Crabb.

"Yes, and to get me off his hands," said Hector, proudly. "Well, he
shall be gratified in the last. I shall accept Walter's invitation, and
we will go up to New York together."

"That will, indeed, please me. Of course, you will undeceive your
guardian."

"Yes. I will get Wilkins and Platt to prepare a statement of the facts
in the case, and accompany it by a note releasing Mr. Roscoe from any
further care or expense for me."

"But, Hector, can you afford to do this?"

"I cannot afford to do otherwise, Mr. Crabb. I shall find friends, and I
am willing to work for my living, if need be."

At this point one of the boys came to Mr. Crabb with a message from
Socrates, desiring the usher to wait upon him at once.



CHAPTER XXIII. ANOTHER CHANCE FOR THE USHER.



Mr. Smith had been thinking it over. He had discharged Mr. Crabb in the
anger of the moment, but after his anger had abated, he considered that
it was not for his interest to part with him. Mr. Crabb was a competent
teacher, and it would be well-nigh impossible to obtain another so
cheap. Twenty dollars a month for a teacher qualified to instruct in
Latin and Greek was certainly a beggarly sum, but Mr. Crabb's dire
necessity had compelled him to accept it. Where could he look for
another teacher as cheap? Socrates Smith appreciated the difficulty,
and decided to take Mr. Crabb back, on condition that he would make an
apology to Jim.

To do Mr. Crabb justice, it may be said that he would not have done this
even if he saw no chance of another situation. But this Mr. Smith did
not know. He did observe, however, that the usher entered his presence
calm, erect and appearing by no means depressed, as he had expected.

"You sent for me, sir?" said the usher interrogatively.

"Yes, Mr. Crabb. You will remember that I had occasion to rebuke you,
when we last conferred together, for overstepping the limits of your
authority?"

"I remember, Mr. Smith, that you showed anger, and found fault with me."

"Exactly so."

"Why doesn't he ask to be taken back?" thought Socrates.

"I have thought the matter over since," continued the principal, "and
have concluded we might be able to arrange matters."

The usher was surprised. He had not expected that Mr. Smith would make
overtures of reconciliation. He decided not to mention at present his
brighter prospects in New York, but to wait and see what further his
employer had to say.

Mr. Crabb bowed, but did not make any reply.

"I take it for granted, Mr. Crabb, that your means are limited,"
proceeded Socrates.

"You are right there, sir. If I had not been poor I should not have
accepted the position of teacher in Smith Institute for the pitiful
salary of twenty dollars a month."

"Twenty dollars a month and your board, Mr. Crabb," said Socrates, with
dignity, "I consider a very fair remuneration."

"I do not, Mr. Smith," said the usher, in a decided tone.

"I apprehend you will find it considerably better than to be out of
employment," said Socrates, rather angry.

"You are right there, sir."

"I am glad you show signs of returning reason. Well, Mr. Crabb, I have
thought the matter over, and I have a proposal to make to you."

"Very well, sir!"

"I do not wish to distress you by taking away your means of livelihood."

"You are very considerate, sir."

There was something in Mr. Crabb's tone that Socrates did not
understand. It really seemed that he did not care whether he was taken
back or not. But, of course, this could not be. It was absolutely
necessary for him, poor as he was, that he should be reinstated. So Mr.
Smith proceeded.

"To cut the matter short, I am willing to take you back on two
conditions."

"May I ask you to name them?"

"The first is, that you shall apologize to my nephew for your
unjustifiable attack upon him day before yesterday."

"What is the other, Mr. Smith?"

"The other is, that hereafter you will not exceed the limits of your
authority."

"And you wish my answer?" asked the usher, raising his eyes, and looking
fixedly at his employer.

"If you please, Mr. Crabb."

"Then, sir, you shall have it. Your proposal that I should apologize to
that overgrown bully for restraining him in his savage treatment of a
fellow-pupil is both ridiculous and insulting."

"You forget yourself, Mr. Crabb," said Socrates, gazing at the hitherto
humble usher in stupefaction.

"As to promising not to do it again, you will understand that I shall
make no such engagement."

"Then, Mr. Crabb," said Socrates, angrily, "I shall adhere to what I
said the other day. At the end of this week you must leave me."

"Of course, sir, that is understood!"

"You haven't another engagement, I take it," said Mr. Smith, very much
puzzled by the usher's extraordinary independence.

"Yes, sir, I have."

"Indeed!" said Socrates, amazed. "Where do you go?" Then was Mr. Crabb's
time for triumph.

"I have received this morning an offer from the city of New York," he
said.

"From New York! Is it in a school?"

"No, sir; I am to be private tutor in a family."

"Indeed! Do you receive as good pay as here?"

"As good!" echoed the usher. "I am offered sixty dollars a month and
board, with the possibility of a larger sum, in the event of extra
service being demanded."

Socrates Smith had never been more surprised.

This Mr. Crabb, whom he had considered to be under his thumb, as being
wholly dependent upon him, was to receive a salary which he considered
princely.

"How did you get this office?" he asked.

"Through my friend, Hector Roscoe," answered the usher.

"Probably he is deceiving you. It is ridiculous to offer you such a
sum."

"I am quite aware that you would never think of offering it, but, Mr.
Smith, there are other employers more generous."

Mr. Crabb left the office with the satisfied feeling that he had the
best of the encounter.. He would have felt gratified could he have known
the increased respect with which he was regarded by the principal as a
teacher who could command so lucrative an engagement in the great city
of New York.

Before closing this chapter I must take notice of one circumstance which
troubled Mr. Smith, and in the end worked him additional loss.

I have already said that Jim Smith, in appropriating his uncle's wallet,
abstracted therefrom a five-dollar bill before concealing it in Hector's
pocket.

This loss Mr. Smith speedily discovered, and he questioned Jim about it.

"I suppose Roscoe took it," said Jim, glibly.

"But he says he did not take the wallet," said Socrates, who was assured
in his own mind that his nephew was the one who found it on the bureau.
Without stigmatizing him as a thief, he concluded that Jim meant to get
Hector into trouble.

"Wasn't it found in his pants' pocket?" queried Jim.

"Yes, but why should he take five dollars out of the wallet?"

"I don't know."

"It doesn't look likely that he would!" said Socrates, eying Jim keenly.

"Then it may have been Ben Platt or Wilkins," said Jim, with a bright
idea.

"So it might," said the principal, with a feeling of relief.

"They said they were in the room--at any rate, Platt said so--at the
time it was concealed, only he made a mistake and took Roscoe for me."

"There is something in that, James. It may be as you suggest."

"They are both sneaks," said Jim, who designated all his enemies by that
name. "They'd just as lieve do it as not. I never liked them."

"I must look into this matter. It's clear that some one has got this
money, and whoever has it has got possession of it dishonestly."

"To be sure," answered Jim, with unblushing assurance. "If I were you I
would find out who did it, that is, if you don't think Roscoe did it."

"No, I don't think Roscoe did it, now. You may tell Platt and Wilkins
that I wish to see them."

Jim could not have been assigned a more pleasing duty. He hated the two
boys quite as much as he did Hector, and he was glad to feel that they
were likely to get into hot water.

He looked about for some time before he found the two boys. At length he
espied them returning from a walk.

"Here, you two!" he called out, in a voice ef authority. "You're
wanted!"

"Who wants us?" asked Ben Platt.

"My uncle wants you," answered Jim, with malicious satisfaction. "You'd
better go and see him right off, too. You won't find it a trifling
matter, either."

"Probably Jim has been hatchng some mischief," said Wilkins. "He owes us
a grudge. We'll go and see what it is."



CHAPTER XXIV. THE YOUNG DETECTIVES.



When Mr. Smith had made the two boys' understand that he suspected them
of purloining the missing five-dollar bill, they were naturally very
indignant.

"Mr. Smith," said Ben Platt, in a spirited tone, "no one ever suspected
me of dishonesty before."

"Nor me," said Wilkins.

"That's neither here nor there," said the principal, dogmatically. "It
stands to reason that some one took the money. Money doesn't generally
walk off itself," he added, with a sneer.

"I don't dispute that," said Ben; "but that does not prove that Wilkins
or I had anything to do with it."

"You were in the room with the money for half an hour, according to your
own confession," said Socrates.

"Yes, I was."

"And part of that time Wilkins was also present."

"Yes, sir," assented Wilkins.

"I am no lawyer," said the principal, triumphantly, "but that seems to
me a pretty good case of circumstantial evidence."

"You seem to forget, sir, that there is another person who had an
excellent chance to take the money," said Ben Platt.

"You mean Hector Roscoe? That is true. It lies between you three."

"No, Mr. Smith, I do not mean Hector Roscoe. I have as much confidence
in Roscoe as myself."

"So have I," sneered Socrates.

"And I know he would not take any money that did not belong to him. I
mean a very different person--your nephew, James Smith."

Socrates Smith frowned with anger. "There seems to be a conspiracy
against my unfortunate nephew," he said. "I don't believe a word of your
mean insinuations, and I am not deceived by your attempt to throw your
own criminality upon him. It will not injure him in my eyes. Moreover, I
shall be able to trace back the theft to the wrongdoer. The missing bill
was marked with a cross upon the back, and should either of you attempt
to pass it, your guilt will be made manifest. I advise you to restore it
to me while there is yet time."

"The bill was marked?" asked Wilkins, eagerly.

"Yes."

"Then, sir, you may have a chance to find out who took it."

"The discovery might not please you," said Socrates, with a sneer.

"It would give me the greatest pleasure, Mr. Smith. If I can in any way
help you discover the missing note, I will do so."

"You can go," said Socrates, abruptly.

When the two boys had left the presence of the principal, Ben Platt,
said, "What are you going to do about it, Wilkins?"

"First of all," answered Wilkins, promptly, "I am going to find out if
Jim took that money."

"How can you find out?"

"Did you notice that he had come out with a new ring?"

"No, I didn't observe it."

"He has bought it since that money was lost!" said Wilkins,
significantly.

"Do you think he purchased it with the missing bill?"

"I wouldn't wonder at all. At any rate, I am going to find out. He must
have bought it from Washburn, the jeweler. Will you go with me, and
ask?"

"Yes," answered Ben, eagerly. "Let us go alone. If we can only prove the
theft upon Jim, so that old Sock can't help believing that he stole the
money, we shall be cleared; though, as to that, there isn't a scholar in
school who would believe the charge against us."

"Still, we may as well do what we can to bring the guilt home to Jim
Smith."

Ten minutes later the two boys entered the shop of Mr. Washburn.

"Will you show me some rings, Mr. Washburn?" asked Wilkins.

"Certainly," answered the jeweler, politely.

"What is the price of that?" asked Wilkins, pointing to one exactly like
the one he had seen on Jim's finger.

"Three dollars and a half. It is a very pretty pattern."

"Yes, sir. There's one of our boys who has one just like it."

"You mean James Smith, the principal's nephew."

"Yes, sir."

"He bought it of me yesterday."

The two boys exchanged a quick glance.

They felt that they were on the brink of a discovery.

"Did he give you a five-dollar bill in payment?" asked Ben Platt.

"Yes," answered the jeweler, in surprise.

"Could you identify that bill?"

"What are you driving at, boys?" asked Mr. Washburn, keenly.

"I will explain to you if you will answer my questions first."

"Yes, I could identify the bill."

"Have you it in your possession still?"

"I have."

"How will you know it?"

"It seems to me, my boy, you are in training for a lawyer."

"I have a very urgent reason for asking you this question, Mr.
Washburn."

"Then I will answer you. When the note was given me, I noticed that it
was on the Park Bank of New York."

"Will you be kind enough to see if you can find it?"'

"Certainly."

The jeweler opened his money drawer, and after a brief search, produced
the bill in question.

It was a five-dollar bill on the Park Bank of New York, as he had
already told the boys.

"Now, Mr. Washburn," asked Wilkins, trying to repress his excitement,
"will you examine the back of the bill, and see if there is any mark on
it."

The jeweler did as requested, and announced, after slight examination,
that there was a cross on the back of the bill in the upper right hand
corner.

"Hurrah!" shouted Ben, impulsively.

To the wondering jeweler he explained his precise object in the inquiry
he had made, and the boys were complimented by Mr. Washburn for their
shrewdness.

"If I ever meet with a loss, I shall certainly call on you for
assistance, boys," he said.

"Thank you, Mr. Washburn," answered Wilkins, "but I do not expect to be
here to be called upon."

"You are not going to leave the institute, are you?"

"I shall write to my father in what manner I have been treated, and let
him understand how the principal manages the school, and I feel sure he
will withdraw me."

"Ditto for me!" said Ben Platt. "Old Sock's partiality for his nephew
has been carried too far, and now that the only decent teacher is
going--Mr. Crabb--I don't mean, to stay here if I can help it."

The boys, upon their return to the school, sought out the principal.

"Well, boys," he said, "have you come to confess?"

"No, sir," answered Ben, "but we have come to give you some information
about your money."

"I was sure you knew something about it," said Socrates, with a sneer.
"I am glad you have decided to make a clean breast of it."

"You are mistaken, sir."

"Well, out with your information!" said the principal, roughly.

"A five-dollar bill, marked as you have described, was paid to Mr.
Washburn, the jeweler, only yesterday."

"Ha! Well?"

"The one who offered it purchased a gold ring."

"I don't care what he bought. Who was it that offered the money?"

"Your nephew, James Smith!"

"I don't believe it," said the teacher, very much disconcerted.

"Then, sir, I advise you to question Mr. Washburn."

"How can he identify the bill? Is it the only five-dollar bill he has?"

"The only five-dollar bill on the Park Bank of New York, and he says he
noticed that this was the bank that issued the bill handed him by your
nephew."

"What of that?"

"The note, which he still has in his possession, is marked just exactly
as you have described."

"It may have been marked since it came into Mr. Washburn's hands," said
Socrates, but he was evidently very much disturbed by the intelligence.
He might not confess it, but he could not help believing that Jim was
the thief, after all.

"You can go," he said, harshly. "I will look into this improbable
story."



CHAPTER XXV. SMITH INSTITUTE GROWS UNPOPULAR.



Hector lost no time in drawing up a statement of the facts connected
with the loss of the wallet, which he got Wilkins and Ben Platt to sign.
This he put into an envelope directed to Allan Roscoe, accompanied by a
brief note, which I subjoin:

"MR. ROSCOE: I send you a statement, signed by two of my schoolmates,
showing that the charge which Mr. Smith was in such a hurry to bring
against me, in order to screen his nephew, who is the real thief, is
wholly unfounded. I am not particularly surprised that you were ready
to believe it, nor do I care enough for your good opinion to worry. I
consider that it is due to myself, however, to prove to you that I have
done nothing of which I need be ashamed. Finding the scholars here in
terror of a bully, who imposed upon his schoolfellows with impunity
because, being the principal's nephew, he was protected in so doing, I
taught him a lesson which may not do him good, but has certainly been of
benefit to his fellow-pupils. In so doing, I have incurred his enmity,
and that of his uncle, who, for more than one reason, is utterly unfit
to conduct a school of this kind.

"You threaten to remove me from school at the end of this term. I do not
wish to remain, and shall remove myself at the end of this week. I shall
not look to you for support, nor do I expect again to depend upon the
estate to which I once thought myself the heir, unless I should be
able to prove that I am the son of your brother, as I fully believe,
notwithstanding the letter you exhibit."

"HECTOR ROSCOE."

When Mr. Allan Roscoe received this letter he was very much disturbed.
As he had no affection for Hector, and did not care what became of him,
this may, perhaps, excite surprise. Could it be the last sentence which
excited his alarm?

"Is that letter from Hector?" asked Guy, who had noticed the postmark as
it lay upon his father's table.

"Yes," answered Allan Roscoe.

"Does he try to explain his theft?" asked Guy.

"He says he had nothing to do with it."

"Oh, of course!" sneered Guy. "You don't believe it, do you?"

"He sends a statement of two of the pupils to the effect that the wallet
was taken by another pupil, a nephew of the principal."

"That's too thin!"

"I don't know. It may be true. I don't like the boy, but I hardly think
it probable he would steal."

"You think better of him than I do. I suppose he wants to get into your
good graces again?"

"No; he says he shall leave school at the end of this week, and will not
again look to me for support."

"That's jolly!" exclaimed Guy, much pleased. "You're well rid of him,
papa. Let him go away and make a living as he can. He'll have to
turn newsboy, or something of that sort--perhaps he'll have to be a
bootblack. Wouldn't that be a good come down for a boy like Hector?"

Guy spoke with great glee, but his father did not seem to enjoy his
release as well as Guy. He showed that he understood the boy better when
he said:

"Hector will not have to resort to any such employment. He has a good
education, and he can get some decent position, probably. On the whole,
I am sorry he is going to leave my protection, for friends of the family
may, perhaps, blame me."

"But it isn't your fault, papa. He is taking his own course."

"To be sure. You are right there!"

Mr. Roscoe thought so much on the subject, however, that the next day he
went to Smith Institute to see Hector, without telling Guy where he was
going.

Arrived there, he asked to see Mr. Smith.

The latter did not appear to be in a happy frame of mind.

"How do you do, Mr. Roscoe?" he said.

"Very well," answered Mr. Roscoe, briefly. "Mr. Smith, I wish to see my
ward."

"I am sorry you cannot see him, Mr. Roscoe."

"Cannot see him! Why not?"

"Because he has left the institute."

Allan Roscoe frowned.

"Why has he left?" he asked.

"He has left against my will. I think he has been influenced by an usher
in my employ who has behaved very ungratefully. I took him, sir, when he
was in danger of starving, and now he leaves me at a day's notice, after
doing all he can to break up my school."

"I feel no particular interest in your usher," said Allan Roscoe,
coldly. "I wish to obtain information about the boy I placed under your
charge. Do you know where he has gone?"

"No; he did not tell me," answered the principal.

"You wrote me that he had been detected in stealing a wallet!"

"Yes," answered Socrates, embarrassed. "Appearances were very much
against him."

"Do you still think he took it?"

"I may have been mistaken," answered Mr. Smith, nervously, for he began
to see that the course he had been pursuing was a very unwise one.

"Hector has written me, inclosing a statement signed by two of his
schoolfellows, implicating your own nephew, and he charges that you made
the charge against him out of partiality for the same."

"There is considerable prejudice against my nephew," said Socrates.

"And for very good reasons, I should judge," said Allan Roscoe,
severely. "Hector describes him as an outrageous bully and tyrant. I am
surprised, Mr. Smith, that you should have taken his part."

Now, Socrates had already had a stormy interview with his nephew. Though
partial to Jim, and not caring whether or not he bullied the other
boys, as soon as he came to see that Jim's presence was endangering
the school, he reprimanded him severely. He cared more for himself--for
number one--than for anyone else in the universe. He had been
exceedingly disturbed by receiving letters from the fathers of Wilkins
and Ben Platt, and two other fathers, giving notice that they should
remove their sons at the end of the term, and demanding, in the
meantime, that his nephew should be sent away forthwith.

And now Allan Roscoe, whom he had hoped would side with him, had also
turned against him. Then he had lost the services of a competent usher,
whom he got cheaper than he could secure any suitable successor, and,
altogether, things seemed all going against him.

Moreover, Jim, who had been the occasion of all the trouble, had
answered him impudently, and Socrates felt that he had been badly used.
As to his own agency in the matter, he did not give much thought to
that.

"My nephew is going to leave the school, Mr. Roscoe," said Socrates,
half-apologetically.

"I should think it was full time, Mr. Smith."

"Perhaps so," said Smith; "but if I have stood by him, it has been
in ignorance. I cannot think him as wrong as your ward has probably
represented. Hector was jealous of him."

"Of his scholarship, I presume?"

"Well, no," answered the principal, reluctantly, "but of his physical
superiority, and--and influence in the school. I may say, in fact,
Mr. Roscoe, that till your ward entered the school it was a happy and
harmonious family. His coming stirred up strife and discontent, and
I consider him primarily responsible for all the trouble that has
occurred."

"I don't defend Hector Roscoe," said Allan, "but he writes me that your
nephew was a bully, who imposed upon his schoolfellows, and that he, by
taking their part and stopping this tyranny, incurred his ill-will and
yours."

"I supposed I should be misrepresented," said Socrates, meekly. "I am
devoted to my school and my pupils, Mr. Roscoe. I am wearing out my life
in their service. I may make mistakes sometimes, but my heart--my heart,
Mr. Roscoe," continued Socrates, tapping his waistcoat, "is right, and
acquits me of any intentional injustice."

"I am glad to hear it, Mr. Smith," said Allan Roscoe, stiffly. "As
Hector has left you, I have only to settle your bill, and bid you
good-day."

"Will you not exert your influence to persuade the boy to return?"
pleaded Socrates.

"As I don't know where he is, I don't see how I can," said Allan Roscoe,
dryly.

"That man is an arch hypocrite!" he said to himself, as he was returning
home.

I may state here that at the end of the term half the pupils left Smith
Institute, and Socrates Smith lamented too late the folly that had made
him and his school unpopular.



CHAPTER XXVI. HECTOR'S ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK.



Mr. Crabb and Hector were sitting side by side in a railroad car,
speeding away from Smith Institute. In the heart of each was a feeling
of relief, which increased as each minute carried them farther away from
the school.

"Hector," said the usher, looking younger and happier than his pupil had
ever known him, "I feel like a free man now. It is a feeling that I have
not had since I first set foot in Smith Institute."

"I think you will lead a happier life in New York, Mr. Crabb."

"I am sure of it. Thanks to your considerate kindness, I shall for the
first time earn an ample salary, and even be able to lay up money. Is my
future pupil about your age?"

"He is a year younger."

"Where did you make his acquaintance?"

"At Saratoga, My father and I spent two months at Congress Hall two
summers ago, and as Walter's family were also there, we naturally got to
be friends. He is a capital fellow, and you will be sure to like him."

"I am ready to like him after reading that letter he wrote you. Is he
fond of study?"

"That is his weak point," said Hector, laughing. "Walter was never
cut out for a scholar. I don't mean, of course, that he hasn't fair
capacity, but his taste doesn't lie that way. However, he won't give you
any trouble, only you won't succeed as well as you may wish in pushing
him on."

"All boys are not cut out for scholars," said the usher. "Now you,
Hector, would do excellently, and might hope to make a very successful
professional man."

Hector shook his head.

"I must look to a different career," he said. "I am to be the architect
of my own fortune, you know."

"What are your plans, Hector?" asked the usher.

"I will consult with Mr. Boss, Walter's father. By the way, he knows
nothing of the change in my circumstances. He supposes me to be the heir
to the Roscoe estate."

"Trouble has come upon you early, Hector. Should you need help
hereafter, you must remember that I am earning a good salary and--"

"Thank you, Mr. Crabb," gratefully, "but you will need all you earn. I
don't look upon my loss of fortune as a trouble. I think it will make me
more manly and self-reliant, and stimulate me to exertion. I have a fair
education, and I am sure I can earn my living in some honest way."

"If that is your spirit, Hector, I am sure you will succeed. You are
young and hopeful. I am too much inclined to despond. I have always been
timid about the future. It is a matter of temperament."

It was early in the afternoon when they reached New York. As they
emerged from the depot a bright-faced boy came up eagerly and greeted
them.

"How are you, Hector?" he said. "You see, I came to meet you. I have
been longing to have you come."

"I am just as glad to see you, Walter," said Hector, heartily. "Mr.
Crabb, here is your future pupil, Walter Boss."

"I hope we may soon be friends, Walter," said the usher, attracted by
the bright, sunny face of the boy.

Walter gave the usher his hand.

"I hope so, too," he said, smiling. "I'll try not to worry you any more
than I can help."

"I have no misgivings," said Mr. Crabb, as he mentally contrasted his
new pupil with Jim Smith, and two or three others at the institute, who
had been a frequent source of trouble and annoyance.

"Here is the carriage," said Walter, pointing out a plain but handsome
carriage waiting outside. "Bundle in, both of you! I beg your pardon,
Mr. Crabb, for my familiarity. That was intended for Hector."

"I am ready to be classed with Hector," said Mr. Crabb.

"I am glad to hear you say so. I was afraid you would be stiff and
dignified."

"I think I shall take my cue from you."

"Oh, my rule is, go as you please. Edward, drive home!"

The house occupied by Mr. Boss was a fine brown-stone dwelling on
Forty-second Street. Arrived there, Mr. Crabb was shown into a spacious
chamber, on the third floor, furnished with a luxury to which the poor
usher was quite unaccustomed.

"Now, Hector, you can have a room to yourself, or you may share my den,"
said Walter.

"I would rather share the den," said Hector.

"That's what I hoped. You see, we shall have ever so much to say to each
other. We haven't seen each other for over a year."

A slight shade of gravity overspread Hector's face. Since he had met his
friend, his father had died, and he had been reduced from the heir of
wealth to a penniless orphan. Of this last change Walter knew nothing,
but Hector did not mean long to leave him in ignorance.

At dinner the two newcomers saw Mr. Ross, from whom they received a
friendly welcome. The usher was put at his ease at once.

"I hope you'll get along with my boy," said the bluff city merchant. "Of
one thing you may be assured, your scholarship won't be severely taxed
in educating him. Walter is a pretty good boy, but he isn't a prodigy of
learning."

"I may be some day, father," said Walter, "with Mr. Crabb's help."

"I take it Mr. Crabb isn't able to perform miracles," said Mr. Ross,
good-humoredly. "No, Mr. Crabb, I shan't expect too much of you. Get
your pupil on moderately fast, and I shall be satisfied. I am glad,
Hector, that you were able to pay Walter a visit at this time."

"So am I, sir."

"I thought you might not be able to leave your studies."

"I have given up study, sir."

"I am surprised at that, Hector. I thought you contemplated going to
college."

"So I did, sir, but circumstances have changed my plans."

"Indeed!"

"Yes, sir; I will explain after dinner, and will ask your advice."

Mr. Ross dropped the subject, and after dinner led the way to the
library, where he sank into an armchair, and, breathing a sigh of
satisfaction, said: "This, Mr. Crabb, is the most enjoyable part of the
twenty-four hours for me. I dismiss business cares and perplexities, and
read my evening paper, or some new book, in comfort."

As the usher looked about him and saw costly books, engravings,
furniture and pictures, he could well understand that in such
surroundings the merchant could take solid comfort. It was a most
agreeable contrast to the plain and poverty-stricken room at Smith
Institute, where the boys pursued their evening studies under his
superintendence.

"Well, Hector, so you don't propose to go back to school," said the
merchant. "Isn't that rather a sudden resolution?"

"Yes, sir; but, as I said, circumstances have changed."

"What circumstances? Because you are rich, you don't think you ought to
be idle, I hope?"

"Oh, no, sir. It is because I have discovered that I am not rich."

"Not rich! I always understood that your father left a large estate,"
said Mr. Ross, in surprise.

"So he did, sir."

"Didn't it descend to you?"

"I thought so till recently."

"Why don't you think so now?"

In answer, Hector told the story of the revelation made to him by Allan
Roscoe, after his father's death.

"You see, therefore," he concluded, "that I am penniless, and a
dependent upon Mr. Allan Roscoe's generosity."

"This is a most extraordinary story!" said the merchant, after a pause.

"Yes, sir; it changes my whole future."

"I suppose Mr. Allan Roscoe is the beneficiary, and the estate goes to
him?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did your father--the late Mr. Roscoe--ever hint to you anything which
could lead you to suspect that you were not his own, but an adopted
son?"

"Never, Mr. Ross," answered Hector, with emphasis.

"Did he continue to treat you with affection."

"Always. Nothing in his manner ever would have led me to imagine that I
was not his own son."

"He left no will?"

"No, sir."

"What are your plans?"

"I do not wish to remain dependent upon Allan Roscoe. I should like to
obtain a situation of some kind in the city, if I can."

"I can probably serve you, then, after a while. For the present, stay
here as Walter's companion."

"Thank you, sir; I should like nothing better."



CHAPTER XXVII. LARRY DEANE.



Not altogether in accordance with his inclinations, Walter was set to
work at his studies immediately under the direction of Mr. Crabb. He
asked his father for a week's vacation to go about the city with Hector,
but his father answered in the negative.

"You are too far behind in your studies, Walter," he said. "You are two
years, at least, behind Hector, and cannot spare the time as well as
he."

"Hector will have to go round alone," objected Walter.

"It will do him no harm to get acquainted with the different parts
of the city, as that will be a kind of knowledge he may require if he
should obtain a situation."

"I shan't see much of him."

"Oh, yes, you will; Mr. Crabb will not make you study all day. Mr.
Crabb, you may work with Walter from nine to one. This, with perhaps an
hour or more devoted to study in the afternoon or evening, will enable
him to make fair progress."

This arrangement struck Walter favorably, as he could, whenever he
desired it, spend the whole afternoon with Hector.

Hector found it very pleasant to act upon the suggestion made by Mr.
Ross. He had visited the city of New York at different times, but had
never enjoyed the opportunity of exploring it by himself. His first
visit was made to Central Park, where he mingled with the crowds
wandering about in search of pleasure.

He made his way to the lake, and took passage in one of the skiffs
which, in charge of a skilled oarsman, makes a tour of the pretty and
picturesque sheet of water.

The second morning he turned his steps southward, and walked down
Broadway. It was a leisurely walk, for he had no scruple in stopping
wherever he saw anything in the streets or in the shop windows that
seemed to him worthy of attention. About the corner of Canal Street
he was very much surprised at a boy who was on his knees, blacking the
boots of an elderly gentleman--a boy whom he recognized at once as the
son of a man who had for years been in his father's employ as gardener
at Castle Roscoe.

"What brings him here?" thought Hector, much surprised.

"Larry Deane!" he said, as the boy finished his job, and rose from his
feet to receive his pay.

"Hector Roscoe!" exclaimed Larry, not much less surprised.

"What brings you here, and what has reduced you to such work?" inquired
Hector.

Larry Deane was a boy of about Hector's age. He was a healthy-looking
country lad, looking like many another farmer's son, fresh from
the country. He had not yet acquired that sharp, keen look which
characterizes, in most cases, the New York boy who has spent all his
life in the streets.

"I can answer both your questions with the same word, Master Hector,"
said Larry, as a sober look swept over his broad, honest face.

"Don't call me master, Larry. We are equals here. But what is that
word?"

"That word is trouble,'" answered the bootblack.

"Come with me into this side street," said Hector, leading the way into
Howard Street. "You have a story to tell, and I want to hear it."

"Yes, I have a story to tell."

"I hope your father and mother are well," said Hector, interrupting him.

"Yes, they are well in health, but they are in trouble, as I told you."

"What is the trouble?"

"It all comes of Mr. Allan Roscoe," answered Larry, "and his son, Guy."

"Tell me all about it."

"I was walking in the fields one day," said Larry, "when Guy came out
and began to order me round, and call me a clodhopper and other unlikely
names, which I didn't enjoy. Finally he pulled off my hat, and when I
put it back on my head, he pulled it off again. Finally I found the only
way to do was to give him as good as he sent. So I pulled off his hat
and threw it up in a tree. He became very angry, and ordered me to go up
after it. I wouldn't do it, but walked away. The next day my father
was summoned to the house, where Mr. Allan Roscoe complained of me for
insulting his son. He asked my father to thrash me, and when father
refused, he discharged him from his employment. A day or two afterward a
new gardener came to Roscoe Castle, and father understood that there was
no chance of his being taken back."

"That was very mean in Mr. Roscoe," said Hector, indignantly.

"Yes, so it was; but father couldn't do anything. He couldn't get a
new place, for it wasn't the right time of year, and Mr. Roscoe said he
wouldn't give him a recommendation. Well, we had very little money in
the house, for mother has been sick of late years, and all father's
extra earnings went to pay for medicines and the doctor's bill. So one
day I told father I would come to New York and see if I couldn't find
something to do."

"I think you did the right thing, Larry," said Hector, approvingly. "It
was your duty to help your father if you could."

"I can't help him much," answered Larry.

"What made you take up this business, Larry?"

"I couldn't get anything else to do, besides, this pays better than
working in a store or office."

"How--much can you earn at it?"

"Six or seven dollars a week."

"I should think it would require all that to support you."

"It would if I went to a boarding house, but I can't afford that."

"Where do you live?"

"At the Newsboys' Lodging House."

"How much does that cost you?"

"For eighteen cents a day I get supper, lodging and breakfast. In the
middle of the day I go to a cheap restaurant."

"Then you are able to save something?"

"Yes; last week I sent home three dollars, the week before two dollars
and a half."

"Why, that is doing famously. You are a good boy, Larry."

"Thank you, Hector; but, though it is doing very well for me, it isn't
as much as they need at home. Besides, I can't keep it up, as, after
a while, I shall need to buy some new clothes. If your father had been
alive, my father would never have lost his place. Master Hector, won't
you use your influence with your uncle to have him taken back?"

Hector felt keenly how powerless he was in the matter. He looked grave,
as he answered:

"Larry, you may be sure that I would do all in my power to have your
father restored to the position from which he never should have been
removed; but I fear I can do nothing."

"Won't you write to Mr. Roscoe?" pleaded Larry, who, of course, did not
understand why Hector was powerless.

"Yes, I will write to him, but I am sorry to say that I have very little
influence with Mr. Roscoe."

"That is strange," said Larry; "and you the owner of the estate."

Hector did not care to explain to Larry just how matters stood, so he
only said:

"I can't explain to you what seems strange to you, Larry, but I may be
able to do so some time. I will certainly write to Mr. Roscoe, as you
desire; but you must not build any hopes upon it. Meanwhile, will you
accept this from me, and send it to your father?"

As he spoke, he drew from his pocketbook a five-dollar bill and handed
it to his humble friend.

Larry would not have accepted it had he known that Hector was nearly as
poor as himself, but, supposing him to be the heir of a large and rich
estate, he felt no hesitation.

"Thank you very much, Hector," he said; "you had always a kind heart.
This money will do my father very much good. I will send it to him
to-day."

"Do you generally stand here, Larry?" asked Hector.

"Yes."

"Then I will take pains to see you again."

"Shall you stay long in the city, Master Hector?"

"Not Master Hector."

"Then Hector, if you don't mind."

"I shall be here for the present--I don't know how long."

"Then let me black your boots for nothing every time you come by--I want
to do something for you."

"Thank you, Larry; but I don't like to have a friend perform such a
service. Remember me to your father when you write."

"I wish I could do something for Larry," said Hector, to himself, as he
walked away. "As it is, I stand in need of help myself."

He was to make a friend that day under rather unusual circumstances.



CHAPTER XXVIII. TWO MORE ACQUAINTANCES.



Hector continued his walk downtown. Despite the crowds of persons who
thronged the sidewalks, he did not anticipate meeting anyone else that
he knew. But he was destined to another surprise. On the corner of
Murray Street he saw two persons advancing toward him, the last,
perhaps, that he expected to see. Not to keep the reader in suspense, it
was Allan Roscoe and his son, Guy.

Guy was the first to recognize Hector. Of course, he, too, was
surprised.

"Why, there's Hector!" he exclaimed, directing his father's attention to
our hero.

Allan Roscoe looked up quickly. It is hard to tell whether he felt glad
or the reverse at this meeting with the boy whom he called his ward.

An instant later Hector recognized Guy and his father.

"How do you do, Mr. Roscoe?" he said, politely.

"Very well. When did you reach New York?"

"On Saturday."

It should have been explained that Hector had spent Sunday quietly with
Mr. Ross and Walter, and that this was Monday.

"Ahem! I was very much surprised at your leaving the institute," said
Mr. Roscoe.

"I explained to you in my letter why I proposed to leave it," Hector
answered, coldly.

"I did not think your reason sufficient."

"As Mr. Smith saw fit to bring a base charge against me, and persisted
in it, even after he must have been convinced that his nephew was
guilty, I was unwilling to remain under his charge any longer."

"The circumstances were against you," said Mr. Roscoe.

"You might have known me better than that, Mr. Roscoe," said Hector,
proudly. "Yet you condemned me unheard."

"Of course, I am very glad that the charge is unfounded," said Mr.
Roscoe, awkwardly.

"Where there is smoke there is generally fire," said Guy, spitefully.

"I understand you, Guy," said Hector, half turning to look at the boy
who had usurped his place. "I hope you won't think it impolite if I say
that I care nothing whatever for your opinion."

"You put on as many airs as ever," sneered Guy. "I should think you
would be a little more humble in your changed position."

"I have not changed, even if my position has," answered Hector. "Money
is nothing to be proud of."

"I apprehend that the world judges differently," said Allan Roscoe.
"Since you have taken your destiny into your own hands, you will excuse
me for asking how you intend to earn your living?"

"I hope to get a mercantile position," answered Hector.

"Take my advice," said Guy, with a derisive smile, "and buy yourself a
blacking box and brush. I am told bootblacks make a good deal of money."

"Hush, Guy!" said his father. "Do not insult Hector."

But Hector concerned himself but little with any slight received from
Guy Roscoe. His words, however, recalled his thoughts to the boy he had
so recently met, Larry Deane, and he resolved to see if he could not
help him by an appeal to Allan Roscoe.

"Mr. Roscoe," said he, quickly, "I nearly forgot something I want very
much to say to you."

"What is it?" asked his guardian, suspiciously. It occurred to him that
Hector wished to borrow some money, and he was considering how little he
could decently give him.

"I hear you have discharged Reuben Deane from his position?"

"How did you hear it?"

"From his son, Larry."

"Where did you see Larry?" asked Allan, in some curiosity.

"He has been driven to take up that employment which Guy so kindly
recommended to me."

"Larry Deane a bootblack! That's a good one!" exclaimed Guy, with
evident relish.

"I don't think so," said Hector. "The poor boy is picking a poor
living, and sending home what he can to his father, who cannot get new
employment. Mr. Roscoe, why did you discharge him?"

"I can answer that question, though it's none of your business all
the same," volunteered Guy. "The boy Larry was impudent to me, and his
father took his part."

"Mr. Roscoe," said Hector, "Reuben Deane was in my father's employ
before I was born. Larry and I used to play together when we were little
boys, and since when we were older."

"A bootblack is a nice playmate," said Guy, with his usual sneer.

"He was not a bootblack then," retorted Hector, "nor would he be now but
for your mean spite. Mr. Roscoe, as I happen to know, my father always
valued the services of Reuben Deane, and I ask, in his name, that you
give him back his place."

"My brother may have been deceived in him," said Allan Roscoe, coldly,
emphasizing the first two words, in order to remind Hector that he was
no longer to consider him as his father; "but I cannot promise to adopt
all his views and protege's. I have displaced Deane and substituted for
him a gardener with whom I am better pleased."

"Have you no sympathy for the poverty and distress of a man who has
served our family faithfully for so many years?" asked Hector, half
indignantly.

"My father is competent to manage his own affairs," said Guy,
offensively.

"You don't appear to think so, or you would not answer for him,"
retorted Hector.

"Boys, I must request you to desist from this bickering," said Allan
Roscoe. "I am sorry, Hector, that I cannot comply with your request. By
the way, you did not tell me where you were staying."

"With a gentleman on Forty-second Street."

"What is his name?"

"Andrew Ross."

"Not the eminent merchant of that name?" asked Allan Roscoe, in
surprise.

"Yes, I believe so."

"He is worth a million."

"I supposed he was rich. He lives in an elegant house."

"Where did you get acquainted with him, Hector?"

"At Saratoga, a year and a half ago."

"Did you beg him to take you in?" asked Guy, unpleasantly.

Hector quietly ignored the question.

"Walter Boss and I have been very intimate, and I was invited to pay him
a visit."

"Does he know that you are a poor boy?" asked Guy.

"I have communicated to Mr. Ross what your father told me," answered
Hector, coldly. "He is a real friend, and it made no difference in his
treatment of me. I hope to get a situation through his influence."

"You are lucky to have such a man for a friend," said Allan Roscoe, who
would himself have liked to become acquainted with a man whose social
position was so high. "I hope you will not misrepresent me to him.
Should any opportunity occur, I will try to procure you employment."

"Thank you, sir," said Hector, but his tone lacked heartiness. He saw
that his being a visitor to Mr. Ross and his son had made a difference
in his favor. Guy, too, began to think he might be a little more
gracious. He, like his father, liked to associate with boys of high
social position, and he would have liked to be introduced to Walter
Ross.

"What is your number?" he asked of Hector, "I don't know but I'll call
and see you some time. Is Walter Ross generally at home?"

"Don't put yourself to any inconvenience to call," said Hector,
significantly. "Walter and I are generally away in the afternoon."

"Oh, I don't care to call upon you," said Guy, annoyed. "I can have all
the company I want."

"I won't detain you any longer, Mr. Roscoe," said Hector, realizing that
the conversation had occupied considerable time. "Good-morning."

"That boy is as proud as ever," said Guy, after Hector had left them.
"He doesn't seem to realize that he has lost his money."

"He has not had time to realize it yet. It won't be long before he will
understand the difference it makes."

"I am glad he isn't my cousin," continued Guy. "I dislike him more than
any boy I know."

Allan Roscoe looked thoughtful.

"I fear that boy will give me trouble yet," he said to himself. "He
evidently suspects that something is wrong."



CHAPTER XXIX. JIM SMITH EFFECTS A LOAN.



After parting with Allan Roscoe and Guy, Hector kept on his way
downtown. He did not expect to meet any more acquaintances, but he
was again to be surprised. Standing on the sidewalk having his boots
blacked, he recognized the schoolfellow he had least reason to like--Jim
Smith.

"What brings Jim here?" he asked himself, in some surprise.

He did not feel inclined to go up and claim acquaintance, but it chanced
that he became witness of a piece of meanness characteristic of Jim.

When the young bootblack had finished polishing his shoes, he waited for
his customary fee.

Jim fumbled in his pockets, and finally produced two cents.

"There, boy," he said, placing them in the hand of the disgusted knight
of the brush.

"What's that for?" he asked.

"It's your pay."

"Look here, mister, you've made a mistake; here's only two cents."

"I know it."

"Do you think I work for any such price as that?"

"Perhaps you expect a dollar!" sneered Jim.

"No, I don't; but a nickel's my lowest price. Plenty of gentlemen give
me a dime."

"That's too much; I've paid you all I'm going to."

"Wait a minute. That boot don't look as well as the other."

Jim unsuspiciously allowed the boy to complete his work, but he had
occasion to regret it. The bootblack hastily rubbed his brush in the mud
on the sidewalk and daubed it on one of Jim's boots, quite effacing the
shine.

"There, that'll do," he said, and, scrambling to his feet, ran round the
corner.

Then, for the first time, Jim looked down, and saw what the boy had
done. He uttered an exclamation of disgust and looked round hastily to
see where the offender had betaken himself. His glance fell upon Hector,
who was quietly looking on, and not without a sense of enjoyment.

It often happens that we greet cordially those for whom we have even a
feeling of aversion when we meet them unexpectedly away from our usual
haunts. Jim, who was beginning to regret that circumstances had forced
him to leave the serene sanctuary of Smith Institute, since now he would
be under the necessity of making his own living, was glad to see our
hero.

"Is it you, Roscoe?" he said, eagerly.

"Yes," answered Hector, coolly.

"What are you doing?"

"Walking about the city, just at present."

"Suppose we go together."

Hector hardly knew how to refuse, and the two boys kept down Broadway in
company.

"You're surprised to see me, ain't you?" asked Jim.

"Rather so."

"You see, I got tired of the school. I've been there three years, so I
told my uncle I would come to New York and see if I couldn't get work."

"I hope you may succeed," said Hector, for he would not allow his
dislikes to carry him too far. He felt that there was room in the world
for Jim and himself, too.

"Are you going to work?" asked Jim.

"I hope so."

"Got anything in view?"

"Not exactly.'"

"It would be a good thing if we could get into the same place."

"Do you say that because we have always agreed so well?" asked Hector,
amused.

"We may be better friends in future," said Jim, with a grin.

Hector was judiciously silent.

"Where are you staying?"

"Up on Forty-second Street."

"That's a good way uptown, isn't it?"

"Yes, pretty far up."

"Are you boarding?"

"No; I am visiting some friends."

"Couldn't you get me in there as one of your school friends?"

This question indicated such an amount of assurance on the part of his
old enemy that at first Hector did not know how to reply in fitting
terms.

"I couldn't take such a liberty with my friends," he said. "Besides, it
doesn't strike me that we were on very intimate terms."

But Jim was not sensitive to a rebuff.

"The fact is," he continued, "I haven't got much money, and it would
be very convenient to visit somebody. Perhaps you could lend me five
dollars?"

"I don't think I could. I think I shall have to say good-morning."

"I can't make anything out of him," said Jim to himself,
philosophically. "I wonder if he's got any money. Uncle Socrates told me
his uncle had cast him off."

Going up Broadway instead of down, it was not long before Jim met Allan
Roscoe and Guy, whom he immediately recognized. Not being troubled with
immodesty, he at once walked up to Mr. Roscoe and held out his hand.

"Good-morning, Mr. Roscoe!" he said, in an ingratiating voice.

"Good-morning, young man. Where have I met you?" asked Allan Roscoe,
puzzled.

"At Smith Institute. I am the nephew of Mr. Smith."

"What! Not the nephew who--"

Mr. Roscoe found it hard to finish the sentence. He didn't like to
charge Jim with stealing to his face.

"I know what you mean," said Jim, boldly. "I am the one whom your nephew
charged with taking money which he took himself. I don't want to
say anything against him, as he is your nephew, but he is an artful
young--but no matter. You are his uncle."

"He is not my nephew, but was only cared for by my brother," said Allan
Roscoe. "You may tell me freely, my good fellow, all the truth. You say
that Hector stole the money which your uncle lost."

"Yes; but he has made my uncle believe that I took it. It is hard upon
me," said Jim, pathetically, "as I was dependent upon my uncle. I have
been driven forth into the cold world by my benefactor because your
nephew prejudiced his mind against me."

"I believe him, papa," said Guy, who was only too glad to believe
anything against Hector. "I have thought all along that Hector was
guilty."

"Is that your son?" asked the crafty Jim. "I wish he had come to the
institute, instead of Hector. He is a boy that I couldn't help liking."

There are few who are altogether inaccessible to flattery. At any rate,
Guy was not one of this small number.

"I feel sure you are not guilty," said Guy, regarding Jim graciously.
"It was a very mean thing in Hector to get you into trouble."

"It was, indeed," said Jim. "I am cast out of my uncle's house, and now
I have no home, and hardly any money."

"Hector is in the city. Have you seen him?" asked Allan Roscoe.

"Yes; I met him a few minutes since."

"Did you speak to him?"

"Yes; I reproached him for getting me into trouble, but he only laughed
in my face. He told me he hated you both," added Jim, ingenuously.

"Just like Hector!" said Guy. "What have I always told you, papa?"

"I am sorry you have suffered such injustice at the hands of anyone in
any way connected with my family," said Mr. Roscoe, who, like Guy, was
not indisposed to believe anything to the discredit of Hector. "I do
not feel responsible for his unworthy acts, but I am willing to show my
sympathy by a small gift."

He produced a five-dollar note and put it into Jim's ready hand.

"Thank you, sir," he said. "You are a gentleman."

So the interview closed, and Jim left the spot, chuckling at the manner
in which he had wheedled so respectable a sum out of Allan Roscoe.

Meanwhile Hector, after looking about him, turned, and, getting into
a Broadway stage, rode uptown as far as Twenty-third Street, where
the stage turned down toward Sixth Avenue. He concluded to walk the
remainder of the way.

As he was walking up Madison Avenue, his attention was drawn to a little
girl in charge of a nursemaid. The latter met an acquaintance and forgot
her charge. The little girl, left to herself, attempted to cross the
street just as a private carriage was driven rapidly up the avenue. The
driver was looking away, and it seemed as if, through the double neglect
of the driver and the nurse, the poor child would be crushed beneath the
hoofs of the horses and the wheels of the carriage.



CHAPTER XXX. A BRAVE DEED.



Hector's heart stood still as he realized the peril of the child. He
dashed forward on the impulse of the moment, and barely succeeded in
catching up the little girl and drawing her back out of harm's way.
The driver, who had done his best to rein up his horses, but without
success, ejaculated with fervent gratitude, for he, too, had a child of
his own about the age of the little girl, "God bless you, boy."

The little girl seemed less concerned than anyone of the spectators. She
put her hand confidently in Hector's, and said: "Take me to Mary."

"And who is Mary?" asked Hector, kindly.

He did not require an answer, for the nurse, who, rather late in the
day, had awakened to the fact that her charge was in danger, came
running forward, crying: "Oh! Miss Gracie, what made you run away?"

"The little girl would have been killed but for this boy's timely help,"
said a middle-aged spectator, gravely.

"I'm sure I don't know what possessed her to run away," said Mary,
confusedly.

"She wouldn't if she had been properly looked after," said the
gentleman, sharply, for he had children of his own.

Hector was about to release the child, now that he had saved her, but
she was not disposed to let him go.

"You go with me, too!" she said.

She was a pretty child, with a sweet face, rimmed round by golden curls,
her round, red cheeks glowing with exercise.

"What is her name?" asked Hector, of the nurse.

"Grace Newman," answered the nurse, who felt the necessity of saying
something in her own defense. "She's a perfect little runaway. She
worries my life out running round after her."

"Grace Newman!" said the middle-aged gentleman already referred to.
"Why, she must be the child of my friend, Titus Newman, of Pearl
Street."

"Yes, sir," said the nurse.

"My old friend little knows what a narrow escape his daughter has had."

"I hope you won't tell him, sir," said Mary, nervously.

"Why not?"

"Because he would blame me."

"And so he ought!" said the gentleman, nodding vigorously. "It's no
merit of yours that she wasn't crushed beneath the wheels of that
carriage. If you had been attending to your duty, she wouldn't have been
in danger."

"I don't see as it's any business of yours," said Mary, pertly. "You
ain't her father, or her uncle."

"I am a father, and have common humanity," said the gentleman, "and I
consider you unfit for your place."

"Come along, Grace!" said Mary, angry at being blamed. "You've behaved
very badly, and I'm going to take you home."

"Won't you come, too?" asked the little girl, turning to Hector.

"No, there's no call for him to come," said the nurse, pulling the child
away.

"Good-by, Gracie," said Hector, kindly.

"Good-by!" responded the child.

"These nursemaids neglect their charges criminally," said the gentleman,
directing his remarks to Hector. "Mr. Newman owes his child's safety,
perhaps her life, to your prompt courage."

"She was in great danger," said Hector. "I was afraid at first I could
not save her."

"A second later and it would have been too late. What is your name, my
brave young friend?"

"Hector Roscoe, sir."

"It is a good name. Do you live in the city?"

"At present I do, sir. I was brought up in the country."

"Going to school, I take it."

"I am looking for a place, sir."

"I wish I had one to give you. I retired from business two years since,
and have no employment for anyone."

"Thank you, sir; I should have liked to serve you."

"But I'll tell you what, my young friend, I have a considerable
acquaintance among business men. If you will give me your address, I may
have something to communicate to you ere long."

"Thank you, sir."

Hector drew a card from his pocket, and added to it the number of Mr.
Ross' house.

"I am much obliged to you for your kind offer," he said.

"You don't look as if you stood in need of employment," said the
gentleman, noticing the fine material of which Hector's suit was made.

"Appearances are sometimes deceitful," said Hector, half smiling.

"You must have been brought up in affluence," said Mr. Davidson, for
this was his name.

"Yes, sir, I was. Till recently I supposed myself rich."

"You shall tell me the story some time; now I must leave you."

"Well," thought Hector, as he made his way homeward, "I have had
adventures enough for one morning."

When Hector reached the house in Forty-second Street, he found Walter
just rising from his lessons.

"Well, Hector, what have you been doing?" asked Walter.

"Wandering about the city."

"Did you see anybody you knew while doing so?"

"Oh, yes! I was particularly favored. I saw Allan Roscoe and Guy--"

"You don't say so! Were they glad to see you?"

"Not particularly. When Guy learned that I was staying here, he proposed
to call and make your acquaintance."

"I hope you didn't encourage him," said Walter, with a grimace.

"No; I told him that we were generally out in the afternoon."

"That is right."

"I suppose you have been hard at work, Walter?"

"Ask Mr. Crabb."

"Walter has done very well," said the usher. "If he will continue to
study as well, I shall have no fault to find."

"If I do, will you qualify me to be a professor in twelve months' time?"

"I hope not, for in that case I should lose my scholar, and have to bow
to his superior knowledge."

"Then you don't know everything, Mr. Crabb?"

"Far from it! I hope your father didn't engage me in any such illusion."

"Because," said Walter, "I had one teacher who pretended to know all
there was worth knowing. I remember how annoyed he was once when I
caught him in a mistake in geography."

"I shall not be annoyed at all when you find me out in a mistake, for I
don't pretend to be very learned."

"Then I think we'll get along," said Walter, favorably impressed by the
usher's modesty.

"I suppose if I didn't know anything we should get along even better,"
said Mr. Crabb, amused.

"Well, perhaps that might be carrying things too far!" Walter admitted.

In the afternoon Hector and Walter spent two hours at the gymnasium in
Twenty-eighth Street, and walked leisurely home after a healthful amount
of exercise.

For some reason, which he could not himself explain, Hector said nothing
to Walter about his rescue of the little girl on Madison Avenue, though
he heard of it at the gymnasium.

One of the boys, Henry Carroll, said to Walter: "There was a little girl
came near being run over on Madison Avenue this noon!"

"Did you see it?"

"No, but I heard of it."

"Who was the little girl?"

"Grace Newman."

"I know who she is. How did it happen?"

The boy gave a pretty correct account.

"Some boy saved her," he concluded, "by running forward and hauling her
out of the road just in time. He ran the risk of being run over himself.
Mr. Newman thinks everything of little Grace. I'd like to be in that
boy's shoes."

Neither of the boys noticed that Hector's face was flushed, as he
listened to the account of his own exploit.

The next morning, among the letters laid upon the breakfast table was
one for Hector Roscoe.

"A letter for you, Hector," said Mr. Ross, examining the envelope in
some surprise. "Are you acquainted with Titus Newman, the Pearl Street
merchant?"

"No, sir," answered Hector, in secret excitement.

"He seems to have written to you," said Mr. Ross.

Hector took the letter and tore open the envelope.



CHAPTER XXXI. AN IMPORTANT LETTER.



The letter alluded to in the last chapter ran thus. It was written from
Mr. Newman's house in Madison Avenue, though inclosed in a business
envelope:

"MASTER HECTOR ROSCOE: I learn that I am indebted to you for the rescue
of my little daughter from imminent peril during my absence from home
yesterday. A friend who witnessed her providential escape has given me
such an account of your bravery in risking your own life to save that of
an unknown child, that I cannot rest till I have had an opportunity
of thanking you in person. You will do me a favor, if not otherwise
engaged, if you will call at my house this evening, about eight o'clock.
Yours gratefully,

"Titus NEWMAN."

It is needless to say that Hector read this letter with feelings of
gratification. It is true, as we are often told, that "virtue is its own
reward," but it is, nevertheless, pleasant to feel that our efforts to
do well and serve others are appreciated.

"No bad news, I hope, Hector?" said Walter.

"No," answered Hector. "You may read the letter, if you like, Mr. Ross."

Mr. Ross did so, and aloud, much to the surprise of everyone at table.

"You did not tell me of this," said Walter, in astonishment.

"No," answered Hector, smiling.

"But why not?"

"Because Hector is modest," Mr. Ross answered for him. "Now, if you had
done such a thing, Walter, we should have been sure to hear of it."

"I don't know," returned Walter, comically. "You don't know how many
lives I have saved within the last few years."

"Nor anyone else, I fancy," replied his father. "By the way, Hector,
there is a paragraph about it in the Herald of this morning. I read
it, little suspecting that you were the boy whose name the reporter was
unable to learn."

Hector read the paragraph in question with excusable pride. It was, in
the main, correct.

"How old was the little girl?" asked Walter.

"Four years old, I should think."

"That isn't quite so romantic as if she had been three times as old."

"I couldn't have rescued her quite as easily, in that case."

Of course, Hector was called upon for an account of the affair, which
he gave plainly, without adding any of those embellishments which some
boys, possibly some of my young readers, might have been tempted to put
in.

"You are fortunate to have obliged a man like Titus Newman, Hector,"
said Mr. Ross. "He is a man of great wealth and influence."

"Do you know him, papa?" asked Walter.

"No--that is, not at all well. I have been introduced to him."

Punctually at eight o'clock Hector ascended the steps of a handsome
residence on Madison Avenue. The door was opened by a colored servant,
of imposing manners.

"Is Mr. Newman at home?" asked Hector, politely.

"Yes, sar."

"Be kind enough to hand him this card?"

"Yes, sar."

Presently the servant reappeared, saying:

"Mr. Newman will see you, sar, in the library. I will induct you
thither."

"Thank you," answered Hector, secretly amused at the airs put on by his
sable conductor.

Seated at a table, in a handsomely furnished library, sat a stout
gentleman of kindly aspect. He rose quickly from his armchair and
advanced to meet our hero.

"I am glad to see you, my young friend," he said. "Sit there," pointing
to a smaller armchair opposite. "So you are the boy who rescued my dear
little girl?"

His voice softened as he uttered these last few words, and it was easy
to see how strong was the paternal love that swelled his heart.

"I was fortunate in having the opportunity, Mr. Newman."

"You have rendered me a service I can never repay. When I think that but
for you the dear child--" his voice faltered.

"Don't think of it, Mr. Newman," said Hector, earnestly. "I don't like
to think of it myself."

"And you exposed yourself to great danger, my boy!"

"I suppose I did, sir; but that did not occur to me at the time. It was
all over in an instant."

"I see you are modest, and do not care to take too great credit to
yourself, but I shall not rest till I have done something to express my
sense of your noble courage. Now, I am a man of business, and it is my
custom to come to the point directly. Is there any way in which I can
serve you."

"Yes, sir."

"I am glad to hear it. Name it."

"I am looking for a situation in some mercantile establishment, Mr.
Newman."

"Pardon me, but, judging from your appearance, I should not suppose that
it was a matter of importance to you."

"Yes, sir; I am poor."

"You don't look so."

"You judge from my dress, no doubt"--Hector was attired in a suit of
fine texture--"I suppose I may say," he added, with a smile, "that I
have seen better days."

"Surely, you are young to have met with reverses, if that is what you
mean to imply," the merchant remarked, observing our hero with some
curiosity.

"Yes, sir; if you have time, I will explain to you how it happened."

As the story has already been told, I will not repeat Hector's words.

Mr. Newman listened with unaffected interest.

"It is certainly a curious story," he said. "Did you, then, quietly
surrender your claims to the estate simply upon your uncle's unsupported
assertion?"

"I beg pardon, sir. He showed me my father's--that is, Mr.
Roscoe's--letter."

"Call him your father, for I believe he was."

"Do you, sir?" asked Hector, eagerly.

"I do. Your uncle's story looks like an invention. Let me think, was
your father's name Edward Roscoe?"

"Yes, sir."

"And in what year were you born?"

"In the year 1856."

"At Sacramento?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then I feel quite sure that I made your father's acquaintance in the
succeeding year, and your own as well, though you were an infant--that
is, you were less than a year old."

"Did my father say anything of having adopted me?"

"No; on the contrary, he repeatedly referred to you as his child, and
your mother also displayed toward you an affection which would have been
at least unusual if you had not been her own child."

"Then you think, sir--" Hector began.

"I think that your uncle's story is a mere fabrication. He has contrived
a snare in which you have allowed yourself to be enmeshed."

"I am only a boy, sir. I supposed there was nothing for me to do but to
yield possession of the estate when my uncle showed me the letter."

"It was natural enough; and your uncle doubtless reckoned upon your
inexperience and ignorance of the law."

"What would you advise me to do, sir?"

"Let me think."

The merchant leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes, and gave himself
up to reflection. In the midst of his reverie the pompous servant
entered, bringing a letter upon a silver salver.

"A letter, sar," he said.

"That will do. You can go, Augustus."

"Yes, sar."

Mr. Newman glanced at the postmark, tore open the letter, read it with a
frown, and then, as if he had suddenly formed a resolution, he said:

"This letter has helped me to a decision."

Hector regarded him with surprise. What could the letter have to do with
him?

"Have you any objection to going out to California by the next steamer?"
asked Mr. New-man.

"No, sir," answered Hector, with animation "Am I to go alone?"

"Yes, alone."



CHAPTER XXXII. A WAYWARD YOUTH.



It is needless to say that Hector was very much surprised, not to say
startled, at this sudden proposal. What could Mr. Newman possibly want
him to go to California for? If on business, how did it happen that he
trusted a mere boy with so responsible a mission?

The explanation came soon.

"No doubt, you are surprised," said the merchant, "at the proposal I
have made you. I am not prepared myself to say that I am acting with
good judgment. In making it, I have obeyed a sudden impulse, which
is not always prudent. Yet, in more than one instance, I have found
advantage in obeying such an impulse. But to my explanation. By the way,
let me first ask you two or three questions. Have you any taste for any
kind of liquor?"

"No, sir," answered Hector, promptly.

"Even if you had, do you think you would have self-control enough to
avoid entering saloons and gratifying your tastes?"

"Yes, sir."

"That is well. Do you play pool?"

"No, sir," answered Hector, wondering whither all these questions
tended.

"I ask because playing pool in public rooms paves the way for
intemperance, as bars are generally connected with such establishments."

"I don't even know how to play pool, sir," said Hector.

"Do you ever bet or gamble?" continued the merchant.

"No, sir."

"You will understand why I ask all these questions when I tell you that
I have a nephew now nineteen years of age, who does all these things. He
is not only my nephew, but my ward. I have a moderate sum of money in my
charge which belongs to him--enough, if he were a young man of correct
habits, to buy him an interest in a respectable business. That use I
had proposed to make of it when he reached twenty-one, or rather, to
recommend to him, but for his yielding to temptation in more than one
form, and, finally, running away from my protection."

"Where is he now, sir?"

"In California. Three months since he disappeared, and it was some
weeks before I learned where he had gone. As I do not intend to conceal
anything from you, I must tell you that he carried with him five hundred
dollars purloined from my desk. This grieved me most of all. I wrote out
to a mercantile friend in San Francisco, who knows the boy by sight, to
hunt him up, and see if he could do anything for him. He writes
me--this is the letter I hold in my hand--that he has seen Gregory, and
expostulated with him, but apparently without effect. The boy has pretty
much run through his money, and will soon be in need. I do not intend,
however, to send him money, for he would misuse it. I don't think
it will do him any harm to suffer a little privation, as a fitting
punishment for his wayward courses. I would not wish him to suffer too
much, and I am anxious lest he should go further astray. I now come to
the explanation of my proposal to you. I wish you to go to California,
to seek out Gregory, obtain his confidence, and then persuade him to
give up his bad course, and come home with you, prepared to lead a
worthier life. Are you willing to undertake it?"

"Yes, sir," answered Hector. "I will undertake it, since you are willing
to place such a responsibility upon me. I will do my best to accomplish
what you desire, but I may fail."

"In that case I will not blame you," answered the merchant.

"What sort of a boy is Gregory? Shall I find it difficult to gain his
confidence?"

"No; he is a youth of very amiable disposition--indeed, he was generally
popular among his companions and associates, but he is morally weak, and
finds it difficult to cope with temptation. I believe that a boy like
you will stand a better chance of influencing him than a man of mature
age."

"I will do my best, sir."

"One thing more. You may assure Gregory that I forgive him the theft of
my money, though it gave me great pain to find him capable of such an
act, and that I am prepared to receive him back into my favor if he will
show himself worthy of it. I will give you a letter to that effect. Now,
when will you be ready to start?"

"By the next steamer."

"That is well."



CHAPTER XXXIII. MR. ROSCOE MAKES A DISCOVERY.



The California steamer was to start in two days. This gave Hector but
little time for preparation, but then he had but scanty preparation to
make. Mr. Ross and Walter were naturally surprised at the confidence
placed in Hector by a stranger, but were inclined to think that our hero
would prove himself worthy of it.

"Don't be gone long, Hector," said Walter. "I shall miss you. I depended
upon having your company for a good while yet."

"Come back to my house, Hector," said Mr. Ross, cordially, "when you
return, whether you are successful or not. Consider it a home where you
are always welcome."

"Thank you, sir," said Hector, gratefully. "I wish you were my uncle
instead of Mr. Allan Roscoe."

"By the way, Hector, take time, while you are in California, to go to
Sacramento to see if you can learn anything of your early history. It is
most important to you, and I'm sure Mr. Newman will not object."

"He has already suggested it to me," said Hector. "Moreover, he has
given me the name of the minister who baptized me, and, should he
be dead or removed, he has given me the name of another person--a
lady--with whom my father boarded during his residence in Sacramento."

"It is to be hoped that one or the other of these persons may still be
living. It will afford me sincere pleasure if, by reliable testimony,
you can defeat the wicked conspiracy into which Mr. Roscoe has entered,
with the object of defrauding you of your inheritance."

Hector's ticket was purchased by Mr. Newman, and he was provided with
a considerable sum of money as well as an order upon a bank in San
Francisco for as much more as he might need.

"You are trusting me to an unusual extent, Mr. Newman," said Hector.

"That is true, but I have no hesitation in doing so. I am a close
observer, and, though I have seen but little of you, I have seen enough
to inspire me with confidence."

"I hope I shall deserve it, sir."

"That depends upon yourself, so far as integrity and fidelity go.
Whether you succeed or not in your undertaking depends partly upon
circumstances."

My young readers may wonder how Hector would be expected to recognize a
young man whom he had never seen. He was provided with a photograph of
Gregory, which had been taken but six months before, and which, as Mr.
Newman assured him, bore a strong resemblance to his nephew.

"He may have changed his name," he said, "but he cannot change his face.
With this picture you will be able to identify him."

The great steamer started on her long voyage. Walter and Mr. Crabb
stood on the pier and watched it till Hector's face was no longer
distinguishable for the distance, and then went home, each feeling that
he had sustained a loss.

Among those who watched the departure of the steamer was a person who
escaped Hector's notice, for he arrived just too late to bid good-by to
an acquaintance who was a passenger on board.

This person was no other than Allan Roscoe.

When he recognized Hector's face among the passengers he started in
surprise and alarm.

"Hector Roscoe going to California!" he inwardly ejaculated. "What can
be his object, and where did he raise money to go?"

Conscience whispered: "He has gone to ferret out the fraud which you
have practiced upon him, and his mission is fraught with peril to you."

Allan Roscoe returned to his elegant home in a state of nervous
agitation, which effectually prevented him from enjoying the luxuries
he was now able to command. A sword seemed suspended over him, but
he resolved not to give up the large stake for which he played so
recklessly without a further effort.

By the next mail he wrote a confidential letter to an old acquaintance in
San Francisco.



CHAPTER XXXIV. FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF SAN FRANCISCO.



Hector was seasick for the first twenty-four hours, but at the end of
that time he had become accustomed to the rise and fall of the billows,
and was prepared to enjoy himself as well as he could in the confined
quarters of an ocean steamer.

Of course, he made acquaintances. Among them was a clergyman, of middle
age, who was attracted by our hero's frank countenance. They met
on deck, and took together the "constitutional" which travelers on
shipboard find essential for their health.

"You seem to be alone?" said the clergyman.

"Yes, sir."

"Pardon me, but it is uncommon to meet one so young as yourself who
is making so long a journey. I suppose, however, you have friends or
relatives in California."

"No, sir; I know no one, to my knowledge, in the Golden State."

"Then, perhaps, you go out in search of employment?"

"No, sir; I go out on business."

"You are a young business man," said the clergyman, smiling.

"Perhaps I should rather say, on a mission. I am sent out, by a New York
merchant, in search of his nephew, who is somewhere in San Francisco."

Hector explained himself further. The minister, Mr. Richards, listened
with attention.

"Certainly," he said, "a great responsibility rests upon you. Mr. Newman
must have great confidence in you."

"I hope he will not find it misplaced," answered Hector, modestly.

"It is certainly a compliment to you that a shrewd business man should
consider you worthy of such confidence. The presumption is that he has
good reason for his confidence. I think, my young friend, that you will
enjoy your visit to our State."

"Then you reside there, sir?"

"Oh, yes. I went out twenty years since; in fact, just after I graduated
from the theological school. I spent a year at the mines; but, at the
end of that time, finding an opening in my profession, I accepted the
charge of a church in Sacramento."

"In Sacramento?" exclaimed Hector, eagerly.

"Yes. Have you any associations with that city?"

"It is my birthplace, sir."

"Then you are not a stranger to California?"

"Yes, sir; I came away so early that I have no recollection of the
place."

"What is your name?" asked the clergyman.

"Hector Roscoe."

"Roscoe? The name sounds familiar to me," said the minister,
thoughtfully.

"How long since you went to Sacramento, Mr. Richards?"

"I went there in 1855."

"And I was born there in 1856. My father and mother lived there for some
time afterwards."

"It is probable that I met them, for Sacramento was a small place then.
Shall you go there?"

"Yes, sir. I have a special reason for going--a reason most important to
me."

As Mr. Richards naturally looked inquisitive, Hector confided in him
further.

"You see, sir," he concluded, "that it is most important to me to
ascertain whether I am really the son of the man whom I have always
regarded as my father. If so, I am heir to a large fortune. If not, my
uncle is the heir, and I certainly should not wish to disturb him in the
enjoyment of what the law awards him."

"That is quite proper," said Mr. Richards. "In your investigation, it
is quite possible that I may be able to help you materially, through my
long residence and extensive acquaintance in Sacramento. When you come
there, lose no time in calling upon me. Whatever help I can render you
shall cheerfully be given."

"Thank you, sir."

"Shall you be much disappointed if you find that you are only the
adopted, instead of the real, son of Mr. Roscoe?"

"Yes, sir; but it won't be chiefly on account of the property. I shall
feel alone in the world, without relations or family connections, with
no one to sympathize with me in my successes, or feel for me in my
disappointments."

"I understand you, and I can enter into your feelings."

Arrived in San Francisco, Hector took lodgings at a comfortable hotel on
Kearney Street. He didn't go to the Palace Hotel, or Baldwin's, though
Mr. Newman had supplied him with ample funds, and instructed him to
spend whatever he thought might be necessary.

"I mean to show myself worthy of his confidence," said Hector to
himself.

He arrived in the evening, and was glad to remain quietly at the hotel
the first evening, and sleep off the effects of his voyage. After
the contracted stateroom, in which he had passed over twenty days,
he enjoyed the comfort and luxury of a bed on shore and a good-sized
bedroom. But, in the morning, he took a long walk, which was full of
interest. Less than five minutes' walk from his hotel was the noted
Chinese quarter. Curiously enough, it is located in the central part
of the business portion of San Francisco. Set a stranger down in this
portion of the city, and the traveler finds it easy to imagine himself
in some Chinese city. All around him, thronging the sidewalks, he will
see almond-eyed men, wearing long queues, and clad in the comfortable,
but certainly not elegant, flowing garments which we meet only
occasionally in our Eastern cities, on the person of some laundryman.
Then the houses, too, with the curious names on the signs, speak of a
far-off land. On every side, also, is heard the uncouth jargon of the
Chinese tongue.

There is a part of San Francisco that is known as the Barbary Coast. It
is that part which strangers will do well to avoid, for it is the haunt
of the worst portion of the population. Here floats many a hopeless
wreck, in the shape of a young man, who has yielded to the seductions of
drink and the gaming table--who has lost all hope and ambition, and is
fast nearing destruction.

If Hector allowed himself to explore this quarter, it was not because
he found anything to attract him, for his tastes were healthy, but he
thought, from the description of Gregory Newman, that he would stand a
better chance of meeting him here than in a more respectable quarter.

Hector halted in front of a building, which he judged to be a gambling
house. He did not care to enter, but he watched, with curiosity, those
who entered and those who came out.

As he was standing there, a man of forty touched him on the shoulder.

Hector turned, and was by no means attracted by the man's countenance.
He was evidently a confirmed inebriate, though not at that time under
the influence of liquor. There was an expression of cunning, which
repelled Hector, and he drew back.

"I say, boy," said the stranger, "do you want to go in?"

"No, sir."

"If you do, I know the ropes, and I'll introduce you and take care of
you."

"Thank you," said Hector, "but I don't care to go in."

"Are you afraid?" asked the man, with a slight sneer.

"Yes. Haven't I a reason?"

"Come, sonny, don't be foolish. Have you any money?"

"A little."

"Give it to me and I'll play for you. I'll double it in ten minutes, and
I'll only ask you five dollars for my services."

"Suppose you lose?"

"I won't lose," said the man, confidently. "Come," he said, in a
wheedling tone, "let me make some money for you."

"Thank you, but I would rather not. I don't want to make money in any
such way."

"You're a fool!" said the man, roughly, and with an air of disgust he
left the spot, much to Hector's relief.

Still Hector lingered, expecting he hardly knew what, but it chanced
that fortune favored him. He was just about to turn away, when a youth,
two or three years older than himself in appearance, came out of the
gambling house. He was pale, and looked as if he had kept late hours. He
had the appearance, also, of one who indulges in drink.

When Hector's glance fell upon the face of the youth, he started in
great excitement.

"Surely," he thought, "that must be Gregory Newman!"



CHAPTER XXXV. THE PRODIGAL.



As the best way of getting into communication with the youth whom he
suspected to be the object of his search, Hector asked him the name of
the street.

On receiving an answer, he said, in an explanatory way:

"I am a stranger here. I only arrived on the last steamer."

The other looked interested.

"Where do you come from?"

"From New York."

"I used to live there," said Gregory--for it was he--with a sigh.

"Have you bettered yourself by coming out here?" asked Hector.

Gregory shook his head.

"No," he said; "I begin to think I was a fool to come at all."

"Perhaps you had poor prospects in New York?" said Hector.

"No; my uncle is a rich merchant there. I have some property, also, and
he is my guardian."

"Did he favor your coming?"

"No; he was very much opposed to it."

"Perhaps I ought not to take such a liberty, but I begin to agree with
you about your being a fool to leave such prospects behind you."

"Oh, I am not offended. It is true enough."

"I suppose you haven't prospered, then," said Hector.

"Prospered? Look at me! Do you see how shabby I am?"

Gregory certainly did look shabby. His clothes were soiled and frayed,
and he had the appearance of a young tramp.

"That isn't the worst of it," he added, bitterly. "I have spent my last
cent, and am penniless."

"That is bad, certainly. Did you lose any of it in there?" said Hector,
indicating the gaming house.

"I have lost full half of it there," answered Gregory. "This morning I
found myself reduced to four bits--"

"To what?" inquired Hector, puzzled.

"Oh, I forgot you had just arrived. Four bits is fifty cents. Well, I
was reduced to that, and, instead of saving it for my dinner, I went in
there and risked it. If I had been lucky, I might have raised it to ten
dollars, as a man next to me did; but I'm out of luck, and I don't know
what to do."

"Why don't you go back to your uncle in New York?"

"What! and walk all the way without food?" said Gregory, bitterly.

"Of course you couldn't go without money. Suppose you had the money,
would you go?"

"I should be afraid to try it," said Gregory, smiling.

"Why? Don't you think he would receive you back?"

"He might but for one thing," answered Gregory.

"What is that?"

"I may as well tell you, though I am ashamed to," said Gregory,
reluctantly. "I left New York without his knowledge, and, as I knew he
wouldn't advance me money out of my own property, I took five hundred
dollars from his desk."

"That was bad," said Hector, quietly, but he didn't look shocked or
terror-stricken, for this would probably have prevented any further
confidence.

"It wasn't exactly stealing," said Gregory, apologetically, "for I knew
he could keep back the money from my property. Still, he could represent
it as such and have me arrested."

"I don't think he would do that."

"I don't want to run the risk. You see now why I don't dare to go back
to New York. But what on earth I am to do here I don't know."

"Couldn't you get employment?" asked Hector, for he wished Gregory to
understand his position fully.

"What! in this shabby suit? Respectable business men would take me for a
hoodlum."

Hector knew already that a "hoodlum" in San Francisco parlance is a term
applied to street loafers from fifteen to twenty-five years of age, who
are disinclined to work and have a premature experience of vice.

"Suppose you were assured that your uncle would receive you back and
give you another chance?"

Gregory shook his head.

"I don't believe he would, and I am afraid I don't deserve it. No,
I must try to get to the mines in some way. How are you fixed?" said
Gregory, turning suddenly to Hector. "Could you spare a five-dollar gold
piece for a chap that's been unfortunate?"

"Perhaps I might; but I am afraid you would go back into the gambling
house and lose it, as you did your other money."

"No, I won't; I promise you that. Four bits was nothing. Five dollars
would give me a chance of going somewhere where I could earn a living."

Gregory seemed to speak sincerely, and Hector thought it would do him no
harm to reveal himself and his errand.

"Your name is Gregory Newman, isn't it?" he inquired.

Gregory stared at him in uncontrollable amazement.

"How do you know that?" he inquired.

"And your uncle's name is Titus Newman?"

"Yes, but--"

"He lives on Madison Avenue, does he not?"

"Yes, yes; but who are you that seem to know so much about me?"

"My name is Hector Roscoe."

"Did I know you in New York?"

"No; I never met you, to my knowledge."

"Then how do you recognize me and know my name?"

In answer, Hector took from his pocket a photograph of Gregory and
displayed it.

"How did you come by that?" asked Gregory, hurriedly. "Are you a
detective?"

Gregory looked so startled that Hector had hard work not to laugh. It
seemed ludicrous to him that he should be supposed to be a detective on
Gregory's track, as the boy evidently suspected.

"No," he answered, "I am not a detective, but a friend. I have come out
to San Francisco especially to find you."

"You won't inform against me?" asked Gregory, nervously.

"Not at all. I come as a friend, with a message from your uncle---"

"What is it?" asked Gregory, eagerly.

"He wants you to come back to New York, and he will give you another
chance."

"Is this true?"

"Yes; will you come?"

"I shall be glad to leave San Francisco," said Gregory, fervently. "I
have had no luck since I arrived here."

"Do you think you deserved any?" said Hector, significantly.

"No, perhaps not," Gregory admitted.

"When will you be ready to return?"

"You forget that I have no money."

"I have, and will pay your passage."

Gregory grasped the hands of our hero gratefully.

"You are a trump!" said he.

Then he looked at his wretched and dilapidated suit.

"I don't like to go home like this," he said. "I should be mortified if
I met my uncle or any of my old acquaintances."

"Oh, that can be remedied," said Hector. "If you can lead the way to a
good clothing house, where the prices are moderate, I will soon improve
your appearance."

"That I will!" answered Gregory, gladly.

Within five minutes' walk was a good clothing house, on Kearney Street.
The two entered, and a suit was soon found to fit Gregory. Then they
obtained a supply of underclothing, and Gregory breathed a sigh of
satisfaction. His self-respect returned, and he felt once more like his
old self.

"Now," said Hector, "I shall take you to my hotel, and enter your name
as a guest. You and I can room together."

"Do you know," said Gregory, "I almost fear this is a dream, and that
I shall wake up again a tramp, as you found me half an hour ago? I was
almost in despair when you met me."

Though Gregory seemed quite in earnest in his desire to turn over a new
leaf, Hector thought it prudent to keep the funds necessary for their
journey in his own possession. He gave a few dollars to Gregory as
spending money, but disregarded any hints looking to a further advance.



CHAPTER XXXVI. HOW HECTOR SUCCEEDED IN SACRAMENTO.



Now that Hector had succeeded in the main object of his journey, he had
time to think of his own affairs. It was most important for him to visit
Sacramento and make inquiries into the matter that so nearly concerned
him.

"I must find out," he said to himself, "whether I am entitled to the
name I bear, or whether I only received it by adoption."

The second day after his discovery of Gregory Newman, he said to him:

"Gregory, business of importance calls me to Sacramento. Do you wish to
go with me?"

"Does the business in any way relate to me?" asked Gregory.

"Not at all."

"Then I prefer to remain in San Francisco."

"Can I trust you not to fall back into your old ways?" asked Hector.

"Yes; I have had enough of them," answered Gregory, and there was a
sincerity in his tone which convinced Hector that he might safely leave
him.

"I shall probably stay overnight," he said. "If I stay any longer, I
will telegraph to you."

Arrived in Sacramento, Hector sought out the residence of the Rev. Mr.
Richards, whose acquaintance he had made on board the steamer.

His clerical friend received him with evident pleasure.

"How have you fared, my young friend?" he asked.

"Very well, sir. I have succeeded in my mission."

"Then you have found the youth you were in search of?"

"Yes, sir; moreover, I have induced him to return home with me, and turn
over a new leaf."

"That is indeed good news. And now, I think I have also good news for
you."

"Please let me know it, sir," said Hector, eagerly.

"I have found the lady with whom your father and mother boarded while
they were in Sacramento."

"What does she say?"

"She says," answered Mr. Richards, promptly, "that you are Mr. Roscoe's
own son, and were born in her house."

"Thank Heaven!" ejaculated Hector.

"Nor is this all. I have found the minister who baptized you. He is
still living, at a very advanced age--the Rev. Mr. Barnard. I called
upon him, and recalled his attention to the period when your father
lived in the city. I found that he remembered both your parents very
well. Not only that, but he has a very full diary covering that time, in
which he showed me this record:

"'Baptized, June 17th, Hector, the son of Thomas and Martha Roscoe; a
bright, healthy child, in whom the parents much delight."

"Then it seems to me," said Hector, "that my case is a very strong one."

"Unusually so. In fact, it could not be stronger. I marvel how Allan
Roscoe, your uncle, could have ventured upon a fraud which could be so
easily proved to be such."

"He depended upon Sacramento being so far away," said Hector. "He
thought I would accept my father's letter without question."

"That letter was undoubtedly forged," said the minister.

"It must have been, but it was very cleverly forged. The handwriting
was a very close copy of my father's." It was a great pleasure to Hector
that he could say "my father" without a moment's doubt that he was
entitled to say so.

"He thought, also, that you would not have the means to come here to
investigate for yourself," said Mr. Richards.

"Yes, and he would have been right but for the commission Mr. Newman
gave me. What course would you advise me to take," asked Hector, a
little later, "to substantiate my claim?"

"Get Mrs. Blodgett's and Rev. Mr. Barnard's sworn affidavits, and place
them in the hands of a reliable lawyer, requesting him to communicate
with your uncle."

This advice seemed to Hector to be wise, and he followed it.
Fortunately, he had no difficulty in inducing both parties to accede to
his request. The next day he returned to San Francisco.



CHAPTER XXXVII. A NARROW ESCAPE.



Armed with the affidavits which were to restore to him the position in
life of which his uncle had wickedly deprived him, Hector returned to
San Francisco. He found Gregory unaffectedly glad to see him.

"Glad to see you back, Hector," he said; "I missed you."

Hector was glad to find that Gregory had not taken advantage of his
absence to indulge in any of his old excesses. He began to hope that he
had already turned over the new leaf which was so desirable.

"I know what you are thinking of," said Gregory, after Hector had
returned his salutation. "You are wondering whether I 'cut up' any while
you were gone."

"You don't look as if you had," said Hector, smiling.

"No; I have had enough of sowing wild oats. It doesn't pay. Shall I tell
you what I did last evening?"

"If you like."

"I attended a lecture illustrated with the stereopticon. I was in bed at
ten."

"Gregory," said Hector, taking his hand, "you don't know how glad I am
to hear this. I am sure your uncle will be delighted when you return to
him so changed."

"I've made a great fool of myself," said Gregory, candidly. "Hereafter I
am going to make you my model."

Hector blushed deeply, for he was a modest boy.

"You compliment me too much, Gregory," he said. "Still, if you are in
earnest, I will try to set you a good example."

"You won't have any trouble in doing that. You are one of the fellows
that find it easy to be good."

"I am not sure of that, Gregory. Still, I mean to do my best."

In the evening the two boys attended a theatrical performance. It was
not till after eleven o'clock that they emerged from the theatre, and
slowly, not by the most direct way, sauntered home.

There was no thought of danger in the mind of either, yet, as a fact,
Hector had never in his life been exposed to peril so serious as that
evening. Lurking behind in the shadow a shabby-looking man followed
the two boys, keeping his eyes steadily on Hector. At a place specially
favorable, our hero was startled by hearing a bullet whiz by his ear. He
turned instantly, and so did Gregory. They saw a man running, and
they pursued him. They might not have caught up with him, but that he
stumbled and fell. Instantly they were upon him.

"Well," he said, sullenly, "you've caught me after all."

"Were you the man who fired at me?" asked Hector, "or was it my friend
here you sought to kill?"

"I was firing at you," answered their captive, coolly. "Now, what are
you going to do with me?"

"Was this forced upon you by want? Did you wish to rob me?"

"No; I had another motive."

"What was it?"

"If I tell you, will you let me go free?"

Hector hesitated.

The man proceeded, speaking with emphasis.

"If I tell you who put me up to this, and furnish you proofs so that you
can bring it to him, will you let me go?"

"You will not renew the attempt?" asked Hector.

"No," answered the man; "it isn't likely; I shall have no further
motive."

"Yes, I agree."

"Read that letter, then."

"There isn't light enough. Will you accompany me to the hotel, where I
can read it?"

"I will."

The three walked together to the hotel, where Hector and Gregory were
staying. There Hector read the letter. He was astonished and horrified
when he discovered that it was from his uncle to this man, with whom he
seemed to have an acquaintance, describing Hector, and promising him a
thousand dollars if he would put him out of the way.

"This is very important," said Hector, gravely. "Are you ready to
accompany me to New York and swear to this?"

"Yes, if you will pay my expenses."

By the next steamer Hector, Gregory and the stranger, who called himself
Reuben Pearce, sailed for New York.



CHAPTER XXXVIII. CONCLUSION.



Allan Roscoe sat at the breakfast table with Guy opposite him. Though
Mr. Roscoe was not altogether free from anxiety since he had learned of
Hector's expedition to California, he had taught himself to believe that
there was little chance of the boy's ferreting out the imposition he had
practiced upon him. He had been a poor and struggling man most of his
life, having, when quite a young man, squandered his inheritance, and
his present taste of affluence was most agreeable. He felt that he could
not part with Castle Roscoe.

"But I am safe enough," he said to himself; "even if Hector discovered
anything, something might happen to him, so that he might be unable to
return."

"Father," said Guy, who had just dispatched an egg, "I want ten dollars
this morning."

"Ten dollars!" said his father, frowning. "How is this? Did I not give
you your week's allowance two days since?"

"Well, I've spent it," answered Guy, "and I need some more."

"You must think I am made of money," said his father, displeased.

"It's pretty much so," said Guy, nonchalantly. "Your income must be ten
thousand a year."

"I have a great many expenses. How have you spent your allowance?"

"Oh, I can't tell exactly. It's gone, at any rate. You mustn't become
mean, father."

"Mean! Don't I give you a handsome allowance? Look here, Guy, I can't
allow such extravagance on your part. This once I'll give you five
dollars, but hereafter, you must keep within your allowance."

"Can't you make it ten?"

"No, I can't," said his father, shortly.

Guy rose from the table, and left the room, whistling.

"The old man's getting mean," he said. "If he doesn't allow me more, I
shall have to get in debt."

As Guy left the room, the mail was brought in. On one of the envelopes,
Mr. Roscoe saw the name of his lawyer. He did not think much of it,
supposing it related to some minor matter of business. The letter ran
thus:

"ALLAN ROSCOE, ESQ.:

"DEAR SIR: Be kind enough to come up to the city at once. Business of
great importance demands your attention.

"Yours respectfully, TIMOTHY TAPE."

"Mr. Tape is unusually mysterious," said Allan Roscoe to himself,
shrugging his shoulders. "I will go up to-day. I have nothing to keep me
at home."

Mr. Roscoe ordered the carriage, and drove to the depot. Guy, noticing
his departure, asked permission to accompany him.

"Not to-day, Guy," he answered. "I am merely going up to see my lawyer."

Two hours later Mr. Roscoe entered the office of his lawyer.

"Well, Tape, what's up?" he asked, in an easy tone. "Your letter was
mysterious."

"I didn't like to write explicitly," said Mr. Tape, gravely.

"The matter, you say, is of great importance?"

"It is, indeed! It is no less than a claim for the whole of your late
brother's estate."

"Who is the claimant?" asked Allan Roscoe, perturbed.

"Your nephew, Hector."

"I have no nephew Hector. The boy called Hector Roscoe is an adopted son
of my brother."

"I know you so stated. He says he is prepared to prove that he is the
lawful son of the late Mr. Roscoe."

"He can't prove it!" said Allan Roscoe, turning pale.

"He has brought positive proof from California, so he says."

"Has he, then, returned?" asked Allan, his heart sinking.

"He is in the city, and expects us to meet him at two o'clock this
afternoon, at the office of his lawyer, Mr. Parchment."

Now, Mr. Parchment was one of the most celebrated lawyers at the New
York bar, and the fact that Hector had secured his services showed Allan
Roscoe that the matter was indeed serious.

"How could he afford to retain so eminent a lawyer?" asked Allan Roscoe,
nervously.

"Titus Newman, the millionaire merchant, backs him."

"Do you think there is anything in his case?" asked Allan, slowly.

"I can tell better after our interview at two o'clock."

At five minutes to two Allan Roscoe and Mr. Tape were ushered into the
private office of Mr. Parchment.

"Glad to see you, gentlemen," said the great lawyer, with his usual
courtesy.

Two minutes later Hector entered, accompanied by Mr. Newman. Hector
nodded coldly to his uncle. He was not of a vindictive nature, but he
could not forget that this man, his own near relative, had not only
deprived him of his property, but conspired against his life.

"Hector," said Allan Roscoe, assuming a confidence he did not feel, "I
am amazed at your preposterous claim upon the property my brother left
to me. This is a poor return for his kindness to one who had no claim
upon him."

"Mr. Parchment will speak for me," said Hector, briefly.

"My young client," said the great lawyer, "claims to be the son of the
deceased Mr. Roscoe, and, of course, in that capacity, succeeds to his
father's estate."

"It is one thing to make the claim, and another to substantiate it,"
sneered Allan Roscoe.

"Precisely so, Mr. Roscoe," said Mr. Parchment. "We quite agree with
you. Shall I tell you and your learned counsel what we are prepared to
prove?"

Mr. Roscoe nodded uneasily.

"We have the affidavits of the lady with whom your brother boarded
in Sacramento, and in whose house my young client was born. We have,
furthermore, the sworn testimony of the clergyman, still living, who
baptized him, and we can show, though it is needless, in the face of
such strong proof, that he was always spoken of in his infancy by Mr.
and Mrs. Roscoe as their child."

"And I have my brother's letter stating that he was only adopted,"
asserted Allan Roscoe.

"Even that, admitting it to be genuine," said Mr. Parchment, "cannot
disprove the evidence I have already alluded to. If you insist upon it,
however, we will submit the letter to an expert, and--"

"This is a conspiracy. I won't give up the estate," said Allan,
passionately.

"We also claim that there is a conspiracy," said Mr. Parchment,
smoothly, "and there is one circumstance that will go far to confirm
it."

"What is that?" demanded Allan Roscoe.

"It is the attempt made upon my young client's life in San Francisco by
an agent of yours, Mr. Roscoe."

"It is a lie!" said Allan, hoarsely, shaking, nevertheless, with fear.

At a sign from Mr. Parchment, Hector opened the door of the office to
give admission to Reuben Pearce.

At a sight of this man Allan Roscoe utterly collapsed. He felt that all
was lost!

"Gentlemen," he said, "I will give up the estate, but for Heaven's sake,
don't prosecute me for this!"

There was an informal conference, in which it was agreed that Allan
Roscoe should make no resistance to Hector's claim, but restore the
estate to him. Hector promised, though this was against his lawyer's
advice, to give his uncle, who would be left penniless, the sum of two
thousand dollars in cash, and an allowance of a hundred dollars per
month for his life. He appointed Mr. Newman his guardian, being a minor,
and was once more a boy of fortune. He resolved to continue his studies,
and in due time go to college, thus preparing himself for the high
position he would hereafter hold.

As for Allan Roscoe, he and his son, Guy, lost no time in leaving the
neighborhood. Guy was intensely mortified at this turn of the wheel,
which had again brought his cousin uppermost, and was quite ready to
accompany his father to Chicago, where they are living at present. But
he had formed extravagant tastes, and has been a source of trouble and
solicitude to his father, who, indeed, hardly deserves the comfort of a
good son.

Hector lost no time, after being restored to his old position, in
re-engaging Larry Deane's father, who had been discharged by his uncle.

He paid him his usual wages for all the time he had been out of place,
and considerably raised his pay for the future.

"Larry shall never want a friend as long as I live," he assured Mr.
Deane. "He was a friend to me when I needed one, and I will take care
to give him a good start in life." He redeemed this promise by securing
Larry a place in Mr. Newman's employ, and voluntarily allowed him as
large a weekly sum as the merchant paid him in addition, so that Larry
could live comfortably in the city. I am glad to say that Larry has
shown himself deserving of this kindness, and has already been promoted
to an important and better paid position.

A word about Smith Institute. It never recovered from the blow that it
had received at the time when Hector found himself forced to leave it.
One after another the pupils left, and Mr. Smith felt that his race as
a schoolmaster was run. He advertised the institute for sale, and who do
you think bought it? Who but Hector Roscoe, who probably paid more for
it than anyone else would.

My readers will hardly suppose that he wanted it for himself. In a
cordial letter he presented it to Mr. Crabb, the late usher, when he had
finished his engagement with Walter Boss, and the name was changed to
"Crabb Institute." It was not long before it regained its old patronage,
for Mr. Crabb was not only a good scholar, but was fair and just to
the pupils, ruling them rather by love than fear. He has married the
daughter of a neighboring clergyman, who is a judicious helper and
contributes to the success of the school.

As for Jim Smith, the last heard of him was to this effect: He had
strayed out to St. Louis, and, after a few months of vicissitude, had
secured the position of bartender in a low liquor saloon. He has very
little chance of rising higher. The young tyrant of Smith Institute has
not done very well for himself, but he has himself to blame for it.

To return to Hector. I think we are justified in predicting for him a
prosperous future. He behaved well in adversity. He is not likely to be
spoiled by prosperity, but promises to grow up a good and manly man, who
will seek to do good as he goes along, and so vindicate his claim to the
exceptional good fortune which he enjoys.

THE END.





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