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BE OTWT TE RAP
THE STORE BOY;
THE FORTUNES OF BEN BARCLAY
HORATIO ALGER, JR.,
AUTHOR OF DO AND DARE, HECTOR'S INHERITANCEs'
"BAGGED DICK" SERIES, TATTERED TOM "
RBBIES," ETC., ETC.
HENRY T. COATES & CO.
FAMOUS ALGER BOOKS.
RAGGED DICK SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 6 vols. 12mo. Cloth.
RAGGED DICK. ROUGH AND READY.
FAME AND FORTUNE. BEN THE LUGGAGE BOY.
MARK THE MATCH BOY. RUFUS AND ROSE.
TATTERED TOM SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 4 vols. 12mo.
Cloth. FIRST SERIES.
TATTERED TOM. PHIL THE FIDDLER.
PAUL THE PEDDLER. SLOW AND SURE.
TATTERED TOM SERIES. 4 vols. 12mo. Cloth. SECOND SERIES.
JULIUS. SAM'S CHANCE.
THE YOUNG OUTLAW. THE TELEGRAPH BOY.
CAMPAIGN SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 8 vols.
FRANK'S CAMPAIGN. CHARLIE CODMAN'S CRUISE.
PAUL PRESCOTT'S CHARGE.
LUCK AND PLUCK SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 4 vols. 12mo.
Cloth. FIRST SERIES.
LUCK AND PLUCK. STRONG AND STEADY.
SINK OR SWIM. STRIVE AND SUCCEED.
LUCK AND PLUCK SERIES. 4 vols. 12mo. Cloth. SECOND SERIES.
TRY AND TRUST. RISEN FROM THE RANKS.
BOUND TO RISE. HERBERT CARTER'S LEGACY.
BRAVE AND BOLD SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 4 vols. 12mo.
BRAVE AND BOLD. SHIFTING FOR HIMSELF.
JACK'S WARD. WAIT AND HOPE.
PACIFIC SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 4 vols. 12mo.
THE YOUNG ADVENTURER. THE YOUNG EXPLORERS.
THE YOUNG MINER. BEN'S NUGGET.
ATLANTIC SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 4 vols.
THE YOUNG CIRCUS RIDER. HECTOR'S INHERITANCE.
DO AND DARE. HELPING HIMSELF.
WAY TO SUCCESS SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 4vols. 12mo.
BOB BURTON. LUKE WALTON.
THE STORE BOY. STRUGGLING UPWARD.
NEW WORLD SERIES. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 3 vols. 12mo. Cloth.
DIGGING FOR GOLD. FACING THE WORLD. IN A NEW WORLD.
Other Volumes in Preparation.
COPYRIGHT, 1887, BY PORTER & COATES.
I. BEN BARCLAY MEETS A TRAMP, 5
II. BEN AN HI MOTHER, -14
III. RS. BARCLAY' CALLERS, 22
IV. UNPLEASANT BUSINESS, 80
V. PROFESSOR HARRINGTON'S ENTERTAINMENT, 88
VI. Two YOUNG RIVALS, 47
VII. TH AM T P MAxlKES ANOTHER CALL. 5 52
VIII. SQUIRE DAVENPORT'S FINANCIAL OPERATION 57
IX. A PROSPECT OF TROUBLE, 66
X. BEN GOES TO NEW YORK, 73
XI. THE MADISON AVENUE STAGE, 82
XII. BEN'S LUCK, 90
XIII. A STARTLING EVENT, 99
XIV. BEN SHOWS HIMSELF A HERO, 108
XV. BEN LOSES HIS PLACE, 116
XVI. BEN FINDS TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT, 125
XVII. WHAT THE LETTER CONTAINED, 134
XVIII. FAREWELL TO PENTONVILLE, 143
XIX. A COOL RECEPTION, 152
XX. ENTERING UPON His DUTIES, 160
XXI. GOING TO WALLAC'S, 169
XXII. A MYSTERIOUS LETTER, 176
XXIII. BEN'S VISIT TO THIRTY-FIBST STREET, 188
CHAPTER. PAG .
XXIV. BEN ON TRIAL, 193
XXV. CONBAD TAKES A BOLD STEP, 201
XXVI. MR. LYNx, THE DETECTIVE, 209
XXVII. THE TELL-TALE TICKET, 217
XXVIII. Mas. HILL' MALICE, 222
XXIX. SOME UNEXPECTED CHANGES, 227
XXX. BEN "GOES WEST," 236
XXXI. MB. JACKSON RECEIVES A CALL, 244
XXXTI. BEN SELLS THE FARB, 253
XXXIII. GOOD NEWS, 261
XXXIV. ConRAD GOES INTO WALL STREET, 269
XXXV. CONRAD'S BAD LUCK, 277
XXXVI. TURNING THE TABLES, 286
XXXVII. A LETTER FROM ROSE GABDINER, 295
XXXVIII. BEN'S VISIT TO PENTONVILLE, 299
XXXIX. CONCLUSION, 804
THE STORE BOY;
FORTUNES OF BEN BARCLAY.
BEN BARCLAY MEETS A TRAMP.
"4 IVE me a ride "
Ben Barclay checked the horse he
was driving and looked attentively at the
speaker. He was a stout-built, dark-complex-
ioned man, with a beard of a week's growth,
wearing an old and dirty suit, which would
have reduced any tailor to despair if taken to
him for cleaning and repairs. A loose hat,
with a torn crown, surmounted a singularly
A tramp, and a hard-looking one said
Ben to himself.
6 THE STORE BOY.
He hesitated about answering, being natur-
ally reluctant to have such a traveling com-
"Well, what do you say demanded the
tramp, rather impatiently. "There's plenty
of room on that seat, and I'm dead tired."
Where are you going ? asked Ben.
Same way you are-to Pentonville."
"You can ride," said Ben, in a tone by no
means cordial, and he halted his horse till his
unsavory companion climbed into the wagon.
They were two miles from Pentonville, and
Ben had a prospect of a longer ride than he
desired under the circumstances. His com-
panion pulled out a dirty clay pipe from his
pocket, and filled it with tobacco, and then
explored another pocket for a match. A mut-
tered oath showed that he failed to find one.
Got a match, boy ?" he asked.
"No," answered Ben, glad to have escaped
the offensive fumes of the pipe.
Just my luck!" growled the tramp, put-
ting back the pipe with a look of disappoint-
ment. If you had a match now, I wouldn't
mind letting you have a whiff or two."
BEN BARCLAY MEETS A TRAMP. 7
"I don't smoke," answered Ben, hardly able
to repress a look of disgust.
"So you're a good boy, eh I One of the
Sunday-school kids that want to be an angel,
hey ? Pah !" and the tramp exhibited the
disgust which the idea gave him.
"Yes, I go to Sunday-school," said Ben,
coldly, feeling more and more repelled by his
"I never went to Sunday-school," said his
companion. "And I wouldn't. It's only
good for milksops and hypocrites."
"Do you think you're any better for not
going ?" Ben couldn't help asking.
"I haven't been so prosperous, if that's
what you mean. I'm a straightforward man,
I am. You always know where to find me.
There ain't no piety about me. What are you
"No offense," said Ben. "I believe every
word you say."
"You'd better. I don't allow no man to
doubt my word, nor no boy, either. Have you
got a quarter about you ?"
8 THE STORE BOY.
Nor a dime ? A dime '11 do."
"I have no money to spare."
I'd pay yer to-morrer."
"You'll have to borrow elsewhere; I am
working in a store for a very small salary, and
that I pay over to my mother."
"Whose store ?"
"Simon Crawford's; but you won't know
any better for my telling you that, unless you
are acquainted in Pentonville."
"I've been through there. Crawford keeps
the grocery store."
"What's your name "
"Ben Barclay," answered our hero, feeling
rather annoyed at what he considered intrusive
"Barclay?" replied the tramp, quickly.
"Not John Barclay's son "
It was Ben's turn to be surprised. He was
the son of John Barclay, deceased, but how
could his ill-favored traveling companion know
Did you know my father ?" asked the boy,
BEN BARCLAY MEETS A TRAMP. 9
I've heerd his name," answered the tramp,
in an evasive tone.
What is your name asked Ben, feeling
that he had a right to be as curious as his
I haven't got any visiting' cards with me,"
answered the tramp, dryly.
Nor I; but I told you my name."
"AAll right ; I'll tell you mine. You can call
me Jack Frost."
I gave you my real name," said Ben, signifi-
I've almost forgotten what my real name
is," said the tramp. "If you don't like Jack
Frost, you can call me George Washington."
"I don't think that name would suit," he
said. George Washington never told a lie."
What d'ye mean by that demanded the
tramp, his brow darkening."
"I was joking," answered Ben, who did not
care to get into difficulty with such a man.
"I'm going to joke a little myself," growled
the tramp, as, looking quickly about him, he
observed that they were riding over a lonely
10 THE STORE BOY.
section of the road lined with woods. "Have
you got any money about you ? "
Ben, taken by surprise, would have been glad
to answer No," but he was a boy of truth, and
could not say so truly, though he might have
felt justified in doing so under the circumstances.
Come, I see you have. Give it to me right
off or it'll be the worse for you."
Now it happened that Ben had not less than
twenty-five dollars about him. He had carried
some groceries to a remote part of the town,
and collected two bills on the way. All this
money he had in a wallet in the pocket on the
other side from the tramp. But the money
was not his; it belonged to his employer, and
he was not disposed to give it up without a
struggle, though he knew that in point of
strength he was not an equal match for the
man beside him.
"You will get no money from me," he
answered, in a firm tone, though he felt far
"I won't, hey!" growled the tramp. D'ye
think I'm going' to let a boy like you get the
best of me He clutched Ben by the arm,
BEN BARCLAY MEETS A TRAMP. 11
and seemed in a fair way to overcome oppo-
sition by superior strength, when a fortunate
idea struck Ben. In his vest pocket was a sil-
ver dollar, which had been taken at the store,
but, proving to be counterfeit, had been given
to Ben by Mr. Crawford as a curiosity.
This Ben extracted from his pocket, and
flung out by the roadside.
If you want it, you'll have to get out and
get it," he said.
The tramp saw the coin glistening upon the
ground, and had no suspicion of its not being
genuine. It was not much-only a dollar-but
he was dead broke," and it was worth pick-
ing up. He had not expected that Ben had
much, and so was not disappointed.
"Curse you!" he said, relinquishing his
hold upon Ben. Why couldn't you give it
to me instead of throwing it out there ? "
Because," answered Ben boldly, I didn't
want you to have it."
"Get out and get it for me!"
"I won't! answered Ben firmly.
Then stop the horse, and give me a chance
to get out."
12 THE STORE BOY.
I'll do that."
Ben brought the horse to a halt, and his un-
welcome passenger descended, much to his
relief. He had to walk round the wagon to
get at the coin. Our hero brought down the
whip with emphasis on the horse's back, and
the animal dashed off at a good rate of speed.
Stop! exclaimed the tramp, but Ben had
no mind to heed his call.
"No, my friend, you don't get another
chance to ride with me ?" he said to himself.
The tramp picked up the coin, and his prac-
ticed eye detected that it was bogus.
The young villain!" he muttered, angrily.
"I'd like to wring his neck. It's a bad one,
after all." He looked after the receding team,
and was half disposed to follow, but he
changed his mind, reflecting, "I can pass it
Instead of pursuing his journey, he made
his way into the woods, and, stretching himself
out among the underbrush, went to sleep.
Half a mile before reaching the store, Ben
overtook Rose Gardiner, who had the reputa-
tion of being the prettiest girl in Pendleton-at
BEN BARCLAY MEETS A TRAMP. 13
any rate, such was Ben'sopinion. She looked up
and smiled pleasantly as Ben took off his hat.
"Shall you attend Professor Harrington's
entertainment at the Town Hall this evening,
Ben she asked, after they had interchanged
"I should like to go," answered Ben, "cbut
I am afraid I can't be spared from the store.
Shall you go "
I wouldn't miss it for any thing. I hope I
shall see you there."
"I shall want to go all the more then,"
answered Ben, gallantly.
You say that to flatter me," said the young
lady, with an arch smile.
."No, I don't," said Ben, earnestly. "Won't
you get in and ride as far as the store "
Would it be proper asked Miss Rose,
Of course it would."
"Then I'11 venture."
Ben jumped from the wagon, assisted the
young lady in, and the two drove into the vil-
lage together. He liked his second passenger
considerably better than the first.
BEN AND HIS MOTHER.
B EN BARCLAY, after taking leave of the
tramp, lost no time in driving to the gro-
cery store where he was employed. It was a
large country store, devoted not to groceries
alone, but supplies of dry goods, boots and
shoes, and the leading articles required in the
community. There were two other clerks
beside Ben, one the son, another the nephew,
of Simon Crawford, the proprietor.
Did you collect any money, Ben asked
Simon, who chanced to be standing at the door
when our hero drove up.
"Yes, sir; I collected twenty-five dollars,
but came near losing it on the way home."
How was that I I hope you were not care-
No, except in taking a stranger as passen-
BEN AND HIS MOTHER. 15
ger. When we got to that piece of woods a
mile back, he asked me for all the money I
"A highwayman, and so near Pentonville "
ejaculated Simon Crawford. "What was he
"A regular tramp."
"Yet you say you have the money. How did
you manage to keep it from him ?"
Ben detailed the stratagem of which he
You did well," said the storekeeper
approvingly. "I must give you a dollar for
the one you sacrificed."
"But, sir, it was bad money. I couldn't
have passed it."
I That does not matter. You are entitled to
some reward for the courage and quick wit you
displayed. Here is a dollar, and-let me see,
there is an entertainment at the Town Hall this
evening, isn't there ? "
"Yes, sir. Professor Harrington, the
magician, gives an entertainment," said Ben
"At what time does it commence "
16 THE STORE BOY.
A t eight o'clock."
"You may leave the store at half-past seven.
That will give you time enough to get
"Thank you, sir. I wanted to go to the
entertainment, but did not like to ask for the
"You have earned it. Here is the dollar,"
and Mr. Crawford drew a dollar bill from his
pocket and handed it to his young clerk, who
received it gratefully.
A magical entertainment may be a very com-
mon affair to my young readers in the city, but
in a country village it is an event. Pentonville
was too small to have any regular place of
amusement, and its citizens were obliged to
depend upon traveling performers, who, from
time to time, engaged the Town Hall. Some
time had elapsed since there had been any such
entertainment, and Professor Harrington was
the more likely to be well patronized. Ben,
who had the love of amusement common to
boys of his age, had been regretting the neces-
sity of remaining in the store till nine o'clock,
and therefore losing his share of amusement
BEN AND HIS MOTHER. 17
when, as we have seen, an opportunity sud-
"I am glad I met the tramp after all," he
said to himself. "He has brought me
At supper he told his mother what had
befallen him, but she took a more serious view
of it than he did.
"He might have murdered you, Ben," she
said, with a shudder.
"Oh, no; he wouldn't do that. He might
have stolen Mr. Crawford's money; that was
the most that was likely to happen."
"I didn't think there were highwaymen
about here. Now I shall be worrying about
Don't do that, mother; I don't feel in any
danger. Still, if you think best, I will carry a
"No, no, Ben! it might go off and kill you.
I would rather run the risk of a highwayman.
I wonder if the man is prowling about in the
neighborhood yet ? "
"I don't think my bogus dollar will carry
him very far. By the way, mother, I must
18 THE STORE BOY
tell you one strange thing. He asked me if I
was John Barclay's son."
What! exclaimed Mrs. Barclay, in a tone
of great surprise. "Did he know your name
was Barclay ?"
Not till I told him. Then it was he asked
if I was the son of John Barclay."
Did he say he knew your father "
Asked him, but he answered evasively."
"He might have seen some resemblance--
that is, if he had ever met your father. Ah
it was a sad day for us all when your poor
father died. We should have been in a very
different position," the widow sighed.
Yes, mother," said Ben; but when I get
older I will try to supply my father's place,
and relieve you from care and trouble."
You are doing that in a measure now, my
dear boy," said Mrs. Barclay, affectionately.
( You are a great comfort to me."
Ben's answer was, to go up to his mother
and kiss her. Some boys of his age are
ashamed to show their love for the mother who
is devoted to them, but it is a false shame, that
does them no credit.
BEN AND HIS MOTHER. 19
"Still, mother, you work too hard," said
Ben. "Wait till I am a man, and you shall
not need to work at all."
Mrs. Barclay had been a widow for five years.
Her husband had been a commercial traveler,
but had contracted a fever at Chicago, and
died after a brief illness, without his wife hav-
ing the satisfaction of ministering to him in
his last days. A small sum due him from his
employers was paid over to his family, but no
property was discovered, though his wife had
been under the impression that her husband
possessed some. He had never been in the
habit of confiding his business affairs to her,
and so, if he had investments of any kind, she
could not learn any thing about them. She
found herself, therefore, with no property ex-
cept a small cottage, worth, with its quarter
acre of land, perhaps fifteen hundred dollars.
As Ben was too small to earn any thing, she
had been compelled to raise about seven hun-
dred dollars on mortgage, which by this time
had been expended for living. Now, Ben was
earning four dollars a week, and, with her own
earnings, she was able to make both ends meet
20 THE STORE BOY.
without further encroachments upon her scanty
property; but the mortgage was a source of
anxiety to her, especially as it was held by
Squire Davenport, a lawyer of considerable
means, who was not over-scrupulous about the
methods by which he strove to increase his
hoards. Should he at any time take it into
his head to foreclose, there was no one to whom
Mrs. Barclay could apply to assume the mort-
gage, and she was likely to be compelled to
sacrifice her home. He had more than once
hinted that he might need the money, but as
yet had gone no further.
Mrs. Barclay had one comfort, however, and
a great one. This was, a good son. Ben was
always kind to his mother-a bright, popular,
promising boy-and though at present he was
unable to earn much, in a few years he would
be able to earn a good income, and then his
mother knew that she would be well provided.
So she did not allow herself to borrow trouble,
but looked forward hopefully, thanking God
for what He had given her.
"Won't you go up to the Town Hall with
BEN AND HIS MOTHER. 21
me, mother asked Ben. "I am sure you
would enjoy it."
Thank you, Ben, for wishing me to have a
share in your amusements," his mother
replied, "but I have a little headache this
evening, and I shall be better off at home."
"It isn't on account of the expense you
decline, mother, is it ? You know Mr. Craw-
ford gave me a dollar, and the tickets are but
No, it isn't that, Ben. If it were a concert
I might be tempted to go in spite of my head-
ache, but a magical entertainment would not
amuse me as much as it will you."
"Just as you think best, mother; but I
should like to have you go. You won't feel
lonely, will you ? "
I am used to being alone till nine o'clock,
when you are at the store."
This conversation took place at the supper-
table. Ben went directly from the store to the
Town Hall, where he enjoyed himself as much
as he anticipated. If he could have foreseen
how his mother was to pass that evening, it
would have destroyed all his enjoyment.
MRS. BARCLAY'S CALLERS.
A BOUT half-past eight o'clock, Mrs. Bar-
clay sat with her work in her hand. Her
headache was better, but she did not regret not
having accompanied Ben to the Town Hall.
I am glad Ben is enjoying himself," she
thought, "but I would rather stay quietly at
home. Poor boy! he works hard enough, and
needs recreation now and then."
Just then a knock was heard at the outside
"I wonder who it can be?" thought the
widow. "I supposed every body would be at
the Town Hall. It may be Mrs. Perkins come
to borrow something."
Mrs. Perkins was a neighbor much addicted
to borrowing, which was rather disagreeable,
but might have been more easily tolerated but
that she seldom returned the articles lent.
MRS. BARCLAY'S CALLERS. 23
Mrs. Barclay went to the door and opened it,
fully expecting to see her borrowing neighbor.
A very different person met her view. The
ragged hat, the ill-looking face, the neglected
attire, led her to recognize the tramp whom
Ben had described to her as having attempted
to rob him in the afternoon. Terrified, Mrs.
Barclay's first impulse was to shut the door
and bolt it. But her unwelcome visitor was too
quick for her. Thrusting his foot into the
doorway, he interposed an effectual obstacle
in the way of shutting the door.
"No, you don't, ma'am!" he said with a
laugh. I understand your little game. You
want to shut me out."
"What do you want ?" asked the widow,
"What do I want?" returned the tramp.
" Well, to begin with, I want something to eat
-and drink," he added after a pause.
Why don't you go to the tavern ?" asked
Mrs. Barclay, anxious for him to depart.
Well I can't afford it. All the money I've
got is a bogus dollar your rogue of a son gave
me this afternoon."
24 THE STORE BOY.
"You stole it from him," said the widow,
"What's the odds if I did. It ain't of no
value. Come, haven't you any thing to eat in
the house ? I'm as hungry as a wolf."
"And you look like one !" thought Mrs.
Barclay, glancing at his unattractive features;
but she did not dare to say it.
There seemed no way of refusing, and she
was glad to comply with his request, if by so
doing she could soon get rid of him.
"Stay here," she said, "and I'll bring you
some bread and butter and cold meat."
"Thank you, I'd rather come in," said the
tramp, and he pushed his way through the
partly open door.
She led the way uneasily into the kitchen
just in the rear of the sitting-room where she
had been seated.
I wish Ben was here," she said to herself,
with sinking heart.
The tramp seated himself at the kitchen
table, while Mrs. Barclay, going to the pantry,
brought out part of a loaf of bread and butter,
and a few slices of cold beef, which she set
MRS. BARCLAY 'S CALLERS. 25
before him. Without ceremony he attacked
the viands and ate as if half famished. When
about half through, he turned to the widow,
"Haven't you some whisky in the house "
"I never keep any," answered Mrs. Bar-
"Rum or gin, then. I ain't particular. I
want something to warm me up."
"I keep no liquor of any kind. I don't
approve of drink, or want Ben to touch
Oh, you belong to the cold water army, do
you ?" said the tramp, with a sneer. "Give
me some coffee, then."
I have no fire, and can nbt prepare any."
"What have you got, then?" demanded
the unwelcome guest, impatiently.
I can give you a glass of excellent well-
"Faugh! Do you want to choke me?" re-
turned the tramp, in disgust.
"Suppose I mix you some molasses and
water," suggested the widow, anxious to pro-
pitiate her dangerous guest.
26 TIE STORE BOY.
Humph Well, that will do, if you've got
nothing better. Be quick about it, for my
throat is parched."
As soon as possible the drink was prepared
and set beside his plate. He drained it at a
draught, and called for a second glass, which
was supplied him. Presently, for all things
must have an end, the tramp' s appetite seemed
to be satisfied. He threw himself back in his
chair, stretched his legs, and, with both hands
in his pockets, fixed his eyes on the widow.
"I feel better," he said.
"I am glad to hear it," said Mrs. Barclay.
"Now, if you'll be kind enough, leave the
house, for I expect Ben back before long."
"And you don't wan't him to get hurt,"
laughed the tramp. Well, I do owe him a
flogging for a trick he played on me."
Oh, pray, go away I" said Mrs. Barclay, ap-
prehensively. I have given you some supper,
and that ought to satisfy you."
"I can't go away till I've talked to you a
little on business."
"Business I What business can you have
with me "
MRS. BARCLAY' S CALLERS. 27
"More than you think. You are the widow
of John Barclay, ain't you ? "
"Yes; did you know my husband "
Yes; that is, I saw something of him just
before he died."
"Can you tell me any thing about his last
moments asked the widow, forgetting the
character of her visitor, and only thinking of
"No, that isn't in my line. I ain't a doctor
nor yet a minister. I say, did he leave any
Not that we have been able to find out.
He owned this house, but left no other prop-
"That you know of," said the tramp, signifi-
"Do you know of any?" asked Mrs. Bar-
clay, eagerly. "How did you happen to know
I was the barkeeper in the hotel where he
died. It was a small house, not one of your
My husband was always careful of his ex-
penses. He would not spend money unneces-
28 THE STORE BOY.
sarily. With his prudence we all thought he
must have some investments, but we could dis-
"Have you got any money in the house ?"
asked the tramp, with seeming abruptness.
"Why do you ask ?" returned the widow,
alarmed. Surely, you would not rob me 1"
"'No, I don' t want to rob you. I want to sell
"I don't care to buy. It takes all our money
for necessary expenses."
"You don't ask what I have to sell."
"No, because I can not buy it, whatever it
"It is-a secret," said the tramp.
"A secret!" repeated Mrs. Barclay, bewil-
"Yes, and a secret worth buying. Your hus-
band wasn't so poor as you think. He left
stock and papers representing three thousand
dollars, and I am the only man who can put you
in the way of getting it."
Mrs. Barclay was about to express her sur-
prise, when a loud knock was heard at the outer
MRS. BARCLAY' CALLERS. 29
"Who's that?" demanded the tramp, quick-
ly. Is it the boy I"
"No, he would not knock."
Then, let me get out of this," he said, leap-
ing to his feet. Isn't there a back door "
"Yes, there it is."
He hurried to the door, unbolted it, and made
his escape into the open field beyond the house,
just as the knock was repeated.
Confused by what she had heard, and the
strange conduct of her visitor, the widow took
the lamp and went to the door. To her sur-
prise she found, on opening it, two visitors, in
one of whom she recognized Squire Davenport,
already referred to as holding a mortgage on
her house. The other was a short, dark-com-
plexioned man, who looked like a mechanic.
"Excuse me the lateness of my call, Mrs.
Barclay," said the squire, smoothly. "I come
on important business. This is Mr. Kirk, a
cousin of my wife."
"Walk in, gentlemen," said Mrs. Barclay.
"This is a night of surprises," she thought
T was now nine o'clock, rather a late hour
for callers in the country, and Mrs.
Barclay waited not without curiosity to hear
the nature of the business which had brought
her two visitors at that time.
"Take seats, gentlemen," she said, with the
courtesy habitual to her.
Squire Davenport, who was disposed to con-
sider that he had a right to the best of every
thing, seated himself in the rocking-chair, and
signed his companion to a cane-chair beside
"Mr. Kirk," he commenced, "is thinking
of coming to Pentonville to live."
"I am glad to hear it," said Mrs. Barclay,
politely. Perhaps she would not have said
this if she had known what was coming next.
"He is a carpenter," continued the squire,
"and, as we have none in the village except
UNPLEASANT BUSINESS. 31
old Mr. Wade, who is superannuated, I think
he will find enough to do to keep him busy."
"I should think so," assented the widow.
"If he does not, I can employ him a part of
the time on my land."
"What has all this to do with me?"
thought Mrs. Barclay.
She soon learned.
Of course he will need a house," pursued
the squire, "and as his family is small, he
thinks this house will just suit him."
"But I don't wish to sell," said the widow,
hurriedly. "I need this house for Ben and
"You could doubtless find other accommo-
dations. I dare say you could hire a couple
of rooms from Elnathan Perkins."
"I wouldn't live in that old shell," said
Mrs. Barclay, rather indignantly, "and I am
sure Ben wouldn't."
"I apprehend Benjamin will have no voice
in the matter," said Squire Davenport, stiffly.
"He is only a boy."
"He is my main support, and my main
adviser," said Mrs. Barclay, with spirit, "and
32 THE STORE BOY.
I shall not take any step which is disagreeable
Mr. Kirk looked disappointed, but the
squire gave him an assuring look, as the
widow could see.
"Perhaps you may change your mind,"
said the squire, significantly. "I am under
the impression that I hold a mortgage on this
"Yes, sir," assented Mrs. Barclay, appre-
For the sum of seven hundred dollars, if I
am not mistaken."
"I shall have need of this money for other
purposes, and will trouble you to take it up."
"I was to have three months' notice," said
the widow, with a troubled look.
"I will give you three months' notice to-
night," said the squire.
"I don't know where to raise the money,"
faltered Mrs. Barclay.
"Then you had better sell to my friend
here. He will assume the mortgage and pay
you three hundred dollars."
UNPLEASANT BUSINESS. 33
"But that will be only a thousand dollars
for the place."
"A very fair price in my opinion, Mrs.
"I have always considered it worth fifteen
hundred dollars," said the widow, very much
A fancy price, my dear madam; quite an
absurd price, I assure you. What do you say,
"I quite agree with you, squire," said Kirk,
in a strong, nasal tone. But, then, women
don't know any thing of business."
I know that you and your cousin are trying
to take advantage of my poverty," said Mrs.
Barclay, bitterly. "If you are a carpenter,
why don't you build a house for yourself,
instead of trying to deprive me of mine ? "
"That's my business," said Kirk, rudely.
Mr. Kirk can not spare the time to build at
present," said the squire.
Then why doesn't he hire rooms from Elna-
than Perkins, as you just recommended to
They wouldn't suit him," said the squire,
34 THE STORE BOY.
curtly. "He has set his mind on this
Squire Davenport," said Mrs. Barclay, in
a softened voice, I am sure you can not under-
stand what you ask of me when you seek to
take my home and turn me adrift. Here I lived
with my poor husband; here my boy was born.
During my married life I have had no other
home. It is a humble dwelling, but it has asso-
ciations and charms for me which it can have
for no one else. Let Mr. Kirk seek some other
house and leave me undisturbed in mine."
Humph !" said the squire, shrugging his
shoulders; you look upon the matter from a
sentimental point of view. That is unwise.
It is simply a matter of business. You speak
of the house as yours. In reality, it is more
mine than yours, for I have a major interest in
it. Think over my proposal coolly, and you
will see that you are unreasonable. Mr. Kirk
may be induced to give you a little more-say
-three hundred and fifty dollars-over and above
the mortgage, which, as I said before, he is
willing to assume."
"How does it happen that you are willing to
UNPLEASANT BUSINESS. 35
let the mortgage remain, if he buys, when you
want the money for other purposes ?" asked
the widow, keenly.
"He is a near relative of my wife, and that
makes a difference, I apprehend."
"Well, madam, what do you say asked
"I say this, that I will keep the house if I
"You needn't expect that I will relent,"
said the squire, hastily.
I do not, for I see there is no consideration
in your heart for a poor widow; but I can not
help thinking that Providence will raise up
some kind friend who will buy the mortgage,
or in some other way will enable me to save
"You are acting very foolishly, Mrs. Bar-
clay, as you will realize in time. I give you a
week in which to change your mind. Till then
my friend Kirk's offer stands good. After
that I can not promise. If the property is sold
at auction, I shouldn't be surprised if it did
not fetch more than the amount of my lien
36 THE STORE BOY.
"I will trust in Providence, Squire Daven-
"Providence won't pay off your mortgage,
ma'am," said Kirk, with a coarse laugh.
Mrs. Barclay did not answer. She saw that
he was a man of coarse fiber, and did not care
to notice him.
Come along, Kirk," said the squire. "I
apprehend she will be all right after awhile.
Mrs. Barclay will see her own interest when
she comes to reflect."
S"Good-evening, ma'am," said Kirk.
Mrs. Barclay inclined her head slowly, but
did not reply.
When the two had left the house, she sank
into a chair and gave herself to painful
thoughts. She had known that Squire Daven-
port had the right to dispossess her, but had
not supposed he would do so as long as she
paid the interest regularly. In order to do
this, she and Ben had made earnest efforts,
and denied themselves all but the barest ne-
cessities. Thus far she had succeeded. The
interest on seven hundred dollars at six per
cent. had amounted to forty-two dollars, and
UNFORTUNATE BUSINESS. 37
this was a large sum to pay, but thus far they
had always had it ready. That Squire Daven-
port, with his own handsome mansion, would
fix covetous eyes on her little home, she had
not anticipated, but it had come to pass.
As to raising seven hundred dollars to pay
off the mortgage, or induce any capitalist to
furnish it, she feared it would be quite impos-
She anxiously waited for Ben's return from
the Town Hall in order to consult with him.
PROFESSOR IIARRINGTON'S ENTERTAINMENT.
MEANWHILE Ben Barclay was enjoying
himself at Professor Harrington's en-
tertainment. He was at the Town Hall fifteen
minutes before the time, and secured a seat
very near the stage, or, perhaps it will be more
correct to say, the platform. He had scarcely
taken his seat when, to his gratification, Rose
Gardiner entered the hall and sat down beside
"Good-evening, Ben," she said, pleasantly.
" So you came after all."
Ben's face flushed with pleasure, for Rose
Gardiner was, as we have said, the prettiest
girl in Pentonville, and for this reason, as well
as for her agreeable manners, was an object of
attraction to the boys, who, while too young
to be in love, were not insensible to the charms
of a pretty face. I may add, that Rose was
PROF. HARRINGTON S ENTERTAINMENT. 39
the niece of the Rev. Mr. Gardiner, the min-
ister of the leading church in the village.
"Good-evening, Rose," responded Ben, who
was too well acquainted with the young lady
to address her more formally; 'I am glad to
be in such company."
"I wish I could return the compliment,"
answered Rose, with a saucy smile.
"Don't be too severe," said Ben, "or you
will hurt my feelings."
That would be a pity, surely; but how do
you happen to get off this evening I I thought
you spent your evenings at the store."
"So I do generally, but I was excused this
evening for a special reason," and then he told
of his adventure with the tramp.
Rose listened with eager attention.
"Weren't you terribly frightened she
"No," answered Ben, adding, with a smile:
"Even if I had been, I shouldn't like to con-
"I should have been so frightened that. I
would have screamed," continued the young
40 THE STORE BOY.
I didn't think of that," said Ben, amused.
"I'll remember it next time."
"Oh, now I know you are laughing at me.
Tell me truly, weren't you frightened "
"I was only afraid I might lose Mr. Craw-
ford's money. The tramp was stronger than
I, and could have taken it from me if he had
known I had it."
"You tricked him nicely. Where did he
go ? Do you think he is still in town ? "
"He went into the woods.. I don't think he
is in the village. He would be afraid of being
At that very moment the tramp was in Ben's
kitchen, but of that Ben had no idea.
"I don't know what I should do if I met
him," said Rose. You see I came alone.
Aunt couldn't come with me, and uncle, being
a minister, doesn't care for such things."
Then I hope you'll let me see you home,"
said Ben, gallantly. -
I wouldn't like to trouble you," said Rose,
with a spice of coquetry. "It will take you
out of your way."
I don't mind that," said Ben, eagerly.
PROF. IIARRINGTON'S ENTERTAINMENT. 41
"Besides, there won't be any need. You
say the tramp isn't in the village."
On second thoughts, I think it very likely
he is," said Ben.
"If you really think so--" commenced
Rose, with cunning hesitation.
"I feel quite sure of it. He's a terrible
Rose smiled to herself. She meant all the
time to accept Ben's escort, for he was a
bright, attractive boy, and she liked his society.
"Then perhaps I had better accept your
offer, but I am sorry to give you so much
No trouble at all," said Ben, promptly.
Just then Professor Harrington came for-
ward and made his introductory speech.
"For my first experiment, ladies and gen-
tlemen," he said, when this was over, "I
should like a pocket-handkerchief."
A countrified-looking young man on the
front seat, anxious to share in the glory of the
coming trick, produced a flaming red bandana
from his pocket and tendered it with out-
42 THE STORE BOY.
"You are very kind," said the professor,
"but this will hardly answer my purpose. I
should prefer a linen handkerchief. Will
some young lady oblige me "
"Let him have yours, Rose," suggested Ben.
Rose had no objection, and it was passed to
The young lady will give me leave to do
what I please with the handkerchief?" asked
Rose nodded assent.
Then," said the professor, "I will see if it
is proof against fire."
He deliberately unfolded it, crushed it in
his hand, and then held it in the flame of a
Rose uttered a low ejaculation.
"That's the last of your handkerchief,
Rose," said Ben.
"You made me give it to him. You must
buy me another," said the young lady.
"' So I will, if you don't get it back safe."
"How can I?"
"I don't know. Perhaps the professor
does," answered Ben.
PROF. HARRINGTON' S ENTERTAINMENT. 43
Really," said the professor, contemplating
the handkerchief, regretfully. "I am afraid
I have destroyed the handkerchief ; I hope the
young lady will pardon me."
He looked at Rose, but she made no sign.
She felt a little disturbed, for it was a fine
handkerchief, given her by her aunt.
I see the young lady is annoyed," contin-
ued the magician. "In that case I must try
to repair damages. I made a little mistake in
supposing the handkerchief to be non-com-
bustible. However, perhaps matters are not
so bad as they seem."
He tossed the handkerchief behind a screen,
and moved forward to a table on which was a
neat box. Taking a small key from his pocket,
he unlocked it and drew forth before the
astonished eyes of his audience the handker-
I believe this is your handkerchief, is it
not ?" he asked, stepping down from the plat-
form, and handing it back to Rose.
"Yes," answered Rose, in amazement, ex-
amining it carefully, and unable to detect any
44 TIE STORE BOY.
"And it is in as good condition as when you
gave it to me "
I" Yes, sir."
"So much the better. Then I shall not be at the
expense of buying new one. Young man, have
you any objections to lending me your hat ?"
This question was addressed to Ben.
"Thank you. I will promise not to burn it,
as I did the young lady's handkerchief. You
are sure there is nothing in it ?"
By this time the magician had reached the
"I am sorry to doubt the young gentleman's
word," said the professor, "but I will chari-
tably believe he is mistaken. Perhaps he for-
got these articles when he said it was empty,"
and he drew forth a couple of potatoes and
half a dozen onions from the hat and laid them
on the table.
There was a roar of laughter from the au-
dience, and Ben looked rather confused, espe-
cially when Rose turned to him and, laughing,
PROF. HARRINGTON'S ENTERTAINMENT. 45
You've been robbing Mr. Crawford, I am
"The young gentleman evidently uses his
hat for a market-basket," proceeded the pro-
fessor. "Rather a strange taste, but this is a
free country. But what have we here "
Out came a pair of stockings, a napkin, and
"Very convenient to carry your wardrobe
about with you," said the professor, "though
it is rather curious taste to put them with vege-
tables. But here is something else," and the
magician produced a small kitten, who re-
garded the audience with startled eyes and ut-
tered a timid moan.
Oh, Ben! let me have that pretty kitten,"
"It's none of mine said Ben, half an-
noyed, half amused.
"I believe there is nothing more," said the
He carried back the hat to Ben, and gave it
to him, with the remark:
Young man, you may call for your vegeta-
bles and other articles after the entertainment."
46 TIE STORE BOY.
You are welcome to them," said Ben.
Thank you; you are very liberal."
When at length the performance was over,
Ben and Rose moved toward the door. As
Rose reached the outer door, a boy about Ben's
age, but considerably better dressed, stepped
up to her, and said, with a consequential air:
"I will see you home, Miss Gardiner."
"Much obliged, Mr. Davenport," said Rose,
"but I have accepted Ben's escort."
TWO YOUNG RIVALS.
T OM DAVENPORT, for it was the son of
Squire Davenport who had offered his
escort to Rose, glanced superciliously at our
"I congratulate you on having secured a
grocer's boy as escort," he said, in a tone of
Ben's fist contracted, and he longed to
give the pretentious aristocrat a lesson, but he
had the good sense to wait for the young
"I accept your congratulations, Mr. Daven-
port," said Rose coldly. I have no desire to
change my escort."
Tom Davenport laughed derisively, and
I'd like to box his ears," said Ben, redden-
48 THE STORE BOY.
"He doesn't deserve your notice, Ben," said
Rose, taking his arm.
But Ben was not easily appeased.
Just because his father is a rich man," he
He presumes upon it," interrupted Rose,
good-naturedly. "Well, let him. That's his
chief claim to consideration, and it is natural
for him to make the most of it."
"At any rate, I hope that can't be said of
me," returned Ben, his brow clearing. "If I
had nothing but money to be proud of, I
should be very poorly off."
You wouldn't object to it, though."
No; I hope, for mother's sake, some day
to be rich."
Most of our rich men were once poor boys,"
said Rose, quietly. "I have a book of biogra-
phies at home, and I find that not only rich
men, but men distinguished in other ways,
generally commenced in poverty."
"I wish you'd lend me that book," said
Ben. "Sometimes I get despondent and that
will give me courage."
You shall have it whenever you call at the
TWO YOUNG RIVALS. 49
house. But you mustn't think too much of
"I don't mean to ; but I should like to make
my mother comfortable. I don't see much
chance of it while. I remain a 'grocer's boy,' as
Tom Davenport calls me."
. "Better be a grocer's boy than spend your
time in idleness, as Tom does."
Tom thinks it beneath him to work."
"If his father had been of the same mind
when he was a boy, he would never have
become a rich man."
SWas Squire Davenport a poor boy ?"
"Yes; so uncle told me the other day. When
he was a boy he worked on a farm. I don't know
how he made his money, but I presume he laid
the foundation of his wealth by hard work. So,
Tom hasn't any right to look down upon those
who are beginning now as his father began."
They had by this time traversed half the dis-
tance from the Town Hall to the young lady's
home. The subject of conversation was changed
and they began to talk about the evening's en-
tertainment. At length they reached the min-
ister' s house.
50 THE STORE BOY.
Won't you come in, Ben asked Rose.
"Isn't it too late?"
No; uncle always sits up late reading, and
aunt will be glad to see you."
Then I will come in for a few minutes."
Ben's few minutes extended to three-quar-
ters of an hour. When he came out, the moon
was obscured and it was quite dark. Ben had
not gone far when he heard steps behind him,
and presently a hand was laid on his shoulder.
Hallo, boy," said a rough voice.
Ben started, and, turning suddenly, recog-
nized, in spite of the darkness, the tramp who
had attempted to rob him during the day. He
paused, uncertain whether he was not going to
be attacked, but the tramp laughed reassur-
"Don't be afraid, boy," he said. "I owe
you some money, and here it is."
He pressed into the hand of the astonished
Ben the dollar which our hero had given him.
"I don't think it will do me any good," he
said. "I've given it back, and now you can't
say I robbed you."
"You are a strange man," said Ben.
TWO YOUNG RIVALS. 51
"I'm not so bad as I look," said the tramp.
"Some day I may do you a service. I'm
goin' out of town to-night, and you'll. hear
from me again some time."
He turned swiftly, and Ben lost sight of
THE TRAMP MAKES ANOTHER CALL.
MY readers will naturally be surprised
at the tramp's restitution of a coin,
which, though counterfeit, he would probably
have managed to pass, but this chapter will
throw some light on his mysterious conduct.
When he made a sudden exit from Mrs. Bar-
clay's house, upon the appearance of the squire
and his friend, he did not leave the premises,
but posted himself at a window, slightly open,
of the room in which the widow received her
new visitors. He listened with a smile to the
squire's attempt to force Mrs. Barclay to sell
He's a sly old rascal!" thought the tramp.
"I'll put a spoke in his wheel."
When the squire and his wife's cousin left
the house, the tramp followed at a little dis-
tance. Not far from the squire's handsome
THE TRAMP MAKES ANOTHER CALL. 53
residence Kirk left him, and the tramp then
came boldly forward.
"Good evening, he said familiarly.
Squire Davenport turned sharply, and as his
eye fell on the unprepossessing figure, he in-
stinctively put his hand in the pocket in which
he kept his wallet.
"Who are you he demanded, apprehen-
"I ain't a thief, and you needn't fear for
your wallet," was the reply.
Let me pass, fellow I I can do nothing for
"We'll see about that! "
"Do you threaten me asked Squire Dav-
enport, in alarm.
Not at all; but I've got some business with
you-some important business."
Then call to-morrow forenoon," said Dav-
enport, anxious to get rid of his ill-looking
"That won't do; I want to leave town to-
"That's nothing to me."
"It may be," said the tramp, significantly.
54 THE STORE BOY.
"I want to speak to you about the husband
of the woman you called on to-night."
"The husband of Mrs. Barclay! Why, he is
dead !" ejaculated the squire, in surprise.
"That is true. Do you know whether he
left any property ?"
No. I believe not."
That's what I want to talk about. You'd
better see me to-night."
There was significance in the tone of the
tramp, and Squire Davenport looked at him
Why don't you go and see Mrs. Barclay
about this matter ? he asked.
"I may, but I think you'd better see me
By this time they had reached the squire's
Come in," he said, briefly.
The squire led the way into a comfortable
sitting-room, and his rough visitor followed
him. By the light of an astral lamp Squire
Davenport looked at him.
"Did I ever see you before a" he asked.
THE TRAMP MAKES ANOTHER CALL. 65
"Then I don't see what business we can have
together. I am tired, and wish to go to
I'll come to business at once, then. When
John Barclay died, in Chicago, a wallet was
found in his pocket, and in that wallet was a
promissory note for a thousand dollars, signed
by you. I suppose you have paid that. sum to
the widow ? "
Squire Davenport was the picture of dismay.
He had meanly ignored the note, with the
intention of cheating Mrs. Barclay. He had
supposed it was lost; yet here, after some
years, appeared a man who knew of it. As
Mr. Barclay had been reticent about his busi-
ness affairs, he had never told his wife about
having deposited this sum with Squire Daven-
port, and of this fact the squire had meanly
What proof have you of this strange and
improbable story asked the squire, after a
"The best of proof," answered the tramp
promptly. "The note was found, and is now
56 THE STORE BOY.
"Who holds it-that is, admitting for a
moment the truth of your story ?"
I do; it is in my pocket at this moment."
At this moment Tom Davenport opened the
door of the apartment, and stared in open-eyed
amazement at his father's singular visitor.
"Leave the room, Tom," said his father,
hastily. "This man is consulting me on busi-
"Is that your son, squire?" asked the
tramp, with a familiar nod. "He's quite a
"What business can my father have with
such a cad ? thought Tom, disgusted.
Tom was pleased, nevertheless, at being taken
for "a young swell."
SQUIRE DAVENPORT'S FINANCIAL OPERATION.
SQUIRE DAVENPORT was a thoroughly
respectable man in the estimation of the
community. That such a man was capable of
defrauding a poor widow, counting on her
ignorance, would have plunged all his friends
and acquaintances into the profoundest amaze-
Yet this was precisely what the squire had
Mr. Barclay, who had prospered beyond his
wife's knowledge, found himself seven years
before in possession of a thousand dollars in
hard cash. Knowing that the squire had a bet-
ter knowledge of suitable investments than he,
he went to him one day and asked advice.
Now, the squire was fond of money. When he
saw the ample roll of bank-notes which his
neighbor took from his wallet, he felt a desire
58 THE STORE BOY.
to possess them. They would not be his, to be
sure, but merely to have them under his con-
trol seemed pleasant. So he said:
"Friend Barclay, I should need time to
consider that question. Are you in any
"I should like to get the money out of my
possession. I might lose it or have it stolen.
Besides, I don't want my wife to discover that
I have it."
"It might make her extravagant, perhaps,"
suggested the squire.
"No, I am not afraid of that; but I want
some day to surprise her by letting her see that
I am a richer man than she thinks."
"Very judicious Then no one knows that
you have the money ?"
"No one ; I keep my business to myself."
You are a wise man. I'll tell you what I
will do, friend Barclay. While I am not pre-
pared to recommend any particular invest-
ment, I will take the money and give you my
note for it, agreeing to pay six per cent. inter-
est. Of course I shall invest it in some way,
and I may gain or I may lose, but even if I do
MR. DAVENPORT'S FINANCIAL OPERATION. 69
lose you will be safe, for you will have my
note, and will receive interest semi-annually."
The proposal struck Mr. Barclay favorably.
"I suppose I can have the money when I
want it again ?" he inquired.
"Oh, certainly I may require a month's
notice to realize on securities; but if I have the
money in bank I won't even ask that."
"Then take the money, squire, and give me
So, in less than five minutes, the money
found its way into Squire Davenport's strong
box, and Mr. Barclay left the squire's presence
well satisfied, with his note of hand in place of
his roll of greenbacks.
Nearly two years passed. Interest was paid
punctually three times, and another payment
was all but due when the unfortunate creditor
died in Chicago. Then it was that a terrible
temptation assailed Squire Davenport. No one
knew of the trust his neighbor had reposed in
him-not even his wife. Of course, if the note
was found in his pocket, all would be known.
But perhaps it would not be known. In that
case, the thousand dollars and thirty dollars
60 THE STORE BOY.
interest might be retained without any one
being the wiser. It is only fair to say that
Squire Davenport's face flushed with shame as
the unworthy thought came to him, but still
he did not banish it. He thought the matter
over, and the more he thought the more unwill-
ing he was to give up this sum, which all at
once had become dearer to him than all the
rest of his possessions.
I'll wait to see whether the note is found,"
he said to himself. Of course if it is, I will
pay it-" that is, he would pay it if he were
obliged to do it.
Poor Barclay was buried in Chicago-it
would have been too expensive to bring on the
body-and pretty soon it transpired that he
had left no property, except the modest cot-
tage in which his widow and son continued to
Poor Mrs. Barclay! Every body pitied her,
and lamented her straitened circumstances.
Squire Davenport kept silence, and thought,
with guilty joy, "They haven't found the
note: I can keep the money, and no one will
be the wiser "
MR. DAVENPORT'S FINANCIAL OPERATION. 61
How a rich man could have been guilty of
such consummate meanness I will not under-
take to explain, but "the love of money is the
root of evil," and Squire Davenport had love
of money in no common measure.
Five years passed. Mrs. Barclay was
obliged to mortgage her house to obtain the
means of living, and the very man who sup-
plied her with the money was the very man
whom her husband had blindly trusted. She
little dreamed that it was her own money he
was doling out to her.
In fact, Squire Davenport himself had
almost forgotten it. He had come to consider
the thousand dollars and interest fully and
absolutely his own, and had no apprehension
that his mean fraud would ever be discovered.
Like a thunderbolt, then, came to him the
declaration of his unsavory visitor that the
note was in existence, and was in the hands of
a man who meant to use it. Smitten with
sudden panic he stared in the face of the
tramp. But he was not going to give up with-
out a struggle.
S"You are evidently trying to impose upon
C. THE STORE BOY.
me," he said, mentally bracing up. "You
wish to extort money from me."
So I do," said the tramp quietly.
Ha you admit it ? exclaimed the squire.
"Certainly: I wouldn't have taken the
trouble to come here, at great expense and
inconvenience, if I hadn't been expecting to
make some money."
Then you've come to the wrong person; I
repeat it, you've come to the wrong person!"
said the squire, straightening his back and eye-
ing his companion sternly.
"I begin to think I have," assented the
Ha he weakens !" thought Squire Daven.
port. "My good man, I recommend you to
turn over a new leaf, and seek to earn an hon-
est living, instead of trying to level blackmail
on men of means."
"An honest living!" repeated the tramp,
with a laugh. This advice comes well from
Once more the squire felt uncomfortable and
I don't understand you," he said, irritably.
MR. DAVENPORT'S FINANCIAi OPERATION. 63
"However, as you yourself admit, you have
come to the wrong person."
Just so," said the visitor, rising. "I now
go to the right person."
What do you mean ?" asked Squire Daven-
port in alarm.
I mean that I ought to have gone to Mrs.
Sit down, sit down! said the squire, nerv-
ously. You mustn't do that."
Why not ?" demanded the tramp, looking
him calmly in the face.
"Because it would disturb her mind, and
excite erroneous thoughts and expectations."
She would probably be willing to give me
a good sum for bringing it to her, say, the over-
due* interest. That alone, in five years and a
half, would amount to over three hundred dol-
lars, even without compounding."
Squire Davenport groaned in spirit. It was
indeed true! He must pay away over thir-
teen hundred dollars, and his loss in reputa-
tion would be even greater than his loss of
"Can't we compromise this thing?" he
64 TIE STORE BOY.
stammered. "I don't admit the genuineness
of the note, but if such a claim were made it
would seriously annoy me. I am willing to
give you, say, fifty dollars, if you will deliver
up the pretended note."
"It won't do, squire. Fifty dollars won't
do! I won't take a cent less than two hun-
dred, and that is only about half the interest
you would have to pay."
"You speak as if the note were genuine,"
said the squire, uncomfortably.
"You know whether it is or not," said the
tramp, significantly. "At any rate, we won' t
talk about that. You know my terms."
In the end, Squire Davenport paid over two
hundred dollars, and received back the note,
which, after a hasty examination, he threw
into the fire.
"Now," he said, roughly, "get out of my
"Good-evening, squire!" said the tramp,
laughing and nodding to the discomfited
squire. We may meet again, some time."
If you come here again I will set the dog
MR. DAVENPORT'S FINANCIAL OPERATION. 65
"So much the worse for the dog! Well,
good-night I have enjoyed my interview-
hope you have."
"Impudent scoundrel !" said the squire to
himself. "I hope he will swing some day I "
But, as he thought over what had happened,
he found comfort in the thought that the secret
was at last safe. The note was burned, and
could never reappear in judgment against him.
Certainly, he got off cheap.
"Well," thought the tramp as he strode
away from the squire's mansion, "this has been
a profitable evening. I have two hundred dol-
lars in my pocket, and-I still have a hold on
the rascal. If he had only examined the note
before burning it, he might have made a dis-
A PROSPECT OF TROUBLE.
W HEN Ben returned home from the Town
Hall he discovered, at the first glance,
that his mother was in trouble.
Are you disturbed because I came home so
late ?" asked Ben. I would have been here
sooner, but I went home with Rose Gardiner.
I ought to have remembered that you might
Mrs. Barclay smiled faintly.
"I had no occasion to feel lonely," she said.
"I had three callers. The last did not go away
till after nine o'clock."
"I am glad you were not alone, mother,"
said Ben, thinking some of his mother's neigh-
bors might have called.
"I should rather have been alone, Ben.
They brought bad news-that is, one of them
A PROSPECT OF TROUBLE. 67
Who was it, mother ? Who called on you ?"
"The first one was the same man who took
your money in the woods."
What, the tramp exclaimed Ben, hastily.
' Did he frighten you ?
"A little, at first, but he did me no harm.
He asked for some supper, and I gave it to
What bad news did he bring "
"None. It was not he. On the other hand,
what he hinted, would be good news, if it were
true. He said that your father left property,
and that he was the only man who possessed
"Do you think this can be so?" said Ben,
looking at his mother in surprise.
"I don't know what to think. He said he
was a barkeeper in the hotel where your poor
father died, and was about to say more when a
knock was heard at the door, and he hurried
away, as if in fear of encountering somebody."
And he did not come back I"
"That is strange," said Ben, thoughtfully.
" Do you know, mother, I met him on my way
68 THE STORE BOY.
home, or rather, he came up behind me and
tapped me on the shoulder."
"What did he say?" asked Mrs. Barclay,
He gave me back the bogus dollar he took
from me, saying, with a laugh, that it would
be of no use to him. Then he said he might
do me a service some time, and I would some
day hear from him."
"Ben, I think that man took the papers
from the pocket of your dying father, and has
them now in his possession. He promised to
sell me a secret for money, but I told him I
had none to give."
"I wish we could see him again, but he said
he should leave town to-night. But, mother,
what was the bad news you spoke of ?"
"Ben, I am afraid we are going to lose our
home," said the widow, the look of trouble
returning to her face.
What do you mean, mother ?"
"You know that Squire Davenport has a
mortgage on the place for seven hundred dol-
lars; he was here to-night with a man named
Kirk, some connection of his wife. It seems
A PROSPECT OF TROUBLE. 69
Kirk is coming to Pentonville to live, and
wants this house."
"He will have to want it, mother," said
"Not if the squire backs him, as he does;
he threatens to foreclose the mortgage if I
Ben comprehended the situation now, and
appreciated its gravity.
"What does he offer, mother "
"A thousand dollars only-perhaps a little
Why, that would be downright robbery."
"Not in the eye of the law. Ben, we are in
the power of Squire Davenport, and he is a
"I would like to give him a piece of my
mind, mother. He might be in better business
than robbing you of your house."
"Do nothing hastily, Ben. There is only
one thing that we can do to save the house,
and that is to induce some one to advance the
money necessary to take up the mortgage."
"Can you think of any body who would
70 THE STORE BOY.
Mrs. Barclay shook her head.
There is no one in Pentonville who would
be willing, and has the money," she said. "I
have a rich cousin in New York, but I have
not met him since I was married ; he thought
a great deal of me once, but I suppose he
scarcely remembers me now. He lived, when I
last heard of him, on Lexington Avenue, and
his name is Absalom Peters."
"And he is rich ?"
"Yes, very rich, I believe."
"I have a great mind to ask for a day's
vacation from Mr. Crawford, and go to New
York to see him."
"I am afraid it would do no good."
"It would do no harm, except that it would
cost something for traveling expenses. But I
would go as economically as possible. Have I
your permission, mother ?"
"You can do as you like, Ben; I won't for-
bid you, though I have little hope of its doing
"Then I will try and get away Monday.
To-morrow is Saturday, and I can't be spared
A PROSPECT OF TROUBLE. 71
at the store; there is always more doing,
you know, on Saturday than any other
"I don't feel like giving any advice, Ben.
Do as you please."
The next day, on his way home to dinner,
Ben met his young rival of the evening pre-
vious, Tom Davenport.
How are you, Tom said Ben, nodding.
I want to speak to you, Ben Barclay," said
the young aristocrat, pausing in his walk.
Go ahead! I'm listening," said Ben.
Tom was rather annoyed at the want of re-
spect which, in his opinion, Ben showed him,
but hardly knew how to express his objections,
so he came at once to the business in hand.
You'd better not hang round Rose Gardiner
so much," he said, superciliously.
What do you mean by that demanded
You forced your attentions on her last even.
ing at the Town Hall."
Who told you so a"
"I saw it for myself."
"I thought Rose didn't tell you so."
72 THE STORE BOY.
"It must be disagreeable to her family to
have a common grocer's boy seen with her."
It seems to me you take a great deal of in-
terest in the matter, Tom Davenport. You talk
as if you were the guardian of the young lady.
I believe you wanted to go home with her your-
"It would have been much more suitable,
but you had made her promise to go with you."
"I would have released her from her promise
at once, if she had expressed a wish to that
effect. Now, Tom Davenport, I want to give
you a piece of advice."
"I don't want any of your advice," said
Tom, loftily. "I don't want any advice from
a store boy."
I'll give it to you all the same. You can
make money by minding your own business."
"You are impudent!" said Tom, flushing
with anger. "I've got something more to tell
you. You'll be out on the sidewalk before
three months are over. Father is going to fore-
close the mortgage on your house."
"That remains to be seen I" said Ben, but
his heart sank within him as he realized that
the words would probably prove true.
BEN GOES TO NEW YORK.
PENTONVILLE was thirty-five miles dis-
tant from New York, and the fare was a
dollar, but an excursion ticket, carrying a pass-
enger both ways, was only a dollar and a half.
Ben calculated that his extra expenses, includ-
ing dinner, might amount to fifty cents, thus
making the cost of the trip two dollars. This
sum, small as it was, appeared large both to Ben
and his mother. Some doubts about the expe-
diency of the journey suggested themselves to
Do you think you had better go, Ben "
she said, doubtfully. Two dollars would buy
you some new stockings and handkerchiefs."
'"I will do without them, mother. Some-
thing has got to be done, or we shall be turned
74 THE STORE BOY.
into the street when three months are up.
Squire Davenport is a very selfish man, and he
will care nothing for our comfort or conven-
"That is true," said the widow with a sigh.
"If I thought your going to New York would
do any good, I would not grudge you the
"Something will turn up, or I will turn up
something," said Ben, confidently.
When he asked Mr. Crawford for a day off,
the latter responded, Yes, Ben, I think I can
spare you, as Monday is not a very busy day.
Would you be willing to do an errand for
"Certainly, Mr. Crawford, with pleasure."
"I need a new supply of prints. Go to Stack-
pole & Rogers, No. White Street, and select
me some attractive patterns. I shall rely upon
"Thank you, sir," said Ben, gratified by the
He received instructions as to price and
quantity, which he carefully noted down.
As it will save me a journey, not to speak
BEN GOES TO NEW YORK. 75
of my time, I am willing to pay your fare one
Thank you, sir; you are very kind."
Mr. Crawford took from the money-drawer
a dollar, and handed it to Ben.
"But I buy an excursion ticket, so that my
fare each way will be but seventy-five cents."
"Never mind, the balance will go toward
"There, mother, what do you say now "
said Ben, on Saturday night. "Mr. Crawford
is going to pay half my expenses, and I am
going to buy some goods for him."
"I am glad he reposes so much confidence in
you, Ben. I hope you won't lose his money."
Oh, I don't carry any. He buys on thirty
days. All I have to do is to select the
"Perhaps it is for the best that you go, after
all," said Mrs. Barclay. "At any rate, I
At half-past seven o'clock on Monday morn-
ing Ben stood on the platform of the Penton-
ville station, awaiting the arrival of the train.
Where are you going ?" said a voice.
76 THE STORE BOY.
Ben, turning, saw that it was Tom Daven-
port who had spoken.
"I am going to New York," he answered
"Has Crawford discharged you "
"Why do you ask I Would you like to apply
for the position asked Ben, coolly.
"Do you think I would condescend to be a
grocer's boy returned Tom, disdainfully.
"I don't know."
"If I go into business it will be as a mer-
"I am glad to hear it."
"You didn't say what you were going to
New York for?"
"I have no objection to tell you, as you are
anxious to know: I am going to the city to buy
Tom looked not only amazed but incredu-
"That's a likely story," said he, after a
"It is a true story."
"Do you mean to say Crawford trusts you
to buy goods for him ?"
BEN GOES TO NEW YORK. 77
"So it seems."
He must be getting weak-headed."
"Suppose you call and give him that grati-
fying piece of information."
Just then the train came thundering up,
and Ben jumped aboard. Tom Davenport
looked after him with a puzzled glance.
I wonder whether that boy tells the truth,"
he said to himself. "He thinks too much of
himself, considering what he is."
It never occurred to Tom that the remark
would apply even better to him than the boy
he was criticising. As a rule we are the last
to recognize our own faults, however quick we
may be to see the faults of others.
Two hours later Ben stood in front of the
large dry goods jobbing house of Stackpole &
Rogers, in White Street.
He ascended a staircase to the second floor,
which was very spacious and filled with goods
in great variety.
"Where is the department of prints ?" he
inquired of a young man near the door.
He was speedily directed and went over at
once. He showed the salesman in charge a
78 THE STORE BOY.
letter from Mr. Crawford, authorizing him to
select a certain amount of goods.
You are rather a young buyer," said the
"It is the first time I have served in that
way," said Ben, modestly; "but I know
pretty well what Mr. Crawford wants."
Half an hour was consumed in making his
You have good taste," said the salesman,
judging from your selections."
If you ever come to the city to look for
work, come here, and I will introduce you to
Thank you. How soon can you ship the
"I am afraid not to-day, as we are very
busy. Early next week we will send them."
His business concluded, Ben left the store
and walked up to Broadway. The crowded
thoroughfare had much to interest him. He
was looking in at a window when some one
tapped him on the shoulder.
BEN GOES TO NEW YORK. 79
It was a young man foppishly attired, who
was smiling graciously upon him.
"Why, Gus Andre," he said, "when did
you come to town, and how did you leave all
the folks in Bridgeport ? "
"You have made a mistake," said Ben.
"Isn't your name Gus Andre ?"
"No, it is Ben Barclay, from Pentonville."
"I really beg your pardon. You look sur-
prisingly like my friend Gussie."
Five minutes later there was another tap on
our hero's shoulder, as he was looking into
another window, and another nicely dressed
young man said, heartily, "Why, Ben, my
boy, when did you come to town 1"
"This morning," answered Ben. "You
seem to know me, but I can't remember you."
"Are you not Ben Barclay, of Penton-
"Don't you remember Jim Fisher, who
passed part of the summer, two years since, in
your village ?"
Where were you staying ?" asked Ben.
It was the other's turn to look confused.
80 THE STORE BOY.
"At-the Smith' s," he answered, at random.
"At Mrs. Roxana Smith's ?" suggested Ben.
"Yes, yes," said the other, eagerly, "she
is my aunt."
"Is she?" asked Ben, with a smile of
amusement, for he had by this time made up
his mind as to the character of his new friend.
" She must be proud of her stylish nephew.
Mrs. Smith is a poor widow, and takes in
"It's some other Smith," said the young
"She is the only one by that name in
Jim Fisher, as he called himself, turned
upon his heel and left Ben without a word.
It was clear that nothing could be made out of
Ben walked all the way up Broadway, as
far as Twenty-first Street, into which he
turned, and walked eastward until he reached
Gramercy Park, opposite which Lexington
Avenue starts. In due time he reached the
house of Mr. Absalom Peters, and, ascending
the steps, he rang the bell.
BEN GOES TO NEW YORK. 81
"Is Mr. Peters in he askedof the servant
who answered the bell.
"Will he be in soon 9"
"I guess not. He sailed for Europe last
Ben's heart sank within him. He had
hoped much from Mr. Peters, before whom he
meant to lay all the facts of his mother's situ-
ation. Now that hope was crushed.
He turned, and slowly descended the steps.
"There goes our last chance of saving the
house," he said to himself, sadly
THE MADISON AVENUE STAGE.
B EN was naturally hopeful, but he had
counted more than he was aware on the
chance of obtaining assistance from Absalom
Peters toward paying off his mother's mort-
gage. As Mr. Peters was in Europe nothing
could be done, and there seemed absolutely no
one else to apply to. They had friends, of
course, and warm ones, in Pentonville, but none
that were able to help them.
I suppose we must make up our minds to
lose the house," thought Ben. Squire Dav-
enport is selfish and grasping, and there is
little chance of turning him."
He walked westward till he reached Madison
Avenue. A stage approached, being bound
down town, and, feeling tired, he got in. The
fare was but five cents, and he was willing to
THE MADISON AVENUE STAGE. 83
Some half dozen other passengers beside
himself were in the stage. Opposite Ben sat a
handsomely-dressed, somewhat portly lady, of
middle age, with a kindly expression. Next
her sat a young man, attired fashionably, who
had the appearance of belonging to a family
of position. There were, besides, an elderly
man, of clerical appearance; a nurse with a
small child, a business man, intent upon the
financial column of a leading paper, and a
Ben regarded his fellow passengers with
interest. In Pentonville he seldom saw a new
face. Here all were new. Our young hero
was, though he did not know it, an embryo
student of human nature. He liked to observe
men and women of different classes and spec-
ulate upon their probable position and traits.
It so happened that his special attention was
attracted to the fashionably-attired young man.
I suppose he belongs to a rich family, and
has plenty of money," thought Ben. "IIt
must be pleasant to be born with a gold spoon
in your mouth, and know that you are pro-
vided for life."
84 THE STORE BOY.
If Ben had been wiser he would have judged
differently. To be born to wealth removes all
the incentives to action, and checks the spirit
of enterprise. A boy or man who finds him-
self gradually rising in the world through his
own exertions, experiences a satisfaction
unknown to one whose fortune is ready made.
However, in Ben's present strait it is no won-
der he regarded with envy the supposed young
man of fortune.
Our hero was destined to be strangely sur-
prised. His eyes were unusually keen, and
enabled him after awhile to observe some
rather remarkable movements on the part of
the young man. Though his eyes were look-
ing elsewhere, Ben could see that his right
hand was stealthily insinuating itself into the
pocket of the richly-dressed lady at his side.
"Is it possible that he is a pickpocket ?"
thought Ben, in amazement. "So nicely
dressed as he is, too!"
It did not occur to Ben that he dressed well
the better to avert suspicion from his real char-
acter. Besides, a man who lives at other peo-
ple's expense can afford to dress well.
THE MADISON AVENUE STAGE. 85
What shall I do ? thought Ben, disturbed
in mind. Ought I not to warn the lady that
she is in danger of losing her money ?"
While he was hesitating the deed was accom-
plished. A pearl port-monnaie was adroitly
drawn from the lady's pocket and transferred
to that of the young man. It was done with
incredible swiftness, but Ben's sharp eyes
The young man yawned, and, turning away
from the lady appeared to be looking out of
a window at the head of the coach.
"Why, there is Jack Osborne," he said,
half audibly, and, rising, pulled the strap for
the driver to stop the stage.
Then was the critical moment for Ben. Was
he to allow the thief to escape with the money ?
Ben hated to get into a disturbance, but he
felt that it would be wrong and cowardly to be
Before you get out," he said, "hand that
lady her pocket-book."
The face of the pickpocket changed and he
darted a malignant glance at Ben.
86 THE STORE BOY.
What do you mean, you young scoundrel?"
"You have taken that lady's pocket-
book," persisted Ben.
"Do you mean to insult me "
"I saw you do it."
With a half exclamation of anger, the young
man darted to the door. But he was brought
to a stand-still by the business man, who
placed himself in his way.
"Not so fast, young man,"- he said reso-
Out of my way !" exclaimed the thief, in
a rage. "It's all a base lie. I never was so
insulted in my life."
"Do you miss your pocket-book, madam ? "
asked the gentleman, turning to the lady who
had been robbed.
"Yes," she answered. "It was in the
pocket next to this man."
The thief seeing there was no hope of retain-
ing his booty, drew it from his pocket and
flung it into the lady's lap.
"Now, may I go l" he said.
There was no policeman in sight, and at a
THE MADISON AVENUE STAGE. 87
nod from the lady, the pickpocket was allowed
to leave the stage.
You ought to have had him arrested. He
is a dangerous character," said the gentleman
who had barred his progress.
"It would have been inconvenient for me to
appear against him," said the lady. I am
willing to let him go."
"Well, there is one comfort--if he keeps
on he will be hauled up sooner or later," re-
marked the gentleman. "Would your loss
have been a heavy one he inquired.
I had quite a large sum in my pocket-book,
over two hundred dollars. But for my young
friend opposite," she said, nodding kindly at
Ben, "I should have lost it with very small
chance of recovery."
"I am glad to have done you a service,
madam," said Ben, politely.
I know it is rather imprudent to carry so
large a sum about with me," continued the
lady, "but I have a payment to make to a
carpenter who has done work in my house,
and I thought he might not find it convenient
to use a check."
88 THE STORE BOY.
A lady is in more danger than a gentle-
man," observed the business man, "as she can
not so well hide away her pocket-book. You
will need to be careful as you walk along the
"I think it will be best to have a neighbor
whom I can trust," said the lady. "Would
you mind taking this seat at my side she
continued, addressing Ben.
I will change with pleasure," said our
here, taking the seat recently vacated by the
You have sharp eyes, my young friend,"
said his new acquaintance.
My eyes are pretty good," said Ben with
They have done me good service to-day.
May I know to whom I am indebted for such
timely help ? "
"My name is Benjamin Barclay."
"Do you live in the city I"
"No, madam. I live in Pentonville, about
thirty miles from New York."
I have heard of the place. Are you pro;
posing to live here ?"
THE MADISON AVENUE STAGE. 89
No, madam. I came in to-day on a little
business of my own, and also to select some
goods for a country store in which I am
You are rather young for such a commis-
"I know the sort of goods Mr. Crawford
sells, so it was not very difficult to make the
At what time do you go back ?"
By the four o'clock train."
Have you any thing to do meanwhile ?"
"No, madam," answered Ben, a little sur-
Then I should like to have you accompany
me to the place where I am to settle my bill.
I feel rather timid after my adventure with
our late fellow-passenger."
"I shall be very happy to oblige you,
madam," said Ben, politely.
He had just heard a public clock strike one
and he knew, therefore, that he would have
plenty of time.
BEN' S LUCK.
" T E will get out here," said Mrs. Ham-
ilton. (It is time we gave the lady
They had reached the corner of Fourth
Street and Broadway.
Ben pulled the strap, and with his new
friend left the stage. He offered his hand
politely to assist the lady in descending.
"He is a little gentleman," thought Mrs.
Hamilton, who was much pleased with our
They turned from Broadway eastward, and
presently crossed the Bowery also. Not far to
the east of the last avenue they came to a car-
Mr. Plank, a middle-aged, honest-looking
mechanic, looked up in surprise when Mrs.
Hamilton entered the shop.
BEN'S LUCK. 91
"You didn't expect a call from me said
the lady pleasantly.
"No, ma'am. Fashionable ladies don't
often find their way over here."
Then don't look upon me as a fashionable
lady. I like to attend to my business myself,
and have brought you the money for your
Thank you, ma'am. You never made me
wait. But I am sorry you had the trouble to
come to my shop. I would have called at your
house if you had sent me a postal."
"My time is not so valuable as yours, Mr.
Plank. I must tell you, however, that you
came near not getting your money this morn-
ing. Another person undertook to collect your
"Who was it ?" demanded the carpenter,
indignantly. "If there's any body playing
such tricks on me I'll have him up before the
"It was no acquaintance of yours. The
person in question had no spite against you
and you would only have suffered a little
92 THE STORE BOY.
Then Mrs. Hamilton explained how a pick-
pocket had undertaken to relieve her of her
wallet, and would have succeeded but for her
"Oh, they're mighty sharp, ma'am, I can
tell you," said the carpenter. "I never lost
any thing, because I don't look as if I had any
thing worth stealing; but if one of those ras-
cals made up his mind to rob me, ten to one
he'd do it."
Mr. Plank receipted his bill and Mrs. Ham-
ilton paid him a hundred and eighty-seven
dollars and fifty cents. Ben could not help
envying him, as he saw the roll of bills trans-
ferred to him.
"I hope the work was done satisfactory,"
said Mr. Plank. (Perfect grammar could not be
expected of a man who, from the age of twelve,
had been forced to earn his own living.)
"Quite so, Mr. Plank," said the lady,
graciously. "I shall send for you when I
have any more work to be done."
There was no more business to attend to, and
Mrs. Hamilton led the way out, accompanied
BEN'S LUCK. 93
"I will trouble you to see me as far as
Broadway," said the lady. "I am not used
to this neighborhood and prefer to have an
"I didn't think this morning," said Ben to
himself, "that a rich lady would select me as
On the whole, he liked it. It gave him a
feeling of importance, and a sense of responsi-
bility which a manly boy always likes.
""I shall be glad to stay with you as long as
you like," said Ben.
"Thank you, Benjamin, or, shall I say,
"I wish you would. I hardly know myself
when I am called Benjamin."
As we are walking along, suppose you tell
me something of yourself. I only know your
name, and that you live in Pentonville. What
relations have you "
A mother only-my father is dead."
"And you help take care of your mother, I
"Yes; father left us nothing except the
house we live in, or, at least, we could get
94 THE STORE BOY.
track of no other property. He died in Chicago
"I hope you are getting along comfortably
-you and your mother," said Mrs. Hamilton,
"We have our troubles," answered Ben.
" We are in danger of having our house taken
"How is that?"
A rich man in our village, Squire Daven-
port, has a mortgage of seven hundred dollars
upon it. He wants the house for a relative of
his wife, and threatens to foreclose at the end
of three months."
The house must be worth a good deal more
than the mortgage."
It is worth twice as much; but if it is put
up at auction I doubt if it will fetch over a
"This would leave your mother but three
"Yes," answered Ben, despondently.
Have you thought of any way of raising
the money 1 "
"Yes; I came up to the city to-day to see a
BEN' S LUCK. 95
cousin of mother's, a Mr. Absalom Peters, who
lives on Lexington Avenue, and I had just
come from there when I got into the stage with
Won't he help you "
"Perhaps he might if he was in the city;
though mother has seen nothing of him for
twenty years; but, unfortunately, he just sailed
"That is indeed a pity. I suppose you
haven't much hope now I"
Unless Mr. Peters comes back. He is the
only one we can think of to call upon."
"What sort of a man is this Squire Dav-
enpor t "
"He is a very selfish man, who thinks only
of his own interest. We felt safe, because we
did not suppose he would have any use for a
small house like ours; but night before last he
called on mother with the man he wants it
"He can not foreclose just yet, can he "
asked Mrs. Hamilton.
"No; we have three months to look
96 THE STORE BOY.
"Three months is a long time," said the
lady, cheerfully. "A good deal can happen
in three months. Do the best you can, and
keep up hope."
"I shall try to do so."
You have reason to do so. You may not
save your house, but you have, probably, a
good many years before you, and plenty of
good fortune may be in store for you."
The cheerful tone in which the lady spoke
somehow made Ben hopeful and sanguine, at
any rate, for the time being.
"In this country, the fact that you are a
poor boy will not stand in the way of your suc-
cess. The most eminent men of the day, in all
branches of business, and in all professions,
were once poor boys. I dare say, looking at
me, you don't suppose I ever knew any thing
"No," said Ben.
"Yet I was the daughter of a bankrupt
farmer and my husband was clerk in a country
store. I am not going to tell you how he came
to the city and prospered, leaving me, at his