A BAD PENN

JOSHUA walked as far up as Central Park. Then he judged that it would be
useless to go any farther. What if he should be unable to find Sam at
all? It was an alarming suggestion, for he depended upon his friend to
get him a place, and make him acquainted with the ways of the city. He
resolved to retrace his steps, and explore that part of the avenue which
he had not yet visited. He felt tired, and would have entered a car, but
was afraid he might not know where to get out. Besides, there was a
possibility of his meeting Sam on the street.

It was fortunate for him that he decided to walk. About Thirtieth street
he met the one of whom he was in search. Sam was looking in at a shop
window, and did not perceive his approach. Overjoyed, Joshua hurried
forward and touched him on the shoulder.

“Joshua Drummond!” exclaimed Sam, in surprise; “where in the world did
you come from?”

“I came from Stapleton this morning,” said Joshua. “I didn’t know as I
should ever find you. I have been walking a long way, going into all the
shoe stores I could find, asking for you.”

“Didn’t you know my number? You had it in a letter.”

“I forgot to bring the letter. All I could remember was that you lived
somewhere on Eighth avenue.”

“How long are you going to stay in the city?” asked his friend.

“I ain’t going back to Stapleton,” answered Joshua. “I’ve got sick and
tired of it.”

“Are you going into a store in New York?”

“Yes, if I can find a place. You’ll help me, won’t you, Sam?”

“I’ll do all I can. So the old man was willing to let you come?”

“No, he wasn’t. I came away without asking him.”

“Did you?” said Sam, cooling a little, for he was afraid that in that
case Joshua was not supplied with money. “How do you expect to live
while you’re looking out for a place?”

“I can board somewhere. Can’t I get in at your boarding place?”

“Why, you see,” said Sam, “they’ll expect you to pay your board every
week in advance unless you can give references. I’m hard up, so I can’t
help you.”

“Oh, I’ve got money,” said Joshua.

“Oh, you have!” said Sam, feeling considerably relieved. “Have you got
enough to last you a month?”

“I’ve got most six hundred dollars.”

“You don’t say so!” said Sam, cordially. “Where did you raise it? Did
you draw a prize in the lottery?”

“No,” said Joshua, “I drew a blank. The old man found out about the
ticket and made a row.”

“Then how came he to give you the money?” asked his friend.

“He didn’t give it to me,” said Joshua, a little awkwardly.

“Never mind,” said Sam, quickly, for he suspected the true state of the
case, but thought it best not to appear to know that the money was
dishonestly acquired. “The main thing is that you’ve got the money. Now,
my dear fellow,” he continued, with a remarkable increase of cordiality,
“I want you to come and room with me.”

“That’s just what I should like,” said Joshua, gratified.

“I have a hall bedroom now; but Mrs. Jones has a larger room with a
double bed. We’ll take that together, and I’ll show you round.”

“That’s just what I want,” said Joshua. “You see, I’ve never been in New
York before, and I’ve got to get used to it.”

“I know all about it,” said Sam, with an air of consequence. “I know the
ropes, if anybody does. I’ll show you life. Have you got the money with
you?”

“Five hundred dollars of it is in a government bond. Can I sell it?”

“Oh, yes; that’s easy enough. Have you got some money besides?”

“Yes; I’ve got over seventy dollars in money.”

“I am glad you came to me,” said Sam, who had already made up his mind
to help Joshua spend his money. “You are a friend of mine, and of course
I feel an interest in you.”

This was quite true; Sam did feel an interest in Joshua, now that he had
ascertained his ability to pay his own expenses. Otherwise, it is to be
feared that the interest would have been considerably less.

“Come with me,” he said; “I’ve got to go back to the store now, but in
an hour or more I shall be going out to supper. You can come with me,
and then we will fix it about having a room together.”

To this proposal Joshua willingly acceded. He had walked till he was
tired, and was quite willing to rest before going further.

“How do you happen to be out of the store at this time?” asked Joshua.

“I came out on a little business,” said Sam, loftily. “But it is time
for me to go back. They can’t get along without me.”

To this Joshua listened with pleasure, for he looked forward to the time
when he, too, should be finally settled in business like his friend, for
whom he had a high respect, not being aware how insignificant his
position was.

“How much salary do you get, Sam?” he inquired.

“A thousand a year,” answered Sam, with an air of consequence.

In reality he was receiving eight dollars a week; but he did not intend
to be quite candid with Joshua, lest the truth should weaken his
ascendancy over him. He judged shrewdly; for, to the unsophisticated boy
from the country a thousand dollars a year seemed like a very large
income, as, indeed, Sam himself would have considered it, if by good
luck he had obtained it.

“Do you think I will ever get as much, Sam?” asked Joshua.

“Of course not for a long time,” said Sam. “You know you haven’t had
experience like me. By the way, you needn’t mention how much I get. I
don’t care about letting it be known. If the other clerks in the store
knew it, they might be jealous.”

“All right; I won’t say anything about it if you don’t want me to.”

“Here’s the store,” said Sam, suddenly.

Joshua now saw that it was only a block below the point where he had
entered Eighth avenue, and realized that he had had a long tramp for
nothing.

It was not a very imposing establishment. The front was probably about
twenty feet, the depth seventy, leaving the back part of the store
rather dark and gloomy. A variety of cheap shoes, with the prices
attached, were exposed in front of the store. They looked very common to
a practiced eye; however, Joshua was not accustomed to seeing superior
goods, as the people of Stapleton did not, in general, wear the best
French kid.

“Come in, Joshua,” said Sam.

“Where have you been gone so long?” demanded the proprietor of the
establishment, addressing Sam rather sharply.

“I met a friend from the country,” answered Sam, blushing a little at
being thus addressed before Joshua. “I thought he might need a pair of
slippers.”

“Oh, very well,” said the proprietor, more graciously. “I am glad to see
you, sir.”

“My friend’s name is Drummond, Mr. Craven,” said Sam. “Joshua, Mr.
Craven.”

“Glad to see you, Mr. Drummond,” said Mr. Craven, offering his hand.

“Much obliged,” said Joshua, awkwardly.

“Your friend will show you some slippers. I guess we can fit you.”

“I don’t know as I shall need any slippers,” commenced Joshua, but he
was quickly interrupted by Sam.

“Oh, yes you will!” he said. “You need ’em in the evening.”

Joshua yielded to his friend’s superior knowledge of what was necessary
in the city, and tried on several pairs, till at last one was found
which Sam declared to be just right for him.

“How much will they be?” asked Joshua.

“Two dollars.”

“Ain’t that rather high?” asked Joshua, who privately doubted whether it
would not be better to keep his money.

“Not at all. We should charge two dollars and a half to anybody else. As
you’re a friend, I make allowances. You’ll want some new boots soon.
Those you have on are countrified.”

“I guess they’ll last me a little longer,” said Joshua, hurriedly; for,
though the money was dishonestly acquired, he was inclined to be frugal.

“Well, you needn’t buy to-day. Next week will answer.”

Sam’s object in urging Joshua to purchase was to reconcile his employer
to his presence in the store, for he foresaw that his visitor would be
likely to spend considerable time there. He wished, besides, to obtain
an extra evening off duty, meaning to accompany Joshua to the theatre at
the latter’s expense. He did not expect that Joshua, who inherited, as
he knew, a mean disposition from his father, would voluntarily pay for
the tickets; but there is such a thing as borrowing without the
intention of repaying the money, and this Sam meant to do.

In pursuance of this plan, he soon after went up to the desk behind
which Mr. Craven was standing.

“Mr. Craven,” said he, “can you spare me this evening?”

“You had your regular evening off yesterday,” was the reply.

“I would not ask but for my friend, who is a stranger in the city, and
depends upon me to find him a boarding place,” said Sam, whose devotion
to friendship was not wholly disinterested.

“Did you sell him anything?”

“Yes, he took a pair of two-dollar slippers.”

“I will try to do without you this evening, as you particularly desire
it,” said Mr. Craven; “but you must not repeat the application.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Sam.

“I’m in luck, Joshua,” he said, returning to his country friend; “I am
off for the evening. We’ll go to the theatre and have a high old time.”

“Do you have to work in the evening, Sam?” asked Joshua, surprised.

“Yes,” answered Sam. “You see,” he added, consequentially, “I know all
the business, and they can’t get along very well without me.”

THE boarding house to which Sam conducted his friend was not externally
prepossessing. It was a shabby brick house, between Seventh and Eighth
avenues. It was occupied by clerks and salesmen employed, like Sam, on
Eighth avenue, and the price and accommodations were both adapted to the
small salaries which, as a rule, they received. The hall was covered
with oilcloth, dirty, and in places worn away, while the stair-carpeting
was of the same material.

Sam opened the door with a latchkey, and led the way upstairs.

“Come up to my room, Joshua,” he said. “While you are fixing your hair,
I’ll go down and let Mrs. Jones know you are here.”

Sam’s room was a hall bedroom on the third floor. It was barely large
enough for a narrow bedstead, a trunk, a chair, and a washstand. There
was no bureau, and no room for any; but in place, there were nails to
hang his clothes upon just opposite the bed. It fell below Joshua’s
anticipations, being quite inferior to the room he occupied at home. He
had supposed that Sam, who had strutted about Stapleton the summer
before, was handsomely situated. So it was with a feeling of
disappointment that he regarded the small room, the thin, cheap carpet,
the common wooden bedstead, and untidy washstand.

“It’s rather small,” said Sam, in a tone of apology, “but there’s a
larger room on this floor. We will take it together. I’ll speak to Mrs.
Jones about it. There’s a brush and comb; you can be fixing your hair,
while I run down and see about a seat at the table for you.”

Joshua proceeded to arrange his toilet, while Sam did as proposed. He
returned in a couple of minutes and announced his success.

“The old lady’ll be glad enough to take you,” he said. “We can have the
other room. We’ll go into it after dinner.”

“After dinner?” repeated Joshua, who had been accustomed to regard the
third meal as supper.

“Yes, we always have dinner at this hour,” explained Sam. “We never take
supper except Sunday evening.”

“That seems strange, Sam.”

“Oh, you’ll get used to it very soon.”

“Don’t you eat anything in the middle of the day?”

“We take lunch then. You’ll find New York a different sort of a place
from Stapleton.”

Joshua was ready to believe this. He was not used to it yet, but had no
doubt he should like it after a while.

“Now, if you are ready, we will go down to dinner.”

The dining-room proved to be in the front basement. Three or four young
men were already seated at the table, while a red-haired girl was
waiting upon them. The mistress of the boarding house was a thin,
tired-looking woman, who, to judge from her appearance, found her
business rather a wearing one.

“Mrs. Jones, Mr. Drummond,” introduced Sam.

“I am glad to see you, Mr. Drummond,” said Mrs. Jones; and she really
was glad, for a new boarder was a welcome addition to her household.
“Sit down there, if you please, next to Mr. Crawford.”

Joshua took his seat as directed, and the waitress came to receive her
orders.

“Will you have roast beef or roast lamb?” she asked of Sam.

“Beef for me,” answered Sam. “What will you have, Joshua?”

“The same,” said Joshua.

I suppose it is useless to say that Mrs. Jones did not keep a
first-class boarding house. The fare she furnished to her boarders was
considerably inferior to that at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, or a good many
other hotels of lower standing; but this was a point in which Joshua was
not likely to be disappointed. His father, as has been explained in the
preceding volume, was a man so fond of money that he always furnished a
very mean table, and neither he nor any of his family had ever been in
danger of gout or dyspepsia. So to Joshua the fare at Mrs. Jones’
boarding house seemed excellent. His wanderings had given him quite an
appetite, and he did substantial justice to the food before him.

When they rose from the table Mrs. Jones said, “I will come upstairs
immediately, Mr. Crawford, and show you and your friend the large room
next to yours.”

“Well, Joshua, how do you like the feed?” asked Sam, as they were going
upstairs.

“It’s very good,” answered Joshua, in a tone of satisfaction. “Do you
always have as good a dinner?”

“Yes, always. On Sundays we have something extra.”

“I think I shall like it. How much does Mrs. Jones charge for board?”

“For room and board, six dollars.”

“Ain’t that rather high?” asked the frugal-minded Joshua, who had been
used to Stapleton prices.

“No, it’s very cheap, for the city. Of course, board’s much higher here
than in the country.”

“Is it?”

“Certainly. There’s a friend of mine pays fifteen dollars a week for
board.”

“Does he? Why, that’s enough to support a family in Stapleton.”

“We do things on a larger scale here in New York, as you will soon find
out,” said Sam. “We make money fast, and we spend it fast.”

“That’s just what I want.”

“To spend money fast?”

“No, to make money fast.”

“Oh, well, you can do it after a while. I’ll help you get a place by my
influence,” continued Sam, loftily.

By this time Mrs. Jones made her appearance at the head of the stairs.
She opened the door of an adjoining room and invited them in.

It was a room about twelve feet square, with a double bed in the middle.
The carpet was the same quality as that in Sam’s smaller room, but there
was a little more furniture, and there were two windows. Two cheap
prints in pine frames gave an elegant, artistic look to the apartment.
Joshua was not, however, as favorably impressed with it as with the
dinner.

“How’ll this do, Joshua?” said Sam.

“Very well, I think.”

“We shall want to sleep here to-night, Mrs. Jones,” said Sam.

“It shall be ready, Mr. Crawford. I suppose you will be going out this
evening?”

“Yes,” answered Sam. “My friend and I are going to the theatre.”

“It shall be ready by the time you return, then.”

“Joshua,” said his friend, “just give me a lift with my trunk, and I’ll
move now.”

“All right.”

“I suppose you didn’t bring a trunk, did you? Came away in too great a
hurry, eh?”

“Yes,” answered Joshua, smiling.

“You can buy one to-morrow or next day. I wonder if there is a closet?
Oh, yes, here’s one. I tell you what would improve the looks of the
room.”

“What’s that?”

“A sofa.”

“So it would.”

“I don’t suppose the old lady would put one in. What do you say to
buying one?”

“I buy a sofa?” ejaculated Joshua, alarmed.

“Yes, or a lounge. I guess you could get a decent one for fifteen
dollars.”

“I don’t think we need any,” said Joshua, hastily; “but if you want to
buy one—-”

“Oh, it’s no matter,” said Sam. “It’ll be pretty hard to get money out
of him,” he thought to himself. “However, I guess I can manage him.”

This was likely to prove true. Joshua had got into dangerous company,
and under the auspices of Sam Crawford the fund of money, which he
considered as so large, was not likely to last long. Could his father
have looked in upon him, and realized the manner in which the money he
had scraped together was likely to be expended, he would have been angry
and horror-stricken. But up to this moment he did not suspect the double
loss he had incurred.

Let us return to Stapleton for a moment, and look in upon the home which
Joshua had deserted.

When the supper table was spread Mr. Drummond came in from the store.

“Where is Joshua?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” said his wife, anxiously. “He wasn’t here to dinner. I
hope he hasn’t gone out on the pond and got drowned.”

“No fear,” said her husband, philosophically. “He’s got a sullen fit and
wandered off somewhere. He’ll be back some time this evening.”

“I wish I was sure nothing had happened to him,” said Mrs. Drummond.

“I’ll risk him. His being away won’t spoil my appetite,” said the
father, rather contemptuously.

“I don’t think you treat him just right, Jacob,” said Mrs. Drummond;
“he’s been looking down for some days.”

“I know what it’s about. He wants me to increase his allowance.”

“Twenty-five cents does seem small for a boy of Joshua’s age.”

“If he wants more, let him go to work and earn it. That’s the way I had
to do when I was of his age. I’ll tell you what it is, wife, Joshua is a
lazy, good-for-nothing boy. If he had his own way, he’d spend five
dollars a week, and do nothing but loaf around the village. Now, I’m not
going to permit this. He shan’t squander the money I have worked so hard
for.”

The suspicion that Joshua had run away from home had not entered his
father’s mind. He did not think that his son, for whom he felt contempt
in spite of the relationship, had spirit enough to take such a step;
and, besides, he knew that he could not go far without money.

After supper Mr. Drummond went back to the store, and did not return
till it had closed.

“Has Joshua got home?” he asked.

“No,” answered his wife, anxiously. “I am afraid, Jacob, you have driven
him to some desperate step.”

“Nonsense! I am not in the least troubled about him. A bad penny always
returns.”

He went upstairs to deposit the money he had brought from the till, in
his little black trunk. Two minutes afterward he hurried downstairs,
pale with passion.

“What do you think your son has done?” he demanded of his startled wife.

“What?” gasped she. “Tell me, quick.”

“He has robbed me of over six hundred dollars. If I ever catch him I’ll
flog him within an inch of his life.”

JOSHUA and his friend, Sam Crawford, having selected Niblo’s Theatre as
the one which on the whole seemed most attractive, left their boarding
house at a quarter past seven o’clock.

“Shall we walk?” asked Joshua.

“No,” said Sam; “it’s too far. We should get there late.”

“How much do they charge in the horse cars?”

“Only five cents,” answered Sam, thinking that Joshua must be mean to
trouble himself about such a trifle, and that he might find it a harder
job than he anticipated to get money out of him. “That’s cheap enough.”

“Yes,” said Joshua, doubtfully.

They stopped the next car and got in. They were lucky enough to find
just two seats unoccupied, which they at once took.

When the conductor came round, Joshua put his hand into his pocket, but
Sam said, in an offhand manner: “Never mind, Joshua; I’ve got the
change. I’ll pay for both.”

“Thank you,” said Joshua, his face brightening, as he withdrew his hand
from his pocket, with alacrity. He did not know that Sam meant to get
twenty times as much out of him before the evening was over.

They reached the theatre some minutes before the performance commenced.
There was a popular play to be performed, and there was a line of men
waiting their turns before the ticket office.

“Join the line, Joshua,” said Sam, “and get two reserved seats in the
parquet.”

“Two?”

“Yes, one for me. I’ll pay you afterward.”

“How much will they be?”

“Two dollars.”

“Isn’t that high?” asked Joshua, alarmed. “They only charge fifteen
cents for concerts at home.”

“This is much better than a concert. Take your place, quick.”

Thus exhorted, Joshua took his place in the line, and in due time
purchased the tickets.

“Now, come along,” said Sam, seizing him by the arm. “It’s about time
for the performance to commence.”

So they passed the wicket, giving up their tickets, and were speedily
ushered to their seats. Joshua looked around him with curiosity, for to
him it was a novel scene; but even this did not lead him to forget that
Sam was indebted to him.

“You owe me a dollar,” he whispered.

“All right,” said Sam; “I’ll pay you afterward. I don’t want to take out
my pocketbook here.”

Joshua would have preferred to be paid on the spot, but no suspicion had
yet entered his mind that Sam intended to cheat him, and he made no
objection to the delay.

“Who are those men playing?” he inquired of his more experienced friend.

“That’s the orchestra.”

“When does the show begin?”

“You mustn’t call it a show, Joshua,” said Sam, “or people will think
you green. Say the play, or the performance.”

“Then, when does the play begin?”

“In about five minutes.”

At the time specified, the curtain rose, and Joshua’s eager attention
was soon absorbed by the play. It interested him so much that he
temporarily forgot how much it had cost him. He asked various questions
of Sam, which led the latter to smile, though but a year before he had
been quite as unsophisticated. It is not my intention, however, to
follow the course of the performance. Suffice it to say that at a
quarter to eleven o’clock the curtain fell, and the audience rose and
made their way out of the theatre.

“How did you like it, Joshua?” asked Sam.

“First-rate,” said Joshua. “It cost a good deal, though.”

“It’s worth the money. Everything is much higher in the city than in the
country.”

“In Stapleton they never charge more than twenty-five cents admittance
to anything.”

“There’s some difference between Stapleton and New York.”

“I know it, but—-”

“You must enlarge your ideas, Joshua. People make money here fast, and
they spend it fast. Country people are mean. They count every cent, and
are more afraid to spend a cent than city people are to spend a dollar.”

“My father’s mean,” said Joshua. “What do you think he used to allow me
a week for spending money?”

“A dollar?”

“Only twenty-five cents.”

“The old man was tight, that’s a fact. A young man of your age ought to
have had five dollars. However, you’re in the city now, and are better
off. I feel hungry. Shall we go in and get some oysters? I know a tiptop
place.”

“How much will it cost?”

“Oh, I’ll treat!” said Sam, nonchalantly. “Come along.”

As Joshua had no objection to the oysters, but only to the expense, he
readily accepted the invitation, which he would hardly have done had he
known that his companion had but ten cents in his pocket.

Sam led the way into a recess, and, in a tone of authority, ordered
“stews for two.”

They were soon brought, and speedily disposed of.

“How did you like them?” asked Sam.

“Splendid!” said Joshua.

“Suppose we order a fry?” suggested Sam; “I think I can eat a little
more.”

“I don’t know,” hesitated Joshua.

“I’ll treat. Here (to the waiter), bring us two fries, and be quick
about it.”

Joshua likewise ate his plate of fried oysters with relish.

When the repast was concluded, Sam felt for his pocketbook. First he
felt in one pocket, then in the other.

“How stupid I am!” he muttered.

“What’s the matter?” inquired Joshua.

“It’s a good joke. I came from home and forgot my pocketbook. I must
have left it in my other pants.”

“You paid in the cars.”

“Yes; it was a little change I had in my vest pocket. See, I’ve got ten
cents more, enough to pay for our fare home.”

“What are you going to do?” asked Joshua, uncomfortably.

“I shall have to borrow a little money of you to pay for the oysters.
Let me see; it’ll be a dollar and ten cents.”

“Won’t they trust you? You can come in to-morrow and pay them,”
suggested Joshua.

“No they won’t trust. They don’t know me.”

“They’ll have to, if you haven’t got the money.”

“No; they’ll hold you responsible.”

“That isn’t fair. I didn’t order the oysters.”

“You ate part of them. There won’t be any trouble. I’ll pay you as soon
as we get back to the room.”

“I wish we hadn’t come in,” said Joshua, uncomfortably.

“Why? It won’t do you any harm to lend me the money for an hour.”

“You owe me a dollar already for your ticket.”

“I can pay you for both together. You ain’t afraid to trust me, are
you?”

“No-o,” said Joshua, slowly; and very reluctantly he drew out a dollar
and ten cents, and placed it in the hands of his friend.

“That’s all right,” said Sam, and he stepped up to the counter and
settled the bill.

It was now half-past eleven o’clock.

“It is time we were setting home, Joshua,” said Sam. “We’ll cross
Broadway, and take the University place cars. We’ll get home by twelve,
or before. That would be pretty late hours for the country.”

“Yes,” answered Joshua. “At home I always was in bed by ten o’clock.”

“Oh, well; no wonder! There was nothing going on in Stapleton. It’s an
awfully slow place. Not much like the city.”

“That’s so.”

“You don’t want to go back, do you?”

“No, I never want to go back,” answered Joshua, thinking of the money
and bond he had stolen, and rightly reflecting that the reception he
would get from his father would be a disagreeably warm one.

“So I thought. Everybody likes the city. Why, in ten years you’ll be
richer than the old man!”

“Will I, do you think?” asked Joshua, eagerly.

“Yes, I think so. There’s Ned Evans, a young man not thirty, who came to
the city ten years ago, who is worth now–how much do you think?”

“How much?”

“Fifty thousand dollars!”

“You don’t say so!” exclaimed the gratified Joshua. “Did he have to work
very hard?”

“Oh, pretty hard; but, then, it’s a good deal easier to work hard when
you are well paid for it.”

“Yes, that’s so. Do you expect to get rich soon?”

“You won’t repeat it if I tell you something, will you?”

“No.”

“You mustn’t breathe a word of it, for it’s a secret. When I am
twenty-one, old Craven is going to take me into partnership.”

“Is he?” said Joshua, looking at his companion with new respect. “Does
he make much money?”

“Made fifteen thousand dollars last year. Half of that’ll be pretty nice
for me, won’t it?”

I need not remark that Sam Crawford had told two most unblushing
falsehoods. He had grossly exaggerated the profits of the establishment,
and, moreover, Mr. Craven was no more likely to take him into
partnership than I am to be appointed prime minister to the Emperor of
Japan. But he had a purpose to serve in imposing upon his companion’s
credulity.

“You’re in luck, Sam,” said Joshua. “Do you think I’ll ever get such a
chance?”

“I think you can, with my influence,” said Sam, loftily. “I’ll do my
best for you.”

Here a car came along, and the two jumped on board.

THE two boys reached their boarding house as the clock struck twelve.

“The best thing we can do is to get to bed as soon as possible,” said
Sam, as they entered the room and locked the door.

“You might as well pay me what you owe me,” suggested Joshua, who did
not intend Sam to forget his indebtedness.

“Oh, yes!” said Sam. “Let me find my pocketbook.”

He felt in the pocket of his “other pants,” but of course did not find
what was not there. To let the reader into a secret, he had, before
leaving for the theatre, carefully locked it up in his trunk, where it
was even now, as he very well knew.

“By Jove!” he exclaimed, whistling, as he withdrew his hand, empty.

“What’s the matter?” inquired Joshua, anxiously.

“My pocketbook isn’t there!”

“Isn’t it? Where is it, then?” demanded Joshua, beginning to be alarmed.

“I must have taken it with me to-night, after all,” said Sam. “I
understand now,” he added, suddenly. “I must have had my pocket picked
in the car.”

“Had your pocket picked?” repeated Joshua, as ruefully as if it had been
his own.

“Yes; didn’t you notice that black-whiskered man that sat next me?”

“No.”

“I am sure it was he. I thought he looked suspicious as I entered the
car. If I hadn’t been talking with you, he couldn’t have robbed me
without my knowing it.”

“Was there much in the pocketbook?” inquired Joshua.

“Not much,” said Sam, indifferently. “Between twenty-seven and
twenty-eight dollars, I believe–a mere trifle.”

“I call that a good deal.”

“It’s more than I like to lose, to be sure.”

“Then, you can’t pay me what you owe me?” said Joshua, soberly.

“Not just now. In fact, I must wait till the end of the week, when I get
my wages.”

“How much do you get then?”

“Twenty dollars.”

“You will surely pay me then?”

“Of course. You ain’t afraid to trust me?” said Sam, in a tone
indicating his enjoyment of the joke.

“No,” returned Joshua, slowly; but he would have much preferred to
receive payment there and then.

“I don’t think I shall run away on account of such a debt,” said Sam,
laughing. “If it was two thousand dollars, instead of two, I might, you
know.”

“Two dollars and ten cents,” corrected Joshua.

“What a mean hunks!” thought Sam. “He’s going to be worse than his
father, and that’s saying a good deal.”

Had Joshua known the real state of the case, he would have been more
alarmed for his money, but, as he supposed that Sam really received
twenty dollars a week, and was to be taken into partnership at
twenty-one by his employer, and thenceforth to be a prosperous business
man, with a large income, he was reassured, and did not doubt that he
should be paid.

“Well, Joshua, what are you going to do with yourself?” asked Sam the
next morning, as they rose from breakfast.

“I don’t know.”

“I’ve got to go to business, you know. I’d like to go round the city
with you, but I can’t be spared.”

“I’ll walk down to your store with you.”

“All right; only I wouldn’t advise you to stay very long in the store.”

“Why not?”

“Oh, Craven would think I was neglecting my business, and, as I am to be
his future partner, I want to keep his good opinion.”

“To be sure,” said Joshua. “I suppose I can walk round?”

“Yes, you can go around and see the city–only keep your eyes peeled, so
you will know the way back. And, if you ride in the cars, look out for
pickpockets.”

“Is there much danger?” asked Joshua, hastily thrusting his hand into
his pocket, to ascertain the safety of his money.

“Plenty of danger. If I am in danger of being robbed, you are much more
so, not being used to the city. If you like, I’ll take your money–that
is, what you don’t need to use–and lock it up in the safe.”

“I guess I’ll keep it,” said Joshua, hastily. “I’ll look out for
pickpockets. Besides, I don’t think I’ll ride in the cars–I’ll walk.”

“You’ll get tired if you tramp about all day.”

“If I get tired, I’ll come back to the room and rest a while.”

As proposed, Joshua accompanied his friend to the shoe store, and
entered, but, after a few minutes, went out to see what he could of the
city. He wandered about for two hours, looking in at shop windows, and
examining with curiosity the many unusual objects which everywhere met
his view. It was interesting, but it was also tiresome, particularly as
he walked everywhere. At length, his attention was drawn to a car going
uptown, on which was printed its destination, “Central Park.” Joshua had
heard a good deal of Central Park in his country home, and he naturally
was curious to see it. The car was nearly empty, and, therefore, as it
struck him there could not be much danger of pickpockets, he resolved,
especially as he felt quite tired, to get in and ride to the park, even
if it did cost five cents. Getting into the car, he seated himself at a
distance from other passengers, and kept his hand on his pocket. After a
time, he reached Fifty-ninth street, and had no difficulty in guessing
that the beautiful inclosed space before him was the park of which he
had heard so much. He was a little afraid, on seeing the policeman at
the entrance, that there was a fee for admission, but was gratified to
find that no money was required.

He wandered on, with the other promenaders, and by and by sat down on
one of the seats considerately placed at intervals for the benefit of
weary pedestrians.

He had not been sitting there long, when a dark-complexioned man of
forty also seated himself on the bench. Joshua took no particular notice
of him till the stranger looked toward him, and remarked, politely:
“It’s a fine day, sir.”

“Yes,” said Joshua, who was secretly flattered at being called “sir.”

“It is a fine day to enjoy the park.”

“Yes,” said Joshua.

“I suppose you live in the city?”

“Yes; that is, I do now,” answered Joshua, flattered again at being
mistaken for an old resident of New York.

“I am a stranger in the city,” said the other; “I live in the country. I
came up here on a little business. I never was in the park before.”

“Weren’t you?” asked Joshua, with the air of one who had visited it a
great many times.

“No; I like it very much. It reminds me of the country where I live.”

“It is very pretty, we city people think,” said Joshua, swelling with
satisfaction as he classed himself among the city people.

“I ought to like it,” said the stranger, laughing, “for I have had a
piece of great good luck here this morning.”

“Indeed!” said Joshua, pricking up his ears, with curiosity.

“I was walking just above here, when I found this in the path.”

As he spoke, he drew from his pocket what appeared to be a handsome gold
watch of considerable size.

“Did you find that?” said Joshua, enviously, wishing he had had the same
good fortune.

“Yes; somebody must have dropped it. It must be worth a hundred dollars.
Why, the chain is worth thirty, at least,” and he pointed to the chain,
which also was, to all appearances, gold.

“I wish I had been as lucky,” said Joshua, gazing at the watch and chain
with longing eyes. “How long is it since you found it?”

“About twenty minutes. However, I’ve got another watch at home. I don’t
need it. I’d sell it for a good deal less than it is worth,” and he
looked suggestively in Joshua’s face.

Now, Joshua had long cherished the desire of having a watch, though his
hopes had been confined to a silver one, and a chain of silk braid.
Never, in his wildest and most ambitious dreams, had he thought of an
elegant gold watch and chain like this.

“How much will you take?” he asked, eagerly.

“Why, it’s well worth a hundred dollars,” said the stranger, “but I’ll
take half price.”

“That is, fifty dollars?”

“Yes; it’ll be a great bargain at that. Any jeweler would give more, but
I haven’t time to go and see one; I must go out of this city in an
hour.”

“I can’t afford to give fifty dollars,” said Joshua.

“I might take a little less,” said the stranger, “considering that I
found it; but it’s well worth fifty dollars, or seventy-five, for that
matter.”

“I’ll give you thirty dollars,” said Joshua, after a little pause.

“That’s too little,” said the other. “I’d rather stay here till the next
train, and sell it to a jeweler. I feel sure they would pay me sixty, at
least.”

If that was the case, it would certainly be a good speculation to buy
the watch and sell it again. Joshua began to be anxious to get it.

“I want it for myself,” he said, “but I can’t afford to pay fifty
dollars.”

“Will you give forty-five?”

“I’ll give thirty-five.”

“Say forty, and it’s yours; though I ought not to sell it at that. Just
put it on, and see how well it looks.”

Joshua put it in his watch-pocket, and was conquered.

“All right,” he said; “I’ll take it.”

He paid the forty dollars, and bade farewell to the kind stranger who
had given him so good a bargain.

“You city people are sharp,” said the stranger, as he bade him
good-morning. “We poor countrymen don’t stand much chance with you.”

This remark flattered Joshua immensely, and he strutted about the park,
glancing continually at his new acquisition, and fancying that he
already had quite a city air.