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   Chapter 13 ANDY LEAVES HOME.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7702

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


Conrad was not slow in learning of Mr. Gale's departure from the hotel. The intelligence pleased him, for, as he supposed, it threw Andy out of employment. He sought an early opportunity of speaking to him on the subject.

At five o'clock in the afternoon the mail came in at the post office.

Among those who congregated there at the time were Conrad and Andy.

"So you've lost your place?" began Conrad, abruptly.

"What do you mean?" asked Andy.

"Mr. Gale has left town, hasn't he?"

"Yes."

"Where has he gone?"

"To Pennsylvania, to stay with an uncle who is very sick."

"Do you think he will come back to Arden?"

"I don't know, but I think it is doubtful."

"I suppose, then, you will go back to work on the farm?"

Andy smiled.

"Things might be worse," he said.

"Yes. I think it is the best thing you can do."

"Why do you think so?"

"Oh, well, you are a poor boy, and there is nothing else for you to do."

"Did you ever think of becoming a farmer?"

"I should say not," replied Conrad, haughtily. "I shall probably be a lawyer or a merchant."

"I might become a merchant myself-some day."

Conrad laughed.

"When you do," he said, "let me know."

"I will."

"By the way, you won't want that boat of yours now."

"Why not?"

"You won't get time to use it. I'll give you twenty dollars for it."

"It is not for sale," answered Andy, firmly.

"It will be after a while," said Conrad, in a self-satisfied tone. "I will see the time when you will be glad enough to get the money I offer."

During the few days that Andy remained at home he did some work on the farm. Mr. Grant's boy helper was sick with a cold, and Andy stepped into his place.

The next time of Conrad's meeting him he was at work digging potatoes. Conrad smiled and nodded. He felt quite friendly as he witnessed what he considered Andy's humiliation.

"My father may give you a little job," he said, as he leaned over the fence.

"What is it?"

"He needs some work done round the house. He will pay you fifty cents a day. When can you come?"

"Just at present I am too busy. If I can spare the time I will let you know."

"I like to see upstarts brought down to their level," thought Conrad.

"Andy Grant won't be putting on any more airs, I reckon."

On Monday morning Andy stood on the platform of the railroad station with a good-sized gripsack in his hand. He was about starting for New York to enter upon his duties at the jewelry store.

Swinging a light cane, Conrad Carter appeared on the platform with his father, who was going to the city on business. With a good deal of surprise he recognized Andy.

"Where are you going?" he asked, abruptly, with a glance at the gripsack.

"To New York," answered Andy.

"What business have you there?"

"I have a position in a store on Union Square. I shall be pleased to have you call when you are in the city."

Conrad was greatly surprised.

"What kind of a store is it?" he asked.

"A jewelry store. I haven't a card with me, but will send you one."

Conrad didn't appear to be glad at Andy's good fortune. He had made up his mind that his humble rival, as he chose to consider him, would be obliged to work on the farm, and now he had found a way to avoid it.

"I think your father will have to find some one else to assist him,"

Andy continued; "you see, I shall be otherwise occupied."

"What pay will you receive?"

"If you will excuse me, I would rather not tell."

"Oh, just as you like. Where will you live? Will you sleep in the store?"

"No; I am to board on Clinton Place, with a Mrs. Norris."

"Did you know about this when we were talking the other day?"

"Yes."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I would have done so if I had known how much interest you took in my plans."

The rumble of the approa

ching train was heard, and Andy was obliged to enter a car. It chanced that it was unusually full, and Andy found but one vacant seat-the one beside Squire Carter.

The squire now noticed Andy for the first time.

"Where are you going, Andrew?" he asked.

"To New York, sir."

"On any special errand?"

"I am going to work there."

"Indeed! What kind of a place?"

"I shall have a place with Mr. Flint, of Union Square, a jeweler."

"I suppose Mr. Gale obtained you the place?"

"Yes, sir."

"I am not sure that you are acting wisely. I doubt if you can make expenses. What are you to be paid?"

"Five dollars a week."

"That is very fair pay for a boy of your age, but it won't go very far in New York."

"I suppose New York is an expensive place to live in," said Andy, noncommittally.

"Yes. You will have to pay all your wages for board. Your other expenses will have to come out of your father's pocket."

"I may be advanced."

"It will be a good while, first. You seem to be acting very injudiciously."

This remark did not trouble Andy. As his board was to be paid by Mr. Gale, his salary would be practically ten dollars a week; but this he did not care to tell.

"Country boys are always in a stew to get work in the city," observed the squire. "If they would only take the advice of their elders, they would see that it is better to stay in the country."

"They think probably that there is more chance of advancement in the city. Horace Greeley never would have risen to distinction if he had remained in his native village."

"Ahem! there are exceptions. What is the number of the store where you will be employed?"

Andy told him.

"I may call in upon you some time. I am often in the city on business."

"I shall be glad if you will," said Andy, sincerely. "It will seem pleasant to me to see an Arden face."

Andy got out of the cars at the Grand Central Depot. He was not quite sure of his way to Clinton Place, but he was not in the least disturbed. He was naturally self-reliant.

He asked the question of a gentleman, and was advised to take a Fourth Avenue car through the tunnel as far as Eighth Street, but he thought he should prefer to walk, as it would enable him to enjoy the sights and scenes of the metropolis. All these were fresh and interesting to him.

He had gone but a dozen steps from the depot when a plausible stranger of thirty-five years, apparently, stopped him.

"Young man, may I have a word with you?" he asked.

"If you wish."

"I speak to you, because I judge from your appearance that you have a good, kind heart."

"I hope you are right, sir."

"I am very awkwardly placed. My sister is very sick in Yonkers and has sent for me. On my way to the depot in a horse car I had my pocket picked, and I have not enough money to get to the bedside of my poor sister. If you would kindly lend me a quarter-"

Andy was kind-hearted, and he was not versed in city wiles. He put his hand in his pocket and drew out a twenty-five-cent silver coin.

"I am glad to help you," he said, as he passed the coin to the applicant.

"You have a noble heart. I thank you," said the stranger, feelingly.

Andy felt pleased to think that he had done the man a favor, but his satisfaction was short-lived.

A stout, pleasant-looking man who had caught sight of the conference addressed him.

"Did you give that man any money?" he asked.

"Yes sir."

"What did he need it for?"

"His pocket had been picked, and he wanted to go to Yonkers to visit his sick sister."

His new friend laughed.

"That's a new story," he said. "The man is an arrant fraud. Your money will be spent for drink. He has no sick sister."

This was quite a shock to Andy. He saw that he had been victimized, and must hereafter be on his guard against plausible strangers.

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