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   Chapter 14 THE FIRST DAY IN NEW YORK.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 8138

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


By dint of a little inquiry Andy found his way to Mrs. Norris' boarding house in Clinton Place. It was a plain three-story-and-basement house of brick and looked thoroughly respectable.

Andy took a general view of it, and thought he should take it. To his country eyes it looked quite aristocratic. It was higher than any house in Arden, even Squire Carter's.

He ascended the steps and rang the bell.

It was answered by a Swedish girl named Eva, a blond girl of the true

Scandinavian type.

"Is Mrs. Norris at home?" he asked.

"She is upstairs," was the reply.

"I should like to see her."

"Who shall I tell her calls?"

"She won't know my name. Tell her it is some one with a letter from Mr.

Walter Gale."

"Won't you step in?"

She ushered Andy into a small reception room opening from the hall. It was a very small room, provided with a sofa, one chair and a writing desk. Just over the sofa hung an engraving of Washington crossing the Delaware.

Andy sat down on the sofa and placed his gripsack in front of him. There was nothing to occupy his mind, so he sat patiently, wondering what sort of a looking woman the landlady might be.

Soon there was a rustle of garments, and a stout, pleasant-looking lady, of perhaps fifty, wearing a small cap set off with red ribbons, entered the room.

"Mrs. Norris?" said Andy, inquiringly, rising out of respect.

"Yes, I am Mrs. Norris. Eva told me you had a letter from Mr.-I didn't catch the name."

"Mr. Walter Gale."

"Oh, yes, Mr. Gale. I know him very well."

"Did he ever board here?"

"No; he boarded at one of the hotels. Mr. Gale is a rich man."

She took the letter and read it.

"Mr. Gale asks if I can take you to board, and offers to pay your board.

He must be a great friend of yours?"

"He is. I hope the arrangement will be satisfactory."

"Quite so. I couldn't wish any better paymaster than Mr. Gale. Are you going to work in the city?"

"Yes. I have a place in Mr. Flint's jewelry store on Union Square."

"Really? That is quite a high-toned place. I got my best spoons there."

"Have you got a room for me?" asked Andy, a little anxiously.

"Yes, I've got a small hall bedroom. I suppose you didn't expect a square room?"

"It would be too expensive."

"It wouldn't be if you had a roommate. There's a gentleman on the third floor front, a Mr. Warren. He is sickly, and writes for some of the papers. He told me he would like a roommate; but perhaps you would prefer a small room alone?"

"I should."

"Then I've a small room on the same floor. It was occupied till last week by a music teacher, but he was three weeks behind in his rent and I had to let him go. It's a trying business, keeping a boarding house, Mr.-"

"Grant," suggested Andy.

"Yes. That's a good name. I suppose you're in nowise related to the general?"

"No; I wish I was."

"If you will follow me upstairs I'll show you the room. You can bring your valise."

Andy took it in his hand and followed the landlady up two flights of stairs. She panted a little, being a stout lady, but Andy would have run upstairs if he had been alone.

On the upper floor there were three rooms, the doors of all being open.

"That is Mr. Warren's room," said Mrs. Norris, pointing to the front apartment.

It was a room of about fourteen feet square, and was neatly furnished.

It contained a double bed and the usual chamber furniture.

"It will accommodate two gentlemen nicely," said Mrs. Norris. "Perhaps, after you get acquainted with Mr. Warren, you may strike up a bargain to room with him."

"I don't think I should like to room with a sickly gentleman."

"Well, there is something in that. One night Mr. Warren had a fit-I don't know what kind of one-and rolled onto the floor. I room just underneath, and I was very much frightened."

"It would have frightened me, too, if I had roomed with him."

"Well, fits ain't very pleasant, I allow."

"Who rooms in the third room, next to mine?"

"A young man of eighteen, named Perkins. I do

n't rightly know what sort of a place he is in. I think it's a neckwear store on Spring Street."

Andy was rather glad to learn that there was one boarder somewhere near his own age.

He did not think he should enjoy the acquaintance of Mr. Warren. He was prejudiced against him by the knowledge that he was sickly and had fits.

"There are other boarders on my second floor. You will make their acquaintance at the table."

"What are your hours for meals, Mrs. Norris?"

"We have lunch from twelve to one. Breakfast is from seven to nine, and we have dinner from six to seven, though in the case of a boarder who is kept later by business we stretch a point, and try to accommodate him. I hope that will suit you."

"Oh, I am sure it will."

"Shall you be at lunch to-day?"

"No, I don't think so. I am going to explore the city a little."

"Very few of my boarders are present at lunch. Still there is a bite for them, if they do come."

"I would like to wash, if you will send up some water and a towel."

"Eva will bring them right up. Have you soap of your own?"

"Yes."

"Gentlemen often prefer providing their own. If you will give me your name in full, I will enter it on my books."

"My name is Andrew Grant."

"Very well."

"What is your rate of board? Mr. Gale will pay it, but I should like to know what it is."

"Five dollars a week for your room. Mr. Warren pays seven, but he has a large room to himself. If you should decide to room with him, I shall charge you five dollars apiece."

"Thank you; I don't think we shall come to any agreement."

She went downstairs, and Andy surveyed his room with interest.

It was certainly small-quite the narrowest room he had ever seen. There was one window from which he had a view of the back yard, rather a forlorn-looking space. There was a cat perched on the high, board fence separating the yard from that of the adjoining house.

Andy liked cats, and called out "Pussy." The cat looked up, and mewed her recognition and acknowledgment of the friendly overture. Then Eva came up with a pitcher of water and a towel.

"Will one do you?" she asked. "The rest are in the wash, and I'll bring you another this evening."

"One will be sufficient for the present."

"So you're comin' here to live?" she said, sociably.

"Yes, Eva."

"I hope you don't have fits, like Mr. Warren."

"I don't think I ever had one yet," answered Andy, with a smile.

"I'm glad of that. I'm afraid of gentlemen that have fits."

Eva went downstairs, and Andy proceeded to make his ablutions. It was a dusty day, and the water was refreshing.

After he had washed his face and hands he opened his gripsack and took out his brush and comb, which he placed on a tiny bureau in one corner of the room. It contained two drawers, and in one of them he put away the contents of the valise.

By this time it was half-past ten, and he put on his hat and went downstairs. He went out into the street, and after a moment of indecision walked to Broadway. He thought he could not do better than to walk down this wonderful thoroughfare, of which he had heard so much.

It did occur to him that he might report at the jewelry store, but he would see enough of that hereafter and he preferred to take a little walk about the city.

Andy used his eyes to good advantage. He looked in at the shop windows, and watched the human tide that swept by him.

Finally he found himself accosted by one of the passersby.

"My young friend, could you oblige me with a quarter to take me to

Newark? My pocket has been picked, and-"

All this seemed familiar. Andy looked up and recognized at once the stranger whom he had relieved in front of the Grand Central Depot.

"When did you get back from Yonkers?" he asked, abruptly.

"I never was in Yonkers."

"I gave you a quarter only an hour or two ago to get to your sick sister in Yonkers."

Muttering that there was some mistake, the man hurried away, looking confused.

"I wonder if I shall ever meet him again?" thought Andy.

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