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   Chapter 15 ANDY'S OPPOSITE NEIGHBOR.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 8249

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


Andy walked about the city, using his eyes industriously. At one o'clock he went into a restaurant on Park Row, where he got a fair lunch for twenty-five cents.

This was more than he intended to pay usually, but on this first day in the city he did not care to go back to the boarding house.

After lunch he made his way to the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge, and got into one of the cars. He enjoyed the prospect visible from the windows, and felt that this alone would pay him for visiting New York.

Just before they reached the other end there was a cry of alarm from a stout German woman who sat on the other side of the car.

"I've been robbed!" she exclaimed. "My purse is gone!"

Of course this attracted general attention.

"Was there much in the purse, madam?" asked a kind-looking, elderly man.

"Yes, there was six dollars-it was a great deal to me."

"Are you sure you had it when you entered the car?"

"Yes; I took it out of my pocket when I paid for a ticket."

"I think your pocket must have been picked."

Sitting next to the woman was a man who seemed absorbed in reading a morning newspaper; even the woman's complaint did not appear to excite his attention.

This led Andy to move his head to get a nearer view of him. He started in surprise. It was the adventurer, whom he had already met twice that morning. He had little doubt that he was the thief.

It was perhaps somewhat rash to hazard a charge without proof, but he felt indignant and could not resist the impulse.

"I think that man has your purse," he said, pointing to the individual behind the newspaper.

"This is an outrage!" exclaimed the latter, with assumed anger. "I am a

Boston merchant."

He was respectably dressed, and the charge did not seem very plausible.

"My boy, you should be careful how you make such charges," said his next neighbor, reprovingly.

But Andy was not abashed.

"I know something of that man," he said, quietly. "I have met him twice this morning."

"Has he robbed you?"

"No; but he asked me to give him a quarter to take him to his sick sister in Yonkers. This was at the Grand Central Depot; an hour or two later I met him on Broadway, and he wanted money to take him to Newark."

"The boy is entirely mistaken," said the adventurer.

At the same instant, under cover of the newspaper, he adroitly let the stolen purse drop to the floor at his feet.

By this time the cars had reached the Brooklyn end of the bridge.

"Why, there is your purse," exclaimed the adventurer, with a sudden glance downward. "You must have dropped it."

"Oh, thank you, sir!" said the poor woman, overjoyed.

"I hope you won't suspect a gentleman again," said the thief, in lofty indignation.

"No, I won't, sir. I was sure you didn't take it."

Andy, who had seen the trick, smiled, but he was satisfied with the recovery of the purse.

The passengers looked puzzled. They had not made up their minds as to the guilt or innocence of the man charge with the theft.

"You see, young man," said Andy's neighbor, in a tone of reproof, "you were mistaken."

Andy smiled again.

"I saw him drop the purse on the floor," he answered, quietly.

"Bless my soul! Are you sure?"

"Yes, sir."

The passengers left the car, Andy and the thief among them.

Andy lost track of his acquaintance till, as they reached Fulton Street, he heard some one hissing in his ear:

"Boy, you are too fresh! I'll get even with you yet!"

Then the thief, passing him rapidly, got into a Myrtle Avenue car, and this was the last he saw of him for that day.

Andy walked about the streets of Brooklyn for a while and returned by Fulton Ferry. Then he went back to his boarding place, arriving there between three and four o'clock.

As he went up to his room he noticed that the door of the large room opposite was open. A young man, of about thirty, was sitting in a rocking-chair, reading.

He was of medium height and sallow complexion. He wore his hair long, and had a high, narrow forehead.

"I suppose that is the man who has fits," thought Andy.

The young ma

n had noticed Andy's entrance into his own room, and, rising from the rocking-chair, crossed the hall and knocked lightly at the door.

"Come in," said Andy.

"I suppose this is Mr. Grant," began the young man, bowing. "I am Mr.

Warren, and live in the room opposite."

"Won't you come in and sit down?" asked Andy, with a glance at the only chair the room contained.

"Don't let me take your only chair. I'll sit on the bed, if you don't mind."

"Make yourself at home, Mr. Warren," said Andy, with easy cordiality.

"So you know my name?"

"Mrs. Norris spoke to me of you."

"Did she? What did she say?" asked the young man, showing some curiosity.

"I think she said you were literary-that you wrote for some of the magazines."

"Yes; I am very fond of writing. Do you write?"

"Not for publication."

"Ah, yes, I see. You would be rather young for an author."

"Are you connected with any particular magazine?"

"No. I am a free lance. I contribute to several. I have just sent an article to the Century."

Andy was rather surprised, for he knew that the Century held high rank among contemporary magazines. It did not occur to him that any one might send an article to that magazine, but that to have it accepted and published would be a different matter.

"I suppose you enjoy writing?"

"Yes; there is nothing I like so well."

"Perhaps you will show me some of your articles."

"I can show you a poem which appeared last week in the village paper at home."

"Thank you, I should like to see it."

Mr. Warren went up to his room, and speedily returned with a small weekly paper.

On the front page, at the head of the first column, was a short poem by G. Byron Warren. This was the first stanza, which Mr. Warren volunteered to read aloud:

"'I'd like to be a robin,

And flit from bough to bough;

I'd pour sweet music on the air

If God would teach me how.'"

"I don't quite like that last line," he said looking up from the paper.

"Can you suggest any improvement?"

"You might say, 'And charm the pensive cow,'" suggested Andy, mischievously.

"True, that might be a striking figure. I will consider it when I revise the poem for publication in book form."

The rest of the poem was of similar quality.

"I don't think they would accept that for the Century," thought Andy.

"Do you devote yourself to literary work, or are you in business?" he asked.

"I may go into business, but at present I only write. I send a letter once a month to the Greenville Banner."

"I suppose they pay?"

"Oh-ah, yes," answered the poet, in a hesitating voice, "but the terms are strictly confidential. If you ever pick up any incidents in your daily walks, Mr. Grant, I shall be glad if you will communicate them to me, that I may weave them into my correspondence."

"With pleasure."

Then it occurred to Andy to tell his neighbor about the street adventurer whom he had met three times that morning.

"Capital!" exclaimed Warren. "I will get that into my next letter. I see, Mr. Grant, you have an observing eye. You would make a good reporter for one of the city dailies."

"Do you think so?" asked Andy, feeling complimented.

"I am sure of it."

"How long have you lived in the city, Mr. Warren?"

"About three months. Some time I will tell you why I came here," he continued, with an air of mystery.

"I shall be glad to hear."

"I will tell you now, for I see you have a sympathetic soul. I loved, and my love was returned, but a heartless parent interposed and separated two loving hearts."

He took out his handkerchief and wiped his eyes. Andy hardly knew whether to laugh or to express sympathy.

"I suppose that often happens?" he said, rather lamely. "Perhaps he may yet repent."

"I live in that hope. When I have become famous, I will go back and offer myself again to Sophia. I suppose you have had no heart experiences as yet, Mr. Grant?"

"Not as yet, but I can sympathize with you."

"I am so glad you have come. I shall make you my confidential friend."

Then the conversation drifted into other channels.

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