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   Chapter 16 ANDY AT WORK.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 6788

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


Punctually as the clock struck eight the next morning Andy entered the store of Mr. Flint on Union Square. He looked for his employer, but the jeweler seldom arrived before nine, his residence being in Harlem.

Behind the counter, arranging the goods in one of the cases, was a man with reddish hair who might at a guess be thirty-five years of age. It was Mr. Flint's head clerk, Simon Rich, who had been absent when Andy made his first call.

"What can I do for you, boy?" he asked, superciliously.

"Is Mr. Flint in?"

"No. You can tell me your business."

"I have come here to work."

"Oh!"

This exclamation was long-drawn out. Mr. Rich then proceeded to examine

Andy from head to foot in a manner which was extremely offensive.

Andy understood that for some reason this man would be his enemy. He would have understood his hostility better had he known that the boy just discharged was the head clerk's nephew.

"I suppose you are well acquainted with the business?" remarked Rich, with a sneer.

"I know nothing about it."

"Humph! you stand a chance of being very useful."

"I hope to become familiar with it soon," said Andy, coloring.

"Suppose you sweep out, to begin with."

He pointed out the broom, and Andy went to work.

"I wish he were a more agreeable man," thought Andy. "I am afraid he will make my position unpleasant."

Here a customer came in, and Mr. Rich was occupied for the next ten minutes.

The customer, a lady, bought a gold chain.

"Shall I send it?" asked the clerk.

"Yes, but not till twelve o'clock."

"To what address?"

She gave a number on Fifty-sixth Street.

"Very well."

"There will be an errand for you," said Rich, as he put back the chains not selected.

Andy nodded. He felt that he would rather be absent on an errand than in the company of Simon Rich.

"Where did Mr. Flint pick you up?" inquired Rich.

This was rude, but Andy felt that it would not be politic to get into a quarrel with the head clerk so soon.

"We met at lunch," he said.

"Where?"

"At the Sinclair House."

"Had you never seen him before?"

"No."

"Queer that he should engage you at such short notice!"

"He was acquainted with the gentleman I was with."

"What name?"

"Walter Gale."

"Yes, I have seen him. Are you related to Mr. Gale?"

"No."

"Are you aware that the boy you have displaced-John Crandall-is my nephew?"

"No, sir; I didn't know it. I am sorry he has lost his place."

"He is a good boy, but Mr. Flint became prejudiced against him. Did he say anything about him when he engaged you?"

"I believe he said that he was not satisfactory, but as I did not know him I did not notice."

Another customer came in, and at nine o'clock Mr. Flint entered.

"I see you are on hand," he said, pleasantly, to Andy.

"Yes, sir."

"When did you come to the city?"

"Yesterday, sir."

"Have you a boarding place?"

"Yes, sir, in Clinton Place. I was recommended to it by Mr. Gale."

"That is well. Mr. Rich, this is the new boy."

"So he told me," said Rich, coldly.

"Have you had any customers?"

"Yes, sir. There is one article to be sent-a gold chain-to Mrs. Mason, of Fifty-sixth Street."

"Any time mentioned?"

"Twelve o'clock."

"You can send Andrew at that time."

"Very well, sir."

Andy was very glad of his employer's presence. It checked

any manifestation of rudeness on the part of the clerk.

At quarter to twelve a box containing the chain was handed to Andy, addressed to Mrs. Mason.

"Did you notice the lady who purchased the chain?" asked Mr. Flint.

"Yes, sir."

"I wish this box placed in her hands. Ask her to give you a receipt for it."

"Yes, sir."

"Here is money for car fare. You may go to lunch after delivering the box."

"Yes, sir."

Andy took a Broadway car, and just after twelve reached the house. The door was opened by a man-servant.

"I have a parcel for Mrs. Mason," said Andy.

"All right; I'll take it."

"I am only to deliver it into her hands."

"She isn't at home."

"Then I will wait for her. She said she would be here at twelve."

The man was about to speak rudely, when a lady mounted the steps.

"Are you from Mr. Flint?" she asked.

"Yes, madam."

"I am Mrs. Mason."

"I remember you," said Andy, bowing. "Will you be kind enough to give me a receipt?"

"Certainly. Step into the hall, and I won't keep you waiting long."

Andy sat down.

"Why didn't you give me the parcel, boy?" asked the servant.

"Because you are not Mrs. Mason. I had strict orders to deliver it to her."

"Humph! that is being mighty particular."

"I have nothing to do with Mr. Flint's rules."

Mrs. Mason returned almost immediately.

"Here is the receipt, and thank you," she said, pleasantly.

Andy bowed, and opened the door to go out.

"I am afraid I have interfered with your lunch," she said.

"I am going to it now, thank you."

"My lunch is just ready. Perhaps you will accept an invitation to lunch with me?"

"I shall be very glad to do so."

Andy had been brought up as a gentleman, and was not at all embarrassed, as some boys would have been, by this attention from a lady.

"Follow me, then," she said, as she led the way downstairs to the front basement.

A small table was set there, and Mrs. Mason pointed to a seat.

"You are my only guest," she said. "My boy is out of town just at present. Shall I help you to some cold chicken?"

"Thank you."

Besides the chicken there was bread and butter, some kind of preserve, and hot tea. It was all very plain, but Andy enjoyed it.

"I ought to know the name of my guest," said Mrs. Mason.

"My name is Andrew Grant."

"Have you been long at Mr. Flint's?"

"This is my first day."

"I hope you will find the situation a pleasant one. You are not a city boy?"

"No, I came from Arden."

They were waited upon at table by Gustave, the man who had treated Andy rudely.

He did not look at all pleasant at having to wait upon the boy from

"Flint's," and evidently considered his mistress very eccentric.

Mrs. Mason gossiped pleasantly, and evidently enjoyed her young company.

"That is better than eating alone," she said, as she rose from the table. "I feel quite well acquainted with you, Andrew. You must come up sometime when my boy is at home. He is a year or two younger than you, but I think you will get on together."

"I shall be very glad to come," replied Andy, gratefully. "Thank you for all your kindness."

He went back to the store at once.

"You are back early," said Mr. Flint.

"Yes, sir; Mrs. Mason invited me to lunch, and that saved time."

Simon Rich looked surprised. His nephew had never received so much attention from a customer.

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