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   Chapter 17 ANDY'S FELLOW BOARDERS.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 8079

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


As time went on, Andy became sensible that Simon Rich was indeed no friend of his. He was watched with a cold vigilance that was nothing less than a lookout for imperfections. Andy saw that it would be necessary for him to be unusually careful and attentive to his duties.

Mr. Flint, on the other hand, was always kind and cordial, notwithstanding the slighting words from Mr. Rich.

One day when Andy returned from lunch he found a boy talking with Simon

Rich. He recognized him as his predecessor.

The boy, John Crandall, looked at him with an ill-natured glance. As Simon Rich did not see fit to introduce him he did not speak. When Rich went out to lunch John Crandall accompanied him.

"Don't you think there is any chance of my getting back, Uncle Simon?" asked John.

"Not at present. That boy you saw seems to have the inside track with

Mr. Flint."

"What sort of a boy is he?"

"He's too fresh. I don't like him."

"What made Mr. Flint take him on?"

"Heaven knows; I don't."

"Do you think he is likely to stay?"

"Not if I can help it."

"Can't you prejudice Mr. Flint against him?"

"I will if I can. I am looking for a chance to get him into trouble, but it isn't easy, as he is a goody-goody sort of a boy. He tries to get in with people. You know Mrs. Mason, of Fifty-sixth Street?"

"Yes; I have carried purchases there."

"The very first day he was here he went there with a chain, and she invited him to lunch."

"You don't mean it?" exclaimed John, in surprise. "She never took any notice of me."

They went to the Dairy Restaurant, on Union Square, for lunch.

"Uncle Simon," said John, when they were going out, "can't you give me fifty cents? You know I haven't a cent of money, now that my salary is stopped."

"What do you want fifty cents for?" demanded his uncle, frowning.

"I want to go to the Grand Opera House to-night. I haven't been to the theater for two weeks."

"And you can't expect to while you are not earning anything."

"But that isn't my fault," pleaded John.

"Yes, it is. You neglected your duties at Flint's, and he saw it. That is why you lost your place."

"It is pretty hard going about without a cent of money in your pocket."

"Then you should have kept your place. Have you been around to look for another position?"

"No; I thought you would get me back into Flint's."

"I don't think there is much chance, but I will try to get the other boy out."

"I hope you'll do that; I hate the sight of him. I feel as if he had turned me out of my place."

"How do you like the new boy, Mr. Rich?" asked the jeweler at the end of the first week.

"I don't care much for him," said Simon Rich, coldly.

"What is the matter with him? Does he neglect his work?"

"No," Rich admitted, unwillingly.

"What have you against him, then?"

"He has a sneaking way about him."

"On the contrary, he seems to me to be unusually frank and open."

"He is trying to get into your good graces."

"Well, that is proper, isn't it?

"Yes, but-"

"Well?"

"I think he will bear watching."

"Surely you don't suspect him of dishonesty."

"Still waters run deep," said the clerk, sententiously.

Mr. Flint smiled to himself as he turned away. He understood that the secret of his head clerk's prejudice was the fact that Andy had taken the place of his nephew.

Meanwhile Andy had got well acquainted at his boarding house. Besides

Mr. Warren he found his next neighbor, Sam Perkins, quite sociable.

Sam was a youth of eighteen, and was employed in a furnishing-goods store on lower Broadway. He was fortunate in the location of his store, as he finished work at half-past five, and was able to be at supper at the regular hour. He seemed rather fond of dress and indulged in a variety of showy neckties, being able to get them at wholesale rates.

He introduced himself to Andy the first evening.

"What pay do you get?" he asked.

"Five dollars a week."

"I get seven, but it's too small. A man can't live on

it. Why, my car fare costs me sixty cents a week."

"It must be rather a tight squeeze."

"The folks at home allow me two dollars a week besides. You see, the governor's got money. But I tell you money melts away in New York."

"No doubt. There are a good many ways of spending money here."

"Suppose we go to the theater to-night."

"I would rather wait a while. This is my first night in the city."

"Have you got acquainted with old Warren?"

"You mean the occupant of the large room opposite?"

"Yes."

"I have talked with him a little."

"How do you like him?"

"I don't know him well enough to judge," said Andy, cautiously.

"He's a crank-and soft at that. Pretends that he is literary and writes for the magazines."

"He does, doesn't he?"

"Yes, he writes for them, but I don't think his articles get printed. He just sits round and writes, and isn't any company at all. I have tried to get him to go to the theater, but he won't. Once I was hard up-hadn't but a nickel-and asked him to lend me a quarter. He wouldn't."

"Very likely he hasn't got much money."

"That's right. Did you ever see such shabby neckties as he wears?"

"He hasn't your advantages about getting new neckties," said Andy, with a smile, for he had already learned where Sam was at work.

"How do you like the tie I have on? It's a stunner, isn't it?" asked

Sam, complacently.

"It's very showy."

"I get a new necktie every week. You see, I get them at half price.

Girls always notice your necktie."

"Then I don't think they'll pay me much attention."

"Your tie is too sober, that's a fact. Better let me bring you one. I can get it half off. They won't know but it's for me."

"Thank you. I may by and by accept your offer. Now, I don't want to spend any extra money."

At the table Andy was introduced to a Mr. and Mrs. Osborn, who did not appear to be long married. She was tall, angular and thirty-five. He was at least five years younger. He had married her for her money, but she let him have little advantage of it, dealing it out in small sums.

He occupied a small clerkship at eight dollars a week, out of which he had to pay his own board, while his wife, who had an income from property of a thousand dollars a year, defrayed her own expenses, and occasionally allowed him a dollar or two.

He was much better looking than his wife, and it was this, perhaps, that made her jealous if he looked at another woman. The particular object of her jealousy was a Miss Manson, who held a business position at an uptown milliner's. She was pleasant and piquant.

There was also a Mr. Kimball, who was a salesman at Hearn's. He liked to discuss financial problems, and felt that he should have been a banker, but found no one to talk with, as Mr. Osborn's ideas on finance were elementary.

Indeed, Mrs. Osborn was the only one at the table who was competent to converse with him on his favorite subject.

"Miss Manson, may I pass you the sugar?" asked Mr. Osborn on the first occasion of Andy's appearing at dinner.

"Miss Manson can reach the sugar bowl herself," interposed Mrs. Osborn, with a reproving frown.

"I like to be neighborly, my dear," said her husband, deprecatingly.

"I see you do."

Miss Manson smiled, and so did others at the table, who detected Mrs.

Osborn's jealousy.

"Have you read the President's financial message, Mr. Osborn?" asked Mr.

Kimball.

"No; I don't take any interest in such things."

"I have read it, Mr. Kimball," said Mrs. Osborn, "and I approve his recommendations."

"So do I, with one exception," returned Mr. Kimball; and they began a conversation in which none of the other boarders took an interest.

When supper was over, Andy and Sam went for a walk. Mr. Warren excused himself on the ground that he was writing a poem for one of the magazines.

"So you are with a jeweler," said Sam. "I may come up and buy a ring some day. Do you allow a discount to friends?"

"I don't know yet. I will favor you if I can."

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