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   Chapter 20 AN INVITATION TO DINNER

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 6585

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


Andy reached his boarding house at four o'clock.

"What brings you home so early, Mr. Grant?" asked Warren, whose door was open. "Is business poor?"

"It is with me," answered Andy; "I am discharged."

"You don't tell me so! How did it happen?"

"My employer is out West, and the head salesman has discharged me and engaged his nephew in my place."

"It's a shame. What shall you do about it?"

"Wait till Mr. Flint gets home."

"I hope you won't leave us."

"No, I think not."

"Of course you will miss your salary. I wish I could lend you some money, but I have not heard from the article I sent to the Century. If accepted, they will send me a large check."

"Thank you, Mr. Warren. I shall be able to get along for the present."

Soon Sam Perkins arrived, with a new and gorgeous necktie.

"Glad to see you, Andy," he said. "Won't you go with me to the Star

Theater this evening?"

"I can't, Sam; I have no money to spare."

"I thought you got a good salary?"

"Just at present I have none at all. I have been discharged."

"I am sorry for that. I wish there was a vacancy in our place; I should like to get you in there."

"Thank you. That is quite friendly."

Andy was about to go down to supper when Eva, the servant, came upstairs.

"There's a messenger boy downstairs wants to see you, Mr. Grant," she said.

In some surprise Andy went downstairs to see the messenger. He was a short boy of fourteen, Tom Keegan by name.

"I have a letter for Andrew Grant," he said.

"Give it to me; I am Andrew Grant. Here's a dime."

"Thank you," said the boy in a tone of satisfaction, for his weekly income was small.

Andy opened the letter. It was written on fashionable note paper. At the top of the paper was a monogram formed of the letters H and M.

Here is the letter:

"MY DEAR MR. GRANT: I shall be glad to have you take dinner with me at seven o'clock. I should have given you earlier notice, but supposed you would not be back from the store till six o'clock. You will meet my son Roy, who is a year or two younger than yourself, and my brother, John Crawford. Both will be glad to see you. Yours sincerely,

"HENRIETTA MASON."

"What is it, Andy?" asked Sam.

"You can read the note."

"By George, Andy, you are getting into fashionable society! Couldn't you take me along, too?"

"I am afraid I am not well enough acquainted to take such a liberty."

"I'll tell you what I'll do for you. I'll lend you my best necktie."

Sam produced a gorgeous red tie, which he held up admiringly.

"Thank you, Sam," said Andy, "but I think that won't suit me as well as you."

"What are you going to wear?"

Andy took from the bureau drawer a plain black tie.

"That!" exclaimed Sam, disgusted. "That is awfully plain."

"It suits my taste."

"Excuse me, Andy, but I don't think you've got any taste."

Andy laughed good-naturedly.

"Certainly my taste differs from yours," he said.

"I suppose you'll have a fine layout. I'd like to go to a fashionable dinner myself."

"I'll tell you all about it when I get back."

"Just mention that you've got a friend-a stylish young man whom they'd like to meet. That may bring me an invitation next time."

Andy laughed.

"So far as I am concerned, Sam," he sa

id, "I wish you were going. But you have an engagement at the Star Theater."

"So I have. I almost forgot."

Andy had very little time for preparation, but made what haste he could, and just as the public clocks struck seven he rang the bell of Mrs. Mason's house.

"I am glad you received my invitation in time," said the lady.

"So am I," returned Andy; "nothing could have been more welcome."

Just then Roy and her brother, Mr. Crawford, entered.

Roy was a very pleasant-looking boy, with dark-brown hair and a dark complexion. He was perhaps two inches shorter than Andy.

"This is Roy," said Mrs. Mason.

"I am glad to see you," said Roy, offering his hand.

Andy felt that he should like his new boy friend.

Next he was introduced to Mr. Crawford, a stout gentleman of perhaps forty, looking very much like his sister.

"I have heard my sister speak of you so often that I am glad to meet you, Andy," he said, affably.

"Thank you, sir."

"John, lead the way to the dining room," said his sister.

So they filed downstairs, and took their seats at the table.

Mr. Crawford sat at the head, opposite his sister, while Roy and Andy occupied the sides.

When dinner was nearly over, Mr. Crawford remarked:

"I believe, Andy, you are in the employ of Mr. Flint, the jeweler."

"I was," answered Andy.

"Surely you have not left him?" exclaimed Mrs. Mason.

"No, I have been discharged."

"I am surprised to hear it. I thought you were a favorite with Mr.

Flint."

"So I was. He does not know I have been discharged."

"You puzzle me."

"Mr. Flint is in Colorado, and Mr. Rich, his head salesman, has taken the opportunity to discharge me, and put his nephew in my place."

"But surely he would not venture to do this without some pretext."

"He claims that I took a watch from the case, and pawned it."

"Of course that is untrue."

"Yes, and I am in a position to prove it when Mr. Flint returns."

Andy told the story of his visit to the pawn shop, and the discovery he made there.

"This is a shameful plot!" said Mrs. Mason, indignantly. "I am afraid you are in trouble, deprived of your income."

"Fortunately I have no board to pay. That is paid by the gentleman who procured me the situation."

Presently they went upstairs.

"Roy," said his mother, "we will excuse you for an hour while you are getting your Latin lesson."

"I don't like Latin, mother," grumbled Roy, "at least not to-night. I am afraid I can't fix my thoughts on the lesson. I want to be with Andy."

"What are you studying in Latin, Roy?" asked Andy.

"Caesar."

"If you wish, I will help you."

"Can you?" asked Roy, joyfully.

"I have been through Caesar, and Virgil, also. When I left the academy I was studying Cicero."

"Roy will be glad of your help, Andy," said his mother. "I did not know you were such a scholar."

"I was getting ready for college, but my father's losses required me to break off."

Andy proved such an efficient helper that Roy found himself at leisure in half an hour.

In the meantime Mrs. Mason asked her brother:

"What do you think of my protege?"

"He seems a manly and attractive boy."

"Can't you find something for him to do?"

"I will talk with him presently, and then decide."

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