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   Chapter 23 MR. FLINT'S RETURN.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7625

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


Mr. Crawford was something more than an ordinary real estate dealer. He was thorough and painstaking in whatever he undertook.

In his private office he had a library of volumes relating to architecture, practical building, real estate, law, etc. This Andy discovered, and he asked his employer if he might borrow books therefrom.

Mr. Crawford seemed pleased, but he asked:

"Do you think you will feel any interest in such dry volumes?"

"I shall not read for interest, but for improvement," answered Andy. "If

I am to follow up this business I want to find out all I can about it."

"You are an unusually sensible boy," said Mr. Crawford. "I am sure you will succeed."

"I mean to, if it is possible."

From this time John Crawford felt an added interest in Andy, and took pains to push him forward, and gave him practical information about real estate.

"How do you like Andy, John?" asked Mrs. Mason, not long afterward.

"He is a treasure. He does credit to your recommendation."

"I am very much pleased to hear you say so. I consider him a remarkable boy. Roy gets much higher marks at school since Andy began to help him in his lessons."

One day Andy was sent up to the Grand Central Depot on an errand. He arrived just as a train came in from the West. What was his surprise to see Mr. Flint getting out of a parlor car.

"Mr. Flint!" he cried, joyfully.

"Andy!" exclaimed the jeweler. "It seems pleasant to see a home face. But how do you happen to be up here at this time? Did Mr. Rich send you?"

"Then you have not heard-" began Andy.

"Heard what?"

"That I have been discharged from your store."

"When did this happen?" asked the jeweler, abruptly.

"About two weeks ago."

"Rich never wrote me about it. Who is in your place?"

"John Crandall."

"His nephew? The boy I discharged?"

"Yes, sir."

Mr. Flint's face assumed a stern look.

"This will have to be explained," he said. "What was the pretext for discharging you?"

"Dishonesty. He charged me with stealing a gold watch and pawning it."

"Ridiculous!"

"Then you don't believe me guilty?"

"Certainly not."

"Thank you, Mr. Flint."

"Tell me the circumstances."

"Please excuse me now, Mr. Flint. I am in a real estate office, and am on an errand. If you like, I will call at your house and explain. In the meantime I will let Mr. Rich give you his version."

"Call this evening, Andy."

"It will have to be between seven and half-past seven, as I have a pupil in the evening."

"Come to supper at my house, as soon after six as possible."

"Very well, sir."

Mr. Flint had telegraphed to Simon Rich of his coming, but through some mistake the telegram did not reach him, so that he was quite taken by surprise when his employer entered the store.

"I had no idea you were anywhere near New York, Mr. Flint," he said.

"Didn't you get my telegram from Buffalo, Mr. Rich?"

"No, sir. I hope you are well."

Just then John Crandall came in from an errand.

"You here!" said the jeweler. "Where is Andy Grant?"

"I was obliged to discharge him," replied Rich, nervously.

"Why?"

"Very much to my surprise I discovered that he had stolen a gold watch from the case."

"What evidence had you of it?"

"I found the pawn ticket in his pocket. He pawned it on Third Avenue."

"This surprises me very much," said the jeweler, quietly. "Andrew did not strike me as a dishonest boy."

"I was amazed, sir. I could hardly believe my eyes."

"What led you to search for the ticket?"

"I knew that the watch must have been taken either by him or John, who came into the shop occasionally. I accordingly searched both."

"And you found the ticket in Andrew's pocket?"

"Yes, sir."

"What did he say? Did he admit the theft?"

"No; he braz

ened it out, but of course the evidence was overwhelming."

"So you discharged him?"

"Yes; I did not dare to have him remain."

"And you engaged your nephew in his place?"

"Yes, sir. John happened to be here, and knew something of the duties, so I engaged him temporarily, subject, of course, to your approval."

"Where is Andrew now? Have you seen him since?"

"John saw him one day. Where was it, John?"

"On Broadway, near the St. Denis Hotel. He said he had a place."

"Where?"

"In a real estate office."

"I suppose you gave him no recommendation, Mr. Rich?"

"No, sir; I couldn't do it conscientiously. Of course, now that you have returned, if you are dissatisfied with John's being here, we can advertise for another boy."

"I will take a day to consider it. I shall only stay here half an hour and then go up to the house."

When Mr. Flint left the store, Simon Rich said:

"The old man took Andy's discharge more quietly than I anticipated."

"Do you think he will let me stay, Uncle Simon?"

"I can't tell yet. One thing I must tell you-you won't stay long unless you turn over a new leaf and attend to your duties."

"I'll do that, never fear! What I am afraid of is, that Andy will come around and tell a lot of lies."

"I don't think it will work. You see, the pawn ticket was found in his pocket. He can't get over that very well."

John knew more than his uncle of the nature of Andy's defense, and he could not help feeling apprehensive.

Soon after six o'clock Andy made his appearance at Mr. Flint's house, where he was cordially received.

"I have heard the story of Mr. Rich, Andy," he said. "Now let me have your defense."

"I can give it very briefly. The watch was pawned by John Crandall. Of course it was given him by Mr. Rich."

"How did you find that out?"

"I went around to the pawnbroker's, and obtained a description of the boy who pawned the watch. It tallied exactly with John's appearance. That was not all. I met, the same day, a boy named Jimmy Callahan. He saw John coming out of the pawnbroker's the day before the charge was made against me."

"That is pretty conclusive. Can you explain how the ticket was put in your pocket?"

"No, sir; that puzzles me."

"It could easily be done, no doubt. Now, do you want to return to my employ?"

"No, sir, I think not. I am in a real estate office, and I think there is more chance for me to rise."

"How did you obtain the position?"

"Through Mrs. Mason, of West Fifty-sixth Street. She has been a very good friend to me. The gentleman who employs me is her brother."

"I shall be sorry to lose you, Andy, but I wish you to consult your own interest. As to John Crandall, I shall discharge him at once. I will not permit him to profit by the conspiracy against you. Can you stay this evening?"

"No, sir. I am helping Mrs. Mason's son, Roy, in his Latin lessons. For this I am paid five dollars per week."

"You seem to be very well provided for, I must say."

"Yes, sir, I have been fortunate."

The next day Mr. Flint notified Simon Rich that he was acquainted with the manner in which evidence had been procured against Andy. Then he turned to the nephew.

"The watch was pawned by you, John," he said, "under the direction of your uncle."

"No, sir," said John. "If Andy Grant has told you this he has told a lie."

"The matter is easily settled. Come around with me to the pawnbroker's."

John stammered and finally confessed.

"Of course I cannot retain your services after this. You, Mr. Rich, may remain till the end of the month. I shall then feel obliged to make a change."

Never were two conspirators more quickly punished. Simon Rich repented bitterly yielding to the temptation to injure Andy. His malice had recoiled upon himself.

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