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   Chapter 31 THE TRAP.

Andy Grant's Pluck By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 7798

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03


Andy left the depot with his new acquaintance, who gave his name as Percival Robinson, and, following his lead, boarded a horse car, which took them both a distance of three miles to the southern part of the city. As they went on, dwellings became scattering.

"Your friend's house seems quite out of the way," said Andy.

"Yes; but Chicago is a city of distances. It really doesn't make much difference where you stop. Street cars will carry you anywhere."

"Still it would be pleasanter to be centrally located."

"But by going some way out you get cheaper accommodations."

"That is true," thought Andy; "and I have time enough."

At length Robinson signaled to the conductor to stop.

Andy followed him out of the car. They seemed to be in the very outskirts of the city.

Robinson led the way to a rather shabby brick house standing by itself.

It was three stories in height.

"This is where my friend lives," he said, walking up the front steps and ringing the front-door bell.

Two minutes later the door was opened by a red-haired man in his shirt sleeves.

"Hello, Tom!" he exclaimed.

"I thought his name was Percival," Andy said to himself.

"My young friend and I will stay overnight with you," said Robinson.

"All right. Come in."

A door on the left was opened, and Andy saw a sanded floor, and on one side of the room a bar.

"Go in there a minute," said Robinson, "while I speak to my friend."

Andy went in, and picked up a copy of the Clipper from the table-the only paper in the room.

In five minutes the two returned.

"I'll take your gripsack," said the man in shirt sleeves. "I will show you to your room."

They went up two flights of stairs to a room on the third floor. It was a small apartment about ten feet square, with a double bed in one corner.

"I guess you'll both be comfortable here," said the landlord.

"I think I would rather have a room to myself," said Andy, by no means satisfied.

"Sorry we can't accommodate you, but the house is full."

It didn't look so, but then the lodgers might be out.

Andy thought for a moment he would go downstairs, and take a car back to the central part of the city, but he was afraid his action would seem strange, and he made no objection.

"I guess we'll get along together," said Robinson, in an easy tone.

Andy didn't think so, but he found it awkward to make objections.

"I will take a wash," he said, seeing that the pitcher on the washstand contained water.

"All right!" returned Robinson. "Just make yourself at home. I'll go downstairs. You'll find me there."

Left alone, Andy reproached himself for his too ready yielding to the plans of his companion. He wondered why he had done so.

"Mr. Crawford didn't ask me to be economical," he reflected. "He is willing I should pay ordinary prices at a hotel. I think I have been very foolish. However, I am in for it. It will serve as a lesson to me, which I will remember hereafter."

He looked out of the window. There was a lot behind the hotel-if it was a hotel-covered with ashes, tin cans, and other litter.

"I am sure," thought Andy, "this isn't the kind of hotel Mr. Crawford wished me to stay at."

When he had washed he went downstairs. As he passed the door of the barroom he saw Mr. Robinson inside, sitting at the table, with a bottle and a glass before him.

"Come in, Grant, and have some whisky," he said.

"Thank you, but I don't care for whisky."

"Perhaps you would prefer beer?"

"I don't care to drink anything, thank you."

"You don't mean to say you're a temperance crank?"

"Yes, I think I am."

"Oh, well, do just as you please. By the way, it is the rule here to pay for board in advance."

"How much is it?"

"A dollar and a quarter, please," said this red-haired man, who stood behind the bar.

Andy paid over the money.

"I thought perhaps you

would stay more than one day."

"No, I have little time. I shall have to leave to-morrow. I think, Mr.

Robinson, I will go out and take a walk."

"All right! Supper will be ready in two hours."

Andy nodded.

He had a great mind to go upstairs and get his gripsack. Then he would be able to go where he pleased. He went out and began to walk about in the neighborhood of the hotel.

It did not seem to be a very pleasant quarter of the city, and it was certainly a good distance from the center.

"I sha'n't learn much about Chicago if I stay here," he thought.

Again he execrated his folly in so weakly yielding to the representations of a man he knew nothing about.

He walked for half an hour and then returned slowly. There didn't seem to be much to look at, and his walk had no interest for him.

Not far from the hotel he met a well-dressed boy, and was impelled to speak to him.

"Do you live near by?" he asked.

"No, but I have an uncle living in that house over there. I came to spend the day with my cousins."

"I am a stranger in this city. I met a man who took me to that brick house. He recommended it as a cheap boarding place. Do you know anything about it?"

"I know that it has a bad reputation."

"Will you tell me what you know about it? You will be doing me a favor."

"The bar does a good business in the evening. I have heard of several cases where men who put up there complained of being robbed."

"Thank you. I am not much surprised to hear it."

"Have you taken a room there?"

"Yes. I am afraid I was foolish."

"I hope you won't be robbed-that's all."

"I should like to get out, but I am afraid if I come downstairs with my grip they would try to stop my going."

"Where is your room?"

"At the back part of the house, looking out on the lot."

"I'll tell you what you can do," said the other boy, after a moment's thought. "Have you paid anything for your room?"

"Yes, but I don't mind that."

"Then drop your grip out of the window. I'll catch it."

"I will."

"Then you can take a car and go down into the city."

"Do you know the way to the Sherman House?"

"Certainly."

"If you will go there with me, I'll make it worth your while."

"All right. I was just about going home, anyway."

"Then I'll go upstairs and get my bag."

Andy went to his room, opened the window, and, looking down, saw his new boy friend.

"Are you ready?" he asked.

"Yes."

"You needn't try to catch it. There's nothing in it that will break."

"Fling her out!"

Andy did so.

"Now come down. You'll find me here."

An hour later supper was served. Percival Robinson and three other men, likewise patrons of the barroom, sat down. The landlord himself was one of the party.

"Where is the kid?" he asked.

"I saw him go out an hour ago," said one of the guests.

"He has probably come back and is in his room," said Robinson. "I will go up and call him."

He went upstairs quickly and entered the room assigned to Andy and himself. It was empty.

"The boy has taken a long walk," he said to himself.

Then he looked about for Andy's grip. It occurred to him that he would have a good opportunity to examine its contents.

He started in surprise and dismay, for the grip was gone.

"He must have given me the slip," he exclaimed.

"Did any one see the boy go out with his gripsack?" he asked, as he returned.

"I saw him go out, but he had nothing in his hand," answered the landlord.

"Well, he's gone, bag and baggage," returned Robinson, very much annoyed.

"At any rate, he has paid his bill," said the landlord, complacently.

"Bother his hotel bill!" muttered Robinson, roughly. "I meant to have a good deal more than that."

"Have you any idea where he has gone?"

"I think he may have gone to the Sherman House. I'll go there after supper and see if I can find him."

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