“Have you set up a carriage, Jack?” asked a boy acquaintance, coming up and recognizing Jack.
“Yes,” said Jack, “but it ain’t for long. I shall set down again pretty soon.”
“I thought your grandmother had left you a fortune, and you had set up a team.”
“No such good news. It belongs to a gentleman that’s inside.”
“Inside the carriage?”
“No, in No. 39.”
“How long’s he going to stay?”
“I don’t know.”
“If it was half an hour, we might take a ride, and be back in time.”
Jack shook his head.
“That ain’t my style,” he said. “I’ll stay here till he comes out.”
“Well, I must be going along. Are you coming to school to-morrow?”
“Yes, if I can’t get anything to do.”
“Are you trying for that?”
“I’d like to get a place. Father’s out of work, and anything I can earn comes in handy.”
“My father’s got plenty of money,” said Frank Nelson, complacently. “There isn’t any need of my working.”
“Then your father’s lucky.”
“And so am I.”
“I don’t know about that. I’d just as lieve work as not.”
“Well, I wouldn’t. I’d rather be my own master, and have my time to myself. But I must be going home.”
“You’re lazy, Frank.”
“Very likely. I’ve a right to be.”
Frank Nelson went off, and Jack was left alone. Half an hour passed, and still the gentleman, who had entered No. 39, didn’t appear. The horse showed signs of impatience, shook his head, and eyed Jack in an unfriendly manner.
“He thinks it time to be going,” thought Jack. “So do I. I wonder what the man’s up to. Perhaps he’s spending the day.”
Fifteen minutes more passed, but then relief came. The owner of the carriage came out.
“Did you get tired of waiting for me?” he asked.
“No,” said Jack, shrewdly. “I knew the longer the job, the bigger the pay.”
“I suppose that is a hint,” said the gentleman, not offended.
“Perhaps so,” said Jack, and he smiled too.
“Tell me, now, what are you going to do with the money I give you—buy candy?”
“No,” answered Jack, “I shall carry it home to my mother.”
“That’s well. Does your mother need the money?”
“Yes, sir. Father’s out of work, and we’ve got to live all the same.”
“What’s your father’s business?”
“He’s a cooper.”
“So he’s out of work?”
“Yes, sir, and has been for six weeks. It’s on account of the panic, I suppose.”
“Very likely. He has plenty of company just now.”