For two or three days Charlie could hear of nothing that would be at all suitable for him. At last, one morning he saw an advertisement for a youth to learn the engraver’s business—one who had some knowledge of drawing preferred; to apply at Thomas Blatchford’s, bank-note engraver. “Thomas Blatchford,” repeated Mr. Walters, as Charlie read it over—“why that is the Mr. Blatchford, the Abolitionist. I think you have some chance there most decidedly—I would advise you to take those sketches of yours and apply at once.”
Charlie ran upstairs, and selecting the best-executed of his drawings, put them in a neat portfolio, and, without saying anything to Esther or his mother, hastened away to Mr. Blatchford’s. He was shown into a room where a gentleman was sitting at a table examining some engraved plates. “Is this Mr. Blatchford’s?” asked Charlie.
“That is my name, my little man—do you want to see me,” he kindly inquired.
“Yes, sir. You advertised for a boy to learn the engraving business, I believe.”
“Well; and what then?”
“I have come to apply for the situation.”
“You—you apply?” said he, in a tone of surprise.
“Yes, sir,” faltered Charlie; “Mr. Walters recommended me to do so.”
“Ah, you know Mr. Walters, then,” he rejoined.
“Yes, sir; he is a great friend of my father’s—we are living with him at present.”
“What have you in your portfolio, there?” enquired Mr. Blatchford. Charlie spread before him the sketches he had made during the summer, and also some ornamental designs suitable for the title-pages of books. “Why, these are excellently well done,” exclaimed he, after examining them attentively; “who taught you?”
Charlie hereupon briefly related his acquaintance with the artist, and his efforts to obtain employment, and their results, besides many other circumstances connected with himself and family. Mr. Blatchford became deeply interested, and, at the end of a long conversation, delighted Charlie by informing him that if he and his mother could agree as to terms he should be glad to receive him as an apprentice.
Charlie could scarcely believe the evidence of his own ears, and leaving his portfolio on the table was hastening away.
“Stop! stop!” cried Mr. Blatchford, with a smile; “you have not heard all I wish to say. I would be much obliged to your mother if she would call at my house this evening, and then we can settle the matter definitely.”
Charlie seemed to tread on air as he walked home. Flying up to Esther—his usual confidant—be related to her the whole affair, and gave at great length his conversation with Mr. Blatchford.
“That looks something like,” said she; “I am delighted with the prospect that is opening to you. Let us go and tell mother,”—and, accordingly, off they both started, to carry the agreeable intelligence to Mrs. Ellis.