Frank listened with interest. He wondered whether the Great Pekin Tea Company would employ him. If so, he would have a field for his energy, and every inducement to work hard, since his pay would depend on the amount of his sales. Besides, as an agent, he would occupy a comparatively independent position, and Frank was ambitious enough to enjoy this.
AN ADVENTURE IN WALL STREET
When the two men at his table left the restaurant, Frank followed them. At the door the two parted, the clerk going toward Broadway, while the agent walked in the direction of Nassau Street.
“I beg your pardon,” said Frank, overtaking him; “but may I ask you a question?”
“Half a dozen, if you like,” said the other, good-naturedly.
“I overheard what you said about the Great Pekin Tea Company. Do you think I could get a chance to sell for them?”
“Oh, yes; there’ll be no trouble about that!”
“I am looking for something to do,” continued Frank, “and I think I should like to try that.”
“You’ll find it uphill work,” said the agent; “hard work and poor pay. I shall leave it as soon as I can get a regular position. Can’t you get a place?”
“Perhaps I can. I haven’t tried very hard yet,” answered Frank; “but I find boys are paid so little that I can’t make enough to live on. If I were a man it would be different.”
“I don’t believe you can make more than a boy’s wages at selling tea,” said Frank’s new acquaintance, “but you might try it.”
“Would you mind giving me a note to the company?” asked Frank.
“I will write a line on one of my business cards,” said the agent. “That will be all you will need.”
He drew out a card and wrote a line commending Frank to the attention of the company.
Frank thanked him, and sought the direction given.
Entering a large shop, not far from the Astor House, he looked about his inquiringly. Around him were chests of tea, inscribed with Chinese characters. A portly man addressed him.
“Well, my boy, what can I do for you?” he asked.
“Mr. Mason, one of your agents, has given me this card,” said Frank. “He thinks you might be willing to employ me.”
“We are ready to employ any competent person,” said the gentleman; “but you seem very young.”
“I am sixteen, sir.”
“That is young. Have you had any experience as an agent?”
The man questioned him further and finally accepted him.
Frank was told that it would be well to take samples of different kinds of teas with their respective prices attached, and seek orders for them at private houses and groceries, noting down in a little book orders obtained. Small quantities he could himself deliver, and large quantities, should he be fortunate enough to obtain any, could be sent out from the store by their general delivery.