He didn’t feel homesick, for since his mother’s death he had no longer any home ties. Young as he was, he felt that one part of his life was at an end, and that a new life and a new career were before him.
THE YOUNG TEA MERCHANT
The next morning, at breakfast, one of the gentlemen, who had been running his eyes over the morning paper, said, suddenly:
“Ah! I see they have caught one of the gang who robbed the house of Mr. Percival, on Madison Avenue, a week ago.”
“Read the paragraph, Mr. Smith,” said one of the boarders.
Mr. Smith read as follows:
“About noon yesterday a boy entered the banking house of Jones & Robinson, in Wall Street, and offered for sale two one-hundred-dollar government bonds. On inquiry, he said that the bonds belonged to a man in the street, whom he had never before met, and who had offered him a dollar to sell them. This naturally excited suspicion, and a policeman was sent for. Before he could arrive the man had hastily departed, requesting the boy to meet him at a specified hour in front of the Astor House and hand him the money. He came to the rendezvous, but in disguise, and, while talking to the boy, was arrested. It is understood that he has agreed to turn State’s evidence, and probably the entire sum stolen, amounting to several thousand dollars, will be recovered.”
Frank listened to this paragraph with interest. He was glad that his name was not mentioned in the account, as he didn’t care for such publicity. He ventured to ask a question.
“Is Mr. Percival a rich man?” he asked.
“Very rich,” answered Mr. Smith. “He is not now in the city, but is expected home from Europe in three or four weeks. His house was left in charge of an old servant—a coachman—and his wife; but the burglars proved too much for them.”
“I am glad they are caught,” said Mrs. Fletcher. “It makes my blood run cold to think of having the houses entered at night by burglars.”
“Preston,” said Mr. Smith, jokingly, “I hope you have your bonds locked securely up.”
“I don’t believe the sharpest burglar can find them,” said Preston. “I only wish I could get hold of them myself.”
“The boy who helped to capture the burglar ought to be well rewarded,” said one of the boarders.
“Don’t you wish it had been you, Courtney?” said Mr. Preston.
“It was,” answered Frank, quietly.
There was a great sensation upon this announcement. All eyes were turned upon our hero—most, it must be admitted, with an expression of incredulity.
“Come, now, you are joking!” said Preston. “You don’t really mean it?”
“I do mean it,” assured Frank.
“Tell us all about it,” said Mrs. Fletcher, who had her share of curiosity. “I didn’t suppose we had such a hero in our house.”