He left the saloon in better spirits, and resumed his travels from house to house.
I am sorry to say, however, that though he certainly exerted himself to the utmost in the interests of the Great Pekin Tea Company and his own, he did not sell another pound of tea that day.
About three o’clock he got on board a Third Avenue horse car, bound downtown and sat quietly down in a corner.
“Harlem doesn’t seem to be a very promising field for an agent,” he said to himself. “Perhaps it isn’t fair to judge it by the first day. Still, I don’t think I shall have courage to come here to-morrow. I would rather go to Jersey City or Brooklyn.”
Frank got off the cars at the Bible House and walked to his boarding house, where a disagreeable surprise was in store for him.
The night brought perplexity to Frank, but not discouragement. He was naturally hopeful, and, in a large city like New York, he felt that there are always chances of obtaining employment, provided he could maintain his position, as he would have been able to do if he had not lost the thirty-five dollars which his fellow boarder had stolen. Now, however, circumstances were materially changed.
One thing was tolerably clear to Frank, and this was, that he must give up his agency. He had tried it, and been unsuccessful. That is, he had failed to earn money enough to support himself, and this was necessary.
As to what he should take up next, Frank was quite in the dark. As a boy in a counting room he would be paid not more than four dollars a week, if he could gain such a situation, which was by no means certain.
The more he thought about the matter the more perplexed he felt, and it was in an uncomfortable frame of mind that he came down to breakfast the next morning.
He went out as usual after breakfast, and then walked leisurely downtown. He proposed to go to the shop of the Great Pekin Tea Company and resign his agency. He was on the watch during his walk for any opportunities to repair his unlucky loss:
At one place he saw a notice:
Though he felt sure the compensation would not be sufficient to allow of his accepting it, he thought it would do no harm to make inquiry, and accordingly entered.
It was an extensive retail store, where a large number of clerks were employed.
“Is a boy wanted here?” asked Frank of the nearest salesman.
“Yes. You may inquire at the desk.”
He pointed to a desk some distance back, and Frank went up to it.
“You advertise for a boy,” he said to a tall, stout man, who chanced to be the proprietor. “Is the place filled.”
“No,” was the answer; “but I don’t think it would suit you.”
“Do you think I would not be competent, sir?”