“My daughter and I have been consulting about you.”
Frank bowed, and his hopes rose.
“I suppose you are open to an offer of employment?”
“I am not only open to it, Mr. Percival, but I shall be grateful for it.”
He could not help wondering what sort of employment Mr. Percival was about to offer him. He concluded that it might be a place in some business house.
“The fact is,” said the old gentleman, “I have a great mind to offer you the situation of my private secretary.”
Frank was astonished. This was something he had not thought of.
“Do you think I am qualified to fill such a position, Mr. Percival?” he asked, hesitatingly.
“The duties would not be difficult,” returned the old gentleman. “Though not in active business, the care of my property, and looking after my scattered investments, involves me in considerable correspondence. My eyes are not as strong as they once were, and I find them at times taxed by letter-writing, not to mention reading. You can relieve me very materially.”
“I shall be very glad to do so, sir. The duties will be very agreeable to me.”
“But that is not all. My daughter proposes to employ you as private tutor for Freddie.”
“I think my scholarship will be sufficient for that,” he said.
Frank was to receive $50 a month and board. This was wonderful news to him. Mr. Percival with great forethought paid him a month’s salary in advance. Frank went home happy.
FRANK AS PRIVATE SECRETARY
The next day Frank transferred his residence to Madison Avenue. He was assigned to a pleasant room, decidedly superior, it need hardly be said, to his room at Clinton Place. It seemed agreeable to him once more to enjoy the comforts of a liberal home.
Frank had had some doubts as to how he would satisfy Mr. Percival in his capacity of private secretary.
He was determined to do his best, but thought it possible that the old gentleman might require more than he could do well. He looked forward, therefore, with some apprehension to his first morning’s work.
Mr. Percival, though not engaged in active business, was a wealthy man, and his capital was invested in a great variety of enterprises. Naturally, therefore, he received a large number of business letters, which required to be answered.
The first day he dictated several replies, which Frank put upon paper. He wished, however, to put Frank’s ability to a severe test.
“Here are two letters,” he said, “which you may answer. I have noted on each instructions which you will follow. The wording of the letters I leave to you.”
“I will try to satisfy you sir,” said Frank.
Our hero was a good writer for his age. Moreover, he had been well trained at school and did not shrink from the task assigned him.