While Frank’s monthly salary was of great value and importance to him, it was nothing to Mr. Percival in comparison with the pleasure and relief afforded by his presence in the house.
It must not be supposed, however, that Frank’s time was wholly occupied by the duties of his two positions. Usually he had several hours daily at his disposal, and these he was allowed to spend as he pleased.
Part of this he occupied in visiting different localities of the city and points of interest in the neighborhood, and part in reading and study.
Mr. Percival had a large and well-selected library, which, to a boy of Frank’s studious tastes, was a great attraction.
He entered upon a course of solid reading, embracing some of the standard histories, and devoted some hours every week to keeping up his acquaintance with the Greek and Latin authors which he had read at school.
In this way his time was well and usefully employed, and the weeks slipped by till almost before he was aware six months had passed.
One afternoon Frank walked down Broadway enjoying the bright sunshine. Just in front of the St. Nicholas Hotel he heard his name called and looking up he recognized with some surprise, Pliny Tarbox, his cousin from Newark.
Pliny asked many questions as to what Frank was doing and how much money he was making. Frank told him of his good fortune in obtaining the position he held with Mr. Percival and the two parted—Frank the much happier of the two.
Pliny urgently invited Frank to visit them but Frank would rather remain in New York.
“I hope I shall never think so much of money as Pliny and his father,” thought Frank. “Money is a good thing to have but there are some things that are better.”
A LETTER FROM MR. TARBOX
Frank did not speak to Mr. Percival’s family of his meeting with Pliny. It was not pleasant to him to think that he was valued only for his good fortune. He had seen but little of the Tarbox family, but he understood very well what their professions of friendship amounted to, and that they were not to be relied upon in an emergency.
He was not much surprised on Monday afternoon to receive the following letter from Erastus Tarbox:
“My Dear Young Cousin:—We have been wondering what has become of you, and Mrs. T. and myself have often wished to invite you to pass a Sabbath at our humble home. Not knowing your address, I could not write to you, or I should have done so. You can imagine, therefore, the pleasure we felt when Pliny told us that he had met you, and gave us tidings of your remarkable success, which I am sure does you great credit.
“He tells me that you fill a very responsible position, and receive a very liberal salary. I could wish that Pliny might be equally fortunate, and shall esteem it a great favor if you will mention him to your respected employer, and recommend him for any lucrative position which he may bestow upon him. Pliny is a very capable boy, and has been carefully trained to habits of frugality and industry.