“Yes, sir. When do you want me to start?” said Frank, promptly.
“As soon as you can get ready.”
“I will start to-morrow, if you desire it, sir.”
“Let it be to-morrow, then. We will now discuss some of the details connected with the mission.”
PREPARING FOR A JOURNEY
After receiving certain instructions from Mr. Percival in regard to the manner of carrying on his inquiries, Frank said:
“There is one thing I have thought of, Mr. Percival, that may interfere with my success.”
“What is it, Frank? I shall be glad to receive any suggestion from you.”
“I have been thinking, sir, that it may excite surprise that I should come to Jackson, and remain there without any apparent motive. Perhaps Mr. Fairfield might suspect that I came from you.”
“I hardly think so, Frank. He would not suppose that I would select so young a messenger. Still, it will be well to think of some pretext for your stay. Can you help me?”
“I have been thinking, sir, that I might fit myself out as an agent, or peddler, or something of the kind. It would not only give me an excuse for my journey, but enable me to call from house to house and pick up information about Mr. Fairfield.”
“A capital idea, Frank. I see that you are better fitted for the task than I supposed. I give you authority to fit yourself out in any way you choose. I shall have to leave a great deal to your own judgment.”
“Then, sir, I think I might lay in a stock of stationery, pens and articles of that nature. Probably this is so common that I would be thought to be nothing more than I seemed.”
“That strikes me rather favorably, Frank.”
“I could fit myself out in the city, and take the articles along with me in an extra valise or carpetbag.”
“Let me suggest an amendment to your plan,” said Mr. Percival. “Wait till you get to Chicago, and lay in your stock there. The advantage of that arrangement will be that you will be saved the care of your merchandise up to that point, and, as you may be asked where you obtained your stock, it will create less surprise if you mention Chicago than New York. It would be considered hardly worth while for a New York boy to go so far on such a business—”
This seemed to Frank an excellent suggestion and he instantly adopted it.
The next day Frank started on his long journey. He carried with him a supply of money provided by Mr. Percival, and he was authorized to draw for more if he should require it.
He divided this money into two portions, keeping a small sum in his pocketbook, but the greater part of it in an inside vest pocket, where it would not be likely to be looked for by pickpockets.
This arrangement was suggested by Mr. Percival.