“I once experienced,” he said, “the disadvantage of carrying all my money in one pocket. I was in a Southern city, or, rather, on my way to it, when an adroit pickpocket on the car relieved me of my wallet containing all my available funds. I did not find out my loss till I had arrived at the hotel and registered my name. You can imagine my embarrassment. It was my first visit to that particular city, and I had no acquaintances there, so far as I was aware. Had I mentioned my position to the landlord, he might very probably have taken me for an adventurer, traveling on false pretenses.”
“What did you do, sir?” asked Frank, interested.
“I took a walk about the city, my thoughts occupied in devising a way out of my trouble. To my great relief, I had the good fortune, during the walk, to meet a New York acquaintance, who knew very well my financial standing. I told him of my difficulty, and he immediately introduced me at a bank, where I raised money on a New York draft. I resolved, however, at that time, never again to carry all my money in one pocketbook, as boats and railroad trains on the long routes are generally infested by pickpockets and sharpers.”
Frank at once set about preparing for his journey.
He bought a ready-made suit of blue cloth, not unlike that worn by the district telegraph boys of to-day, which he judged would look more suitable than his ordinary attire for the character he was about to assume of a traveling peddler.
He bought a through ticket to the railroad point nearest Jackson, and then, bidding good-bye to Mr. Percival and his family, started on his trip.
Little Freddie made strenuous opposition to parting with his favorite, but Frank promised to bring him home a present, and this diverted the little fellow’s thoughts.
FRANK REACHES JACKSON
It was four o’clock in the afternoon when Frank Courtney left the cars and set foot on the platform before the station at Prescott, five miles distant from the town of Jackson, in Southern Minnesota.
He looked about him, but could see no village.
Prescott was a stopping place for the cars, but there was no settlement of any account there, as he afterward found.
He had supposed he would find a stage in waiting to convey him to Jackson, but it was clear that the business was not large enough to warrant such a conveyance.
Looking about him, Frank saw a farm wagon, the driver of which had evidently come to receive some freight which had come by rail.
Approaching the driver, who seemed to be—though roughly dressed—an intelligent man, Frank inquired:
“How far is Jackson from here, sir?”
“Five miles,” was the answer.
“Is there any stage running there from this depot?”
“Oh, no! If there were, it wouldn’t average two passengers a day.”