Paul Prescott's Charge eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Paul Prescott's Charge.

“The Governor’s son,” laughed the barkeeper.  “Why the Governor lives a hundred miles off and more.  That wasn’t the Governor’s son any more than I am.”

“He called his father governor,” said Paul, beginning to be afraid that he had made some ridiculous blunder.

“Well, I wouldn’t advise you to trust him again, even if he’s the President’s son.  He only got you in here to pay for his oysters.  He told me when he went out that you would pay for them.”

“And didn’t he say he was coming back?” asked Paul, quite dumbfounded.

“He said you hadn’t quite finished, but would pay for both when you came out.  It’s two shillings.”

Paul rather ruefully took out the half dollar which constituted his entire stock of money, and tendered it to the barkeeper who returned him the change.

So Paul went out into the streets, with his confidence in human nature somewhat lessened.

Here, then, is our hero with twenty-five cents in his pocket, and his fortune to make.

XIV.

A strange bed-chamber.

Although Paul could not help being vexed at having been so cleverly taken in by his late companion, he felt the better for having eaten the oysters.  Carefully depositing his only remaining coin in his pocket, he resumed his wanderings.  It is said that a hearty meal is a good promoter of cheerfulness.  It was so in Paul’s case, and although he had as yet had no idea where he should find shelter for the night he did not allow that consideration to trouble him.

So the day passed, and the evening came on.  Paul’s appetite returned to him once more.  He invested one-half of his money at an old woman’s stall for cakes and apples, and then he ate leisurely while leaning against the iron railing which encircles the park.

He began to watch with interest the movements of those about him.  Already the lamplighter had started on his accustomed round, and with ladder in hand was making his way from one lamp-post to another.  Paul quite marvelled at the celerity with which the lamps were lighted, never before having witnessed the use of gas.  He was so much interested in the process that he sauntered along behind the lamplighter for some time.  At length his eye fell upon a group common enough in our cities, but new to him.

An Italian, short and dark-featured, with a velvet cap, was grinding out music from a hand-organ, while a woman with a complexion equally dark, and black sorrowful-looking eyes, accompanied her husband on the tambourine.  They were playing a lively tune as Paul came up, but quickly glided into “Home, Sweet Home.”

Paul listened with pleased, yet sad interest, for him “home” was only a sad remembrance.

He wandered on, pausing now and then to look into one of the brilliantly illuminated shop windows, or catching a glimpse through the open doors of the gay scene within, and as one after another of these lively scenes passed before him, he began to think that all the strange and wonderful things in the world must be collected in these rich stores.

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Paul Prescott's Charge from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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