“Yes,” said Paul, “Mr. and Mrs. Cameron treat me with as great kindness as if I were their own child.”
“Cameron! Is not that the name of the sexton of our church?” said Mrs. Danforth, meditatively.
“It is with him that I have a pleasant home.”
“Indeed, I am glad to hear it. You have been attending school, I suppose.”
“Yes, it is not more than two months since I left off school.”
“And now I suppose you are thinking of entering upon some business.”
“Yes; I have been trying to obtain a place in some merchant’s counting-room.”
“You think, then, that you would like the career of a merchant?”
“There is nothing that would suit me better.”
“You have not succeeded in obtaining a place yet, I suppose?”
“No. They are very difficult to get, and I have no influential friends to assist me.”
“I have heard Mr. Danforth say that he experienced equal difficulty when he came to New York, a poor boy.”
Paul looked surprised.
“I see that you are surprised,” said Mrs. Danforth, smiling. “You think, perhaps, judging from what you see, that my husband was always rich. But he was the son of a poor farmer, and was obliged to make his own way in the world. By the blessing of God, he has been prospered in business and become rich. But he often speaks of his early discouragements and small beginnings. I am sorry he is not here this evening. By the way, he left word for you to call at his counting-room to-morrow, at eleven o’clock. I will give you his address.”
She handed Paul a card containing the specified number, and soon after he withdrew, bearing with him his handsome gift, and a cordial invitation to repeat his call.
He looked back at the elegant mansion which he had just left, and could not help feeling surprised that the owner of such a palace, should have started in life with no greater advantages than himself.
An old acquaintance.
Paul slept late the next morning. He did not hear the breakfast-bell, and when the sexton came up to awaken him he rubbed his eyes with such an expression of bewilderment that Mr. Cameron could not forbear laughing.
“You must have had queer dreams, Paul,” said he.
“Yes, Uncle Hugh,” said Paul, laughing, “I believe I have.”
“When you have collected your wits, which at present seem absent on a wool-gathering expedition, perhaps you will tell what you have been dreaming about.”
“So I will,” said Paul, “and perhaps you can interpret it for me. I dreamed that I was back again at Mr. Mudge’s, and that he sent me out into the field to dig potatoes. I worked away at the first hill, but found no potatoes. In place of them were several gold pieces. I picked them up in great surprise, and instead of putting them into the basket, concluded to put them in my pocket. But as all the hills turned out in the same way I got my pockets full, and had to put the rest in the basket. I was just wondering what they would do for potatoes, when all at once a great dog came up and seized me by the arm——”