“’I do not ask to return to your house, Mr. Wharton, for it would not be pleasant, since your nephew and Mrs. Bradley dislike me, but I have a right to ask that the truth may be told to my employers, so that if they do not wish me to return to their service, they may, at least, be willing to give me a recommendation that will give me a place elsewhere."’
“I must prevent the boy communicating with my uncle, if it is a possible thing. ‘Strike while the iron is hot,’ I say.”
“I think that is very judicious, Mr. John. I have no doubt you will know how to manage matters.”
John Wade dressed himself for a walk, and drawing out a cigar, descended the steps of his uncle’s house into the street.
He reached Fifth Avenue, and walked slowly downtown. He was about opposite Twenty-eighth Street, when he came face to face with the subject of his thoughts.
“Where are you going?” John Wade demanded sternly.
“I don’t know that I am bound to answer your question,” answered Frank, quietly, “but I have no objection. I am going to Thirty-ninth Street with this bundle.”
“Hark you, boy! I have something to say to you,” continued John Wade, harshly. “You have had the impudence to write to my uncle.”
“What did he say?”
“Nothing that you would like to hear. He looks upon you as a thief.”
“You have slandered me to him, Mr. Wade,” he said, angrily. “You might be in better business than accusingly a poor boy falsely.”
“Hark you, young man! I have had enough of your impudence. I will give you a bit of advice, which you will do well to follow. Leave this city for a place where you are not known, or I may feel disposed to shut you up on a charge of theft.”
“I shall not leave the city, Mr. Wade,” returned Frank, firmly. “I shall stay here in spite of you,” and without waiting for an answer, he walked on.
AN ACCOMPLICE FOUND
No sooner had John Wade parted from our hero than he saw approaching him a dark, sinister-looking man, whom he had known years before.
“Good-morning, Mr. Wade,” said the newcomer.
“Good-morning, Mr. Graves. Are you busy just now?”
“No, sir; I am out of employment. I have been unfortunate.”
“Then I will give you a job. Do you see that boy?” said John Wade, rapidly.
“Yes, I see him.”
“I want you to follow him. Find out where he lives, and let me know this evening. Do you understand?”
“I understand. You may rely upon me, sir,” answered Nathan Graves; and quickening his pace, he soon came within a hundred feet of our hero.
After fulfilling his errand, Frank walked downtown again, but did not succeed in obtaining any further employment. Wherever he went, he was followed by Graves. Unconsciously, he exhausted the patience of that gentleman, who got heartily tired of his tramp about the streets. But the longest day will come to an end, and at last he had the satisfaction of tracking Frank to his humble lodging. Then, and not till then, he felt justified in leaving him.