Nathan Graves accompanied Frank to his room, where his scanty wardrobe was soon packed. A hack was called, and they were speedily on their way to the Cortland Street ferry.
They crossed the ferry, and Mr. Graves purchased two tickets to Elizabeth. He bought a paper, and occupied himself in reading. Frank felt that fortune had begun to shine upon him once more. By and by, he could send for Grace, and get her boarded near him. As soon as his wages were raised, he determined to do this. While engaged in these pleasant speculations, they reached the station.
“We get out here,” said Mr. Graves.
“Is your store in this place?” asked Frank.
“No; it is in the next town.”
Nathan Graves looked about him for a conveyance. He finally drove a bargain with a man driving a shabby-looking vehicle, and the two took their seats.
They were driven about six miles through a flat, unpicturesque country, when they reached a branch road leading away from the main one.
It was a narrow road, and apparently not much frequented. Frank could see no houses on either side.
“Is your store on this road?” he asked.
“Oh, no; but I am not going to the store yet. We will go to my house, and leave your trunk.”
At length the wagon stopped, by Graves’ orders, in front of a gate hanging loosely by one hinge.
“We’ll get out here,” said Graves.
Frank looked with some curiosity, and some disappointment, at his future home. It was a square, unpainted house, discolored by time, and looked far from attractive. There were no outward signs of occupation, and everything about it appeared to have fallen into decay. Not far off was a barn, looking even more dilapidated than the house.
At the front door, instead of knocking—there was no bell—Graves drew a rusty key from his pocket and inserted it in the lock. They found themselves in a small entry, uncarpeted and dingy.
“We’ll go upstairs,” said Graves.
Arrived on the landing, he threw open a door, and ushered in our hero.
“This will be your room,” he said.
Frank looked around in dismay.
It was a large, square room, uncarpeted, and containing only a bed, two chairs and a washstand, all of the cheapest and rudest manufacture.
“I hope you will soon feel at home here,” said Graves. “I’ll go down and see if I can find something to eat.”
He went out, locking the door behind him
“What does this mean?” thought Frank, with a strange sensation.
FRANK AND HIS JAILER
It was twenty minutes before Frank, waiting impatiently, heard the steps of his late companion ascending the stairs.
But the door was not unlocked. Instead, a slide was revealed, about eight inches square, through which his late traveling companion pushed a plate of cold meat and bread.