It was the face of a woman.
“Over the Hill to the poorhouse”
We are compelled for a time to leave our hero in the hands of his enemies, and return to the town of Crawford, where an event has occurred which influences seriously the happiness and position of his sister, Grace.
Ever since Frank left the town, Grace had been a welcome member of Mr. Pomeroy’s family, receiving the kindest treatment from all, so that she had come to feel very much at home.
So they lived happily together, till one disastrous night a fire broke out, which consumed the house, and they were forced to snatch their clothes and escape, saving nothing else.
Mr. Pomeroy’s house was insured for two-thirds of its value, and he proposed to rebuild immediately, but it would be three months at least before the new house would be completed. In the interim, he succeeded in hiring a couple of rooms for his family, but their narrow accommodations would oblige them to dispense with their boarder. Sorry as Mr. and Mrs. Pomeroy were to part with her, it was obvious that Grace must find another home.
“We must let Frank know,” said Mr. Pomeroy, and having occasion to go up to the city at once to see about insurance, he went to the store of Gilbert & Mack, and inquired for Prank.
“Fowler? What was he?” was asked.
“Oh, he is no longer here. Mr. Gilbert discharged him.”
“Do you know why he was discharged?” asked Mr. Pomeroy, pained and startled.
“No; but there stands Mr. Gilbert. He can tell you.”
Mr. Pomeroy introduced himself to the head of the firm and repeated his inquiry.
“If you are a friend of the lad,” said Mr. Gilbert, “you will be sorry to learn that he was charged with dishonesty. It was a very respectable lady who made the charge. It is only fair to say that the boy denied it, and that, personally, we found him faithful and trusty. But as the dullness of trade compelled us to discharge some of our cash-boys, we naturally discharged him among the number, without, however, judging his case.”
“Then, sir, you have treated the boy very unfairly. On the strength of a charge not proved, you have dismissed him, though personally you had noticed nothing out of the way in him, and rendered it impossible for him to obtain another place.”
“There is something in what you say, I admit. Perhaps I was too hasty. If you will send the boy to me, I will take him back on probation.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Mr. Pomeroy, gratefully “I will send him here.”
But this Mr. Pomeroy was unable to do. He did not know of Frank’s new address, and though he was still in the city, he failed to find him.
He returned to Crawford and communicated the unsatisfactory intelligence. He tried to obtain a new boarding place for Grace, but no one was willing to take her at two dollars a week, especially when Mr. Pomeroy was compelled to admit that Frank was now out of employment, and it was doubtful if he would be able to keep up the payment.