“Thank you. If I decide to sell I will certainly come to you.”
“Now,” said the agent, “I advise you on the whole to store the casket with Tiffany.”
“Shall I have to pay storage in advance?” asked Rodney anxiously.
“I think not. The value of the jewels will be a sufficient guarantee that storage will be paid.”
Rodney accompanied Adin Woods to the great jewelry store on the corner of Fifteenth Street and Union Square, and soon transacted his business.
“Now, you won’t have any anxiety as to the safety of the casket,” said the agent. “Your friend of the train will find it difficult to get hold of the jewels. Now I shall have to leave you, as I have some business to attend to. We will meet at supper.”
Rodney decided to call at the office of his late guardian, Benjamin Fielding. It was in the lower part of the city.
On his way down town he purchased a copy of a morning paper. Almost the first article he glanced at proved to be of especial interest to him. It was headed—
SKIPPED TO CANADA
Rumors have been rife for some time affecting the business standing of Mr. Benjamin Fielding, the well known commission merchant. Yesterday it was discovered that he had left the city, but where he has gone is unknown. It is believed that he is very deeply involved, and seeing no way out of his embarrassment has skipped to Canada, or perhaps taken passage to Europe. Probably his creditors will appoint a committee to look into his affairs and report what can be done.
Later—An open letter has been found in Mr. Fielding’s desk, addressed to his creditors. It expresses regret for their losses, and promises, if his life is spared, and fortune favors him, to do all in his power to make them good. No one doubts Mr. Fielding’s integrity, and regrets are expressed that he did not remain in the city and help unravel the tangle in which his affairs are involved. He is a man of ability, and as he is still in the prime of life, it may be that he will be able to redeem his promises and pay his debts in full, if sufficient time is given him.
“I can get no help or advice from Mr. Fielding,” thought Rodney. “I am thrown upon my own resources, and must fight the battle of life as well as I can alone.”
He got out in front of the Astor House. As he left the car he soiled his shoes with the mud so characteristic of New York streets.
“Shine your boots?” asked a young Arab, glancing with a business eye at Rodney’s spattered shoes.
Rodney accepted his offer, not so much because he thought the blacking would last, as for the opportunity of questioning the free and independent young citizen who was doing, what he hoped to do, that is, making a living for himself.
“Is business good with you?” asked Rodney. “It ought to be with the street in this condition.”