“You haven’t got your jewel box with you?”
“No, I can take that another time.”
“Then it’s still in the house,” thought Wheeler with satisfaction. “It won’t be my fault if I don’t get it in my hands. Well, good morning,” he said. “Come around and call on me.”
AT THE NEWSBOY’S LODGING HOUSE.
Within a week Rodney had spent all his money, with the exception of about fifty cents. He had made every effort to obtain a place, but without success.
Boys born and bred in New York have within my observation tried for months to secure a position in vain, so it is not surprising that Rodney who was a stranger proved equally unsuccessful.
Though naturally hopeful Rodney became despondent.
“There seems to be no place for me,” he said to himself. “When I was at boarding school I had no idea how difficult it is for a boy to earn a living.”
He had one resource. He could withdraw the box of jewels from Tiffany’s, and sell some article that it contained. But this he had a great objection to doing. One thing was evident however, he must do something.
His friend, the lot agent, was out of town, and he hardly knew whom to advise with. At last Mike Flynn, the friendly bootblack, whose acquaintance he had made in front of the Astor House, occurred to him.
Mike, humble as he was, was better off than himself. Moreover he was a New York boy, and knew more about “hustling” than Rodney did. So he sought out Mike in his “office.”
“Good morning, Mike,” said Rodney, as the bootblack was brushing off a customer.
“Oh, its you, Rodney,” said Mike smiling with evident pleasure. “How you’re gettin’ on?”
“Not at all.”
“That’s bad. Can I help you? Just say the word, and I’ll draw a check for you on the Park Bank.”
“Is that where you keep your money?”
“It’s one of my banks. You don’t think I’d put all my spondulics in one bank, do you?”
“I won’t trouble you to draw a check this morning. I only want to ask some advice.”
“I’ve got plenty of that.”
“I haven’t been able to get anything to do, and I have only fifty cents left. I can’t go on like that.”
“I’ve got to give up my room on Fourteenth Street. I can’t pay for it any longer. Do you think I could get in at the Lodge?”
“Yes. I’ll introduce you to Mr. O’Connor.”
“When shall I meet you?”
“At five o’clock. We’ll be in time for supper.”
At five o’clock Mike accompanied Rodney to the large Newsboys’ Lodging House on New Chambers Street. Mr. O’Connor, the popular and efficient superintendent, now dead, looked in surprise at Mike’s companion. He was a stout man with a kindly face, and Rodney felt that he would prove to be a friend.