“He is a new comer. He only appeared tonight.”
“He must have a history. May I speak with him?”
“By all means. Rodney, this gentleman would like to talk with you.”
Rodney came forward with the ease of a boy who was accustomed to good society, and said: “I shall be very happy to speak with him.”
RODNEY FINDS A PLACE.
“Surely,” said the Englishman, “you were not brought up in the street?”
“Oh, no,” answered Rodney, “I was more fortunate.”
“Then how does it happen that I find you here—among the needy boys of the city?”
“Because I am needy, too.”
“But you were not always poor?”
“No; I inherited a moderate fortune from my father. It was only within a short time that I learned from my guardian that it was lost. I left the boarding school where I was being educated, and came to the city to try to make a living.”
“But surely your guardian would try to provide for you?”
“He is no longer in the city.”
“Who was he?” asked Otis Goodnow.
“Mr. Benjamin Fielding.”
“Is it possible? Why, I lost three thousand dollars by him. He has treated you shamefully.”
“It was not intentional, I am sure,” said Rodney. “He was probably drawn into using my money by the hope of retrieving himself. He wrote me that he hoped at some time to make restitution.”
“You speak of him generously, my lad,” said Mr. Mulgrave. “Yet he has brought you to absolute poverty.”
“Yes, sir, and I won’t pretend that it is not a hard trial to me, but if I can get a chance to earn my own living, I will not complain.”
“Goodnow, a word with you,” said the Englishman, and he drew his friend aside. “Can’t you make room for this boy in your establishment?”
Otis Goodnow hesitated. “At present there is no vacancy,” he said.
“Make room for him, and draw upon me for his wages for the first six months.”
“I will do so, but before the end of that time I am sure he will justify my paying him out of my own pocket.”
There was a little further conference, and then the two gentlemen came up to where Rodney was standing with Mr. O’Connor.
“My boy,” said Mr. Mulgrave, “my friend here will give you a place at five dollars a week. Will that satisfy you?”
Rodney’s face flushed with pleasure.
“It will make me very happy,” he said.
“Come round to my warehouse—here is my business card—tomorrow morning,” said the merchant. “Ask to see me.”
“At what time shall I call, sir?”
“At half past nine o’clock. That is for the first morning. When you get to work you will have to be there at eight.”
“There will be no trouble about that, sir.”
“Now it is my turn,” said the Englishman. “Here are five dollars to keep you till your first week’s wages come due. I dare say you will find them useful.”