Rodney read this like one dazed. In an instant he was reduced from the position of a favorite of fortune to a needy boy, with his living to make.
He could not help recalling what had passed between his friend David and himself earlier in the day. Now he was as poor as David—poorer, in fact for David had a chance to learn a trade that would yield him a living, while he was utterly without resources, except in having an unusually good education.
“Well,” said Dr. Sampson, “have you read your letter?”
“Your guardian wrote to me also. This is his letter,” and he placed the brief epistle in Rodney’s hands.
Dr. Sampson—I have written my ward, Rodney Ropes, an important letter which he will show you. The news which it contains will make it necessary for him to leave school. I inclose a check for one hundred and twenty five dollars. Keep whatever is due you, and give him the balance. Benjamin Fielding.
“I have read the letter, but I don’t know what it means,” said Dr. Sampson. “Can you throw any light upon it?”
“Here is my letter, doctor. You can read it for yourself.”
Dr. Sampson’s face changed as he read Rodney’s letter. It changed and hardened, and his expression became quite different from that to which Rodney had been accustomed.
“This is a bad business, Ropes,” said the doctor in a hard tone.
He had always said Rodney before.
“That was a handsome fortune which your father left you.”
“Yes, sir. I never knew before how much it amounted to.”
“You only learn when you have lost it. Mr. Fielding has treated you shamefully.”
“Yes, sir, I suppose he has, but he says he will try to make it up to me in the future.”
“Pish! that is all humbug. Even if he is favored by fortune you will never get back a cent.”
“I think I shall, sir.”
“You are young. You do not know the iniquities of business men. I do.”
“I prefer to hope for the best.”
“Just as you please.”
“Have you anything more to say to me?”
“Only that I will figure up your account and see how much money is to come to you out of the check your guardian has sent. You can stay here till Monday; then you will find it best to make new arrangements.”
“Very well, sir.”
Rodney left the room, realizing that Dr. Sampson’s feelings had been changed by his pupil’s reverse of fortune.
It was the way of the world, but it was not a pleasant way, and Rodney felt depressed.
THE CASKET OF JEWELS.
It was not till the latter part of the afternoon that the casket arrived. Rodney was occupied with a recitation, and it was only in the evening that he got an opportunity to open it. There was a pearl necklace, very handsome, a pair of bracelets, two gold chains, some minor articles of jewelry and a gold ring.