“That is true. I wish we had thought of that before. Now we shall have to give up the business for a time. How much money have you got for me?”
“Seven dollars!” exclaimed Jasper in disgust. “Why, that is ridiculous. The articles must have been worth at retail a hundred dollars.”
“Perhaps so, but I only got fourteen for them. If you think you can do any better you may sell them yourself next time.”
“I thought I should assuredly get fifteen dollars out of it,” said Jasper, looking deeply disappointed. “I had a use for the money too.”
“Very likely. So had I.”
“Well, I suppose I must make it do. Listen and I will tell you how I think I can turn this thing to my advantage.”
WHAT WAS FOUND IN RODNEY’S ROOM.
“There is a boy who stands between me and promotion,” continued Jasper, speaking in a low tone.
“The boy you mentioned the other day?”
“Yes, Rodney Ropes. Mr. Goodnow got him from I don’t know where, and has taken a ridiculous fancy to him. He has been put over my head and his pay raised, though I have been in the store longer than he. My idea is to connect him with the thefts and get him discharged.”
“Do you mean that we are to make him a confederate?”
“No,” answered Jasper impatiently. “He would be just the fellow to peach and get us all into trouble.”
“Then what do you mean?”
“To direct suspicion towards him. We won’t do it immediately, but within a week or two. It would do me good to have him turned out of the store.”
Jasper proceeded to explain his idea more fully, and his companion pronounced it very clever.
Meanwhile Rodney, not suspecting the conspiracy to deprive him of his place and his good name, worked zealously, encouraged by his promotion, and resolved to make a place for himself which should insure him a permanent connection with the firm.
Ten days passed, and Mr. Redwood again received a summons from the office.
Entering, he found Mr. Goodnow with a letter in his hand.
“Well, Mr. Redwood,” he began, “have you got any clew to the party who has stolen our goods?”
“Has any thing been taken since I spoke with you on the subject?”
“Not that I am aware of.”
“Has any one of the clerks attracted your attention by suspicious conduct?”
“No, sir,” answered Redwood, puzzled.
“Humph! Cast your eye over this letter.”
James Redwood took the letter, which was written in a fine hand, and read as follow: