“And you brought it directly to me?”
“Have you any idea of the value of the articles?”
“Perhaps they may be worth five hundred dollars.”
“They are worth over a thousand. Are you poor?”
“Yes, madam. I am trying to make a living by selling papers, but find it hard work.”
“But you don’t look like a newsboy.”
“Till a short time since I thought myself moderately rich.”
“That is strange. Tell me your story.”
A SURPRISING TURN OF FORTUNE.
Rodney told his story frankly. Mrs. Harvey was very sympathetic by nature, and she listened with the deepest interest, and latterly with indignation when Rodney spoke of his dismissal from Mr. Goodnow’s store.
“You have been treated shamefully,” she said warmly.
“I think Mr. Goodnow really believes me guilty,” rejoined Rodney.
“A dishonest boy would hardly have returned a valuable box of jewelry.”
“Still Mr. Goodnow didn’t know that I would do it.”
“I see you are disposed to apologize for your late employer.”
“I do not forget that he treated me kindly till this last occurrence.”
“Your consideration does you credit. So you have really been reduced to earn your living as a newsboy?”
“I must think what I can do for you. I might give you money, but when that was gone you would be no better off.”
“I would much rather have help in getting a place.”
Mrs. Harvey leaned her head on her hand and looked thoughtful.
“You are right,” she said. “Let me think.”
Rodney waited, hoping that the lady would be able to think of something to his advantage.
Finally she spoke.
“I think you said you understood Latin and Greek?”
“I have studied both languages and French also. I should have been ready to enter college next summer.”
“Then perhaps I shall be able to do something for you. I live in Philadelphia, but I have a brother living in West Fifty Eighth Street. He has one little boy, Arthur, now nine years of age. Arthur is quite precocious, but his health is delicate, and my brother has thought of getting a private instructor for him. Do you like young children?”
“Very much. I always wished that I had a little brother.”
“Then I think you would suit my brother better as a tutor for Arthur than a young man. Being a boy yourself, you would be not only tutor but companion.”
“I should like such a position very much.”
“Then wait here a moment, and I will write you a letter of introduction.”
She went up stairs, but soon returned.
She put a small perfumed billet into Rodney’s hands. It was directed to John Sargent with an address on West Fifty Eighth Street.