“If you like.”
“Well, good by, I must be hurrying back to the store.”
Rodney smiled. He rather enjoyed Jasper’s surprise and perplexity.
RODNEY’S SECRET IS DISCOVERED.
Jasper lost no time in acquainting his uncle with Rodney’s extraordinary good fortune. James Redwood was surprised, but not all together incredulous.
“I don’t understand it,” he said, “but Ropes appears to be a boy of truth. Perhaps he may have exaggerated the amount of his salary.”
“I hardly think so, uncle. He gave me a tip top dinner down on Park Row.”
“He may have been in funds from selling the articles taken from the store.”
“That’s so!” assented Jasper, who had the best possible reason for knowing that it was not so.
“I wish the boy well,” said his uncle. “He always treated me respectfully, and I never had anything against him except the loss of stock, and it is not certain that he is the thief.”
“I guess there isn’t any doubt about that.”
“Yet, believing him to be a thief, you did not hesitate to accept a dinner from him.”
“I didn’t want to hurt his feelings,” replied Jasper, rather sheepishly.
“Do you know what sort of a place he has got, or with what house?”
“No; he wouldn’t tell me.”
“He thought perhaps you would inform the new firm of the circumstances under which he left us. I don’t blame him, but I am surprised that he should have been engaged without a recommendation.”
“Shall you tell Mr. Goodnow?”
“Not unless he asks about Ropes. I don’t want to interfere with the boy in any way.”
In the store, as has already been stated, Jasper succeeded to Rodney’s place, and in consequence his pay was raised to seven dollars a week. Still it was not equal to what it had been when he was receiving additional money from the sale of the articles stolen by Philip Carton and himself.
The way in which they had operated was this: Philip would come in and buy a cloak or a dress pattern from Jasper, and the young salesman would pack up two or three instead of one. There was a drawback to the profit in those cases, as Carton would be obliged to sell both at a reduced price. Still they had made a considerable sum from these transactions, though not nearly as much as Mr. Goodnow had lost.
After the discovery of the theft and the discharge of Rodney, the two confederates felt that it would be imprudent to do any more in that line. This suspension entailed heavier loss on Carton than on Jasper. The latter had a fixed income and a home at his uncle’s house, while Philip had no regular income, though he occasionally secured a little temporary employment.
In the meantime Rodney had commenced his tutorship. His young pupil became very fond of him, and being a studious boy, made rapid progress in his lessons.