“You can do so if you want to,” said Rodney indifferently.
“Then I will!” retorted Gordon angrily, bringing down his fist upon the table in vigorous emphasis.
Oreville was fifty miles from Helena, and that was the nearest point, as he supposed, where a new cook could be obtained.
After supper Rodney told Jefferson Pettigrew what had happened.
“Have I done right?” he asked.
“Yes; we can’t have any insubordination here. There can’t be two heads of one establishment. Send Gordon to me.”
The cook with a defiant look answered the summons.
“I understand you want to leave, Gordon,” said Jefferson Pettigrew.
“That depends. I ain’t goin’ to have no boy dictatin’ to me.”
“Then you insist upon having your own way without interference.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Very well, I accept your resignation. Do you wish to wait till the end of the week, or to leave tonight?”
“I want to give it up tonight.”
“Very well, go to Rodney and he will pay you what is due you.”
“Are you goin’ to get along without a cook?” inquired Gordon in surprise.
“What are you going to do, then?”
“I shall employ Parker in your place.”
“What does he know about cookin’?”
“He ran a restaurant in New York for five years, the first part of the time having charge of the cooking. We shan’t suffer even if you do leave us.”
“I think I will stay,” said Gordon in a submissive tone.
“It is too late. You have discharged yourself. You can’t stay here on any terms.”
Gordon left Oreville the next day a sorely disappointed man, for he had received more liberal pay than he was likely to command elsewhere. The young landlord had triumphed.
THE MYSTERIOUS ROBBERY.
At the end of a month Jefferson Pettigrew said: “I’ve been looking over the books, Rodney, and I find the business is better than I expected. How much did I agree to pay you?”
“A hundred and fifty dollars a month, but if you think that it is too much——”
“Too much? Why I am going to advance you to two hundred and fifty.”
“You can’t be in earnest, Mr. Pettigrew?”
“I am entirely so.”
“That is at the rate of three thousand dollars a year!”
“Yes, but you are earning it.”
“You know I am only a boy.”
“That doesn’t make any difference as long as you understand your business.”
“I am very grateful to you, Mr. Pettigrew. My, I can save two hundred dollars a month.”
“Do so, and I will find you a paying investment for the money.”
“What would Jasper say to my luck?” thought Rodney.
Three months passed without any incident worth recording. One afternoon a tall man wearing a high hat and a Prince Albert coat with a paste diamond of large size in his shirt bosom entered the public room of the Miners’ Rest and walking up to the bar prepared to register his name. As he stood with his pen in his hand Rodney recognized him not without amazement.