“I do not wish to say much about this, Joe,” said Ned’s father. “But it would seem from these papers that you are the son of one William A. Bodley, who at one time owned a farm in Iowa, in the township of Millville. Did you ever hear Hiram Bodley speak of this?”
“We might write to the authorities at Millville and see what they have to say.”
“I wish you’d do it. They may pay more attention to you than to a boy.”
“I’ll write at once.”
“Father, hadn’t Joe better stay here until we get a reply?” put in Ned.
“He may do so and welcome,” answered Mr. Talmadge.
The letter was dispatched the next day and our hero waited anxiously for the reply. It came five days later and was as follows:
“Your letter of inquiry received. There was a William A. Bodley in this township twelve years ago. He sold his farm to a man named Augustus Greggs and then disappeared. Before he sold out he lost his wife and several children by sickness. Nobody here seems to know what became of him.
“That is short and to the point,” said Mr. Talmadge, “but it is not satisfying. It does not state if this William A. Bodley had any relatives so far as known.”
“I guess the authorities did not want to bother about the matter,” said Joe.
“Why don’t you visit Millville, Joe?” questioned Ned.
“I was thinking I could do that. It wouldn’t cost a fortune, and I’ve got that hundred dollars in gold to fall back on, besides my regular savings.”
“You might learn something to your advantage,” came from Mr. Talmadge. “I think it would be money well spent.”
“Father, can’t I go with Joe?” asked Ned.
“No, Ned, you must attend to your school duties.”
“Then, Joe, you must send me full particulars by mail,” said the rich boy.
“Of course I’ll do that, Ned,” replied our hero.
It was arranged that Joe should leave Riverside on Monday and Ned went to the depot to see him off.
“I wish you the best of luck, Joe!” called out Ned, as the train left the station. “I don’t know of a fellow who deserves better luck than you do!”
JOE VISITS CHICAGO.
Joe found Millville a sleepy town of three or four hundred inhabitants. There was one main street containing two blocks of stores, a blacksmith shop, a creamery and two churches.
When he stepped off the train our hero was eyed sharply by the loungers about the platform.
“Anything I can’ do for you?” asked one of the men, the driver of the local stage.
“Will you tell me where Mr. Joseph Korn lives?”
“Joe lives up in the brown house yonder. But he ain’t home now. He’s doing a job of carpentering.”
“Can you tell me where?”
“Up to the Widow Fallow’s place. Take you there for ten cents.”