Ben admitted that it was.
“Probably your means are limited?”
“Yes, sir; I am a poor boy.”
“Just so. I will then relax our rules a little in your case. Of course, you won’t mention it to our other boys, as it might create dissatisfaction.”
“We will take you on a deposit of forty dollars, then.”
Ben shook his head, and moved as if to depart.
“In fact,” said Mr. Fitch hastily, “I believe I will say thirty dollars, Though I am afraid my partner will blame me.”
Ben was not versed in city ways, but now he distrusted Mr. Fitch more than ever.
“I would rather take a situation where no deposit is required,” he said.
“But you can’t get any unless you agree to accept three or four dollars a week.”
“Can you afford to pay me ten dollars a week on account of my deposit?” asked Ben shrewdly.
Mr. Fitch flushed, for Ben’s question was a home thrust.
“We don’t want cheap boys,” he said pompously. “We want boys who are worth high wages, and no others.”
“And you think I am worth high wages?” asked Ben.
“I think so, but I may be mistaken.”
Ben was not required to answer, for the door opened hastily, and a man entered in visible excitement.
“What is your business, sir?” asked Mr. Fitch, rather nervously.
“Are you Fitch or Ferguson?” demanded the intruder.
“I am Mr. Fitch.”
“Two days ago my son, James Cameron, entered your service.”
“Where is he now?”
“We have sent him to Brooklyn to collect a bill.”
“He paid you a deposit of fifty dollars?”
“Certainly. We require it as a guarantee of honesty and fidelity.”
“Well, I want you to pay it back.”
“I don’t understand you, sir,” said Mr. Fitch, looking very much disturbed. “It will be given up when your son leaves our employment.”
“Well, he’s going to leave it to-day,” said the other.
“Can you get him another place as good? Ten dollars a week are not often paid to boys.”
“No, sir; it’s that that makes me suspicious. Give me back the fifty dollars, and James shall leave your employment.”
“That is entirely irregular, sir,” said Fitch. “Your son has been only two days in the office. At the end of the week he can leave us, and receive back his money.”
“That won’t do,” said the angry father.
“It will have to do,” said Fitch. “You are doing a very foolish thing, Mr. Cameron.”
“I’ll risk that.”
“When your son returns from Brooklyn we will consider what can be done.”
“When will that be?”
“In a couple of hours.”
“I will come in then.”
Cameron went out, and Ben followed him, the discomfited Fitch making no effort to detain the lad.
“I was thinking of engaging myself to Mr. Fitch,” said Ben to his companion. “Do you know anything against him?”