Ben followed her out of the office, feeling completely bewildered. Well he might. The young lady had paid two hundred and fifty dollars for his passage, and for this large outlay only required him to take care of her. No wonder he thought it strange.
“You say you are not staying at any hotel?” said the young lady, as they emerged into the street.
“No, Miss Sinclair.”
“I am staying at the Astor House, and it is important that you should be with me, as I may have some errands on which to employ you.”
“Is it an expensive hotel?” asked Ben.
“That will not matter to you, as I shall pay the bill.”
“Thank you, Miss Sinclair; but you are spending a great deal of money for me.”
“I have an object in doing so. Besides, I have no lack of money.”
“Shall I go with you to the hotel now?”
“May I speak a moment to the boy who was with me?”
“May I tell him where I am going?”
“Yes, but ask him to keep it to himself.”
“I will, Miss Sinclair,” and Ben was about to walk away.
“On the whole, call the boy here,” said Miss Sinclair. “Tom!” Tom Cooper answered the summons.
“I am going to California with this lady,” said Ben. “She has paid my passage.”
“You’re in luck!” exclaimed Tom. “Say, miss, you don’t want a boy to go along to black your boots, do you?”
Miss Sinclair smiled faintly.
“I think not,” she answered.
“Tom,” continued Ben, “you won’t say a word about my going, will you?”
“Not if you don’t want me to. Besides, there ain’t nobody to tell.”
Miss Sinclair looked relieved. She drew out her pocketbook, and took from it a ten-dollar bill.
“What is your name?” she asked.
“Tom Cooper, ma’am.”
“Then, Tom, allow me to offer you a small present.”
“Is it all for me?” exclaimed Tom, in amazement.
Tom thrust it into his vest pocket, and immediately executed a somersault, rather to Miss Sinclair’s alarm.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” said Tom, assuming his natural posture; “I couldn’t help it, I felt so excited. I never was so rich before.”
“May I tell Tom where we are going to stop?” asked Ben.
“Certainly, if he will keep it to himself.”
“I shall be at the Astor House, Tom. Come round and see me.”
Tom watched the two as they preceded him on their way to Broadway.
“I wonder if I’m dreaming,” he said to himself. “If I am, I hope I won’t wake up till I’ve spent this ten dollars. I guess I’ll go to the Old Bowery to-night.”
At the Astor house.
As they walked up to the hotel together, Miss Sinclair said: “You are probably surprised at what has taken place, but I have strong reasons for acting as I have done.”