“Well, Ben?” said the young lady inquiringly.
“I would like to write home for my clothes, if you have no objection.”
“Certainly; but don’t say anything about me.”
Ben went to the reading-room, and, procuring writing-materials, penned the following letter to his uncle:
“Astor house, new York.
“Dear uncle job: Will you send me the rest of my clothes at once, by express? You may direct to this hotel, where I am now staying. The firm that I came to see turned out to be swindlers, and I was at first quite disappointed; but I have made other friends, and am to sail for California next Saturday. This may seem sudden to you. At any rate it does to me, and I don’t expect to realize it till I am fairly at sea. It will be some time before I can write you, but I will send you a line from Panama, if possible. You needn’t send me any more of my money, for I have with me all I shall need at present.
“Give my love to aunt and Cousin Jenny. I should like to see you all again before I start, but I cannot spare the time. I am in good health and spirits, and I think my prospects are good. Your affectionate nephew, Ben.”
This letter excited considerable surprise in Hampton.
“I’m afraid Ben’s gettin’ extravagant,” said Uncle Job. “I’ve always heerd that the Astor House is a fashionable hotel where they charge big prices. Ben ought to have gone to a cheap place, and saved his money.”
“He says he’s got money enough with him, father,” said Mrs. Stanton. “How much did he take away with him?”
“And he had to pay his passage to California out of that?”
“He won’t have much left when he gets to California, then.” “No, he won’t.”
“Don’t you think you’d better send him some?” “No, wife. Ben says no, and I’m goin’ accordin’ to his directions. I suppose he knows best what he wants.”
Sam Sturgis did not often condescend to notice Job Stanton, but his curiosity got the better of his pride, and, meeting the old man a short time afterward, he asked: “Have you heard anythiug from Ben?”
“Yes, he writ me a letter from New York. I got it this mornin’?”
“Has he got a chance to black boots?” asked Sam, with a sneer.
“He’s stayin’ at the Astor House,” said Job, enjoying Sam’s surprise.
“Staying at the Astor House!” exclaimed the young aristocrat in astonishment. “Why, that is a tip-top hotel.”
“I always heerd it was,” returned Job. “How can he afford to stay there?” “He didn’t say.”
“Oh, I understand,” said Sam, with an air of relief. “He’s got a place to black boots, or clean knives. That must be the way of it.”
“I don’t think it is, for he has engaged passage to Californy.”
“Is that so? When does he sail?”