“I hope so, sir.”
Our hero was gratified to meet with so much sympathy from those whose wealth placed them far above him in the social scale. But it was not surprising, for Herbert had a fine appearance and gentlemanly manners, marked, too, by a natural politeness which enabled him to appear better than most boys of his age.
A YOUNG ARISTOCRAT
After a drive of three miles, which was accomplished in a short time by the spirited horses, the carriage entered, through an ornamental gate, upon a smooth driveway, which led up to a handsome mansion, of large size, with a veranda stretching along the entire front.
A boy, a little smaller than Herbert, ran out of the front door, and opened the door of the carriage before Pompey had time to descend from the box.
“What, grandpa, come back?” he said, in surprise.
“Yes, Oscar, we were too late for the train,” said his mother. “I brought you back a companion for a, few hours. This is Herbert Mason, whom I intrust to your care, depending upon you to see that he passes his time pleasantly.”
Oscar looked at Herbert inquisitively.
Herbert offered his hand, saying, “I am glad to make your acquaintance, Oscar.”
“How long are you going to stay?” asked Oscar, as his mother and grandfather went into the house.
“I must return in time to take the twelve o’clock train.”
“Is grandpa going, too?”
“And are you going to take care of him?”
“I believe so.”
“I wouldn’t want to.’
“Oh, it’s an awful bore to be tied to a blind man.”
“You’d find it more of a bore to be blind yourself,” said Herbert.
“Yes, I suppose I should. Grandpa wants me to go to walk with him sometimes, but I don’t like it.”
“If I had a grandfather who was blind, I think I should be willing.”
“Wait till you have one, and you’ll see how it is then.”
“I suppose he needs somebody.”
“Oh, well, he can take one of the servants, then. It’s their business to work.”
“Where do you live?” he asked, after a pause.
“I am going to live in New York.”
“Are you? I should like to go there.”
“Perhaps you wouldn’t want to go as I am going.”
“What, alone? Yes, I should rather go that way. Then I could do as I pleased. Now it’s ‘Oscar, do this,’ and ‘You mustn’t do that,’ all the time.”
“That isn’t what I mean exactly. I’ve got to earn my own living after I get there, and I don’t know anybody in the city.”
“You haven’t run away from home, have you?”
“I haven’t got any home.”
“Where’s your father and mother?”
“They are both dead.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I hope to get into a store or counting-room and learn to be a merchant.”