ROBBED IN THE NIGHT
Herbert entered the cars, and took a seat by the window. His small bundle, containing all the extra clothing he had been able to bring away from the inhospitable home of Mr. Holden, he placed in the seat beside him.
It was yet early, and there were but few persons in the car. But as the hour for starting approached, it gradually filled up. Still, the seat next to Herbert remained untaken.
At length a young man, apparently about nineteen, walked up the aisle, and, pausing, inquired, “Is this seat engaged?”
“No,” said Herbert, at the same time removing his bundle.
“Then, if you have no objection, I’ll take possession.”
He accordingly seated himself, and commenced a conversation.
“Going to New York?” he asked.
“Yes,” said Herbert.
“Do you live there?”
“No; I have never been there before.”
“Are you going on a visit?”
“No; I am going to live there; that is, if I can find anything to do.”
“Are you alone?”
“So am I. Suppose we hitch teams.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Suppose we go to some hotel together. I have been there before, and can tell you where to go. It’s awful dull being alone. I always like to pick up company.”
Herbert hardly knew what to say to this proposition. He did not exactly like the appearance, or fancy the free and easy manners of his new acquaintance, but he felt lonely, and, besides, he hardly knew what excuse to make. He, therefore, gave his assent to the arrangement proposed.
“What’s your name?” asked his new friend, familiarly.
“Mine is Greenleaf—Peter Greenleaf. Have you come from a distance?”
“From Waverley, in Ohio, not far from Cincinnati.”
“I am from Philadelphia. I’ve been in a store there, but I didn’t like the style, and I concluded to go to New York. There’s more chance for a fellow of enterprise there.”
“What sort of a store were you in?”
“Dry-goods store—Hatch & Macy. Old Hatch is a mean skinflint, and wouldn’t pay me half what I was worth. I don’t want to brag, but there wasn’t a man in that store that sold as much as I did. And how much do you think I got?”
“I don’t know.”
“Only seven dollars a week. If I hadn’t made something another way. I couldn’t have paid my expenses.”
“I should think you might live on seven dollars a week.”
This was before the war had increased the expenses of living.
“Couldn’t do it. Board cost me four dollars a week, and that only left three for other expenses. My cigars cost me nearly that. Then I wanted to go to the theater now and then, and, of course, I must dress like a gentleman. I tell you what, seven dollars a week didn’t begin to do me.”