“Is Mr. Lynn likely to be in soon?” he asked, thinking that perhaps he would do in Mr. Godfrey’s absence.
“No; he is sick at home. He may not be here for a week. Perhaps, I can attend to your business,” he added. “What is it?”
“I think,” said Herbert, “that I will wait till day after to-morrow, if you think Mr. Godfrey will be back then. I have a letter for him.”
“If it’s a business letter, you had better leave it.”
“It is a letter of introduction,” said Herbert. “I would rather present it in person.”
“Very well,” and Mr. Pratt went back to his ledger.
Thomas looked critically at the boy who had a letter of introduction to Mr. Godfrey, and said to himself, “He got his clothes from a country tailor, I’ll bet a hat.”
FINDING A BOARDING PLACE
Herbert left the counting-room of Godfrey & Lynn, not a little depressed in spirits. The two days which must elapse before he could see Mr. Godfrey were to him a formidable delay. By that time his money would be almost exhausted. Then, suppose, which was very probable, Mr. Godfrey could do nothing for him immediately, but only hold out his promise of future assistance, how was he to live in the meantime? After all, he might have to realize his thought of the morning, and join the ranks of the bootblacks. That was not a pleasant thought to a boy of his education. All labor is honorable, to be sure, but, then, some occupations are more congenial than others.
If Greenleaf had not robbed him so basely, he could have afforded to wait. He felt sore and indignant about that. Nobody likes to own that he has been victimized, but Herbert was obliged to confess to himself that such was the case with him.
He walked about rather aimlessly, feeling miserable enough. But, all at once, it occurred to him, “Would it not be cheaper for him to take board by the week in some boarding-house?” Reckoning up, he found that his hotel bill would be three dollars and a half a week, while his meals, even if he were quite abstemious, would make as much more; in all, seven dollars. Surely, he could be boarded somewhere for less than that.
In the reading-room of the hotel he found a daily paper, and carefully ran his eye down the advertisements for boarders and lodgers. The following attracted his attention:
“Boarders wanted.—A few mechanics may obtain comfortable rooms and board at No. —— Stanton Street, at three dollars per week.”
This, be it remembered, was previous to the war, and before the price of board had doubled.
“Three dollars a week!” repeated Herbert. “Less than half my present rate of expense. I must go at once and secure it.”
He found the way to Stanton Street, and found that No. —— was a shabby-looking house in a shabby neighborhood. But he could not afford to be fastidious. He accordingly stepped up without hesitation, and rang the bell, which emitted a shrill sound in reply.