“What makes you think I haven’t?” asked Herbert, looking at Tom rather peculiarly.
“I don’t think anything about it. I only asked,” said Tom, a. little confused.
“Yes, I have an uncle in the city,” said Herbert, quietly.
“Oh, indeed,” said Tom.
He said nothing more, for he felt that he might betray his knowledge of the relationship unintentionally. Herbert’s manner left him as much in the dark as ever.
Mr. Pratt set Herbert to work on some writing, and Tom, also, was soon busy. After a while Mr. Godfrey came in.
“Good-morning, Herbert,” he said, pleasantly, offering his hand. “So Mr. Pratt has set you to work, has he?”
“I think we shall find enough for him to do, eh, Mr. Pratt?”
“Yes, sir, I think so,” said the bookkeeper, who perceived that Herbert was in favor, and it was as well to fall in with his employer.
“That’s well. How do you like your boarding place, Herbert?”
“It isn’t a very nice one, sir, but it is as good a one as I have a right to expect for the money I pay.”
“Come round and dine with us to-night,” said the merchant. “Mrs. Godfrey will be glad to see you. I’ll give you my street and number.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Herbert. “I shall be glad to accept your kind invitation.”
Tom listened to this invitation with envy. Mr. Godfrey occupied a high social position. Moreover, he had a pretty daughter, whom he, Tom, had met at dancing school, and he would have been very glad to receive the invitation which had been extended to “that beggar, Herbert,” as he mentally styled him.
AT THE CONCERT
Herbert felt a little diffident about accepting his employer’s invitation to dinner. Brought up in the country in comparative poverty, he felt afraid that he should show, in some way, his want of acquaintance with the etiquette of the dining table. But he had a better than ordinary education, and, having read diligently whatever books he could get hold of, possessed a fund of general information which enabled him to converse intelligently. Then his modest self-possession was of value to him, and enabled him to acquit himself very creditably.
Julia Godfrey, the merchant’s only daughter, was a lively and animated girl, a year or two younger than Herbert. She had been the belle of the dancing school, and Tom Stanton, among other boys, had always been proud to have her for a partner. She, however, had taken no particular fancy to Tom, whose evident satisfaction with himself naturally provoked criticisms on the part of others. Of this, however, Tom was unconscious, and flattered himself that his personal appearance was strikingly attractive, and was quite convinced that his elaborate and gorgeous neckties must attract admiration.
Julia awaited the advent of her father’s young guest with interest, and her verdict was favorable. He was, to be sure, very plainly dressed, but his frank and open face and pleasant expression did not need fine clothes to set them off. Julia at once commenced an animated conversation with our hero.