“I do,” said Herbert, firmly.
“Where could you have got it?” said his employer, incredulously. “Did you not tell me when you entered my employ that you were almost penniless? You have been with me three weeks only, and half your wages have been paid for board.”
“Yes, sir; you are right.”
“What explanation, then, can you offer? Your case looks bad.”
“The six dollars I saved from my wages, at the rate of two dollars a week. The twenty dollars is a part of the money I was robbed of. I succeeded in recovering forty dollars of it yesterday.”
Here, Herbert related the circumstances already known to the reader.
“A likely story,” said Tom, scornfully.
“Be silent, Thomas,” said Mr. Godfrey. “Your story does not seem probable,” he proceeded, speaking to Herbert.
“It is true, sir,” said our hero, firmly.
“What could he have done with your wallet, however?” said the merchant, turning to Mr. Walton.
“He has been out to the post office since,” said Tom. “He might have thrown it away.”
This unfortunately for Herbert, was true. He had been out, and, of course, could have disposed of the wallet in the way mentioned.
“I don’t know what to think, Mr. Walton,” said Mr. Godfrey. “I’m afraid the boy’s guilty.”
“I’m afraid so. I don’t care so much for the money, if he will give me back the papers.”
“I can’t do it, sir,” said Herbert, “for I never had them.”
“What shall we do?”
“The other boy declares that he saw this one take the wallet from the floor, where I probably dropped it. It seems to me that settles the matter.”
“I am afraid it does.”
“Once more, Herbert, will you confess?” asked Mr. Godfrey.
“I can only say, sir, that I am innocent.”
“Mr. Walton, what shall we do?”
“Let the boy go. I will leave it to his honor to return me the papers, and he may keep the money. I think he will make up his mind to do so by tomorrow.”
“You hear, Herbert,” said Mr. Godfrey. “While this matter remains in doubt, you cannot retain your situation.”
“Thank you, Mr. Walton, for your indulgence,” said Herbert; “but I am sorry you think me guilty. The truth will some time appear. I shall try to do my duty, and trust to God to clear me.”
He took his hat and left the counting-room with a heavy heart, feeling himself in disgrace.
“I had great confidence in that boy, Walton,” said Mr. Godfrey. “Even now, I can hardly believe him guilty.”
MR. STANTON IS SURPRISED
While the events recorded in the last chapter were taking place in Mr. Godfrey’s counting-room another and a different scene took place at the office of Mr. Stanton.