DEAN TAKES MR. KIRBY BY SURPRISE

Adin Dunham and his wife were surprised and dazzled by the brilliant
prospects of their nephew.

“Did this Mr. Kirby really agree to pay you twenty-five dollars a
month, Dean?” asked the carpenter.

“Yes, uncle, and he asked if it would be satisfactory.”

“It seems strange,” mused Adin. “Why, when I was your age I was workin’
for fifty cents a week and my board.”

“I get board, too, Uncle Adin.”

“It’s a great offer. And you’re a stranger to him too.”

“Yes; he took me on Squire Bates’s recommendation.”

“I should have thought he’d have wanted the place for his own boy.”

“Brandon would like to leave Waterford, but I don’t believe he wants to
work. It is all the better for me.”

“I don’t believe in boys being idle, but there’s no call for Brandon
Bates to work if he don’t want to. The squire’s rich enough.”

And then the carpenter’s brow contracted in perplexity. He couldn’t
understand why a rich man should take what did not belong to him, and
he had never got over the impression made on him on the day of the
robbery by the long tusk-like teeth of the masked figure.

“Father,” said Mrs. Dunham anxiously, “do you think it’s safe for a boy
as young as Dean to go out into the world alone? He’s only a child.”

“I’m almost sixteen, aunt,” said Dean mortified.

“But you don’t know nothin’ of the world.”

“Neither do you or I, wife, though we’re both risin’ sixty. Dean has
got to take his chances. I hope this Kirby’s a likely man. What does he
look like, Dean?”

“Well, I don’t fancy his appearance much,” Dean admitted. “He is very
dark and sallow, and there’s something queer about the eyes. But I
suppose he can’t help his looks.”

“Handsome is that handsome does,” replied Mrs. Dunham. “I’ve heard tell
that villains is sometimes very scrumptious in appearance.”

“I guess he’s all right, aunt. He didn’t make himself, you know.”

“I wish you hadn’t got to go to New York alone, Dean. Don’t you think
Mr. Kirby’d wait a day, and then you could go with him?”

“I want to go alone, aunt. I hope I’m smart enough to find my way.”

“We’ll trust him, wife,” said Adin Dunham. “He means we’ll, and if he’s
keerful he’ll come out all right.”

At length the morning came for Dean’s departure. He bade good-bye to
the old folks, and walked proudly to the railroad station with a bundle
of clothing under his arm.

Rather to his surprise he found Squire Bates at the little depot,
walking up and down on the platform.

“So you’re starting, are you, Dean?” said the squire.

“Yes, sir.”

“I hope you’ll do your duty by your employer.”

“I shall try to do so, sir.”

“I have indorsed you, and he has taken you on my recommendation.”

“I ought to thank you for that, sir.”

“I take it for granted that you will verify the good things I have said
of you. If you don’t—if you throw discredit on me and on your worthy
uncle and aunt, why then—” and he paused.

Dean listened to hear how he would end the sentence.

“Then,” resumed the squire, “I honestly advise you to stay away, and
not return to Waterford.”

“I won’t come back unless I can come back with a good record,” said
Dean impetuously.

“A good resolution! Stick to it, my lad.”

The train came up with a rush, and Dean got on board He was a little
disturbed by the squire’s parting words. Why should he harp so much on
Dean’s acting discreditably?

“It almost seems as if he expected I would,” soliloquized Dean. “If I
know myself, I know that I am honest, industrious and faithful. Mr.
Kirby won’t be disappointed in me, unless he is an unreasonable man.”

Waterford was about fifty miles from New York, and the journey consumed
two hours. Dean was considerably interested in looking out of the
window at the towns along the railroad. But besides this, he scanned
the faces of the passengers around him.

Just behind him was a boy about his own age, who after a while leaned
over and said, “Come back here and sit with me.”

Dean was of a social disposition, and needed no second invitation.

His new acquaintance was a pleasant-looking boy of sixteen, with dark
hair and dark eyes, and a bright, alert look.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“To New York.”

“Do you expect to stay there?”

“No, I am going to work for a gentleman whom I am to find at French’s
Hotel.”

“Yes, I know where that is.”

“Do you? Then you have the advantage of me. I was never in New York
since I was a very little boy.”

“Oh, it’s easy enough to find it. We shall land at the Grand Central
Depot. You can take a Fourth Avenue car in front of it, and it’ll carry
you right by French’s Hotel.”

“Is it far?”

“About three miles, I guess.”

“That’s a good distance.”

“It isn’t much in the city. I didn’t know you had a place. I was going
to ask you to join me.”

“Why what are you going to do?” Dean asked in some curiosity.

“You won’t give me away, will you?”

“What’s that?”

“I mean you won’t tell my plans to any one?”

“Not if you don’t want me to.”

“Then I’m going out West,” said the boy, nodding impressively.

“You are! Have you got friends there?”

“No, I’m going in for a little excitement. I’m going out West to hunt
Indians!” and the speaker eyed Dean to see how he was impressed by the
declaration.

“But what good is that going to do you?” asked Dean, perplexed.

“Oh, there’ll be no end of excitement. It’ll show what I am made
of. I shouldn’t wonder if some writer would make a story out of my
adventures.”

“But suppose the Indians should hunt you?” suggested Dean.

“I must take my chance of that,” answered the boy loftily. “If there
wasn’t any risk, there wouldn’t be any excitement or glory.”

“Are your folks willing you should go?” queried Dean.

“No; they don’t know where I am. I left home on the sly.”

“Won’t they worry about you?”

“Just at first, but I shall write to them when I am far enough away.
They’ll be proud enough of me, when they read about my exploits. Maybe
there’ll be a play written about me. When I get home I shouldn’t mind
going round, playing in it myself. Have you got any money?”

“No, only my fare to New York and a quarter over.”

“Then it would be no use for you to go with me. It’ll take money to
get out West, and to pay for a gun and ammunition. I shall get them at
Chicago, I think.”

“Have you considerable money with you?” Dean ventured to inquire.

“A little over a hundred dollars. You see I had that much in the
Savings Bank. It’s presents I’ve got from different persons in the last
five years. I drew it all out a day or two since, and decided to start
out in search of glory.”

“I don’t think you ought to go without letting your folks know about
it,” said Dean.

“Oh, they would oppose it, of course. They think I’m a baby, but I’m a
year older than Daredevil Dick, the Young Hunter of the Rio Grande. I
suppose you’ve read about him?”

“No, I never heard of him.”

“I thought everybody had heard of him. I think I’m smart enough to do
as much as he did.”

Dean learned that his young companion’s name was Guy Gladstone, and
that his father was born in England, but had come to America at an
early age, and was a successful manufacturer. Guy would not tell him
where his parents lived.

As their train ran into the depot, Guy said, “I guess I’ll go to
French’s with you and stay one night. I shan’t remain in the city any
longer for fear my friends will track me.”

Dean found it to his advantage to have in his company one who was
familiar with the city. Together he and Guy boarded a Fourth Avenue
car and rode through Fourth Avenue into the Bowery, and later through
Center Street.

Guy pointed out prominent buildings as they rode along, among them the
Cooper Institute and Tombs Prison. Dean’s interest was strongly excited.

“I should think you’d rather live here than go out West,” he said.

“I’m sick of civilization,” answered Guy rather grandly. “Give me the
wild untrammeled life of the plains.”

“But I don’t see what it’s going to lead to,” objected Dean. “You can’t
make money out there.”

“I’m not after money; I want glory,” answered Guy.

“I prefer money,” said Dean, “just at present.”

They reached French’s hotel, and entered. This was some years since,
before the temporary closing of this old established house for
travelers.

“You’d better go up to the register and see whether your friend has a
room here,” suggested Guy.

Dean adopted the suggestion, and looking over the record found this
entry:

PETER KIRBY, Chicago. Room 197.

“Yes, he’s here,” he said in a tone of relief. “Is Mr. Kirby at home?”
he inquired.

“I will send up and see,” said the clerk. “Do you wish to go up at the
same time?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’ll wait down here,” said Guy. “If Mr. Kirby doesn’t expect you to
room with him, we can take a room together.”

“Yes, I should like that.”

Dean followed the bell boy upstairs to one of the upper floors. He
had never been in a large hotel before, and as saw door after door
opening on the corridor he thought the hotel must be one of the largest
buildings in New York. In this, of course, he was very much mistaken.

“That’s Mr. Kirby’s room,” said the bellboy, pointing to 197. “Shall I
knock, or will you?”

“I’ll go in; he expects me,” answered Dean; and, with a want of
ceremony which was the result of his inexperience, he did not stop to
knock, but opened the door.

Sitting at a table was his employer, with a number of bank bills spread
out before him, which he appeared to be engaged in counting. Naturally
Dean glanced at them, and his surprise was great when he recognized the
denomination of the bills.

They were all fifties! What could it mean? Was this man Kirby the one
who had robbed his uncle? But his intimate relations with Squire Bates
presented another explanation. The bills might have been received from
the squire.

Dean’s reflections were cut short by his employer.

With a look of alarm and annoyance he swept the bills together, and
turning to Dean, said, harshly, “Why did you come in without knocking?”

“Excuse me!” said Dean, in a tone of apology, “I didn’t think.”

“It was positively rude,” said Kirby in an excited tone. “One would
know that you had been brought up in the country.”

“I haven’t been round much,” said Dean, “but I hope to improve,
especially if I travel about with you.”

“There’s no harm done,” said Peter Kirby, cooling down rapidly,
concluding that Dean had seen nothing to excite his suspicions; “but
I was a little startled when you opened the door. It’s dangerous for
a man to be seen with money in a large city like this, for there are
plenty of designing persons who might seek to relieve him of it.”

“I hope you don’t suspect me, Mr. Kirby.”

“Certainly not. Well, you left Waterford this morning?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Where is your luggage?”

“Here, sir,” answered Dean, showing his bundle.

Kirby frowned.

“It will never do to travel with a bundle like that. You must have a
valise. I haven’t time to go round with you. Do you think you can be
trusted to find a place where they are sold?”

“I have a friend who will go with me.”

“What friend?” asked Kirby sharply.

“It’s a boy I got acquainted with on the train—a boy about my own age,
named Guy Gladstone.”

“Oh, a boy!” repeated Peter Kirby, evidently relieved.

“He would like to have me occupy a room with him, unless you wish me to
be with you.”

“I have no objection; but mind, I shan’t allow him to join our party
and travel with us,” said Kirby suspiciously.

“No; he would not care to. He is going out West at once.”

“Alone?”

“Yes; he will only stay here one night.”

“Here is a five-dollar bill. You can take it and look up a valise.
Three or four dollars ought to buy one. A small one will answer,
judging from the size of your bundle. I suppose you have had nothing to
eat since you left Waterford?”

“No, sir.”

“You can go to a restaurant and get some dinner. The other boy will
show you where to find one. I am obliged to go out on business. This
hotel is on the European system, and doesn’t provide regular board.”

“Shall I take my bundle with me, sir?”

“Yes; you can transfer the contents to the valise when you have bought
one. When you return you can put your name on the hotel book, taking a
room with this Guy Gladstone.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Dean descended to the office and communicated to Guy what his employer
had told him.

“I have put my valise in the baggage-room,” said Guy, and got a check
for it. “I am glad you are going to take a room with me. I wish you
would join me altogether.”

“Then you’d have to pay expenses for both, as I have no money.”

“That would be an objection, as I have only about enough money for my
own use.”

The two boys went out together, but, both being hungry, decided to
postpone purchasing the valise until after dinner. They went into a
restaurant on Fulton Street, and ordered a dinner at moderate cost,
which they enjoyed with great relish. They were of an age to have a
hearty appetite.

“It seems strange to me to be eating here,” said Dean. “I never before
ate at a hotel or restaurant.”

“Your life must have been very quiet,” said Guy.

“Yes; but I expect to have some excitement now.”

“In what business is your employer?”

“I don’t know,” answered Dean.

Guy regarded him with surprise.

“You are going to work for him, are you not?”

“Yes.”

“And yet you don’t know what business he is in?”

“No.”

“What are you to do? Have you any idea?”

“I am to be private secretary, or clerk, I believe.”

“Are you to get good pay?”

“Twenty-five dollars a month and my board,” answered Dean proudly.

Guy looked amazed.

“That’s a pretty steep salary to pay a green boy from the country. No
offense, Dean. You are green, you know.”

“Yes, I know I am, but I don’t mean to stay so.”

“I don’t believe you will. You look as if you’d learn fast.”

“I’ll try to, at any rate.”

After dinner they found a place near the corner of Wall Street and
Broadway, where Dean bought a valise of neat appearance and good
quality for three dollars. He adopted Mr. Kirby’s suggestion, and,
opening his bundle, put the contents into his new purchase.

“Now you don’t look so countrified,” said Guy.

They turned down Wall Street, looking curiously into the windows
as they passed. At one—a broker’s office—Dean found something to
surprise him.

At a large counter stood Mr. Kirby with a roll of bills before him—the
same, no doubt, that Dean had seen him counting at the hotel. He
appeared to be purchasing government bonds, for a clerk passed him
several, and gathered up the bills in exchange.

“What do you see that’s so interesting?” asked Guy.

“That man at the counter is my employer.”

“Humph! I don’t like his looks. He seems to have plenty of money,
though.”

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