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- Struggling Upward - 40/41 -


but for the curiosity he felt to know where he had been, and what he was intending to do.

"Humph! so you're back again!" he remarked.

"Yes," answered Luke, with a smile. "I hope you haven't missed me much, Randolph."

"Oh, I've managed to live through it," returned Randolph, with what he thought to be cutting sarcasm.

"I am glad of that."

"Where were you?" asked Randolph, abruptly.

"I was in New York a part of the time," said Luke.

"Where were you the rest of the time?"

"I was traveling."

"That sounds large. Perhaps you were traveling with a hand-organ."

"Perhaps I was."

"Well, what are you going to do now?"

"Thank you for your kind interest in me, Randolph. I will tell you as soon as I know."

"Oh, you needn't think I feel interest in you."

"Then I won't."

"You are impertinent," said Randolph, scowling. It dawned upon him that Luke was chaffing him.

"I don't mean to be. If I have been, I apologize. If you know of any situation which will pay me a fair sum, I wish you would mention me."

"I'll see about it," said Randolph, in an important tone. He was pleased at Luke's change of tone. "I don't think you can get back as janitor, for my father doesn't like you."

"Couldn't you intercede for me, Randolph?"

"Why, the fact is, you put on so many airs, for a poor boy, that I shouldn't feel justified in recommending you. It is your own fault."

"Well, perhaps it is," said Luke.

"I am glad you acknowledge it. I don't know but my father will give you a chance to work round our house, make fires, and run errands."

"What would he pay?" asked Luke, in a businesslike tone.

"He might pay a dollar and a half a week."

"I'm afraid I couldn't support myself on that."

"Oh, well, that's your lookout. It's better than loafing round doing nothing."

"You're right there, Randolph."

"I'll just mention it to father, then."

"No, thank you. I shouldn't wonder if Mr. Reed might find something for me to do."

"Oh, the man that robbed the bank?" said Randolph, turning up his nose.

"It may soon be discovered that some one else robbed the bank."

"I don't believe it."

Here the two boys parted.

"Luke," said Linton, the same day, "have you decided what you are going to do?"

"Not yet; but I have friends who, I think, will look out for me."

"Because my father says he will find you a place if you fail to get one elsewhere."

"Tell your father that I think he is very kind. There is no one to whom I would more willingly be indebted for a favor. If I should find myself unemployed, I will come to him."

"All right! I am going to drive over to Coleraine"--the next town--"this afternoon. Will you go with me?"

"I should like nothing better."

"What a difference there is between Randolph and Linton!" thought Luke.

CHAPTER XL

THE BANK ROBBER IS FOUND

Tony Denton lost no time in going up to the city with the second bond he had extracted from the fears of Prince Duncan. He went directly to the office of his brokers, Gay & Sears, and announced that he was prepared to deposit additional margin.

The bond was received, and taken to the partners in the back office. Some four minutes elapsed, and the clerk reappeared.

"Mr. Denton, will you step into the back office?" he said.

"Certainly," answered Tony cheerfully.

He found the two brokers within.

"This is Mr. Denton?" said the senior partner.

"Yes, sir."

"You offer this bond as additional margin on the shares we hold in your name?"

"Yes, of course."

"Mr. Denton," said Mr. Gay searchingly, "where did you get this bond?"

"Where did I get it?" repeated Denton nervously. "Why, I bought it."

"How long since?"

"About a year."

The two partners exchanged glances.

"Where do you live, Mr. Denton?"

"In Groveton."

"Ahem! Mr. Sears, will you be kind enough to draw out the necessary papers?"

Tony Denton felt relieved. The trouble seemed to be over.

Mr. Gay at the same time stepped into the main office and gave a direction to one of the clerks.

Mr. Sears drew out a large sheet of foolscap, and began, in very deliberate fashion, to write. He kept on writing for some minutes. Tony Denton wondered why so much writing should be necessary in a transaction of this kind. Five minutes later a young man looked into the office, and said, addressing Mr. Gay. "All right!"

Upon that Mr. Sears suspended writing.

"Mr. Denton," said Mr. Gay, "are you aware that this bond which you have brought us was stolen from the Groveton Bank?"

"I--don't--believe--it," gasped Denton, turning pale.

"The numbers of the stolen bonds have been sent to all the bankers and brokers in the city. This is one, and the one you brought us not long since is another. Do you persist in saying that you bought this bond a year ago?"

"No, no!" exclaimed Denton, terrified.

"Did you rob the bank?"

"No, I didn't!" ejaculated the terrified man, wiping the perspiration from his brow.

"Where, then, did you get the bonds?"

"I got them both from Prince Duncan, president of the bank."

Both partners looked surprised.

One of them went to the door of the office, and called in Mr. Armstrong, who, as well as a policeman, had been sent for.

Tony Denton's statement was repeated to him.

"I am not surprised," he said. "I expected it."

Tony Denton now made a clean breast of the whole affair, and his words were taken down.

"Are you willing to go to Groveton with me, and repeat this in presence of Mr. Duncan?" asked Mr. Armstrong.

"Yes."


Struggling Upward - 40/41

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