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- Try and Trust - 30/42 -


whom he had an introduction. Being a stranger in the city, he had to inquire for Pearl Street from a policeman, who answered his inquiry very civilly. He followed the direction, and found it at length. But the number of which he was in search was not so easily found, for he found the street meandered in a very perplexing way, so that at times he was not quite sure whether he was still in it, or had wandered from his way.

At last he found the place. It was a large, solid-looking building, of four stories in height. There were a number of boxes outside on the sidewalk. Inside, there was a large apartment occupying the entire first floor, with the exception of a room in the rear, which had been partitioned off for a counting-room. The partition was of glass, and, as he looked from the entrance, he could see a couple of high desks and a table.

"Is this Godfrey & Lynn's?" he asked of a porter at the entrance.

"Yes," said the porter.

"I want to see Mr. Godfrey."

"I don't think he's in. You can go to the office and inquire."

Accordingly, Herbert passed down the length of the warehouse, and, pausing a moment before the door, he opened it, and entered.

There were two persons in the office. One was a thin-faced man, who sat on a high stool at one of the desks, making entries apparently in the ledger. This was the bookkeeper, Mr. Pratt, a man with a melancholy face, who looked as if he had lived to see the vanity of all things earthly. He had a high forehead naturally--made still higher by the loss of his front hair. Apparently, he was not a man to enjoy conviviality, or to shine on any festive occasion.

Besides Mr. Pratt, there was a boy, if we may take the liberty of calling him such, of about Herbert's age. He was fashionably dressed, and his hair was arranged with exceeding care. In fact, as Herbert entered, he was examining the set of his necktie in a little hand-glass, which he had taken from his coat pocket. Not quite suiting him, he set himself to rearranging it.

"Have you copied that bill, Thomas?" asked Mr. Pratt, looking up.

"Not yet, sir."

"You have been long enough about it. Put back that glass. You are quite too much troubled about your appearance."

"Yes, sir.

"If I didn't look any better than some people," said Thomas, sotto voce, "I shouldn't look in a glass very often."

Herbert naturally concluded that Mr. Pratt was the man to whom his inquiries should be addressed.

"I would like to see Mr. Godfrey, sir." he said.

"He is out of the city."

"Out of the city!" repeated Herbert, disappointed. "When will he be back?"

"Nor till day after to-morrow."

Herbert's countenance fell. In his reduced circumstances, he could hardly afford to wait two days. At his present rate of expenditure, he would be penniless by that time.

"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."

CHAPTER XXIV

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.

A middle-aged woman, with a red handkerchief tied around her head, and a broom in her hand, opened the door and looked inquiringly at our hero.

"What's wanted?" she said.

"I saw your advertisement for boarders," said Herbert.

"Yes; I advertised in the paper this morning."

"Will you let me see your rooms?"

"Who are you looking for?"

"Myself."

"I don't know as you'll be suited. My price is low, and I can't give first-class accommodations for three dollars."

"No; I suppose not."

"Come up, if you would like to see what I've got."

The interior of the house was shabby like the outside, the oilcloth carpet faded, and the wall paper torn off in places. The stairs, too, were narrow and uncarpeted. All this Herbert observed, but he could not afford to be critical.

On the third floor, his guide threw open the door of a dark, little hall bedroom, meagerly furnished.

"I could give you this room by yourself," she said, "or a larger room with someone else."

"I would rather be alone."

"That's the only single room I have. Will you take it?"

"I think so," said Herbert, though he did not anticipate much enjoyment in such a poor place.

"When do you want to come?"

"To-morrow morning."

"Very well. I shall expect a deposit, so that I may be sure the room is let."

"How much?"

"A dollar will do."

Herbert drew a dollar from his pocket, and handed it to Mrs. Morgan, for such, she informed him, was her name.

Then he went downstairs and out into the air again.

"Well," he said to himself, "I'm sure of a home, such as it is, for a week. In that time something must turn up."

Examining his pocketbook he found that he had two dollars and a half left. Of that sum, two dollars must be reserved to pay the balance of his week's board. Out of the remaining fifty cents he must pay for his


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