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- Walter Sherwood's Probation - 20/38 -

clerks have.

"Are yon one of the firm?" asked the young man doubtfully.

"No," answered Walter, "not exactly. Mr. Locke will be in about one o'clock, and if you will come round a little after that you can talk with him about an agency. I will put in a good word for you," he added, in a patronizing tone.

"Thank you, sir. I'd like to get a place."

The youth departed and Walter was left alone. But not for long. A middle-aged man entered and looked inquiringly at Walter.

"Are you Mr. Green?" he asked.

"No, sir."

"I have seen Mr. Locke, but I thought you might be Mr. Green."

Walter felt flattered to be taken for one of the firm.

"I am the confidential clerk," he said. "Can I do anything for you?"

"I wanted to see Mr. Locke and pay him some money."

"I will take it and receipt for it," said Walter briskly.

"Well, I suppose that will do, as you are the clerk."

"What name?" asked Walter, opening the book.

"Jonas Damon. Here is a check on the Corndish National Bank of Illinois for two hundred and twenty-seven dollars. I have made it payable to Locke & Green."

"All right," said Walter, in a businesslike tone.

"If you wish to see Mr. Locke he will be in at one o'clock," he added, as he put the check in his vest pocket.

"No, I am obliged to go out of town in half-an-hour. It isn't necessary to see him. He would rather see the check."

Mr. Damon laughed, and so did Walter. It Made him feel quite like a business man to be installed in an office, receiving and crediting checks.

"Have you been long in our employment?" he asked.

"About six months."

"I hope you have found it satisfactory?"

"Yes, I have made an excellent living. How much salary do you get?"

"Fifteen dollars a week," answered Walter rather complacently.

"You look like a smart young fellow. You'd easily make double the money as an agent."

"Thank you for the suggestion. I may undertake that some time. I have been a life-insurance agent."

"Did it pay?"

"Not as well as I hoped. I think I shall like my present place better."

"I must be going. Tell Mr. Locke I will be in to-morrow."

"All right."

"It is evident," thought Walter, "that I am in the employ of a substantial and prosperous firm. The duties are certainly very light and pleasant. I am in luck to get a clerkship here. It is rather surprising Mr. Locke didn't ask for references."

Then it occurred to him that the deposit was taken as a substitute for references. Then again Walter flattered himself that his personal appearance might have produced a favorable impression upon his employer and had some influence in leading to an engagement.

His next caller was a young man, dark and sallow, with a slight mustache.

"Is this the office of Locke & Green?" he asked.

"Yes, sir."

"Will you describe Mr. Locke to me?" asked the young man, who appeared to be laboring under some excitement.

Walter was rather surprised at such a request, but complied with it.

"Yes, he's the man," said his visitor, slapping his hands together impetuously. "He's the man that cheated me out of fifty dollars!"

"You must be mistaken," said Walter. "How did he cheat you out of it?"

"One moment--are you his confidential clerk?"


"I thought so," returned the young man, laughing wildly. "So was I."

"You were his clerk?"

"Yes, for two weeks. I paid him fifty dollars good money as security."

"You did?" repeated Walter, with some anxiety.

"Yes; at the end of two weeks he told me I would not suit."

"But he paid you your wages and returned you your money?"

"No, he didn't!" exploded the young man. "He told me to come round on Monday morning and he would pay me."


"I called Monday, and he was gone! He had moved, the scoundrel! I should like to choke him!"

"Was it this office?"

"No. Let me see that book! Ah, it is the same that I kept. Have you, too, given him money?"

"I deposited thirty dollars."

"Ah, it is the same old game! You will never see a cent of it again."

"But," said Walter, "I don't understand. He is doing a good business. I have had calls from two of his agents. One of them handed me this check," and he drew out the check Mr. Damon had given him.

The young man took it and laughed bitterly.

"I don't believe there is any such bank," he said. "I never heard of it."

"Then why should the agent hand me the check?"

"To pull wool over your eyes. These agents are in league with this man Locke. That wasn't his name when he engaged me."

"What was it then?"

"He called himself Libby. Libby & Richmond, that was the name of the firm."

"What made you think he might have changed his name?"

"Because the advertisement reads the same."

"And you really think it is the same man?"

"Yes, I feel sure of it."

"He will be back at one o'clock. If you will wait till then you can see for yourself."

"I'll wait!" said the young man, grinding his teeth. "I will confront the swindler face to face. I will demand my money."

The door opened and some one put in his head, but before Walter or his visitor could see who it was it closed again.

Fifteen minutes later a telegraph boy entered the office.



"Mr. Sherwood?" said the telegraph messenger inquiringly.

"That is my name," answered Walter.

"A message for you."

Walter opened the note, and read as follows:

"I am called out of the city. You may close up at four, and leave the key with the janitor. Report for duty to-morrow morning. LOCKE."

"What is it?" asked the young man eagerly.

Walter showed him the note.

"It looks to me like some trick," said the stranger.

"But I don't see any object in it."

"He has your thirty dollars."

Walter Sherwood's Probation - 20/38

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