A RELATIVE AND A PLACE

Crawford Lane was considerably disconcerted.

“I will call later and buy the ticket,” he said to the broker. “At
present I have some business with this young rascal, who robbed me this
morning of a considerable sum of money. Now he has the assurance to make
a charge against me.”

The broker looked from one to the other. He was bewildered, and could
not decide which to believe.

Crawford Lane and the two boys went out into the street.

“Now, Mr. Lane,” said Scott, in a resolute tone, “please hand over that
money.”

“So you are acting the part of a highway robber, are you? If you know
what is best for yourself you will get away from here as soon as
possible.”

“I am ready to go as soon as you give me my money. If not—-”

“Well, if not?”

“I will summon a policeman.”

It chanced that a member of the Broadway squad was within hearing.

He stopped and said: “Am I wanted here?”

“Yes,” replied Lane, quickly; “I want you to arrest that boy.”

“On what charge?”

“Robbery. I took pity on him, and though I knew scarcely anything of
him, I let him occupy the same room with myself at a hotel on the Bowery
last night. He stole some Bank of England notes from my pocket while I
was sleeping, and I want him arrested.”

Scott’s breath was quite taken away by the audacious misrepresentation
of his treacherous acquaintance.

“Well, what have you to say?” asked the policeman.

“Only that this man was himself the thief, and stole the notes from me.”

“You young rascal!” exclaimed Lane, in assumed indignation. “That is a
likely story. I leave it to the officer which was more likely to have
money to be taken–a gentleman like myself, or a boy like you.”

“I think you will have to come with me,” said the officer to Scott.

“But,” put in John Schickling, “that man has told you a lie. He owes my
mother nine dollars for room rent.”

“I never saw the boy before in the whole course of my life,” said Lane,
boldly. “He seems to be a confederate of the boy who robbed me.”

“You can tell your story at the police station,” said the policeman to
Scott. “You, sir, can go with me and prefer a charge.”

“I am in a great hurry,” replied Lane, taking out his watch. “I will
call at the police station in an hour. Now I have an important
engagement.”

“You will have to come now,” said the officer, beginning to be
suspicious.

“Oh, well, if it is necessary,” said Lane, determined to brazen it out.

Scott was considerably taken aback at the unexpected turn which matters
had taken, and felt some anxiety.

“Will you come with me?” he said, addressing John Schickling.

“You bet I will,” responded John, briskly. “I ain’t goin’ back on a
friend. I’ll tell you what I know about this man.”

“You’d better clear out,” said Lane, “if you know what is best for you,
or you’ll find yourself in hot water, too.”

“I’ll take the risk,” rejoined John, not at all alarmed.

So they started for the station house in the City Hall, when something
unexpected happened.

A young man, handsomely dressed, met the procession, as he was himself
walking up Broadway. His eyes lighted up when they rested on Crawford
Lane.

He darted forward, and grasped him by the arm.

“At last I have found you!” he exclaimed. “Officer, I call upon you to
arrest this man.”

The officer stared, surprised as he might well be.

Crawford Lane tried to release himself from the grasp of the speaker,
and had he succeeded would have fled unceremoniously.

“What does this mean?” asked the policeman. “He is going with me to the
station house to prefer a charge against this boy.”

“That’s a good joke! He prefer a charge!”

“He says the boy has robbed him.”

“Then you may conclude that he has robbed the boy. He robbed me in
London some weeks since, and I have just caught him.”

“This is all a mistake,” said Lane, hurriedly. “Officer, you may let the
boy go.”

“Do you withdraw the charge?”

“Yes.”

“I prefer to go to the station house,” said Scott, quietly. “I wish to
tell my story there. This man stole ten pounds from me in English
money.”

At this moment there was a sudden excitement in the street. A man had
been knocked over by a passing truck, and all eyes were turned toward
the scene of the accident.

Justin Wood removed his hand from the arm of Crawford Lane, and the
latter lost no time in taking advantage of his freedom. He darted down a
side street, and when his companions turned to look for him he had
disappeared.

Justin Wood looked annoyed.

“He has escaped this time,” he exclaimed, “but I will have him yet.”

“Then I shall not be needed,” said the officer, as he resumed his beat.

“How did this man get a chance to rob you?” asked Justin Wood, turning
to Scott.

Scott briefly explained.

“Did he take all your money?”

“No, sir. I have ten pounds left.”

“Pardon me, but is this all you have?”

“Yes, sir.”

“But you have a home?”

“Only such a home as I may be able to make for myself.”

“Have you no relatives in this city?”

“Yes, sir, I have one. I am going to see him if I can, this afternoon.”

Mr. Wood took a card from his pocket.

“I am staying at the Gilsey House,” he said. “If you need help or
advice, call there and send up your name. By the way, what is your name,
my boy?”

“Scott Walton.”

“I shall remember it. Now I must leave you as, like your late friend, I
have an important engagement.”

“I suppose I must be getting back,” said John, “as my brother will need
me. I am sorry I didn’t collect the nine dollars from that jay.”

“He has got the best of all of us,” returned Scott. “Where do you live?
I may want to look you up some day.”

“In West Thirty-sixth Street,” said John. “I haven’t got any card with
me, but I can give you the number.”

“I won’t forget it. You have been my first friend in New York, and I
don’t want to lose you.”

“I never thought I would like an English boy before,” said John, “but I
like you.”

“Thank you. I hope we shall remain friends.”

When Scott was left alone it occurred to him that he had not yet
exchanged his English money, and he returned to the broker’s office,
where he made the exchange, receiving about fifty dollars in greenbacks.

“This is all I have to depend upon,” reflected Scott. “It won’t do for
me to remain at the hotel much longer. My money would soon be gone.”

He had ascertained that the rates at the hotel were two dollars a day,
including board.

This was not a large price, but Scott felt that it was more than he
could afford to pay. It was absolutely necessary that he should begin to
earn something as soon as possible.

He could decide upon nothing till he had seen his mother’s cousin, Ezra
Little. If that gentleman should agree to take him into his store in any
capacity, he felt that his anxieties would be at an end. Hence, it was
desirable that he should see Mr. Little as soon as possible. He had
already ascertained that his relative was in the dry-goods business on
Eighth Avenue, but he felt that it would be better to call upon him at
his residence on West Forty-seventh Street. Probably Mr. Little would
have more leisure to talk with him there.

It was with a fast-beating heart that Scott, standing on the steps of a
three-story brick house on West Forty-seventh Street, rang the bell.

The door was opened by a servant girl.

Just behind her was a boy who looked to be about Scott’s age, and who
listened inquisitively to what Scott had to say.

“Is Mr. Little at home?”

“He will be in in a few minutes. You can come in and wait for him.”

“I should like to do so.”

The servant opened the door leading into a small reception room to the
left of the front hall, and Scott, entering, seated himself.

The boy already referred to entered also. He was a very plain-looking
youth with light red hair.

“Did you have business with Mr. Little?” he asked, curiously. “I am his
son.”

“Yes.”

“Do you come from the store?”

“No.”

“Perhaps you are meaning to apply for a place there?”

“I should be glad if your father would give me a place. I have just come
from England. My mother was a cousin of Mr. Little.”

Loammi Little, for this was the name of the red-haired boy, regarded
Scott with curiosity mingled with surprise.

“What is your name?” he asked, abruptly.

“Scott Walton.”

“I never heard of you, though I have heard pa say that a cousin of his
married a man named Walton. Where is your father?”

“He is dead,” answered Scott, sadly. “He died on the voyage over.”

“Humph!” said Loammi, in a tone far from sympathetic. “I suppose you are
poor.”

“I am not rich,” replied Scott, coldly.

He began to resent the unfeeling questions with which his cousin was
plying him.

“If you have come over here to live on pa, I don’t think he will like
it.”

“I don’t want to live on anyone,” said Scott, his cheek flushing with
anger. “I am ready to earn my own living.”

“That’s the way pa did. He came over here a poor boy, or rather a poor
young man.”

“I respect him the more for it.”

“All the same I would rather begin life with a little money,” said
Loammi.

“I have a little money,” rejoined Scott, with a half smile.

“How much?”

“I would rather wait and tell your father my circumstances.”

“Oh, well, if you don’t like to tell. Pa’ll tell me all about it.”

“That is as he chooses–but I would rather tell him first.”

“How old are you?” asked Loammi, after a pause.

“Sixteen.”

“So am I.”

“Your father has a store on Eighth Avenue?”

“Yes; have you been in it?”

“Not yet. I only arrived in New York yesterday.”

“Where are you living?”

“In a hotel on the Bowery.”

“That isn’t a fashionable street.”

“So I judge; but I can’t afford to board on a fashionable street.”

“No, I suppose not. You are pretty well dressed, though.”

“My father bought me this suit in London before we started for America.
Are you working in your father’s store?”

“No, I am attending school. I am not a poor boy, and don’t have to work.
Did you work any before you left the old country?”

“No, I was at school.”

“Are you a good scholar?”

“That isn’t for me to say. I stood very well in school.”

“I am studying Latin and Greek,” observed Loammi, proudly.

“I have studied them both,” said Scott, quietly.

“How far were you in Latin?”

“I was reading Cicero’s orations when I left school.”

As this was considerably beyond the point to which Loammi had attained,
he made no comment. He was considering what question to ask next, when
his father entered the room.

There was a strong resemblance between father and son. Ezra Little was
a slender man, about five feet ten inches in height, with hair of a
yellowish-red, inclined to be thin toward the top of the head.

There was a feeble growth of side whiskers extending halfway down each
cheek. His eyes were of a pale blue, and his look was shrewd and cold.

He gazed inquiringly at Scott.

“This boy says his mother was your cousin, pa,” exclaimed Loammi.

“What name?” asked Ezra.

“Scott Walton.”

Ezra Little nodded.

“I see. Your father was an artist?”

“Yes.”

“Where is he?”

“He died on the voyage over.”

“Leaving you alone in the world?”

“Yes,” answered Scott, sadly.

“Well, what are your plans?”

This question was asked coldly.

“My father died so lately that I haven’t had time to form any plans. I
thought I would like to consult you about them.”

“I suppose you haven’t much money?”

“No, sir.”

“You have some?”

“About ten pounds.”

“Fifty dollars.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And that is all?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That won’t keep you long,” said Loammi, disdainfully. “I s’pose you’ll
expect pa to take care of you.”

“Have I hinted anything of the kind?” demanded Scott, indignantly. “I am
young and strong, and I am quite ready to earn my own living. I don’t
want anybody to support me.”

“Well spoken, lad!” said Ezra, in a tone of approval. “I’ll think over
your case. Loammi, tell your mother that Scott will stay to supper.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Mrs. Little was as plain in appearance as her husband and son, but Scott
liked her better. She appeared to have a kindly disposition, and
expressed sympathy for him when she heard of his father’s death.

This was in contrast to Mr. Little and Loammi, upon whom it seemed to
make no impression.

“And where are you staying, Scott?” she asked, in a tone of friendly
interest.

“At a hotel on the Bowery.”

“How much do they charge you?” inquired Ezra Little.

“Two dollars a day.”

“It is very extravagant for a boy with your small stock of money to pay
such a price.”

“I know it, sir, but I only went there yesterday, I shall not think of
staying.”

Scott had decided not to mention his loss to Mr. Little, as he felt sure
that it would bring upon him a reproof for his credulity in trusting a
man of whom he knew so little as Crawford Lane.

“Why couldn’t he come here, Ezra?” suggested Mrs. Little, turning to her
husband.

Mr. Little coughed.

“After supper I shall speak to Scott about business,” he said, “and that
point will be discussed.”

Scott looked forward to the interview with interest and anxiety. For him
a great deal depended on it.

He hoped that Mr. Little would give him a place in the store where he
would be in the line of promotion, and be able to earn his living.

He followed Mr. Little from the dining room into what might be called a
library, though there were only about fifty books in a small bookcase.
There was a desk, however, used by Mr. Little for letter writing, and
for the keeping of his accounts. Here, too, he received business
visitors.

“Well,” he said, pointing Scott to a chair, “now we will discuss your
plans. You want a chance to work?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I may find a place for you in my store, but I warn you that you can’t
expect much pay to begin with.”

“I don’t expect much pay, sir. If I can earn enough to support myself it
will satisfy me.”

“Eh, but that would require high pay. It costs a good deal to support a
boy in New York.”

This rather alarmed Scott, for he felt that he must manage somehow to
support himself on what he earned.

“We generally pay a beginner only three dollars a week,” proceeded Mr.
Little.

“Three dollars a week!”

Why, Scott was paying two dollars a day for board and lodging at the
hotel.

He looked at Mr. Little in dismay.

“I shouldn’t think I could support myself on three dollars a week,” he
said.

“We might strain a point and pay you three dollars and a half.”

“Is there any boarding house where I could live on three dollars and a
half?”

“Well, no; perhaps not; but you have some money, you tell me.”

“Yes, sir, I have fifty dollars.”

“Just at first you can use a part of that to supply deficiencies.”

“I thought I might need that for clothes.”

“Ahem!” said Mr. Little. “I have thought a way out of the difficulty.”

Scott looked at him hopefully.

“I think Mrs. Little can find a small room for you upstairs, and you can
live here.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Of course what you earn in the store won’t pay for your keep, so I
suggest that you hand me the fifty dollars to make up.”

Scott did not like that suggestion. He did not feel like giving up the
money bequeathed him by his father. It would make him feel helpless and
dependent.

Besides, when he wanted clothing, where should he find money to pay for
it? Yet, if he declined Mr. Little’s offer, he knew that the fifty
dollars would soon be exhausted, and he might have no other place
offered him.

“When could I move here?” he asked.

“To-morrow, and on Monday morning, you can begin work at the store.”

“Very well, sir.”

“You can give me the money now.”

“I will give you forty dollars, but I shall have to pay my hotel bill.”

“You can keep five dollars for that. It will be sufficient.”

So Scott handed over forty-five dollars to Mr. Little, who counted it
over with evident satisfaction. Then the English boy started for the
hotel.

He had secured a place, but somehow he felt depressed. His prospects did
not seem very bright, after all.