Joe The Hotel Boy
Horatio Alger Jr.
Part 1 out of 4
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JOE THE HOTEL BOY
WINNING OUT BY PLUCK
BY HORATIO ALGER, JR.
JOE THE HOTEL BOY.
I. OUT IN A STORM
II. A MYSTERIOUS CONVERSATION
III. A HOME IN RUINS
IV. THE SEARCH FOR THE BLUE BOX
V. A NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES
VI. AN ACCIDENT ON THE LAKE
VII. BLOWS AND KIND DEEDS
VIII. THE TIMID MR. GUSSING
IX. AN UNFORTUNATE OUTING
X. DAVID BALL FROM MONTANA
XI. A FRUITLESS CHASE
XII. THE PARTICULARS OF A SWINDLE
XIII. OFF FOR THE CITY
XIV. A SCENE ON THE TRAIN
XV. WHAT HAPPENED TO JOSIAH BEAN
XVI. A MATTER OF SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS
XVII. JOE'S NEW POSITION
XVIII. JOE SHOWS HIS MUSCLE
XIX. ONE KIND OF A DUEL
XX. ATTACKED IN THE DARK
XXI. DAYS AT THE HOTEL
XXII. ABOUT SOME MINING SHARES
XXIII. THE FIRE AT THE HOTEL
XXIV. THE BLUE BOX AT LAST
XXV. JOE VISITS CHICAGO
XXVI. HOW A SATCHEL DISAPPEARED
XXVII. JOE MAKES A DISCOVERY
XXVIII. FROM OUT OF A TREE
XXIX. THE FATE OF TWO EVILDOERS
A number of years ago the author of this story set out to depict
life among the boys of a great city, and especially among those
who had to make their own way in the world. Among those already
described are the ways of newsboys, match boys, peddlers, street
musicians, and many others.
In the present tale are related the adventures of a country lad
who, after living for some time with a strange hermit, goes forth
into the world and finds work, first in a summer hotel and then
in a large hotel in the city. Joe finds his road no easy one to
travel, and he has to face not a few hardships, but in the end
all turns out well.
It may be added here that many of the happenings told of in this
story, odd as they may seem, are taken from life. Truth is
indeed stranger than fiction, and life itself is full of romance
from start to finish.
If there is a moral to be drawn from this story, it is a twofold
one, namely, that honesty is always the best policy, and that if
one wishes to succeed in life he must stick at his work steadily
and watch every opportunity for advancement.
JOE THE HOTEL BOY.
OUT IN A STORM.
"What do you think of this storm, Joe?"
"I think it is going to be a heavy one, Ned. I wish we were back
home," replied Joe Bodley, as he looked at the heavy clouds which
overhung Lake Tandy.
"Do you think we'll catch much rain before we get back?" And
Ned, who was the son of a rich man and well dressed, looked at
the new suit of clothes that he wore.
"I'm afraid we shall, Ned. Those black clouds back of Mount Sam
"If this new suit gets soaked it will be ruined," grumbled Ned,
and gave a sigh.
"I am sorry for the suit, Ned; but I didn't think it was going to
rain when we started."
"Oh, I am not blaming you, Joe. It looked clear enough this
morning. Can't we get to some sort of shelter before the rain
"We can try."
"Which is the nearest shelter?"
Joe Bodley mused for a moment.
"The nearest that I know of is over at yonder point, Ned. It's
an old hunting lodge that used to belong to the Cameron family.
It has been deserted for several years."
"Then let us row for that place, and be quick about it," said Ned
Talmadge. "I am not going to get wet if I can help it."
As he spoke he took up a pair of oars lying in the big rowboat he
and Joe Bodley occupied. Joe was already rowing and the rich boy
joined in, and the craft was headed for the spot Joe had pointed
The lake was one located in the central part of the State of
Pennsylvania. It was perhaps a mile wide and more than that
long, and surrounded by mountains and long ranges of hills. At
the lower end of the lake was a small settlement of scant
importance and at the upper end, where there was a stream of no
mean size, was the town of Riverside. At Riverside were situated
several summer hotels and boarding houses, and also the elegant
mansion in which Ned Talmadge resided, with his parents and his
Joe Bodley was as poor as Ned Talmadge was rich, yet the two lads
were quite friendly. Joe knew a good deal about hunting and
fishing, and also knew all about handling boats. They frequently
went out together, and Ned insisted upon paying the poorer boy
for all extra services.
Joe's home was located on the side of the mountain which was just
now wrapped in such dark and ominous looking clouds. He lived
with Hiram Bodley, an old man who was a hermit. The home
consisted of a cabin of two rooms, scantily furnished. Hiram
Bodley had been a hunter and guide, but of late years rheumatism
had kept him from doing work and Joe was largely the support of
the pair,--taking out pleasure parties for pay whenever he could,
and fishing and hunting in the between times, and using or
selling what was gained thereby.
There was a good deal of a mystery surrounding Joe's parentage.
It was claimed that he was a nephew of Hiram Bodley, and that,
after the death of his mother and sisters, his father had drifted
out to California and then to Australia. What the real truth
concerning him was we shall learn later.
Joe was a boy of twelve, but constant life in the open air had
made him tall and strong and he looked to be several years older.
He had dark eyes and hair, and was much tanned by the sun.
The rowboat had been out a good distance on the lake and a minute
before the shore was gained the large drops of rain began to
"We are going to get wet after all!" cried Ned, chagrined.
"Pull for all you are worth and we'll soon be under the trees,"
They bent to the oars, and a dozen more strokes sent the rowboat
under a clump of pines growing close to the edge of the lake.
Just as the boat struck the bank and Ned leaped out there came a
great downpour which made the surface of Lake Tandy fairly
"Run to the lodge, Ned; I'll look after the boat!" shouted Joe.
"But you'll get wet."
"Never mind; run, I tell you!"
Thus admonished, Ned ran for the old hunting lodge, which was
situated about two hundred feet away. Joe remained behind long
enough to secure the rowboat and the oars and then he followed
Just as one porch of the old lodge was reached there came a flash
of lightning, followed by a clap of thunder that made Ned jump.
Then followed more thunder and lightning, and the rain came down
"Ugh! I must say I don't like this at all," remarked Ned, as he
crouched in a corner of the shelter. "I hope the lightning
doesn't strike this place."
"We can be thankful that we were not caught out in the middle of
the lake, Ned."
"I agree on that, Joe,--but it doesn't help matters much. Oh,
dear me!" And Ned shrank down, as another blinding flash of
lightning lit up the scene.
It was not a comfortable situation and Joe did not like it any
more than did his friend. But the hermit's boy was accustomed to
being out in the elements, and therefore was not so impressed by
what was taking place.
"The rain will fill the boat," said Ned, presently.
"Never mind, we can easily bail her out or turn her over."
"When do you think this storm will stop?"
"In an hour or two, most likely. Such storms never last very
long. What time is it, Ned?"
"Half-past two," answered Ned, after consulting the handsome
watch he carried.
"Then, if it clears in two hours, we'll have plenty of time to
get home before dark."
"I don't care to stay here two hours," grumbled Ned. "It's not a
very inviting place."
"It's better than being out under the trees," answered Joe,
cheerfully. The hermit's boy was always ready to look on the
brighter side of things.
"Oh, of course."
"And we have a fine string of fish, don't forget that, Ned. We
were lucky to get so many before the storm came up."
"Do you want the fish, or are you going to let me take them?"
"I'd like to have one fish. You may take the others."
"Not unless you let me pay for them, Joe."
"Oh, you needn't mind about paying me."
"But I insist," came from Ned. "I won't touch them otherwise."
"All right, you can pay me for what I caught."
"No, I want to pay for all of them. Your time is worth
something, and I know you have to support your--the old hermit
"All right, Ned, have your own way. Yes, I admit, I need all the
money I get."
"Is the old hermit very sick?"
"Not so sick, but his rheumatism keeps him from going out hunting
or fishing, so all that work falls to me."
"It's a good deal on your shoulders, Joe."
"I make the best of it, for there is nothing else to do."
"By the way, Joe, you once spoke to me about--well, about
yourself," went on Ned, after some hesitation. "Did you ever
learn anything more? You need not tell me if you don't care to."
At these words Joe's face clouded for an instant.
"No, I haven't learned a thing more, Ned."
"Then you don't really know if you are the hermit's nephew or
"Oh, I think I am, but I don't know whatever became of my
"Does the hermit think he is alive?"
"He doesn't know, and he hasn't any means of finding out."
"Well, if I were you, I'd find out, some way or other."
"I'm going to find out--some day," replied Joe. "But, to tell
the truth, I don't know how to go at it. Uncle Hiram doesn't
like to talk about it. He thinks my father did wrong to go away.
I imagine they had a quarrel over it."
"Has he ever heard from your father since?"
"Not a word."
"Did he write?"
"He didn't know where to write to."
"Humph! It is certainly a mystery, Joe."
"You are right, Ned; and as I said before, I am going to solve it
some time, even if it takes years of work to do it," replied the
A MYSTERIOUS CONVERSATION.
The old hunting lodge where the two boys had sought shelter was a
rambling affair, consisting of a square building built of logs,
and half a dozen wings, running to the rear and to one side.
There were also two piazzas, and a shed, where wood had been kept
for winter use.
"In another year or two this old lodge will fall down," remarked
Ned, as he gazed around him.
"It must have been a nice place in its day," returned Joe. "What
a pity to let it run down in this fashion."
"The rain is coming around on this side now, Joe; let us shift to
The hermit's boy was willing, and watching their chance, between
the downpours, they ran around to another portion of the old
"It certainly is a little better here," observed Joe, as he
dashed the water from his cap.
A minute later the rumbling of the thunder ceased for the time
being, and they heard a murmur of voices coming from one of the
rooms of the lodge.
"Why, somebody must be here!" ejaculated Ned. "Who can it be?"
"Two men, by their voices," answered the hermit's boy. "Wait
till I take a look at them?"
"Why not go in?" questioned the rich youth, carelessly.
"They may not be persons that we would care to meet, Ned. You
know there are some undesirable characters about the lake."
Not far off was a narrow window, the panes of glass of which had
long since been broken out. Moving toward this, Joe peered into
the apartment beyond.
Close to an old fireplace, in which a few sticks of half-green
timber were burning, sat two men. Both were well dressed, and
Joe rightfully surmised that they were from the city. Each wore
a hunting outfit and had a gun, but neither had any game.
"We came on a wild-goose chase," grumbled one, as he stirred the
fire. "Got nothing but a soaking for our pains."
"Never mind, Malone," returned the other, who was evidently the
better educated of the two. "As we had to make ourselves scarce
in the city this was as good a place to come to as any."
"Don't you think they'll look for us here?"
"Why should they? We were sharp enough not to leave any trail
behind--at least, I was."
"Reckon I was just as sharp, Caven."
"You had to be--otherwise you would have been nabbed." Gaff
Caven chuckled to himself. "We outwitted them nicely, I must
say. We deserve credit."
"I've spent more than half of what I got out of the deal," went
on Pat Malone, for such was the full name of one of the speakers.
"I've spent more than that. But never mind, my boy, fortune will
favor us again in the near future."
A crash of thunder drowned out the conversation following, and
Joe hurried back to where he had left Ned.
"Well, have you found out who they are?" demanded the rich youth,
"No, Ned, but I am sure of one thing."
"What is that?"
"They are two bad men."
"What makes you think that?"
"They said something about having to get out of the city, and one
spoke about being nabbed. Evidently they went away to avoid
At this announcement Ned Talmadge whistled softly to himself.
"Phew! What shall we do about it?" he asked, with a look of
concern on his usually passive face.
Joe shrugged his shoulders.
"I don't know what to do."
"Let us listen to what they have to say. Maybe we'll strike some
clew to what they have been doing."
"Would that be fair--to play the eaves-dropper?"
"Certainly--if they are evildoers. Anybody who has done wrong
ought to be locked up for it," went on Ned boldly.
With caution the two boys made their way to the narrow window,
and Ned looked in as Joe had done. The backs of the two men were
still towards the opening, so the lads were not discovered.
"What is this new game?" they heard the man called Malone ask,
after a peal of thunder had rolled away among the mountains.
"It's the old game of a sick miner with some valuable stocks to
sell," answered Gaff Caven.
"Have you got the stocks?"
"To be sure--one thousand shares of the Blue Bell Mine, of
Montana, said to be worth exactly fifty thousand dollars."
"Phew! You're flying high, Gaff!" laughed Pat Malone.
"And why not, so long as I sell the stocks?"
"What did they cost you?"
"Well, they didn't cost me fifty thousand dollars," and Gaff
Caven closed one eye suggestively.
"You bet they didn't! More than likely they didn't cost you fifty
"What, such elegantly engraved stocks as those?"
"Pooh! I can buy a bushel-basket full of worthless stocks for a
dollar," came from Pat Malone. "But that isn't here nor there.
I go into the deal if you give me my fair share of the earnings."
"I'll give you one-third, Pat, and that's a fair share, I think."
"Why not make it half?"
"Because I'll do the most of the work. It's no easy matter to
find a victim." And Gaff Caven laughed broadly. He had a good-
appearing face, but his eyes were small and not to be trusted.
"All right, I'll go in for a third then. But how soon is the
excitement to begin?"
"Oh, in a week or so. I've got the advertisements in the papers
"Not in New York?"
"No, it's Philadelphia this time. Perhaps I'll land one of our
"Don't be so sure. The Quakers may be slow but they generally
know what they are doing."
More thunder interrupted the conversation at this point, and when
it was resumed the two men talked in such low tones that only an
occasional word could be caught by the two boys.
"They surely must be rascals," remarked Ned, in a whisper. "I'm
half of a mind to have them locked up."
"That's easier said than done," answered Joe. "Besides, we
haven't any positive proofs against them."
The wind was now rising, and it soon blew so furiously that the
two boys were forced to seek the shelter of the woodshed, since
they did not deem it wise to enter the lodge so long as the two
men were inside. They waited in the shed for fully half an hour,
when, as suddenly as it had begun, the storm let up and the sun
began to peep forth from between the scattering clouds.
"Now we can go home if we wish," said Joe. "But for my part, I'd
like to stay and see what those men do, and where they go to."
"Yes, let us stay by all means," answered the rich youth.
They waited a few minutes longer and then Ned suggested that they
look into the window of the lodge once more. The hermit's boy
was willing, and they approached the larger building with
Much to their astonishment the two strangers had disappeared.
"Hullo! what do you make of that?" cried Ned, in amazement.
"Perhaps they are in one of the other rooms," suggested Joe.
At the risk of being caught, they entered the lodge and looked
into one room after another. Every apartment was vacant, and
they now saw that the fire in the fireplace had been stamped out.
"They must have left while we were in the woodshed," said Ned.
"Maybe they are out on the lake," answered the hermit's boy, and
he ran down to the water's edge, followed by his companion. But
though they looked in every direction, not a craft of any kind
was to be seen.
"Joe, they didn't take to the water, consequently they must have
left by one of the mountain paths."
"That is true, and if they did they'll have no nice time in
getting through. All the bushes are sopping wet, and the mud is
very slippery in places."
They walked to the rear of the lodge and soon found the
footprints of the two strangers. They led through the bushes and
were lost at a small brook that ran into the lake.
"There is no use of our trying to follow this any further," said
Joe. "You'll get your clothing covered with water and mud."
"I don't intend to follow," answered Ned. "Just the same, I
should like to know more about those fellows."
"I wish I had seen their faces."
"Yes, it's a pity we didn't get a better look at them. But I'd
know their voices."
By the time they gave up the hunt the sun was shining brightly.
Both walked to where the boat had been left, and Joe turned the
craft over so that the water might run out. Then he mopped off
the seats as best he could.
Ned wanted to go directly home, and he and Joe rowed the craft in
the direction of Riverside. As they passed along the lake shore
the hermit's boy noted that several trees had been struck by
"I'm glad the lightning didn't strike the lodge while we were
there," said he.
"It was certainly a severe storm while it lasted, Joe. By the
way, shall I say anything about those two men?"
"Perhaps it won't do any harm to tell your father, Ned."
"Very well, I'll do it."
Soon Riverside was reached, and having paid for the fish and the
outing, Ned Talmadge walked in the direction of his residence.
Joe shoved off from the tiny dock and struck out for his home.
He did not dream of the calamity that awaited him there.
A HOME IN RUINS.
As Joe rowed toward his home on the mountain side, a good mile
from Riverside, he could not help but think of the two mysterious
men and of what they had said.
"They were certainly rascals," he mused. "And from their talk
they must have come from New York and are now going to try some
game in Philadelphia."
The hermit's boy was tired out by the day's outing, yet he pulled
a fairly quick stroke and it was not long before he reached the
dock at which he and Hiram Bodley were in the habit of leaving
their boat. He cleaned the craft out, hid the oars in the usual
place, and then, with his fishing lines in one hand and a good
sized fish in the other, started up the trail leading to the
place that he called home.
"What a place to come to, alongside of the one Ned lives in," he
said to himself. "I suppose the Talmadges think this is a
regular hovel. I wish we could afford something better,--or at
least live in town. It's lonesome here with nobody but old Uncle
As Joe neared the cabin something seemed to come over him and,
for some reason he could not understand, he felt very much
depressed in spirits. He quickened his pace, until a turn of the
trail brought the homestead into view.
A cry of alarm broke from his lips and with good reason. The
little shelter had stood close to a large hemlock tree. The
lightning had struck the tree, causing it to topple ever. In
falling, it had landed fairly and squarely upon the cabin,
smashing it completely. One corner of the cabin was in ashes,
but the heavy rain had probably extinguished the conflagration.
"Uncle Hiram!" cried the boy, as soon as he recovered from his
amazement. "Uncle Hiram, where are you?"
There was no answer to this call and for the moment Joe's heart
seemed to stop beating. Was the old hermit under that pile of
ruins? If so it was more than likely he was dead.
Dropping his fish and his lines, the youth sprang to the front of
the cabin. The door had fallen to the ground and before him was
a mass of wreckage with a small hollow near the bottom. He
dropped on his knees and peered inside.
"Uncle Hiram!" he called again.
There was no answer, and he listened with bated breath. Then he
fancied he heard a groan, coming from the rear of what was left
of the cabin. He ran around to that point and pulled aside some
boards and a broken window sash.
"Uncle Hiram, are you here?"
"Joe!" came in a low voice, full of pain. The man tried to say
more but could not.
Hauling aside some more boards, Joe now beheld the hermit, lying
flat on his back, with a heavy beam resting on his chest. He was
also suffering from a cut on the forehead and from a broken
"This is too bad, Uncle Hiram!" he said, in a trembling voice.
"I'll get you out just as soon as I can."
"Be--be careful, Joe--I--I--my ribs must be broken," gasped the
"I'll be careful," answered the boy, and began to pull aside one
board after another. Then he tugged away at the beam but could
not budge it.
"Raise it up Joe--it--is--crushing the life ou--out of me," said
the hermit faintly.
"I'll pry it up," answered the boy, and ran off to get a block of
wood. Then he procured a stout pole and with this raised the
heavy beam several inches.
"Can you crawl out, Uncle Hiram?"
There was no answer, and Joe saw that the man had fainted from
exhaustion. Fixing the pole so it could not slip, he caught hold
of the hermit and dragged him to a place of safety.
Joe had never had to care for a hurt person before and he
scarcely knew how to proceed. He laid the hermit on the grass and
washed his face with water. Soon Hiram Bodley opened his eyes
"My chest!" he groaned. "All of my ribs must be broken! And my
ankle is broken, too!" And he groaned again.
"I had better get a doctor, Uncle Hiram."
"A doctor can't help me."
"Perhaps he can."
"I haven't any faith in doctors. A doctor operated on my mother
and killed her."
"But Doctor Gardner is a nice man. He will do all he can for
you, I am sure," urged Joe.
"Well, Dr. Gardner is a good fellow I admit. If you--can--can
get him--I'll--I'll --" The sufferer tried to go on but could
"I think I can get him. But I hate to leave you alone." And Joe
stared around helplessly. He wished he had Ned with him.
"Never mind--give me a drink--then go," answered Hiram Bodley.
He had often taken Doctor Gardner out to hunt with him and liked
the physician not a little.
Inside of five minutes Joe was on the way to the doctor's
residence, which was on the outskirts of Riverside. He had left
the hermit as comfortable as possible, on a mattress and covered
with a cloth to keep off the night air,-- for it was now growing
late and the sun had set behind the mountains.
Tired though he was the boy pulled with might and main, and so
reached the dock of the physician's home in a short space of
time. Running up the walk of the neatly-kept garden, he mounted
the piazza and rang the bell several times.
"What's the matter?" asked Doctor Gardner, who came himself to
answer the summons.
"Our cabin is in ruins, because of the storm, and Mr. Bodley is
badly hurt," answered Joe, and related some of the particulars.
"This is certainly too bad, my boy," said the physician. "I'll
come at once and do what I can for him."
He ran for a case of instruments and also for some medicines, and
then followed Joe back to the boat.
"You act as if you were tired," said the doctor, after he had
watched Joe at the oars for several minutes.
"I am tired, sir--I've been rowing a good deal to-day. But I
guess I can make it."
"Let me row," said the physician, and took the oars. He was a
fine oarsman, and the trip was made in half the time it would
have taken Joe to cover the distance.
At the dock there was a lantern, used by Joe and the hermit when
they went fishing at night. This was lit, and the two hurried up
the trail to the wreck of the cabin.
Hiram Bodley was resting where Joe had left him. He was
breathing with difficulty and did not at first recognize the
"Take it off!" he murmured. "Take it off! It is--is crushing
th--the life out of--of me!"
"Mr. Bodley--Hiram, don't you know me?" asked Doctor Gardner,
"Oh! So it's you? I guess you can't do much, doctor, can you?
I--I'm done for!" And a spasm of pain crossed the sufferer's
"While there is life there is hope," answered the physician,
noncommittally. He recognized at once that Hiram Bodley's
condition was critical.
"He'll get over it, won't he?" questioned Joe, quickly.
The doctor did not answer, but turned to do what he could for the
hurt man. He felt of his chest and listened to his breathing,
and then administered some medicine.
"His ankle is hurt, too," said Joe.
"Never mind the ankle just now, Joe," was the soft answer.
There was something in the tone that alarmed the boy and he
caught the physician by the arm.
"Doctor, tell me the truth!" he cried. "Is he is he going to
"I am afraid so, my lad. His ribs are crushed and one of them
has stuck into his right lung."
At these words the tears sprang into the boy's eyes and it was
all he could do to keep from crying outright. Even though the
old hermit had been rough in his ways, Joe thought a good deal of
"Cannot you do something, doctor," he pleaded.
"Not here. We might do something in a hospital, but he would not
survive the journey. He is growing weaker every moment. Be
brave, my lad. It is a terrible trial, I know, but you must
remember that all things are for the best."
Joe knelt beside the sufferer and took hold of his hand. Hiram
Bodley looked at him and then at the doctor.
"I--I can't live--I know it," he said hoarsely. "Joe, stay by me
till I die, won't you?"
"Yes!" faltered the boy. "Oh, this is awful!"
"I'm sorry to leave you so soon, Joe--I--I thought I'd be--be
able to do something for you some day."
"You have done something for me, Uncle Hiram."
"All I've got goes to you, Joe. Doctor, do you hear that?"
"It--it ain't much, but it's something. The blue box--I put it in
the blue box--" Here the sufferer began to cough.
"The blue box?" came from Joe questioningly.
"Yes, Joe, all in the blue box--the papers and the money--And the
blue box is--is--" Again the sufferer began to cough. "I--I want
water!" he gasped.
The water was brought and he took a gulp. Then he tried to speak
again, but the effort was in vain. The doctor and Joe raised him
"Uncle Hiram! Speak to me!" cried the boy.
But Hiram Bodley was past speaking. He had passed to the Great
THE SEARCH FOR THE BLUE BOX.
Three days after his tragic death Hiram Bodley was buried.
Although he was fairly well known in the lake region only a
handful of people came to his funeral. Joe was the chief
mourner, and it can honestly be said that he was much downcast
when he followed the hermit to his last resting place.
After the funeral several asked Joe what he intended to do. He
could not answer the question.
"Have you found that blue box?" questioned Doctor Gardner.
"No, sir, I have not thought of it."
"Probably it contains money and papers of value, Joe."
"I am going to look for it to-day," said the boy. "I--I couldn't
look for it while-- while--"
"I understand. Well, I trust you locate the box and that it
contains all you hope for," added the physician.
As luck would have it, Ned Talmadge's family had just gone away
on a trip to the West, so Mr. Talmadge could offer the boy no
assistance. But Ned was on hand and did what he could.
"You don't know what you'll do next, do you, Joe?" asked Ned, as
he and Joe returned to the wreck of the cabin.
"Well, if you haven't any money I'll do what I can for you."
"Thank you, Ned; you are very kind."
"It must be hard to be thrown out on the world in this fashion,"
went on the rich boy, sympathetically.
"It is hard. After all, I thought a good deal of Uncle Hiram.
He was strange in his ways, but he had a good heart."
"Wasn't he shot in the head once by accident in the woods?"
"Maybe that made him queer at times."
"I've got six dollars and a half of my spending money saved up.
You may have that if you wish," continued Ned, generously.
"I'd rather not take it, Ned."
"If I can, I want to be independent. Besides, I think there is
money around somewhere," and Joe mentioned the missing blue box.
"You must hunt for that blue box by all means!" cried the rich
boy. "I'll help you."
After the death of Hiram Bodley, Joe and two of the lake guides
had managed to repair one room of the broken-down cabin, and from
this the funeral had taken place.
The room contained a bed, a table, two benches and a few dishes
and cooking utensils The floor was bare and the window was broken
out. It was truly a most uninviting home.
"Of course you are not going to stay here, now you are alone?"
said Ned, after a look around.
"I don't know where else to go, Ned."
"Why not move into town!"
"Perhaps I will. But I want to find that blue box before I
decide on anything."
Without delay the two boys set to work among the ruins, looking
into every hole and corner they could think of and locate. They
pulled away heavy boards and logs, and Joe even got a spade and
dug up the ground at certain points.
"It doesn't seem to be here," said Ned, after an hour had passed.
"It must be here," cried Joe.
"Perhaps it was buried under a tree."
"That may be true. Anyway, I am certain it is somewhere around
After that the hunt was continued for another hour, and they
visited several spots in that locality where Joe thought the blue
box might have been placed. But it was all to no purpose, the
box failed to come to light.
At last the two boys sat down on a bench in front of the cabin.
Both were tired out, Ned especially so. Joe was much downcast
and his friend did what he could to cheer him up.
"The box is bound to come to light some day," said Ned. "That
is, unless some of those men carried it off."
"What men, Ned?"
"The fellows who helped to mend the cabin just before the
"Oh, I don't think they would steal the box. Bart Andrews and
Jack Thompson are as honest as the day is long."
"Well, it's mighty queer you can't find some trace of the blue
The boys talked the matter over for some time, and then Ned
announced that he must go home.
"You can go with me if you wish," he said. "It will be better
than staying here all alone."
But Joe declined the offer.
"I'll stay here, and begin the hunt again the first thing in the
morning," he said.
"Well, if you want anything, come and see me, Joe; won't you?"
"I will, Ned."
Ned had come over in his own boat and now Joe walked down to the
lake with him. His friend gone, the hermit's boy returned to the
He was hungry but he had no heart to eat. He munched some bread
and cheese which a neighbor had brought over. He felt utterly
alone in the great worlds and when he thought of this a strange
feeling came over him.
It was a bitter night for the poor boy, but when morning came his
mind was made up. He would make his own way in the world, asking
aid from no one, not even Ned.
"And if I can't find the blue box I'll get along without it," he
As soon as it was light he procured breakfast and then started on
another hunt for the missing box. The entire day was spent in
the search, but without results. Towards night, Joe went down to
the lake. Here he caught a couple of small fish, which he fried
for his supper.
All told, Joe had exactly a dollar and a half of his own and nine
dollars which he had found in the hermit's pocketbook.
"Ten dollars and a half," he mused, as he counted the amount
over. "Not very much to go out into the world with. If I want
to do anything in town I'll have to buy some clothes."
From this it will be surmised that Joe was thinking of giving up
his roving life around the lake and mountains, and this was true.
Hunting and fishing appealed to him only in an uncertain way, and
he longed to go forth into the busy world and make something of
He had two suits of clothing, but both were very much worn, and
so were his shoes and his cap. Hiram Bodley had left some old
clothing, but they were too big for the boy.
"I guess I'll get Jasok the peddler to come up here and make me
an offer for what is here," he told himself.
Jasok was a Hebrew peddler who drove around through the lake
region, selling tinware and doing all sorts of trading. It was
time for him to visit that neighborhood and Joe went to the
nearest house on the main road and asked about the man.
"He will most likely be along to-morrow, Joe," said the neighbor.
"If he comes, Mr. Smith, will you send him over to my place?
Tell him I want an offer for the things."
"Going to sell out, Joe?"
"What are you going to do after that?"
"Try for some job in town."
"That's a good idea. Hunting and fishing isn't what it used to
be. What do you want for the things?"
"All I can get," and a brief smile hovered on Joe's face.
"I wouldn't sell out too cheap. Jasok is a great fellow to drive
"If he won't give me a fair price, I'll load the things on the
rowboat and sell them in town."
"That's an idea. Do you want to sell Hiram's double-barrel shot
"I'll give you ten dollars for it."
"I was going to ask twelve, Mr. Smith. It's a pretty good gun."
"So it is, although it is a little bit old-fashioned. Well,
bring it over and I'll allow you twelve dollars," answered the
neighbor, who was willing to assist Joe all he could.
Joe went back for the gun without delay, and received his money.
Then he returned to the cabin and brought out all the goods he
wished to sell.
By the middle of the next day the Hebrew peddler appeared. At
first he declared that all of the things Joe had to sell were not
worth two dollars.
"Very well, if you think that, we won't talk about it," said Joe,
"Da vos all vorn out," said Jasok. "De clothes vos rags, and de
furniture an' dishes was kracked."
"If you don't want them, I'll take them to town and sell them. I
am sure Moskowsky will buy them."
Now it happened that Moskowsky was a rival peddler who also
boasted of the ownership of a second-hand store. To think that
the goods might go to this man nettled Jasok exceedingly.
"Vell, I likes you, Cho," he said. "I vos your friend, an' I gif
you dree dollars for dem dings."
"You can have them for ten dollars," answered the boy.
A long talk followed, and in the end the Hebrew peddler agreed to
pay seven dollars and a half, providing Joe would help to carry
the goods to the main road, where the wagon had been left. The
money was paid over, and by nightfall all of the goods were on
the wagon, and Joe was left at the cabin with nothing but the
suit on his back. But he had thirty dollars in his pocket, which
he counted over with great satisfaction.
"I ought to be able to get something to do before that is gone,"
he told himself. "If I don't, it will be my own fault."
A NEW SUIT OF CLOTHES.
On the following day it rained early in the morning, so Joe had
to wait until noon before he left the old cabin. He took with
him all that remained of his possessions, including the precious
pocketbook with the thirty dollars. When he thought of the blue
box he sighed.
"Perhaps it will never come to light," he told himself. "Well,
if it does not I'll have to make the best of it."
Two o'clock found him on the streets of Riverside, which was a
town of fair size. During the summer months many visitors were
in the place and the hotels and boarding houses were crowded.
There was one very fine clothing store in Riverside, but Joe did
not deem it best, with his limited capital, to go there for a
suit. Instead he sought out a modest establishment on one of the
Just ahead of him was an Irish couple who had evidently not been
in this country many years. The man entered the store awkwardly,
as if he did not feel at home. Not so his wife, who walked a
little in advance of her husband.
"Have you got any men's coats?" said she to the clerk who came
forward to wait on the pair. "If I can get one cheap for me
husband here I'll buy one."
"Oh, yes, madam," was the ready reply. "We have the best stock in
town, by all odds. You can't fail to be suited."
So saying, he led the way to a counter piled high with the
articles called for, and hauled them over.
"There," said he, pulling out one of a decidedly ugly pattern.
"There is one of first quality cloth. It was made for a
gentleman of this town, but did not exactly fit him, and so we'll
sell it cheap."
"And what is the price?"
"Three dollars!" exclaimed the Irish lady, lifting up her hands
in extreme astonishment.
"Three dollars! You'll be afther thinkin' we're made of money,
sure! I'll give you a dollar and a half."
"No, ma'am, we don't trade in that way. We don't very often take
half what we ask for an article."
"Mike," said she, "pull off yer coat an' thry it on. Three
dollars, and it looks as if it was all cotton."
"Not a thread of cotton in that," was the clerk's reply.
"Not wan, but a good many, I'm thinkin'," retorted the Irish
lady, as she helped her husband draw on the coat. It fitted
tolerably well and Mike seemed mightily pleased with his
"Come," said the wife. "What will ye take?"
"As it's you, I'll take off twenty-five cents," replied the
"And sell it to me for two dollars?" inquired his customer, who
had good cause for her inaccurate arithmetic.
"For two dollars and seventy-five cents."
"Two dollars and seventy-five cents! It's taking the bread out of
the childer's mouths you'd have us, paying such a price as that!
I'll give you two twenty-five, an' I'll be coming again some
"We couldn't take so low as two twenty- five, ma'am. You may
have it for two dollars and a half."
After another ineffectual attempt to get it for two dollars and a
quarter, the Irish woman finally offered two dollars and
forty-five cents, and this offer was accepted.
She pulled out a paper of change and counted out two dollars and
forty cents, when she declared that she had not another cent.
But the clerk understood her game and coolly proceeded to put the
coat back on the pile. Then the woman very opportunely found
another five-cent piece stored away in the corner of her pocket.
"It's robbin' me, ye are," said she as she paid it over.
"Oh, no, ma'am, you are getting a great bargain," answered the
Joe had witnessed the bargaining with a good deal of quiet
amusement. As soon as the Irish couple had gone the clerk came
toward the boy.
"Well, young man, what can I do for you?" he asked, pleasantly.
"I want a suit of clothing. Not an expensive suit, but one
guaranteed to be all wool."
"A light or a dark suit?"
"A dark gray."
"I can fit you out in a fine suit of this order," and the clerk
pointed to several lying in a heap nearby.
"I don't want that sort. I want something on the order of those
in the window marked nine dollars and a half."
"Oh, all right."
Several suits were brought forth, and one was found that fitted
Joe exceedingly well.
"You guarantee this to be all wool?" asked the boy.
"Every thread of it."
"Then I'll take it"
"Very well; the price is twelve dollars."
"Isn't it like that in the window?"
"On that order, but a trifle better."
"It seems to me to be about the same suit. I'll give you nine
dollars and a half."
"I can't take it. I'll give it to you for eleven and a half.
That is our best figure."
"Then I'll go elsewhere for a suit," answered Joe, and started to
leave the clothing establishment.
"Hold on, don't be so fast!" cried the clerk, catching him by the
arm. "I'll make it eleven and a quarter."
"Not a cent more than the advertised price, nine and a half,"
replied Joe, firmly.
"Oh, but this isn't the same suit."
"It's just like it, to my eye. But you needn't sell it for that
if you don't want it. Mason & Harris are offering some bargains,
"You can get a better bargain here than anywhere in this town, or
in Philadelphia either," answered the clerk, who did not intend
to let his prospective customer get away. "We'll make it an even
eleven dollars and say no more about it."
Instead of answering Joe started once more for the door.
"I haven't got time."
"Make it ten and a half. At that price we are losing exactly
half a dollar on that suit."
"Not a cent over what I offered."
"We can't sell suits at such a loss. It would ruin us."
"Then don't do it. I think Mason & Harris have some good suits
very cheap. And they are quite up-to-date, too," added Joe.
"Our suits are the best in town, young man. Take this one for an
even ten dollar bill."
"I will if you'll throw in one of those half dollar caps,"
answered our hero.
"Well, have your own way, but it's a sacrifice," grumbled the
He wanted to wrap up the suit, but, afraid he might substitute
something else, Joe insisted upon donning the suit then and there
and likewise the new cap. Then he had the old articles of
wearing apparel done up into a bundle and paid over the ten
"You're pretty smart after a bargain," said the clerk.
"I've got to be--when I strike such fellows as you," was the
"You got a better bargain than that Irish woman did."
"I did--if the suit is all wool. But if it's cotton, I'm stuck,"
returned our hero, and with his bundle under his arm he walked
from the store.
He had left his rowboat in charge of an old boatman named Ike
Fairfield, and now he walked down to the boathouse.
"Just in time, Joe," said the old boatman. "Want to earn a
"To be sure I do," answered our hero.
"A party of ladies want a long row around the lake. You can have
"All right, Ike."
"I charged them a dollar and a quarter. I'll keep the quarter
for my commission."
"That is fair."
"One of the ladies said she wanted somebody that looked pretty
decent. I think you'll fill the bill with that new suit."
"I didn't expect to wear the suit out on the lake, but in this
case I'll keep it on," answered Joe.
"I find it pays to keep well dressed, when you take out the
summer boarders," answered the old boatman. "And it pays to keep
the boats in good shape, too."
"Where am I to get the party?"
"Over to the dock of Mallison's Hotel. One of the ladies is
"Why don't they take a hotel boat?"
"All engaged, two days ago. It's a busy season. But I've got to
be going. You had better go over to the dock at once. They want
to go out at three o'clock sharp."
"Very well, I'll be on hand," answered our hero.
AN ACCIDENT ON THE LAKE.
Joe certainly presented a neat appearance when he rowed over to
the hotel dock. Before going he purchased a new collar and a
dark blue tie, and these, with his new suit and new cap, set him
off very well.
The boat had been cleaned in the morning, and when the ladies
appeared they inspected the craft with satisfaction.
"What a nice clean boat," said Mabel Mallison, the niece of the
proprietor of the hotel.
"And a nice clean boatman, too," whispered one of her friends.
"I couldn't bear that man we had day before yesterday, with his
dirty hands and the tobacco juice around his mouth."
The ladies to go out were four in number, and two sat in the bow
and two in the stern. It made quite a heavy load, but as they
were not out for speed our hero did not mind it.
"We wish to go up to Fern Rock," said Mabel Mallison. "They tell
me there are some beautiful ferns to be gathered there."
"There are," answered Joe. "I saw them last week."
"And I wish to get some nice birch bark if I can," said another
of the ladies.
"I can get you plenty of it."
Joe rowed along in his best style, and while doing so the ladies
of the party asked him numerous questions concerning the lake and
vicinity. When Fern Rock was reached, all went ashore, and our
hero pointed out the ferns he had seen, and dug up such as the
others wished to take along. An hour was spent over the ferns,
and in getting some birch bark, and then they started on the
return for the hotel.
"I'd like to row," cried one of the ladies, a rather plump
"Oh, Jennie, I don't think you can!" cried another.
"Of course I can," answered Jennie, and sprang up from her seat
to take the oars.
"Be careful!" came in a warning from Joe, as the boat began to
"Oh, I'm not afraid!" said the plump young lady, and leaned
forward to catch hold of one oar. Just then her foot slipped and
she fell on the gunwale, causing the boat to tip more than ever.
As she did this, Mabel Mallison, who was leaning over the side,
gazing down into the clear waters of the lake, gave a shriek.
"Oh, save me!" came from her, and then she went over, with a loud
Joe was startled, and the ladies left in the boat set up a wail
"She will be drowned!"
"Oh, save her! Save her, somebody!"
"It is my fault!" shrieked the plump young lady. "I tipped the
Joe said nothing, but looked over the side of the boat. He saw
the body of Mabel Mallison not far away. But it was at the lake
bottom and did not offer to rise.
"It's queer she doesn't come up," he thought.
Then he gave a second look and saw that the dress of the
unfortunate one was caught in some sharp rocks. Without
hesitation he dived overboard, straight for the bottom.
It was no easy matter to unfasten the garment, which was caught
in a crack between two heavy stones. But at the second tug it
came free, and a moment later both our hero and Mabel Mallison
came to the surface.
"Oh!" cried two of the ladies in the row-boat. "Is she drowned?"
"I trust not," answered Joe. "Sit still, please, or the boat
will surely go over."
As best he could Joe hoisted Mabel into the craft and then
clambered in himself. As he did so the unfortunate girl gave a
gasp and opened her eyes.
"Oh!" she murmured.
"You are safe now, Mabel!" said one of her companions.
"And to think it was my fault!" murmured the plump young lady.
"I shall never forgive myself as long as I live!"
Mabel Mallison had swallowed some water, but otherwise she was
unhurt. But her pretty blue dress was about ruined, and Joe's
new suit did not look near as well as it had when he had donned
"Let us row for the hotel," said one of the young ladies. "Are
you all right?" she asked of Joe.
"Yes, ma'am, barring the wetting."
"It was brave of you to go down after Mabel."
"Indeed it was!" cried that young lady. "If it hadn't been for
you I might have been drowned." And she gave a deep shudder.
"I saw she was caught and that's why I went over after her,"
answered our hero simply. "It wasn't so much to do."
All dripping as he was, Joe caught up the oars of the boat and
sent the craft in the direction of the hotel at a good speed.
That she might not take cold, a shawl was thrown over Mabel's wet
The arrival of the party at the hotel caused a mild sensation.
Mabel hurried to her room to put on dry clothing, and Joe was
directed to go around to the kitchen. But when the proprietor of
the place had heard what Joe had done for his niece he sent the
lad to a private apartment and provided him with dry clothing
belonging to another who was of our hero's size.
"That was a fine thing to do, young man," said the hotel
proprietor, when Joe appeared, dressed in the dry garments, and
his own clothing had been sent to the laundry to be dried and
"I'm glad I was there to do it, Mr. Mallison."
"Let me see, aren't you Hiram Bodley's boy?"
"I lived with Mr. Bodley, yes."
"That is what I mean. It was a terrible accident that killed
him. Are you still living at the tumbled-down cabin?"
"No, sir. I've just sold off the things, and I am going to
settle in town."
"I haven't decided that yet. I was going to hunt up a place when
Ike Fairfield gave me the job of rowing out the young ladies."
"I see. You own the boat, eh?"
"You ought to be able to make a fair living, taking out summer
"I suppose so, but that won't give me anything to do this
"Well, perhaps something else will turn up by that time." Andrew
Mallison drew out a fat wallet. "I want to reward you for saving
He drew out two ten-dollar bills and held them towards our hero.
But Joe shook his head and drew back.
"Thank you very much, Mr. Mallison, but I don't want any reward."
"But you have earned it fairly, my lad."
"I won't touch it. If you want to help me you can throw some odd
rowing jobs from the hotel in my way."
"Then you won't really touch the money?"
"How would you like to work for the hotel regularly?"
"I'd like it first-rate if it paid."
"I can guarantee you regular work so long as the summer season
"And what would it pay?"
"At least a dollar a day, and your board."
"Then I'll accept and with thanks for your kindness."
"When can you come?"
"I'm here already."
"That means that you can stay from now on?"
"I don't suppose you want the job of hauling somebody from the
lake every day," said Andrew Mallison, with a smile.
"Not unless I was dressed for it, Mr. Mallison. Still, it has
been the means of getting me a good position."
"I shall feel safe in sending out parties with you for I know you
will do your best to keep them from harm."
"I'll certainly do that, I can promise you."
"To-morrow you can take out two old ladies who wish to be rowed
around the whole lake and shown every point of interest. Of
course you know all the points."
"Yes, sir, I know every foot of ground around the lake, and I
know the mountains, too."
"Then there will be no difficulty in keeping you busy. I am glad
to take you on. I am short one man--or will be by to-night. I
am going to let Sam Cullum go, for he drinks too much."
"Well, you won't have any trouble with me on that score."
"Don't you drink?"
"Not a drop, sir."
"I am glad to hear it, and it is to your credit," concluded the
BLOWS AND KIND DEEDS.
Several days passed and Joe went out half a dozen times on the
lake with parties from the hotel. All whom he served were
pleased with him and treated him so nicely that, for the time
being, his past troubles were forgotten.
At the beginning of the week Ned Talmadge came to see him.
"I am going away to join the folks out West," said Ned.
"I hope you will have a good time," answered our hero.
"Oh, I'm sure to have that, Joe. By the way, you are nicely
settled here, it would seem."
"Yes, and I am thankful for it."
"Mr. Mallison is a fine man to work for, so I have been told.
You had better stick to him."
"I shall--as long as the work holds out."
"Maybe he will give you something else to do, after the boating
season is over."
A few more words passed, and then Ned took his departure. It was
to be a long time before the two friends would meet again.
So far Joe had had no trouble with anybody around the hotel, but
that evening, when he was cleaning out his boat, a man approached
him and caught him rudely by the shoulder.
"So you're the feller that's took my job from me, eh?" snarled
Our hero looked up and recognized Sam Cullum, the boatman who had
been discharged for drinking. Even now the boatman was more than
half under the influence of intoxicants.
"I haven't taken anybody's job from him," answered Joe.
"I say yer did!" growled Cullum. "It ain't fair, nuther!"
To this our hero did not reply, but went on cleaning out his
"Fer two pins I'd lick yer!" went on the tipsy boatman, lurching
"See here, Sam Cullum, I want you to keep your distance," said
Joe, sharply. "Mr. Mallison discharged you for drinking. I had
nothing to do with it."
"I don't drink; leastwise, I don't drink no more'n I need."
"Yes, you do. It would be the best thing in the world for you if
you'd leave liquor alone entirely."
"Humph! don't you preach to me, you little imp!"
"Then leave me alone."
"You stole the job from me an' I'm going to lick you for it."
"If you touch me you'll get hurt," said Joe, his eyes flashing.
"Leave me alone and I'll leave you alone."
"Bah!" snarled the other, and struck out awkwardly. He wanted to
hit Joe on the nose, but the boy dodged with ease, and Sam Cullum
fell sprawling over the rowboat.
"Hi! what did ye trip me up for?" spluttered the half-intoxicated
man, as he rose slowly. "Don't you do that ag'in, do yer hear?"
"Then don't try to strike me again."
There was a moment of silence and then Sam Cullum gathered
himself for another blow. By this time a small crowd of boys and
hotel helpers began to collect.
"Sam Cullum's going to fight Joe Bodley!"
"Sam'll most kill Joe!"
With all his strength the man rushed at Joe. But the boy dodged
again and put out his foot and the man went headlong.
"Now will you let me alone?" asked our hero, coolly.
"No, I won't!" roared Sam Cullum. "Somebody give me a club! I'll
Arising once more, he caught up an oar and launched a heavy blow
at Joe's head. For a third time our hero dodged, but the oar
struck him on the arm, and the blow hurt not a little.
Joe was now angry and believed it was time to defend himself. He
edged towards the end of the dock and Sam Cullum followed. Then,
of a sudden the boy ducked under the man's arm, turned, and gave
him a quick shove that sent him with a splash into the lake.
"Hurrah! score one for Joe!"
"That will cool Sam Cullum's temper."
"Yes, and perhaps it will sober him a little," came from a man
standing by, who had witnessed the quarrel from the beginning.
"He brought this on himself; the boy had nothing to do with it."
Sam Cullum floundered around in the water like a whale cast up in
the shallows. The lake at that point was not over four feet
deep, but he did not know enough to stand upright.
"Save me!" he bellowed. "Save me! I don't want to drown!"
"Swallow a little water, it will do you good!" said a bystander,
with a laugh.
"Walk out and you'll be all right," added another.
At last Sam Cullum found his feet and walked around the side of
the dock to the shore. A crowd followed him and kept him from
going at Joe again.
"I'll fix him another time," growled the intoxicated one, and
shuffled off, with some small boys jeering him.
"You treated him as he deserved," said one of the other boatmen
"I suppose he'll try to square up another time," answered our
"Well, I wouldn't take water for him, Joe."
"I don't intend to. If he attacks me I'll do the best I can to
"He has made a nuisance of himself for a long time. It's a
wonder to me that Mr. Mallison put up with it so long."
"He was short of help, that's why. It isn't so easy to get new
help in the height of the summer season."
"That is true."
Joe expected to have more trouble with Sam Cullum the next day
but it did not come. Then it leaked out that Cullum had gotten
into a row with his wife and some of her relatives that night and
was under arrest. When the boatman was brought up for trial the
Judge sentenced him to six months' imprisonment.
"And it serves him right," said the man who brought the news to
"It must be hard on his wife."
"Well, it is, Joe."
"Have they any children?"
"Four--a boy of seven and three little girls."
"Are they well off?"
"What, with such a father? No, they are very poor. She used to
go out washing, but now she has to stay at home to take care of
the baby. Sam was a brute to strike her. I don't wonder the
relatives took a hand."
"Perhaps the relatives can help her."
"They can't do much, for they are all as poor as she is, and one
of them is just getting over an operation at the hospital."
"Where do the Cullums live?"
"Down on Railroad Alley, not far from the water tower. It's a
mite of a cottage."
Joe said no more, but what he had been told him set him to
thinking, and that evening, after his work was over, he took a
walk through the town and in the direction of Railroad Alley.
Not far from the water station he found the Cullum homestead, a
mite of a cottage, as the man had said, with a tumbled-down
chimney and several broken-out windows. He looked in at one of
the windows and by the light of a smoking kerosene lamp beheld a
woman in a rocking-chair, rocking a baby to sleep. Three other
youngsters were standing around, knowing not what to do. On a
table were some dishes, all bare of food.
"Mamma, I want more bread," one of the little ones was saying.
"You can have more in the morning, Johnny," answered the mother.
"No, I want it now," whimpered the youngster. "I'm hungry."
"I'm hungry, too," put in another little one.
"I can't give you any more to-night, for I haven't it," said the
mother, with a deep sigh. "Now, be still, or you'll wake the
"Why don't dad come home?" asked the boy of seven.
"He can't come home, Bobby--he--had to go away," faltered the
mother. "Now all be still, and you shall have more bread in the
The children began to cry, and unable to stand the sight any
longer Joe withdrew. Up the Alley was a grocery store and he
almost ran to this.
"Give me some bread," he said, "and some cake, and a pound of
cheese, and some smoked beef, and a pound of good tea, and some
sugar. Be quick, please."
The goods were weighed out and wrapped up, and with his arms full
he ran back to the cottage and kicked on the door.
"Who is there?" asked Mrs. Cullum, in alarm.
"Here are some groceries for you!" cried Joe. "All paid for!"
"Oh, look!" screamed the boy of seven. "Bread, and cheese!"
"And sugar!" came from one of the little girls.
"And tea! Mamma, just what you like!" said another.
"Where did this come from?" asked Mrs. Cullum.
"A friend," answered Joe. "It's all paid for."
"I am very thankful."
"Now we can have some bread, can't we?" queried the boy.
"Yes, and a bit of smoked beef and cheese, too," said the mother,
and placing the sleeping baby on a bed, she proceeded to deal out
the good things to her children.
THE TIMID MR. GUSSING.
It was not until the children had been satisfied and put to bed
that Joe had a chance to talk to Mrs. Cullum. She was greatly
astonished when she learned who he was.
"I didn't expect this kindness," said she. "I understand that my
husband treated you shamefully."
"It was the liquor made him do it ma'am," answered our hero. "I
think he'd be all right if he'd leave drink alone."
"Yes, I am sure of it!" She gave a long sigh. "He was very kind
and true when we were first married. But then he got to using
liquor and--and--this is the result."
"Perhaps he will turn over a new leaf when he comes out of jail."
"I hope he does. If he doesn't, I don't know what I am going to
"Have you anything to do?"
"I used to wash for two families in town but they have regular
hired help now."
"Perhaps you can get more work, if you advertise. If you'll
allow me, I'll put an advertisement in the Riverside News for
"Thank you. I don't see what makes you so kind."
"Well, I have been down in the world myself, Mrs. Cullum, so I
know how to feel for others."
"Did you say you used to live with Bodley, the hermit?"
"My folks used to know him. He was rather a strange man after he
got shot by accident."
"Yes, but he was kind."
"Are you his son?"
"No. He said I was his nephew. But I never found out much about
"Oh, yes, I remember something about that. He had a brother who
lost his wife and several children. Are you that man's son?"
"I believe I am."
"And you have never heard from your father?"
"Not a word."
"That is hard on you."
"I am going to look for my father some day."
"If so, I hope you will find him."
"So do I." Joe arose. "I must be going." He paused. "Mrs.
Cullum, will you let me help you?" he added, earnestly.
"Why, you have helped me a good deal already. Not one in a
thousand would do what you have done--after the way my husband
"I thought that you might be short of money."
"I must confess I am."
"I am not rich but, if you can use it, I can let you have five
"I'll accept it as a loan. I don't want you to give me the
money," answered the poor woman. She thought of the things she
absolutely needed, now that her husband was gone.
The money was handed over, and a few minutes later Joe took his
departure. Somehow his heart felt very light because of his
generosity. He had certainly played the part of a friend in
But he did not stop there. Early in the morning he sought out
Andrew Mallison and told the hotel proprietor of Mrs. Cullum's
"I was thinking that you might be able to give her work in the
hotel laundry," he continued.
The hotel man called up the housekeeper and from her learned that
another woman could be used to iron.
"You can let her come and we'll give her a trial," said he.
It did not take Joe long to communicate with the poor woman, and
she was overjoyed to see work in sight, without waiting for an
advertisement in the newspaper.
"I'll go at once," said she. "I'll get a neighbor's girl to mind
the children." And she was as good as her word. As it happened,
she proved to be a good laundress, and Mr. Mallison gave her
steady employment until her husband came from jail. Then, much
to his wife's satisfaction, Sam Cullum turned over a new leaf and
became quite sober and industrious.
Joe was now becoming well acquainted around the hotel and took an
interest in many of the boarders.
Among the number was a young man named Felix Gussing. He was a
nice individual in his way, but had certain peculiarities. One
was that he was exceedingly afraid of horses and at every
possible opportunity he gave them as wide a berth as possible.
"Don't like them at all, don't you know," he said, to Joe, during
a boat ride. "Can't understand them at all."
"Oh, I think a good horse is very nice," answered our hero.
"But they are so--so balkish--so full of kicking," insisted Felix
"Well, I admit some of them are," answered Joe.
There were two young ladies stopping at the hotel and the young
man had become quite well acquainted with both of them. One he
thought was very beautiful and was half tempted to propose to
On the day after the boat ride with Joe, Felix Gussing took the
ladies to have some ice cream, and during the conversation all
spoke of a certain landmark of interest located about three miles
"I have seen it and it is--aw--very interesting," drawled Felix.
"Then we must see it, Belle," said one of the young ladies, to
"Oh, I'm not going to walk that far," answered Belle, with a
bewitching look at the young man.
"You might drive over," suggested Felix, without stopping to
"Oh, yes, I love driving!" cried one of the girls.
"And so do I!" answered the other.
"I will find out what can be done about a conveyance," answered
Being a good deal of a dude, and dressing very fastidiously, he
did not much relish visiting the livery stable attached to the
hotel. But, early on the following morning, he walked down to
the place, and ordered a horse and carriage, to be ready at ten
Now it must be known that Felix did not intend to drive the
carriage. He thought the young ladies would drive for
themselves, since both had said that they loved driving.
Unfortunate man! he knew not the snare he had laid for himself!
Punctual to the minute the carriage drove up to the door.
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