Joe The Hotel Boy
Horatio Alger Jr.
Part 2 out of 4
Felix was on hand, standing on the steps, with politeness in his
air, though with trembling in his heart because so near the
horses. He assisted the ladies in. Then he handed the reins to
"Do you wish me to hold the horses while you get in?" she asked
"Till I get in!" ejaculated Felix, taken aback.
"Certainly! You don't think we are going to drive ourselves, do
you? Of course you are going with us."
Poor Felix! He was "in for it" now, decidedly. It required a
good deal of moral courage, a quality in which he was deficient,
to resist a lady's demand. His knees trembled with fear as he
scrambled in. Joe, who was standing not far away, looked on with
a quiet smile on his face. He realized what was passing in the
"He'd give ten dollars to get out of it," our hero told himself.
The boy who had brought the turnout around looked at Felix
"Take care of that horse, mister," said he, warningly. "He's
young and a little bit wild."
"Wild?" gasped the dude. "I--I don't want to drive a wild
"Oh, he'll be all right if you keep an eye on him," went on the
"Young and a little bit wild!" thought Felix to himself. "Oh,
dear, what in the world shall I do? I never drove a horse
before. If I get back with less than a broken neck I'll be lucky!
I'd give a thousand to be out of this pickle."
"Hadn't we better start, Mr. Gussing?" asked one of the young
ladies, after a pause.
"Oh, yes--certainly!" he stammered. "But --er--you can drive if
"Thank you, but I would prefer that you drive."
"Won't you drive?" he asked of the other young lady.
"Oh, no, not to-day. But I'll use the whip if you say so," she
"Not for the world!" cried the unhappy Felix. "He is a bit wild
already and there is no telling what he'd do if he felt the
At last the carriage drove off. Joe gazed after it thoughtfully.
"Unless I miss my guess, there is going to be trouble before that
drive is over," he thought. And there was trouble, as we shall
AN UNFORTUNATE OUTING.
Fortunately for the unhappy Felix the horse walked away from the
hotel in an orderly fashion, and soon they gained the highway
leading to the resort the party wished to visit.
Had the dude left the horse alone all might have gone well. But
he deemed it necessary to pull on first one line and then the
other, which kept the carriage in a meandering course.
"I don't think, Mr. Gussing, that you can be much used to
driving," said one of the young ladies, presently.
"That's a fact," answered the dude.
"Why don't you keep to the right of the road?"
"Well,--er--the fact is, this horse is a very difficult one to
drive. I don't believe I ever drove one which was more so."
As this was the first horse Mr. Gussing had ever driven, this
assertion was true in every particular.
"Oh, I can't travel so slow!" cried one of the young ladies, and
seized the whip, and before Felix could stop her, used it on the
The effect was magical. The horse started up like a racer, and
tore through the street as if trying to win a race for a thousand
The dude clung to the reins in the wildest terror. To his
frenzied imagination it seemed that his final hour was
"Whoa!" he screamed, jerking on the lines. "Stop, you crazy
beast! Stop, before we all get killed!"
But the horse only went the faster. And now, to increase his
alarm, he saw a buggy approaching from the opposite direction.
It contained one of the town lawyers, Silas Simms by name.
"We shall run into that buggy!" screamed the fair Belle. "Oh,
Mr. Gussing, be careful!"
A moment later the two turnouts came together with a crash, and
one wheel was torn from the buggy and the town lawyer pitched out
headlong to the ground. Then on went the carriage with the dude
and the two young ladies, at a faster pace than ever.
"Let me jump out!" screamed one of the ladies.
"No, not yet! You'll be killed, Grace," answered Belle.
"Then stop the carriage!"
Alas, the poor Felix was already doing his best to stop the
horse. But his jerkings on the reins only added to the horse's
Not far along the road was a good sized brook, spanned by a neat
wooden bridge. As the carriage neared the bridge, Felix pulled
on the wrong rein once again. The horse turned from the road
proper, and descended full speed into the stream itself.
"Oh, now we'll be drowned!" shrieked Grace.
But she was mistaken. The stream was easily fordable, so there
was no danger on that score. But the rate at which they were
impelled through the water naturally created no inconsiderable
splashing, so that on emerging on the other side the dude, as
well as the young ladies, were well drenched.
To the great joy of Felix the contact with the water cooled the
ardor of the steed, so that he resumed the journey at a far more
moderate rate of speed.
"Wasn't it just glorious!" cried Belle, who, after the danger
seemed past, grew enthusiastic. "What a noble animal!"
"Glorious?" echoed the dude. "I don't care much about such
glory. As for the noble animal--I--er--I wish he was hung!
That's the best he deserves."
The dude spoke bitterly, for the spell of terror was still on
him. Had he consulted his own wishes he would have leaped from
the carriage and left the ladies to their fate.
But the thought of the bewitching Belle made him keep his seat,
and he resolved that if he must die he would do it like a martyr.
The horse went on, and at last they neared the end of the short
journey. But here a new obstacle presented itself. There was a
big fence and a gate, and the gate was tight shut.
As they could not enter the grounds without opening the gate, the
dude got down out of the carriage. He did not hand the reins to
either of the ladies but laid them over the dashboard.
The instant the gate was swung open the steed darted forward, and
brought up with a jerk against a post that happened to be in the
way. Here he reared and plunged, causing the young ladies to
scream "murder" at the top of their voices.
"Oh, my! Oh, dear me!" bawled Felix, and took refuge behind a
neighboring hedge. "The horse has gone crazy! He'll bite
The cries reached some men who were not far off, and they came
running to the assistance of the party. One caught the steed by
the bridle and soon had him quieted down.
"I'll never drive that horse again!" said the dude. "Not for a
"How are we to get home?" queried Belle.
"I'll drive you," said one of the men. "I know this horse. He
used to belong to Bill Perkins. I know how to handle him."
"Then do so," answered Felix, "and I'll pay you two dollars."
The man was as good as his word, and to Felix's astonishment he
made the horse go back to the hotel without the slightest mishap.
Then the horse was put in the stable, the dude paid the bill, and
the party separated.
"I shall never drive again, never!" declared the dude to himself,
and it may be added that he kept his word.
"I hope you had a nice drive," said Joe, when he met Felix that
"It was beastly, don't you know," was the answer. "That horse
was a terribly vicious creature."
"He looked to be gentle enough when he started off."
"I think he is a crazy horse."
"By the way, Mr. Gussing, Mr. Silas Simms was looking for you."
"You mean that lawyer who drives the spotted white horse?"
Felix gave a groan.
"He says he wants damages."
"It wasn't my fault that the horse ran into him."
"Well, he is very angry about it, anyway," said our hero.
Early the next morning Felix Gussing received a communication
from the lawyer. It was in the following terms:--
"MR. GUSSING. Sir:--In consequence of your reckless driving
yesterday, I was thrown from my carriage, receiving a contusion
on my shoulder and other injuries. My carriage was also nearly
ruined. If you choose to make a race-course of the public
highways you must abide the consequences. The damage I have
sustained I cannot estimate at less than one hundred and fifty
dollars. Indemnify me for that and I will go no further.
Otherwise, I shall be compelled to resort to legal action.
"SILAS SIMMS, Atty.
Felix read the letter several times and his knees shook visibly.
He did not want to pay over such an amount, yet it struck him
with terror when he thought he might possibly be arrested for
fast driving. He went to see Mr. Silas Simms.
"I am very sorry," he began.
"Have you come to pay?" demanded the attorney, curtly.
"Well--er--the fact is--don't you think you are asking rather a
stiff price, Mr. Simms?"
"Not at all! Not at all, sir! I ought to have placed the damages
at three hundred!"
"I'll give you fifty dollars and call it square."
"No, sir, a hundred and fifty! Not a penny less, not one penny!
Look at my nose, sir-- all scratched! And my ear! Not a penny
less than one hundred and fifty dollars!" And the lawyer pounded
on his desk with his fist.
"All right then, I'll pay you, but you must give me a receipt in
full," answered the dude.
He had to wait until the bank opened, that he might cash a check,
and then he paid over the amount demanded. The lawyer drew up a
legal paper discharging him from all further obligations. Felix
read it with care and stowed it in his pocket.
"And now let me give you some advice, Mr. Gussing," said the
lawyer, after the transaction was concluded. "Don't drive such a
wild horse again."
"Depend upon it, I never shall," answered the dude. "It costs
too much!" he added, with a faint smile.
"Are you well acquainted with horses?"
"Then you had better leave them alone altogether."
"I have already made up my mind to do so."
DAVID BALL FROM MONTANA.
Finding that Joe could be depended upon, Mr. Mallison put him in
charge of all of the boats at the hotel, so that our hero had
almost as much work ashore as on the lake.
During the week following, the events just narrated, many
visitors left the hotel and others came in. Among those to go
were Felix Gussing and the two young ladies. The dude bid our
hero a cordial good-bye, for he now knew Joe quite well.
"Good-bye, Mr. Gussing," said Joe. "I hope we meet again."
"Perhaps we shall, although I generally go to a different place
"Well, I don't expect to stay in Riverside all my life."
"I see. If you make a move, I hope you do well," returned Felix.
On the day after the dude left, a man came to the hotel who,
somehow, looked familiar to our hero. He came dressed in a light
overcoat and a slouch hat, and carried a valise and a suit case.
"I've seen him before, but where?" Joe asked himself not once but
The man registered as David Ball, and put down his address as
Butte, Montana. He said he was a mining expert, but added that
he was sick and the doctors had ordered him to come East for a
"'ve heard of Riverside being a nice place," said he, "so I came
on right after striking Pittsburg."
"We shall do all we can to make your stay a pleasant one," said
the hotel proprietor, politely.
"All I want is a nice sunny room, where I can get fresh air and
take it easy," said the man.
He was willing to pay a good price, and so obtained one of the
best rooms in the house, one overlooking the river and the lake.
He ate one meal in the dining room, but after that he had his
meals sent to his apartment.
"Is he sick?" asked Joe, after watching the man one day.
"He certainly doesn't seem to be well," answered Andrew Mallison.
"It runs in my mind that I have seen him before, but I can't
place him," went on our hero.
"You must be mistaken, Joe. I questioned him and he says this is
his first trip to the East, although he has frequently visited
St. Louis and Chicago."
On the following day the man called for a physician and Doctor
Gardner was sent for.
"I've got pains here," said the man from the West, and pointed to
his chest. "Do you think I am getting consumption?"
The Riverside physician made a careful examination and then said
the man had probably strained himself.
"Reckon I did," was the ready answer. "I was in the mine and a
big rock came down on me. I had to hold it up for ten minutes
before anybody came to my aid. I thought I was a dead one sure."
"I will give you some medicine and a liniment," said the doctor.
"Perhaps you'll feel better after a good rest." And then he
That afternoon Joe had to go up into the hotel for something and
passed the room of the new boarder. He saw the man standing by
the window, gazing out on the water.
"I'm dead certain I've seen him before," mused our hero. "It is
queer I can't think where."
Doctor Gardner wanted to be taken across the lake and Joe himself
did the job. As he was rowing he asked about the man who had
signed the hotel register as David Ball from Montana."
"Is he very sick, doctor?"
"No, I can't say that he is," was the physician's answer. "He
looks to be as healthy as you or I."
"It's queer he keeps to his room."
"Perhaps something happened out at his mine to unsettle his
nerves. He told me of some sort of an accident."
"Is he a miner?"
"He is a mine owner, so Mr. Mallison told me, but he never heard
of the man before."
The stranger received several letters the next day and then a
telegram. Shortly after that he took to his bed.
"I am feeling worse," said he to the bell boy who answered his
ring. "I want you to send for that doctor again. Ask him to
call about noon."
"Yes, sir," answered the boy, and Doctor Gardner was sent for
without delay. He came and made another examination and left
"I'll take the medicine regularly," said the stranger, who was in
bed. But when the doctor had left he quietly poured half of the
contents of the bottle into the wash bowl, where it speedily
drained from sight!
"Don't catch me drinking such rot," he muttered to himself. "I'd
rather have some good liquor any day," and he took a long pull
from a black bottle he had in his valise.
About noon a carriage drove up to the hotel and two men alighted.
One led the way into the hotel and asked to see the register.
"I'd like to see Mr. David Ball," said he to the clerk.
"Mr. Ball is sick."
"So I have heard and that is why I wish to see him."
"I'll send up your card."
"I don't happen to have a card. Tell him Mr. Anderson is here,
from Philadelphia, with a friend of his."
The message was sent to the sick man's room, and word came down
that he would see the visitors in a few minutes.
"He says he is pretty sick and he can't talk business very long,"
said the bell boy.
"We won't bother him very much," answered the man who had given
his name as Anderson.
Joe happened to be close by during this conversation and he
looked the man called Anderson over with care.
"I've seen that man, too!" he declared to himself. "But where?
I declare he is as much of a mystery as the sick one!"
Our hero's curiosity was now aroused to the highest pitch, and
when the two men walked up to David Ball's room he followed to
the very doorway.
"Come in," came from the room, and a deep groan followed. On the
bed lay the man from Montana, wrapped in several blankets and
with a look of anguish on his features.
"Feeling pretty bad, eh?" said Anderson, as he stalked in. "I am
downright sorry for you."
"I'm afraid I am going to die," groaned the man in bed. "The
doctor says I am in bad shape. He wants me to take a trip to
Europe, or somewhere else."
"This is Mr. Maurice Vane," went on Anderson. "We won't trouble
you any more than is necessary, Mr. Ball."
"I am sorry to disturb you," said Maurice Vane. He was a kindly
looking gentleman. "Perhaps we had better defer this business
until some other time."
"Oh, no, one time is as bad as another," came with another groan
from the bed. "Besides, I admit I need money badly. If it
wasn't for that--". The man in bed began to cough. "Say, shut
the door," he went on, to the first man who had come in.
The door was closed, and for the time being Joe heard no more of
It must be admitted that our hero was perplexed, and with good
reason. He felt certain that the man in bed was shamming, that
he was hardly sick at all. If so, what was his game?
"Something is surely wrong somewhere," he reasoned. "I wish I
could get to the bottom of it."
The room next to the one occupied by David Ball was empty and he
slipped into this. The room contained a closet, and on the other
side was another closet, opening into the room the men were in.
The partition between was of boards, and as the other door stood
wide open, Joe, by placing his head to the boards, could hear
"You have the stock?" he heard Maurice Vane ask.
"Yes, in my valise. Hand me the bag and I'll show you," answered
the man in bed. "Oh, how weak I feel!" he sighed.
There was a silence and then the rustling of papers.
"And what is your bottom price for these?" went on Maurice Vane.
"Thirty thousand dollars."
"I told Mr. Vane you might possibly take twenty-five thousand,"
came from the man called Anderson.
"They ought to be worth face value--fifty thousand dollars," said
the man in bed.
A talk in a lower tone followed, and then more rustling of
"I will call to-morrow with the cash," said Maurice Vane, as he
prepared to leave. "In the meantime, you promise to keep these
shares for me?"
"I'll keep them until noon. I've got another offer," said the
man in bed.
"We'll be back," put in the man called Anderson. "So don't you
sell to anybody else."
Then the two visitors left and went downstairs. Five minutes
later they were driving away in the direction of the railroad
"This certainly beats anything I ever met before," said Joe, to
himself as he watched them go. "I'll wager all I am worth that
I've met that Anderson before, and that he is a bad man. I do
wish I could get at the bottom of what is going on."
In the evening he had occasion to go upstairs in the hotel once
more. To his surprise he saw Mr. David Ball sitting in a
rocking-chair, calmly smoking a cigar and reading a paper.
"He isn't as sick as he was this morning," he mused. "In fact, I
don't think he is sick at all."
He wished to be on hand the following morning, when the strangers
came back, but an errand took him up the lake. He had to stop at
several places, and did not start on the return until four in the
On his way back Joe went ashore close to where the old lodge was
located, and something, he could not tell what, made him run over
and take a look at the spot that had proved a shelter for Ned and
himself during the heavy storm. How many things had occurred
since that fatal day!
As our hero looked into one of the rooms he remembered the
strange men he had seen there --the fellows who had talked about
mining stocks. Then, of a sudden, a revelation came to him, like
a thunderbolt out of a clear sky.
"I've got it! I've got it!" he cried. "Mr. David Ball is that
fellow who called himself Malone, and Anderson is the man named
Caven! They are both imposters!"
A FRUITLESS CHASE.
The more Joe thought over the matter the more he became convinced
that he was right. He remembered a good deal of the talk he had
overheard during the storm, although such talk had, for the time
being, been driven from his mind by the tragic death of old Hiram
"If they are working some game what can this Maurice Vane have to
do with it?" he asked himself.
He thought it best to get back to the hotel at once, and tell Mr.
Mallison of his suspicions. But, as luck would have it, scarcely
had he started to row his boat again when an oarlock broke, and
so it took him the best part of an hour to make the trip.
"Where is Mr. Mallison?" he asked of the clerk of the hotel.
"Out in the stable, I believe," was the answer.
Without waiting, our hero ran down to the stable and found the
hotel proprietor inspecting some hay that had just been unloaded.
"I'd like to speak to you a moment, Mr. Mallison," he said.
"It's important," and he motioned for the man to follow him.
"What is it, Joe?"
"It's about those men who called to see that sick man, and about
the sick man, too."
"He has gone--all of them have gone."
"What!" ejaculated our hero. "The sick man, too?"
"Exactly. But he didn't go with the others. While they were
here he was in bed, but right after they left he arose, dressed
himself, and drove away."
"Where did he go to?"
"I don't know."
"Do you know what became of the other two men?"
"I do not. But what's up? Is there anything wrong?" questioned
the hotel proprietor, with a look of concern on his face.
"I am afraid there is," answered Joe, and told his tale from
beginning to end.
"That's an odd sort of a yarn, Joe. It's queer you didn't
recognize the men before.
"It is queer, sir, but I can't help that. It flashed over me
just as I looked into the window of the old lodge."
"You haven't made any mistake?"
"Humph!" Andrew Mallison mused for a moment. "I don't really see
what I can do in the matter. We can't prove that those men are
wrongdoers, can we?"
"Not unless they tried some game on this Mr. Maurice Vane."
"They may have sold him some worthless mining shares. That sort
of a trick is rather old."
"I think we ought to make a search for this David Ball, or
Malone, or whatever his name is."
"I'm willing to do that."
After questioning half a dozen people they learned that the
pretended sick man had driven off in the direction of a village
"What made him go there, do you think?" questioned Joe.
"I don't know, excepting that he thought of getting a train on
the other line."
A horse and buggy were procured, and in this Mr. Mallison and our
hero drove over to Hopedale. They were still on the outskirts of
the village when they heard a locomotive whistle.
"There's the afternoon train now!" cried Joe. "Perhaps it's the
one he wants to catch."
The horse was touched up and the buggy drove up to the railroad
platform at breakneck speed. But the train was gone and all they
could see of it was the last car as it swung around one of the
"Too late, Mr. Mallison!" sang out the station master. "If I had
known ye was comin' I might have held her up a bit."
"I didn't want the train, Jackson. Who got on board?"
"Two ladies, a man and a boy--Dick Fadder."
"Did you know the man?"
"What did he have with him?"
"A dress suit case."
"Was he dressed in a dark blue suit and wear a slouch hat?" asked
"Yes, and had a light overcoat with him."
"That was our man."
"Anything wrong with him?" asked the station master.
"Perhaps," answered the hotel proprietor. "Anyway, we wanted to
see him. Did he buy a ticket?"
"Yes, to Snagtown."
"What can he want in Snagtown?" asked Joe.
"Oh, that might have been a blind, Joe. He could easily go
through to Philadelphia or some other place, if he wanted to."
At first they thought of telegraphing ahead to stop the man, but
soon gave that plan up. They had no evidence, and did not wish to
make trouble unless they knew exactly what they were doing.
"I hope it turns out all right," observed Andrew Mallison, when
they were driving back to Riverside. "If there was a swindle it
would give my hotel a black eye."
"That's one reason why I wanted that man held," answered Joe.
The next day and that following passed quietly, and our hero
began to think that he had made a mistake and misjudged the men.
He was kept very busy and so almost forgot the incident.
Among the new boarders was a fussy old man named Chaster, who was
speedily nicknamed by the bell boys Chestnuts. He was a
particular individual, and made everybody as uncomfortable as he
One day Wilberforce Chaster--to use his full name,--asked Joe to
take him out on the lake for a day's fishing. Our hero readily
complied, and was in hot water from the time they went out until
they returned. Nothing suited the old man, and as he caught
hardly any fish he was exceedingly put out when he came back to
"Your boatman is of no account," he said to Andrew Mallison. "I
have spent a miserable day," and he stamped off to his room in
"It was not my fault, Mr. Mallison," said Joe, with burning
cheeks. "I did my level best by him."
"That man has been making trouble for us ever since he come,"
answered the hotel proprietor. "I am going to ask him to go
elsewhere when his week is up."
The insults that Joe had received that day from Wilberforce
Chaster rankled in his mind, and he determined to square accounts
with the boarder if he possibly could.
Towards evening he met a bell boy named Harry Ross who had also
had trouble with Chaster, and the two talked the matter over.
"We ought to get square," said Harry Ross. "I wish I could souse
him with a pitcher of ice water."
"I've got a plan," said Joe.
Stopping at the hotel was a traveling doctor, who came to
Riverside twice a year, for a stay of two weeks each time. He
sold some patent medicines, and had in his room several skulls
and also a skeleton strung on wires.
"That doctor is away," said our hero. "I wonder if we can't
smuggle the skulls and the skeleton into Mr. Chaster's room?"
"Just the cheese!" cried the bell boy, enthusiastically. "And
let us rub the bones with some of those matches that glow in the
The plan was talked over, and watching their chance the two
transferred the skeleton and the skulls to the apartment occupied
by Wilberforce Chaster. Then they rubbed phosphorus on the
bones, and hung them upon long strings, running over a doorway
into the next room.
That evening Wilberforce Chaster remained in the hotel parlor
until ten o 'clock. Then he marched off to his room in his usual
ill humor. The gas was lit and he went to bed without delay.
As soon as the light went out and they heard the man retire, Joe
and the bell boy began to groan in an ominous manner. As they
did so, they worked the strings to which the skulls and the
skeleton were attached, causing them to dance up and down in the
center of the old man's room.
Hearing the groans, Wilberforce Chaster sat up in bed and
listened. Then he peered around in the darkness.
"Ha! what is that?" he gasped, as he caught sight of the skulls.
"Am I dreaming--or is that--Oh!"
He started and began to shake from head to foot, for directly in
front of him was the skeleton, moving up and down in a jerky
fashion and glowing with a dull fire. His hair seemed to stand
on end. He dove under the coverings of the bed.
"The room is haunted!" he moaned. "Was ever such a thing seen
before! This is wretched! Whatever shall I do?"
The groans continued, and presently he gave another look from
under the bed clothes. The skeleton appeared to be coming nearer.
He gave a loud yell of anguish.
"Go away! Go away! Oh, I am haunted by a ghost! This is awful! I
cannot stand it!"
He fairly tumbled out of bed and caught up his clothing in a
heap. Then, wrapped in some comfortables, he burst out of the
room and ran down the hallway like a person possessed of the evil
"Come be quick, or we'll get caught!" whispered Joe, and ran into
the room, followed by the bell boy. In a trice they pulled loose
the strings that held the skulls and the skeleton, and restored
the things to the doctor's room from which they had been taken.
Then they went below by a back stairs.
The whole hotel was in an alarm, and soon Mr. Mallison came upon
"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded, severely, of
"The meaning is, sir, that your hotel is haunted," was the
answer, which startled all who heard it.
THE PARTICULARS OF A SWINDLE.
"This hotel haunted?" gasped the proprietor. "Sir, you are
mistaken. Such a thing is impossible."
"It is true," insisted Mr. Wilberforce Chaster. "I shall not
stay here another night."
"What makes you think it is haunted?"
"There is a ghost in my room."
"Oh!" shrieked a maid who had come on the scene. "A ghost! I
shall not stay either!"
"What kind of a ghost?" demanded Andrew Mallison.
"A--er--a skeleton--and some skulls! I saw them with my own
eyes," went on the victim. "Come and see them for yourself."
"This is nonsense," said the hotel proprietor. "I will go and
convince you that you are mistaken."
He led the way and half a dozen followed, including Wilberforce
Chaster, who kept well to the rear. Just as the party reached
the door of the apartment Joe and the bell boy came up.
Without hesitation Andrew Mallison threw open the door of the
room and looked inside. Of course he saw nothing out of the
"Where is your ghost?" he demanded. "I see nothing of it."
"Don't--don't you see--er--a skeleton?" demanded the man who had
"I do not."
Trembling in every limb Wilberforce Chaster came forward and
peered into the room.
"Well?" demanded the hotel proprietor, after a pause.
"I--I certainly saw them."
"Then where are they now?"
"I--I don't know."
By this time others were crowding into the apartment. All gazed
around, and into the clothes closet, but found nothing unusual.
"You must be the victim of some hallucination, sir," said the
hotel proprietor, severely.
He hated to have anything occur which might give his
establishment a bad reputation.
"No, sir, I saw the things with my own eyes."
The matter was talked over for several minutes longer and then
the hired help was ordered away.
"I shall not stay in this room," insisted Wilberforce Chaster.
"You need not remain in the hotel," answered Andrew Mallison,
quickly. "You can leave at once. You have alarmed the whole
Some warm words followed, and the upshot of the matter was that
the fussy old boarder had to pack his things and seek another
hotel that very night.
"I am glad to get rid of him," said the hotel proprietor, after
Wilberforce Chaster had departed. "He was making trouble all the
"We fixed him, didn't we?" said the bell boy to Joe.
"I hope it teaches him a lesson to be more considerate in the
future," answered our hero.
Several days passed and Joe had quite a few parties to take out
on the lake. The season was now drawing to a close, and our hero
began to wonder what he had best do when boating was over.
"I wonder if I couldn't strike something pretty good in
Philadelphia?" he asked himself. The idea of going to one of the
big cities appealed to him strongly.
One afternoon, on coming in from a trip across the lake, Joe
found Andrew Mallison in conversation with Mr. Maurice Vane, who
had arrived at the hotel scarcely an hour before. The city man
was evidently both excited and disappointed.
"Here is the boy now," said the hotel proprietor, and called Joe
"Well, young man, I guess you have hit the truth," were Maurice
Vane's first words.
"About those other fellows?" asked our hero, quickly.
"Did they swindle you?"
"By selling you some worthless mining stocks?"
"Yes. If you will, I'd like you to tell me all you can about
those two men."
"I will," answered Joe, and told of the strange meeting at the
old lodge and of what had followed. Maurice Vane drew a long
breath and shook his head sadly.
"I was certainly a green one, to be taken in so slyly," said he.
"How did they happen to hear of you?" questioned Joe, curiously.
"I answered an advertisement in the daily paper," said Maurice
Vane. "Then this man, Caven, or whatever his right name may be,
came to me and said he had a certain plan for making a good deal
of money. All I had to do was to invest a certain amount and
inside of a few days I could clear fifteen or twenty thousand
"That was surely a nice proposition," said Joe, with a smile.
"I agreed to go into the scheme if it was all plain sailing and
then this Caven gave me some of the details. He said there was a
demand for a certain kind of mining shares. He knew an old miner
who was sick and who was willing to sell the shares he possessed
for a reasonable sum of money. The plan was to buy the shares
and then sell them to another party--a broker--at a big advance
"That was simple enough," put in Andrew Mallison.
"Caven took me to see a man who called himself a broker. He had
an elegant office and looked prosperous. He told us he would be
glad to buy certain mining shares at a certain figure if he could
get them in the near future. He said a client was red-hot after
the shares. I questioned him closely and he appeared to be a
truthful man. He said some folks wanted to buy out the mine and
consolidate it with another mine close by."
"And then you came here and bought the stock of Malone?" queried
"Yes. Caven made me promise to give him half the profits and I
agreed. I came here, and as you know, Malone, or Ball, or
whatever his name is, pretended to be very sick and in need of
money. He set his price, and I came back with the cash and took
the mining stock. I was to meet Caven, alias Anderson, the
next day and go to the broker with him, but Caven did not appear.
Then I grew suspicious and went to see the broker alone. The man
was gone and the office locked up. After that I asked some other
brokers about the stock, and they told me it was not worth five
cents on the dollar."
"Isn't there any such mine at all?" asked Joe.
"Oh, yes, there is such a mine, but it was abandoned two years
ago, after ten thousand dollars had been sunk in it. They said
it paid so little that it was not worth considering."
"That is certainly too bad for you," said Joe. "And you can't
find any trace of Caven or Malone?"
"No, both of the rascals have disappeared completely. I tried to
trace Caven and his broker friend in Philadelphia but it was of
no use. More than likely they have gone to some place thousands
of miles away."
"Yes, and probably this Ball, or Malone, has joined them," put in
Andrew Mallison. "Mr. Vane, I am exceedingly sorry for you."
"I am sorry for myself, but I deserve my loss, for being such a
fool," went on the victim.
"Have you notified the police?" asked Joe.
"Oh, yes, and I have hired a private detective to do what he can,
too. But I am afraid my money is gone for good."
"You might go and reopen the mine, Mr. Vane."
"Thank you, but I have lost enough already, without throwing good
money after bad, as the saying is."
"It may be that that detective will find the swindlers, sooner or
"Such a thing is, of course, possible, but I am not over
"I am afraid your money is gone for good," broke in Andrew
Mallison. "I wish I could help you, but I don't see how I can."
The matter was talked over for a good hour, and all three visited
the room Malone had occupied, which had been vacant ever since.
But a hunt around revealed nothing of value, and they returned to
"I can do nothing more for you, Mr. Vane," said Andrew Mallison.
"I wish I could do something," said Joe. Something about Maurice
Vane was very attractive to him.
"If you ever hear of these rascals let me know," continued the
"I will do so," was the reply.
With that the conversation on the subject closed. Maurice Vane
remained at the hotel overnight and left by the early train on
the following morning.
OFF FOR THE CITY.
"Joe, our season ends next Saturday."
"I know it, Mr. Mallison."
"We are going to close the house on Tuesday. It won't pay to keep
open after our summer boarders leave."
"I know that, too."
"Have you any idea what you intend to do?" went on the hotel
proprietor. He was standing down by the dock watching Joe clean
out one of the boats.
"I'm thinking of going to Philadelphia."
"On a visit?"
"No, sir, to try my luck."
"Oh, I see. It's a big city, my lad."
"I know it, but, somehow, I feel I might do better there than in
such a town as this,--and I am getting tired of hanging around
"There is more money in Philadelphia than there is here, that is
certain, Joe. But you can't always get hold of it. The big
cities are crowded with people trying to obtain situations."
"I'm sure I can find something to do, Mr. Mallison. And, by the
way, when I leave, will you give me a written recommendation?"
"Certainly. You have done well since you came here. But you had
better think twice before going to Philadelphia."
"I've thought it over more than twice. I don't expect the earth,
but I feel that I can get something to do before my money runs
"How much money have you saved up?"
"I've got fifty-six dollars, and I'm going to sell my boat for
"Well, sixty dollars isn't such a bad capital. I have known men
to start out with a good deal less. When I left home I had but
twenty dollars and an extra suit of clothes."
"Did you come from a country place?"
"No, I came from New York. Times were hard and I couldn't get a
single thing to do. I went to Paterson, New Jersey, and got work
in a silk mill. From there I went to Camden, and then to
Philadelphia. From Philadelphia I came here and have been here
"You have been prosperous."
"Fairly so, although I don't make as much money as some of the
hotel men in the big cities. But then they take larger risks. A
few years ago a hotel friend of mine opened a big hotel in
Atlantic City. He hoped to make a small fortune, but he was not
located in the right part of the town and at the end of the
season he found himself just fifteen thousand dollars out of
pocket. Now he has sold out and is running a country hotel fifty
miles west of here. He doesn't hope to make so much, but his
business is much safer."
"I'm afraid it will be a long time before I get money enough to
run a hotel," laughed our hero.
"Would you like to run one?"
"I don't know. I'd like to educate myself first."
"Don't you study some now? I have seen you with some arithmetics
"Yes, sir, I study a little every day. You see, I never had much
schooling, and I don't want to grow up ignorant, if I can help
"That is the proper spirit, lad," answered Andrew Mallison,
warmly. "Learn all you possibly can. It will always be the
means of doing you good."
The conversation took place on Thursday and two days later the
season at the summer hotel came to an end and the last of the
boarders took their departure. Monday was spent in putting
things in order, and by Tuesday afternoon work around the place
came to an end, and all the help was paid off.
In the meantime Joe had sold his boat. With all of his money in
his pocket he called at the Talmadge house to see if Ned had
returned from the trip to the west.
"Just got back yesterday," said Ned, who came to greet him. "Had
a glorious trip. I wish you had been along. I like traveling
better than staying at home all the time."
"I am going to do a bit of traveling myself, Ned."
"Where are you going?"
"To Philadelphia--to try my luck in that city."
"Going to leave Mr. Mallison?"
"Yes,--the season is at an end."
"Oh, I see. So you are going to the Quaker City, as pa calls it.
I wish you luck. You'll have to write to me, Joe, and let me
know how you are getting along."
"I will,--and you must write to me."
On the following day Joe rowed along the lake to where his old
home dock had been located and made a trip to what was left of
the cabin. He spent another hour in hunting for the blue box,
but without success.
"I suppose I'll never find that box," he sighed. "I may as well
give up thinking about it."
From Andrew Mallison our hero had obtained his letter of
recommendation and also a good pocket map of Philadelphia. The
hotel man had also made him a present of a neat suit case, in
which he packed his few belongings.
Ned Talmadge came to see him off at the depot. The day was cool
and clear, and Joe felt in excellent spirits.
Soon the train came along and our hero got aboard, along with a
dozen or fifteen others. He waved a hand to Ned and his friend
shouted out a good-bye. Then the train moved on, and the town
was soon left in the distance.
The car that Joe had entered was not more than quarter filled and
he easily found a seat for himself by a window. He placed his
suit case at his feet and then gave himself up to looking at the
scenery as it rushed past.
Joe had never spent much of his time on the railroad, so the long
ride had much of novelty in it. The scenery was grand, as they
wound in and out among the hills and mountains, or crossed brooks
and rivers and well-kept farms. Numerous stops were made, and
long before Philadelphia was gained the train became crowded.
"Nice day for riding," said a man who sat down beside our hero.
He looked to be what he was, a prosperous farmer.
"It is," answered Joe.
"Goin' to Philadelphy, I reckon," went on the farmer.
"That's where I'm going, too. Got a little business to attend
"I am going there to try my luck," said Joe, he felt he could
talk to the old man with confidence.
"Goin' to look fer a job, eh?"
"Wot kin ye do, if I might ask?"
"Oh, I'm willing to do most anything. I've been taking care of
rowboats and working around a summer hotel, at Lake Tandy."
"Well, ye won't git many boats to look at down to Philadelphy!"
and the old farmer chuckled.
"I suppose not. Maybe I'll strike a job at one of the hotels."
"Perhaps. They tell me some hotels down there is monsterous--ten
an' twelve stories high. Ye don't catch me goin' to no sech
place. In case o' fire, it's all up with ye, if you're on the
"Are you going to Philadelphia to stay, Mr.----"
"Bean is my name--Josiah Bean. I'm from Haydown Center, I am.
Got a farm there o' a hundred acres."
"Oh, is that so!"
"Wot's your handle, young man?"
"My name is Joe Bodley. I came from Riverside."
"Proud to know you." And Josiah Bean shook hands. "No, I ain't
going to stay in Philadelphy. I'm a-going on business fer my
wife. A relative left her some property an' I'm a-goin' to
collect on it."
"That's a pleasant trip to be on," was our hero's comment.
"I'll feel better when I have the six hundred dollars in my fist.
I'm afraid it ain't goin' to be no easy matter to git it."
"What's the trouble!"
"I ain't known in Philadelphy an' they tell me a feller has got
to be identified or somethin' like thet--somebody has got to
speak for ye wot knows ye."
"I see. Perhaps you'll meet some friend."
"Thet's wot I'm hopin' fer."
The train rolled on and presently Joe got out his map and began
to study it, so that he might know something of the great city
when he arrived there.
"Guess I'll git a drink o' water," said Josiah Bean, and walked
to the end of the car to do so. Immediately a slick looking man
who had been seated behind the farmer arose and followed him.
A SCENE ON THE TRAIN.
The slick-looking individual had listened attentively to all that
passed between our hero and the farmer.
He waited until the latter had procured his drink of water and
then rushed up with a smile on his face.
"I declare!" he exclaimed. "How do you do?" And he extended his
"How do you do?" repeated the farmer, shaking hands slowly. He
felt much perplexed, for he could not remember having met the
other man before.
"How are matters up on the farm?" went on the stranger.
"Thank you, very good."
"I--er--I don't think you remember me, Mr. Bean," went on the
"Well, somehow I think I know your face," answered the old
farmer, lamely. He did not wish to appear wanting in politeness.
"You ought to remember me. I spent some time in Haydown Center
year before last, selling machines."
"Oh, you had them patent reapers, is that it?"
"You've struck it."
"I remember you now. You're a nephew of Judge Davis."
"O' course! O' course! But I can't remember your name nohow."
"It's Davis, too--Henry Davis."
"Oh, yes. I'm glad to meet you, Mr. Davis."
"I saw you in the seat with that boy," went on the man we shall
call Henry Davis. "I thought I knew you from the start, but I
wasn't dead sure. Going to Philadelphia with us?"
"Good enough. Mr. Bean, won't you smoke with me? I was just
going into the smoker."
"Thanks, but I--er--I don't smoke much."
"Just one mild cigar. That won't hurt you, I'm sure. I love to
meet old friends," continued Henry Davis.
In the end the old farmer was pursuaded to walk into the smoking
car and here the slick-looking individual found a corner seat
where they would be undisturbed.
"I expect to spend a week or more in Philadelphia, Mr. Bean,"
said the stranger; "if I can be of service to you during that
time, command me."
"Well, perhaps ye can be of service to me. Do ye know many folks
in the city?"
"Oh, yes, a great many. Some are business friends and some are
folks in high society."
"I don't care for no high society. But I've got to collect six
hundred dollars an' I want somebody to identify me."
"Oh, I can do that easily, Mr. Bean."
"Kin ye?" The farmer grew interested at once. "If ye kin I'll be
much obliged to ye."
"Where must you be identified?"
"Down to the office of Barwell & Cameron, on Broad street. Do ye
"I know of them, and I can find somebody who does know them, so
there will not be the least trouble."
"It's a load off my mind," said Josiah Bean, with a sigh. "Ye
see, the money is comin' to my wife. She writ to 'em that I was
comin' to collect an' they writ back it would be all right, only
I would have to be identified. Jest as if everybody in Haydown
Center don't know I'm Josiah Bean an' a piller in the Union
Church down there, an' a cousin to Jedge Bean o' Lassindale."
"Well, they have to be mighty particular when they pay out any
money in the city. There are so many sharpers around."
"I ain't no sharper."
"To be sure you are not, and neither am I. But I once had trouble
"Is thet so?"
"Yes. But after I proved who I was the folks were pretty well
ashamed of themselves," went on Henry Davis, smoothly.
So the talk ran on and at the end of half an hour the old farmer
and the slick-looking individual were on exceedingly friendly
terms. Henry Davis asked much about the old man and gathered in a
good stock of information.
When Philadelphia was gained it was dark, and coming out of the
big railroad station Joe at first knew not which way to turn.
The noise and the crowd of people confused him.
"Have a cab? Carriage?" bawled the hackmen.
"Paper!" yelled a newsboy. "All the evenin' papers!"
"Smash yer baggage!" called out a luggage boy, not near as tall
as our hero.
Looking ahead, Joe saw Josiah Bean and the slick-looking
individual moving down the street and without realizing it, our
hero began to follow the pair.
"He must be some friend," said our hero to himself.
He wondered where they were going and his curiosity getting the
better of him he continued to follow them for half a dozen
blocks. At last they came to a halt in front of a building
displaying the sign:
JOHNSON'S QUAKER HOTEL
MODERATE TERMS FOR ALL.
"This hotel is all right and the prices are right, too," Joe
heard the slick-looking man tell the old farmer.
"Then thet suits me," answered Josiah Bean. "I'll go in an' git a
room fer the night."
"I think I might as well do the same," said Henry Davis. "I
don't care to go away over to my boarding house at Fairmount
The pair walked into the hotel, and Joe saw them register and
pass down the corridor in the company of a bell boy. Then our
hero entered the place.
"Can I get a room here for the night?" he asked of the clerk
behind the desk.
"What is the charge?"
"That suits me."
The register was shoved forward and Joe wrote down his name.
Then he was shown to a small room on the third floor. The
building was but four stories high.
Joe was tired and soon went to bed. In the next room he heard a
murmur of voices and made out that the old farmer and his friend
were talking earnestly.
"They must be very friendly," was his comment, and thinking the
matter over he fell asleep.
Bright and early in the morning our hero arose, dressed himself,
and went below. He had breakfast in the restaurant attached to
the hotel and was just finishing up when the old farmer and the
slick-looking individual came in.
"Hullo!" cried Josiah Bean. "What are you doin' here?"
"I got a room overnight," answered our hero.
"We're stopping here, too. This is my friend, Mr. Henry Davis."
"Good morning," said the slick-looking man. He did not seem to
fancy meeting Joe.
They sat down close at hand and, while eating, the farmer asked
Joe half a dozen questions.
He spoke about his own business until Henry Davis nudged him in
"I wouldn't tell that boy too much," he said in a low tone.
"Oh, he's all right," answered the old farmer.
Joe heard the slick-looking individual's words and they made his
face burn. He looked at the man narrowly and made up his mind he
was not a fellow to be desired for an acquaintance.
Having finished, our hero paid his bill and left the restaurant.
He scarcely knew which way to turn, but resolved to look over the
newspapers first and see if any positions were offered.
While in the reading room he saw Josiah Bean and his acquaintance
leave the hotel and walk in the direction of Broad street.
A little later Joe took from the paper he was reading the
addresses of several people who wanted help, and then he, too,
left the hotel.
The first place he called at was a florist's establishment, but
the pay was so small he declined the position.
"I could not live on three dollars per week," he said.
"That is all we care to pay," answered the proprietor, coldly.
"It is more than other establishments pay."
"Then I pity those who work at the other places," returned Joe,
and walked out.
WHAT HAPPENED TO JOSIAH BEAN.
In the meantime Josiah Bean and the slick-looking individual
turned into Broad street and made their way to a certain
establishment known as the Eagle's Club.
Here Henry Davis called another man aside.
"Say, Foxy, do you know anybody down to Barwell & Cameron's?" he
asked, in a low tone, so that the old farmer could not hear.
"Yes--a clerk named Chase."
"Then come down and introduce me."
"What's the game?"
"Never mind--there's a tenner in it for you if it works."
"Then I'm on, Bill."
"Hush--my name is Henry Davis."
"All right, Hank," returned Foxy, carelessly.
He came forward and was introduced to the old farmer in the
"Mr. Richard Barlow--of Barlow & Small, manufacturers."
All three made their way to the establishment of Barwell &
Cameron, and then Henry Davis was introduced under that name to a
As soon as Foxy had departed the slick-looking individual turned
to the clerk and called the old farmer forward.
"This is my esteemed friend, Mr. Josiah Bean, of Haydown Center.
He has business with Mr. Cameron, I believe."
"I'm here to collect six hundred dollars," said Josiah Bean.
"Mr. Cameron writ me some letters about it."
"Very well, sir. Sit down, gentlemen, and I'll tell Mr.
The two were kept waiting for a few minutes and were then ushered
into a private office. Through Chase, the clerk, Henry Davis was
introduced and then Josiah Bean. All the papers proved to be
correct, and after the old farmer had signed his name he was
given a check.
"See here, I want the cash," he demanded.
"Very well," said Mr. Cameron. "Indorse the check and I'll have
the money drawn for you across the street."
The farmer wrote down his name once more, and a few minutes later
received his six hundred dollars in twelve brand-new fifty-dollar
"Gosh! Them will be nice fer Mirandy to look at," was his
comment, as he surveyed the bills.
"Be careful that you don't lose them, Mr. Bean," cautioned Henry
Davis, as the two left the establishment.
"Reckon the best thing I can do is to git back to hum this
afternoon," remarked Josiah Bean, when he was on the street.
"Oh, now you are in town you'll have to look around a bit," said
the slick-looking individual. "You can take a train back to-
morrow just as well. Let me show you a few of the sights."
This tickled the old farmer and he agreed to remain over until
the next noon. Then Henry Davis dragged the old man around to
various points of interest and grew more familiar than ever.
While they were at the top of one of the big office buildings
Henry Davis pretended to drop his pocketbook.
"How careless of me!" he cried.
"Got much in it?" queried Josiah Bean.
"Three thousand dollars."
"Do tell! It's a powerful sight o' money to carry so careless
"It is. Maybe you had better carry it for me, Mr. Bean."
"Not me! I ain't goin' to be responsible fer nobody's money but
my own--an' Mirandy's."
"Better see if your own money is safe."
Josiah Bean got out his wallet and counted the bills.
"Are you sure? I thought there was only five hundred and fifty."
"No, six hundred."
"I'll bet you ten dollars on it."
"What! can't I count straight," gasped the old farmer, much
disturbed. "Six hundred I tell you," he added, after he had gone
over the amount once more.
"If there is I'll give you the ten dollars," answered the slick
one. "Let me count the bills."
"All right, there ye be, Mr. Davis."
Henry Davis took the wallet and pretended to count the bills.
"Hullo, what's that?" he cried, whirling around.
"What's wot?" demanded Josiah Bean, also looking around.
"I thought I heard somebody cry fire."
"Don't say thet! Say, let's git out o' here--I don't want to look
at the sights."
"All right--here's your money. I guess it's six hundred after
all," answered the slick- looking individual, passing over the
They hurried to the elevator and got into quite a crowd of
"Wait for me here," said Henry Davis, as they walked past the
side corridor. "I want to step in yonder office and send a
message to a friend."
He ran off, leaving the old farmer by himself. Josiah Bean looked
around him nervously.
"I guess that wasn't no cry o' fire after all," he mused. "Well,
if there's a fire I kin git out from here quick enough."
The office building was a large one, running from one street to
the next. On the street in the rear was a bookstore, the
proprietor of which had advertised for a clerk.
Joe had applied for the position and was waiting for the
proprietor to address him when, on chancing to look up, he saw
Henry Davis rush past as if in a tremendous hurry.
"Hullo, that's the fellow who was with the old farmer," he told
"What can I do for you, young man?" asked the proprietor of the
bookshop, approaching at that instant.
"I believe you wish a clerk," answered our hero.
"Have you had experience in this line?"
"Then you won't do. I must have someone who is experienced."
"I am willing to learn."
"It won't do. I want an experienced clerk or none at all," was
the sharp answer.
Leaving the bookstore, Joe stood out on the sidewalk for a moment
and then walked around the corner.
A moment later he caught sight of Josiah Bean, gazing up and down
the thoroughfare and acting like one demented.
"What's the matter?" he asked.
"Matter?" bawled the old farmer. I've been took in! Robbed!
Swindled! Oh, wot will Mirandy say!"
"Who robbed you?"
"Thet Mr. Davis I reckon! He counted the money last, an' now it's
"I saw Mr. Davis a minute ago."
"Around the corner, walking as fast as he could."
"He's got my money! Oh, I must catch him!"
"I'll help you," answered Joe, with vigor. "I thought he looked
like a slick one," he added.
He led the way and Josiah Bean came behind. The old farmer
looked as if he was ready to drop with fright. The thought of
losing his wife's money was truly horrifying.
"Mirandy won't never forgive me!" he groaned. "Oh, say, boy,
we've got to catch that rascal!"
"If we can," added our hero.
He had noted the direction taken by the swindler, and now ran
across the street and into a side thoroughfare leading to where a
new building was being put up.
Here, from a workman, he learned that the sharper had boarded a
street car going south. He hailed the next car and both he and
the old farmer got aboard.
"This ain't much use," said Josiah Bean, with quivering lips.
"We dunno how far he took himself to."
"Let us trust to luck to meet him," said Joe.
They rode for a distance of a dozen blocks and then the car came
to a halt, for there was a blockade ahead.
"We may as well get off," said our hero. "He may be in one of the
They alighted and walked on, past half a dozen cars. Then our
hero gave a cry of triumph .
"There he is!" he said, and pointed to the swindler, who stood on
a car platform, gazing anxiously ahead.
A MATTER OF SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS.
"Say, you, give me my money!"
Such were Josiah Bean's words, as he rushed up to Henry Davis and
grabbed the swindler by the shoulder.
The slick-looking individual was thoroughly startled, for he had
not dreamed that the countryman would get on his track so soon.
He turned and looked at the man and also at Joe, and his face
"Wha--what are you talking about?" he stammered.
"You know well enough what I am talking about," answered Josiah
Bean, wrathfully. "I want my money, every cent o' it,--an' you
are a-goin' to jail!"
"Sir, you are making a sad mistake," said the swindler, slowly.
"I know nothing of you or your money."
"Yes, you do."
"Make him get off the car," put in Joe.
"Boy, what have you to do with this?" asked the swindler, turning
bitterly to our hero.
"Not much perhaps," answered Joe. "But I'd like to see justice
"I want that money," went on the countryman, doggedly. "Come off
He caught the swindler tighter than ever and made him walk to the
sidewalk. By this time a crowd of people began to collect.
"What's the trouble here?" asked one gentleman.
"He's robbed me, that's what's the matter," answered the
countryman. "He has got six hundred dollars o' mine!"
"Six hundred dollars!" cried several and began to take a deeper
"Gentleman this man must be crazy. I never saw him before," came
loudly from the swindler.
"That is not true!" cried Joe. "He was with the man who lost the
money. I saw them together yesterday."
"I am a respectable merchant from Pittsburg," went on the
swindler. "It is outrageous to be accused in this fashion."
"Somebody had better call a policeman," said Joe.
"I'll do dat," answered a newsboy, and ran off to execute the
As the crowd began to collect the swindler saw that he was going
to have difficulty in clearing himself or getting away. He
looked around, and seeing an opening made a dash for it.
He might have gotten away had it not been for Joe. But our hero
was watching him with the eyes of a hawk, and quick as a flash he
caught the rascal by the coat sleeve.
"No, you don't!" he exclaimed. "Come back here!"
"Let go!" cried the man and hit Joe in the ear. But the blow did
not stop Joe from detaining him and in a second more Josiah Bean
caught hold also.
"Ain't goin' to git away nohow!" exclaimed the countryman, and
took hold of the swindler's throat.
"Le--let go!" came back in a gasp. "Don't--don't strangle me!"
When a policeman arrived the swindler was thoroughly cowed and he
turned reproachfully to Josiah Bean.
"This isn't fair," he said. It was all a joke. I haven't got
"Yes, you have."
"He is right, Mr. Bean," put in Joe. "The money, I think, is in
your side pocket."
The countryman searched the pocket quickly and brought out a flat
"Hullo! this ain't mine!" he ejaculated.
He opened the pocketbook and inside were the twelve fifty-dollar
"My money sure enough! How in the world did it git there?"
"This man just slipped the pocketbook into your pocket," answered
"I did not!" put in the swindler, hotly.
"Dat's right!" piped up the newsboy who had brought the
policeman. "I see him do de trick jest a minit ago!"
"This is a plot against me!" fumed the swindler.
"Dat feller is a bad egg!" went on the news- boy. "His name is
Bill Butts. He's a slick one, he is. Hits de country jays
strong, he does!"
At the mention of the name, Bill Butts, the policeman became more
interested than ever.
"You'll come to the station house with me," he said, sternly.
"We can straighten out the matter there."
"All right," answered Bill Butts, for such was his real name.
In a few minutes more the party, including Joe, was off in the
direction of the police station.
"Better keep a good eye on your money, Mr. Bean," said our hero,
as they walked along.
"I've got it tucked away safe in an inside pocket," answered the
The station house was several squares away, and while walking
beside the policeman the eyes of Bill Butts were wide open,
looking for some means of escape. He had "done time" twice and
he did not wish to be sent up again if it could possibly be
His opportunity came in an unexpected manner. In a show window
on a corner a man was exhibiting some new athletic appliances and
a crowd had collected to witness the exhibition. The policeman
had to force his way through.
"Hi, quit shovin' me!" growled a burly fellow in the crowd, not
knowing he was addressing a guardian of the law.
"Make way here!" ordered the policeman, sternly, and then the
fellow fell back.
It gave Bill Butts the chance he wanted and as quick as a flash
he dove into the crowd and out of sight.
"He is running away!" cried Joe.
"Catch him!" put in Josiah Bean.
Both went after the swindler and so did the policeman. But the
crowd was too dense for them, and inside of five minutes Bill
Butts had made good his escape.
"What did ye want to let him slip ye fer?" growled the old
"Don't talk to me," growled the policeman.
"He ought to be reported for this," put in our hero.
"Say another word and I'll run you both in," said the bluecoat.
"Come away," whispered Josiah Bean. "Anyway, it ain't so bad.
I've got my money."
"I'm willing to go," answered Joe. "But, just the same, that
policeman is a pudding head," he added, loudly.
"I'll pudding head you!" cried the bluecoat, but made no attempt
to molest Joe, whose general style he did not fancy.
Side by side Josiah Bean and our hero walked away, until the
crowd was left behind and they were practically alone.
"I'm goin' to count thet money again," said the old countryman,
and did so, to make certain that it was all there.
"We were lucky to spot the rascal, Mr. Bean."
"I didn't spot him--it was you. I'm much obliged to ye."
"Oh, that's all right."
"Seems to me you are entitled to a reward, Joe," went on the old
"I don't want any reward."
"But you're a-goin' to take it. How would five dollars strike
"Not at all, sir. I don't want a cent."
"Then, maybe, ye won't even come an' take dinner with me,"
continued the old man, in disappointed tones.
"Yes, I'll do that, for this chase has made me tremendously
"If ye ever come down my way, Joe, ye must stop an' call on me."
"I will, Mr. Bean."
"Nuthin' on my farm will be too good for ye, Joe. I'm goin' to
tell my wife Mirandy o' this happenin' an' she'll thank you jest
as I've done."
A good restaurant was found not far away and there the two
procured a fine meal and took their time eating it.
"Have ye found work yet?" asked the old man.
"Not yet. I was looking for a job when I met you."
"Well, I hope ye strike wot ye want, lad. But it's hard to git a
place in the city, some times."
"I shall try my level best."
"Wish I could git a job fer ye. But I don't know nubuddy."
"I am going to try the hotels next. I have a strong letter of
recommendation from a hotel man."
"If ye don't git no work in Philadelphy come out on my farm.
I'll board ye all winter fer nuthin'," went on Josiah Bean,
"Thank you, Mr. Bean; you are very kind."
"I mean it. We don't live very high-falutin', but we have
plenty o' plain, good victuals."
"I'll remember what you say," answered our hero.
An hour later he saw the countryman on a train bound for home,
and then he started once more to look for a situation.
JOE'S NEW POSITION.
All of that afternoon Joe looked for a position among the various
hotels of the Quaker City. But at each place he visited he
received the same answer, that there was no help needed just
"This is discouraging," he told himself, as he retired that
night. "Perhaps I'll have to go to the country or back to
Riverside after all."
Yet he was up bright and early the next day and just as eager as
ever to obtain a situation.
He had heard of a new hotel called the Grandon House and visited
it directly after breakfast.
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