Falling in with Fortune; Or, The Experiences of a Young Secretary
THE EXPERIENCES OF A YOUNG
AUTHOR OF "OUT FOR BUSINESS," "THE YOUNG BOATMAN,"
"SINK OR SWIM," "LUCK OR PLUCK," "PAUL, THE
PEDDLER," "ONLY AN IRISH BOY," ETC.
AUTHOR OF "THE ROVER BOYS AT SCHOOL,""THE ROVER BOYS
ON THE OCEAN," "THE ROVER BOYS IN THE JUNGLE,"
"THE ROVER BOYS OUT WEST," ETC.
THE MERSHON COMPANY
RAHWAY, N. J. NEWYORK
THE MERSHON COMPANY
FALLING IN WITH FORTUNE.
"Falling in with Fortune" is a complete tale in itself, but forms thesecond of two companion volumes, the first being entitled, "Out forBusiness."
In this story are related the adventures of Robert Frost, who figuredin the other volume mentioned. In the first tale we saw how Robert wascompelled to leave home on account of the harsh actions of hisstep-father, and what he did while "out for business," as hefrequently expressed it.
In the present tale our hero, by a curious combination ofcircumstances, becomes the private secretary to a rich lady, andtravels with this lady to England and other places. The lady has anephew whose character is none of the best, and as this young man hadformerly occupied the position now assigned to Robert, our hero'splace becomes no easy one to fill. Yet his natural stoutheartednesshelps him to overcome every obstacle and brings his many surprisingadventures to a satisfactory ending.
The two stories, "Out for Business" and "Falling in with Fortune,"give to the reader the last tales begun by that famous writer of boys'tales, Mr. Horatio Alger, Jr., whose books have sold to the extent ofhundreds of thousands of copies, not alone in America, but likewise inEngland, Australia, and elsewhere. The gifted writer was stricken whenon the point of finishing the tales, and when he saw that he could notcomplete them himself, it was to the present writer that he turned,and an outline for a conclusion was drawn up which met with hisapproval--and this outline had been filled out in order to bring thestories to a finish and make them, as nearly as possible, what Mr.Alger intended they should be. The success of the first of thecompanion tales causes the present writer to hope that the second willmeet with equal favor.
Arthur M. Winfield.
July 1, 1900.
I. Thrown Out of Employment
II. The Accusation and What Followed
III. Getting Settled
IV. The Old Secretary and the New
V. A Plot against Robert
VI. Mrs. Vernon's Money
VII. The Doctor's Visit
VIII. Frederic Vernon's Perplexity
IX. Robert Reaches London
X. Matters at Home
XI. Vernon Makes Another Move
XII. An Unexpected Result
XIII. Vernon's High-handed Proceedings
XIV. Vernon's Unwelcome Visitor
XV. A Fight and a Fire
XVI. Robert Shows his Bravery
XVII. A Diamond Scarfpin
XVIII. Vernon Plays the Penitent
XIX. Mrs. Vernon's Bank Account
XX. The Runaway along the Cliff
XXI. The Cablegram from Chicago
XXII. Farmer Parsons' Story
XXIII. Aunt and Nephew's Agreement
XXIV. The Attack in the Stateroom
XXV. A Friend in Need
XXVI. In Chicago Once More
XXVII. Dick Marden's Good News
XXVIII. In which Mrs. Vernon is Missing
XXIX. Doctor Rushwood's Sanitarium
XXX. Frederic Vernon's Demands
XXXI. Robert Decides to Act
XXXII. The Beginning of the End
XXXIII. Robert's Heroism--Conclusion
THROWN OUT OF EMPLOYMENT.
"A telegram for you, Robert."
"A telegram for me?" repeated Robert Frost, as he took the envelopewhich his fellow clerk, Livingston Palmer, handed him. "I wonder whereit can be from?"
"Perhaps it's from your mother. Your step-father may be sick again,and she may want you at home."
"No, Mr. Talbot is quite well now; my mother said so in her letter ofyesterday. I imagine this is from Timberville, Michigan."
"Is your friend, Dick Marden, still up there attending to that lumberbusiness for his uncle?"
"Didn't he want you to stay there with him?"
"He did, but I told him I would rather remain in the city. I likeworking for Mr. Gray, here in the ticket office, a great deal betterthan I do lumbering."
"I can see that. You are an out and out business boy, Robert. Ishouldn't be surprised some day to see you have a cut-rate ticketoffice of your own."
"I'd rather be in a bank, or some large wholesale house, Livingston.But excuse me while I read the telegram."
"Certainly. Don't mind me."
Tearing open the envelope, Robert Frost pulled out the bit of yellowpaper, upon which was written the following:
"I am called away to California and to Canada onbusiness. May remain for three months. Will writeto you later on. My uncle's case is in a badmix-up again.
Robert read the brief communication with much interest. Dick Mardenwas much older than the boy, but a warm friendship existed between thepair.
"No bad news, I hope," said Livingston Palmer, after waiting on acustomer, who had come in to buy a cut-rate ticket to Denver.
"Dick Marden has gone to California. He says the Amberton claim tothat timber land is in a bad mix-up again."
"I see. Well, that doesn't concern you, does it?"
"Not exactly. But I would like to see Mr. Amberton come out ahead onthe deal, for I think he deserves it."
"I know you worked hard enough to get that map for him," saidLivingston Palmer, laughing. "Have you ever heard anything more ofthose two rascals who tried to get the map away from you?"
"No--and I don't want to hear from them. All I want is to be leftalone, to make my own way in the world," concluded Robert.
Robert Frost was a lad of sixteen, strongly built, and with ahandsome, expressive face. He had been born and brought up in thevillage of Granville, some fifty or sixty miles from Chicago, but hadleft his home several months before to do as he had just said, makehis own way in the world.
The readers of the companion tale to this, "Out for Business," alreadyknow why Robert left home. To new readers I would state that it was onaccount of his step-father, James Talbot, who had married the widowFrost mainly for the purpose of getting possession of the fortunewhich had been left to her,--a fortune which upon her death was to goto her only child, Robert.
From his first entrance into the handsome and comfortable Frosthomestead, James Talbot had acted very dictatorial toward Robert, andthe boy, being naturally high-strung, had resented this, and many abitter quarrel had ensued. At last Robert could stand hisstep-father's manner no longer, and, with his mother's consent, heleft home for Chicago, to try his fortunes in the great city by thelakes.
Robert was fortunate in falling in with a rough but kind-hearted minernamed Dick Marden, and the miner, who was well-to-do, obtained for theyouth a position in the cut-rate ticket office of one Peter Gray, anold acquaintance. Gray gave Robert first five and then seven dollarsper week salary, and to this Marden added sufficient to make an eventwelve dollars, so the boy was enabled to live quite comfortably.
Dick Marden had an uncle living at Timberville, Michigan, who was oldand feeble, and who was having a great deal of trouble about sometimber lands which he claimed, but which an Englishman and a FrenchCanadian were trying to get away from him. There was a map of thelands in the possession of an old lumberman named Herman Wenrich, andhis daughter Nettie, who lived in Chicago, and this map Robertobtained for Marden and his uncle, Felix Amberton, and delivered it tothem, although not until he had had several encounters with the peoplewho wished to keep the map from Amberton. For his services Robert waswarmly thanked by both Amberton and Marden, and the lumberman promisedto do the handsome thing by the boy as soon as his titles to thelumber lands were clearly established in law.
During the time spent in Chicago Robert had had considerable troublewith his step-father, who was trying his best to get hold of some ofMrs. Talbot's money, with the ostensible purpose of going into thereal estate business in the great city of the lakes. But a stroke ofparalysis had placed Mr. Talbot on a sick bed, and upon his recoveryhe had told both his wife and his step-son that he intended to turnover a new leaf. Mrs. Talbot believed him, but Robert was suspicious,for he felt that his step-father's nature was too utterly mean for himto reform entirely.
"I hope he does reform, mother," the boy said to his fond parent. "Butif I were you I would not expect too much--at least, at the start. Iwould not trust him with my money."
"He has not asked me for money," had been Mrs. Talbot's reply.
"But he wanted that ten thousand dollars to open up with in Chicago."
"That was before he had the attack of paralysis, Robert."
"He may want it again, as soon as he is himself once more. Take myadvice and be careful what you do." And so mother and son parted, notto see each other again for a long while. But Robert was right; lessthan two months later James Talbot applied again for the money,stating that he would be very careful of it, so that not a dollarshould be lost. He thought himself a keen business man, but thus farhe had allowed every dollar that had come into his possession to slipthrough his fingers.
Robert felt sorry that Dick Marden had gone to California, for he hadreckoned on seeing his friend upon his return to Chicago.
"Now, I suppose I won't see him for a long while," he thought.
Robert had settled down at the office, expecting the position to be apermanent one, but on the Saturday following the receipt of Marden'stelegram a surprise awaited him. Mr. Gray called him into his privateoffice.
"Robert," he said, "I have bad news for you."
"Bad news, Mr. Gray? What is it?"
"I am sorry to say it, but I shall have to dispense with your servicesfrom to-night."
Robert flushed, and felt dismayed. This announcement was like athunderbolt from a clear sky.
"Are you dissatisfied with me, Mr. Gray?" he asked.
"Not at all. Your services have been entirely satisfactory."
"Then why do you send me away?"
"I cannot very well help it. I have a nephew from the country whowants a place in the city. His father has written me, asking as afavor that I will give Donald a place in my office. He is poor, and Idon't see how I can refuse his request."
"Yes, sir, I see. I am glad you are not discharging me on account ofdissatisfaction."
"You may be assured of that. I suppose you have some money saved up?"
"And no doubt your friend Mr. Marden will provide for you?"
"Mr. Marden has gone to California for three months."
"But you know his address there?"
Peter Gray looked sober, for he was a man of good feelings.
"Perhaps I can arrange to keep you," he said. "You know as much aboutthe business as Mr. Palmer. I can discharge him and keep you."
"I would not consent to that, sir. Livingston Palmer needs his salary,and I wouldn't be willing to deprive him of it. I can get alongsomehow. When do you wish me to go?"
"My nephew arrived at my house this morning. He will be ready to goto work on Monday morning."
"Very well, sir."
"Of course I will give you a good recommendation--a first class one."
"Thank you, sir."
At six o'clock the broker handed Robert his week's wages, and Robertwent out of the office, out of a place, and with prospects by no meansflattering.
Fortunately for Robert he had about twenty dollars in his pocket, sothat he was not in any immediate danger of suffering from want. Hewould have had more, but had bought some necessary