“You have been very fortunate in recovering your jewels,”
said the agent.
“I owe it to you,” replied Rodney gratefully.
“Well, perhaps so. If I have rendered you a service I am
“And I am very glad to have found so good a friend. I hope you
will let me pay for your ticket to New York.”
“It won’t be necessary. The interruption of our journey won’t
invalidate the ticket we have.”
An hour later they reached New York.
“What are your plans, Rodney?” asked Adin Woods, who by this
time had become quite intimate with his young companion.
“I shall call on my guardian, and perhaps he may give me some
advice as to what I do. Where would you advise me to go- to
“No; it will be too expensive. I know of a plain boarding house
on West Fourteenth Street where you can be accommodated with
lodging and two meals- breakfast and supper, or dinner as we
call it here- for a dollar a day.”
“I shall be glad to go there, for the present, at least.
I haven’t much money, and must find something to do as
soon as possible.”
“We will both go there, and if you don’t object we will take a
room together. That will give us a larger apartment. Mrs. Marcy
is an old acquaintance of mine, and will give you a welcome.”
Rodney was glad to accept his companion’s proposal.
They proceeded at once to the boarding house, and fortunately
found a good room vacant on the third floor. Mr. Woods went
out in the evening to make a call, but Rodney was glad to go
to bed at nine o’clock.
The next morning after breakfast Rodney consulted his companion
as to what he should do with the casket.
“Do you want to raise money on it?” asked the agent.
“No; I shall not do this unless I am obliged to.”
“Have you any idea as to the value of the jewels?”
“Then I will take you first to a jeweler in Maiden Lane, a
friend of mine, who will appraise them. Afterwards I advise you
to deposit the casket at a storage warehouse, or get Tiffany to
keep it for you.”
“I will do as you suggest.”
Maiden Lane is a street largely devoted to jewelers, wholesale
and retail. Rodney followed Mr. Woods into a store about midway
between Broadway and Nassau Street. A pleasant looking man of
middle age greeted the agent cordially.
“What can I do for you?” he asked. “Do you wish to buy a
diamond ring for the future Mrs. Woods?”
“Not much. I would like to have you appraise some jewelry
belonging to my young friend here.”
The casket was opened, and the jeweler examined the
“This is choice jewelry,” he said. “Does your friend wish
“Not at present,” answered Rodney.
“When you do give me a call. I will treat you fairly. You wish
me to appraise these articles?”
“Yes, sir, if you will.”
“It will take me perhaps fifteen minutes.”
The jeweler retired to the back part of the store with the casket.
In about a quarter of an hour he returned.
“Of course I can’t give exact figures,” he said, “but I value
the jewelry at about twelve hundred dollars.”
Rodney looked surprised.
“I didn’t think it so valuable,” he said.
“I don’t mean that you could sell it for so much, but if you
wish to dispose of it I will venture to give you eleven hundred.”
“Thank you. If I decide to sell I will certainly come to you.”
“Now,” said the agent, “I advise you on the whole to store the
casket with Tiffany.”
“Shall I have to pay storage in advance?” asked Rodney anxiously.
“I think not. The value of the jewels will be a sufficient
guarantee that storage will be paid.”
Rodney accompanied Adin Woods to the great jewelry store on the
corner of Fifteenth Street and Union Square, and soon transacted
“Now, you won’t have any anxiety as to the safety of the casket,”
said the agent. “Your friend of the train will find it difficult
to get hold of the jewels. Now I shall have to leave you,
as I have some business to attend to. We will meet at supper.”
Rodney decided to call at the office of his late guardian,
Benjamin Fielding. It was in the lower part of the city.
On his way down town he purchased a copy of a morning paper.
Almost the first article he glanced at proved to be of especial
interest to him. It was headed
SKIPPED TO CANADA
Rumors have been rife for some time affecting the busines standing
of Mr. Benjamin Fielding, the well known commission merchant.
Yesterday it was discovered that he had left the city,
but where he has gone is unknown. It is believed that he
is very deeply involved, and seeing no way out of his
embarrassment has skipped to Canada, or perhaps taken passage
to Europe. Probably his creditors will appoint a committee to
look into his affairs and report what can be done.
LATER- An open letter has been found in Mr. Fielding’s desk,
addressed to his creditors. It expresses regret for their
losses, and promises, if his life is spared, and fortune favors
him, to do all in his power to make them good. No one doubts Mr.
Fielding’s integrity, and regrets are expressed that he did not
remain in the city and help unravel the tangle in which his
affairs are involved. He is a man of ability, and as he is
still in the prime of life, it may be that he will be able to
redeem his promises and pay his debts in full, if sufficient time
is given him.
“I can get no help or advice from Mr. Fielding,” thought Rodney.
“I am thrown upon my own resources, and must fight the battle of
life as well as I can alone.”
He got out in front of the Astor House. As he left the car he
soiled his shoes with the mud so characteristic of New York streets.
“Shine your boots?” asked a young Arab, glancing with a business
eye at Rodney’s spattered shoes.
Rodney accepted his offer, not so much because he thought the
blacking would last, as for the opportunity of questioning
the free and independent young citizen who was doing, what he
hoped to do, that is, making a living for himself.
“Is business good with you?” asked Rodney. “It ought to be with
the street in this condition.”
“Yes; me and de Street Commissioner is in league together.
He makes business good for me.”
“And do you pay him a commission?” asked Rodney smiling.
“I can’t tell no official secrets. It might be bad for me.”
“You are an original genius.”
“Am I? I hope you ain’t callin’ me names.”
“Oh no. I am only paying you a compliment. What is your name?”
“Were do you live, Mike?”
“At the Lodge.”
“I suppose you mean at the Newsboys’ `Lodge?'”
“How much do you have to pay there?”
“Six cents for lodgin’, and six cents for supper and breakfast.”
“That is, six cents for each.”
“Yes; you ain’t comin’ to live there, are you?” asked Mike.
“I don’t know- I may have to.”
“What makes you think I am joking?”
“Because you’re a swell. Look at them clo’es!”
“I have a good suit of clothes, to be sure, but I haven’t
much money. You are better off than I am.”
“How’s that?” asked Mike incredulously.
“You’ve got work to do, and I am earning nothing.”
“If you’ve got money enough to buy a box and brush, you can go
in with me.”
“I don’t think I should like it, Mike. It would spoil my clothes,
and I am afraid I wouldn’t have money enough to buy others.”
“I keep my dress suit at home- the one I wear to parties.”
“Haven’t you got any father or mother, Mike? How does it happen
that you are living in New York alone?”
“My farder is dead, and me mudder, she married a man wot ain’t
no good. He’d bate me till I couldn’t stand it. So I just run away.”
“Where does your mother live?”
“Some time when you earn money enough you can ask her to come
here and live with you.”
“They don’t take women at the Lodge.”
“No, I suppose not,” said Rodney, smiling.
“Besides she’s got two little girls by her new husband, and she
wouldn’t want to leave them.”
By this time the shine was completed, and Rodney paid Mike.
“If I ever come to the Lodge, I’ll ask for you,” he said.
“Where do you live now?”
“I’m just staying at a place on Fourteenth Street, but I can’t
afford to stay there long, for they charge a dollar a day.”
“Geewholliker, that would bust me, and make me a financial wreck
as the papers say.”
“How did you lose your fortune and get reduced to blacking
boots?” asked Rodney jocosely.
“I got scooped out of it in Wall Street,” answered Mike.
“Jay Gould cleaned me out.”
“And I suppose now he has added your fortune to his.”
“You’ve hit it boss.”
“Well, good day, Mike, I’ll see you again some day-”
“All right! I’m in my office all de mornin’.”