“Well, good by, Rodney! I leave school tomorrow. I am going to
learn a trade.”

“I am sorry to part with you, David. Couldn’t you stay another term?”

“No: my uncle says I must be earning my living, and I have a
chance to learn the carpenter’s trade.”

“Where are you going?”

“To Duffield, some twenty miles away. I wish I were in
your shoes. You have no money cares, and can go on quietly
and complete your education.”

“I don’t know how I am situated, David. I only know that my
guardian pays my expenses at this boarding school.”

“Yes, you are a star boarder, and have the nicest room in
the institution. I am only a poor day scholar. Still I feel
thankful that I have been allowed to remain as long as I have.
Who is your guardian?”

“A Mr. Benjamin Fielding, of New York.”

“Is he a business man?”

“I believe so.”

“Do you know how much you will inherit when you come of age?”
asked David, after a short pause.
“I haven’t an idea.”

“It seems to me your guardian ought to have told you.”

“I scarcely know my guardian. Five years ago I spent a week at
his home. I don’t remember much about it except that he lives
in a handsome house, and has plenty of servants. Since then, as
you know, I have passed most of my time here, except that in the
summer I was allowed to board at the Catkills or any country
place I might select,”

“Yes, and I remember one year you took me with you and paid all
my expenses. I shall never forget your kindness, and how much
I enjoyed that summer.”

Rodney Ropes smiled, and his smile made his usually grave face
look very attractive.

“My dear David,” he said, “it was all selfishness on my part.
I knew I should enjoy myself much better with a companion.”

“You may call that selfishness, Rodney, but it is a kind of
selfishness that makes me your devoted friend. How long do you
think you shall remain at school?”

“I don’t know. My guardian has never told me his plans for me.
I wish he would.”

“I shall miss you, Rodney, but we will correspond, won’t we?”

“Surely. You know I shall always feel interested in you and
your welfare.”

David was a plain boy of humble parentage, and would probably be
a hard working mechanic. In fact he looking for nothing better.{sic}

But Rodney Ropes looked to be of genteel blood, and had the air
of one who had been brought up a gentleman. But different as
they were in social position the two boys had always been
devoted friends.

The boarding school of which Rodney was, as his friend expressed
himself, a star pupil, was situated about fifty miles from the
city of New York. It was under the charge of Dr. Sampson, a
tall, thin man of fair scholarship, keenly alive to his own
interest, who showed partiality for his richer pupils, and
whenever he had occasion to censure bore most heavily upon boys
like David Hull, who was poor.

Rodney occupied alone the finest room in the school. There was
a great contrast between his comfortable quarters and the
extremely plain dormitories occupied by less favored pupils.

In the case of some boys the favoritism of the teacher would
have led them to put on airs, and made them unpopular with their
school fellows. But Rodney had too noble a nature to be
influenced by such considerations. He enjoyed his comfortable
room, but treated his school fellows with a frank cordiality
that made him a general favorite.

After David left his room Rodney sat down to prepare a lesson in
Cicero, when he was interrupted by the entrance through the half
open door of a younger boy.

“Rodney,” he said, “the doctor would like to see you in his office.”

“Very well, Brauner, I will go down at once.”

He put aside his book and went down to the office of Dr. Sampson
on the first floor.

The doctor was sitting at his desk. He turned slightly as
Rodney entered.

“Take a seat, Ropes,” he said curtly.

His tone was so different from his usual cordiality that Rodney
was somewhat surprised.

“Am I in disgrace?” he asked himself. “Dr. Sampson doesn’t seem
as friendly as usual.”

After a brief interval Dr. Sampson wheeled round in his office chair.

“I have a letter for you from your guardian, Ropes,” he said.
“Here it is. Do me the favor to read it here.”

With some wonder Rodney took the letter and read as follows:

DEAR RODNEY- I have bad news to communicate. As you know, I was
left by your father in charge of you and your fortune. I have
never told you the amount, but I will say now that it was about
fifty thousand dollars. Until two years since I kept it intact
but then began a series of reverses in which my own fortune was
swallowed up. In the hope of relieving myself I regret to say
that I was tempted to use your money. That went also, and now
of the whole sum there remains but enough to pay the balance of
your school bills, leaving you penniless. How much I regret
this I cannot tell you. I shall leave New York at once. I do
not care at present to say where I shall go, but I shall try to
make good the loss, and eventually restore to you your lost fortune.
I may be successful or I may not. I shall do my best and I hope
in time to have better news to communicate.

One thing I am glad to say. I have a casket containing your
mother’s jewels. These are intact. I shall send you the casket
by express, knowing that you will wish to keep them out of
regard for your mother’s memory. In case you are reduced to the
necessity of pawning or selling them, I am sure that your
mother, could she be consulted, would advise you to do so.
This would be better than to have you suffer from want.

There is nothing further for me to write except to repeat my
regret, and renew my promise to make up your lost fortune if I
shall ever to able to do so.
Your Guardian,

Rodney read this like one dazed. In an instant he was reduced
from the position of a favorite of fortune to a needy boy, with
his living to make.

He could not help recalling what had passed between his friend
David and himself earlier in the day. Now he was as poor as
David- poorer, in fact for David had a chance to learn a trade
that would yield him a living, while he was utterly without
resources, except in having an unusually good education.

“Well,” said Dr. Sampson, “have you read your letter?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Your guardian wrote to me also. This is his letter,” and he
placed the brief epistle in Rodney’s hands.

DR. SAMPSON- I have written my ward, Rodney Ropes, an important
letter which he will show you. The news which it contains will
make it necessary for him to leave school. I inclose a check
for one hundred and twenty five dollars. Keep whatever is due
you, and give him the balance.

“I have read the letter, but I don’t know what it means,” said
Dr. Sampson. “Can you throw any light upon it?”

“Here is my letter, doctor. You can read it for yourself.”

Dr. Sampson’s face changed as he read Rodney’s letter. It changed
and hardened, and his expression became quite different from that
to which Rodney had been accustomed.

“This is a bad business, Ropes,” said the doctor in a hard tone.

He had always said Rodney before.

“Yes, sir.”

“That was a handsome fortune which your father left you.”

“Yes, sir. I never knew before how much it amounted to.”

“You only learn when you have lost it. Mr. Fielding has treated
you shamefully.”

“Yes, sir, I suppose he has, but he says he will try to make it
up to me in the future.”

“Pish! that is all humbug. Even if he is favored by fortune
you will never get back a cent.”

“I think I shall, sir.”

“You are young. You do not know the iniquities of business men.
I do.”

“I prefer to hope for the best.”

“Just as you please.”

“Have you anything more to say to me?”

“Only that I will figure up your account and see how much
money is to come to you out of the check your guardian has sent.
You can stay here till Monday; then you will find it best to
make new arrangements.”

“Very well, sir.”

Rodney left the room, realizing that Dr. Sampson’s feelings had
been changed by his pupil’s reverse of fortune.

It was the way of the world, but it was not a pleasant way, and
Rodney felt depressed.