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"Have you carried Frank Fowler to the poorhouse?" asked Tom Pinkerton, eagerly, on his father's return.
"No, said the deacon, "he is going to make a visit at Mr. Pomeroy's first."
"I shouldn't think you would have let him make a visit," said Tom, discontentedly. "I should think you would have taken him to the poorhouse right off."
"I feel it my duty to save the town unnecessary expense," said Deacon Pinkerton.
So Tom was compelled to rest satisfied with his father's assurance that the removal was only deferred.
Meanwhile Frank and Grace received a cordial welcome at the house of Mr. Pomeroy. Sam and Frank were intimate friends, and our hero had been in the habit of calling frequently, and it seemed homelike.
"I wish you could stay with us all the time, Frank --you and Grace," said Sam one evening.
"We should all like it," said Mr. Pomeroy, "but we cannot always have what we want. If I had it in my power to offer Frank any employment which it would be worth his while to follow, it might do. But he has got his way to make in the world. Have you formed any plans yet, Frank?"
"That is what I want to consult you about, Mr. Pomeroy."
"I will give you the best advice I can, Frank. I suppose you do not mean to stay in the village."
"No, sir. There is nothing for me to do here. I must go somewhere where I can make a living for Grace and myself."
"You've got a hard row to hoe, Frank," said Mr. Pomeroy, thoughtfully. "Have you decided where to go?"
"Yes, sir. I shall go to New York."
"What! To the city?"
"Yes, sir. I'll get something to do, no matter what it is."
"But how are you going to live in the meantime?"
"I've got a little money."
"That won't last long."
"I know it, but I shall soon get work, if it is only to black boots in the streets."
"With that spirit, Frank, you will stand a fair chance to succeed. What do you mean to do with Grace?"
"I will take her with me."
"I can think of a better plan. Leave her here till you have found something to do. Then send for her."
"But if I leave her here Deacon Pinkerton will want to put her in the poorhouse. I can't bear to have Grace go there."
"She need not. She can stay here with me for three months."
"Will you let me pay her board?"
"I can afford to give her board for three months."
"You are very kind, Mr. Pomeroy, but it wouldn't be right for me to accept your kindness. It is my duty to take care of Grace."
"I honor your independence, Frank. It shall be as you say. When you are able-mind, not till then --you may pay me at the rate of two dollars a week for Grace's board."
"Then," said Frank, "if you are willing to board Grace for a while, I think I had better go to the city at once."
"I will look over your clothes to-morrow, Frank," said Mrs. Pomeroy, "and see if they need mending."
"Then I will start Thursday morning--the day after."
About four o'clock the next afternoon he was walking up the main street, when just in front of Deacon Pinkerton's house he saw Tom leaning against a tree.
"How are you Tom?" he said, and was about to pass on.
"Where are you going?" Tom asked abruptly.
"To Mr. Pomeroy's."
"How soon are you going to the poorhouse to live?"
"Who told you I was going?"
"Then your father's mistaken."
"Ain't you a pauper?" said Tom, insolently. "You haven't got any money."
"I have got hands to earn money, and I am going to try."
"Anyway, I advise you to resign as captain of the baseball club."
"Because if you don't you'll be kicked out. Do you think the fellows will be willing to have a pauper for their captain?"
"That's the second time you have called me a pauper. Don't call me so again."
"You are a pauper and you know it."
Frank was not a quarrelsome boy, but this repeated insult was too much for him. He seized Tom by the collar, and tripping him up left him on the ground howling with rage. As valor was not his strong point, he resolved to be revenged upon Frank vicariously. He was unable to report the case to his father till the next morning, as the deacon did not return from a neighboring village, whither he had gone on business, till late, but the result of his communication was a call at Mr. Pomeroy's from the deacon at nine o'clock the next morning. Had he found Frank, it was his intention, at Tom's request, to take him at once to the poorhouse. But he was too late. Our hero was already on his way to New York.
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