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"Come up to my room," said the stranger.
He obtained a candle at the office, gas not being used in San Francisco at that time, and led the way to a small chamber on the second floor.
"Now, sit down, my boy, and tell me your name."
"How long have you been here?"
"Less than a week."
"I only arrived yesterday. But for your help, my residence might have been a brief one."
"I am glad I have been able to be of service to you."
"You were a friend in need, and a friend in need is a friend indeed. It is only fair that I should be a friend to you. It's a poor rule that doesn't work both ways."
Joe was favorably impressed with the speaker's appearance. He was a man of middle height, rather stout, with a florid complexion, and an open, friendly face.
"Thank you, sir," he said, "I need a friend, and shall be glad of your friendship."
"Then here's my hand. Take it, and let us ratify our friendship."
Joe took the proffered hand and shook it cordially.
"My name is George Morgan," said the stranger. "I came from Philadelphia. Now we know each other. Where are you staying?"
Joe's face flushed and he looked embarrassed.
"Just before I came up with you," he answered, thinking frankness best, "I was robbed of two dollars and a half, all the money I had in this world. I shall have to stop in the streets to-night."
"Not if I know it," said Morgan emphatically. "This bed isn't very large, but you are welcome to a share of it. To-morrow we will form our plans."
"Shan't I inconvenience you, sir?" asked Joe.
"Not a bit," answered Morgan heartily.
"Then I will stay, sir, and thank you. After the adventure I have had to-night, I shouldn't enjoy being out in the streets."
"Tell me how you came to be robbed. Was it by the same man who made the attack upon me?"
"No, sir. I wish it had been, as then I should feel even with him. It was a man that looked very much like him, though."
Joe gave an account of the robbery, to which his new friend listened with attention.
"Evidently," he said, "the street we were in is not a very safe one. Have you had any supper?"
"Oh, yes, sir. Luckily, I got that and paid for it before I had my money taken."
"Good. Now, as I am tired, I will go to bed, and you can follow when you feel inclined."
"I will go now, sir. I have been walking the streets all day, in search of work, and, though I found none, I am tired, all the same."
They woke up at seven o'clock.
"How did you rest, Joe?" asked George Morgan.
"Very well, sir."
"Do you feel ready for breakfast?"
"As soon as I can earn money enough to pay for it."
"Don't trouble yourself about that. You are going to breakfast with me."
"You are very kind, Mr. Morgan, but I wish you had some work for me to do, so that I could pay you."
"That may come after awhile. It might not be safe to delay your breakfast till you could pay for it. Remember, you have done me a great service, which fifty breakfasts couldn't pay for."
"Don't think of that, Mr. Morgan," said Joe modestly. "Anybody would do what I did."
"I am not sure whether everybody would have the courage. But you must leave me to show my appreciation of your services in my own way."
They took breakfast in the hotel and walked out.
Though it was early, the town was already astir. People got up early in those days. Building was going on here and there. Draymen were piloting heavy loads through the streetsórough enough in general appearance, but drawn from very unlikely social grades.
"By Jove!" said Morgan, in surprise, his glance resting on a young man of twenty-five, who was in command of a dray. "Do you hear that drayman?"
"Is he a foreigner?" asked Joe. "I don't understand what he is saying."
"He is talking to his horse in Greek, quoting from Homer. Look here, my friend!" he said, hailing the drayman.
"What is it, sir?" said the young man courteously.
"Didn't I hear you quoting Greek just now?"
"How happens it that a classical scholar like you finds himself in such a position?"
The young man smiled.
"How much do you think I am earning?"
"I can't guess. I am a stranger in this city."
"Twenty dollars a day."
"Capital! I don't feel as much surprised as I did. Are you a college graduate?"
"Yes, sir. I was graduated at Yale. Then I studied law and three months since I came out here. It takes time to get into practise at home and I had no resources to fall back upon. I raised money enough to bring me to California and came near starving the first week I was here. I couldn't wait to get professional work, but I had an offer to drive a dray. I am a farmer's son and was accustomed to hard work as a boy. I accepted the offer and here I am. I can lay up half my earnings and am quite satisfied."
"But you won't be a drayman all your life?"
"Oh, no, sir. But I may as well keep at it till I can get into something more to my taste."
And the young lawyer drove off.
"It's a queer country," said Morgan. "It's hard to gauge a man by his occupation here, I see."
"I wish I could get a dray to drive," said Joe.
"You are not old enough or strong enough yet. I am looking for some business myself, Joe, but I can't at all tell what I shall drift into. At home I was a dry-goods merchant. My partner and I disagreed and I sold out to him. I drew ten thousand dollars out of the concern, invested four-fifths of it, and have come out here with the remainder, to see what I can do."
"Ten thousand dollars! What a rich man you must be!" said Joe.
"In your eyes, my boy. As you get older, you will find that it will not seem so large to you. At any rate, I hope to increase it considerably."
They were walking on Kearny Street, near California Street, when Joe's attention was drawn, to a sign:
It was a one-story building, of small dimensions, not fashionable, nor elegant in its appointments, but there wasn't much style in San Francisco at that time.
"Would you like to buy out the restaurant?" asked Morgan.
"I don't feel like buying anything out with empty pockets," said Joe.
"Let us go in."
The proprietor was a man of middle age.
"Why do you wish to sell out?" asked Morgan.
"I want to go to the mines. I need an out-of-door life and want a change."
"Does this business pay?"
"Sometimes I have made seventy-five dollars profit in a day."
"How much do you ask for the business?"
"I'll take five hundred dollars, cash."
"Have you a reliable cook?"
"Yes. He knows his business."
"Will he stay?"
"For the present. If you want a profitable business, you will do well to buy."
"I don't want it for myself. I want it for this young man."
"For this boy?" asked the restaurant-keeper, surprised.
Joe looked equally surprised.
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