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Chapter 26


"My name," said the stranger, "is Peters—Jonathan Peters, of Craneville, Onondaga County. I am a farmer, and don't know much about New York. I've got a few hundred dollars that I want to put into government bonds."

"All right," said Frank, "there won't be any difficulty about it."

"I've heerd there are a good many swindlers in New York," continued Mr. Peters. "The squire—Squire Jackson, of our village—perhaps you may have heard of him?"

"I don't think I have, Mr. Peters."

"Well, the squire told me I'd better take good keer of my money, as there were plenty of rascals here who would try to cheat me out of it."

"That is true, Mr. Peters. Only yesterday I was robbed of thirty-five dollars by a man who boarded in the same house."

"You don't say so?"

"He opened my trunk and took out my pocketbook while I was absent on business."

"I wouldn't dare to live in York!" said the farmer, whose apprehensions were increased by Frank's story.

By this time they had reached the office of Jones & Robinson, with whom, it will be remembered, Frank had once before had dealings.

"If you will come in here, Mr. Peters," said our hero, "you will be sure of honorable treatment. I will introduce you if you like."

"I should be obleeged if you would," said the farmer. "Out in Craneville I am to home, but I ain't used to York business men, and don't know how to talk to them."

It pleased Frank to find that, in spite of his inexperience, he was able to be of service to one more unaccustomed than himself to city scenes and city ways.

He walked up to the counter, followed by the farmer, and said:

"This gentleman wishes to buy some government bonds. I told him that he could transact his business here."

"Thank you! Mr. Benton, you may attend to this gentleman."

Frank was about to leave the office, when Mr. Robinson called him back.

"You have been in the office before, have you not?" he asked.

"Yes, sir."

"Are you not the boy who assisted in the capture of the man who robbed Mr. Henry Percival, of Madison Avenue?"

"Yes, sir."

"I thought so. I have been trying to find you for the last week."

Naturally Frank looked surprised.

"Mr. Henry Percival was at that time in Europe," said Mr. Robinson. "On his return, a week since, he called on us, and expressed a desire to have you call upon him. We had mislaid or lost your address, and were unable to give him the information he desired."

Frank's heart beat high with hope as the broker spoke.

"Perhaps," he thought, "Mr. Percival may offer me a situation of some kind, and I certainly am greatly in need of one."

"Did Mr. Percival recover all his bonds?" he asked.

"Nearly all," answered Mr. Robinson. "He considered himself exceedingly fortunate, and he certainly was so."

"Do you know how much he was robbed of?" asked Frank.

"Rather over five thousand dollars. Of this sum all has been recovered except three bonds of a hundred dollars each. Mr. Percival is a rich man, and he won't miss that small amount."

"I wish I were rich enough not to miss three hundred dollars," thought our hero. "If I had my rights, I could say the same."

Just now, in his extremity, Frank thought regretfully of the fortune he had lost. Had he been so situated as to be earning enough to defray all his expenses, he would scarcely have given a thought of it.

"You had better go up to see Mr. Percival this evening," said the banker, "if you have no other engagement."

"Even if I had an engagement, I would put it off," said Frank. "Will you give me Mr. Percival's number?"

"No. 265," said Mr. Robinson.

Frank noted it down and left the office. By this time Mr. Peters had completed his business, and was ready to go out, also.

"I'm much obliged to you," he said to Frank. "I was afraid I'd get into a place where they'd cheat me. I guess Mr. Jones and Robinson are pretty good folks."

"I think you can depend upon them," said Frank.

"If ever you come to Craneville, I should like to have you stay a few days with me on my farm," said Mr. Peters, hospitably. "We are plain folks, but will treat you about right."

"Thank you, Mr. Peters. If I ever come to Craneville, I shall certainly call upon you."

Frank had something to look forward to in his approaching interview with Mr. Percival. He had been able to do this gentleman a service, and it was not unlikely that the capitalist would wish to make him some acknowledgment. Frank did not exaggerate his own merits in the matter. He felt that it was largely owing to a lucky chance that he had been the means of capturing the bond robber. However, it is to precisely such lucky chances that men are often indebted for the advancement of their fortunes.

While he was in a state of suspense, and uncertain what Mr. Percival might be disposed to do for him, he decided not to exert himself to obtain any employment. If he should be disappointed in his hopes, it would be time enough to look about him the following day.

What should he do in the meantime?

He determined to treat himself to an excursion. From the end of the Battery he had often looked across to Staten Island, lying six miles away, and thought it would prove a pleasant excursion. Now, having plenty of time on his hands, he decided to go on board one of the boats that start hourly from the piers adjoining the Battery. The expense was but trifling and, low as Frank's purse was, he ventured to spend the amount for pleasure. He felt that he needed a little recreation after the weeks of patient labor he had spent in the service of the Great Pekin Tea Company.

Horatio Alger