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"No. 79!" called the superintendent.
Mark Mason came forward to receive his commission. He had been sitting on a bench with several other telegraph boys, awaiting a call.
"Do you know Henry Swan, jeweler?" asked the superintendent, referring to a paper in his hand.
"Yes, sir; that is, I met him lately in a Fifth Avenue stage."
"He has sent for a telegraph boy, No. 79 preferred."
Mark smiled with pleasure.
"I am glad he remembers me," he said.
"You may go there at once."
Mark put on his cap and went to the jeweler's store. As he entered, Mr. Swan, who was crossing from one side of the store to the other, recognized him.
"You see I haven't forgotten you," he said.
"I am glad of that, sir."
"The boy in my employ has sent word that he is sick. It is necessary for me to supply his place. In my business fidelity and sharpness are requisite. I knew that you possess these traits, and as I don't want to experiment with a new boy of whom I know nothing, I sent for you."
"I will try to meet your wishes, sir."
"To begin with, have you another suit? I don't want you to wear the uniform of a telegraph boy while you are in my employ."
"Yes, sir. Shall I go home and get it?"
"On the whole, no. I will give you an order on a clothier in Fulton Street for a new suit."
"You are very kind, Mr. Swan," said Mark in astonishment. "I have done nothing to deserve such kindness."
"Not yet," answered the jeweler pleasantly; "but perhaps you may soon. Take this note to Knight Brothers, and you will have no trouble."
This was the note.
"Knight Brothers, Fulton Street:
"Fit out this boy with a nice suit and send the bill to me.
Mark lost no time in visiting the clothiers.
"What can I do for you, young man?" asked the salesman.
"This note will explain," said Mark.
The salesman opened and read it.
"It will be all right," he said. "Mr. Swan gets his clothes here, but he has them made to order. Do you want one made to order or ready made?"
"Ready made. I want to put it on to-day."
"Come up-stairs then."
In twenty minutes Mark left the store attired in a nice eighteen dollar suit. He would have selected a cheaper one, but the salesman overruled him.
"Mr. Swan never buys a cheap suit or inferior article," he said. "In the letter he wishes you to have a nice suit, and we must follow directions."
"I don't want to abuse his generosity."
"You won't. He is a very liberal man. He is teacher of a class of five poor boys in a mission Sunday-school. Last Christmas he sent them all in here for new suits."
"If that is the case," said Mark, "I shall feel easier."
When he reappeared at the jeweler's Mr. Swan regarded him with critical approval.
"You have made a good selection," he said.
"I hope I didn't go too high for the suit, Mr. Swan. I wanted to order a cheaper one, but the salesman wouldn't let me."
"The salesman was right," said the jeweler smiling. "I am satisfied. And now to your work. I have a request from a lady up town to send her a couple of diamonds rings to select from. She professed to be on her way from Brooklyn and to be in haste. She is, she says, staying at the house of a friend at No. 282 West Forty-Seventh between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. She is to go away to-morrow and would like to make choice of a ring to-day."
Mark was rather surprised to hear this full account from the jeweler. As he was only to take the part of an errand boy he didn't see the necessity for it. He was soon enlightened.
"Now," proceeded the jeweler, "I am of the opinion that this lady is a clever swindler. I believe she wants to get hold of the rings, and carry them off without paying for them."
"Then you won't send them to her, I suppose."
"I would not if I were absolutely sure that she is a fraud, but this I don't know. She may be a bona fide customer, and if so I should like to sell her a ring."
"How can you find out, sir?"
"I hope to do so with your help."
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