THE MERCHANT FROM PORTLAND
"Look here, young chap," said Andy, "what made you tell me that was
the Merchants' Bank?"
"Isn't it?" asked the bootblack, with a grin.
"It's the bank where you'll be wanted some time. Shouldn't wonder if
they'd make a mistake and lock you up instead of your money."
"Have you got any money in the Merchants' Bank?" asked the other.
"I'm goin' to see if they won't give me some. If you hadn't cheated
me, maybe I'd have invited you to dine with me at my hotel."
"Where are you stoppin'?" asked the street boy, not quite knowing how
much of Andy's story to believe.
"At the most fashionable hotel."
"You're good at guessin'. Perhaps you'd like to dine there?"
"I don't know as they'd let me in," said the boy, doubtfully; "but
I'll show you where there's a nice eatin' house, where they don't
charge half so much."
"'Twouldn't be fashionable enough for me. I shall have to dine alone.
See what comes of tryin' to fool your grandfather."
Andy went on, leaving the boy in doubt whether his jest had really
lost him a dinner.
Andy didn't go to the Parker House, however. His expenses were to be
paid by the Misses Grant, and he felt that it wouldn't be right to be
extravagant at their expense.
"I shall come across an eatin' house presently," he said to himself.
Not far off he found one with the bill of fare exposed outside, with
the prices. Andy examined it, and found that it was not an expensive
place. He really felt hungry after his morning's ride, and determined,
before he attended to his business, to get dinner. He accordingly
entered, and seated himself at one of the tables. A waiter came up and
awaited his commands.
"What'll you have?" he asked.
"Bring me a plate of roast beef, and a cup of coffee," said Andy, "and
be quick about it, for I haven't eaten anything for three weeks."
"Then I don't think one plate will be enough for you," said the
"It'll do to begin on," said Andy.
The order was quickly filled, and Andy set to work energetically.
It is strange how we run across acquaintances when we least expect it.
Andy had no idea that he knew anybody in the eating house, and
therefore didn't look around, feeling no special interest in the
company. Yet there was one present who recognized him as soon as he
entered, and watched him with strong interest. The interest was not
friendly, however, as might be inferred from the scowl with which he
surveyed him. This will not be a matter of surprise to the reader when
I say that the observer was no other than Fairfax, whose attempt to
rob Colonel Preston had been defeated by Andy.
He recognized the boy at once, both from his appearance and his voice,
and deep feelings of resentment ran in his breast. To be foiled was
disagreeable enough, but to be foiled by a boy was most humiliating,
and he had vowed revenge, if ever an opportunity occurred. For this
reason he felt exultant when he saw his enemy walking into the eating
"I'll follow him," he said to himself, "and it'll go hard if I don't
get even with him for that trick he played on me."
But how did it happen that Andy did not recognize Fairfax?
For two reasons: First, because the adventurer was sitting behind him,
and our hero faced the front of the room. Next, had he seen him, it
was doubtful if he would have recognized a man whom he was far from
expecting to see. For Fairfax was skilled in disguises, and no longer
was the black-whiskered individual that we formerly knew him. From
motives of prudence, he had shaved off his black hair and whiskers,
and now appeared in a red wig, and whiskers of the same hue. If any of
my readers would like to know how effectual this disguise is, let them
try it, and I will guarantee that they won't know themselves when they
come to look at their likeness in the mirror.
After disposing of what he had ordered, Andy also ordered a plate of
apple dumpling, which he ate with great satisfaction.
"I wouldn't mind eatin' here every day," he thought. "Maybe I'll be in
business here some day myself, and then I'll come here and dine."
Fairfax was through with his dinner, but waited till Andy arose. He
then arose and followed him to the desk, where both paid at the same
time. He was careless of recognition, for he felt confident in his
"Now," thought Andy, "I must go to the bank."
But he didn't know where the bank was. So, when he got into the
street, he asked a gentleman whom he met: "Sir, can you direct me to
the Merchants' Bank?"
"It is in State Street," said the gentleman. "I am going past it, so
if you will come along with me, I will show you."
"Thank you, sir," said our hero, politely.
"Merchants' Bank!" said Fairfax to himself, beginning to feel
interested. "I wonder what he's going there for? Perhaps I can raise a
little money, besides having my revenge."
He had an added inducement now in following our hero.
When Andy went into the bank, Fairfax followed him. He was in the room
when Andy received the dividends, and, with sparkling eyes, he saw
that it was, a thick roll of bills, representing, no doubt, a
considerable sum of money.
"That money must be mine," he said to himself. "It can't be the boy's.
He must have been sent by some other person. The loss will get him
into trouble. Very likely he will be considered a thief. That would
just suit me."
Andy was careful, however. He put the money into a pocketbook, or,
rather, wallet, with which he had been supplied by the Misses Grant,
put it in his inside pocket, and then buttoned his coat up tight. He
was determined not to lose anything by carelessness.
But this was not his last business visit. There was another bank in
the same street where it was necessary for him to call and receive
dividends. Again Fairfax followed him, and again he saw Andy receive a
considerable sum of money.
"There's fat pickings here," thought Fairfax. "Now, I must manage, in
some way, to relieve him of that money. There's altogether too much
for a youngster like him. Shouldn't wonder if the money belonged to
that man I tried to rob. If so, all the better."
In this conjecture, as we know, Fairfax was mistaken. However, it made
comparatively little difference to him whose money it was, as long as
there was a chance of his getting it into his possession. The fact
was, that his finances were not in a very flourishing condition just
at present. He could have done better to follow some honest and
respectable business, and avoid all the dishonest shifts and
infractions of law to which he was compelled to resort, but he had
started wrong, and it was difficult to persuade him that even now it
would have been much better for him to amend his life and ways. In
this state of affairs he thought it a great piece of good luck that he
should have fallen in with a boy in charge of a large sum of money,
whom, from his youth and inexperience, he would have less trouble in
robbing than an older person.
Andy had already decided how he would spend the afternoon. He had
heard a good deal about the Boston Museum, its large collection of
curiosities, and the plays that were performed there. One of the
pleasantest anticipations he had was of a visit to this place, the
paradise of country people. Now that his business was concluded, he
determined to go there at once. But first he must inquire the way.
Turning around, he saw Fairfax without recognizing him.
"Can you direct me to the Boston Museum?" he asked.
"Certainly, with pleasure," said Fairfax, with alacrity. "In fact, I
am going there myself. I suppose you are going to the afternoon
"Have you ever been there?"
"No; but I have heard a good deal about it. I don't live in the city."
"Nor do I," said Fairfax. "I am a merchant of Portland, Maine. I have
come to the city to buy my winter stock of goods. As I only come twice
a year, I generally try to enjoy myself a little while I am here. Do
you stay in the city overnight?"
"Yes," said Andy.
"So do I. Here is the Museum."
They had reached the Museum, which, as some of my readers are aware,
is situated in Tremont Street.
"We go up these stairs," said Fairfax. "If you don't object, we will
take seats together."
"I shall be glad to have company," said Andy, politely.
Reserved seats adjoining were furnished, and the adventurer and his
intended victim entered the Museum.