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Sam sat down at a table, and took up the bill of fare. A colored waiter stood by, and awaited his orders.
"Bring me a plate of beefsteak, a cup of coffee, and some tea-biscuit," said Sam, with the air of a man of fortune.
"All right, sir," said the waiter.
"After all, it's pleasant living in New York," thought Sam, as he leaned back in his chair, and awaited in pleasant anticipation the fulfilment of his order. "It's different from livin' at the deacon's. Here a feller can be independent."
"As long as he has money," Sam should have added; but, like some business men, he was not aware of his present insolvency. Ignorance is bliss, sometimes; and it is doubtful whether our hero would have eaten his breakfast with as good a relish when it came, if he had known that he had not a cent in his pocket.
Sam was soon served, and he soon made way with the articles he had ordered. You can't get a very liberal supply of beefsteak for fifteen cents, which was what Sam was charged for his meat. He felt hungry still, after he had eaten what was set before him. So he took the bill of fare once more, and pored over its well-filled columns.
"They must have a tremendous big kitchen to cook so many things," he thought. "Why, there are as many as a hundred. Let me see—here's buckwheat cakes, ten cents. I guess I'll have some."
"Anything more, sir?" asked the waiter, approaching to clear away the dirty dishes.
"Buckwheat cakes, and another cup of coffee," ordered Sam.
"All right, sir."
"They treat me respectful, here," thought Sam. "What would the deacon say to hear me called sir? I like it. Folks have better manners in the city than in the country."
This was rather a hasty conclusion on the part of Sam, and it was not long before he had occasion enough to change his mind.
He ate the buckwheat cakes with a relish, and felt tolerably satisfied.
"Anything more, sir?" asked the waiter.
Sam was about to say no, when his eye rested on that portion of the bill devoted to pastry, and he changed his mind.
"Bring me a piece of mince-pie," he said.
Sam was sensible that he was ordering breakfast beyond his means, but he vaguely resolved that he would content himself with a small dinner. He really could not resist the temptation of the pie.
At last it was eaten, and the waiter brought him a ticket, bearing the price of his breakfast, fifty cents. Now, for the first time, he felt in his vest-pocket for his money. He felt in vain. Still he did not suspect his loss.
"I thought I put it in my vest-pocket," he said to himself. "I guess I made a mistake, and put it in some other."
He felt in another pocket, and still another, till he had explored every pocket he possessed, and still no money.
Sam turned pale, and his heart gave a sudden thump, as the extent of his misfortune dawned upon him. It was not alone that he was without money in a strange city, but he had eaten rather a hearty breakfast, which he was unable to pay for. What would they think of him? What would they do to him? He saw it all now. That specious stranger, Clarence Brown, had robbed him in his sleep. That was why he had invited him to spend the night in his room without charge. That was why he had got up so early and stolen out without his knowledge, after he had purloined all his money.
Sam was not particularly bashful; but he certainly felt something like it, as he walked up to the cashier's desk. A man stood behind it, rather stout, and on the whole not benevolent in his looks. There was no softness about his keen business face. Sam inferred with a sinking heart that he was not a man likely to sympathize with him in his misfortunes, or seem to give credence to them.
Sam stood at the counter waiting while the proprietor was making change for another customer. He was considering what he could best say to propitiate his creditor.
"Now, then," said the man behind the counter, a little impatiently, for another had come up behind Sam, "where's your ticket?"
"Here, sir," said Sam, laying it on the counter.
"Fifty cents. Pay quick, and don't keep me waiting."
"I am very sorry, sir," Sam began, faltering, "but—"
"But what!" exclaimed the proprietor, with an ominous scowl.
"I can't pay you now."
"Can't pay me now!" repeated the other, angrily; "what do you mean?"
"I've lost my money," said Sam, feeling more and more uncomfortable.
By this time the patience of the restaurant-keeper was quite gone.
"What business had you to come in here and order an expensive breakfast when you had no money?" he demanded, furiously.
"I thought I had some money," said Sam, fervently wishing himself back at the deacon's for the first time since his arrival in the city.
"How could you think you had some when you hadn't any?"
"I had some last night," said Sam, eagerly; "but I slept in Mr.
Brown's room, and he must have robbed me in the night."
"That's a likely story!" sneered the proprietor. "What do you think of it, Mr. Jones?" he asked, turning to a customer, whom he knew by name.
Mr. Jones shrugged his shoulders.
"Too thin!" he replied, briefly.
"Of course it is," said the proprietor, angrily. "This boy's evidently a beat."
"A what?" inquired Sam, who had not been in the city long enough to understand the meaning of the term.
"A dead beat; but you don't play any of your games on me, young man. I've cut my eye-teeth, I have. You don't swindle me out of a fifty-cent breakfast quite so easily. Here, John, call a policeman."
"Oh, don't call a policeman!" exclaimed Sam, terror-stricken. "It's true, every word I've told you. I'm from the country. I only got to the city yesterday, and I've been robbed of all my money, over six dollars. I hope you'll believe me."
"I don't believe a word you say," said the restaurant-keeper, harshly. "You are trying to come it over me. I dare say you've been round the streets half your life."
"I think you are wrong, Mr. Chucks," said another customer, who was waiting to pay his bill. "He's got a country look about him. He don't look like one of the regular street boys. Better let him go. I wouldn't call a policeman."
"I ought to," grumbled the proprietor. "Fancy his impudence in ordering a fifty-cent breakfast, when he hadn't a cent to pay his bill."
"I wouldn't have come in, if I had known," said Sam.
"Don't tell me," said the man, sharply, "for I don't believe it. Do you think I can afford to give you breakfast for nothing?"
"I'll pay you as soon as I get some money," said Sam. "Only don't send me to prison."
"I won't give you in charge this time, though I ought to; but I'll give you something to settle your breakfast. Here, Peter, you waited on this young man, didn't you?"
"He hasn't paid for his breakfast, and pretends he hasn't got any money. Bounce him!"
If Sam was ignorant of the meaning of the word "bounce," he was soon enlightened. The waiter seized him by the collar, before he knew what was going to happen, pushed him to the door, and then, lifting his foot by a well-directed kick, landed him across the sidewalk into the street.
This proceeding was followed by derisive laughter from the other waiters who had gathered near the door, and it was echoed by two street urchins outside, who witnessed Sam's ignominious exit from the restaurant.
Sam staggered from the force of the bouncing, and felt disgraced and humiliated to think that the waiter who had been so respectful and attentive should have inflicted upon him such an indignity, which he had no power to resent.
"I wish I was back at the deacon's," he thought bitterly.
"How do you feel?" asked one of the boys who had witnessed Sam's humiliation, not sympathetically, but in a tone of mockery.
"None of your business!" retorted Sam, savagely.
"He feels bad, Mickey," said the other. "He's heard bad news, and that's what made him in such a hurry."
Here both the boys laughed, and Sam retorted angrily, "I'll make you feel bad, if you aint careful."
"Hear him talk, Mickey,—aint he smart?"
"I'll make you both smart," said Sam, beginning to roll up his sleeves; for he was no coward, and the boys were only about his own size.
"He wants to bounce us, like he was bounced himself," said Pat Riley.
"How did it feel, Johnny?"
Sam gave chase, but his tormentors were better acquainted with the city than he, and he did not succeed in catching them. Finally he gave it up, and, sitting down on a convenient door-step, gave himself up to melancholy reflections.
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