Chapter XXXVI. A Letter from Rose Gardiner

Ben resumed his place as the secretary and confidential clerk of Mrs. Hamilton. He found his position more agreeable when Mrs. Hill and Conrad were fairly out of the house. In place of the first a pleasant-faced German woman was engaged, and there were no more sour looks and sneering words.

Of course Ben kept up a weekly correspondence with his mother. He did not tell her the extent of his good fortune--he wished that to be a surprise, when the time came. From his mother, too, he received weekly letters, telling him not unfrequently how she missed him, though she was glad he was doing so well.

One day beside his mother's letter was another. He did not know the handwriting, but, looking eagerly to the end, he saw the name of Rose Gardiner.

"What would Rose say," Ben asked himself, "if she knew that I am worth four thousand dollars?"

The money had been paid to Ben, and was deposited in four different savings banks, till he could decide on a better investment. So he was quite sure of having more than enough to pay off the mortgage and redeem the cottage.

"Since mother is worrying, I must write and set her mind at rest," he decided.

He wrote accordingly, telling his mother not to feel anxious, for he had wealthy friends, and he felt sure, with their help, of paying off the mortgage. "But don't tell anybody this," he continued, "for I want to give the squire and Mr. Kirk a disagreeable surprise. I shall come to Pentonville two days before, and may stay a week."

He had already spoken to Mrs. Hamilton about having this week as a vacation.