Chapter XXI. Herbert's Reward
 

"I owe the safety of my money to you, my brave boy," said Mr. Carroll, the next morning, as, after rising, he replaced the package of bank notes in his carpet-bag.

"I only did my duty," said Herbert, but his face flushed with pleasure at the commendations bestowed upon him.

"But in doing your duty, you displayed a courage and fidelity rare in one of your age."

"I am glad you approve of my conduct," said Herbert.

"If you continue to deserve as well of those who employ you, I am sure you will achieve success."

"I hope so, sir," said our hero. "I shall try to do my duty in whatever situation in life I may be placed."

"What are your plans when you reach New York?"

"I shall try to find a place in a store, or counting-room."

"Have you friends in the city on whose influence you can rely to help you to such a situation as you desire?" "No, sir; I have only myself to look to."

"Only yourself! It is a bold undertaking."

"Don't you think I shall succeed?" asked Herbert, a little anxiously.

"I do not doubt that you will succeed, after finding a place, but that is the difficulty."

"I supposed there must be plenty to do in a great city like New York."

"There is truth in what you say, but, nevertheless, many are led astray by it. There is, indeed, a great deal to do, but there are a great many ready to do it, and generally--I may say, always--the laborers exceed the work to be done."

"Perhaps," said Herbert, "many fail to get work, because they are particular what they do. If I can find nothing better to do, I will black boots."

"With such a spirit, I think you will succeed. But, perhaps, I can smooth away some of the difficulties in your path. I know a firm in New York--connections of our family--to whom I will give you a letter of introduction. If they have no room for you in their house, they may influence someone else to take you."

"I shall feel very much obliged to you for such a letter. It will do me a great deal of good," said Herbert, gratefully.

"I will gladly write it, but now let us go down to breakfast."

After breakfast was over, they looked in upon the wounded man.

"How do you feel this morning?" asked Herbert, going up to the bedside.

"Rather stiff, but I am not in such pain as I was."

"I am glad to hear it."

"That is the gentleman I was going to rob?" said the burglar, looking in the direction of Mr. Carroll.

"Yes."

"Is he--did you say anything to him about not prosecuting me?" he asked, nervously.

"Be under no apprehension," said Mr. Carroll, mildly. "I do not care to punish you more than you have already been punished. I prefer that you should lead a better life."

"I will try to do so. sir; but I was poor, and that made the temptation stronger."

"I can easily believe it. Are you wholly without means?"

"Nearly so."

"Here, then, is a purse containing a hundred dollars. It will probably pay your expenses during your illness."

The wounded man looked up in surprise.

"There ain't many that would pay a man for trying to rob them," he said.

"I do not pay you for that," said Mr. Carroll, "but because I do not wish you to be subjected to a similar temptation again."

The wounded man, who, under different treatment would have been defiant and profane, seemed quite subdued by such unexpected kindness.

"Well, sir," he said. "all I can say is, that I am very much obliged to you, and I hope you will be rewarded for your kindness."

"It is easier to lead men than to drive them," said Mr. Carroll, as they left the chamber. "This man is rough, and not troubled much with a conscience, but harshness would make him still worse."

"Yes, sir," said Herbert; "I think you are right."

After breakfast they resumed their journey. In due time they reached Baltimore, and remained over night at a hotel. In the course of the succeeding day they arrived at Philadelphia, which was the termination of Mr. Carroll's journey. As the country through which they passed was unknown to Herbert, the journey was full of interest, but there was no adventure worth recording.

The time came when the two travelers were compelled to part.

"If I were going to a hotel, Herbert," said Mr. Carroll, "I would invite you to remain with me a day or two; but I shall proceed at once to the house of a friend, and I shall not feel at liberty to invite you."

"Thank you, sir," said Herbert. "I think it will be best for me to go on to New York at once. I have got my living to make, and I am anxious to get to work as soon as possible."

"It is a praiseworthy feeling," said the old gentleman. "Life lies before you. I have left nearly the whole of it behind me. I am drawing near the end of my journey. You are just at the beginning. I shall hope to meet you again, but, if not, be assured that I shall always remember, with pleasure, my young traveling companion."

"Thank you, sir," said Herbert.

"I shall not soon forget the essential service which you have rendered me," continued the old gentleman.

"Don't think of it, sir," said Herbert, modestly, "Anyone would have done the same thing in my place."

"I am by no means sure of that. At any rate, the obligation remains. You must allow me to acknowledge it in some measure."

Mr. Carroll drew out his pocketbook and handed it to Herbert.

"Will you oblige me," he said, "by counting the bills in this pocketbook?"

Herbert did so.

"There are sixty-five dollars," he said, passing it back.

"Will you take out fifty dollars?"

"Yes, sir--I have done it."

"That's the sum you will oblige me by keeping," said Mr. Carroll. "I hope it may be of service to you."

"You give me so much money?" said Herbert, in surprise.

"It is but a very small sum, compared with that which you have saved me."

"I don't think I ought to take so much," said Herbert, hesitating.

"You need not hesitate, my young friend. I am blessed with abundant means, and very well able to part with it. Besides, it is only one per cent. of the money which you have been instrumental in saving me, and you are certainly entitled to as much as that."

"I thank you very much for the gift, Mr. Carroll," said our hero, "and still more for the kind manner in which you give it to me."

"You accept it, then? That is well," said the old gentleman, with satisfaction. "There is one thing more. You remember that I spoke to you of a business firm in Pearl Street, New York, with the members of which I am acquainted. Last evening I prepared a letter of introduction to them for you. Here it is."

"Thank you, sir," said Herbert. "I was very fortunate in meeting with one so able and willing to assist me."

"You are very welcome to all the help I am able to give you. I shall be very glad if your life shall be as prosperous as mine has been. I must trouble you to do me one more service. If you will find me a cab, I will go at once to my friend's house."

No difficulty was experienced in obtaining a carriage. There was a cordial leave-taking, and Herbert once more found himself alone. But with rather more than sixty dollars in his pocket, he felt rich, and looked forward eagerly to his arrival in the great city, where he hoped to deserve and win success.