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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesChester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 33. A Friend From Oregon
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Chester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 33. A Friend From Oregon Post by :eranks Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1135

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Chester Rand; Or, The New Path To Fortune - Chapter 33. A Friend From Oregon

CHAPTER XXXIII. A FRIEND FROM OREGON

"Go over and speak to him," suggested Chester.

"Come with me, then."

The two boys crossed the street and intercepted the man from Portland. He was of medium height, with dark hair, and had a brisk, Western way with him.

"Don't you remember me, Mr. Wilson?" said Edward.

"What! Edward Granger?" ejaculated the Oregonian. "Well, I am glad to see you. Didn't know what had become of you. Are you living here?"

"Yes, sir. Let me introduce my friend, Chester Rand."

"Glad to meet you, Mr. Rand," said Wilson, heartily. "So you are a friend of Edward's."

"Indeed he is, an excellent friend!" exclaimed young Granger. "Have you--seen my mother lately?"

"Come over to my hotel and I'll answer all your questions. I'm stopping at the Continental, on the next block."

"All right! Will you come, Chester?"

"Yes; I shall be glad to."

They were soon sitting in the office of the Continental Hotel, at the corner of Broadway and Twentieth Street.

"Now I'll answer your questions," said Nathaniel Wilson. "Yes, I saw your mother the day before I set out."

"And is she well?" asked Edward, anxiously.

"She was looking somewhat careworn. She probably misses you."

"She never writes to me," said Edward, bitterly.

"It may be because she doesn't know your address. Then your stepfather keeps her prejudiced against you."

"I suppose there is no change in him?"

"No; except that he is drinking harder than ever. His business is against him, though he would drink even if he didn't keep a saloon."

"Does he treat my mother well?"

"I think he does. I have never heard anything to the contrary. You see, he wouldn't dare to do otherwise, as your mother has the property, and he wants to keep in with her in order to get a share."

"I have been afraid that she would give a part to him."

"Thus far I am confident she hasn't done it. She is Scotch, isn't she?"

"Yes; her name was Downie, and she was born in Glasgow, but came to this country at an early age."

"The Scotch are careful and conservative."

"She probably gives most of her income to Trimble--indeed, he collects her rents--but the principal she keeps in her own hands. Once I heard your stepfather complaining bitterly of this. 'My wife,' he said, 'treats me very badly. She's rolling in wealth, and I am a poor man, obliged to work early and late for a poor living.'"

"He pays nothing toward the support of the house," said Edward, indignantly. "Mother pays all bills, and gives him money for himself besides."

"I don't see how she could have married such a man!"

"Nor I. He seems coarse, and is half the time under the influence of drink."

"I wonder whether he has induced your mother to make a will in his favor," said Wilson, thoughtfully. "If he did, I think her life would be in danger."

Edward turned pale at this suggestion.

"I don't care so much for the property," he said, "but I can't bear to think of my mother's life as being in danger."

"Probably your mother's caution will serve her a good turn here also," said Wilson. "It isn't best to borrow trouble. I will keep watch, and if I see or hear of anything alarming I will write you. But now tell me about yourself. Are you at work?"

"Not just at present," replied Edward, embarrassed.

"But I think I can get him another place in a day or two," said Chester, quickly.

"If you need a little money, call on me," added the warm-hearted Westerner. "You know you used to call me your uncle Nathaniel."

"I wouldn't like to borrow," said Edward, shyly.

"When was your birthday?"

"A month ago."

"Then I must give you a birthday present You can't object to that," and Mr. Wilson took a ten-dollar gold piece from his pocket and pressed it upon Edward.

"Thank you very much. I can't decline a birthday gift."

"That's what I thought. I am an old friend, and have a right to remember you. Was Mr. Rand in the same office with you?"

"No; Chester is an artist."

"An artist! A boy like him!" ejaculated the Oregonian in surprise.

Chester smiled.

"I am getting older every day," he said.

"That's what's the matter with me," rejoined Mr. Wilson. "You haven't any gray hair yet, while I have plenty."

"Not quite yet," smiled Chester.

"What kind of an artist are you?"

"I make drawings for an illustrated weekly. It is a comic paper."

"And perhaps you put your friends in occasionally?"

"Not friends exactly, but sometimes I sketch a face I meet in the street."

"You may use me whenever you want a representative of the wild and woolly West."

"Thank you, Mr. Wilson."

"But in that case you must send me a copy of the paper."

"I won't forget it."

"How long are you staying in New York, Mr. Wilson?" asked Edward.

"I go away to-morrow. You must spend the evening with me."

"I should like to do so. It seems good to see an old friend."

"By and by we will go to Delmonico's and have an ice cream. I suppose you have been there?"

"No; office boys don't often patronize Delmonico. They are more likely to go to Beefsteak John's."

"I never heard that name. Is it a fashionable place?"

"Yes, with those of small pocketbooks. It is a perfectly respectable place, but people living on Fifth Avenue prefer the Brunswick or Delmonico's."

Edward brightened up so much owing to the presence of a friend from his distant home that Chester could hardly believe that it was the same boy whom he had found but a short time before in the depths of despondency.

About nine o'clock they adjourned to Delmonico's and ordered ices and cake.

"This seems a tiptop place," said the Oregonian, looking about him. "We haven't got anything equal to it in Portland, but we may have sometime. The Western people are progressive. We don't want to be at the tail end of the procession. Mr. Rand, you ought to come out and see something of the West, particularly of the Pacific coast. You may not feel an interest in it at present, but----"

"I have more interest in it than you imagine, Mr. Wilson. I have some property at Tacoma."

"You don't mean it! What kind of property?"

"I own five lots there."

"Then you are in luck. Lots in Tacoma are rising every day."

"But it wouldn't be well to sell at present, would it?"

"No; the railroad has only recently been completed, and the growth of Tacoma has only just begun."

"I hope to go West some day."

"When you do you must call on me. Perhaps you will come, too, Edward?"

Edward Granger shook his head.

"It won't be worth while for me to go back while Mr. Trimble is alive. He seems to have such an influence over my mother that it would not be pleasant for me to go there and have a cold reception from her."

"I will call on her and mention your name. Then I can see how the land lays. How she can prefer such a man as Abner Trimble to her own son I can't understand."

About ten o'clock the two boys left Mr. Wilson, who had been going about all day and showed signs of fatigue.

"Shan't I see you again, Mr. Wilson?" asked Edward.

"No; I must take an early start in the morning. You had better let me lend you a little money."

"No, thank you, sir. Your generous gift will help me till I get a place."

So the farewells were said, and the boys walked home.

"Now," said Edward, "I must try to get a place. This money will last me two weeks, and in that time I ought to secure something."

He went from place to place, answering advertisements the next day, but met with no luck. He was feeling rather depressed when Chester came into his room.

"I have found a place for you," he said, brightly.

"You don't mean it! Where is it?" asked young Granger.

"At the office of _The Phoenix_. You will be in the mailing department. The salary is small--only seven dollars a week--but----"

"I shall feel rich. It is two dollars more than I received at my last place. When am I to go to work?"

"To-morrow. The mailing clerk has got a better place, and that makes an opening for you."

"And I owe this good fortune to you," said Edward, gratefully. "How can I repay you?"

"By being my friend!"

"That I shall be--for life!" replied Edward, fervently.

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