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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesDo And Dare: A Brave Boy's Fight For Fortune - Chapter 18. A Thief In Trouble
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Do And Dare: A Brave Boy's Fight For Fortune - Chapter 18. A Thief In Trouble Post by :susan Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1290

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Do And Dare: A Brave Boy's Fight For Fortune - Chapter 18. A Thief In Trouble


"Have you ever visited the suburbs of Boston?" asked Melville.

"No," answered Herbert. "I know very little of the city, and nothing of the towns near it."

"Then, as we have time to spare, we will board the next horse car and ride out to Roxbury."

"I should like it very much, Mr. Melville," said Herbert, in a tone of satisfaction. I may remark that Roxbury was at that time a separate municipality, and had not been annexed to Boston.

They did not have to wait long for a car. An open car, of the kind in common use during the pleasant season, drew near, and they secured seats in it. After leaving Dover Street, Washington Street, still then narrow, broadens into a wide avenue, and is called the Neck. It was gay with vehicles of all sorts, and Herbert found much to attract his attention.

"The doctor tells me I ought to be a good deal in the open air," said Melville, "and I thought I would act at once upon his suggestion. It is much pleasanter than taking medicine."

"I should think so," answered Herbert, emphatically.

Arrived at the end of the route, Melville and Herbert remained on the car, and returned at once to the city. When they reached the crowded part of Washington Street a surprise awaited Herbert.

From a small jewelry store they saw a man come out, and walk rapidly away.

"Mr. Melville," said Herbert, in excitement, "do you see that man?"

"Yes. What of him?"

"It is the man who tried to rob me on Bunker Hill Monument."

He had hardly uttered these words when another man darted from the shop, bareheaded, and pursued Herbert's morning acquaintance, crying, "Stop, thief!"

The thief took to his heels, but a policeman was at hand, and seized him by the collar.

"What has this man been doing?" he asked, as the jeweler's clerk came up, panting.

"He has stolen a diamond ring from the counter," answered the clerk. "I think he has a watch besides."

"It's a lie!" said the thief, boldly.

"Search him!" said the clerk, "and you'll find that I have made no mistake."

"Come with me to the station house, and prepare your complaint," said the policeman.

By this time a crowd had gathered, and the thief appealed to them.

"Gentlemen," he said, "I am a reputable citizen of St. Louis, come to Boston to buy goods, and I protest against this outrage. It is either a mistake or a conspiracy, I don't know which."

The thief was well dressed, and some of the bystanders were disposed to put confidence in him. He had not seen Herbert and George Melville, who had left the car and joined the throng, or he might not have spoken so confidently.

"He doesn't look like a thief," said one of the bystanders, a benevolent-looking old gentleman.

"I should say not," said the thief, more boldly. "It's a pretty state of things if a respectable merchant can't enter a store here in Boston without being insulted and charged with theft. If I only had some of my friends or acquaintances here, they would tell you that it is simply ridiculous to make such a charge against me."

"You can explain this at the station house," said the policeman. "It is my duty to take you there."

"Is there no one who knows the gentleman?" said the philanthropist before referred to. "Is there no one to speak up for him?"

Herbert pressed forward, and said, quietly:

"I know something of him; I passed the morning in his company."

The thief turned quickly, but he didn't seem gratified to see Herbert.

"The boy is mistaken," he said, hurriedly; "I never saw him before."

"But I have seen you, sir," retorted our hero. "You saw me draw some money from a bank in State Street, scraped acquaintance with me, and tried to rob me of it on Bunker Hill."

"It's a lie!" said the prisoner, hoarsely.

"Do you wish to make a charge to that effect?" asked the policeman.

"No, sir; I only mentioned what I knew of him to support the charge of this gentleman," indicating the jeweler's clerk.

The old gentleman appeared to lose his interest in the prisoner after Herbert's statement, and he was escorted without further delay to the station house, where a gold watch and the diamond ring were both found on his person. It is scarcely needful to add that he was tried and sentenced to a term of imprisonment in the very city--Charlestown--where he had attempted to rob Herbert.

"It is not always that retribution so quickly overtakes the wrongdoer," said Melville. "St. Louis will hardly be proud of the man who claims her citizenship."

"Dishonesty doesn't seem to pay in his case," said Herbert, thoughtfully.

"It never pays in any case, Herbert," said George Melville, emphatically. "Even if a man could steal enough to live upon, and were sure not to be found out, he would not enjoy his ill-gotten gain, as an honest man enjoys the money he works hard for. But when we add the risk of detection and the severe penalty of imprisonment, it seems a fatal mistake for any man to overstep the bounds of honesty and enroll himself as a criminal."

"I agree with you, Mr. Melville," said Herbert, thoughtfully. "I don't think I shall ever be tempted, but if I am, I will think of this man and his quick detection."

When they reached the depot, a little before four o'clock, George Melville sent Herbert to the ticket office to purchase tickets, while he remained in the waiting room.

"I might as well accustom you to the duties that are likely to devolve upon you," he said, with a smile.

Herbert had purchased the tickets and was turning away, when to his surprise he saw Ebenezer Graham enter the depot, laboring evidently under considerable excitement. He did not see Herbert, so occupied was he with thoughts of an unpleasant nature, till the boy greeted him respectfully.

"Herbert Carr!" he said; "when did you come into Boston?"

"This morning, sir."

"Have you seen anything of my son, Eben, here?" gasped Mr. Graham.

"Yes, sir; he was on the same train, but I did not see him to speak to him till after I reached the city."

"Do you know what he has been doing here?" asked Ebenezer, his face haggard with anxiety.

"I only saw him for five minutes," answered Herbert, reluctant to tell the father what he knew would confirm any suspicion he might entertain.

"Where did you see him?" demanded Ebenezer, quickly.

"At a railroad ticket office not far from the Old South Church."

"Do you know if he bought any ticket?" asked Ebenezer, anxiously.

"Yes," answered Herbert. "I overheard him purchasing a ticket to Chicago."

Ebenezer groaned, and his face seemed more and more wizened and puckered up.

"It is as I thought!" he exclaimed, bitterly. "My own son has robbed me and fled like a thief, as he is."

Herbert was shocked, but not surprised. He didn't like to ask particulars, but Ebenezer volunteered them.

"This morning," he said, "I foolishly gave Eben a hundred dollars, and sent him to Boston to pay for a bill of goods which I recently bought of a wholesale house on Milk Street. If I had only known you were going in, I would have sent it by you."

Herbert felt gratified at this manifestation of confidence, especially as he had so recently been charged with robbing the post office, but did not interrupt Mr. Graham, who continued:

"As soon as Eben was fairly gone, I began to feel sorry I sent him, for he got into extravagant ways when he was in Boston before, and he had been teasing me to give him money enough to go out West with. About noon I discovered that he had taken fifty dollars more than the amount I intrusted to him, and then I couldn't rest till I was on my way to Boston to find out the worst. I went to the house on Milk Street and found they had seen nothing of Eben. Then I knew what had happened. The graceless boy has robbed his father of a hundred and fifty dollars, and is probably on his way West by this time."

"He was to start by the three o'clock train, I think," said Herbert, and gave his reasons for thinking so.

Ebenezer seemed so utterly cast down by this confirmation of his worst suspicions, that Herbert called Mr. Melville, thinking he might be able to say something to comfort him.

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CHAPTER XVII. AN ACCEPTABLE PRESENTAs the clock at the Old South Church struck one, Herbert ascended the steps of Parker's Hotel, and walked into the reading room. George Melville was already there. "You are on time, Herbert," he said, with a smile, as our hero made his appearance. "Yes, sir; but I began to think I should miss my appointment." "Where have you been?" "To Bunker Hill." "Did you ascend the monument?" "Yes, sir, and had a fight at the summit." Mr. Melville looked at Herbert in amazement. "Had a fight at the top of Bunker Hill Monument?" he ejaculated. "Yes,