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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesFive Hundred Dollars; Or, Jacob Marlowe's Secret - Chapter 17. After The Trial
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Five Hundred Dollars; Or, Jacob Marlowe's Secret - Chapter 17. After The Trial Post by :jkane Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1477

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Five Hundred Dollars; Or, Jacob Marlowe's Secret - Chapter 17. After The Trial


"Mr. Conway," said Bert, as they walked home together from the trial, "I am very grateful to you for getting me out of my trouble. If you will let me know your fee, I will pay it."

"My dear boy," rejoined the young lawyer, "this is my vacation, and I only took up your case to keep my hand in."

"You are very kind, and I shall always remember it."

"Lawyers are not always mercenary, though they have that reputation with some. I should like, by the way, to find out who did steal the bill."

"So should I. I have no idea for my part."

"If you ever find out, let me know. I go back to New York to-morrow, and am glad to leave the memory of a professional triumph behind me."

"What is your address, Mr. Conway?"

"No. 111 Nassau Street, Room 15. Here is my card. When you come to New York, call and see me."

"I shall do so, though it may be some time in the future. Do you think I could get anything to do in New York?"

"Yes; but perhaps not enough to pay your expenses."

"I find the same trouble here."

"You have been at work in the shoe factory, I believe."

"Yes; but I have been discharged. My place has been taken by a machine."

"That is unfortunate. Is there no other opening in Lakeville?"

"I have not found any yet."

"I will keep your case in mind, and if I hear of anything I will let you know."

When Squire Marlowe returned home from the trial, his wife inquired with interest, "How did the case come out?"

"The boy was acquitted," answered her husband shortly.

"Acquitted! Why, you thought it was a close case."

"So I did, but it came out on the trial that there were two twenty-dollar bills, and the one which the Barton boy presented was left for him by Uncle Jacob."

"By that old man? Why, I thought he was poor."

"So he is--worth only five hundred dollars, and he is making ducks and drakes of that as fast as he can."

"And then he will fall back on you?"

"I suppose so."

"Then I hope you will let him go to the poor house," said Mrs. Marlowe with energy.

"I shall. I have no pity for a man who throws away his money."

Percy came home to dinner in lively spirits. He was free from anxiety, and felt that he had been remarkably fortunate.

"Were you at the trial, Percy?" asked his mother.

"No, ma."

"I thought you would be interested in seeing that boy on trial."

"I was sorry for him, and didn't want to be present."

"Sorry for him?"

"Yes; I felt sure he had not taken the money."

"Seems to me this is a new streak, Percy," said the squire. "I thought you didn't like Bert Barton."

"I am not intimate with him, for he is only a working boy; but all the same I don't want him convicted when he is innocent."

"It is a mystery to me who could have taken the other twenty-dollar bill," said the squire. "Can you think of anybody?"

"No; how should I?" returned Percy, nearly swallowing a spoonful of soup the wrong way.

"There are so few people in the village, that it must be some one we know."

"Perhaps old Jones didn't lose any money, after all."

"There is no doubt on that point. The stolen bill has been returned to him in an envelope by Sam Doyle."

"Is that so?" exclaimed Percy, counterfeiting surprise. "Why, it must be the same envelope Sam showed me."

"He showed you the envelope?"

"Yes; he picked it up by the roadside. It was directed in pencil to Mr. Jones. So that contained the stolen bill?"


"Then perhaps it was taken in joke."

"A poor joke! No; the thief got alarmed, and took that way of returning it. I suggested to Jones that the handwriting on the envelope might furnish a clew to the thief."

"What did he say?" asked Percy, alarmed.

"He said he should do nothing about it, now that he had the money back."

"I guess he's right," said Percy, relieved.

In the afternoon Bert met Percy in the street. He advanced cordially.

"Well, Percy, I got free, after all."

"Yes, I am glad of it."

"I feel grateful to you for believing in my innocence."

"It's all right," said Percy, in a patronizing tone. "Even if you are a working boy, I was sure you wouldn't steal."

Bert's feelings cooled a little. Somehow Percy's manner kept him aloof.

"Yes, I am a working boy," he replied, "or at any rate I would like to be, but I don't find it easy to get work."

"Just so! If I hear of anything I will let you know. Good-morning!"

"I don't know what to make of Percy," thought Bert, perplexed. "He was as kind as he could be this morning, and now he is offish. At any rate, he didn't believe me guilty, and I won't forget that in a hurry."

Two more weeks passed, and Bert still found himself unable to find employment. Berries had become so plenty that he was unable to sell any, and only picked some for consumption at home. The sum of money which had been received from Uncle Jacob gradually dwindled, and Bert became alarmed. What would they do when it was all gone? He had no doubt that Uncle Jacob would give them further assistance, if appealed to, but both he and his mother felt that it would be an imposition on the old man, with his limited fund of money, to ask anything more of him.

"I don't want any more of Uncle Jacob's money, mother," said Bert; "but I should like to ask him if he could find me a place in New York."

"I couldn't bear to have you leave me, Bert."

"But I must take work wherever I can find it."

So Bert with his mother's permission, wrote to Uncle Jacob, informing him of his discharge from the factory, and his desire to obtain work elsewhere. This letter reached Jacob Marlowe, and led to his writing as follows to the squire:


I hear by a letter from Lakeville that you have discharged Bert Barton from your employment, and that he cannot secure any other kind of work. I am surprised that you should treat Mary's boy in this manner, considering the relationship that exists between you. I appeal to your better nature to reinstate him in his old place. I can assure you that you will have no cause to regret it. I have steady work here, and am quite well satisfied with my position and prospects.


"The stupid old meddler!" ejaculated the squire, throwing the letter from him in impatience. "I suppose the Barton boy has been writing to him. He evidently considers it my duty to support all my poor relations, himself included. I will undeceive him on that point." He drew writing materials toward him and wrote as follows:


I have received your letter asking me to reinstate the Barton boy in his old place. This is a business matter, and I don't permit any interference with my business. I may add that, even if he is a poor relation, I do not feel called upon to support all my needy relations. I am glad you have obtained a situation in which you can make an honest living. I hope you will keep it, and won't squander the small sum of money you have in reserve.

Yours, etc.,

When Uncle Jacob read this letter, he smiled.

"It is what I expected," he said to himself. "Albert Marlowe is thoroughly selfish, and so, I think, are his wife and son. I must find some other way of helping Bert."

The day succeeding the receipt of Uncle Jacob's letter, the squire met Bert in the post-office.

"Have you been writing to Jacob Marlowe?" he asked.

"Yes, sir."

"I suppose you asked him to urge me to take you back into the factory?"

"No, sir."

"At any rate, he has done so; but I allow no one to interfere in my business affairs. You hear, do you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then remember it!" and Squire Marlowe turned his back rudely upon Bert.

"Here is a letter for you, Bert!" said the postmaster.

Bert opened the letter in some surprise, and read it with interest and excitement.

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