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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesSam's Chance And How He Improved It - Chapter 3. Sam Finds A Room
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Sam's Chance And How He Improved It - Chapter 3. Sam Finds A Room Post by :bobbond Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1244

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Sam's Chance And How He Improved It - Chapter 3. Sam Finds A Room

CHAPTER III. SAM FINDS A ROOM

"Here's the letters," said Sam, as he entered the office on his return.

"You may carry them in to Mr. Dalton," said William Budd.

"Now for it!" thought Sam, as he entered the counting-room with reluctant step.

"Here's the letters, Mr. Dalton," said our hero, looking embarrassed.

Mr. Dalton took them, and glanced at the superscription.

"What's all this?" he demanded. "This letter is for Ferguson & Co. And so are the rest. What does it mean?"

"I guess there's some mistake," said Sam, uncomfortably.

"Why did you take these letters? Did you think my name was Ferguson?" demanded Mr. Dalton.

"No, sir."

"Didn't you know they were not for me, then?"

"They gave them to me at the post office," stammered Sam.

"Did you give the number of my box?"

"Yes, sir."

"What number did you call for?"

"I don't remember," answered Sam, abashed.

"Then you don't remember the number of my box?"

"I don't remember now," Sam admitted.

"Did you call for No. 776?"

"Yes," said Sam, promptly.

"That's not the number," said the merchant, quietly. "You must return these letters instantly, and call for my mail. I will give you the number of my box on a card, and then you can't make any mistake. You have made a blunder, which must not be repeated."

"Yes, sir," said Sam, glad to get off with no sharper admonition.

He returned to the post office, and this time he did his errand correctly.

At three o'clock Sam was permitted to leave the office and look out for a boarding-place. He had managed to scrape acquaintance during the day with Henry Martin, an errand boy in the next store, and went to consult him.

"Where do you board?" he asked.

"Near St. John's Park," answered Henry.

"Is it a good place?"

"It will do."

"I want to find a place to board. Is there room where you are?"

"Yes; you can come into my room, if you like."

"What'll I have to pay?"

"I pay a dollar and seventy-five cents a week for my room, and get my meals out; but the old lady will let the two of us have it for two fifty."

"That'll make seventy-five cents for me," said Sam.

"How do you make that out?"

"You pay just the same as you do now, and I'll make it up to two fifty."

"Look here, young fellow, you're smart, but that won't go down," said the other boy.

"Why not?" asked Sam, innocently. "You won't have to pay any more, will you?"

"I would have to pay more than you, and I don't mean to do it. If we pay two fifty, that will be just one twenty-five apiece. That's better than you can do alone."

"Well, I'll try it," said Sam. "When are you goin' round?"

"As soon as I get through work--at five o'clock."

"I'll wait for you."

Sam might have gone back and finished out his afternoon's work, but it did not occur to him as desirable, and he therefore remained with his new friend, till the latter was ready to go with him.

"How much wages do you get?" asked Sam, as they were walking along.

"Five dollars a week."

"So do I."

"Haven't you just gone into your place?"

"Yes."

"I've been in mine two years. I ought to get more than you."

"Why don't you ask for more?"

"It wouldn't be any use. I have asked, and they told me to wait."

"When I've been at work two years I expect to get ten dollars a week," said Sam.

"You'll have to take it out in expecting, then."

"Will I?" asked Sam, rather crestfallen.

"The fact is, we boys don't get paid enough," said Henry.

"No, I guess not," said Sam, assenting readily. "Do you have to work pretty hard?" he inquired.

"As hard as I want to."

"It must be jolly to be a boss, and only have to read letters, and write 'em," said Sam, who had rather an inadequate notion of his employer's cares. "I'd like to be one."

"I've got a rich uncle," said Henry Martin. "I wish he'd set me up in business when I'm twenty-one."

"How much is he worth?"

"About a hundred thousand dollars; I don't know but more."

"Do you think he will set you up?" asked Sam, rather impressed.

"I don't know."

"If he does, you might take me in with you."

"So I will, if your rich uncle will give you a lot of money, too."

"I haven't got no rich uncle," said Sam. "I only wish I had."

"Mine is more ornamental than useful, so far," said Henry. "Well, here we are at my place."

They stood before a shabby, brick dwelling, which bore unmistakable marks of being a cheap lodging-house.

"It isn't very stylish," said Henry, apologetically.

"I ain't used to style," said Sam, with perfect truth. "It'll do for me."

"I'll call Mrs. Brownly," said Henry, after opening the front door with a latchkey. "We'll ask her about your coming in."

Mrs. Brownly, being summoned, made her appearance. She was a tall, angular female, with the worn look of a woman who has a hard struggle to get along.

"Mrs. Brownly," said Henry Martin, "here's a boy who wants to room with me. You said you'd let the room to two for two dollars and a half a week."

"Yes," said she, cheered by the prospect of even a small addition to her income. "I have no objection. What is his name?"

"Same Barker," answered our hero.

"Have you got a place?" asked Mrs. Brownly, cautiously.

"Yes, he's got a place near me," answered Henry Martin for him.

"I expect to be paid regularly," said Mrs. Brownly. "I'm a widow, dependent on what I get from my lodgers."

"I settle all my bills reg'lar," said Sam. "I ain't owin' anything except for the rent of a pianner, last quarter."

Mrs. Brownly looked surprised, and so did Henry Martin.

"The room you will have here isn't large enough for a piano," she said.

"I ain't got no time to play now," said Sam; "my business is too pressing."

"Will you pay the first week in advance?" asked the landlady.

"I don't think it would be convenient," said Sam.

"Then can you give me anything on account?" asked Mrs. Brownly. "Half a dollar will do."

Sam reluctantly drew out fifty cents and handed to her.

"Now, we'll go up and look at the room," said Henry.

It was a hall bedroom on the second floor back which was to be Sam's future home. It appeared to be about six feet wide by eight feet long. There was a pine bedstead, one chair, and a washstand, which would have been improved by a fresh coat of paint. Over the bed hung a cheap print of Gen. Washington, in an equally cheap frame. A row of pegs on the side opposite the bed furnished conveniences for hanging up clothes.

"How do you like it?" asked Henry Martin.

"Tiptop," answered Sam, with satisfaction.

"Well, I'm glad you like it," said his companion. "There's six pegs; you can use half of them."

"What for?" asked Sam.

"To hang up your extra clothes, of course."

"I haven't got any except what I've got on," said Sam.

"You haven't?"

"No."

"I suppose you've got some extra shirts and stockings?"

"No, I haven't. I've been unfortunate, and had to sell my wardrobe to pay my debts."

Henry Martin looked perplexed.

"You don't expect to wear one shirt all the time, do you?" he asked.

"I'll buy some more when I've got money enough."

"You'd better. Now let's go out, and get some supper."

Sam needed no second invitation.

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