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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Young Adventurer: Tom's Trip Across The Plain - Chapter 11. The First Day On The River
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The Young Adventurer: Tom's Trip Across The Plain - Chapter 11. The First Day On The River Post by :jschulmansr Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :1525

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The Young Adventurer: Tom's Trip Across The Plain - Chapter 11. The First Day On The River


About half-past twelve dinner was announced.

"I hope you'll sit next to us, Tom," said Jennie Watson.

"I will, if I can."

It happened that Milton Graham entered the saloon at the same time with the new friends. He took the seat next to Jennie, much to that young lady's annoyance.

"Will you be kind enough to take the next seat?" she asked. "That young gentleman is to sit next to me."

"I am sorry to resign the pleasure, but anything to oblige," said Graham. "Tom, I congratulate you," he continued, with a disagreeable smile.

"Thank you," said our hero briefly.

"He calls you Tom. Does he know you?" inquired Jennie, in a low voice.

"I made his acquaintance yesterday for the first time."

"I don't like his looks; do you?"

"Wait till after dinner and I will tell you," said Tom, fearing that Graham would hear.

Milton Graham saw that Jennie was pretty, and desired to make her acquaintance.

"Tom," said he--for he sat on the other side of our hero--"won't you introduce me to your young lady friend?"

Tom was not well versed in etiquette, but his good sense told him that he ought to ask Jennie's permission first.

"If Miss Watson is willing," he said, and asked her the question.

Jennie was not aware of Graham's real character, and gave permission. She was perhaps a little too ready to make new acquaintances.

"Do you enjoy this mode of travel, Miss Watson?" said Graham, after the introduction.

"Oh, yes; I think it very pleasant."

"I suppose you wouldn't like the ocean as well. I went to Havana last winter--on business for my father--and had a very rough passage. The steamer pitched and tossed, making us all miserably seasick."

"I shouldn't like that."

"I don't think you would; but we business men must not regard such things."

Tom listened to him with incredulity. Only the day before he would have put full confidence in his statement; but he had learned a lesson, thanks to Graham himself.

"How far are you going, Miss Watson?" continued Graham.

"To Cincinnati. My mother and I are going to live there."

"It is a very pleasant city. I have often been there--on business."

"What is your business, Mr. Graham?" Tom could not help asking.

"I see you are a Yankee," said Graham, smiling. "Yankees are very inquisitive--always asking questions."

"Are you a Yankee, Mr. Graham?" asked Jennie. "You asked me where I was going."

"A fair hit," said Graham. "No, I am not a Yankee. I am a native of New York."

"And I of New Jersey," said Tom.

"Oh, you are a foreigner then," said Graham. "We always call Jerseymen foreigners."

"It is a stupid joke, I think," said Tom, who was loyal to his native State.

"You didn't answer Tom's question," said Jennie, who was a very straightforward young lady.

"Oh, my father is a commission merchant," answered Graham.

"What does he deal in?"

"Articles too numerous to mention. Tom, will you pass me the potatoes?"

Dinner was soon over, and the passengers went upon deck. Graham lit a cigar.

"Have a cigar, Tom?" he said.

"No, thank you; I don't smoke."

"You'll soon learn. I'll see you again soon."

"Tom," said Jennie, "tell me about this Mr. Graham. What do you know about him?"

"I don't like to tell what I know," said Tom, hesitating.

"But I want you to. You introduced me, you know."

"What I know is not to his advantage. I don't like to talk against a man."

"You needn't mind telling me."

On reflection Tom decided that he ought to tell what he knew, for he felt that Jennie ought to be put on her guard against a man whom he did not consider a suitable acquaintance for her.

"Very well," said he, "if you promise not to let him know that I have told you."

"I promise."

"He was my roommate last night at the Pittsburg House," said Tom, in a low voice. "During the night he tried to rob me."

"You don't say so!" ejaculated Jennie, in round-eyed wonder.

"I will tell you the particulars."

This Tom did. Jennie listened with indignation.

"But I don't understand," she said. "Why should the son of a merchant need to rob a boy like you? He looks as if he had plenty of money."

"So I thought; but the hotel clerk told me that sharpers often appeared like this Mr. Graham, if that is his name."

"How strange it seems!" said Jennie. "I wish you hadn't introduced me."

"I didn't want to; but he asked, and at the table I couldn't give my reasons for refusing."

"My dear child," said her mother, "you are too ready to form new acquaintances. Let this be a lesson for you."

"But some new acquaintances are nice," pleaded Jennie. "Isn't Tom a new acquaintance?"

"I will make an exception in his favor," said Mrs. Watson, smiling pleasantly.

"Thank you," said Tom. "How do you know but I may be a pickpocket?" he continued, addressing Jennie.

"As I have only ten cents in my pocket I will trust you," said the young lady merrily. "I'd trust you with any amount, Tom," she added impulsively.

"Thank you, for your good opinion, Miss Jennie."

"Don't call me Miss Jennie. If you do, I'll call you Mr. Tom."

"I shouldn't know myself by that title. Then I'll call you Jennie."

"I wish you were going to live in Cincinnati," said the young lady. "It would be nice to have you come and see us."

"I should like it; but I mustn't think so much of pleasure as business."

"Like Mr. Graham."

"I must work hard at the mines. I suppose I shall look pretty rough when I am there."

"When you've made your pile, Tom--that's what they call it, isn't it?--you'll come back, won't you?"


"You must stop in Cincinnati on your way home."

"I wouldn't know where to find you."

"I will give you our address before we part. But that will be some time yet."

About this time Graham, who had finished smoking his cigar, strolled back.

"Miss Watson," said he, "don't you feel like having a promenade?"

"Yes," said Jennie suddenly. "Tom, come walk with me."

Our hero readily accepted the invitation, and the two walked up and down the deck.

"That's what I call a snub," said Graham's friend, the dark-complexioned young man, who was within hearing.

Graham's face was dark with anger.

"Curse her impudence, and his too!" he muttered. "I should like to wring the boy's neck."

"He can't help it, if the girl prefers his company," said the other, rather enjoying Graham's mortification.

"I'll punish him all the same."

By this time Tom and Jennie were near him again, on their return.

"You don't treat me with much ceremony, Miss Watson," said Graham, with an evil smile.

"My mother doesn't like me to make too many acquaintances," said Jennie demurely.

"She is very prudent," sneered Graham. "You have known your present companion quite a long time."

"I hope to know him a long time," said the young lady promptly. "Let's us continue our walk, Tom."

In discomfiture which he was unable to hide, Graham walked away.

"Evidently, Graham, you are no match for those two youngsters," said his friend, in amusement, which Graham did not share.

Graham did not reply, but seemed moody and preoccupied.

Tom and his companion noticed Graham's displeasure, but they felt indifferent to it. They had no desire to continue his acquaintance. Our hero introduced Mr. Waterbury to his new friends, and this gentleman, who was a thorough gentleman, except on the rare occasion when he yielded to the temptation of strong drink, made a favorable impression upon both.

So the day passed. Tom enjoyed it thoroughly. The river banks afforded a continuous panorama, while the frequent stops gave him an opportunity of observing the different towns in detail. Two or three times he went ashore, accompanied by Jennie, and remained till the steamer was ready to start.

Finally night came, and one by one the weary passengers retired to rest.

"Good night, Tom," said Jennie Watson. "Be up early in the morning."

"So as to get an appetite for breakfast?" asked Tom, with a smile.

"I think we shall both have appetites enough; but it will be pleasant to breathe the fresh morning air."

Tom promised to get up, if he wakened in time.

"If you don't mind, I will occupy the lower berth," said Mr. Waterbury. "I can't climb as well as you."

"All right, sir. It makes no difference to me."

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CHAPTER X. ON THE STEAMERIn half an hour the _River Belle was on her way. Tom watched the city as it receded from view. He enjoyed this new mode of travel better than riding on the cars. He had never before been on any boat except a ferry-boat, and congratulated himself on his decision to journey by boat part of the way. Milton Graham had passed him two or three times, but Tom, though seeing him, had not volunteered recognition. Finding that he must make the first advances, Graham finally stopped short, looked full at our hero, and his face wore