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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Young Outlaw; Or, Adrift In The Streets - Chapter 16. Sam Meets Brown And Is Unhappy
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The Young Outlaw; Or, Adrift In The Streets - Chapter 16. Sam Meets Brown And Is Unhappy Post by :spinabifidadad Category :Long Stories Author :Horatio Alger Date :May 2012 Read :2228

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The Young Outlaw; Or, Adrift In The Streets - Chapter 16. Sam Meets Brown And Is Unhappy

CHAPTER XVI. SAM MEETS BROWN AND IS UNHAPPY

Never doubting Sam's assurance, the stranger entered the gloomy building, the lower part of which is divided into court-rooms. Out of one of these a man came, to whom he addressed this question: "Where is the counting-room?"

"The counting-room!" repeated the man, staring. "There isn't any here, that I know of."

"I want to subscribe for the weekly edition," explained the man from Illinois.

"It strikes me you're a weakly edition of a man yourself," thought the other. "He must be a lunatic," was the next thought. "I may as well humor him."

"Go in at that door," he said.

The stranger entered as directed, and at once recognized it as a court-room.

"It is very singular that there should be a courtroom in the 'Tribune' office," he thought. He took a seat, and whispered to a man at his side: "Can you tell me where the 'Tribune' office is?"

"Printing-house Square," was the whispered reply.

"Where's that?"

"Not much over a quarter of a mile from here."

"The boy deceived me," thought the stranger indignantly, "and I gave him fifty cents for doing it. He must be a young rascal."

"What building is this?" he asked, still in a whisper.

"The Tombs."

"What, the prison!"

"Yes; didn't you know it?" asked the informant, in surprise.

"I am a stranger in the city," said the Illinois man apologetically.

"Did you want to go to the 'Tribune' office?"

"Yes; I wished to subscribe for the paper."

"I am going that way. I will show you if you desire it."

"Thank you. I shall consider it a favor."

So the two retraced their steps, and this time our Illinois friend found the office of which he was in quest. He came near finding Sam also, for as he stood in front of French's Hotel, he saw his recent acquaintance approaching, and quickly dodged inside the hotel till he had passed. A boot-black to whom he had been speaking followed him in surprise.

"I say, what's up, Johnny?" he asked. "Yer didn't see a copp, did yer?"

"No, it's that man that just went by."

"Who's he?"

"He's the man I ran away from," said Sam, not caring to tell the truth.

"What would he do if he should catch you?" asked the boot-black, with curiosity.

"Lick me," said Sam, laconically.

"Then you did right. Is he going to stay here long?"

"No; he's going away to-day."

"Then you're safe. You'd better go the other way from him."

"So I will," said Sam. "Where's the Park I've heard so much about?"

"Up that way."

"Is it far?"

"Four or five miles."

"It's a long way to walk."

"You can ride for five cents."

"Can I?"

"Yes; just go over to the Astor House, and take the Sixth avenue cars, and they'll take you there."

Sam had intended to spend his entire fifty cents in buying dinner when the time came, but he thought he would like to see Central Park. Besides, he would be safe from pursuit, and the punishment which he felt he deserved. Following the directions of his boy friend, he entered a Sixth avenue car, and in a little less than an hour was set down at one of the gates of the Park. He entered with a number of others, and followed the path that seemed most convenient, coming out at last at the lake. Until now Sam had thought rather slightingly of the Park. Green fields were no novelty to him, but he admired the lake with the boats that plied over its surface filled with lively passengers. He would have invested ten cents in a passage ticket; but he felt that if he did this, he must sacrifice a part of his intended dinner, and Sam was growing prudent. He wandered about the Park two or three hours, sitting down at times on the benches that are to be found here and there for the convenience of visitors. He felt ready to go back; but it was only noon, and he was not sure but he might fall in with the gentleman from Illinois, whom he had left at the entrance of the Tombs.

He was destined to meet an acquaintance, but this time it was some one that had cheated him. Looking up from the bench on which he was seated, he saw his host of the preceding night, Mr. Clarence Brown, lounging along, smoking a cigar, with a look of placid contentment on his face.

"That cigar was bought with my money," thought Sam, bitterly; and in this conclusion he was right.

Sam jumped from his seat, and advanced to meet his enemy.

"Look here, Mr. Brown!"

Clarence Brown started as he saw who addressed him, for he was far from expecting to meet Sam here. He saw from the boy's looks that he was suspected of robbing him, and decided upon his course.

"Oh, it's you, is it?" he said, smiling. "How do you like the Park?"

"Never mind about that," said Sam, impatiently. "I want my money."

Mr. Brown arched his eyes in surprise.

"Really, my young friend, I don't comprehend you," he said, withdrawing his cigar from his mouth. "You speak as if I owed you some money."

"Quit fooling!" said Sam, provoked at the other's coolness. "I want that money you took from me while I was asleep last night."

"It strikes me you have been dreaming," said Brown, composedly. "I don't know anything about your money. How much did you have?"

"Nearly seven dollars."

"Are you sure you had it when you went to bed?"

"Yes. I kept it in my vest-pocket."

"That was careless. You should have concealed it somewhere. I would have kept it for you if you had asked me."

"I dare say you would," said Sam, with withering sarcasm.

"Certainly, I wouldn't refuse so small a favor."

"Are you sure you didn't keep it for me?" said Sam.

"How could I, when you didn't give it to me?" returned the other, innocently.

"If you didn't take it," said Sam, rather staggered by the other's manner, "where did it go to?"

"I don't know, of course; but I shouldn't be surprised if it fell out of your vest-pocket among the bed-clothes. Did you look?"

"Yes."

"You might have overlooked it."

"Perhaps so," said Sam, thoughtfully.

He began to think he had suspected Mr. Brown unjustly. Otherwise, how could he be so cool about it?

"I am really sorry for your loss," said Brown, in a tone of sympathy; "all the more so, because I am hard up myself. I wish I had seven dollars to lend you."

"I wish you had," muttered Sam. "I can't get along without money."

"Did you have any breakfast?"

"Yes."

Sam did not furnish particulars, not liking to acknowledge the treatment he had received.

"Oh, you'll get along," said Brown, cheerfully. "Come and lodge with me again to-night."

"I don't know but what I will," said Sam, reflecting that he had no money to lose now, as he intended to spend all he had for dinner.

"Sit down and let us have a friendly chat," said Clarence Brown. "Won't you have a cigar? I've got an extra one."

"I never smoked," said Sam.

"Then it's time you learned. Shall I show you how?"

"Yes," said Sam.

The fact is, our very badly behaved hero had long cherished a desire to see how it seemed to smoke a cigar; but in the country he had never had the opportunity. In the city he was master of his own actions, and it occurred to him that he would never have a better opportunity. Hence his affirmative answer.

Clarence Brown smiled slightly to himself, for he anticipated fun. He produced the cigar, lighted it by his own, and gave Sam directions how to smoke. Sam proved an apt pupil, and was soon puffing away with conscious pride. He felt himself several years older. But all at once he turned pale, and drew the cigar from his mouth.

"What's the matter?" asked Brown, demurely.

"I--don't--know," gasped Sam, his eyes rolling; "I--feel--sick."

"Do you? Don't mind it; it'll pass off."

"I think I'm going to die," said Sam, in a hollow voice. "Does smoking ever kill people?"

"Not often," said Brown, soothingly.

"I think it's goin' to kill me," said Sam, mournfully.

"Lie down on the bench. You'll feel better soon."

Sam lay down on his back, and again he wished himself safely back at the deacon's. New York seemed to him a very dreadful place. His head ached; his stomach was out of tune, and he felt very unhappy.

"Lie here a little while, and you'll feel better," said his companion. "I'll be back soon."

He walked away to indulge in a laugh at his victim's expense, and Sam was left alone.

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