Horatio Alger.

Hector's Inheritance, Or, the Boys of Smith Institute online

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one thing you may be assured, your scholarship won't be severely taxed
in educating him. Walter is a pretty good boy, but he isn't a prodigy of

"I may be some day, father," said Walter, "with Mr. Crabb's help."

"I take it Mr. Crabb isn't able to perform miracles," said Mr. Ross,
good-humoredly. "No, Mr. Crabb, I shan't expect too much of you. Get
your pupil on moderately fast, and I shall be satisfied. I am glad,
Hector, that you were able to pay Walter a visit at this time."

"So am I, sir."

"I thought you might not be able to leave your studies."

"I have given up study, sir."

"I am surprised at that, Hector. I thought you contemplated going to

"So I did, sir, but circumstances have changed my plans."


"Yes, sir; I will explain after dinner, and will ask your advice."

Mr. Ross dropped the subject, and after dinner led the way to the
library, where he sank into an armchair, and, breathing a sigh of
satisfaction, said: "This, Mr. Crabb, is the most enjoyable part of the
twenty-four hours for me. I dismiss business cares and perplexities, and
read my evening paper, or some new book, in comfort."

As the usher looked about him and saw costly books, engravings,
furniture and pictures, he could well understand that in such
surroundings the merchant could take solid comfort. It was a most
agreeable contrast to the plain and poverty-stricken room at Smith
Institute, where the boys pursued their evening studies under his

"Well, Hector, so you don't propose to go back to school," said the
merchant. "Isn't that rather a sudden resolution?"

"Yes, sir; but, as I said, circumstances have changed."

"What circumstances? Because you are rich, you don't think you ought to
be idle, I hope?"

"Oh, no, sir. It is because I have discovered that I am not rich."

"Not rich! I always understood that your father left a large estate,"
said Mr. Ross, in surprise.

"So he did, sir."

"Didn't it descend to you?"

"I thought so till recently."

"Why don't you think so now?"

In answer, Hector told the story of the revelation made to him by Allan
Roscoe, after his father's death.

"You see, therefore," he concluded, "that I am penniless, and a
dependent upon Mr. Allan Roscoe's generosity."

"This is a most extraordinary story!" said the merchant, after a pause.

"Yes, sir; it changes my whole future."

"I suppose Mr. Allan Roscoe is the beneficiary, and the estate goes to

"Yes, sir."

"Did your father - the late Mr. Roscoe - ever hint to you anything which
could lead you to suspect that you were not his own, but an adopted

"Never, Mr. Ross," answered Hector, with emphasis.

"Did he continue to treat you with affection."

"Always. Nothing in his manner ever would have led me to imagine that I
was not his own son."

"He left no will?"

"No, sir."

"What are your plans?"

"I do not wish to remain dependent upon Allan Roscoe. I should like to
obtain a situation of some kind in the city, if I can."

"I can probably serve you, then, after a while. For the present, stay
here as Walter's companion."

"Thank you, sir; I should like nothing better."


Not altogether in accordance with his inclinations, Walter was set to
work at his studies immediately under the direction of Mr. Crabb. He
asked his father for a week's vacation to go about the city with Hector,
but his father answered in the negative.

"You are too far behind in your studies, Walter," he said. "You are two
years, at least, behind Hector, and cannot spare the time as well as

"Hector will have to go round alone," objected Walter.

"It will do him no harm to get acquainted with the different parts
of the city, as that will be a kind of knowledge he may require if he
should obtain a situation."

"I shan't see much of him."

"Oh, yes, you will; Mr. Crabb will not make you study all day. Mr.
Crabb, you may work with Walter from nine to one. This, with perhaps an
hour or more devoted to study in the afternoon or evening, will enable
him to make fair progress."

This arrangement struck Walter favorably, as he could, whenever he
desired it, spend the whole afternoon with Hector.

Hector found it very pleasant to act upon the suggestion made by Mr.
Ross. He had visited the city of New York at different times, but had
never enjoyed the opportunity of exploring it by himself. His first
visit was made to Central Park, where he mingled with the crowds
wandering about in search of pleasure.

He made his way to the lake, and took passage in one of the skiffs
which, in charge of a skilled oarsman, makes a tour of the pretty and
picturesque sheet of water.

The second morning he turned his steps southward, and walked down
Broadway. It was a leisurely walk, for he had no scruple in stopping
wherever he saw anything in the streets or in the shop windows that
seemed to him worthy of attention. About the corner of Canal Street
he was very much surprised at a boy who was on his knees, blacking the
boots of an elderly gentleman - a boy whom he recognized at once as the
son of a man who had for years been in his father's employ as gardener
at Castle Roscoe.

"What brings him here?" thought Hector, much surprised.

"Larry Deane!" he said, as the boy finished his job, and rose from his
feet to receive his pay.

"Hector Roscoe!" exclaimed Larry, not much less surprised.

"What brings you here, and what has reduced you to such work?" inquired

Larry Deane was a boy of about Hector's age. He was a healthy-looking
country lad, looking like many another farmer's son, fresh from
the country. He had not yet acquired that sharp, keen look which
characterizes, in most cases, the New York boy who has spent all his
life in the streets.

"I can answer both your questions with the same word, Master Hector,"
said Larry, as a sober look swept over his broad, honest face.

"Don't call me master, Larry. We are equals here. But what is that

"That word is trouble,'" answered the bootblack.

"Come with me into this side street," said Hector, leading the way into
Howard Street. "You have a story to tell, and I want to hear it."

"Yes, I have a story to tell."

"I hope your father and mother are well," said Hector, interrupting him.

"Yes, they are well in health, but they are in trouble, as I told you."

"What is the trouble?"

"It all comes of Mr. Allan Roscoe," answered Larry, "and his son, Guy."

"Tell me all about it."

"I was walking in the fields one day," said Larry, "when Guy came out
and began to order me round, and call me a clodhopper and other unlikely
names, which I didn't enjoy. Finally he pulled off my hat, and when I
put it back on my head, he pulled it off again. Finally I found the only
way to do was to give him as good as he sent. So I pulled off his hat
and threw it up in a tree. He became very angry, and ordered me to go up
after it. I wouldn't do it, but walked away. The next day my father
was summoned to the house, where Mr. Allan Roscoe complained of me for
insulting his son. He asked my father to thrash me, and when father
refused, he discharged him from his employment. A day or two afterward a
new gardener came to Roscoe Castle, and father understood that there was
no chance of his being taken back."

"That was very mean in Mr. Roscoe," said Hector, indignantly.

"Yes, so it was; but father couldn't do anything. He couldn't get a
new place, for it wasn't the right time of year, and Mr. Roscoe said he
wouldn't give him a recommendation. Well, we had very little money in
the house, for mother has been sick of late years, and all father's
extra earnings went to pay for medicines and the doctor's bill. So one
day I told father I would come to New York and see if I couldn't find
something to do."

"I think you did the right thing, Larry," said Hector, approvingly. "It
was your duty to help your father if you could."

"I can't help him much," answered Larry.

"What made you take up this business, Larry?"

"I couldn't get anything else to do, besides, this pays better than
working in a store or office."

"How - much can you earn at it?"

"Six or seven dollars a week."

"I should think it would require all that to support you."

"It would if I went to a boarding house, but I can't afford that."

"Where do you live?"

"At the Newsboys' Lodging House."

"How much does that cost you?"

"For eighteen cents a day I get supper, lodging and breakfast. In the
middle of the day I go to a cheap restaurant."

"Then you are able to save something?"

"Yes; last week I sent home three dollars, the week before two dollars
and a half."

"Why, that is doing famously. You are a good boy, Larry."

"Thank you, Hector; but, though it is doing very well for me, it isn't
as much as they need at home. Besides, I can't keep it up, as, after
a while, I shall need to buy some new clothes. If your father had been
alive, my father would never have lost his place. Master Hector, won't
you use your influence with your uncle to have him taken back?"

Hector felt keenly how powerless he was in the matter. He looked grave,
as he answered:

"Larry, you may be sure that I would do all in my power to have your
father restored to the position from which he never should have been
removed; but I fear I can do nothing."

"Won't you write to Mr. Roscoe?" pleaded Larry, who, of course, did not
understand why Hector was powerless.

"Yes, I will write to him, but I am sorry to say that I have very little
influence with Mr. Roscoe."

"That is strange," said Larry; "and you the owner of the estate."

Hector did not care to explain to Larry just how matters stood, so he
only said:

"I can't explain to you what seems strange to you, Larry, but I may be
able to do so some time. I will certainly write to Mr. Roscoe, as you
desire; but you must not build any hopes upon it. Meanwhile, will you
accept this from me, and send it to your father?"

As he spoke, he drew from his pocketbook a five-dollar bill and handed
it to his humble friend.

Larry would not have accepted it had he known that Hector was nearly as
poor as himself, but, supposing him to be the heir of a large and rich
estate, he felt no hesitation.

"Thank you very much, Hector," he said; "you had always a kind heart.
This money will do my father very much good. I will send it to him

"Do you generally stand here, Larry?" asked Hector.


"Then I will take pains to see you again."

"Shall you stay long in the city, Master Hector?"

"Not Master Hector."

"Then Hector, if you don't mind."

"I shall be here for the present - I don't know how long."

"Then let me black your boots for nothing every time you come by - I want
to do something for you."

"Thank you, Larry; but I don't like to have a friend perform such a
service. Remember me to your father when you write."

"I wish I could do something for Larry," said Hector, to himself, as he
walked away. "As it is, I stand in need of help myself."

He was to make a friend that day under rather unusual circumstances.


Hector continued his walk downtown. Despite the crowds of persons who
thronged the sidewalks, he did not anticipate meeting anyone else that
he knew. But he was destined to another surprise. On the corner of
Murray Street he saw two persons advancing toward him, the last,
perhaps, that he expected to see. Not to keep the reader in suspense, it
was Allan Roscoe and his son, Guy.

Guy was the first to recognize Hector. Of course, he, too, was

"Why, there's Hector!" he exclaimed, directing his father's attention to
our hero.

Allan Roscoe looked up quickly. It is hard to tell whether he felt glad
or the reverse at this meeting with the boy whom he called his ward.

An instant later Hector recognized Guy and his father.

"How do you do, Mr. Roscoe?" he said, politely.

"Very well. When did you reach New York?"

"On Saturday."

It should have been explained that Hector had spent Sunday quietly with
Mr. Ross and Walter, and that this was Monday.

"Ahem! I was very much surprised at your leaving the institute," said
Mr. Roscoe.

"I explained to you in my letter why I proposed to leave it," Hector
answered, coldly.

"I did not think your reason sufficient."

"As Mr. Smith saw fit to bring a base charge against me, and persisted
in it, even after he must have been convinced that his nephew was
guilty, I was unwilling to remain under his charge any longer."

"The circumstances were against you," said Mr. Roscoe.

"You might have known me better than that, Mr. Roscoe," said Hector,
proudly. "Yet you condemned me unheard."

"Of course, I am very glad that the charge is unfounded," said Mr.
Roscoe, awkwardly.

"Where there is smoke there is generally fire," said Guy, spitefully.

"I understand you, Guy," said Hector, half turning to look at the boy
who had usurped his place. "I hope you won't think it impolite if I say
that I care nothing whatever for your opinion."

"You put on as many airs as ever," sneered Guy. "I should think you
would be a little more humble in your changed position."

"I have not changed, even if my position has," answered Hector. "Money
is nothing to be proud of."

"I apprehend that the world judges differently," said Allan Roscoe.
"Since you have taken your destiny into your own hands, you will excuse
me for asking how you intend to earn your living?"

"I hope to get a mercantile position," answered Hector.

"Take my advice," said Guy, with a derisive smile, "and buy yourself a
blacking box and brush. I am told bootblacks make a good deal of money."

"Hush, Guy!" said his father. "Do not insult Hector."

But Hector concerned himself but little with any slight received from
Guy Roscoe. His words, however, recalled his thoughts to the boy he had
so recently met, Larry Deane, and he resolved to see if he could not
help him by an appeal to Allan Roscoe.

"Mr. Roscoe," said he, quickly, "I nearly forgot something I want very
much to say to you."

"What is it?" asked his guardian, suspiciously. It occurred to him that
Hector wished to borrow some money, and he was considering how little he
could decently give him.

"I hear you have discharged Reuben Deane from his position?"

"How did you hear it?"

"From his son, Larry."

"Where did you see Larry?" asked Allan, in some curiosity.

"He has been driven to take up that employment which Guy so kindly
recommended to me."

"Larry Deane a bootblack! That's a good one!" exclaimed Guy, with
evident relish.

"I don't think so," said Hector. "The poor boy is picking a poor
living, and sending home what he can to his father, who cannot get new
employment. Mr. Roscoe, why did you discharge him?"

"I can answer that question, though it's none of your business all
the same," volunteered Guy. "The boy Larry was impudent to me, and his
father took his part."

"Mr. Roscoe," said Hector, "Reuben Deane was in my father's employ
before I was born. Larry and I used to play together when we were little
boys, and since when we were older."

"A bootblack is a nice playmate," said Guy, with his usual sneer.

"He was not a bootblack then," retorted Hector, "nor would he be now but
for your mean spite. Mr. Roscoe, as I happen to know, my father always
valued the services of Reuben Deane, and I ask, in his name, that you
give him back his place."

"My brother may have been deceived in him," said Allan Roscoe, coldly,
emphasizing the first two words, in order to remind Hector that he was
no longer to consider him as his father; "but I cannot promise to adopt
all his views and protege's. I have displaced Deane and substituted for
him a gardener with whom I am better pleased."

"Have you no sympathy for the poverty and distress of a man who has
served our family faithfully for so many years?" asked Hector, half

"My father is competent to manage his own affairs," said Guy,

"You don't appear to think so, or you would not answer for him,"
retorted Hector.

"Boys, I must request you to desist from this bickering," said Allan
Roscoe. "I am sorry, Hector, that I cannot comply with your request. By
the way, you did not tell me where you were staying."

"With a gentleman on Forty-second Street."

"What is his name?"

"Andrew Ross."

"Not the eminent merchant of that name?" asked Allan Roscoe, in

"Yes, I believe so."

"He is worth a million."

"I supposed he was rich. He lives in an elegant house."

"Where did you get acquainted with him, Hector?"

"At Saratoga, a year and a half ago."

"Did you beg him to take you in?" asked Guy, unpleasantly.

Hector quietly ignored the question.

"Walter Boss and I have been very intimate, and I was invited to pay him
a visit."

"Does he know that you are a poor boy?" asked Guy.

"I have communicated to Mr. Ross what your father told me," answered
Hector, coldly. "He is a real friend, and it made no difference in his
treatment of me. I hope to get a situation through his influence."

"You are lucky to have such a man for a friend," said Allan Roscoe, who
would himself have liked to become acquainted with a man whose social
position was so high. "I hope you will not misrepresent me to him.
Should any opportunity occur, I will try to procure you employment."

"Thank you, sir," said Hector, but his tone lacked heartiness. He saw
that his being a visitor to Mr. Ross and his son had made a difference
in his favor. Guy, too, began to think he might be a little more
gracious. He, like his father, liked to associate with boys of high
social position, and he would have liked to be introduced to Walter

"What is your number?" he asked of Hector, "I don't know but I'll call
and see you some time. Is Walter Ross generally at home?"

"Don't put yourself to any inconvenience to call," said Hector,
significantly. "Walter and I are generally away in the afternoon."

"Oh, I don't care to call upon you," said Guy, annoyed. "I can have all
the company I want."

"I won't detain you any longer, Mr. Roscoe," said Hector, realizing that
the conversation had occupied considerable time. "Good-morning."

"That boy is as proud as ever," said Guy, after Hector had left them.
"He doesn't seem to realize that he has lost his money."

"He has not had time to realize it yet. It won't be long before he will
understand the difference it makes."

"I am glad he isn't my cousin," continued Guy. "I dislike him more than
any boy I know."

Allan Roscoe looked thoughtful.

"I fear that boy will give me trouble yet," he said to himself. "He
evidently suspects that something is wrong."


After parting with Allan Roscoe and Guy, Hector kept on his way
downtown. He did not expect to meet any more acquaintances, but he
was again to be surprised. Standing on the sidewalk having his boots
blacked, he recognized the schoolfellow he had least reason to like - Jim

"What brings Jim here?" he asked himself, in some surprise.

He did not feel inclined to go up and claim acquaintance, but it chanced
that he became witness of a piece of meanness characteristic of Jim.

When the young bootblack had finished polishing his shoes, he waited for
his customary fee.

Jim fumbled in his pockets, and finally produced two cents.

"There, boy," he said, placing them in the hand of the disgusted knight
of the brush.

"What's that for?" he asked.

"It's your pay."

"Look here, mister, you've made a mistake; here's only two cents."

"I know it."

"Do you think I work for any such price as that?"

"Perhaps you expect a dollar!" sneered Jim.

"No, I don't; but a nickel's my lowest price. Plenty of gentlemen give
me a dime."

"That's too much; I've paid you all I'm going to."

"Wait a minute. That boot don't look as well as the other."

Jim unsuspiciously allowed the boy to complete his work, but he had
occasion to regret it. The bootblack hastily rubbed his brush in the mud
on the sidewalk and daubed it on one of Jim's boots, quite effacing the

"There, that'll do," he said, and, scrambling to his feet, ran round the

Then, for the first time, Jim looked down, and saw what the boy had
done. He uttered an exclamation of disgust and looked round hastily to
see where the offender had betaken himself. His glance fell upon Hector,
who was quietly looking on, and not without a sense of enjoyment.

It often happens that we greet cordially those for whom we have even a
feeling of aversion when we meet them unexpectedly away from our usual
haunts. Jim, who was beginning to regret that circumstances had forced
him to leave the serene sanctuary of Smith Institute, since now he would
be under the necessity of making his own living, was glad to see our

"Is it you, Roscoe?" he said, eagerly.

"Yes," answered Hector, coolly.

"What are you doing?"

"Walking about the city, just at present."

"Suppose we go together."

Hector hardly knew how to refuse, and the two boys kept down Broadway in

"You're surprised to see me, ain't you?" asked Jim.

"Rather so."

"You see, I got tired of the school. I've been there three years, so I
told my uncle I would come to New York and see if I couldn't get work."

"I hope you may succeed," said Hector, for he would not allow his
dislikes to carry him too far. He felt that there was room in the world
for Jim and himself, too.

"Are you going to work?" asked Jim.

"I hope so."

"Got anything in view?"

"Not exactly.'"

"It would be a good thing if we could get into the same place."

"Do you say that because we have always agreed so well?" asked Hector,

"We may be better friends in future," said Jim, with a grin.

Hector was judiciously silent.

"Where are you staying?"

"Up on Forty-second Street."

"That's a good way uptown, isn't it?"

"Yes, pretty far up."

"Are you boarding?"

"No; I am visiting some friends."

"Couldn't you get me in there as one of your school friends?"

This question indicated such an amount of assurance on the part of his
old enemy that at first Hector did not know how to reply in fitting

"I couldn't take such a liberty with my friends," he said. "Besides, it
doesn't strike me that we were on very intimate terms."

But Jim was not sensitive to a rebuff.

"The fact is," he continued, "I haven't got much money, and it would
be very convenient to visit somebody. Perhaps you could lend me five

"I don't think I could. I think I shall have to say good-morning."

"I can't make anything out of him," said Jim to himself,
philosophically. "I wonder if he's got any money. Uncle Socrates told me
his uncle had cast him off."

Going up Broadway instead of down, it was not long before Jim met Allan
Roscoe and Guy, whom he immediately recognized. Not being troubled with
immodesty, he at once walked up to Mr. Roscoe and held out his hand.

"Good-morning, Mr. Roscoe!" he said, in an ingratiating voice.

"Good-morning, young man. Where have I met you?" asked Allan Roscoe,

"At Smith Institute. I am the nephew of Mr. Smith."

"What! Not the nephew who - "

Mr. Roscoe found it hard to finish the sentence. He didn't like to
charge Jim with stealing to his face.

"I know what you mean," said Jim, boldly. "I am the one whom your nephew
charged with taking money which he took himself. I don't want to
say anything against him, as he is your nephew, but he is an artful
young - but no matter. You are his uncle."

"He is not my nephew, but was only cared for by my brother," said Allan
Roscoe. "You may tell me freely, my good fellow, all the truth. You say
that Hector stole the money which your uncle lost."

"Yes; but he has made my uncle believe that I took it. It is hard upon
me," said Jim, pathetically, "as I was dependent upon my uncle. I have
been driven forth into the cold world by my benefactor because your
nephew prejudiced his mind against me."

"I believe him, papa," said Guy, who was only too glad to believe
anything against Hector. "I have thought all along that Hector was

"Is that your son?" asked the crafty Jim. "I wish he had come to the
institute, instead of Hector. He is a boy that I couldn't help liking."

There are few who are altogether inaccessible to flattery. At any rate,
Guy was not one of this small number.

"I feel sure you are not guilty," said Guy, regarding Jim graciously.
"It was a very mean thing in Hector to get you into trouble."

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