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Adrift in New York: Tom and Florence Braving the World, a novel by Horatio Alger

Chapter 18. In A Trap

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_ Chapter XVIII. In A Trap

"Hold on there! Open that door!" he exclaimed, aloud.

There was no answer.

"I say, let me out!" continued our hero, beginning to kick at the panels.

This time there was an answer.

"Stop that kicking, boy! I will come back in fifteen minutes and explain all."

"Well," thought Dodger, "this is about the strangest thing that ever happened to me. However, I can wait fifteen minutes."

He sat down on a cane chair--there were two in the room--and looked about him.

He was in an ordinary bedroom, furnished in the usual manner. There was nothing at all singular in its appearance.

On a book shelf were a few books, and some old numbers of magazines. There was one window looking into a back yard, but as the room was small it was sufficient to light the apartment.

Dodger looked about in a cursory manner, not feeling any particular interest in his surroundings, for he had but fifteen minutes to wait, but he thought it rather queer that it should be thought necessary to lock him in.

He waited impatiently for the time to pass.

Seventeen minutes had passed when he heard the bolt drawn. Fixing his eyes eagerly on the door he saw it open, and two persons entered.

One was the hump-backed negro, carrying on a waiter a plate of buttered bread, and a cup of tea; the other person was--not the old man, but, to Dodger's great amazement, a person well-remembered, though he had only seen him once--Curtis Waring.

"Set down the waiter on the table, Julius," said Waring.

Dodger looked on in stupefaction. He was getting more and more bewildered.

"Now, you can go!" said Curtis, in a tone of authority.

The negro bowed, and after he had disposed of the waiter, withdrew.

"Do you know me, boy?" asked Curtis, turning now and addressing Dodger.

"Yes; you are Mr. Waring."

"You remember where you last saw me?"

"Yes, sir. At your uncle's house on Madison Avenue."

"Quite right."

"How did you come here? Where is the old man whose valise I brought from the Albany boat?"

Curtis smiled, and drew from his pocket a gray wig and whiskers.

"You understand now, don't you?"

"Yes, sir; I understand that I have been got here by a trick."

"Yes," answered Curtis, coolly. "I have deemed it wise to use a little stratagem. But you must be hungry. Sit down and eat your supper while I am talking to you."

Dodger was hungry, for it was past his usual supper time, and he saw no reason why he should not accept the invitation.

Accordingly, he drew his chair up to the table and began to eat. Curtis seated himself on the other chair.

"I have a few questions to ask you, and that is why I arranged this interview. We are quite by ourselves," he added, significantly.

"Very well, sir; go ahead."

"Where is my Cousin Florence? I am right, I take it, in assuming that you know where she is."

"Yes, sir; I know," answered Dodger, slowly.

"Very well, tell me."

"I don't think she wants you to know."

Curtis frowned.

"It is necessary I should know!" he said, emphatically.

"I will ask her if I may tell you."

"I can't wait for that. You must tell me at once."

"I can't do that."

"You are mistaken; you can do it."

"Then, I won't!" said Dodger, looking his companion full in the face.

Curtis Waring darted a wicked look at him, and seemed ready to attack the boy who was audacious enough to thwart him, but he restrained himself and said:

"Let that pass for the present. I have another question to ask. Where is the document you took from my uncle's desk on the night of the burglary?"

And he emphasized the last word.

Dodger looked surprised.

"I took no paper," he said.

"Do you deny that you opened the desk?" asked Curtis.


"When I came to examine the contents in the presence of my uncle, it was found that a document--his will--had disappeared, and with it a considerable sum of money."

And he looked sharply at Dodger.

"I don't know anything about it, sir. I took nothing."

"You can hardly make me believe that. Why did you open the desk if you did not propose to take anything?"

"I did intend to take something. I was under orders to do so, for I wouldn't have done it of my own free will; but the moment I got the desk open I heard a cry, and looking around, I saw Miss Florence looking at me."

"And then?"

"I was startled, and ran to her side."

"And then you went back and completed the robbery?"

"No, I didn't. She talked to me so that I felt ashamed of it. I never stole before, and I wouldn't have tried to do it then, if--if some one hadn't told me to."

"I know whom you mean--Tim Bolton."

"Yes, Tim Bolton, since you know."

"What did he tell you to take?"

"The will and the money."

"Eactly. Now we are coming to it. You took them, and gave them to him?"

"No, I didn't. I haven't seen him since that night."

Curtis Waring regarded the boy thoughtfully. His story was straightforward, and it agreed with the story told by Tim himself. But, on the other hand, he denied taking the missing articles, and yet they had disappeared.

Curtis decided that both he and Tim had lied, and that this story had been concocted between them.

Probably Bolton had the will and the money--the latter he did not care for--and this thought made him uneasy, for he knew that Tim Bolton was an unscrupulous man, and quite capable of injuring him, if he saw the way clear to do so.

"My young friend," he said, "your story is not even plausible. The articles are missing, and there was no one but yourself and Florence who were in a position to take them. Do you wish me to think that my Cousin Florence robbed the desk?"

"No, sir; I don't. Florence wouldn't do such a thing," said Dodger, warmly.

"Florence. Is that the way you speak of a young lady?"

"She tells me to call her Florence. I used to call her Miss Florence, but she didn't care for it."

"It seems you two have become very intimate," said Curtis, with a sneer.

"Florence is a good friend to me. I never had so good a friend before."

"All that is very affecting; however, it isn't to the point. Do you know," he continued, in a sterner tone, "that I could have you arrested for entering and breaking open my uncle's desk with burglarious intent?"

"I suppose you could," said Dodger; "but Florence would testify that I took nothing."

"Am I to understand, then, that you refuse to give me any information as to the will and the money?"

"No, sir; I don't refuse. I would tell you if I knew."

Curtis regarded the boy in some perplexity.

He had every appearance of telling the truth.

Dodger had one of those honest, truthful countenances which lend confirmation to any words spoken. If the boy told the truth, what could have become of the will--and the money? As to the former, it might be possible that his uncle had destroyed it, but the disappearance of the money presented an independent difficulty.

"The will is all I care for," he said, at length. "The thief is welcome to the money, though there was a considerable sum."

"I would find the will for you if I could," said Dodger, earnestly.

"You are positive you didn't give it to Bolton?"

"Positive, sir. I haven't seen Tim since that night."

"You may be speaking the truth, or you may not. I will talk with you again to-morrow," and Curtis arose from his chair.

"You don't mean to keep me here?" said Dodger, in alarm.

"I shall be obliged to do so."

"I won't stay!" exclaimed Dodger, in excitement, and he ran to the door, meaning to get out; but Curtis drew a pistol from his pocket and aimed it at the boy.

"Understand me, boy," he said, "I am in earnest, and I am not to be trifled with."

Dodger drew back, and Curtis opened the door and went out, bolting it after him. _

Read next: Chapter 19. An Attempt To Escape

Read previous: Chapter 17. A Mysterious Adventure

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