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The Errand Boy; or, How Phil Brent Won Success, a fiction by Horatio Alger

Chapter 30. Phil's Trust

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Among the duties which devolved upon Phil was Mr. Carter's bank business. He generally made deposits for Uncle Oliver, and drew money on his personal checks whenever he needed it.

It has already been said that Mr. Carter was a silent partner in the firm of which Mr. Pitkin was the active manager. The arrangement between the partners was, that each should draw out two hundred dollars a week toward current expenses, and that the surplus, if any, at the end of the year, should be divided according to the terms of the partnership.

When Phil first presented himself with a note from Mr. Carter, he was an object of attention to the clerks, who knew that he had been discharged by Mr. Pitkin. Yet here he was, dressed in a new suit provided with a watch, and wearing every mark of prosperity. One of the most surprised was Mr. G. Washington Wilbur, with whom, as an old friend, Phil stopped to chat.

"Is old Pitkin going to take you back?" he inquired.

"No," answered Phil promptly. "He couldn't have me if he wanted me."

"Have you got another place?"


"What's the firm?"

"It isn't in business. I am private secretary to Mr. Carter."

Mr. Wilbur regarded him with surprise and respect.

"Is it a soft place?" he inquired.

"It's a very pleasant place."

"What wages do you get?"

"Twelve dollars a week and board."

"You don't mean it?"

"Yes, I do."

"Say, doesn't he want another secretary?" asked Mr. Wilbur.

"No, I think not."

"I'd like a place of that sort. You're a lucky fellow, Phil."

"I begin to think I am."

"Of course you don't live at the old place."

"No; I live on Madison Avenue. By the way, Wilbur, how is your lady-love?"

Mr. Wilbur looked radiant.

"I think I'm getting on," he said. "I met her the other evening, and she smiled."

"That is encouraging," said Phil, as soberly as possible. "All things come to him who waits! That's what I had to write in my copy-book once."

Phil was received by Mr. Pitkin with more graciousness than he expected. He felt that he must do what he could to placate Uncle Oliver, but he was more dangerous when friendly in his manner than when he was rude and impolite. He was even now plotting to get Phil into a scrape which should lose him the confidence of Uncle Oliver.

Generally Phil was paid in a check payable to the order of Mr. Carter. But one Saturday two hundred dollars in bills were placed in his hands instead.

"You see how much confidence I place in your honesty," said Mr. Pitkin. "You couldn't use the check. This money you could make off with."

"It would be very foolish, to say the least," responded Phil.

"Of course, of course. I know you are trustworthy, or I would have given you a check instead."

When Phil left the building he was followed, though he did not know it, by a man looking like a clerk.

Ah, Phil, you are in danger, though you don't suspect it. _

Read next: Chapter 31. Phil Is Shadowed

Read previous: Chapter 29. A Truce

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