Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Horatio Alger > Errand Boy; or, How Phil Brent Won Success > This page

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

Chapter 31. Phil Is Shadowed

< Previous
Table of content
Next >

Phil felt that he must be more than usually careful, because the money he had received was in the form of bills, which, unlike the check, would be of use to any thief appropriating it. That he was in any unusual danger, however, he was far from suspecting.

He reached Broadway, and instead of taking an omnibus, started to walk up-town. He knew there was no haste, and a walk up the great busy thoroughfare had its attractions for him, as it has for many others.

Behind him, preserving a distance of from fifteen to twenty feet, walked a dark-complexioned man of not far from forty years of age. Of course Phil was not likely to notice him.

Whatever the man's designs might be, he satisfied himself at first with simply keeping our hero in view. But as they both reached Bleecker Street, he suddenly increased his pace and caught up with Phil. He touched the boy on the shoulder, breathing quickly, as if he had been running.

Phil turned quickly.

"Do you want me, sir?" he asked, eying the stranger in surprise.

"I don't know. Perhaps I am mistaken. Are you in the employ of Mr. Oliver Carter?"

"Yes, sir."

"Ah I then you are the boy I want. I have bad news for you."

"Bad news!" repeated Phil, alarmed. "What is it?"

"Mr. Carter was seized with a fit in the street half an hour since."

"Is he--dead?" asked Phil, in dismay.

"No, no! I think he will come out all right."

"Where is he?"

"In my house. I didn't of course know who he was, but I found in his pocket a letter directed to Oliver Carter, Madison Avenue. There was also a business card. He is connected in business with Mr. Pitkin, is he not?"

"Yes, sir," answered Phil; "where is your house?"

"In Bleecker Street, near by. Mr. Carter is lying on the bed. He is unconscious, but my wife heard him say: 'Call Philip.' I suppose that is you?"

"Yes, sir; my name is Philip."

"I went around to his place of business, and was told that you had just left there. I was given a description of you and hurried to find you. Will you come to the house and see Mr. Carter?"

"Yes, sir," answered Phil, forgetting everything except that his kind and generous employer was sick, perhaps dangerously.

"Thank you; I shall feel relieved. Of course you can communicate with his friends and arrange to have him carried home."

"Yes, sir; I live at his house."

"That is well."

They had turned down Bleecker Street, when it occurred to Phil to say:

"I don't understand how Mr. Carter should be in this neighborhood."

"That is something I can't explain, as I know nothing about his affairs," said the stranger pleasantly. "Perhaps he may have property on the street."

"I don't think so. I attend to much of his business, and he would have sent me if there had been anything of that kind to attend to."

"I dare say you are right," said his companion.

"Of course I know nothing about it. I only formed a conjecture."

"Has a physician been sent for?" asked Phil.

"Do you know of any we can call in?"

"My wife agreed to send for one on Sixth Avenue," said the stranger. "I didn't wait for him to come, but set out for the store."

Nothing could be more ready or plausible than the answers of his new acquaintance, and Phil was by no means of a suspicious temperament. Had he lived longer in the city it might have occurred to him that there was something rather unusual in the circumstances, but he knew that Mr. Carter had spoken of leaving the house at the breakfast-table, indeed had left it before he himself had set out for the store. For the time being the thought of the sum of money which he carried with him had escaped his memory, but it was destined very soon to be recalled to his mind.

They had nearly reached Sixth Avenue, when his guide stopped in front of a shabby brick house.

"This is where I live," he said. "We will go in."

He produced a key, opened the door, and Phil accompanied him up a shabby staircase to the third floor. He opened the door of a rear room, and made a sign to Phil to enter. _

Read next: Chapter 32. Phil Is Robbed

Read previous: Chapter 30. Phil's Trust

Table of content of Errand Boy; or, How Phil Brent Won Success


Post your review
Your review will be placed after the table of content of this book