Driven from Home/Chapter XVI
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Chapter XVI: Carl Gets a Place
|Chapter XVII: Carl Enters the Factory→|
"I suppose that is the bookkeeper," said Carl.
"Yes. He has been with me three years. He understands his business well. You heard what he said about his nephew?"
"It is his sister's son--a boy of about your own age. I think he is making a mistake in leaving the factory, and going into the office. He will have little to do, and that not of a character to give him knowledge of business."
"Still, if he takes lessons in bookkeeping----"
Mr. Jennings smiled.
"The boy will never make a bookkeeper," he said. "His reason for desiring the change is because he is indolent. The world has no room for lazy people."
"I wonder, sir, that you have had a chance to find him out."
"Little things betray a boy's nature, or a man's, for that matter. When I have visited the workroom I have noticed Leonard, and formed my conclusions. He is not a boy whom I would select for my service, but I have taken him as a favor to his uncle. I presume he is without means, and it is desirable that he should pay his uncle something in return for the home which he gives him."
"How much do you pay him, sir, if it is not a secret?"
"Oh, no; he receives five dollars a week to begin with. I will pay him the same in the office. And that reminds me; how would you like to have a situation in the factory? Would you like to take Leonard's place?"
"Yes, sir, if you think I would do."
"I feel quite sure of it. Have you ever done any manual labor?"
"I suppose you have always been to school."
"You are a gentleman's son," proceeded Mr. Jennings, eying Carl attentively. "How will it suit you to become a working boy?"
"I shall like it," answered Carl, promptly.
"Don't be too sure! You can tell better after a week in the factory. Those in my employ work ten hours a day. Leonard Craig doesn't like it."
"All I ask, Mr. Jennings, is that you give me a trial."
"That is fair," responded the little man, looking pleased. "I will tell you now that, not knowing of any vacancy in the factory, I had intended to give you the place in the office which Mr. Gibbon has asked for his nephew. It would have been a good deal easier work."
"I shall be quite satisfied to take my place in the factory."
"Come in, then, and see your future scene of employment."
They entered a large room, occupying nearly an entire floor of the building. Part of the space was filled by machinery. The number employed Carl estimated roughly at twenty-five.
Quite near the door was a boy, who bore some personal resemblance to the bookkeeper. Carl concluded that it must be Leonard Craig. The boy looked round as Mr. Jennings entered, and eyed Carl sharply.
"How are you getting on, Leonard?" Mr. Jennings asked.
"Pretty well, sir; but the machinery makes my head ache."
"Your uncle tells me that your employment does not agree with you."
"No, sir; I don't think it does."
"He would like to have you in the office with him. Would you like it, also?"
"Yes, sir," answered Leonard, eagerly.
"Very well. You may report for duty at the office to-morrow morning. This boy will take your place here."
Leonard eyed Carl curiously, not cordially.
"I hope you'll like it," he said.
"I think I shall."
"You two boys must get acquainted," said Mr. Jennings. "Leonard, this is Carl Crawford."
"Glad to know you," said Leonard, coldly.
"I don't think I shall like that boy," thought Carl, as he followed Mr. Jennings to another part of the room.