Joe the Hotel Boy/Chapter XVII
All of that afternoon Joe looked for a position among the various hotels of the Quaker City. But at each place he visited he received the same answer, that there was no help needed just then.
"This is discouraging," he told himself, as he retired that night. "Perhaps I'll have to go to the country or back to Riverside after all."
Yet he was up bright and early the next day and just as eager as ever to obtain a situation.
He had heard of a new hotel called the Grandon House and visited it directly after breakfast.
As he entered the corridor he heard his name called and turning around saw Andrew Mallison.
"How do you do, Mr. Mallison," said our hero, shaking hands. "I didn't expect to meet you here."
"I've got a little special business in Philadelphia," said the hotel man. "I came in last night and I am going back this afternoon. How are you making out?"
"It's all out so far," and Joe smiled faintly at his own joke.
"No situation, eh?"
"Why don't you strike the people here. It's a new place and the proprietor may need help."
"That is what I came for."
"I'll put in a good word for you, Joe. Come on."
Andrew Mallison led the way to the office and called up a stout, pleasant looking man.
"Mr. Drew, this is a young friend of mine, Joe Bodley. He worked for me this summer,--around the boats and also in the hotel. Now that the season is at an end he is trying to find something to do in the city. If you have an opening I can recommend him."
Mr. Arthur Drew surveyed Joe critically. The new hotel was to be run in first-class style and he wanted his help to be of the best. He rather liked Joe's appearance and he took note of the fact that our hero's hands were scrupulously clean and that his shoes were blacked.
"I've got almost all the help I need, but I might take him on," he said, slowly. "One of my present boys does not suit me at all. He is too impudent."
"Well, Joe is never impudent and he is very reliable," answered Andrew Mallison.
"I'll give you a trial."
"Thank you, sir."
"The wages will depend upon whether you board here or outside."
"How much will you give me if I stay at the hotel?"
"Four dollars a week."
"And what if I board outside?"
"Nine dollars a week."
"Can you give the boy a pretty fair room?" asked Andrew Mallison. "I know yo'll like him after he has been here a while."
"He can have a room with another boy. That lad yonder," and the proprietor of the Grandon House pointed with his hand.
Joe looked and saw that the other lad was gentlemanly looking and rather pleasant.
"It will suit me to stay here, I think," he said. "Anyway, I am willing to try it."
"When can you come to work?"
"Right away--or at least, as soon as I can get my suit case from where I have been stopping."
"Then come in after dinner and I'll tell you what to do and turn you over to my head man. Randolph, come here!"
At the call a bell boy came up.
"This is another boy who is to work here," said Arthur Drew. He will room with you."
"Thank you, Mr. Drew, I'll be glad to get rid of Jack Sagger," said Frank Randolph.
"What's your name?" he went on to our hero.
"Mine is Frank Randolph. I guess we'll get along all right."
"I hope so, Frank," said Joe, and shook hands.
There was a little more talk and then Joe left, to get his dress suit case and a few other things which belonged to him. By one o'clock he was back to the Grandon House, and just in time to see Andrew Mallison going away.
"I am much obliged, Mr. Mallison, for what you have done," said our hero, warmly.
"You're welcome, Joe," answered the hotel man. "I take an interest in you and I trust you do well here."
"I shall do my best."
After Andrew Mallison had gone Joe was shown around the hotel and instructed in his various duties. Occasionally he was to do bell-boy duty, but usually he was to be an all-around helper for the office.
"I think you'll like it here," said Frank Randolph. "It's the best hotel I've ever worked in. Mr. Drew is a perfect gentleman."
"I am glad to hear it, Frank," answered our hero.
The room assigned to the two boys was a small one on the top floor of the hotel. But it was clean, contained two nice cots, and Joe felt it would suit him very well. Frank had hung up a few pictures and had a shelf full of books and this made the apartment look quite home-like.
"I'm going to buy some books myself, this winter," said Joe. "And when I get time I am going to do some studying."
"I'm studying myself, Joe. I never had much schooling," returned Frank.
"Are you alone in the world?"
"No, my father is living. But he is rather sickly and lives with an uncle of mine, over in Camden. He can't work very much, and that is why I have to support myself. Are you alone?"
"Yes. I think my father is living but I can't locate him."
The next day and for several days following Joe pitched into work in earnest. Many things were strange to him, but he determined to master them as speedily as possible, and this pleased Arthur Drew.
"That boy is all right," he said to his cashier. "I am glad that Andrew Mallison brought him to me."
"Jack Sagger was awfully angry at being discharged," said the cashier.
"It was his own fault. I cannot afford to have a boy around who is impudent."
What the cashier said about the discharged lad was true. Jack Sagger was "mad clear through," and he attributed his discharge solely to Joe.
"I'll fix dat pill," he said to one of his chums. "He ain't going to do me out of my job an' not suffer fer it."
"What are you going to do, Jack?" asked the companion.
"I'll mash him, dat's wot I'll do," answered Jack Sagger.
He was a big, rawboned lad, several inches taller than Joe. His face was freckled, and his lips discolored by cigarette smoking. He was a thoroughly tough boy and it was a wonder that he had ever been allowed to work in the hotel at all. He had a fairly good home, but only went there to sleep and to get his meals.
"Joe, I hear that Jack Sagger is going to make it warm for you," said Frank, one Monday afternoon.
"I suppose he is angry because I got his position, is that it?"
"What is he going to do?"
"I don't know exactly, but he'll hurt you if he can."
"If he attacks me I'll do what I can to take care of myself," answered our hero.
That afternoon he was sent out by Mr. Drew on an errand that took him to a neighborhood occupied largely by wholesale provision houses. As Joe left the hotel Jack Sagger saw him.
"Dere's dat country jay now," said Sagger.
"Now's your time to git square on him, Jack," said Nick Sammel, his crony.
"Right you are, Nick. Come on."
"Going to follow him?"
"Yes, till I git him where I want him."
"Going to mash him?"
"Sure. When I git through wid him his own mother won't know him," went on Jack Sagger, boastfully.
"Maybe he'll git the cops after you, Jack."
"I'll watch out fer dat, Nick, an' you must watch out too," answered Jack Sagger.
"Are you sure you kin best him? He looks putty strong."
"Huh! Can't I fight? Didn't I best Sam Nolan, and Jerry Dibble?"
"That's right, Jack."
"Just let me git one chanct at him an' he'll run away, you see if he don't. But he shan't git away until I give him a black eye an' knock out a couple of his front teeth fer him," concluded the boaster.