“Come neah gettin’ left,
sah!” exclaimed the colored porter of Roy’s
car, as our hero, followed by Mortimer De Royster,
entered the coach. “Dat were a close call,
“Yes, but I wish I had had a
chance to round-up those swindlers. I’d
shown them how we handle such chaps out on the ranch!”
“Swindlers? Was dem
nicely dressed gen’men swindlers?” inquired
“Swindlers, upon my word, they
are the very worst kind,” put in De Royster.
“The idea of tricking me into letting them see
my watch, and then keeping it, don’t you know!
I shall report them to the authorities.”
“I’m afraid it will not
do much good,” remarked Roy. “They
are far enough away by now, and we’re getting
farther off from them every minute.”
“That’s so. Well,
then, my watch and diamond pin are gone,” and
the dude seemed to accept the loss quite calmly.
“Excuse me, sah,”
broke in the colored man, addressing De Royster, “but
has youh a ticket for dis parlor car?”
“Not yet. I could not
buy one at the little station back there, but you
may get me one, from the conductor, don’t you
know,” spoke the well-dressed youth, taking
a roll of bills from his pocket. At the sight
of the money the eyes of the colored man shone in anticipation
of a tip he might receive. His opinion of the
stranger went up several points. Such is the
effect of money, and it is not always the right one.
“Are you going to travel in this car?”
“Yes, it looks like a fairly
decent coach. I am really quite particular how
Roy was rather amused at the airs
Mortimer De Royster assumed, and he did not quite
know whether to like him or not. The youth had
an affected manner of speaking, and some oddities,
but, in spite of these Roy thought he might be all
right at heart.
The boy from the ranch had learned,
from his life in the west, not to judge persons by
outward appearances, though they often give an indication
“I don’t believe I thanked
you for what you did for me,” went on De Royster
to Roy, when the porter returned with his ticket and
the change. The colored man’s heart was
made happy by a generous tip.
“I don’t know that I did
anything in particular. I didn’t think
they were going to take your hide off, or I would
have warned you sooner.”
“My hide off? I don’t
quite catch your meaning, my dear chap-Oh,
yes, I see. You mean they were going to skin
me. Oh, yes. That’s a good joke.
Ha! Ha! Well, thanks to you, they didn’t.”
“Still they got something.”
“Yes, that watch was a valuable
one, and one my father gave me as a present.
The diamond was worth considerable, too. But
I am glad they did not get my money. Only for
your timely warning they might have. Some of
it is mine, but the most of it belongs to the firm
I work for.”
“They tried to get me into some
swindling games, but I refused to have anything to
do with them,” and Roy told of the efforts of
Baker and his cronies.
“I was easily taken in,”
admitted Mortimer De Royster. “I am ashamed
“Do you carry a valuable stock?”
asked Roy, wondering if it were not dangerous to have
so much jewelry about one.
“Quite valuable, yes, but all
traveling jewelry salesmen belong to a league, and
if thieves get away with anything belonging to any
member, we have the services of a good detective agency
to run the criminals down. The professional
thieves know this, and, as capture is almost certain
in the end, we have little fear of being robbed.
These swindlers took my personal property, and nothing
belonging to the firm, I’m glad to say.”
“Perhaps you will get it back,” suggested
“No, I’m afraid not.
But I say, my dear chap, where are you going?
You don’t look as if you had traveled much.”
“I haven’t. I am
going to New York on business for my father.”
“To New York? Good!
Then I shall have company on the way. That is
unless you don’t like to be seen with one who
lets himself be robbed so easily.”
“That would not make any difference to me.”
“Thank you. Perhaps I
may be able to be of some service to you in New York.
I know the town fairly well.”
“That will be very kind of you.
I know nothing about it, and I’m afraid I’ll
be rather green when I get there. I have lived
on a ranch all my life.”
“On a ranch? Fancy now!
Really, don’t you know, I often used to think
I would like to be a cowboy,” drawled the dude.
Roy looked at the slim figure, and
delicate features of Mr. De Royster, and thought that
he would hardly be strong enough for the rough life
on the plains. But he was too polite to mention
“Yes,” went on the well-dressed
youth, “if I had not gone into the jewelry business
I might now be a ’cow-puncher,’-I
believe that is what you call those gentlemen who
take charge of wild steers?” and he looked at
his companion inquiringly.
“Yes, some folks call ’em that.”
“It must be a very nice sort
of life. Now this sort of thing is rather tame,
don’t you know.”
“Well, you had it exciting enough a while ago.”
“So I did,” admitted Mr.
De Royster with a smile. “But that doesn’t
happen every day. I wish I could do you some
favor, in return for what you did for me.”
“I didn’t do much.
I wish I could have gotten them in time to have saved
your watch and chain. But they stampeded before
I could rope them.”
“Yes, I mean they started to run.”
“Oh, yes. And-er-rope-
“Oh, I forgot you didn’t
understand my lingo. I meant catch them.
Whenever we want to catch anything on the ranch, we
rope it. Throw a lariat over it, you know.”
“Oh, yes, a lasso. I should
like to have seen you lasso those chaps. Have
you a lasso with you?”
“I have one in my large valise.”
“Where are you going to stop in New York?”
“I don’t know yet.
I’m going to look around for a good place to
get my grub, and a bunk after I get there.”
“Your grub and bunk?” Mr. De Royster
“Well, I mean my meals and a place to sleep.”
“Ah, then perhaps I can be of
service to you. I know most of the best hotels,
and I can introduce you to the managers of some of
them. Do you intend to remain in the city long?”
“I can’t tell. I
don’t just know how long my father’s business
will keep me. Probably I shall be there several
“Then I’ll tell you what
I’ll do,” said De Royster, in a friendly
tone. “I’ll get you fixed up at a
good hotel, and then I’ll show you the sights.”
“But how can you spare the time
from your business?” asked Roy, who was beginning
to think he had found a real friend in the rather eccentric
person of Mortimer De Royster.
“Oh, my work is nearly done
now for the season. I shall not start out on
the road again until fall, when I shall take goods
for the spring trade. I was selling Christmas
stock this trip.”
“Christmas stock, and it is
only June,” exclaimed Roy. “My, but
they hustle things in the East!”
“They have to. That’s
why I’ll have some spare time now. I can
show you various sights of interest, and, in turn,
you must promise to protect me from robbers.
I think I’ll have to get a guardian if this
keeps on,” and the dude laughed at his joke.
“I’ll do my best,”
replied Roy. “If I see those fellows again,
they’ll not get off so easily.”
“Then we’ll consider ourselves
friends!” exclaimed De Royster, extending his
hand, which Roy shook warmly.
The boy was quite attracted to the
young man, whom he began to like more and more, as
he saw that, under his queer ways, he hid a heart of
real worth and kindness.