of it. He was not lazy; but most men of forty like to have a capable assistant. By Christmas that year I was keeping all the books except the ledger and I knew, as I thought, the whole business of the hotel.
The dining room, it seemed to me was very badly managed; but as luck would have it, I was first to get control of the office. As soon as Curtis found out that I could safely be trusted to do his work, he began going out at dinner time and often stayed away the whole day. About New Year he was away for five days and confided in me when he returned, that he had been on a "bust". He wasn't happy with his wife, it appeared, and he used to drink to drown her temper. In February he was away for ten days; but as he had given me the key of the safe I kept everything going. One day Kendrick found me in the office working and wanted to know about Curtis: "how long had he been away?" A day or two," I replied. Kendrick looked at me and asked for the ledger: "it's written right up!" he exclaimed, "did you do it!" I had to say I did; but at once I sent a bellboy for Curtis. The boy didn't find him at his house and next day I was brought up before Mr. Cotton. I couldn't deny that I had kept the books and Cotton soon saw that I was shielding Curtis out of loyalty. When Curtis came in next day, he gave the whole show away; he was half-drunk still and rude to boot. He had been unwell, he said; but his work was in order. He was 'fired' there and then by Mr. Cotton and that evening Kendrick asked me to keep things going properly till he could persuade his uncle that I was trustworthy and older than I looked.
In a couple of days I saw Mr. Cotton and Mr. Kendrick together. "Can you keep the books and be night-clerk and take care of the billiard-room?" Mr.