Mr. Wilbur was beginning to recover his complacency, which had been so rudely disturbed.
”I suppose you wouldn’t think of marrying on your present salary?“ said Phil. ”Six dollars a week wouldn’t support a married pair very well.“
”The firm would raise my salary. They always do when a man marries. Besides, I have other resources.“
”Yes; I am worth two thousand dollars. It was left me by an aunt, and is kept in trust for me until I am twenty-one. I receive the interest now.“
”I congratulate you,“ said Phil, who was really pleased to hear of his companion’s good fortune.
”That money will come in handy.“
”Besides, I expect she’s got money,“ continued Mr. Wilbur. ”Of course, I love her for herself alone–I am not mercenary–still, it will be a help when we are married.“
”So it will,“ said Phil, amused at the confident manner in which Mr. Wilbur spoke of marriage with a lady of whom he knew absolutely nothing.
”Philip,“ said Mr. Wilbur, ”when I marry, I want you to stand up with me–to be my groomsman.“
”If I am in the city, and can afford to buy a dress-suit, I might consent.“
”Thank you. You are a true friend!“ said Mr. Wilbur, squeezing his hand fervently.
The two returned to Mr. Wilbur’s room and had a chat. At an early hour Phil returned to his own boarding-place.
As time passed on, Phil and Wilbur spent considerable time together out of the store. Mr. G. Washington Wilbur, apart from his amusing traits, was a youth of good principles and good disposition, and Phil was glad of his company. Sometimes they went to cheap amusements, but not often, for neither had money to spare for such purposes.
Some weeks after Phil’s entrance upon his duties Mr. Wilbur made a proposal to Phil of a startling nature.
”Suppose we have our fortunes told, Phil?“ he said.
”If it would help my fortune, or hurry it up, I shouldn’t object,“ said Phil, smiling.
”I want to know what fate has in store for me,“ said Wilbur.
”Do you think the fortune-tellers know any better than you do?“ asked Phil incredulously.
”They tell some strange things,“ said Wilbur.
”What, for instance?“
”An aunt of mine went to a fortune-teller and asked if she would ever be married, and when? She was told that she would be married before she was twenty-two, to a tall, light-complexioned man.“
”Did it come true?“
”Yes, every word,“ said Mr. Wilbur solemnly. ”She was married three months before her twenty- second birthday, and her husband was just the kind of man that was predicted. Wasn’t that strange?“
”The fortune-teller might easily have guessed all that. Most girls are married as young as that.“
”But not to tall, light-complexioned men!“ said Wilbur triumphantly.
”Is there anything you wish particularly to know?“ asked Phil.
”I should like to know if I am going to marry– you know who.“
Phil was not much in favor of the scheme, but finally agreed to it.
There was a certain ”Veiled Lady,“ who advertised her qualifications in the Herald, as the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and therefore gifted with the power to read the future. Mr. Wilbur made choice of her, and together they went to call upon her one evening.
They were shown into an anteroom, and in due time Mr. Wilbur was called into the dread presence. He was somewhat nervous and agitated, but ”braced up,“ as he afterward expressed it, and went in. He wanted Phil to go in with him, but the attendant said that madam would not allow it, and he went forward alone.
Fifteen minutes afterward he re-entered the room with a radiant face.
”Have you heard good news?“ asked Phil.
Mr. Wilbur nodded emphatically and whispered, for there were two others in waiting:
”It’s all right. I am to marry her.“
”Did the fortune-teller say so?“
”Did she give her name?“
”No, but she described her so that I knew her at once.“
”Will it be soon?“ asked Phil slyly.
”Not till I am twenty-four,“ answered Mr. Wilbur soberly. ”But perhaps she may be mistaken about that. Perhaps she thought I was older than I am.“