Trent's Trust, and Other Stories
Bret Harte. Trent's Trust, and Other Stories
MR. MACGLOWRIE’S WIDOW
A WARD OF COLONEL STARBOTTLE’S
PROSPER’S “OLD MOTHER”
THE CONVALESCENCE OF JACK HAMLIN
A PUPIL OF CHESTNUT RIDGE
DICK BOYLE’S BUSINESS CARD
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Randolph Trent stepped from the Stockton boat on the San Francisco wharf, penniless, friendless, and unknown. Hunger might have been added to his trials, for, having paid his last coin in passage money, he had been a day and a half without food. Yet he knew it only by an occasional lapse into weakness as much mental as physical. Nevertheless, he was first on the gangplank to land, and hurried feverishly ashore, in that vague desire for action and change of scene common to such irritation; yet after mixing for a few moments with the departing passengers, each selfishly hurrying to some rendezvous of rest or business, he insensibly drew apart from them, with the instinct of a vagabond and outcast. Although he was conscious that he was neither, but merely an unsuccessful miner suddenly reduced to the point of soliciting work or alms of any kind, he took advantage of the first crossing to plunge into a side street, with a vague sense of hiding his shame.
A rising wind, which had rocked the boat for the last few hours, had now developed into a strong sou’wester, with torrents of rain which swept the roadway. His well-worn working clothes, fitted to the warmer Southern mines, gave him more concern from their visible, absurd contrast to the climate than from any actual sense of discomfort, and his feverishness defied the chill of his soaking garments, as he hurriedly faced the blast through the dimly lighted street. At the next corner he paused; he had reached another, and, from its dilapidated appearance, apparently an older wharf than that where he had landed, but, like the first, it was still a straggling avenue leading toward the higher and more animated part of the city. He again mechanically—for a part of his trouble was a vague, undefined purpose—turned toward it.
“I’m sorry to have given you so much trouble,” said Randolph concludingly. “Thank you and good-morning.”
As Randolph turned away he remembered the advertisement for the night watchman. He hesitated and turned back. He was a little surprised to find that the president had not gone away, but was looking after him.