watched him[Pg 264] rapaciously solicitous lest she fail

time:2023-12-02 23:07:19source:Yingge Butterfly Dance Netauthor:meat

"My father was born in Boston, and, growing up, engaged in mercantile pursuits. He was moderately successful, and finally accumulated fifty thousand dollars. He would not have stopped there, for he was at the time making money rapidly, but his health became precarious, and his physician required him absolutely to give up business. The seeds of consumption, which probably had been lurking for years in his system, had begun to show themselves unmistakably, and required immediate attention.

watched him[Pg 264] rapaciously solicitous lest she fail

"By the advice of his physician he sailed for the West India Islands, hoping that the climate might have a beneficial effect upon him. At that time I was twelve years old, and an only child. My mother had died some years before, so that I was left quite alone in the world. I was sent for a time to Virginia, to my mother's brother, who possessed a large plantation and numerous slaves. Here I remained for six months. You will remember that Aunt Chloe recognized me at first sight. You will not be surprised at this when I tell you that she was my uncle's slave, and that as a boy I was indebted to her for many a little favor which she, being employed in the kitchen, was able to render me. As I told you at the time, my real name is not Morton. It will not be long before you understand the reason of my concealment.

watched him[Pg 264] rapaciously solicitous lest she fail

"My father had a legal adviser, in whom he reposed a large measure of confidence, though events showed him to be quite unworthy of it. On leaving Boston he divided his property, which had been converted into money, into two equal portions. One part he took with him. The other he committed to the lawyer's charge. So much confidence had he in this man's honor, that he did not even require a receipt. One additional safeguard he had, however. This was the evidence of the lawyer's clerk, who was present on the occasion of the deposit.

watched him[Pg 264] rapaciously solicitous lest she fail

"My father went to the West Indies, but the change seemed only to accelerate the progress of his malady. He lingered for a few months and then died. Before his death he wrote two letters, one to my uncle and one to myself. In these he communicated the fact of his having deposited twenty-five thousand dollars with his lawyer. He mentioned incidentally the presence of the lawyer's clerk at the time. I am a little surprised that he should have done it, as not the faintest suspicion of the lawyer's good faith had entered his thoughts.

"On receiving this letter my uncle, on my behalf, took measures to claim this sum, and for this purpose came to Boston. Imagine his surprise and indignation when the lawyer positively denied having received any such deposit and called upon him, to prove it. With great effrontery he declared that it was absurd to suppose that my father would have entrusted him with any such sum without a receipt for it. This certainly looked plausible, and I acknowledge that few except my father, who never trusted without trusting entirely, would have acted so imprudently.

" 'Where is the clerk who was in your office at the time?" inquired my uncle.

The lawyer looked somewhat discomposed at this question.

" 'Why do you ask?'he inquired abruptly.

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