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“Come to my room after breakfast,” replied Mordaunt, as Halter was retiring.
Mrs. Tryon went to Aurora in company with Mr. Mortimer. Mordaunt was closeted all day with Halter, getting at and arranging the facts necessary to defend a young villain incarcerated in the Tombs at New York, for the crime of arson. It was a difficult case, but Mordaunt was the man for a difficulty. With his connections in a society of scoundrels, subornation of perjury was an easy task.
The following day, as Mordaunt stepped upon the platform of a car for the purpose of going to Aurora, he met Thomas Griswold.
The greetings of old friendship passed between them.
“ Another friend of yours is in the train, Mr. Mordaunt," said Griswold.
“ Ah! who is it?" asked Mordaunt. “George Melville," said Griswold.
“Good! I must shake his hand,” remarked Mordaunt. “I have often recalled the days of Niagara, and our subsequent meetings have been very agreeable, at least on my part."
“He is not alone,” Mr. Mordaunt!
“No? Who are his companions?” asked Mordaunt.
“A sister, and a young lady cousin.”
Florence Melwood. She resides on the island, Martha's Vineyard. She is thought to be a lovely girl. But where are you bound, Mr. Mordaunt?
“ To Aurora."
Griswold did not reply, good! Clara Edgemonte had shown him Mordaunt's true character, as far as she knew it. Mordaunt noticed Griswold's illdissembled coldness, and immediately set down for the cause that Bell Mortimer had revealed to him that he was a suitor for her hand.
“When have you seen Mr. Mortimer?” inquired Griswold.
“Met him at Auburn, yesterday.” “Where did he go ?”
“To Aurora. We shall find him there. The family are all at home, I believe."
Griswold now returned to his friends, accompanied by Mordaunt.
The Dinner Party at Aurora—The Telegram—Mrs. Tryon's Glance.
“THE dinner's on the table," said an old colored woman, named Bess, to Mrs. Mortimer. Bess had been so long a servant in the Mortimer family, and had always directed the arrangements of the table, that her presence was now considered indispensable to insure success in the arduous duties of the dining
“ Ladies and gentlemen, that is all the bell we ever have rung in our family; and, as I have learned by experience to know that Bess's quiet information is really meant as a peremptory order, I shall have to request you to immediate obedience.”
The dinner party at Mrs. Mortimer's, that day, was a brilliant affair. The persons interested in it were (we give their names as the entrée was accomplished) Mr. Melville and Mrs. Mortimer; Mr. Mortimer and Mrs. Tryon; Mr. Mordaunt and Bell Mortimer; Mr. Griswold and Miss Melville; Mr. Fred Mortimer and Miss Melwood; ten in all.
Dinner parties are the same the world over. Mrs. Tryon was here in her element. She determined not to suffer the opportunity to pass without making an impression. Nor did she fail. Bell Mortimer was carried captive by her brilliant wit, and quickness at repartee, polished by an unexpected store of general information. Bell felt proud of her acquaintance, and, unconsciously yielded to her a higher respect, if esteem would not be the more truthful term, than at any time before. Mordaunt read Bell's thoughts, and exerted himself to eclipse even the brilliancy of his aunt. In this he could and would have succeeded, but for an interruption.
“A gentle’um is in the parlor to see Misser Mordaunt,” said Bess.
“Excuse me Mrs. Mortimer, if you please,” said Mordaunt.
Certainly, sir. Shall not Bess ask for his name?"
“No, I thank you. I will not trouble her," replied Mordaunt.
“You wish to see Mr. Mordaunt, sir?" said Mordaunt, addressing a young man, apparently about nineteen or twenty years of age.
“Yes, sir! There is a 'telegraph dispatch' received at Auburn this morning after you left. As it was of an important character, the telegraph operator concluded to send it to Aurora without delay."
“I am very much obliged, sir,” replied Mordaunt, breaking open the envelope.
He read the following:
“No. — WALL STREET, N. Y., 18“ To JAMES MORDA Esq.
“Lose no time in closing with the company. Be in New York the - 15th without fail, and bring the bonds. “Signed,
POWER & LOFTUS."
It was the 13th instant. The stock certificates to
the amount of $300,000 were already in Mordaunt's possession.
" What time does the afternoon train for New York pass through Auburn ?” asked Mordaunt of the telegraph messenger.
“ Four o'clock and fifty minutes," was the reply. “Is your horse fast ?" said Mordaunt. “ Yes sir," was the reply.
“ Can I ride with you to Auburn ?" asked Mordaunt.
“With pleasure, sir. I can bring you in time for the train, if we start immediately,” said the messenger, looking at his watch.
Mordaunt ran to his room, hastily packed his valise, and catching up his overcoat, returned to the parlor.
“Put those in the buggy, and I will be with you in a moment," said he to the messenger.
Going next to the dining-room, he requested his aunt's presence in the parlor.
“I must go immediately to New York, Aunt Sarah. This dispatch will explain why. Burn it after you have read it. You need no instructions. Good bye. Expect me on Saturday or Monday.”
Saying this he departed.
“Does your nephew not return to finish his dinner, Mrs. Tryon ?” said Mrs. Mortimer.
“No. He has already left for Auburn, en route for New York. His presence is demanded there on the 15th. He will return to Aurora Saturday or Monday
“ A sudden departure, truly,” said Mr. Mortimer. “Very sudden," said Mrs. Mortimer.
“ Sudden and cool," said Griswold. 66 Business might take a ride over Niagara Falls before i