« AnteriorContinuar »
would fee a railroad company at the expense of a dinner.”
Mrs. Tryon cast a quick glance at Griswold to discover if there was any double meaning in this chance remark. Griswold noticed the glance; but it made no lasting impression upon him. He afterwards learned how to explain it.
Broadway, New York-James Mordaunt, Esq., at his Office in Wall
street-Is he a Married Man ?
It was a warm day in July. Broadway, the street of New York city, was filled with a swarm of the wild and sober minded, anxious and sedate, wealthy and poor, lovely and plain, fashionable and homespun, happy and miserable, all classes, climes, and nations being duly represented. Integrity and villainy, virtue and vice, momentarily jostled in unknown contact. At half-past nine, James Mordaunt pulled the check-string of a Fifth Avenue omnibus, and alighted from it opposite Barclay street, near the Astor House. Entering that hotel, he left some letters with the book-keeper, and immediately joined the throng of business men hurrying to discharge their various occupations. When opposite John street, he was accosted by a man, who evidently knew him; but whose face did not seem familiar.
“Mr. Mordaunt, I believe.”
“I've a little matter of bis'ness with you; and if you've no objections, I'll go with you to your office.”
“My address is No. - Wall street. You can call at 11 o'clock. 'I shall then be disengaged for a short time,” replied Mordaunt.
“ Well, that will do."
At the appointed hour, Mordaunt was greeted in his office by the stranger.
Taking him into his private room, he asked his business.
“ I've concluded, Mr. Mordaunt, that Mary Sanders has got to have her rights.”
“Who are you, sir?” said Mordaunt, quickly, his face betraying sudden anxiety, becoming flush and pale by turns.
“It's of little consequence who I am. All that is necessary for you to do is to settle twenty thousand dollars on Mary Mordaunt, alias Mary Sanders, avow your marriage with her, acknowledge the legitimacy of your daughter Mary, and you won't be troubled any more by me.”
“ Mary Sanders! avow marriage! settle twenty thousand dollars! acknowledge legitimacy!” said Mordaunt, dwelling upon each word, and speaking in the utmost surprise.
“ You can dissemble splendidly, sir; but I have no time to waste, as my ship sails on a whaling voyage next week,” replied his visitor.
“You lie under some strange delusion, sir," replied Mordaunt, evidently very much agitated.
“Well, if I must I must, that is all. So I will bid you good morning, and call upon some more honest counsellor for the necessary redress. Take notice, young man, just forty-five thousand dollars of as hard earned money as any master ever lanced out of sperm whales, in five voyages, will pay lawyers' fees to give Mary her rights. It is now four years since Molly bid her hard-fisted uncle good bye. She was then a pretty girl, and just like her mother. That's my sis
ter. You've played the game very nice with the girl; but now you've got her uncle, Joseph Horton, to settle with. For your present comfort in the matter, I will add, Rev. John Furnace, who lives at No.Washington street, in the city of Brooklyn, is now ready to swear to the identity between James Mordaunt and a young sailor named Jack Sanders. Good morning.”
“Good morning, sir,” said Mordaunt, with a coolness and suavity which surprised honest Capt. Joseph Horton. He had supposed his threats would frighten Mordaunt; but he had yet to learn the character he was dealing with.
About one year before James Mordaunt graduated from college he made the acquaintance of Mary Wil
She lived with her mother in a small tenement in Brooklyn, N.Y. They derived support from their needle, and the liberality of Joseph Horton, an old bachelor, Mrs. Wilcox having lost her husband. Mordaunt first met Miss Wilcox at a small masquerade party. He was attracted by her beauty, and deliberately planned her ruin. In all the visits he made the poor girl, he went disguised in the character of a common sailor. In the course of a few months he won Mary's deepest and holiest affection. The mother strenuously opposed Mary's marrying until her uncle, Captain Horton, should return; he being then upon a whaling voyage. Mordaunt finally persuaded the artless girl to marry him privately. The marriage was duly performed by Rev. John Furnace. Mary Wilcox, by this means, became Mary Sanders, alias Mary Mordaunt. Of course, Mary's ruin was an easy task. In a few months she became the deserted wife and young mother. Mordaunt bad conducted the marriage so skillfully that Mary had no trace by which to discover the clergyman's residence. The ceremony had been performed at a small house of ill-repute in New York, hired by Mordaunt for the purpose. Mordaunt had supposed the man who performed the ceremony was not a clergyman. In this he was mistaken, if, indeed, the laws of New York State required one to make a marriage valid. He had been duly married, and by one person his villainy was known, and a note made of it.
Two months after the birth of her child, Mary Sanders, for such we shall call her at present, was walking up Broadway, when, in front of the City Hospital, she met James Mordaunt, and in the fashionable young man recognized her husband. Mordaunt also recognized her, but coolly walked on. She ran towards him and caught his arm. He hastily and roughly shook her off, and mingled instantly with the crowd. Mary, in terrible anguish, the hot blood coursing through her veins with lightning speed, felt her head whirling and her eyes growing dim. She struggled bravely against this torrent of bitter woe, but not successfully. She sank upon the walk unconscious, for the moment, of her existence. Kind Heaven relieved her soul of all its sorrows, to prepare it anew to cope with trial. One eye had seen Mary’s grasp upon Mordaunt's arm.
“Jacob, stop the carriage! I wish that young woman to ride home with me."
Jacob obeyed the request of Clara Edgemonte. With some difficulty he penetrated the crowd which had instantly surrounded the fallen woman. Obtaining the assistance of some bystanders, using threats and entreaties, he succeeded in placing her in the