Imágenes de páginas

his father; but this was the first time the resemblance had appeared to be real.

“Your father, unless I am wrong in the footing-up, owns a very pretty piece of land within the precincts of Edgartown, on the island, set down upon the map, as Martha's Vineyard. His name is William Melville, Esq., formerly a merchant of Boston, where, by the way, he spends most of his winter months. Am I right, sir ?”

“You are, Mr. Edgemonte; and I am curious to know more of your acquaintance with my father," replied George.

“ Very well, George, come to breakfast with Thomas at sharp eight, and you shall learn the whole story. 'Harry' and 'Bill' were titles your father and I have used in addressing each other, thousands of times.”

George Melville was indeed surprised. With Griswold, he left Mr. Edgemonte to prepare for the breakfast party.

[ocr errors]

“Come at last! Here I've been in a terrible gale this twenty minutes," said Uncle Harry.

Why, father, what has so excited you?” said Clara.

“Excited! Is it not a quarter past seven? Breakfast at eight, and you little plagues, mother, sister, and all, have only three quarters of an hour to get on your dry-goods, and balance your account with the looking-glass."

“Why, we are all ready now, uncle mine," said Bell. “Father and I have had a beautiful stroll; and there come mother and Mr. Mordaunt.”

“Well, if you girls are sure the cases are all right, you may mail the invoices; but I'm of the opinion the young collegians will scrutinize all the packages closely; therefore, I hope there are no mistakes. Don't tell me you were not fully warned—that's all.”

Without giving them time for any questions, Uncle Harry hastily pulled out his watch, put on one of his unapproachable, sober faces, turned nervously on his heel, and left the party, entirely deaf to the “Uncle Harrys " which followed him.

“What does Uncle Harry mean, Clara?"

“That you, Bell, and you, my little pet, Clara," interrupted Mr. Mortimer, “are destined to meet with some surprise at the breakfast-table; so run on, and pack the cases all right,' by which Mr. Edgemonte means, that if your toilets are not right for strangers, they must be made so.'

Bell and Clara, upon hearing this explanation, immediately left Mr. Mortimer, and hastened, unattended, to the hotel. Mordaunt, who was approaching with Mrs. Mortimer, seeing the young ladies leave Mr. Mortimer so unceremoniously, immediately concluded it was a ruse of Bell's to avoid his company. The iron entered his soul.

His lips were suddenly and firmly compressed; his brow grew several shades darker; but quickly mastering himself, with the ready ease of a man of the world, he bestowed the most delicate attentions upon Mrs. Mortimer. He succeeded so completely in arresting both Mrs. and Mr. Mortimer's attention, the parties having now met, that the departure of the young ladies was not again thought of, and consequently went unexplained.


Hon. B. F. Mortimer-H. B. Edgemonte, Esq.—James Mordaunt,

Esq.–Frederick Mortimer-Thomas F. Griswold-George Melville -Mrs. Mortimer-Mrs. Edgemonte-Bell Mortimer-Clara Edgemonte-The Breakfast-Party.

It was now ten minutes before eight. Mr. and Mrs. Edgemonte were seated in their private parlor, awaiting the appearance of their company. Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer were the first to enter.

“Edgemonte, this is a capital hit. I have not wanted a breakfast with such promptings of the inner man for some time," said Mr. Mortimer.

“ Ben, do you remember ‘Bill Melville ?!” said Mr. Edgemonte, not noticing Mr. Mortimer's remark.

“ Bill Melville-Bill Melville !” said Mr. Mortimer, drawing down his heavy eyebrows, and halfclosing his eyes, as a man does who is suddenly carried back thirty or forty years of his life.

“ Yes? Well, he is to appear to-day, by as perfect a representation of himself as a son can be of a father ; and a noble looking fellow he is. If it don't carry you back to boyhood days, then I am no prophet.

“ Bill Melville! Yes, I do remember him. He was a clerk with 'Sacket & Waddel,' importers and jobbers, when I was an under-graduate at Columbia College," said Mr. Mortimer.

“That's right! that's right! He is now living easily at Edgartown, on Martha's Vineyard, spending his winters at Boston. I met a young gentleman from New York, son of my old friend James H. Griswold, who introduced Melville to me. It seems they are now at Hamilton College, and are spending their vacation in travel.

A rap at the door interrupted Mr. Edgemonte. IIis wife handed a couple of cards to her husband, brought by a waiter.

“Show the gentlemen up, if you please, sir,” said Mr. Edgemonte to the waiter.

In a few moments Mr. Griswold, accompanied by his friend Melville, entered the room.

They were cordially greeted by their host. Mr. Mortimer immediately recalled the features of the father as reflected in George Melville; and, after the necessary formality of an introduction had been accomplished, engaged him in conversation.

“Mr. Melville, this is one of the most extraordinary fancies which the old lady 'Dame Fortune,' has ever seen fit to exhibit in


behalf. Your father, when a young man, was one of my intimate friends. It is now over thirty years since we have met. I see in you the friend of my youth.”

“Your remarks bespeak a generous heart, sir, of which I shall be proud to know more," said Melville, respectfully. “My father is one, too, who does not forget the friends of his youth."

“Not he, not he !—but here are two young gentlemen with whom you must be made acquainted. Mr. Griswold, Mr. Mordaunt; my son Frederick. Mr. Melville, gentlemen.”

The young gentlemen, having extended to each

other the usual courtesies of a first introduction, were scarcely seated when the young ladies entered the room.

“I perceive the cases' were not right,” said Mr. Edgemonte. “Inasmuch as the corrections are all made, I have no objection to invoicing the goods now. Mr. Melville, allow me to present you to my daughter."

“I am most happy at this introduction, Miss Edgemonte," said Melville, a little embarrassed, taken thus somewhat unawares at being unexpectedly the first introduced.

“ It gives me equal pleasure, Mr. Melville," gracefully replied Clara, for a moment taking his hand and accompanying the act with a smile of generous hospitality, which wreathed her face, plaited by nature's unrivalled touch. “And you, Mr. Griswold! Father, this is indeed a surprise."

Clara's countenance was instantaneously radiant with the most unaffected enjoyment.

“But I must not forget that I have a cousin, gentlemen,” said Clara.

“ Mr. Griswold, this is my cousin Bell. You ought to know her. Mr. Melville, will you allow me to introduce you to Miss Mortimer?

Bell was not-could not be herself. She inwardly felt that smiles would only prove to be sickly falsehoods. Her soul was sad. Mordaunt's eye she knew was upon her; for without seeing it, she felt the influence of his piercing glance. Clothing her features in a quiet, but subdued reserve, she greeted the gentleman with an easy dignity of manner, which contrasted most admirably with the graceful brilliancy of her cousin.

« AnteriorContinuar »