Jack's Ward eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 146 pages of information about Jack's Ward.

He kept her in pleasant conversation, while, with a free, bold hand he sketched the outlines of her face.

“I shall want one more sitting,” he said.  “I will come to-morrow at this time.”

“Stop a minute,” said Peg.  “I should like the money in advance.  How do I know you will come again?”

“Certainly, if you desire it,” said Henry Bowen.

“What strange fortune,” he thought, “can have brought them together?  Surely there can be no relation between this sweet child and that ugly old woman!”

The next day he returned and completed his sketch, which was at once placed in the hands of the publisher, eliciting his warm approval.

CHAPTER XXIII

JACK OBTAINS INFORMATION

Jack set out with that lightness of heart and keen sense of enjoyment that seem natural to a young man of eighteen on his first journey.  Partly by boat, partly by cars, he traveled, till in a few hours he was discharged, with hundreds of others, at the depot in Philadelphia.

He rejected all invitations to ride, and strode on, carpetbag in hand, though, sooth to say, he had very little idea whether he was steering in the right direction for his uncle’s shop.  By dint of diligent and persevering inquiry he found it at last, and walking in, announced himself to the worthy baker as his nephew Jack.

“What?  Are you Jack?” exclaimed Mr. Abel Harding, pausing in his labor.  “Well, I never should have known you, that’s a fact.  Bless me, how you’ve grown!  Why, you’re ’most as big as your father, ain’t you?”

“Only half an inch shorter,” answered Jack, complacently.

“And you’re—­let me see—­how old are you?”

“Eighteen; that is, almost.  I shall be in two months.”

“Well, I’m glad to see you, Jack, though I hadn’t the least idea of your raining down so unexpectedly.  How’s your father and mother and your adopted sister?”

“Father and mother are pretty well,” answered Jack; “and so is Aunt Rachel,” he continued, smiling, “though she ain’t so cheerful as she might be.”

“Poor Rachel!” said Abel, smiling also.  “Everything goes contrary with her.  I don’t suppose she’s wholly to blame for it.  Folks differ constitutionally.  Some are always looking on the bright side of things, and others can never see but one side, and that’s the dark one.”

“You’ve hit it, uncle,” said Jack, laughing.  “Aunt Rachel always looks as if she was attending a funeral.”

“So she is, my boy,” said Abel, gravely, “and a sad funeral it is.”

“I don’t understand you, uncle.”

“The funeral of her affections—­that’s what I mean.  Perhaps you mayn’t know that Rachel was, in early life, engaged to be married to a young man whom she ardently loved.  She was a different woman then from what she is now.  But her lover deserted her just before the wedding was to have come off, and she’s never got over the disappointment.  But that isn’t what I was going to talk about.  You haven’t told me about your adopted sister.”

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Jack's Ward from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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