“What does he mean?” thought Mark, uneasily. “Will he contest the will?”
It was perhaps an evidence of Mark’s shrewdness that he had some doubts about the validity of the will under which his father inherited.
MR. MANNING’S NEW PLAN
Mark so represented his school difficulty to his father that he incurred but slight censure.
Indeed, Mr. Manning was so absorbed in plans for getting the greatest enjoyment out of the estate of which he had obtained possession by doubtful means that he didn’t care to be disturbed about such a trifle as his son’s suspension.
He felt more disposed to blame Frank, whom Mark charged with betraying him.
“What does Frank say about it?” asked Mr. Manning.
“Of course he denies it,” said Mark, “but it can’t be any one else.”
“He is acting very unwisely,” said Mr. Manning, compressing his thin lips.
“So I told him, but he said he didn’t mean to be a dependent on you long.”
“How is he going to avoid it?’
“I don’t know.”
“I have had some intimation from Col. Vincent, who appears to be in his confidence. He wants to leave us.”
“To go away?”
“But you won’t let him?”
“I have been thinking about that, Mark, and I may give my permission. The fact is, he stands in the way of some plans I have formed. I am thinking of traveling.”
“Not without me?” said Mark, hastily.
“No; you shall go with me, but I don’t care to take Frank.”
“You might leave him at school.”
“I might, but how do I know that he might not hatch some mischief while we are gone?”
“He might make some fuss about the property,” suggested Mark.
“Has he hinted anything of that kind to you?” asked his father, quickly.
“Yes. Only yesterday he said that the property belonged by right to him.”
Mr. Manning looked thoughtful, and watched Mark narrowly to see if from his manner he could divine the boy’s intentions.
Later that same evening, Mark having retired early in consequence of a headache, Frank found himself alone with his stepfather, and took advantage of the opportunity to speak of the plan he had formed.
“Mr. Manning,” he said, “if you are at leisure, I should like to speak with you a few minutes.”
“Proceed,” said his stepfather, waving his hand.
“But a week remains of the school term. Did you propose that I should return there at the end of the vacation?”
“Humph! I had not thought much on the subject.”
“It has all along been intended that I should go to college when prepared, but I don’t think I care much about it.”
“In that case,” said his stepfather, with alacrity, “you would only be throwing away time and money by going.”