A review of the past fourteen months
The Guardian-Mother had sailed from New York about fourteen months before she appeared in the waters of the Arabian Sea. She was a steam-yacht of 624 tons burden, owned by Louis Belgrave, a young man who had just entered his eighteenth year. His native place was Von Blonk Park, in New Jersey, most of whose territory had been the farm of the young gentleman’s grandfather, who had become a millionaire by the sale of his land.
The terrors of the War of the Rebellion had driven the old man to convert his property into gold, which he had concealed so effectually that no one could find it. His only son, more patriotic than his father, had enlisted in the loyal army, and had been severely wounded in the brave and faithful discharge of his duty, and returned to the home of his childhood a wreck of his former self.
His father died during his absence, and Paul Belgrave, the soldier, was his sole heir. His physical condition improved considerably, though he never ceased to suffer from the effects of his wound. The homestead of his father, which had not been sold with the rest of his land, afforded the invalid a sufficient support; and he married Maud Nashwood, the only daughter of one of the small magnates of Von Blonk Park, which had now become a thriving town, occupied mainly by business men of New York.
Paul Belgrave was a millionaire without any millions; for he was never able to find the large property of his deceased parent. For ten years he dug over the cellar bottom of the old house, and the ground in the vicinity; but the missing million entirely eluded his search, and he died as soon as he gave up all hope of finding the treasure.
Mrs. Belgrave was left with their son, then eight years old; but the estate of her husband, with the property of her father, supported her comfortably. The widow had been married at sixteen; and she had the reputation of being the prettiest woman in the Park after her husband died. She had many suitors, but she finally married a handsome English horse-trainer, who called himself Wade Farrongate, though that was not his real name.
For some reason not then apparent, this man at once became the enemy of Louis Belgrave; and the war between them raged for several years, though the young man did all he could to conciliate his stepfather. The man was a rascal, a villain to the very core of his being, though he had attained a position of considerable influence among the sporting gentry of New York and New Jersey, mainly for his skill as a jockey, and in the management of the great races.