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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about Edward Barnett; a Neglected Child of South Carolina, Who Rose to Be a Peer of Great Britain,and the Stormy Life of His Grandfather, Captain Williams.
had kept the papers of your grandmother and the locket, and gave them to your father; but he treated them as fabulous, and her as an impostor.  Your mother, however, gave credence to her tale, and even consulted a lawyer; but they were not sufficient without my evidence, and your father would not take any steps in the affair.  Your mother kept her as an attendant till her own death, but your uncle must have heard from some source of the existence of his brother; and after his death, which happened in battle at sea, he tried to induce the widow to give up these papers.  Failing in this, by a large sum of money he tempted your nurse to poison her, and possessed himself of them, representing himself as her husband’s brother, but concealing his rank.  She was also to make away with you; but repenting of the murder of your mother, she concealed you for some time in a distant part of the State, but he discovered her and sold her to a Tennessee planter.  It was but this year I succeeded in tracing her, and finding her almost at the point of death, got these facts from her, regularly drawn up and witnessed.  I bought her freedom first to enable her to give evidence, and soon after her earthly account was closed.  Violetta D’Arista, your grand-mother’s faithful attendant, gave me a clue by which I traced you; and she is now in London, anxious to fold you to her breast, and to aid you as far as in her power, to restore to you your birthright and inheritance.’

‘And the papers?’

‘If not destroyed, are in his possession.’

’Then I can obtain them, although he has had, as he thinks, all the subterranean passages stopped up, yet there remains one, by which I can penetrate to his very bed-room unseen, although a stout man could not.’  The seaman mused.  ’It would be dangerous.  Your uncle is a brave man, and powerful.  If he awoke—­and such consciences must be bad sleeping companions, you would be sacrificed.’

’I fear not—­for vengeance on my mother’s murderer I would dare anything.’

’It must not be, young man.  You have a sacred duty to perform, more binding far than vengeance, which is the Lord’s alone.  You have to heal the sorrows of those who will be in a great measure dependent upon you to redress the wrongs of years of oppression, to be a father to the tenants of your wide domain, and your life must not be idly risked.’

‘I have it!’ said Edward, eagerly.  ’You say my father was fair-haired, and I am like my mother.’

The seaman took a miniature from his vest, and handed it to him.  It contained two portraits—­one of a captain in the British navy, in full uniform, his head bare, and locks of fair hair falling even over his shoulders, for he had disdained the peruke then in fashion—­and that of a lady, whose dark eyes and raven ringlets told that her nativity had been the sunny south.

‘Johnson is not unlike the portrait of my father, and is a slim man,’ said Edward.  ’He will readily go with me.  I will personate my mother.  I am confident the papers are not destroyed, for I have often seen him when he little dreamed an eye was upon him, examining some papers he keeps in a small casket on his toilet, and one in particular, a document of some length, which he has often seemed to me about to tear, but always replaced.’

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