“I will tell you, old friend. In Nevada we would say that these old men are too infernally gushing in their welcome to you. I fear there is something wrong behind it all; though, as I said, it is a mere suspicion which I cannot explain to myself; only, Jack, I will stay to the wedding, and be sure to give no hint to any soul in England that I have more than money enough to make a brief visit, and then to return to America. And do not permit what I have said to worry you, for I have no backing for my impressions.”
Then Jack went to his room to sleep and to dream of Rose Jenvie, and Jim went to bed, not to sleep, but to think of Grace Meredith.
Ways that are dark.
As we know, Sedgwick went first with Browning to the hamlet in Devonshire where Jack’s early home had been. Browning was recognized, of course. An old friend of Hamlin’s was at the church, spoke to Jack, and witnessed Sedgwick’s encounter with the bull. He knew under what circumstances young Browning left home, and so on that Sunday evening he wrote to Hamlin that his step-son was in Devonshire, told him of the episode at the church, and informed the old man that the companion of his son, though a quiet and refined-appearing man enough, must be a prize-fighter in disguise. He further stated that Jack had told him that he and his friend had been working in the mines at Virginia City, Nevada, for three or four years. He added the strong suspicion that the complexion of the men indicated that they had not been in the mines at all. (His idea of a miner was a coal-miner, and not one from the Comstock mine, where there is no coal dust, and where the thermometer indicates a tropical climate always.)
This letter reached Hamlin early on Monday. Being a half banker and half broker himself, he turned at once to the page in the bank directory, giving American banks and their London connections. He found the Nevada branch bank and California branch bank of Virginia City, and what banks in London they drew upon, and hastened first to the Nevada bank’s London agency. He could obtain no news there. Then he sought the other, and knowing the management, he explained to one of the directors that his son was on the way home, was already in England, and asked him confidentially, both as a father and a brother banker, whether any credit had come for the boy. The director ran over his correspondence, and, looking up with a smile, said:
“Is your son’s name John Browning? If it is, he has bills of exchange upon us for L100,000.”
The old man was paralyzed. “It cannot be possible,” he said. “Great heavens! L100,000!”
“Those are the figures sent us,” said the cashier, “and we received a mighty invoice of Nevada bullion by the last ship from New York. There is no mistake.”
Then an effort was made to see if another man named Sedgwick had any credit, but nothing was found. Enjoining upon the banker the utmost secrecy in regard to his being at the bank, the old man went away.