The place was soon after sold for a few hundred dollars, and after attending to my affairs in the locality I returned to Boston, but not to remain.
A leading lawyer in Washington, an old and esteemed friend of my father, and a former adviser of mine in the matter of studying law, had offered to admit me to partnership in a lucrative practice which had become too large for his advancing years. I accepted, and bade good-by to dear old Boston.
It was not until May, 1881, that I returned to my former home, and then for a short time only.
The next day after my arrival I had a caller at my hotel, and to my surprise and pleasure it proved to be my old acquaintance and friend, Christopher Gault.
“I saw your name in the list of arrivals in the morning paper, and came up at once. I am delighted to find you here. I was in hopes to have met you on my return from England, but learned that you had left ‘The Hub’ entirely.”
“Yes, I have been gone a year and a half. But tell me, Gault, where have you kept yourself all of this time? I had nearly lost all trace of you. You made your departure from this continent so suddenly, nearly two years ago, that I thought you must have been”—
“Fleeing from justice?” he interrupted, laughing. “Seeking it, rather. I see you don’t quite understand,” he added. “Well, you shall have an explanation; but it is quite a little story, and I will not detain you this morning.”
“I shall see you again?”
“I hope so, by all means; and Mrs. Gault would be most happy to meet you.”
“Mrs. Gault!” I exclaimed, extending my hand,—“Mrs. Gault! Let me congratulate you. And Mrs. Gault was formerly”—
“Miss Cecilia Crabshaw,” he interposed, anticipating my guess.
“I could have guessed it,” I remarked. “In fact, I think I was rather more sanguine than you two years ago.”
He laughed a little, with evident satisfaction. “I have been better prospered than I anticipated then. We have now been married three months. By the way, when do you return to Washington?”
“Probably a week from now,—ten days at the latest.”
“Then let me make you a proposition. Besides my acquisition of which you have just learned I have been favored in other ways, and I have just purchased a house in the beautiful town of H——, where you and I met for the first time. This house I have remodelled into a summer residence; and Mrs. Gault and myself, with two or three friends, intend going up tomorrow for a two-months’ stay. Now, my proposition is this: when you get ready to return, take a train on the Fitchburg Railroad, and go by the way of Albany and the Hudson river. Stop off at the little station of C——, and come up to H——, and spend a day with your old friend. I will meet you at the station myself. Nothing would give me greater pleasure, and I know the lady who was once your client would unite with me in the invitation.”