“I believe you are quite right. The danger exists, and we must guard against it. I see you don’t like the boy,” said John Wade.
“No, I don’t. He’s separated your uncle and me. Before he came, I used to spend my evenings in the library, and read to your uncle. Besides, when I found your uncle wanted a reader, I asked him to take my nephew, who is a salesman in the very same store where that boy is a cash-boy, but although I’ve been twenty years in this house I could not get him to grant the favor, which he granted to that boy, whom he never met till a few weeks ago.”
“Mrs. Bradley, I sympathize with you,” said her companion. “The boy is evidently working against us both. You have been twenty years in my uncle’s service. He ought to remember you handsomely in his will. If I inherit the property, as is my right, your services shall be remembered,” said John Wade.
“Thank you, Mr. John,” said the gratified housekeeper.
“That secures her help,” thought John, in his turn.
“She will now work hard for me. When the time comes, I can do as much or as little for her as I please.”
“Of course, we must work together against this interloper, who appears to have gained a dangerous influence over my uncle.”
“You can depend upon me, Mr. John,” said Mrs. Bradley.
“I will think it over, and tell you my plan,” said John Wade. “But my uncle will wonder at my appetite. I must go back to the library. We will speak of this subject again.”
A FALSE FRIEND
When John Wade re-entered the library, Frank was reading, but Mr. Wharton stopped him.
“That will do, Frank,” he said. “As I have not seen my nephew for a long time, I shall not require you to read any longer. You can go, if you like.”
Frank bowed, and bidding the two good-evening, left the room.
“That is an excellent boy, John.” said the old gentleman, as the door closed upon our hero.
“How did you fall in with him?” asked John. Mr. Wharton told the story with which the reader is already familiar.
“You don’t know anything of his antecedents, I suppose?” said John, carelessly.
“Only what he told me. His father and mother are dead, and he is obliged to support himself and his sister. Did you notice anything familiar in Frank’s expression?” asked Mr. Wharton.
“I don’t know. I didn’t observe him very closely.”
“Whenever I look at Frank, I think of George. I suppose that is why I have felt more closely drawn to the boy. I proposed to Mrs. Bradley that the boy should have a room here, but she did not favor it. I think she is prejudiced against him.”
“Probably she is afraid he would be some trouble,” replied John.
“If George’s boy had lived he would be about Frank’s age. It would have been a great comfort to me to superintend his education, and watch him grow up. I could not have wished him to be more gentlemanly or promising than my young reader.”