“John Wade,” said his uncle, sternly, “the boy whom you malign, the boy you have so deeply wronged, has found a permanent home in this house.”
“What, sir! you take him back?”
“I do. There is no more fitting place for him than the house of his grandfather.”
“His grandfather!” exclaimed his nephew and the housekeeper, in chorus.
“I have abundant proof of the relationship. This morning I have listened to the story of your treachery. I have seen the woman whose son, represented to me as my grandson, lies in Greenwood Cemetery. I have learned your wicked plans to defraud him of his inheritance, and I tell you that you have failed.”
“I shall make my will to-morrow, bequeathing all my property to my grandson, excepting only an annual income of two thousand dollars to yourself. And now I must trouble you to find a boarding place. After what has passed I do not desire to have you in the family.”
“I do not believe he is your grandson,” said John Wade, too angry to heed prudential considerations.
“Your opinion is of little consequence.”
“Then, sir, I have only to wish you good-morning. I will send for my trunks during the day.”
“Good-morning,” said Mr. Wharton, gravely, and John Wade left the room, baffled and humiliated.
“I hope, sir,” said the housekeeper, alarmed for her position; “I hope you don’t think I knew Mr. Frank was your grandson. I never was so astonished and flustrated in my life. I hope you won’t discharge me, sir—me that have served you so faithfully for many years.”
“You shall remain on probation. But if Frank ever has any fault to find with you, you must go.”
“I hope you will forgive me, Mr. Frank.”
“I forgive you freely,” said our hero, who was at a generous disposition.
Meanwhile poor Grace had fared badly at the poorhouse in Crawford. It was a sad contrast to the gentle and kindly circle at Mr. Pomeroy’s. What made it worse for Grace was, that she could hear nothing of Frank. She feared he was sick, or had met with some great misfortune, which prevented his writing.
One day a handsome carriage drove up to the door. From it descended our hero, elegantly attired. He knocked at the door.
Mrs. Chase, who was impressed by wealth, came to the door in a flutter of respect, induced by the handsome carriage.
“What do you wish, sir?” she asked, not recognizing Frank.
“Miss Grace Fowler!” repeated Mrs. Chase, almost paralyzed at Grace being called for by such stylish acquaintances.
“Yes, my sister Grace.”
“What! are you Frank Fowler?”
“Yes. I have come to take Grace away.”
“I don’t know as I have the right to let her go,” said Mrs. Chase, cautiously, regretting that Grace was likely to escape her clutches.