An unexpected confession.
Having executed the document, Marston ordered one of the servants to show Maxwell his room. The persons who had acted the part of justices, authenticating the instrument, withdrew without further conversation; while the person who had followed Lorenzo, for such was the young man’s name, remained as if requiring some further negotiation with Marston. He approached the table sullenly, and with one hand resting upon it, and the other adjusted in his vest, deliberately waited the moment to interrupt the conversation. This man, reader, is Marco Graspum, an immense dealer in human flesh,—great in that dealing in the flesh and blood of mankind which brings with it all the wickedness of the demon. It is almost impossible to conceive the suddenness with which that species of trade changes man into a craving creature, restless for the dross of the world. There he was, the heartless dealer in human flesh, dressed in the garb of a gentleman, and by many would have been taken as such. Care and anxiety sat upon his countenance; he watched the chances of the flesh market, stood ready to ensnare the careless youth, to take advantage of the frailer portions of a Southerner’s noble nature. “A word or two with you, Mr. Marston,” said he.
“Sit down, Graspum, sit down,” Marston rejoined, ordering Dandy to give him a chair; which being done he seats himself in front of Marston, and commences dilating upon his leniency. “You may take me for an importune feller, in coming this time o’night, but the fact is I’ve been-you know my feelings for helpin’ everybody-good-naturedly drawn into a very bad scrape with this careless young nephew of yourn: he’s a dashing devil, and you don’t know it, he is. But I’ve stood it so long that I was compelled to make myself sure. This nephew of yourn,” said he, turning to Lorenzo, “thinks my money is made for his gambling propensities, and if he has used your name improperly, you should have known of it before.” At this Lorenzo’s fine open countenance assumed a glow of indignation, and turning to his uncle, with a nervous tremor, he said, “Uncle, he has led me into this trouble. You know not the snares of city life; and were I to tell you him-this monster-yea, I say monster, for he has drawn me into a snare like one who was seeking to devour my life-that document, uncle, which he now holds in his hand saves me from a shame and disgrace which I never could have withstood before the world.”