Mr. Mordecai had scarcely passed a square from his home, when suddenly he retraced his steps, and stood again before the lodge.
“Mingo,” he said sharply, “tell your mistress to send me that cursed letter. Be quick.”
With a dash the nimble slave obeyed the command, and in a moment stood before his master, the letter in his hand, bowing and smiling with his usual politeness.
Taking the letter, Mr. Mordecai crushed it in his hand, then placed it in his breast pocket, as he again started forward toward his banking-house. If he passed man, woman, child, friend, acquaintance, or kinsman in that morning’s walk, he knew it not; for the tumult of passion that stirred his soul obliterated for the time every recollection but that of the terrible sorrow that had befallen him. In due time he reached the dingy brown banking-house, and stood irresolutely for a moment upon the well-worn stone steps. He placed the ponderous key within the lock, but the hand seemed powerless to turn its massive bolt; and for a moment he stood with thoughtful, determined eye resting upon the pavement. A moment more, and then he quickly withdrew the key, dropped it into his pocket, and briskly retraced his steps for square after square, and then abruptly turned into the well-known street where stood the office of the distinguished Le Grande.
It happened that Mr. Mordecai approached the office from one direction, as Judge Le Grande himself approached it from another, riding in the light single phaeton in which he usually drove to and from his office.
“Good-morning, Mr. Mordecai. How goes it with you, my friend, this fine morning?” said the judge pleasantly, as he alighted and threw the lines to Cato, the driver.—“Tell your mistress she need not send for me till five o’clock. I shall be very busy to-day.” Then turning to the banker he looked for a reply.
“It’s no good-morning to me,” replied the banker fiercely. “The night has brought devilish work to my home.”
“What do you mean, my friend?” was the judge’s quiet reply. “What has the night done?”
“Played the devil! Don’t you try to trifle with my sorrow. That son of yours has already wrought me injury enough. Don’t you attempt to mock me. I warn you, Le Grande, I warn you!”
Astonished by these mysterious words of the Hebrew, Judge Le Grande gravely assured Mr. Mordecai that he knew nothing of the trouble that had befallen him, and repeatedly asked, “What has my son done?”
“Done? Alas! he has done that which would to God I could undo!” was the reply, uttered angrily and savagely. “But as I cannot undo it, I shall curse it-curse it from the depths of my soul! He has married my daughter? Stolen her-taken her away in secret from my house, and they have wisely fled from my presence!”
“Married your daughter!” ejaculated the judge, the truth faintly dawning on him. “Surely that’s a mistake.”