“Thank you,” said Herbert, gratefully.
“Where are you boarding, Herbert?” asked Ralph.
“In Stanton Street.”
“I shall wish you at once to remove to the Astor House, in order that we may be together until we sail for Europe.”
To this pleasant arrangement Herbert made no opposition. He found it a great change from the dirty and slipshod boarding-house to the elegant arrangements of a first-class hotel. It is needless to say that he enjoyed that change not a little. He often had the feeling, of which he had spoken to Ralph, that it was a dream from which he would some time awake. But the dream was destined to be a pretty long one.
Within a week, much against his will, Mr. Stanton paid over to Ralph Pendleton the fifty thousand dollars of which he had years ago defrauded him, and thus the Ranger found himself master of a fortune of nearly one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. He settled without delay a comfortable annuity on David Marston, the old clerk, through whose evidence he had been able to ferret out the treachery of Mr. Stanton. Marston needed it, for his health was broken down and he was an invalid, prematurely old. He is now settled in a comfortable boarding-house in Clinton Street, and usually spends his mornings at the Mercantile Library Reading-Room, in Astor Place, reading the morning papers. Sometimes he ventures downtown, and takes a slow walk through the streets, crowded with busy, bustling men, and recalls the years when he, too, was one of them.
Before sailing for Europe, Herbert expressed a desire to repay his uncle the sum of ten dollars, which the latter had sent to him. Ralph was surprised when he learned that this uncle, of whom Herbert spoke, was the same man who had been his former guardian. He approved our hero’s determination, and one morning Herbert entered for the first time his uncle’s place of business.
“Is Mr. Stanton in?” he asked of a clerk.
The clerk, in reply, pointed to the office.
His uncle looked up, but although he had seen our hero at a concert at the Academy of Music, he did not recognize him in the new and fashionable suit which Ralph had purchased for him.
“Mr. Stanton, I suppose?” said Herbert, with quiet self-possession.
“Yes. Do you wish to speak with me?”
“I must introduce myself,” said Herbert. “I am Herbert Mason, your nephew.”
“Indeed!” said Mr. Stanton, surprised. “When did you come to the city?”
“Some weeks since.”
“What brought you here?”
“I had my living to make. I preferred to make it in the city.”
“The city is crowded. You had better have remained in the country.”
“I do not think so,” said Herbert.