“I wouldn’t have him,” said Maria. “His face is all over freckles.”
“Enough of this quarreling, children,” said Mrs. Stanton. “I hope,” she continued, addressing her husband, “you won’t fail to write at once. They might be sending on the boy, and then we should be in a pretty predicament.”
“I will write at once. I don’t know but I ought to inclose some money.”
“I don’t see why you need to.”
“Perhaps I had better, as this is the last I intend to do for him.”
“At any rate, it won’t be necessary to send much,” said Mrs. Stanton.
“Five dollars will do, I should think. Because he happens to be your nephew, there is no good reason why he should be thrown upon you for support.”
“Perhaps it will be best to send ten dollars,” said Mr. Stanton. “People are unreasonable, you know, and they might charge me with meanness, if I sent less.”
“Then make it ten. It’s only for once. I hope that will be the last we shall hear of him.”
The room in which this conversation took place was a handsomely furnished breakfast room, all the appointments of which spoke not only of comfort, but of luxury. Mr. Stanton had been made rich by a series of lucky speculations, and he was at present carrying on a large wholesale store downtown. He had commenced with small means twenty years before, and for some years had advanced slowly, until the tide of fortune set in and made him rich. His present handsome residence he had only occupied three years, having moved to it from one of much smaller pretensions on Bleecker Street. Tom and Maria were forbidden to speak of their former home to their present fashionable acquaintances, and this prohibition they were likely to observe, having inherited to the full the worldly spirit which actuated their parents. It will be seen that Herbert Mason was little likely to be benefited by having such prosperous relations.
INTRODUCING THE HERO
If my young readers do not find the town of Waverley on the map of Ohio, they may conclude that it was too small to attract the notice of the map-makers. The village is small, consisting of about a dozen houses, a church, a schoolhouse, and, as a matter of course, one of that well-known class of stores in which everything required for the family is sold, from a dress-pattern to a pound of sugar. Outside of the village there are farmhouses, surrounded by broad acres, which keep them at respectable distances from each other, like the feudal castles of the Middle Ages. The land is good, and the farmers are thrifty and well-to-do; but probably the whole town contains less than a thousand inhabitants.
In one of the houses, near the church, lived Dr. Kent, whose letter has already been referred to. He was a skillful physician, and a very worthy man, who would have been very glad to be benevolent if his limited practice had supplied him with the requisite means. But chance had directed him to a healthy and sparsely-settled neighborhood, where he was able only to earn a respectable livelihood, and indeed found himself compelled to economize at times where he would have liked to indulge himself in expense.