Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Classical Novels > Aunt Jane's Nieces29 > CHAPTER XXIX. THE MAJOR DEMANDS AN EXPLANATION.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 That was a happy week, indeed. Patsy devoted1 all her spare time to her lessons, but the house itself demanded no little attention. She would not let Mary dust the ornaments2 or arrange the rooms at all, but lovingly performed those duties herself, and soon became an ideal housekeeper3, as Uncle John approvingly remarked.  
And as she flitted from room to room she sang such merry songs that it was a delight to hear her, and the Major was sure to get home from the city in time to listen to the strumming of the piano at three o'clock, from the recess4 of his own snug5 chamber6.
Uncle John went to the city every morning, and at first this occasioned no remark. Patsy was too occupied to pay much attention to her uncle's coming and going, and the Major was indifferent, being busy admiring Patsy's happiness and congratulating himself on his own good fortune.
The position at the bank had raised the good man's importance several notches7. The clerks treated him with fine consideration and the heads of the firm were cordial and most pleasant. His fine, soldierly figure and kindly8, white-moustached face, conferred a certain dignity upon his employers, which they seemed to respect and appreciate.
It was on Wednesday that the Major encountered the name of John Merrick on the books. The account was an enormous one, running into millions in stocks and securities. The Major smiled.
"That's Uncle John's name," he reflected. "It would please him to know he had a namesake so rich as this one."
The next day he noted9 that John Merrick's holdings were mostly in western canning industries and tin-plate factories, and again he recollected10 that Uncle John had once been a tinsmith. The connection was rather curious.
But it was not until Saturday morning that the truth dawned upon him, and struck him like a blow from a sledge-hammer.
He had occasion to visit Mr. Marvin's private office, but being told that the gentleman was engaged with an important customer, he lingered outside the door, waiting.
Presently the door was partly opened.
"Don't forget to sell two thousand of the Continental11 stock tomorrow," he heard a familiar voice say.
"I'll not forget, Mr. Merrick," answered the banker.
"And buy that property on Bleeker street at the price offered. It's a fair proposition, and I need the land."
"Very well, Mr. Merrick. Would it not be better for me to send these papers by a messenger to your house?"
"No; I'll take them myself. No one will rob me." And then the door swung open and, chuckling12 in his usual whimsical fashion, Uncle John came out, wearing his salt-and-pepper suit and stuffing; a bundle of papers into his inside pocket.
The Major stared at him haughtily13, but made no attempt to openly recognize the man. Uncle John gave a start, laughed, and then walked away briskly, throwing a hasty "good-bye" to the obsequious14 banker, who followed him out, bowing low.
The Major returned to his office with a grave face, and sat for the best part of three hours in a brown study. Then he took his hat and went home.
Patsy asked anxiously if anything had happened, when she saw his face; but the Major shook his head.
Uncle John arrived just in time for dinner, in a very genial15 mood, and he and Patsy kept up a lively conversation at the table while the Major looked stern every time he caught the little man's eye.
But Uncle John never minded. He was not even as meek16 and humble17 as usual, but laughed and chatted with the freedom of a boy just out of school, which made Patsy think the new clothes had improved him in more ways than one.
When dinner was over the Major led them into the sitting-room18, turned up the lights, and then confronted the little man with a determined19 and majestic20 air.
"Sir," said he, "give an account of yourself."
"John Merrick, millionaire and impostor, who came into my family under false pretenses21 and won our love and friendship when we didn't know it, give an account of yourself!"
Patsy laughed.
"What are you up to, Daddy?" she demanded. "What has Uncle John been doing?"
"Deceiving us, my dear."
"Nonsense," said Uncle John, lighting22 his old briar pipe, "you've been deceiving yourselves."
"Didn't you convey the impression that you were poor?" demanded the
Major, sternly.
"Didn't you let Patsy take away your thirty-two dollars and forty-two cents, thinking it was all you had?"
"Aren't you worth millions and millions of dollars—so many that you can't count them yourself?"
"Then, sir," concluded the Major, mopping the
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved