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screams that issued from the door as he passed painfully dissipated the latter delusion, and he saw no sign of the former coming to pass immediately as he leaned out of the window and looked despairingly up and down the street.
A volley of screams more violent than before made him rush from his room again. "I can never stand that," he said; "the child will kill itself, and then she will go crazy indeed. I shall go and take care of it myself. Surely she hasn't fastened the door!"
No, she had not; she had been thoughtful enough to reflect that there might be a possibility of the baby's waking, and Mrs. Bonuer's coming up to attend to it; so he entered without any difficulty. The room lay dusk in the coming darkness, and the poor little creature had cried itself almost into convulsions. It held out its little hands piteously as the kind, manly face bent over it, and nestled up in his arms, sobbing and trembling, and clinging so close that Philip's heart yearned over it with a strange protective tenderness.
He paced the floor with the little trembling burden pressed to his breast, soothing its fears with gentle tones and caresses, until its cries ceased, and a little bit of a smile came to the pretty rose-bud lips in answer to some coaxing word. This greatly encouraged the amateur nurse, and now his excited nerves growing calm with the infant's returning serenity, the thought occurred to him that it might be best to take the little one to his own room; on the whole, it was not exactly the thing to be seen promenading up and down in hers, and he would listen for her return, and restore her charge without her knowing any thing about it.
So he immediately acted upon this suggestion, and little Miss Baby, pleased with her new quarters and her new attendant, vouchsafed to be extremely gracious, and laughed, and pat-a-caked, and pa-pa'd in a style that so completely fascinated Philip that he placed himself and all his possessions entirely at her disposal, and allowed the little dimpled fingers to pull his beard, and upset his writing-case and cigar-stand just as they chose.
"A pretty tell this would be for the fellows down town," he thought; and then aloud, "Yon little witch, do you design emptying that sandbox all over yourself?" But just then a quick, frightened rapping at the door diverted his attention, and the spilling of the sand and the tumultuous entrance of '' baby's Auntie Helen" took place at one and the same instant.
"Oh, you are really hero!" exclaimed the young lady, rushing up to the disconcerted Philip and seizing the baby from his arms, while the pale wild look on her face gave way to a burning blush.
"Oh, Mr. Warner, I beg a thousand pardons! I was so frightened I couldn't find the baby, and I thought I heard her crowing and laughing in here. I ought not to have left her, but I was almost obliged to go, and she woke so early this morning I was sure she would sleep till I got
back. Did she cry, and you went to her? My poor little darling!"
She almost smothered the child with kisses, and then broke out again,
"Oh, how shall I ever be able to thank you, Mr. Warner?"
She looked so artless and lovely, standing there with the pretty little baby leaping in her arms, her bright, inuocent face glowing with feeling, and the quick sensitive tears coming in those blue, blue eyes, that Philip "could not stand it," to use his own phrase. He came up close to her, and said, impetuously,
"Only by giving me the right to do it again whenever I please, Helen, my Helen. Let me call you so; be my little wife; let your baby be my ba,by, too! See, she loves me; she holds out her hands to me; will you turn awav, Helen?"
It was well Philip had taken hold of the little outstretched hands, or its auntie would certainly have let the baby fall in the tumultuous trembling that seized her at these strange, sudden words.
As it was, she shook so that it seemed as if she must fall herself, but Philip's hand had closed tightly over hers too, and his eager words were in her ear.
'' You know you promised not to leave her— and see, she clings to me! Speak, will you come too, Helen?"
But she could not speak; the words trembled and died on her lips, and when at last they came it was only—
"It is because you pity me—you can not have learned to love me in this little while. Let me go, let us both go—we will keep each other from being alone in the world."
"And you do not care for my being alone, meanwhile! Helen, look at me. Do not I love you?"
She could not but look up, and looking, she saw bending toward her a face so deeply in earnest, a gaze so tender and soul-full that even her modesty could doubt no longer. Her head drooped down upon the shoulder where the baby's already nestled so confidingly.
"I promised never to leave her," she said, in a low, happy voice; and the first lover's kiss which either one had ever shared sealed the double vow.
"Tell me if you think it is pretty, Lou," said Philip Warner, as he sat at his sister's side the next evening. He placed in her hand a ring of heavy gold, with a singlo pearl, large and pure and lustrous, gleaming softly from a cirelet of jet. ''
"Exquisite; but what are you going to do with it? It would suit some one in mourning. Tell me, Phil, at once!" pursued the impulsive little lady, reading some mystery in her brother's conscious face.
"Ah, Lou, I haec found my pearl! Two of them, I may say," he went on, with mock gravity, seeing her look of incredulous astonishment. "In fact, it was the baby who brought her to me, otherwise—"
"The baby!" gasped Mrs. Ellis, in unspeakable amazement. "Are you going to marry a baby too? Then she is a widow, and you always said you detested widows—oh, Phill"
"Yes, I am going to 'marry a baby' too. It was the baby that managed the whole matter, I tell you. But she isn't a widow for all that." L
The expression of utter stnltification on his j sister's usually bright face made the provoking Philip hasten to explain for fear of a sad acci- . dent to her intellects; but the reader need not stop to listen—he is already in the secret.
HOW I MADE A FORTUNE.
IAM not quite as badly off as the needy'knifegrinder who had no story to tell; but my story is not very extraordinary. If the reader expects any thing sensational, he had better look elsewhere.
My name is Pepperidge Lovatt. I was called Pepperidge after my mother's father, a wealthy pork-packer, from whom the family had great expectations, my mother being his only daughter and I her only son. The expectations were doomed to disappointment, for grandfather Pepperidge invested his fortune in a copper mine, somewhere in Peunsylvania, and in sinking a shaft sunk his money. My father, Roger Lovatt, was a bill-broker, irreverently termed by the vulgar a note-shaver. Personally he was known as Centpcreent and Allforeollat—names that had reference to the liberal and generous manuer in which he transacted his business. I never inquired into their origin. It was no matter to me. I always called him "the old man."
I never went to school with the common herd. Being born to a fortune it would not do. It was not the thing, you know. A private tutor prepared me for college, and to collego I went in due time. I forget now nearly all I was taught there. I was put through Latin, philosophy, and things—yes! and Greek, with all kinds of crabbed-looking letters, and mathematies. I went through the last, after a fashion. Arithmetic and Algebra were my specialties, but in Geometry I was brought up by the Pons Asinorum. However, I graduated with great honor. The valedictory, which it fell to my lot to deliver, was very much applauded, though my father did think that fifty dollars was too much to pay the half-starved fellow who wrote it. That was a little trick of mine though, for I hived forty out of the money, I am now sorry to say.
After I graduated I had no difficulty about choosing a profession. My friends, taking the beautiful language of my valedictory into consideration, suggested the law as the sphere in which my talents would have the best chance of development. As it was a matter of indifference to me, I accepted the choice. I read law after the usual fashion; that is to say, I got by
heart certain passages in Blackstone and Starkie and Chitty, so as to be able to answer probable questions, and in due time I was called to the bar. I forthwith hired me a handsome office, put out a tin sign with the words—" Pepperidge Lovatt, Counselor at Law,"anddiligently smoked a cigar in my nicely furnished rooms for one hour a day. Having thus attended to business, I put up a little notice on the door—"at Court. Call Tc-moubow At Ten O'clock," and sauntered up Broadway. At night I went to the opera, or lounged at the club, or led the German at parties, and led it well. I despise boasting of my own talents; but I may properly say that I was the best dancer in our set. There was not a member of the bar that could equal me. Even Grind, of the firm of Grind and Cheathamwell, they said he was at the head of the profession, but I saw him try to polk once at Saratoga, and I was quite sure that Grind's abilities had been overrated by his friends.
I had practiced law vigorously, after the fashion I have described, for about two years and a half, when three very important things occurred. I was sauntering along Broadway one day, and amidst the press of passers, my coat button got entangled in the fringe of a lady's mantle. It was a very awkward situation for both of us. I tugged at the fringe, my face burning all the while, and the lady seeming to be vexed. It came loose at length, and the owner of the mantle turned away with a swing of her body indicating anuoyance, when, swish! the fringe caught another button. This time I laughed, and the lady tittered. The fringe was disengaged and I raised my hat to bow my regret, thus getting a full view of the fair stranger's face. It was certainly pretty, but I had seen pretty faces before, without feeling any thumping beneath my waistcoat. With this, however, I was fascinated. There are some figures and faces that attract you by their home look. They seem to I tell of domestic enjoyment; they suggest a quiet cup of tea, hot toast, and your slippered feet buried in the hearth-rug. But it came and went. The lady went one way and I the other. j I saw her no moro, but I thought of her frequently.
The other incidents were serious. One was the death of my father, who had been a widower for twelve years; the other was the failure of Bullwinkle, Badger, and Bullwinkle. The events were disastrous, especially the Bullwinkle business. For my respected parent had not only embarked a hundred thousand in the same speculation which floored the three B.'s, but his name was on the paper of the firm for nearly as much more; and the assets of the bankrupts, after the legal expenses were paid, amounted to just no cents on the dollar.
Thus I was left, without a father to support me, no rich uncle to apply to, altogether a penniless fellow, knowing little of my profession, and no chance for clients had I even been a profound lawyer. What to do I could not tell, though I smoked over the matter diligently for three days. At last, I concluded to let matters go as they would, for I supposed something would turn up, some day or other. But nothing did. Days, weeks, and months went by. I had to give up my office, for I got no practice, and could not pay my rent; my watch, my spare clothes, and all I could well pawn followed each other to the house of a liberal Hebrew gentleman on the east side of town; and one fine day in June I found myself strolling down the street, with a thread-bare coat on my back and not a cent in my pocket. I was terribly hungry too, for I had had no breakfast, and had gone to bed the night before without supper. The venerable proprietor of my lodging-rooms had just informed me that my apartment was needed for the use of a lodger who would do what I had neglected to do—pay^for its use. It was plain that something or somebody must be done; but how to do cither was past my ingenuity.
Suddenly it flashed on my mind that I was a fool. It was a fortunate discovery.
"Yes!" I said to myself, "I am a fool; or rather, I was—for a fool I will be no longer."
As I said this I came very near tumbling over a pork-barrel, and made a remark concerning obstructions in the street which was more foreible than chaste. I heard a low laugh, and looked up. There stood a stout, well-dressed man in the door of the store-house before me. I glanced at the sign over the door, which bore the word "Groceries." My mind was made up. I stepped in, and walked back toward the counting-room. The stout man followed and accosted me.
"What can we do for you ?" he asked. "I don't know," said I. "That is precisely what I want to find out."
The stout man stared at me. I went on: "I am six feet, lacking a half inch, in my stockings, and, as you see, broad-shouldered," I said. "I have been brought up a gentleman, and have not a cent. I have had nothing to eat since yesterday at noon. No! you need not do that," I added, as I saw him make a movement to his vest pocket. "Begging is out of my line. I want work, if you have any."
"Well," he replied, "I expect a vacancy in my second clerk's place shortly, but—"
"I know nothing about book-keeping," I interrupted.
"My porter goes away to-day—he is about to set up a retail store; but as you are a gentleman—"
"I'll take that," I said, "if you'll take me without any recommendation but my muscle."
He laughed. "You are about the oddest customer," said he, "that I have come across recently; but I think I'll try you, if you're not above making yourself useful, and can content yourself with nine dollars a week."
"Nine dollars a week!" I exclaimed. "It is a gold mine! What am I to go at first?"
"The first thing is to get your breakfast, and the next to rig yourself out in a pair of overalls and a blue frock. The breakfast you can get at
Fulton Market; the other things at the slopshop around the corner. When you come back there are thirty bags of coftee to be delivered to an order, and the carmen will be here in an hour. I'll advance you three dollars on your week's wages. Here!"
"Very good," said I, taking the money; "I'll bo back in half an hour. Your new porter's name is Lovatt."
Off I went. I had a royal breakfast!—beefsteaks, coftee, bread-and-butter—to say nothing of a pickle; and having dispatched them, I turned to and had them over again. After that I bought my blue shirt and overalls, put them on, and wont back to the store-house with my coat on my arm, looking at the proprietor's name on the door-post as I entered.
"Here I am, Mr. Banks," I said; and Mr. Banks sent me to the head-clerk, who told me what to dp at the moment, and I did it.
I found a cheap boarding-house at a convenient distance from the store, and worked my way along faithfully and manfully. I grew to like the work. I ate heartily, and slept soundly. Only once I felt a tremor. I was one day rolling some barrels from a car into the store-house, when I saw a former fashionable acquaintance picking his way along the sidewalk. What had brought him to that quarter I did not know, but I reddened when I saw him. He did not see me, however; and would not probably have recognized me if he had.
My employer paid no farther attention to me after the first day. One day, however, about three months after I first took the place, the chief clerk called to me:
"Lovatt," he said, "come here. I notice that you caleulate very well, and write a good hand. Mr. Greene [that was the name of our new second clerk] is sick abed to-day. Couldn't you help me with this lot of invoices?"
"I'll try, if you show me what you want." Ho explained, and I went at the task. I have already said that I was apt at figures, and I got through quite rapidly; and leaving the result on the desk, went back to my bags and barrels. Presently Mr. Banks came in and went into the counting-room. Ho had been there only about a quarter of an hour when he called me to him.
"Sit down," he said, when I entered. "Mr. Lipscombe tells me that you gave him material help to-day. As Greene is too sick to come here at present, suppose you take his place in the counting-room till he recovers."
"Very good," I replied; and, removing my overalls, I perehed myself at the desk.
The result was that poor Greene never recovered, and I retained his situation. It was only twelve dollars a week, but it was a step.
Three weeks afterward another pair of incidents occurred. I was at the desk, arranging papers and copying into the invoice-book, when Mr. Banks came in.
"Lovatt," said he, "I heard mention of you last night. An acquaintance of ours—a Mr. Van Gelt—spoke of a young Lovatt, a lawyer, who has left the profession, and gone no one knows whither—turned out a mere vagabond. From the description of personal appearance I had an idea he meant you; but as it might have aunoyed you, I did not mention that yon were in my employ."
"Thank you," I answered. "Van Gelt! oh yes; I remember a John Van Gelt, to whom, in my better days, I loaned five hundred dollars. I took his note for it; but as he has no money, I suppose I might as well have that much waste paper. Common gratitude might have taught him common decency when he spoke of me."
"Have you the note?"
"Look it up, then. He has money now; his uncle died recently, and left him comfortable. Give me the note, and I'll see that ho pays it. And, by-the-by, I have left a package of papers at home, on the library table. I wish you'd take the cars and go up to my house with this note. Mrs. Banks will hand you the papers."
I followed orders, and was soon at Banks's house—a handsome mansion on one of the fashionable streets. I sent up the note to Mrs. Banks, and was shown into the parlor.
I had not been seated more than two or three minutes before I heard a light step, and, rising, turned toward the door. There stood my young lady of the fringed mantle! The recognition was mutual. She blushed, and looked embarrassed; and I felt my face glow. She was the first to recover, and handing mo the package, said,
"My mother directed me to give you these, Sir."
I bowed—I could not speak—and backed myself out of the door, runuing against a hat-stand in the hall, and growing redder at the awkward blunder. The young lady reddened with sympathy. Not exactly knowing what I did, I bowed profoundly to the servant who was showing mo to the door, and she looked amazed and amused. This put tho copestone to the fabric of my utter discomfituTe, and I made my way down the street in no pleasant frame of mind.
"Pep, my boy!" I said to myself, "you are getting to bo a fool again. You are a clerk with a salary of twelve dollars a week, and you're falling in love with the sweetest little—pshaw! what's Hecuba to yon, or you to Hecuba? Stick to your invoices, you noodle!"
But I could not help recalling tho looks of tho young lady. What a neat, nice little body she was! Kind-hearted, as her countenance showed her; she must have been tickled at my awkwardness, though. What a booby I must have appeared to her to be! I felt my face redden again, and clenched my fist in my vexation, as though I would commit an assault and battery on my own person.
Two days after Mr. Banks handed mo a check for five hundred and eighty-five dollars and three cents—the amount of Van Gelt's note, with interest. I knew tho value of money now; and
as my salary was quite enough for my immediate necessities, I deposited the sum in bank, waiting for a chance to invest it properly, and went on with my usual business. But I found myself frequently making caleulations on bits of loose paper, of divers speculations in which I might double my little fortune, and keep doubling it until, in geometrical progression, it became a colossal fortune, whereon in fancy I built me a fine mansion in town, and bought me a noble country-seat, and got married to Dora Banks. Dora!—what a nice name it was, to be sure!
Unfortunately, however, nothing turned up by which I might double my money, until one day I added five-fold to it, but not through a speculation. The complicated affairs of Bullwinkle, Badger, and Bullwinkle were at length wound up, a small dividend was paid to their creditors, and after taking out letters of administration to my father's estate, I found myself possessor of a sum which made my five hundred and eighty odd dollars nearly three thousand.
Then I builded bigger air-castles than ever, with Dora for mistress of each. And yet I rarely saw her—occasionally at the house, once in the street, and once, for a whole afternoon, on her father's birthday, when Mr. Lipscombe and myself were invited to dine with our principal. On that occasion I had danced with Dora, and talked with her, though the conversation must have been very silly on my part, for I was in that state of eestatic confusion that my tongue refused to perform its ordinary office.
I was destined to a separation from Dora, however. Nearly a year after I was first taken into Mr. Bun!:s's employ, I was seated alone in the counting-room, Mr. Lipscombe having gone out to lunch, when our principal came in.
"Mr. Lovatt," he said, "what have you done with the money you obtained from your father's estate?"
"Nothing. It is in the savings-fund, drawing five per cent. I thought it the safest, on the whole."
"The reason I asked is, because you will need it. I am going to displace you."
I looked at him in some alarm, and stammered out a reply—I forget what.
"I have advices from Rio that it will be a more than safe speculation to send some Richmond flour there. It will about arrive at the right time. I want the matter managed adroitly, and you are tho man for it, I think. Will yon go out as supereargo?"
I was relieved at once, and answered promptly in the affirmative.
"I am going to give you a chance to make something for yourself. Draw out your money and invest it in this venture."
"Thank you. Sir. I should be very happy to do so, but unfortunately I have to give a month's notice."
'1 Never mind. Transfer the account to me, and I will draw it while you are away, and advance the amount to you now. The vessel will sail on day after to-morrow. Dine with me tomorrow afternoon. You can leave when Lipscombe comes to arrange your outfit. I will have your place supplied for you until your retuin. To-morrow morning I will put you in full possession of my views."
My preparations were soon made. The following day I dined at the Banks's. There was no one present but the family. After dinuer I was invited to spend the evening there, and as Mr. and Mrs. Banks had a short visit to make, Dora was left to entertain me nutil their return.
Now, if there was any thing in the world I would have given ten years of my life for, it was for a tete-a-tete with Dora Banks. Without any sacrifice it was mine; and yet, now that I had it, what could I say? I felt that to make love to her—I being a comparatively poor clerk—would be, under the cireumstances, a piece of gross ingratitude and a breach of confidence. Yet what could I talk about? We sat there, for some minutes after the elder people had departed, in embarrassed silence. Dora was evidently waiting for me to say something, and that added to my embarrassment. At length she took the initiative.
"Your departure is a rather sudden determination, is it not, Mr. Lovatt?"
"Rather so, Miss Dora—I beg pardon, Miss Banks, I mean."
A long pause, varied slightly by the very loud ticking of an ormolu clock on the mantle, accompanied by a terrible thumping under my waistcoat.
"There is not apt to be yellow-fever at Rio at the season you arrive, Mr. Lovatt?" "Oh no, not at all."
The young lady gave a long breath, as though relieved. Another pause ensued.
"Have you been to the opera much this spring, Mr. Lovatt?"
"No, Miss Banks—but once. My duties are so laborious—so—that is—"
Another pause, of great length. I began to feel confused. I felt my face redden. I stole a glance at the lady. By Jove! she was blushing to the very roots of her hair. Just then our eyes met.
Ten minutes after the conversation was quite lively.
"I thought of you sometimes too," quoth the lady. "I recognized you tho moment you came into the house."
"I had never forgotten you; and knew you on the moment," quoth the gentleman.
Now the moro violently bodies, charged with electricity, are attracted to each other the more violently they are repelled. The attraction between Dora and myself must have been very strong in tho first instance, for at tho sound of Mr. Banks's latch-key in the door the two bodies flew hastily to the extremities of the apartment; and when the merehant and his wife entered the parlor, Pepperidge Lovatt was glancing over some knicknacks on a pier-table between the frontwindows, and Dora Banks was turning over the
pages of a musie-book at the piano near the other end of the room.
After an hour's general conversation I bid the ladies farewell—the vessel leaving early next morning. They accompanied me to the door, and somehow or other we got mixed up, and I felt the gentle pressure of Dora's fingers, in return for a squeeze that must nearly have disabled her hand. It thrilled me from head to foot. But as I walked home I grew very miserable. I felt that I had not acted rightly. I had violated all my fine promises to myself on the first trial.
"PepperidgeLovatt!" said I to myself, "you are a rascal. Is this your gratitude to an honest man, who has shown you such favor? Making love clandestinely to his daughter—tho dear girl! Pepperidge! you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Never mind! she will forget you —and you must be glad of it. What a sweet girl she is! Ah, if I were only rich!"
Next day I sailed. We arrived at Rio after a very short passage, and our correspondent proved to be right. The flour came at the very height of tho market, and coffee was unusually low. Every thing went swimmingly, and just as it was concluded a perfect fleet of vessels arrived and coffee advanced. But my confidence about the yellow-fever was misplaced. It caught me, and badly at that. The ship remained a week later, and I was sufficiently better to be able to go on board without danger.
We had been but a few days at sea when I was able to walk the deck. It happened in tho course of conversation that I expressed my regrets to the captain that we had no chickens on board. I had taken a strange fancy for an omelet.
"Lord bless you I" answered the old salt, who had taken a fancy to me from the first day, '' that's easily made up. Just wait a few hours, and if the weather keeps good we'll stop at my poultry-yard."
That afternoon I had an explanation of his speech, for we came in sight of a small island a few miles from tho coast, and made for it. As we approached I saw it to be a nearly barren rock, about a mile in length, mostly white, with a few green patches, and rising about fifty feet in tho centre from the surface of the water. But what struck me was the number of sea-birds upon it, scattered on its surface or rising in clouds. A boat was lowered, and I went with the party. We had no difficulty in effecting a landing; and while the rest were gathering eggs I wandered over tho island.
It was a singular place—singular from tho number of birds, old and young, but more singular from the peculiar situation of the little verdure on the island. On the long level patches nothing grew; but wherever a rock peered above the surface there a scanty soil had been made, and a few weeds or patches of grass had taken hold. The other parts were covered with a fetid, barren sand, strewn with the bones of birds. I gathered some few bleached birds' skulls