Then I begun to notice

I always thought—I mean I always hoped, Mr. Walton—that it would turn out this way.” He started to say more, but checked himself as his glance fell on the parchment-like face craftily upturned to his.

Yes, I know, Toby!” Simon snarled, as he took the letter and put it into his desk drawer. You always thought the scamp had sprouting wings, and now you are sure they are full size. That is why you have never risen higher in life, Toby. Your eyes are too easily closed. Leave it to you, and we’d never foreclose a mortgage on a widow with a full stocking hid away under her hearth. Believing in heaven on earth has held many a man back from prosperity.”

Then you don’t think—you don’t actually believe that Fred—”

Set down in that chair, Toby. Me and you are the only folks in Stafford that know how that boy buncoed me, and I reckon it’s only natural for me to be willing to talk about it when there is anything to say. I endured several years of that fellow’s devilment, and I’m not calculated to be fooled as easily as others might who never had him on their hands. You see,” the banker went on, as his clerk lowered his thin person timidly into a chair and leaned forward—you will note that he writes that he’s got a good, substantial job with a rich man, who, while he knows all about the boy’s devilment here at Stafford, has completely overlooked it. Huh! we all know the world is full of men of capital who are ready to take in a runaway thief and hand over three thousand cool plunks to him just to show good-will and the like! To begin with, Toby, that is an underhanded slap at me; it is saying, in a roundabout way, that a plumb stranger is giving a son of mine a chance that he never had at home. But the tale, from start to finish, is a lie out of whole cloth, as I have good and private reason to know.”

Do you think so, Mr. Walton?” Lassiter’s fallen countenance sank even lower.

Of course I think so, or I wouldn’t be sitting here telling you about it. I haven’t been idle on this thing, Toby, though I never let anybody know what I was up to. You see, I am an old man now, and in law I never had but one heir to my effects, outside of my present wife, and it struck me as pretty queer for that heir, disinherited on paper or not, to keep absolutely out of sight and sound all these years when as big a plum as I am supposed to be is still aboveground. You see, the scamp has got what some folks would call a ‘natural expectancy,’ even on the chance of breaking any will I might make, and you can bet there are plenty of men slick enough to speculate on such chances, slim as they might look to me or you. So you see, Toby, knowing all that, I kept a sharp lookout for developments. I decided first of all to keep a watch on the young woman he left high and dry and in such a miserable plight. I used to sort o’ saunter by her mammy’s house once in a while bvi company setup .

Sometimes I’d catch a glimpse of the girl by accident, but she kept as well hid as any mole that ever burrowed in the ground. Sometimes I’d see her—when she was to be seen at all—daubing away at some picture or other on a peaked frame, and I must say that every time I’d see her looking so neat and pretty, with her fine head of hair flowing over her brow in that easy, fluffy sort of way, and them big, deep, babyish eyes of hers—well, to come to the point, I began to think that it wasn’t quite natural for any fellow to go clean off and leave such a creature behind for good and all. You see, she’s too good-looking, too attractive, for any man to drop once he was favored, and—well, it made me suspicious, to say the least online backup

Then I begun to notice the child, who was always hemmed up in that little pen of a yard, and never allowed to stick his head out or have any playmates. I saw that he was always rigged up as fine as a fiddle, looking as if he’d just come out of a bandbox; and as I knew, from personal knowledge, that the old lady had no income to speak of, except the rent on her barren little farm, I used to wonder where the cash was coming from. Now and then I’d see Watts & Co.‘s delivery wagon leaving groceries at the back door, and I found out through them, on the sly, that the grub bills was always paid. Then what do you think I did? I did some bang-up, fine detective work, if I do say it. I nosed around until I found out Karson Choi
, through a clerk in the express office here, that packages of money were coming pretty regularly to the sly little lassie from somebody in Atlanta who called himself ‘F. B. Jenkins.’ Whoever it was, was using the express to hide his tracks, instead of sending bank-checks, which might come to my attention, as Fred well knew.”


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