Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

THE FOUNDERS OF GLOBE CITY.

II.

66

CHAPTER IV.

replied Chinny ; “ for I understood you WANT is a wolf, that haunts a pioneer said that times here was hard." lawyer more than any other animal “I might have stated, as a fact, that known to natural history or mythology; times were hard, or that rogues were for capital is cowardly, and clings to plenty here, without grumbling, or unthe close walls of cities. It does not justly slandering the place either,” said like to go out on the frontiers without Richard. a heavy escort; and when it does ven- Yes, you might say so," replied ture, it asks extra inducements. At any Chinny; “but hard times, I take it, is rate, Chinny's money did, and he was when folks want somethin' to live on, the man to offer them, for every thing and can't get it. But they can always was fish that came to his net. If, by get it here. As one poor cuss, who was chance, they did not come to the net, raised down East, ʼmongst the stones, he took the net to the fish. He had, and had to come out here lecturin' for a that very morning, been preparing him- livin', said once; says he, 'These prairies self with some ground-bait, and he as- are Nature's banks, stuffed chuck full sumed a taking air as he sauntered of cash, which any man can draw out, down to the fishing-banks. His hat if he'll only present his check. The leaned over like the tower of Pisa, and funds,' says he, "are deposited to the was forced to brace itself against his credit of the firm of Labor, Pluck & Co. ear to keep from engulfing his left eye. It's the poor man's sayin's bank. We've He seemed to have lost both hands off got these banks down our way,' he says; in his deep pockets, and to be feeling 'but there's been a run made on 'em, for them with his wrists, as he jingled and there hain't on these.' Now, that the gold-pieces, and walked up the Eastern chap was right. It may be a path to Richard's office, where he threw slow way to get rich, diggin' it out by himself into a chair, without invitation day's work here; but it's a dead scald or ceremony.

on hard times, in this country, where “Gettin' 'long pretty well ?” he work counts. But speculatin' pays best asked, looking over the tops of his toes though, I reckon, if you don't get catchat the oak that stood before the win- ed in the cramps. I s'pose, now, that dow.

little speculation o' yourn must have “A little slow," said Richard, as he cramped you,” continued Chinny, inlaid the book on the table.

quisitively. “I like to see a man, that's come here “Yes, if I had escaped your Globe to identify himself with the place, a get- City swindle,” said Richard, “I shoula tin' 'long well; 'cause, don't you see, it have no trouble now." hurts the town, and spoils the sale of “Don't give it an ugly name," said land, to have a man grumblin' about Chinny. “You've got books full of hard times. Grumblin' is the poorest words here, and can pick out a better use a man can put his breath to; for it name than that, I know. Callin' it don't help him any, and it injures other swindle don't sound bad to me, individfolks."

ually, but it might to strangers; and * I can't say that I ever tried it, and, seein' they are our best customers, we therefore, I am unable to give you an must respect their feelin's.” opinion,” said Richard.

“I'm not talking to strangers," said “But I thought you had tried it,” Richard.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

“But you don't make any thing by over that, as I did, after you've been talkin' it to me."

here a spell. You don't want to bor“I'm not trying to make any thing." row, and I don't want to lend ; but we

“But you can make somethin', if you are willin' to sacrifice our mutual feelin's want to,” said Chinny.

a little, to accommodate. I always go “ What do you mean ? "

armed and equipped, as the law directs," “I mean that I feel willin' to help he continued, pulling some papers from you, considerin' every thing that's past,” his pockets. “Now, then, what are you replied Chinny; “ for I s'pose you want goin' to give me as security ?" money, don't you ?"

“I have nothing but my books." “Yes, I do want money,” said Rich- “Books ain't o' much account, but ard.

they'll do,” said Chinny; and he com“Well, you can have it."

menced filling the blanks and making “ On what terms ?

inquiries as to the number and cost of “Well, the common rates of interest, the volumes. by givin' a good endorsed note, or a After writing over the words, “all and mortgage on somethin'."

singular, said books, and every part and “Will you take Globe City lots as parcel of said library, to wit: said fiftycollateral ?" asked Richard. “They seven volumes,” with the usual legal are something, ain't they?

variations, until, from mere repetition, “No; I can't take them, unless you'll they sounded strong and binding, he pay up the two hundred and twenty- handed the paper to Richard. five dollars you owe on that purchase. “But I don't like this cut-throat mortIf you'll pay that and interest, I'll talk gage, that allows you to take possession with you,” said Chinny.

at any time,” said Richard, reading it. Richard clenched his fists, and rose “No, of course not. That's what you to his feet; then, imprisoning both Yankees always object to when you first hands in his pockets, to make thein come here ; but it's our Western style. keep the peace, he commenced pacing We don't like your down-east flint-lock the room.

concerns. We want somethin' that'll go Now, don't get riled at me,” said off the first snap, and without havin' a Chinny, watching Richard closely; "for lawyer or two pullin' at it, either; and I didn't invent bad luck. It came into we won't have any thing else. This is the world before I did, and will stay the regular blank used here. Now, after I quit. You can't drive it out then,” he continued, putting five pieces All the blind alleys, all the jails, and all on the table, “ here's your cash." the poor-houses are full of it, and you If any form of money is ever invented can't get it out. Tain't no use tryin'. which is found to be more fascinating You must take things as they are. You than double-eagles, Government should owe two hundred and twenty-five dol- prevent its circulation. Chinny's bait lars, and can't help yourself; that's all proved too tempting for Richard. He right. If I've a mind to lend you more, signed the mortgage, and sat there alone, that's all right too. You can under dropping the pieces into the palm of his stand, if you please, that I do it as a left hand, wishing them back in Chinpartic'lar favor; 'cause we've had deal- ny's pocket, when he saw the landlord in's, and to help the place-sort o' busi- coming up to his office. The presence ness and friendship combined, or what- of a creditor was a constant dun and ever you like, don't you see ?"

rebuke to Richard, and before the land“Yes, I think I see,” Richard replied; lord could speak, he paid him in full. “for I am quite willing to see any thing “Well, I didn't come to dun you," for a little money, though I don't want said he, pocketing the money. to borrow it."

girls are goin' to have some doin's to“Yes, I understand,” said Chinny. night, and told me to ask you, but I “I felt so once myself; but you'll get forgot it till now."

VOL. II.-43

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

46

“What kind of doings ?” asked own path. He thought it a favorable Richard.

time to throw out some hints for her to “ Well, a little hand-round,” replied ponder on or use against Mary. the landlord.

“Did you ever hear," he asked, “ of a “That's a dance, I suppose ? " young man bein' killed at a gamblin'.

“Well, yes, we do dance, of course; table on a Mississippi River boat, a few but a hand-round, out here, is where we years since, and of the man who shot don't set a table, but hand round the him gettin' away ? " vittles. The table can't be set, you “ Yes; it was young Meech who was know, 'count of its clutterin' up the killed," she replied. dancin-room."

“Must have been a single man who Richard went to the hotel rather late shot him ; couldn't have had a family," in the evening.

said Chinny, looking at Mary. “A doc“ Bin in ?” asked the landlord, as he tor like as any man," continued Chinny; walked through the hall.

"they are such fellows to get mad, and “No; who is there ?"

fly off the handle before they know it. Chinny, for one, slick as a bottle. The man who did it was stabbed through A fly couldn't 'light on his shirt-collar the left arm below the elbow, they say." 'thout danger o'slippin' up and breakin' Miss Plumb looked at him, and tried its neck. He's tendin' to Miss Plumb, to catch his eye, but it would not be or she is to him. She's a cute one-jest caught. as smart as a school-marm. I'll bet a “I can't see what this has to do with dollar," he added, lowering his voice, the subject we were talking about," said " that she can whistle ‘Hail Columby, Miss Plumb. and it takes a smart man, with a slick “I was only thinkin' to myself," said tongue and a good deal of practice, to Chinny, as if he had been unconsciously do that without missin' a note or slurrin' talking his thoughts aloud. “I was of 'em over. That's none o' your cheap, thinkin' that this world was made up easy tunes, 'Hail Columby' ain't. Mary of queerness. We can't tell what is in a Seabray is in there too. I never see her man's heart by lookin' at his face, any show so handsome before in my life. So more than we can tell wbether an egg fur as looks and action goes, she's ahead is an egg or a chicken by lookin' at its of 'em all. She couldn't do a thing shell. A good many eggs are chickens a'kward if she tried. No Morgan colt that'll hatch out one o' these days." ever moved handsomer."

“When they do, I shall probably be The girls were equal to the landlord's able to discover what you mean," said description. Miss Plumb was very much Miss Plumb. devoted to Chinny, which gave Richard In fact, she thought she had already a chance to talk to Mary.

discovered what he meant, and she was "Mr. Chinny looks unusually well greatly troubled by the suspicions he to-night,” she said.

had aroused in her mind. She tried to “He looks over this way a great deal, confirm her doubts while Chinny was I notice," replied Richard.

escorting her to the Colonel's, but he “ Yes; he takes an interest in me-he adroitly avoided direct answers. and father are such old friends."

Richard accompanied Mary home; Chinny certainly did take a great in- and it was an hour or two afterwards terest in her and her father and in the that he left the piazza, and returned to general welfare. He had been watching the hotel. Miss Plumb closely for some time, and There was a light in Chinny's room, concluded, when he saw her looking and he heard the clinking of glasses and over toward Richard so often, that she loud conversation there. He could not must be jealous of Mary. He quickly well avoid overhearing what was said, saw the possibility of using Miss Plumb for it was very late and still. to remove a dangerous rival from his “I say, you might have been presi

some

dent jest as well as not,” said Chinny. you not to force the game, for I hold “ Then you could have talked folks into good cards too." buyin' stock-our stock, you know- Then Richard heard the door open, and that would have made us rich." and

one walked down-stairs. “I couldn't do that, for I had no capi- Looking out of his window, he saw the tal to begin with.”

Colonel going up to his house. He “You've got enough, if you'd only puzzled himself a long time over what use it,” Chinny replied ; " and what's he had heard; so long, indeed, that he the use of havin' a house, and things to was fast asleep when some one rapped get up a dinner-party, and a daughter at his door next morning. to do things handsome for you, if you “Come in,” said he, “ if it's a man.” don't use 'em ?"

It was no less a man than the land“ You know very well,” said the Co- lord. lonel, “that I want to go to Congress. “ Miss Plumb is down in the parlor, When I get there, every thing else will waiting to see you,” said he. come to me. I can get to be president “Give her my compliments, and tell of a road then, if I want to; but if I her I'll be there in five minutes. Stay take the presidency of this railway now, a moment, though! What on earth can and do what you want me to, I shall she want of me this time of day?" become so unpopular that I can't go any- “I don't know," replied the landwhere by the votes of the people. What lord; "she looks a little flustered.” I want is a little money, and time enough “Good-morning, Mr. French," said to make a turn. If I can work over this Miss Plumb, when Richard presented sand-bar, it will be all fair sailing here- himself. “I am on my way home, and after."

thought would call, to say that we Well, I might jest as well talk this shall be glad to see you at the lake thing plain. You can't have no more soon." money

of

me, to hunt wild geese with. “I'm surprised to hear that you are You know what I want, Colonel ; now going this morning, for I some way what are you goin' to do about it?” got the impression that you would stay

“I can do no more," replied the Co- here a week longer. How do you get lonel.

there ?" “ You can use your authority," said I drive across the prairie,” she said. Chinny.

“Drive alone, eh?” said Richard. "I claim to have the instincts of a “Why, I've a mind to go with you, to gentleman : I can do no more,” said the see how you do it!" Colonel, firmly.

" That will be delightful !” said she, “ You'd get along better with less o' brightening up instantly, with the them instincts. Anyhow, you'd make slightest shade of a blush, as they went more money by throwin' 'em away," out and got into the buggy. said Chinny.

“ It must be very pleasant for you to “I do throw them away when I come find such a good friend as Doctor Blodhere," replied the Colonel, striking his gett here,” said Miss Plumb, looking cane on the floor ; " and it is well for directly at the horse's ears. you that I do not throw them all away.” “Yes, I have known the Doctor a

“If I lived in a glass-house, and had long time." à mortgage on my property, and a scar "I thought I had heard, somewhere, on my arm, I'd be careful what I said

that he went South once," said Miss and did, and I wouldn't throw stones Plumb. much," said Chinny.

“I think he never went South,” Rich“See here,” said the Colonel, drop- ard replied. ping his voice, “ you are playing this a “But didn't he own a steamboat on little too brash. You've got a good the Mississippi River ?” she asked, still hand, with a big card back; but I warn keeping her eyes pointed at the horse.

[ocr errors]

en

[ocr errors]

him."

"I think not. I believe he has never “So much greater the necessity for been on the river much,” replied Rich- denying it. A falsehood dies easily; ard.

the truth is what gives you lawyers the “Did he know any one here before he most trouble.” came ?” she asked.

“ But he might say that I am " I don't think he did. But it seems gaged." to me that you are much interested in Oh, yes; he might, of course," said

Miss Plumb, biting her lip. Deeply, I assure you,” she replied, “Well, I assure you, he might," said as if a great weight had been taken from Richard, with emphasis. her mind. " You cannot think how Miss Plumb looked at him steadily, very interesting such inquiries are to in silence. me. I intend to ask the Doctor twenty “He may even be so absurd as to say times more questions about you; noth- that I ran away from a wife down ing shall escape me.

And he is so cast." graphic in his descriptions! Just im- “ That,” said she, “I shall deny, in agine how he will embellish and enlarge the first place; and, in the second place, on the original."

if he proves it to be true, I shall show "Peppered with a slight flavor of that you did it out of motives of pure jealousy,” said Richard.

benevolence; because you were not able “ Not so slight, either,” she replied. to support her.”

“I hope he will not be splenetic,” said "I congratulate myself on having Richard ; “ for such men are terrible. secured an advocate who is so ingenious; My respect for your ability is so great and I wish all men in the world could that I want to retain you in my de- have such good luck. By-the-way," he fence."

said, after hesitating a little-for this “Very well, I will act,” said she. was the question he had come so far to

You are not engaged, then-on the ask—"can you tell me what Colonel other side ?"

Seabray has ever done, that Chinny “Not by any means. I am the cham- should have such an influence over pion of youth and innocence. Consider him ?”

as engaged for yourself, exclu- "I cannot," she replied. sively."

"I wanted to know,” said Richard, “But, then, you may be jesting,” said “ because I overheard a conversation Richard.

between them last night. Chinny said, “Here's my pledge of honor," said in retorting to some cutting remark of she, pulling off her driving-glove, and the Colonel's, that he, Chinny, wouldn't holding out her hand, with a roguish throw stones if he lived in a glass-house, twinkle in her eyes.

and had all his property mortgaged, “It's good enough to put into mar- and a scar on his arm." ble, too, isn't it?” said Richard, look- " What a rascal he is !” said Miss ing down at it as he would have looked Plumb, grasping the lines tightly, and at a beautiful flower.

stopping the horse.

“I congratulate “You do not accept me as counsel," you that this fellow has no mortgage on said she, with a deprecating pout, as

your property.” she put on her glove again.

Do you think he would annoy me, “Well,” he replied, hesitating, “I if he had ?” asked Richard, with illdon't think you fully understand the concealed chagrin. case. Suppose he should tell an absurd “I think he would destroy you," said story about me: what would you do?" she, “if he had the power."

“Deny it, of course, in regular lawyer "I expect," said Richard, jumping style."

out into the grass, " that my breakfast “But it might have some foundation,” must be ready. A pleasant journey, my he replied.

dear counsellor."

me

« IndietroContinua »