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The Orphan's Secret

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"Areycm (loim; wol! nt tliis business, my boyï" said a gentleman, addiessinga linie fellow, who kueeling on tlie parement beibie hini, was puttin- a finishing touch to his boots. "Middlin' veil, tbauk you, sir,' misworcd thb boy in a tone aml imnner that insl.'intly antsstod his custonier's attcnüon. and led him to add : "Have you paren ts livingï" "No, ; dend." "ISeen dead long?" ' "Not very long," answered the loa. The work liad now beun limsiied, and the littlo bootblack, haring rece i vod his diinc and tlüinked his custoiner in a vcry respoctfal manuer,waa about moving away when lie was detained by the reruark : "llold on a moment, my boy." That iinelv Ibi-ined head and fare, ■witli the open and honest countenance over which a sliadc of desuondenoy liad fallen, had revoaled more than the littie fcllow's few brief auswers had told. "You are not moro, I suppose, than abouttcn years old," said the gentleman, whoee interest in the lad had been suddcnly awakened. "ïhat is al!, sir - ten years and two months," auswered the boy, rlanoing into li is cuslomci's fiice with a bo.-eeching look. Theu dropping hiseyesto the gi'ound he stood heeiütting yet ev dfiitly desiring logo. The niind soiiietinies glaucos over ílllU UUOllgU 111U1U 111 l IllUUlljllL LUUll can be mt hito woriis n mi hour. Mr. Vreeland, then s pending a few days in tlie city whilc disposing of a uro ve of cattlo, liada faiuily of His own :it huineoii liis larjie cattle-ranche but lic cuuld easily inako room I'or tliis liuíe tcllow, and prepare hhn for mure proüiable business i lin.ii tlie ein]luy:nc!i.l iii; V;1S then ili,nndto whicll he liad evidentiy Ucea drawn ly :ulvur-c cireuiiiSUince and not by liis own iuclinatiiM. "1 art) sorry, iny boy, ïfmy qucslions have tmubled you," said Mr. Vrceland, ''but 1 have been thinking thai L ungut jjcrhaps lind a homo tor J'OU if you have none." "Ín the city?"askpd tlicboy quickly. '■Ku ; in tiic country - w loi distance away. Önppose you e:ill mul see me Ibis eveuing at the Western liotcl. Would you hke to do soV" "11 you won'task me wlio I amor fuiythujg Rbont niy thtlier l'll come," said the boy, looking up suddeuly witli i üopeiul exiuession. 'I will nol iusist upon your telling mo auything inoi-c about yourself ur vuur lainily thaii you are willing to Imve me kuow," said Mr, Vruoïaiid kiudly. ril come tlicn," rcpentcu tbc noy ; mul hc waspiüiiiialy uicreaL the hoiir lus customer lir.d nftinofl, and bnd ovideuily been doing what he conkl to iive himseli'.i prescnmbkj nin'Ciu-aiioe. At the pml of au his whole story had boen toltl, not bccause he had beou urged to teil H, but bocause lie lelt the want of tliosympatby, couiidencc. and protection be was obtaining in that way. He had relaiives, and remóte, a good niany of tlicm ; bnt sineo the dcath of his father, souie months bcfore, wliich had been preceded by the insanitv of his motlier and 800 followed by lier dea tb. no rno nf HirQf i-nintivps liad been willinar to aivc hini a home. líe had Hvcd with three or four other families, at cach place a short timo, but a9 soon a3 they leamcd wliose cjiild lie was thuy had in every instauce sent him away. "Yon niay cali liore again at tlie same liour tó-morrow evening," said Mr. Vreelaud, afler bnsying lumself With Uis own tliouli ts a lew minutes, and then added. "llore, my boy, is a dollar to pay yon forany custom you niay lose wíiile oalliugou me." "I dou't want to Le pald. sir, for calling 011 you," said tho lad with a disturbed look. "But it will picase mebctíer toliave j-ou take the mouey," said Mr Vreuland, piache it ín liis hand. Soon the boy had left Mr. Vreelaud, whilo couversing with a gentleman, easily learned the verdict that public sentiment had rendorod in regard to thct'atherot' that child - a man whose temiier, having nevor been ïesiiained by himscll or any one else, bad led to the coiuruisgiou of a crino that had resulled in the loss of tinco livcs at lenst- tliat of his victiin, his cruzed and hcart-broken wil'e, and his own life, whioh last, however, was not mach loss to thepublic. "He loft ono ehild- a little boy," said one of the gentlemen ;-"who ought to bc sent wheie his ïelaüon to that niaawill never bo kuowu. lic is a line looking boy, and was wel! taken care of by his mot her. liis fathei1 also was very proud of him, but there is o chance lor him here." "That boy," said Mi'. Vreeland, as he thoughttho matter over alone in bis room, "'is very UUcly to have a disposilion to repeat what bis father bas ilone, bnt itis unjust and cruel to asin me that that ui&poeition will lead him to the commlssioo of any actual crime; and the boiíl, earnest, and active einploynients into which 1 inay be able 10 throw him will leave him no waste material in the shape of either tempor or timo to be used in killmg or liarmiiig any 0110." The boy was promptly on liand the ncxi eveiiiug, his ieronal appearance still further iuiproved bv a judicious expendituro of the dollar Mr. VrccIttiid had prescutod him and to which hnd been added also about as imidi more trom his own little eariiinga, "1 uu now yonr gnurdinn and protector, my little ïcllow," Biiid Mr. Vreeland; "that is if you would liko to Q witH me," at the same timo exnlaiiilug to the boy that !e liad callod on the uroper officer du ring the duy and obtiviiiod theauthority required for taking him uuderhia charge, "Will fttiybptlv out tiieie know who 1 ainV" asked the boy, with a look bounded on one ëide üy iear, and on theotlier by hope. "Not unless you teil them," rcplioa his friend, "and you art old enougli now lo know tliat is not best." "Bat liaven't tney read aimut my lathor, in the papers, nml when tlicv licar my name wou't tliey ask me if I ara relaied to liiiu?" queried ïhc bov auxioii-ly. '"'Thoy will nover licnr the namo by whicli you Iwn beflw hitlierto known," said Mr. Vreeland. "I shall give you a uew líame, inimediaiely, wliioh will bo pproetl and remorded by the men who nmko thu luws in tlia state whuro 1 live. ii will in that way bcculna yonr owii truo name, lo be kopl lo the endofyvtirlire. Vom wil.l do (uivtltii'ig (o ilisTiöiioi' it. I hopo."' "1 will try not tol" said the boy, hia CVCS ti 1 1 í 11" Willl lears, llliu ms tuuiiu:íumce glinriug wiili íi 11 exprésalo oí hoi o 's.roiiycr iml more eurnost tliau lio liad ever experlencod before. Then, nfier a f'ew íiioincms. lie átlaed : '-O.i, my poor taihori 1 bate to liavo ms name ttiken from me, bat 1 know it ís best. I can Ao him no good, now, neithormv poor mother, who wént c.-azv aixj'dicd. I ilou't koow whére they liave buried her. My fatlïer was not buried ai al 1 ; the doctors took hun away, so a man toM me." VivnUmcl liad alrendv, for somR i-cison, Pclecteil the name- "Bobert Steadley,"- as the ono hc would give the young orpliaii; and tlio liitle followgiMSied it and repeatod ït witn delight, the moment it teil on lns car. Boine Biiitable olothes.aud bucIi otlici- articles as liw youug ward was likc]y to nced tor the present, were next procared ; and atrer donaing lus ncw suiiin obedienoe to Mr. VreelaaUs directions. the boy care fnlhr exaniiued the pockets of the clolhea he had previonsly been WBaring. Among the thiiiiis he took out, was a sinall gold locket, whicli hc evidenüy regariied ■vitu moro íniciusu miui u,i n""g -■■=■ for lie suddcnly oponed it and gliiucea for au instant at the íninialiire photograph it oontaine I, and thcii ptessing H lo his lipa, placed it in bis pocket. inother's picture?" askcd Mr. Vnclund. "No, sir :" replied the boy. J have no incline of niy poor niother. ' 1 Fiftecn years liad passal.the history ofwliicli, so taras relates to Ilobert tílcadley, will be inoro casily told by briiiying liiin again to the uoticeof the readei'. Mr, tíieadlcy had been epenttlug about ten diiys inthociiy.a sruestat the saine hotel where the naiiio he now had was iirst given hini by the gentleman whose acquaintance lie ha i nía le twodays beíorc, wtiile engajjed in the humbleeniployuieiitotblacLiiig boots. Now, he w:is tho reeognized and reepoiisible ageut o f that gentleman, wlio was Ülfi foreuios; and best kliowu of tliose large eatlle-dealers wlio wera luppljring the metropolis willi the bceí' it Vías coiisuming and exportiug. ... „ , _ The business íor wiiicn iioocrt Bteadley had made tliis his first visit to tlio city after his long absence, luid been olosed up in a satisfaetory way. The large shipinonl of cattte cnmisted to hun liad arrivud in good order, and been dispoaód of at iair p rices, öome business at the bankwoulddetain liiin. adayor two lougor ; and lie would Uien bü ready to return and report to Mi'. Vt eland, in whose immense business he liad iiow a largo interest. The business at the bank, howevor, would require but httle of his time, tho remainder ot' wbich, or part of H, at least, tlie young inau was preparing to use in a way Uiat most prudeul and sensible people would be Jikoly 10 regard as olear proot' tliat Lbere was at Twist one weak piaoe in nis niind. But Ue was huiiian, and let hiiu bo furgiven. Very few miuds are oomposed of íuáteriaU so ihorouglily solid asnot to leavo a littlo spaco to be iilled in witli the flocfiug an.l uuaubsiautial dicams lliat faucy and romance sitpply. "Icauuot," sa.d ihe young nmn to his ouly ooiiflilawt - hinisulf, "drive the reiuémbraiice ut' tliat dear littie rii-l out ofiny mind!" And again lic drew tlio liüle miiiiature ti-oiu lus pocket, and looked upou i(, ns Ue luid done more tlwu ilious.ind times withiu the last frffc&n yeara. liy eonsulting the directory, and mak ng soine inquine tlio resiuence ot'Thoinas Uldndge, althongh in 1111otlier and dist uit part ot' tho city, was soon fouiwi; aud uie noxt ihing 10 bc doue, waa to determine in some way, if hls daughter Minerva - roprosented by that ininiaturc uiiun a Hule girl 110 iiiovo thiui suvcn ycars old was still livinjf. "XÏiis boy shall not vernam m m}' houso ftuotber dsi I" had been said, at that time, by tho mollior of that littlc girl. "liad I kuown that lic was the child of that wrotohed man, he should never have ome iu Uie taiiiily I Bui I kuow everytliing uovv, aud he must ,r0- so you can slop your erying;, Minerva, or 1 will siiut yuu up in the closot l "Tlipn T will srivc liim my picture, and kiss hitn before ho goes!" said iho willful and determined child, thrustIng the linie frold locket intothe hand nfiha ornhan bov, and at the samo time throwing hor arma around lus The molhor was glad to end the rco.ho and qiiict lier cliild by telling tho boy lo take the picture and go. That wasHhe last home the little orphnn over had in the city. As tor the boot-blacks' boarding-house, kopt by "Aunt Maggie," as thé boys called her he had beeu lodging there for several weeks beforc he niet Mr. Vreeland, but the place had never seomed to him like a home. By punming hls Investigations In a delicate and ciutious way, Robert soon learned that tho young lady he desired to fi iid was residiug witta her motber, unman-ied, hor lathor having died some years before. Having noxt ob-tiiined, through a busiiwss acquamtniice, au introduction to the pastor of the ohurch of which Miss üldridge was a ïnember, bc easily procuved from that gentleman an introductory note, Btating that the bearor, a worthy and estimable gentleman, had requested n presentaliou to Miss Uldridge, which aflforded Uie writer much pleasiro to give. tlms bronght nito tho presence of the young lady, he was greetod with the eagy aiu reflnétl ïnanners of one who feit su re that the gentleman so fevorably Introdueed by herpnstor, could not have oalledonanerraml that was likely to be unplcasant or eiubarrassing to her. A tew ciinmrmphii'c! íi'iuarks WCtti oxchanjícil, vvlien. ï 1 1 answor to a look tl'iat Iniplied n to leirn tho pnriioso Cor wliicli lio liad o:illed, Mr. SlCíullcy drew frotn liis pocUet tho 1 i ttlc eiionoed photojfrauh, and passinj); it lo iholwiy, rennrkod tliat lio bclievcd alie liad seeii H beforaTlio picture was instuiifly fecogiiizod, wii'.i a qnick anJ vivid reincmbmnoe crf tlie ci'roumrtancei under wlúcli lte hiid ifti'teil witli it. "And can it be ponible!" lid Miss TTi.i,.;,i..-n .ifipp ii fow inomciits' tntion; "Üuit'you ave the pcrson to whoni that picture was given? And V(M vou are ;" she eontlnned, regnrdiug hitn' inoro eftrnestly ; then rislitg, aml wmapiiijj M hand, added; "1 om so "l:ul to meet you onco more!" An account of the marnier in wliich ho had loft ilie city the followed, also the story 'f the good fovtune ihrough which he brul boen pafwiHg; a part öFsViiich was, that liis kiml benefactor ainl tVund. imtmi of keeping him out thcre (Hl the cal tle-raneho to whicli he liail at ñrst been taken, had allowed liini to spernl ome üvc years at a eniinc anu nynciiiiurai ouiiw. Ader niaiiy mutual expiossions ot dcliglit at meeting once moro, Mr. ; Steaclley aróse, and replftoing the tío niiuiatiire iu li i pocket, wtw about taking lea ve of tle fair girl, wiiose earnoat nnd dcinoiistraüvc I tion in nis behalf, in liia desolate and homelesa cliildhood, liad Improssed ] hini so deeply. Turniíig upon i otlier earnest look- the last lio was i ever to have, so tar ns lie kncw- he , sci'incd to be regatüing an oen visión ota beautiful droani, but oiie to wliicli a substantial and actual reality would ■ uever be given. Kxienaing_ nor uaua at tliat moment, Minerva said : "] hope, sii-, wo are not meoung for the last time." "My business engagement will, I think, require "ie to leave tlie day after to-morrow ;" replied visilor. "But I wouia likc to witnessa theatrlcal entertainment to-morrow eveuing, ifyou willdo me the honor to nuike the selection and accept my escort." The propns'U met with a ready and irraceful acquiesceiice i'rom Miss LT1ridgo; and wishing her good-day Robert returnod to his hotel." "A disparen receivea io-uuj_ miu me voung man, 011 oalling the n'ext eveiiIqit '-givos mo nolicc ot' some business' which will require mo to remain in -the city a week or inoro longer." If human sympathiea and expertonces liave cntered somcwhat into thc hoart and lile of the reader he will not require to be tolcl that Kobert Steadley spent some part of each one of th'osc saven daya, in eomnany with the srirl whoso picuu-e and memory he had been carryiny; so long. Nor did it onany CMJciBioii oocur to the yonng lady hei'sell', that he carne too soon, or (-.ontimied hts visiis too lonsf. The time for Mr. Öieidley to loave the city had linally como, whentaking Minerva's liaml in liis own, he said : 'The cautiou reeerve you have Bhown, my de:ir Mise Uldridge in regard to tlie reasons tor oliauging my name, loads me to intbr iliat. you remeinber, or Imivc siiice learned, the storyor my ill-fatetl rnther. A. half-u tl ei-od acquiescenoe in tlie truth of iliis guppoaitiuii, was the youiig lady's only r.'ply; nm that subject Wiis nevcr retorreu to ngniu. Il h ippeuod, for ooine roasou, soon af er tliai uiootüig, tliat liobert wasentrustedwitli tlie principal luauagoment of that part of Llic bisiness Uiat re quired to ba Uoiie In the city ; and the long journey lie bad at oue time boen expeeüng luit nol. dreutling to mako, tor the purpose of üestowlng au engageiuont riug i exeliane for the pliotugmpli he had huen carrying so long, was not needed. Ho wasalready in tlie city, and l.jkely to reinain Uiero, or not far away. As tor Mrs. üldridge, now holding herself in inoro luim ble estimatioii, alter ilie misfortunoí aiulcliahges H108O ïn.crvening ycats had broughc in, siie acquieseed witli gralitude aud tleligut in the choico hor iLiugUier li!d uiado. Therc was, she tolt yery sure, a ruinajieo of soine sort lyiug back in ilic uiicxplained circumstaiiees tlmt led to that engagement wid lbo happy niarriago tiua followed; but tlie secvet abo was never perniitted to know. Tho liberal and guuet'oua iuteiiüons alie was reccivuig trom hor wortliy and excellent soii-in-law, in wliose fnmily slie spent llio rema i tule of lier lite, would have beeusadly marred, if Qccoinpauied by tue mortifyiug consciousnoss thatsho wasacoeptiiijf theia lVoin the man whom, uiien a boy, orphaned and homeleaa, she had so UasLilv and so roujilily expelled froni lier


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