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Adrift in New York: Tom and Florence Braving the World, a novel by Horatio Alger

Chapter 38. The Closing Scene

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_ Chapter XXXVIII. The Closing Scene

The next day Tim Bolton, dressed in a jaunty style, walked up the steps of the Linden mansion.

"Is Mr. Waring at home?" he asked.

"No, sir; he has gone downtown."

"I'll step in and wait for him. Please show me to the library."

Jane, who had been taken into confidence by the nurse, showed him at once into the room mentioned.

Half an hour later Curtis entered.

"How long have you been here, Bolton?"

"But a short time. You sent for me?"

"I did."

"On business?"

"Well, yes."

"Is there anything new?"

"Yes, my uncle is failing fast."

"Is he likely to die soon?"

"I shouldn't be surprised if he died within a week."

"I suspect Curtis means to help him! Well, what has that to do with me?" he asked. "You will step into the property, of course?"

"There is a little difficulty in the way which I can overcome with your help."

"What is it?"

"I can't get him to give up the foolish notion that the boy he lost is still alive."

"It happens to be true."

"Yes; but he must not know it. Before he dies I want him to make a new will, revoking all others, leaving all the property to me."

"Will he do it?"

"I don't know. As long as he thinks the boy is living, I don't believe he will. You see what a drawback that is."

"I see. What can I do to improve the situation?"

"I want you to sign a paper confessing that you abducted the boy----"

"At your instigation?"

"That must not be mentioned. You will go on to say that a year or two later--the time is not material--he died of typhoid fever. You can say that you did not dare to reveal this before, but do so now, impelled by remorse."

"Have you got it written out? I can't remember all them words."

"Yes; here it is."

"All right," said Bolton, taking the paper and tucking it into an inside pocket. "I'll copy it out in my own handwriting. How much are you going to give me for doing this?"

"A thousand dollars."


"I can't do that. I have met with losses at the gaming table, and I don't dare ask money from my uncle at this time. He thinks I am thoroughly steady."

"At how much do you value the estate?"

"At four hundred thousand dollars. I wormed it out of my uncle's lawyer the other day."

"And you expect me to help you to that amount for only a thousand dollars?"

"A thousand dollars is a good deal of money."

"And so is four hundred thousand. After all, your uncle may not die."

"He is sure to."

"You seem very confident."

"And with good reason. Leave that to me. I promise you, on my honor, to pay you two thousand dollars when I get the estate."

"But what is going to happen to poor Dodger, the rightful heir?"

"Well, let it be three hundred dollars a year, then."

"Where is he now?"

"I don't mind telling you, as it can do no harm. He is in California."

"Whew! That was smart. How did you get him there?"

"I drugged him, and had him sent on board a ship bound for San Francisco, around Cape Horn. The fact is, I was getting a little suspicious of you, and I wanted to put you beyond the reach of temptation."

"You are a clever rascal, Curtis. After all, suppose the prize should slip through your fingers?"

"It won't. I have taken every precaution."

"When do you want this document?"

"Bring it back to me this afternoon, copied and signed. That is all you have to do; I will attend to the rest."

While this conversation was going on there were unseen listeners.

Behind a portiere Mrs. Barnes, the nurse, and John Linden heard every word that was said.

"And what do you think now, sir?" whispered Mrs. O'Keefe (to give her real name).

"It is terrible. I would not have believed Curtis capable of such a crime. But is it really true, Mrs. Barnes? Is my lost boy alive?"

"To be sure he is."

"Have you seen him?"

"I know him as well as I know you, sir, and better, too."

"Is he--tell me, is he a good boy? Curtis told me that he might be a criminal."

"He might, but he isn't. He's as dacent and honest a boy as iver trod shoe leather. You'll be proud of him, sir."

"But he's in California."

"He was; but he's got back. You shall see him to-day, and Florence, too. Hark! I hear the door bell. They're here now. I think you had better go in and confront Curtis."

"I feel weak, Mrs. Barnes. Let me lean on you."

"You can do that, and welcome, sir."

The nurse pushed aside the portiere, and the two entered the library-- Mrs. Barnes rotund and smiling, Mr. Linden gaunt and spectral looking, like one risen from the grave.

Curtis eyed the pair with a startled look.

"Mrs. Barnes," he said, angrily, "what do you mean by taking my uncle from his bed and bringing him down here? It is as much as his life is worth. You seem unfit for your duties as nurse. You will leave the house to-morrow, and I will engage a substitute."

"I shall lave whin I git ready, Mr. Curtis Waring," said the nurse, her arms akimbo. "Maybe somebody else will lave the house. Me and Mr. Linden have been behind the curtain for twenty minutes, and he has heard every word you said."

Curtis turned livid, and his heart sank.

"It's true, Curtis," said John Linden's hollow voice. "I have heard all. It was you who abducted my boy, and have made my life a lonely one all these years. Oh, man! man! how could you have the heart to do it?"

Curtis stared at him with parched lips, unable to speak.

"Not content with this, you drove from the house my dear niece, Florence. You made me act cruelly toward her. I fear she will not forgive me."

But just then the door opened, and Florence, rushing into the room, sank at her uncle's feet.

"Oh, uncle," she said, "will you take me back?"

"Yes, Florence, never again to leave me. And who is this?" he asked, fixing his eyes on Dodger, who stood shyly in the doorway.

"I'll tell you, sir," said Tim Bolton. "That is your own son, whom I stole away from you when he was a kid, being hired to do it by Curtis Waring."

"It's a lie," said Curtis, hoarsely.

"Come to me, my boy," said Mr. Linden, with a glad light in his eyes.

"At last Heaven has heard my prayers," he ejaculated. "We will never be separated. I was ready to die, but now I hope to live for many years. I feel that I have a new lease of life."

With a baffled growl Curtis Waring darted a furious look at the three.

"That boy is an impostor," he said. "They are deceiving you."

"He is my son. I see his mother's look in his face. As for you, Curtis Waring, my eyes are open at last to your villainy. You deserve nothing at my hands; but I will make some provision for you."

There was another surprise.

Curtis Waring's deserted wife, brought from California by Dodger, entered the room, leading by the hand a young child.

"Oh, Curtis," she said, reproachfully. "How could you leave me? I have come to you, my husband, with our little child."

"Begone! woman!" said Curtis, furiously. "I will never receive or recognize you!"

"Oh, sir!" she said, turning to Mr. Linden, "what shall I do?"

"Curtis Waring," said Mr. Linden, sternly, "unless you receive this woman and treat her properly, you shall receive nothing from me."

"And if I do?"

"You will receive an income of two thousand dollars a year, payable quarterly. Mrs. Waring, you will remain here with your child till your husband provides another home for you."

Curtis slunk out of the room, but he was too wise to refuse his uncle's offer.

He and his wife are living in Chicago, and he treats her fairly well, fearing that, otherwise, he will lose his income.

Mr. Linden looks ten years younger than he did at the opening of the story.

Florence and Dodger--now known as Harvey Linden--live with him.

Dodger, under a competent private tutor, is making up the deficiencies in his education.

It is early yet to speak of marriage, but it is possible that Florence may marry a cousin, after all.

Tim Bolton has turned over a new leaf, given up his saloon, and is carrying on a country hotel within fifty miles of New York.

He has five thousand dollars in the bank, presented by Dodger, with his father's sanction, and is considered quite a reputable citizen.

As for Mrs. O'Keefe, she still keeps the apple-stand, being unwilling to give it up; but she, too, has a handsome sum in the bank, and calls often upon her two children, as she calls them.

In the midst of their prosperity Florence and Dodger will never forget the time when they were adrift in New York.

Horatio Alger's novel: Adrift in New York: Tom and Florence Braving the World


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