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Chapter I.13
"THE fortune which Mr. Vanstone possessed when you knew him" (the lawyer
began) "was part, and part only, of the inheritance which fell to him on his father's
death. Mr. Vanstone the elder was a manufacturer in the North of England. He
married early in life; and the children of the marriage were either six or seven in
number -- I am not certain which. First, Michael, the eldest son, still living, and
now an old man turned seventy. Secondly, Selina, the eldest daughter, who
married in after-life, and who died ten or eleven years ago. After those two came
other sons and daughters, whose early deaths make it unnecessary to mention
them particularly. The last and by many years the youngest of the children was
Andrew, whom I first knew, as I told you, at the age of nineteen. My father was
then on the point of retiring from the active pursuit of his profession; and in
succeeding to his business, I also succeeded to his connection with the
Vanstones as the family solicitor.
"At that time, Andrew had just started in life by entering the army. After little more
than a year of home-service, he was ordered out with his regiment to Canada.
When he quitted England, he left his father and his elder brother Michael
seriously at variance. I need not detain you by entering into the cause of the
quarrel. I need only tell you that the elder Mr. V anstone, with many excellent qu
alities, was a man of fierce and intractable temper. His eldest son had set him at
defiance, under circumstances which might have justly irritated a father of far
milder character; and he declared, in the most positive terms, that he would
never see Michael's face again. In defiance of my entreaties, and of the
entreaties of his wife, he tore up, in our presence, the will which provided for
Michael's share in the paternal inheritance. Such was the family position, when
the younger son left home for Canada.
"Some months after Andrew's arrival with his regiment at Quebec, he became
acquainted with a woman of great personal attractions, who came, or said she