Trent's Trust and Other Stories HTML version

"Not yet. I'm my own lawyer in this matter until I get fairly under way. I've studied the
law enough to know that as soon as I prove that I'm alive the case must go on on account
of my heir, whether I choose to cry quits or not. And it's just THAT that holds my hand."
Randolph stared at the extraordinary man before him. For a moment, as the strange story
of his miraculous escape and his still more wonderful indifference to it all recurred to his
mind, he felt a doubt of the narrator's truthfulness or his sanity. But another glance at the
sailor's frank eyes dispelled that momentary suspicion. He held out his hand as frankly,
and grasping Captain Dornton's, said, "I will go."
Randolph's request for a four months' leave of absence was granted with little objection
and no curiosity. He had acquired the confidence of his employers, and beyond Mr.
Revelstoke's curt surprise that a young fellow on the road to fortune should sacrifice so
much time to irrelevant travel, and the remark, "But you know your own business best,"
there was no comment. It struck the young man, however, that Mr. Dingwall's slight
coolness on receiving the news might be attributed to a suspicion that he was following
Miss Avondale, whom he had fancied Dingwall disliked, and he quickly made certain
inquiries in regard to Miss Eversleigh and the possibility of his meeting her. As, without
intending it, and to his own surprise, he achieved a blush in so doing, which Dingwall
noted, he received a gracious reply, and the suggestion that it was "quite proper" for him,
on arriving, to send the young lady his card.
Captain Dornton, under the alias of "Captain Johns," was ready to catch the next steamer
to the Isthmus, and in two days they sailed. The voyage was uneventful, and if Randolph
had expected any enthusiasm on the part of the captain in the mission on which he was
now fairly launched, he would have been disappointed. Although his frankness was
unchanged, he volunteered no confidences. It was evident he was fully acquainted with
the legal strength of his claim, yet he, as evidently, deferred making any plan of redress
until he reached England. Of Miss Eversleigh he was more communicative. "You would
have liked her better, my lad, it you hadn't been bewitched by the Avondale woman, for
she is the whitest of the Dorntons." In vain Randolph protested truthfully, yet with an
even more convincing color, that it had made no difference, and he HAD liked her. The
captain laughed. "Ay, lad! But she's a poor orphan, with scarcely a hundred pounds a
year, who lives with her guardian, an old clergyman. And yet," he added grimly, "there
are only three lives between her and the property—mine, Bobby's, and Bill's—unless HE
should marry and have an heir."
"The more reason why you should assert yourself and do what you can for her now," said
Randolph eagerly.
"Ay," returned the captain, with his usual laugh, "when she was a child I used to call her
my little sweetheart, and gave her a ring, and I reckon I promised to marry her, too, when
she grew up."