MoboReader > Literature > Frank and Fearless; or, The Fortunes of Jasper Kent


Frank and Fearless; or, The Fortunes of Jasper Kent By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 5576

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

Mrs. Kent had never cared for Jasper. Since the marriage she had disliked him. Now that he had struck down Nicholas in her presence, she positively hated him. She did not stop to consider that he was provoked to it, and only acted in self-defense. She thirsted for revenge-more, indeed, than Nicholas, who, bully as he was, having been fairly worsted, was disposed to accept his defeat philosophically. If he could annoy or thwart Jasper he would have been glad to do it, but he did not desire to injure him physically.

Not so Mrs. Kent.

Her darling had been assaulted and defeated in her presence. She did not again wish to put him against Jasper lest he should be again defeated, but she wished Jasper, her detested step-son, to drink the same cup of humiliation which had been forced upon Nicholas.

So she sat pondering how to accomplish the object she had in view. She could not herself beat Jasper, though, had he been younger and smaller, she would certainly have attempted it. She must do it by deputy.

Under the circumstances she thought of Tom Forbes, a strong and stalwart hired man, who had been for some months working on the place. Probably he would not like the task, but she would threaten to discharge him if he refused to obey her commands, and this, she thought, would bring him around.

"I wonder where Jasper is?" said Nicholas, about eight o'clock, as he sat opposite the little table where his mother was sewing.

"Gone out, I suppose," said Mrs. Kent.

"He found the house too hot to hold him," suggested Thorne.

"He certainly will if he conducts himself in the future as he has already done. He makes a mistake if he thinks I will tolerate such conduct."

"It's because you're a woman," said her son. "Boys of his age don't make much account of women."

"Do you speak for yourself as well as for him?" asked Mrs. Kent, sharply.

"Of course not," said Nicholas, whose interest it was to keep on good terms with his mother. "Of course not; besides, you are my mother."

"You are much more of a gentleman than Jasper is," said his mother, appeased.

"I hope so," said Nicholas.

"As for him, I consider him a young ruffian."

"So he is," said Thorne, who was ready to assent to anything that his mother might say.

"And yet his father thought him a paragon!" continued Mrs. Kent, her lip curling. "It is strange how parents can be deceived!"

Unconsciously she illustrated the truth of this remark in her own person. She considered Nicholas handsome, spirited, and amiable-indeed, as an unusually fascinating and attractive boy. To others he was big, overgrown, malicious, and stupid. But then mothers are apt to look through different spectacles from the rest of the world.

"I guess Jasper'll want to change his guardian," s

aid Thorne, laughing. "You and he won't hitch horses very well."

"Don't use such a common expression, Nicholas. I want you to grow up a well-bred gentleman."

"Oh, well, I mean to. But I say, if his father liked him so much, what made him appoint you to take care of him?"

"He didn't know how I felt toward Jasper. I humored his fancies, and treated him better than I felt toward him."

"Then you wanted to be his guardian?"

"Yes, I wanted to pay off old scores," said Mrs. Kent, again compressing her lips with unpleasant firmness.

"What made you dislike him?" asked her son, with curiosity.

"He was opposed to my marriage. He would have stopped it if he could, but there I got the better of him. When he found that he was too late he treated me with coldness. He never liked me."

"By Jove! I don't think he's had much reason," said Nicholas, laughing boisterously.

"He'll regret not having treated me with more attention. I can thwart all his plans and make his life very uncomfortable."

"I'll trust you to do that, mother. You've got spunk enough."

"Don't say 'spunk,' Nicholas."

"What shall I say, then?"


"It's all the same."

"There is a choice in words. Remember, my dear boy, I want you to be a refined and cultivated gentleman."

"Well, I can be, now you're rich. But I say, mother, what are you going to do? You ain't going to stick down in this dull place all your life, are you?"

"No, Nicholas. In the summer we'll go travelling."

"Good!" exclaimed Nicholas, with satisfaction. "Where will we go?"

"How would you like to go to Niagara Falls?"


"Or to Saratoga?"

"I don't know much about that."

"It is a fashionable place."

"Can a fellow have fun there?"

"Of course he can."

"Then I'd like to go. But I say, are you going to take Jasper, too?"

"No," said Mrs. Kent, decidedly. "I certainly shall not give him so much pleasure."

"I don't know. I might like it better if I had a fellow of my own age to go around with."

"You will find plenty of companions more agreeable than Jasper."

"All right, mother. I suppose you know best."

"You can trust me to provide for your happiness, Nicholas. It is all I live for."

The next morning Mrs. Kent arose early, and summoned the hired man, Tom Forbes.

"Tom," said she, "have you a good whip?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"And a strong arm?"

"Middlin', ma'am," answered the wondering hired man.

"I want you to be in the kitchen, provided with your whip, when breakfast is over."

"What for?" asked Tom, in surprise.

"Never mind now. I shall inform you at the time."

"All right, ma'am."

Twenty minutes later, Jasper, unaware of his step-mother's benevolent intentions, took his seat at the breakfast-table.

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