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

   Chapter 39 HOW IT ALL ENDED.

Frank and Fearless; or, The Fortunes of Jasper Kent By Jr. Horatio Alger Characters: 6548

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

Jasper did not reach home till after the funeral had taken place and his step-mother was buried. Though he had little reason to like her, he was shocked and distressed by her sad and untimely fate.

"How could the house catch fire, Mr. Miller?" he asked.

"It is supposed to have been set on fire."

"Who would do it?"

"From what Nicholas tells me I suspect that the fire was the work of Mrs. Kent's brother."

"Her brother!" exclaimed Jasper. "I met him in the West."

"Then you probably know that he was not a very respectable character."

"I know that he was concerned in kidnapping a child."

"Nicholas tells me that he had just got out of prison, and applied to Mrs. Kent for help, which she refused. Incensed at this, he probably set the house on fire."

"I think he would be capable of doing it. Has he been arrested?"

"Not yet, but the police are on his track. I don't think he can escape."

"Nicholas doesn't seem to take his mother's death very hard."

"No. I am disgusted with his selfishness. He seems to be principally concerned about property which she leaves."

"I suppose he will inherit it."

"Yes. I don't know in what state it is, but it ought to amount to thirty thousand dollars. It is a large slice of your father's fortune."

"I do not begrudge it to him. I shall have enough."

"That reminds me that it is time to open the instrument which your father left with me."

The paper was opened then and there, and proved to contain the following direction: That in case Jasper and his step-mother did not get along harmoniously, his old friend, Mr. Miller, was empowered and requested to assume the guardianship of Jasper.

"That arrangement suits me precisely," said Jasper, warmly. "Will you accept the trust?"

"Cheerfully," said his friend. "I don't think there is any danger of our disagreeing."

Jasper shook his head.

"If there should be any disagreement it would be my fault," he said. "But won't Nicholas need a guardian?"

"Yes; one will have to be appointed."

"I suppose his uncle would be willing to take the post."

"His uncle, if found, will hardly be in a position to act in that capacity."

Dick was not found. He disappeared, and from that day was not seen in the neighborhood. It is supposed that he went West and found a secure concealment in some of the distant territories, where probably he is engaged in the same discreditable courses for which he was already notorious.

As was anticipated, Nicholas inherited about thirty thousand dollars. He selected as his guardian the young physician whom his mother had employed in her husband's last sickness. But the man proved faithless to his trust, and ran away with the entire fortune of his ward, leaving him absolutely penniless. In this emergency Nicholas, humbled and mortified, appealed to Jasper to help him.

With his guardian's permission, Jasper agreed, during his good behavior, to pay for his use an annual sum of five hundred dollars, urging him to continue at school. But this did not suit Nicholas. He obtained a place in New York, where he soon developed fast tendencies, and ended by running away with a considerable sum of money belonging to his employer. It was believed that he went to California. His employe

r took no steps to apprehend him, Jasper having agreed to make up to him the sum-nine hundred dollars-which Nicholas had appropriated. For him it was a saving, since by his conduct Nicholas had forfeited the annual provision he had agreed to make for him.

And what became of Jasper? By his guardian's advice he went to school for two years more. Then he returned to St. Louis, and again entered the employment of Mr. Fitch.

At twenty-one, with a portion of his property, he bought an interest in the business and became junior partner, and is now one of the most respected and enterprising young business men in that flourishing city. He was recently united in marriage to a charming young lady, the daughter of a prosperous Western merchant, and so his prospects seem as bright as could well be hoped for.

The trials of his early life are safely passed.

By his honesty, courage and generosity he has fairly earned the happiness which he enjoys. Nor has he forgotten Nancy and the Indian maiden who rendered him so essential a service at a critical point in his fortunes. Every year he sends them a handsome present, choosing the articles which are best suited to gratify their tastes.

Monima cherishes a romantic attachment for her benefactor, and will not soon forget the "white boy," whose picture she carries with her in all her wanderings.

* * *



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